Hi, I recently got a French Berthier rifle, marked Chatellerault Mle 1892. I was informed its the Mousqueton de Artillerie Modèle 1892 Modifié 1916 (Musketoon of Artillery Model 1892 Modified 1916). It has the 5-round stripper-clip style "en bloc charger". It features an anchor stamp on the buttplate, as well as an A on the front sight. The most interesting thing about this rifle is the stock/buttplate. The guy we got it from said that a marine on ship had modified the buttstock by hand to feature a tongue-and-groove compartment. I was wondering if anyone has seen anything else like this before? Also I believe the A means it was from Manufacture Nationale d'Armes de Chatellerault (MAC) armory. All the serial numbers match, including the numbers on the modified buttstock. I believe the sling is original issue as well, with the brass button on it. Also, the front barrel band wobbles a bit, I wasn't sure if this was a problem; or if there was a good way to sure it up? Anyone have any insight, comments, remarks please?
The anchor mark prior to 1900 was used to show these were issued to the French Navy's Troupes de Marine (French Colonial Forces) and after 1900 when they became part of the Army as Troupes Coloniales or commonly called La Coloniale. The Armée Coloniale should not be confused with the famous North African regiments of the French Army such as the Foreign Legion, the Bat' d'Af', Zouaves, Spahis, Algerian Tirailleurs and Goumiers, all of which were part of the Army of Africa.
TheTroupes Coloniale can be divided into:
1.French long service volunteers (or colonial settlers doing their military service) assigned to service in France itself or as garrisons in French West and Central Africa, Madagascar, New Caledonia or Indochina; and
1.Indigenous troops recruited in any of the above, serving under French officers. These were designated as Tirailleurs sénégalais, Tirailleurs malgaches, Tirailleurs indochinois, etc. according to the name of the colony of origin. Tirailleurs sénégalais was the name given to all West and Central African regiments, since Senegal had been the first French colony south of the Sahara.
All colonial troops (la Coloniale or the Colonial) came under a single General Staff. The troupes coloniales were predominantly infantry but included artillery units as well as the usual support services. At various dates they also included locally recruited cavalry units in Indo-China as well as camel troops in sub-Saharan Africa.