Mauser Gewehr 1898
Type: Infantry Rifle.
The initial Mauser rifle accepted for German military service was the Mauser Model 1888. This utilized a Mauser bolt-action which has continued to be almost unaltered even today, however with it a somewhat dated 8-mm (O.315-in) cartridge. Studies resulted in the usage of a fresh 7.92-mm (0.312-in) cartridge, along with an innovative rifle to fire it, became called the Gewehr 1898 or Gew 98 (Rifle Model 1898).
This all new rifle was likely to be one of the popular commonly used and effective weapons of its type, and it was produced in huge numbers. Numerous subsequently rifles could find their roots back to the Gewehr 1898.
It was the ‘classic’ Mauser rifle, fine and somewhat lengthy, however well-balanced and with everything outstandingly designed and in general very well manufactured. The phrase ‘in general’ is needed advisedly, finally World War One was into its stride the specifications of production needed to be relaxed and a few somewhat harsh examples had been distributed to the soldiers.
But the majority were really well-made with excellent quality wooden furniture that was emphasized by the use of a pistol-type grip behind the trigger to aid holding as well as aiming. The initial rear-sight was a really complicated affair with sliding ramps as well as other niceties that required knowledge for successful use, however some bigger types were less difficult.
The bolt-action retained the typical Mauser front-lug locking systems, with incorporating of an additional lug to make the amount up to 3 for additional safety using the new and much more potent cartridge. The bolt utilized a straight-pull motion which was and still is somewhat uncomfortable to use rapidly and easily, however in service created only a few issues. The integral box magazine hosted 5 rounds loaded from a charger clip.
While the Gewehr 1898 was produced mostly for the German military, it was also the first step for numerous rifle designs that distribute around the globe. Spain was an initial operator of the basic Mauser action and models manufactured there differed minimal from the Gewehr 1898.
The manufacturing of Mauser models from Germany and Spain were quickly encountered worldwide in armies as far aside as China and Costa Rica. The Mauser action gathered an enviable reputation for reliability, power and accuracy, and the quarrels rage to this day whether the Gewehr 1898 and its numerous family members were the best service rifles of time.
What is confident is that during the years 1914 to 1918 the Gewehr 1898 served the German army effectively. The front-line soldiers needed to look after them, in fact this extended no further than maintaining the bolt area covered with a cloth all the time when the rifle wasn’t being used.
Some types including sniper rifle showed up with distinctive sights, including several types of optical sight, and the rifle still has the claim to fame that it was one of the very first, if not the earliest, anti-tank weapon. This occurred by the chance discovery that the armor of the first British Tank Mk I could be penetrated by the simple expedient of reversing the bullets used in the Gewehr 1898 prior to be fired: the blunt end easily punched a hole through the armor ahead of the bullet could warp.
Specifications Mauser Gewehr Model 1898
|Gewehr Modell 1898||Specification|
|Calibre||7.92 mm (0.312 in)|
|Lenght||49.2 in (125 cm)|
|Barrel||29.1 in (74 cm)|
|Weight||9.26 lb (4.2 kg)|
|Feed system||5-round integral box|
|System of operation||Mauser turn-bolt|
|Muzzle velocity||2,100 ft/sec (640 m/s)|
References and literature
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War I (Chris Bishop)
An Illustrated History of the Weapons of World War One (Ian Westwell)
Illustriertes Lexikon der Waffen im 1. und 2. Weltkrieg (V. Dolinek, V. Francev, J. Sach)