Mauser "Bolo": sight at 50-1000 meters, built-in box magazine for ten rounds, two wooden grip plates with 22 lines - these are its characteristic features. However, they could change. The 1921 model was produced for a long time. And sold too. The inscriptions on the pistol are “Waffenfabrik Mauser Oberndorf” and “Waffenfabrik Mauser Oberndorf A. Neckar”. Left side view (photo: Morphy auctions)
“Then he opened the coveted wardrobe and took out a hefty Mauser - a ten-shot monster born in the Mauserwerke special department, a favorite, famous in the Civil War weapon commissars in dusty helmets, as well as imperial Japanese officers in greatcoats with dog fur collars. The Mauser was clean, blued shimmering, seemingly completely ready for battle, but, unfortunately, with a worn out striker ... "
"The Doomed City" novel by the Strugatsky brothers
"The Doomed City" novel by the Strugatsky brothers
History weapons. Not so long ago, a discussion arose on the VO website about the execution in Katyn. Whether he was, was not - now is not about that. The point is that many VO readers still believe that the main weapon of the Chekists, including those who were involved in the liquidation of convicts, were "good old revolvers." And with this, in principle, no one argues. The revolver is a traditional and popular weapon in Russia, but ... for some reason, in Soviet Russia, immediately after the end of the Civil War, they did not appeal to the old traditions and solve the issue of developing their own production of these revolvers in Tula, but thought about equipping them with modern samples of self-loading weapons, and first of all, the operational staff of the Cheka-OGPU.
The same pistol - right side view (photo: Morphy auctions)
The only question was where to get it.
And ... the place was immediately found - yesterday's fierce enemy, and today, potentially the best friend - Weimar Germany. The memory was still alive that in Russia since pre-revolutionary times German Mauser pistols were popular, which became even more popular during the Civil War.
Kozhanka and Mauser became the "calling card" of security officers, commissars, crews of "Comrade Trotsky's propaganda armored train" and all sorts of chieftains, fathers and ... sailors-anarchists. In general, it was the Mauser, and by no means the "good old revolver", that became a kind of symbol of the revolution, so that even during the civil war in Spain in 1936-1939, the fashion for it, as a symbolic weapon of the revolution, was revived again, and they were worn there and anarchists of Durruti, and Canadian volunteers and ... Soviet military advisers.
Window to Asia
But for Germany, “friendship” with the USSR after the defeat in the First World War was a kind of “window”, not to Europe, but to Asia. The military-political leadership of Germany considered the revision of the results of the war to be inevitable. But this required a powerful economy and a well-armed army. That is, it was necessary to raise the country from its knees after defeat, and work on the creation of the latest small arms for the coming war.
Minister of State vom Rathenau (who just laid the foundation for the revival of the German war industry) on this matter, speaking to the generals of the Reichswehr, said:
"In this war, completely new weapons will be used, and the army that is least shackled by outdated weapons will have a huge advantage."
But in order to create new weapons, it was required to load machines and equipment with the production of old weapons. It was required to pay wages to workers so that they could feed their families and pay taxes to the treasury, it was required ...
First of all - production and well-functioning sales of finished products. But with this, the situation in post-war Germany was not very good.
The numbers on the pistol were placed in various places. (photo: Morphy auctions)
Historically, in Germany, the arms industry was divided into two sectors: private and public.
Weapons production centers were located in cities such as Suhl and Nuremberg, Berlin and Leipzig, as well as Erfurt and Kiel. Large state arsenals were located in Amberg, Danzig and, of course, in Berlin and Erfurt, in Potsdam and Spandau, and there they produced weapons for the army, and numerous private firms produced civilian and sporting-hunting weapons, or they were involved in fulfilling army orders for weapons in emergency situations. In particular, dozens of medium and small arms firms and small machine-building factories have successfully joined the work to promote production at state arsenals during the First World War.
German Mauser with a stock holster 1900 release. Caliber 7,63 mm. (Auckland War Memorial Museum, New Zealand)
Now these companies have again switched to the manufacture of their traditional products, that is, they are engaged in the production of hunting, civilian and sporting weapons, and various ... household products, for example, bicycles. It was more difficult for the state arsenals, for which, according to the Versailles Treaty, the production of weapons was limited, but ... it was not completely prohibited, that is, the release of small arms for the Reichswehr was still permitted by the treaty.
German Mauser with a butt holster during the First World War. (Auckland War Memorial Museum, New Zealand)
And ... already from the beginning of the twenties, the process of reviving the military production began in Germany. And already at the end of the first post-war decade, work began on the creation of promising models of various small arms.
We must pay tribute to the German arms companies, which managed abroad (in countries such as Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands or the USSR) to deploy not only significant research and development work, but also to establish the production of a number of samples.
Well, and Soviet Russia, having established fairly close political, trade and military contacts with the Weimar Republic, also received its share of modern short-barreled weapons.
In 1920, Waffenfabrik Mauser offered the German police another modification of their famous K.96 - mod. 1920, the total length of which was 256 mm, and the barrel length was 99 mm.
This length did not appear by accident: Germany was forbidden to produce pistols with a caliber of 9 mm and above, while barrels longer than 100 mm were also not allowed.
These pistols could have a magazine for 6 or 10 rounds, the grip cheeks were made of wood or plastic. Subsequently, pistols of earlier releases began to be altered for this model of weapons, moreover, not only the 7,63-mm caliber, but also the 9-mm Parabellum pistols. Well, in 1922 Germany and Soviet Russia signed the famous Rappal agreement and began to trade with each other!
The USSR purchases Mauser pistols (basically these were 7,63-mm pistols of the 1912 model, which were kept in warehouses), and then the Weimar Republic was ordered another 30 thousand Mauser pistols "Bolo" (that is, the "Bolshevik" - this is how this Mauser model began to be called in the West due to its mass sale in the USSR, although this pistol was purchased by a number of other countries) of the 1920-1921 model (in different sources this model dates from these two years) under 7,63 × 25-mm Mauser cartridge.
During the Soviet-Finnish war, such Mausers (as an additional weapon to the three-line carbine) were used to arm skier-scouts of the Red Army. During the Great Patriotic War, a number of these pistols were handed over to Soviet partisans and commanders of some partisan detachments were armed with them.
In 1926, the Mauser mod. 1912 came the 7,63-mm modernized sample of the mod. 1926. The designers simplified the manufacturing technology, the barrel was thickened near the chamber. The design of the safety catch was also different, the flag of which could now be fixed in three positions.
But even after all these improvements, it remained a commercial weapon and was also purchased by the USSR for the command staff of the RKKD and NKVD, and then was used already during the Great Patriotic War.
By the way, in the 1930s, police and commercial Mauser pistols were also in circulation in the USSR, based on the 7,65-mm Browning cartridge, with automatic recoil-based controls. It was a 7,65 mm model 1914/34 pistol, created by the famous gunsmith of the firm Josef Nickl. He successfully established himself in two and a half decades of service in the German police, and the senior command staff of the NKVD and the Red Army did not disdain to use it.
The Spanish Mauser - the famous "Asters" also got to the USSR, especially during the Spanish Civil War. Note that in the USSR, both old stocks and new trophies were used not only in the NKVD, but also in the army. In 1943, for example, Colonel L. Brezhnev of the Guard received the Mauser pistol as a reward.
However, this practice, surprisingly, has been continued in our days. For example, the governor of the Penza region (now deceased), United Russia member Vasily Bochkarev in 2004 received from the Ministry of Defense not some kind of PM, but a personal Mauser K-96.
Award Mauser Budyonny, 1921
Note that in the same 20s, the production of copies of 7,63x25 Mauser cartridges was established in the USSR at the Podolsk Cartridge Plant.
Together with extensive experience in operating Mauser, it was this circumstance that determined the choice of a new Soviet cartridge for a pistol - in 1930, a 7,62-mm cartridge was adopted, now known as 7,62x25 TT, which differs only slightly from the 7,63-mm Mauser cartridge. ...
Interestingly, one of the materials on the Internet also found such a passage that the "opinion about the Mauser" C-96 in Soviet service as a "weapon of firing squads" is a tribute to ideology rather than history. " That is, it means that someone nevertheless expressed such an opinion. But it would be curious to know what it was at least somehow based on. But ... it was just this that we failed to find out!
Mauser "Bolo" with a holster (photo by Revivaler auctions)
True, there is logic that a number of VO readers constantly rely on.
The logic is that the Mausers were purchased for the Cheka-GPU bodies not by chance (one could just do with ordinary revolvers), but for ease of use and to emphasize their elitism.
So one of the Chekists could well have used the Mauser for “this”, since the revolver is inconvenient as a firing weapon. Still, the matter is unpleasant in all respects, even for notorious scoundrels, and I want to end it as soon as possible. And the revolver is not very good for this: it fired seven times, and then twist the drum seven times, work with the ramrod, insert the cartridges. Mayata, and more!
Well, now a little about what the Mauser shells found at the site of the mass shootings, if any, can say.
The burial time is important here, not the liner.
Until June 22, 1941, it can be both Mauser and Nagan shell casings, and it will be all ours, dear, NKVD.
In the burials after this date, one cannot be sure of anything, although it is unlikely that the Germans would have begun to tinker with our "revolvers", painfully at the beginning of the war they despised both us and all ours.
True, there are markings on the sleeves - ours and not ours.
But after all, we also bought cartridges for Mauser from the Germans, but for how long and how quickly did we use them up?
So all these questions are still covered with "dark gloom". And there are much more of them than answers!