Military Review

"Mars": "a gun for the god of war"

34

Pistol "Mars" from the collection of the Royal Arsenal (Leeds). View from the left. Variant with a long barrel, with a wider and heavier frame and attachment for a shoulder stock. A large round hole in the frame above the trigger guard served to ... lighten the frame, but it could well have been used to hold this pistol more firmly in your hand


Half an inch - make you shiver
A creature of heaven and earth,
Half an inch of everything is separated
From the death of your enemy!
Adam Lindsay Gordon (October 19, 1833 - June 24, 1870)

stories about weapons. Today our story will be dedicated to one of the most unusual and powerful pistols in the world, namely the Mars or Webley-Mars automatic pistol, which appeared just at the turn of two centuries, in 1900. Hugh William Gabbet-Fairfax of Leamington Spa (Great Britain) designed this dead-end miracle of weapons art, he began to deal with it in 1889, and he received a patent for it on October 15, 1900. They talked about him as a successful and prolific inventor, he seemed to come up with a lot of interesting things, but it was at that time that the idea came to him to create a powerful self-loading pistol for the military. As you know, the idea of ​​creating something for the army has been and is visited by many people who dream of making money on it. But here you have to listen to what the military tells you and what they want. Not everyone and not always succeeds, however ... So Gabbet-Fairfax was from a breed of people who do not want to make concessions to anyone, considering their invention to be the best.

"Mars": "a gun for the god of war"
There he was, a handsome old man: Hugh William Gabbet-Fairfax of Leamington Spa. You can't tell from the look that you were engaged in inventing such deadly ... "things"!

First of all, he, like, by the way, many other designers of small arms, began with the creation of a new cartridge. Knowing the British military's addiction to heavy bullets with high stopping power and, accordingly, large calibers, he developed very powerful cartridges of several calibers at once: 8,5x26 mm, 9x26 mm and 11,2x20 mm (short) and 11,2x28 mm (long). And they were really very strong cartridges. So, a 8,5 mm caliber bullet had an initial speed of 533 m / s and a muzzle energy of 1294 J, and a bullet of a “long” cartridge (bullet weight 14,26 g) had a speed of 365 m / s and a muzzle energy of 957 J. A feature of the cartridges was bottle-shaped cartridge case and a large charge of gunpowder.


Cartridges for "Mars" and all "Mars": from left to right: .45 "Short", .45 "Long", .360 and 8,5 mm (.335). Photo: forgottenweapons.com

So it is not at all surprising that the model of his pistol, called "Mars" in honor of the Roman god of war, chambered for a long cartridge .45 (11,2 mm) at the time of its appearance turned out to be the most powerful pistol in the whole wide world! It is already in our time that the famous "Desert Eagle" and similar samples of powerful pistols appeared, and at that time it was the only one. And all because the British officers who fought the Mahdists in Sudan, as well as those who pacified the Kaffirs and Zulus in South Africa, often complained that their own 9-mm revolvers were far from always effective against them. Hence, the designer’s interest in precisely such powerful cartridges and heavy pistols made for them is understandable.


Scheme of the device of the main components of the pistol from US patent No. 684055 dated October 1, 1901

Naturally, it was simply impossible to shoot such powerful cartridges using automatic blowback. A bolt was required that locks the barrel, and locks it in the most reliable way. Therefore, Gabbet-Fairfax decided to use in his pistol a type of automation that is rarely found on pistols, which operates due to the long stroke of the barrel. But with such a device, feeding cartridges from the magazine located in the handle was difficult. And ... the designer figured out how to get around this difficulty. He came up with a store covered with a lid on top, so that cartridges from it could not move up, as usual. They had to be inserted into this store with bullets forward.


Pistol, right side view. In this diagram from US patent No. 684055 dated October 1, 1901, the bolt with lugs and the cartridge are clearly visible before it is fed into the chamber

The bolt of the pistol was made rotating, with four lugs, with which it was firmly fastened to the barrel at the time of the shot.


This diagram from US patent No. 684055 dated October 1, 1901 shows the shape of the plate that closes the magazine from above (shown in dotted line), as well as the cartridge feeder and trigger, and there is no needle for cocking it by hand. No holes on the frame above the trigger guard

The automatics of the pistol worked like this: immediately after the shot, the barrel began to move backward, compressing two springs put on two rods under the barrel. Moving back, the barrel, linked to the bolt, removed the cartridge from the magazine and pushed it back onto a special U-shaped feeder. At the same time, the bolt itself rotated and moved back even further, and the barrel returned to its extreme forward position by the force of the springs. In turn, the shutter in the rearmost position pressed on the feeder, and he raised the next cartridge to the chambering line. Interestingly, the designer provided for a shutter delay when the trigger was pressed back after the shot. Thanks to this, immediately after the shot and the rollback of all the moving parts of the pistol back, the barrel managed to go forward, but the bolt remained in the rear position until the shooter released the trigger for another shot. At this point, he immediately took off, picked up the cartridge from the feeder, he slid along the magazine cover and ... recovered into the chamber, while the bolt turned and locked the bore. This connection was strong. Due to the long stroke, the bullet had time to leave the barrel before reaching the extreme recoil point of the moving parts. But ... all these advantages were leveled by the large dimensions and weight of the pistol.


Shutter retract to rearmost position. Very, let's say, at the same time, its entire mechanism is “exposed”!

The movement of the shutter also led to the cocking of the hammer, which leaned back. After that, he remained cocked even after the shutter returned to its previous position. Well, for the first shot, the shutter was cocked manually. To do this, two cylindrical protrusions were provided on it in the back, similar ... to the ears of Mighty Mouse. In this way, he looked like a Schwarzlose pistol, about which there was already an article on VO.


View of two spring guides, cartridge feeder (shaped like a tuning fork) and bolt, side and rear views. Item 37 - extractor

On the left side of the pistol frame, just behind the trigger guard tide, there was a magazine latch control button - a decision not typical for that time, but which has become common for modern pistols. The cheeks on the handle were wooden, and the sight was the simplest - open and unregulated.


The mechanism of the cartridge feeder

From March 1901 to 1903, the British military tested the pistol (as a result of the designer's persistent proposals) ... eight times. The peculiar record was certainly the result of Gabbet-Fairfak's persistence, but it also suggests that this gun still attracted them with something. And I must say that he had merit. Good accuracy was noted, but most importantly, a very large penetrating and stopping effect of bullets fired from it. However, the result of all these worries was the rejection of the pistol by the British War Office. And it buried all the designer's hopes for a major military order, because it was planned that the new pistol would replace the Webley revolver in service with the British army. Among the reasons that caused the failure, indicated too much recoil when fired, the mechanical complexity of the design, the heavy weight and dimensions of the pistol. And in itself, shooting from it was simply uncomfortable, which is also important. So, in 1902, the head of the test noted that everyone who fired at least once from this pistol no longer wanted to shoot from it, and the process of firing from it was described as something "incredibly terrible and disturbing." Although, trying to please the military, the designer submitted for testing a lightweight model chambered for 8,5x26 mm. But ... and with this cartridge, it turned out to be too "exciting" to shoot from it!


Device shop for the pistol "Mars"

In 1902, Gabbet-Fairfax, without waiting for a military order, declared himself bankrupt, but in March 1904 in Birmingham he managed to create a company called the Mars Automatic Pistol Syndicate, which tried to establish a commercial production of this pistol. Its release was to be carried out by Webley and Scott, and then other arms enterprises in London and Birmingham were to be connected to it. It was possible to release 81 copies of "Mars", but things "did not go further" due to the lack of commercial demand. Moreover, by 1907, the “syndicate” also went bankrupt, having failed to capture any noticeable niche in the commercial arms market!


Pistol "Mars" with a shortened barrel. Right view. Photo: forgottenweapons.com

TTX pistols Gabbet-Ferfaks "Mars", sample 1905. Dimensions: barrel length - 230 mm, total length - 379 mm, weight without cartridges - 1,36 kg, weight with cartridges - 1,53 kg, caliber 11,2- mm. The magazine capacity for .450 caliber pistols is 8 rounds, for .360 Mars pistols (9 × 26 mm) and .330 Mars (8,5 × 26 mm) pistols - 10.

And the conclusion: to do simply is very difficult, and to do difficult is easy, although not always and not in everything, and the result also varies! But, of course, standing on the “bloody sand”, it was better to have at least such a (preferably ten-shot!) Pistol than none at all!
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34 comments
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  1. Kote Pan Kokhanka
    Kote Pan Kokhanka 9 March 2022 04: 49
    +7
    To be honest, I didn’t hear from the “hero” of our article, although the name for the pistol is the most formidable “Mars”!
    Thank you!
  2. Catfish
    Catfish 9 March 2022 04: 58
    +14
    Good morning everyone and have a nice day! smile
    Thanks to Vyacheslav for a new interesting article. I knew about this pistol for a long time, but without any technical details. Now, while I was reading, it took a very long time to figure out how the cartridge was removed from the magazine closed from above (probably because I hadn’t slept for a day), but, in the end, it did. laughing
    Nevertheless, I decided to insert a diagram from the same patent, all of a sudden I'm not the only one with lack of sleep. smile

    But in general, the pistol, to put it mildly, is just a monster, it is not surprising that no one liked it.

    For me, it’s better to have a familiar rifle than to carry such a monstrous gun on yourself. Although, perhaps, the Zulus would have fled just from his appearance alone.
    1. Lech from Android.
      Lech from Android. 9 March 2022 05: 18
      +5
      The pistol is perfect for a collection... 81 pieces were produced in total... a rarity... one copy is probably worth a lot of money now.
    2. The leader of the Redskins
      The leader of the Redskins 9 March 2022 07: 27
      +5
      I join the words of Uncle Kostya and others who thanked Vyacheslav Olegovich.
      Indeed, a very rare and few people (including me) "beast".
      Just some kind of pocket howitzer ...
    3. Mister X
      Mister X 9 March 2022 08: 14
      +8
      Quote: Sea Cat
      it took a very long time to figure out how the cartridge was removed from the magazine closed on top

      hi
      Better to see once ...

      1. Catfish
        Catfish 9 March 2022 08: 32
        +4
        Thank you, Michael. smile This video clearly shows that it will not work with the "sand". request
        1. Mister X
          Mister X 9 March 2022 09: 15
          +1
          Quote: Sea Cat
          that it will not work with "sand"

          I agree, weapons for the shooting range, and not for combat.

          In addition, from the video it becomes clear that the manufacture of a pistol is a very time-consuming process.
          It took a lot of man-hours for processing blanks on machines, and qualified personnel.
          However, later samples were made in the same way: the same Walther P38, Thompson software, or the BAR M1918 rifle
          Stamping began to be used much later, in the late 1930s.
          1. Catfish
            Catfish 9 March 2022 10: 00
            +1
            In my opinion, the R.38 was a much more technologically advanced "Eight" and, in general, in terms of labor costs and other things, it was at the level of the best pistols of the XNUMXth century, it was not for nothing that the Germans kept it in service until the mid-eighties.
            1. Mister X
              Mister X 9 March 2022 10: 33
              +1
              Quote: Sea Cat
              In my opinion, R.38 was a much more technologically advanced "Eight"

              And much more technologically advanced than Mars wink
              As far as I remember, by the end of the war, its quality gradually decreased.
              Including - due to the reduction in the number of skilled workers
              1. Catfish
                Catfish 9 March 2022 10: 40
                +1
                Yes, after the 43rd year, the quality began to limp, but this concerned not only the "Walter", but almost almost all types of weapons. The quality of the metal has also gone down.
                1. Mister X
                  Mister X 9 March 2022 11: 15
                  +1
                  Quote: Sea Cat
                  The quality of the metal has also gone down.

                  I agree, that's why I wrote
                  Including
        2. Wildcat
          Wildcat 9 March 2022 10: 14
          +4
          hi
          This video clearly shows that it will not work with the "sand".
          - it is surprising and worthy of praise that the system with such a supply of a cartridge into the chamber worked at all!
          1. Catfish
            Catfish 9 March 2022 10: 17
            +3
            Yes, you can't refuse the inventor's perseverance. smile
            1. Mister X
              Mister X 9 March 2022 21: 33
              +1
              Quote: Sea Cat
              you can’t refuse the inventor’s perseverance

              I think the designer did not calm down on this sample
              Since there is a pistol Bergmann-Mars Model 1903 ...
              Waiting for the next article
              1. Catfish
                Catfish 10 March 2022 14: 28
                0
                on this sample, the designer did not calm down
                Since there is a pistol Bergmann-Mars Model 1903 ...


                Misha hi , in my opinion you are mistaken, Gabbet-Fairfax has nothing to do with this gun, this gun is the brainchild of Louis Schmeiser and Theodor Bergman. smile
                Theodor Bergmann divided his design activities into two separate areas: the development of a pistol for the civilian market - Bergmann Simplex and a military pistol - Bergmann Mars.
                The upper part of the locking block is marked with four lines of text “BERGMANN / MARS / PAT. BREV. /SGDG"

              2. kalibr
                11 March 2022 07: 52
                0
                Quote: Mister X
                Since there is a pistol Bergmann-Mars Model 1903 ...

                There was already an article about him.
                1. Mister X
                  Mister X 11 March 2022 08: 00
                  0
                  Quote: kalibr
                  There was already an article about him.

                  Remind me why the word Mars is in the title?
                  1. kalibr
                    11 March 2022 08: 23
                    +1
                    Here about it: https://topwar.ru/187489-bergman-bajard-pistolet-v-mauzerovskom-stile.html
                    1. Mister X
                      Mister X 11 March 2022 08: 59
                      0
                      Quote: kalibr
                      Here about it

                      Thank you for reading the material.
                      Unfortunately, I did not find an explanation about Mars
                      1. kalibr
                        11 March 2022 09: 34
                        0
                        So I don't know...
    4. Mister X
      Mister X 9 March 2022 08: 17
      +3
      Quote: Sea Cat
      Basically, a pistol.

      Video from a famous person

  3. Thrifty
    Thrifty 9 March 2022 04: 59
    +3
    Vyacheslav hi as always, you write interestingly, although now the article is short. hi But, really, why create such a weapon? After all, when recoiling, the average man in the street has a high chance at least that the gun will fly out of his hand. For shooting you need a hard stop. Although, perhaps, the creator of this weapon thought that for a safari this revolver would be better than a rifle at close range ....
    1. kalibr
      9 March 2022 05: 43
      +3
      Quote: Thrifty
      although the article is short.

      Glad you liked it. But it was difficult to write even such an article: there is little material, and rewriting a patent means not respecting anyone, everything is written in it so hard.
  4. Lech from Android.
    Lech from Android. 9 March 2022 05: 00
    +4
    An unfamiliar rarity... surprised Vyacheslav. hi
    The complexity of the design implies failures due to contamination of moving parts.
    For an amateur, such a gun will fit.
    1. kalibr
      9 March 2022 05: 44
      +4
      But what a show-off for pontophiles: got it and EVERYONE respects it. And if he managed to shoot, they are doubly respected.
      1. Lech from Android.
        Lech from Android. 9 March 2022 05: 59
        +4
        I wouldn't risk firing from it.
        I've seen enough of these weirdos ... with broken fingers, collarbones, bumps on their foreheads ... no, thank you. smile
        1. zyablik.olga
          zyablik.olga 9 March 2022 06: 34
          +8
          Quote: Lech from Android.
          I wouldn't risk firing from it.
          I've seen enough of these weirdos ... with broken fingers, collarbones, bumps on their foreheads ... no, thank you. smile

          Somehow we went shooting with friends, and one of the girls, looking at how our men were starving, also decided to shoot from the 12th "Saiga" with a folded butt, holding it like a pistol with one hand. Although she was dissuaded, she nevertheless did it. In general, she got off relatively lightly, with only a bump on her forehead.
          1. Catfish
            Catfish 9 March 2022 07: 22
            +9
            Olya, good morning (we have)))) love
            I've seen a couple of cases with ladies. smile


            In the photo, of course, there are pneumatics, but I myself saw how one man had a "monocle" ripening for several days from the consequences of meeting his eye with an optical sight, after his shot from the "Arch" under 308 Winchester. laughing
            1. Kote Pan Kokhanka
              Kote Pan Kokhanka 9 March 2022 18: 25
              +2
              With this grip, you can also “play” one-eyed Joe with pneumatics!
              1. Catfish
                Catfish 10 March 2022 14: 29
                +2
                "A woman, she is a woman, and she will always have her harmful effect." (S. Grandfather Shchukar)
  5. Alex 1970
    Alex 1970 9 March 2022 06: 54
    +2
    For filming in some action movie, it’s the most wink, in reality, the "wunder waffe" is difficult to apply. Although there was a demand for powerful pistols, the same "Mauser", but everything needs a measure.
  6. The comment was deleted.
  7. Evgen Medenko
    Evgen Medenko 9 March 2022 16: 31
    -2
    Therefore, Gabbet-Fairfax decided to use ... a type of automation that operates due to the long stroke of the barrel. But with such a device, feeding cartridges from the magazine located in the handle was difficult.

    Frommer's pistol looks at such difficulties with bewilderment...
    And ... the designer figured out how to get around this difficulty. He came up with a magazine covered with a lid on top, so that cartridges from it could not move up, as usual. They had to be inserted into this store with bullets forward.

    They could submit, they could not send. There, to be precise, not a cover, but a bend in the front wall. And with bullets forward, the cartridges are inserted into any store (except, perhaps, some exotic, like the R-90)
    Generally speaking, such a cuckoo clock was needed not because of the long stroke of the barrel as such, but in an attempt to compact too monstrous dimensions (by the way, you have erroneous dimensions in the performance characteristics: A. B. Zhuk gives 215/270 mm, most sites - 241 / 311. With a ratio of 230/379, it makes no sense to fence such a garden.)
    immediately after the shot, the barrel began to move backward, compressing two springs
    - three. The barrel has its own spring.
    Moving back, the barrel, coupled with the bolt, removed the cartridge from the magazine and pushed it back onto a special U-shaped feeder
    - No. At this point, the cartridge is already in the feeder. Actually, the barrel does not contact the cartridge in any way for the entire ramming cycle.
    Interestingly, the designer provided for a shutter delay when the trigger was pressed back after the shot.
    - it's really interesting why the designer did not connect it with the barrel coming into the extreme front. Apparently, to shake in the hands once again.
    took off, picked up the cartridge from the feeder, ... and locked the bore
    - just at that moment the feeder grabbed another cartridge in the store.
    behind the tide of the trigger guard, there was a magazine latch control button - a solution not typical for that time
    - for the year 1900? As far as I can remember, at that time there were Borchard arr. 1893 Browning, Colt and Luger arr. 1900. Quite characteristic - 50/50.
    And I must completely agree with the conclusion - the gun seemed to be specially made to illustrate Mayer's law ...
  8. acetophenone
    acetophenone 9 March 2022 19: 53
    +1
    Looks like a large caliber artillery piece. Some kind of tank. Or sea.
  9. Castro Ruiz
    Castro Ruiz 10 March 2022 14: 46
    +1
    What is the probyvaynost etogo gan cal. .45 from extremely close range ? Will it break through three Zulukafras?