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soldiers in the spanish civil war 1936 armed with vetterli vitali 70/87 and 70/87/15


ulster volunteer force with vetterli vitali 70/87, the rifle with french M 74 gras bayonet

 

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Excellent photos. Thanks for posting!
 

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Wow! I am very curious why the Spanish force would be issued weapons considered to be wartime emergency conversions and for reserve use only?
 

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In research for the book underway, I learned both 10.4 and 6,5 caliber Vetterlis were indeed shipped to Spain. My take is that 1870/87/15 Vetterlis were issued to Nationalist troops who quickly traded them in for more modern arms as soon as they became available. Otherwise, Vetterlis were used for drilling, guard duty or simply warehoused.

I'm interested if the top photo was actually taken in Spain or shows Italian "volunteers" before they left Italy. SW
 

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There is plenty of detail on Vetterlis of both types used in Spain contained in 'The Italian Vetterli Rifle, Development, Variants and History in Service' book.
Basically:
1. Russia shipped 13,000 surplus Vetterli mod.1870/87 to Spain for the Republicans in 1937 (as well as 43,00 other types). The Vetterlis were the rifles collected by the Allies and shipped to Russia in 1915 for use on the Romanian front.
2. Italy sent the CTV (Italian Legion) to Spain to join Nationalist forces, including the Frecce Nere brigade who were still equipped with Vetterli mod.70/87 and which were soon replaced by the M91. They also used a small number of Vetterli mod.1870/87/15s.
3. Third source were the Vetterli mod.1870/87/15s gifted to the Nationalists by the Italian Government.

The second photo shows the Monaghan UVF being inspected by Sir Norman Stronge at Glaslough. It must have been taken after April 1914 as the Mle.1874 Gras bayonets were converted by Benny Spiro in Hamburg to fit the Vetterlis before being shipped to Ulster in the SS Clyde Valley.
Sarie
 
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