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Over the time, several foreign troops have sought internment in Switzerland. It happend 1870/71 (French troops), it happened (on a much smaller scale) possibly in 1918, it happened 1940 (French), 1943-1945 (Italians and Germans).

My questions: whatever happened with their guns? The Swiss forces sequestered the equipment, but what was done with it? Was it eventually sold, or might some spoils even still slumber in the deep caves of a Swiss mountain fortress? ;-)

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DocAV
Posted - 11/23/2004 : 4:18:56 PM
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After the French Collapse of 1940, on the Alpes Maritimes front, large quantites of French rifles and MGs were taken into Italian service by the occupation troops covering the area from the Border to about the naval Port of Toulon, near Marseilles. In 1943, September, when some of the Italian occupation Troops interned in Switzerland rather than surrender to the Germans, they handed their French Equipment over to the Swiss. (photos exist of handover).

During WW I, Italy had been given M1907 St.Etienne MGs, and ammo for these was still being made well into the 1930s. They were relegated to Fortress use on Italy's Northern Borders, due to repair and ammo re-supply considerations.
 

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I think, Carcano, that this is a very good question! I'm not a trader but was surprized a couple of times in my life when I was told where the goodies came from in speaking with firearm dealers in Belgium. One day I was searching for a good Mauser C96 ... I found eighty of them in the cellar of a very small dealer! I was surprized, of course, and was told they came out of Switzerland. No problem but a month ago I asked a gunsmith from Liège, which I knew for thirty years, why I didn't see any Nagant revolvers 1895 on a militaria show in Ostend. Is answer was:" heu ... you must have them at hand, I ordered mine nine months ago but they didn't arrive yet (due to incredible administrative paperwork and stupidity on behalve of a certain Ministry)".
Of course I asked him if they where the classical refurbished revolvers from Russia.
"Ho no! Original finish, or what is left, and out of ... yes, Switzerland!".
He even told me the price for what they will be sold once they will arrive (300 Euros, which is very much of course). But one must now what is known to those who are rather close with armsdealers: they do group buys and at the same time set the price for the individual buyer.
I shouldn't say this, but smuggling guns out of Switzerland are the best buys a European could do.
 

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Well...

..guns and gear taken from the French soldiers in 1940 were handed over to Germany in 1941, this was because of the Scapini agreement at November 16. 1940 in Berlin between the French Vichy-government and Germany.
They were following;

16.687 rifles and carbines
379 pistols and revolvers
864 light and heavy machineguns
38 mortars and grenade throwers
27 trench mortars
94 canons of several calibers
579 transport vehicles
3.500.000 cartridges for rifles and machineguns
5.700 tracer cartridges
minor amounts of artillery ammunition and explosives

From mid 1943 on the numbers of foreign soldiers that entered Switzerland for several reasons increased and their weapons were stored in Swiss arsenals. Besides French, German, Italian, British and Russian guns there were also US guns with these, some 48 submachineguns plus 62 rifles were registered as being from the USA.
Most of the guns were destroyed in the years past the war and some were given back.

So little chance on getting "forgotten gun treasures" from Switzerland.

Guisan.:)
 

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in 1848, during the revolution in Baden, the revolutionary troops fly from the Prussian troops to Switzerland ...

After this these guns were used by Switz troops and got all the "Switz modifications"

here is one, made in 1824 in St. Blasien for Baden and the used by Switz and transformed to a rifle and an breech-loader.
 

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Over the time, several foreign troops have sought internment in Switzerland. It happend 1870/71 (French troops), it happened (on a much smaller scale) possibly in 1918, it happened 1940 (French), 1943-1945 (Italians and Germans).

My questions: whatever happened with their guns? The Swiss forces sequestered the equipment, but what was done with it? Was it eventually sold, or might some spoils even still slumber in the deep caves of a Swiss mountain fortress? ;-)

* * *

DocAV
Posted - 11/23/2004 : 4:18:56 PM
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After the French Collapse of 1940, on the Alpes Maritimes front, large quantites of French rifles and MGs were taken into Italian service by the occupation troops covering the area from the Border to about the naval Port of Toulon, near Marseilles. In 1943, September, when some of the Italian occupation Troops interned in Switzerland rather than surrender to the Germans, they handed their French Equipment over to the Swiss. (photos exist of handover).

During WW I, Italy had been given M1907 St.Etienne MGs, and ammo for these was still being made well into the 1930s. They were relegated to Fortress use on Italy's Northern Borders, due to repair and ammo re-supply considerations.
Carcano, DocAV is wrong,

During the battle of the Alps in June 1940, the Italian army did not succeed to breach the Maginot line at all even as understaffed as it was with most reaction forces sent to fight the Nazis up North. The Werhmarcht tried to soften the Alps Maginot line from the back coming from Lyons, to no avail. When the cease fire was inforced, on ther 24th of June 1940, the french were safe and secure in their Bunkers while the Italians were freezing to death and many Italian soldiers were rescued and taken to shelter by the French troops.

The June 1940 "Armistice" agreement did not allow any Italian troops on French soil but for a token place, Menton, the Border town on the mediterranean coast.

It is only in 1942, when the US Army landed in North Africa and in retaliation the Nazis invaded the South of France, That Mussolmini Italy was allowed to occupy a part of the French alps, there were not many guns for pilfering then!

kelt
 
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