Rifles of Algerian War 1954-62


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BlackHand1917
June 28, 2009, 03:44 PM
I have been very curious of late what kind of small arms were used by the Algerian side in the Algerian War of Independence of 1954-1962. It was an intense little war and I don't recall what kinds of rifles, machine-guns and pistols were used by the Algerian side. I used to have a Czech neighbor a couple of years ago who was in the Legion and fought and was wounded in the conflict but I moved and never saw the kindly old gent again so I can't ask him now.

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Vern Humphrey
June 28, 2009, 04:12 PM
The French used a variety of arms, including rifles and submachine guns manufactured in France. But their mainstay was the M1 Garand rifle and the M1 Carbine, obtained from the US.

The insurrectionists used similar arms (obtained from the French) and some supplied by the Soviet Bloc.

Shung
June 28, 2009, 04:23 PM
I've also seen some k98 and Stgw44 in the hand of the rebels.

Vern Humphrey
June 28, 2009, 04:33 PM
Yep -- a lot of Nazi equipment wound up in some strange places. In the '48 Arab-Israeli war, the Israeli mainstay aircraft was the Messerschmitt.

Shung
June 28, 2009, 04:55 PM
Yep, 109G's from hungary if i am not mistaking

BlackHand1917
June 28, 2009, 07:59 PM
Did a little research on the web. There is darned little web content about the Algerian Revolution, but I came up with the names of a few weapons used by the revolutionaries:

MG-34
FM 24/29 (that French light MG that looks like a Bren)
Beretta MP-38
MP-40

The German arms were from Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia

strangelittleman
June 28, 2009, 08:27 PM
Yes the Alegerians also used alot of U.S.( left over from WW2) & French (captured) weapons such as; M1 Garand, M1 Carbine, Thompson 1928, MAT 49 SMG, MAS 36 & 36/51 bolt actions, MAS 49 & 49/56 7.5x54mm semi-auto rifle, as well as, numerous German, Spanish and Italian rifles.
The Beretta 1938 & 38/42 SMG was also very popular, as was LMGs & rifles from Czechoslovakia and the Sten.
Pistols....Stars, Walthers, MAS 35, MAB D, S&W M&P revolvers, BHP.. you name it, they probably had it!...Both sides!

Deanimator
June 28, 2009, 08:31 PM
In the '48 Arab-Israeli war, the Israeli mainstay aircraft was the Messerschmitt.
Not quite.

They purchased a number of Avia DEVELOPMENTS of the Bf109, built by Avia in Czechoslovakia. Unfortunately, they used (if I remember correctly) the Jumo engine and a fat, paddle bladed propellor that gave the aircraft vicious torque. I think these were the B99 and B199. They were lousy fighters.

BlackHand1917
June 29, 2009, 12:18 AM
What's also amazing was that some French native and rear elecelon troops were still carrying Lebels! Odd since the French started to phase out the Lebel in the middle of WWI. Took em' long enough!

Ohio Gun Guy
June 29, 2009, 10:05 PM
.......................holding back the French rifle jokes......



fighting it







still fighting it.......









Oh-man.........;););)

I have been watching the series on WW1 and I think the French did what the other Armies should have done. THey refused to keep running en mass at machine guns, over and over. The managed to change the French General and the tactics changed....but I sill find the humor in the jokes, even though they are not true.....

Dr.Rob
June 30, 2009, 01:24 PM
Shotgun News did a series on gun of the French Foreign Legion. With a pic of Legionaires in Algeria carrying Kar 98k's, SMLE no 4 mk 1, M1 carbine and a US 1919 LMG. Talk about a heck of a supply problem to get ammo for all that. (Granted the pic didn't state if they were hauling captured weapons.)

Vern Humphrey
June 30, 2009, 01:45 PM
I think the French did what the other Armies should have done. THey refused to keep running en mass at machine guns, over and over. The managed to change the French General and the tactics changed....but I sill find the humor in the jokes, even though they are not true.....
Actually, they didn't cause a change in tactics. They muntinied and refused to attack. Now, that played right into the German's hands -- the German strategy after the Schilefen plan failed was to defend in the west and hammer the Russians in the east. The Russians, for their part, were screaming for the Western Allies to take the pressure off them -- which is why so many attacks were made in the west. With the French muntiny, the Russians saw the Western Allies were not up to the task and capitulated. This freed German forces to come east and crush the Western Allies.

The fly in the German's ointment was the United States. US troops were arriving in great numbers, and the Germans had only a narrow window to make their increased troop strength felt. The Germans had also adopted new tactics -- the so-called Huiter Tactics -- which emphasized small unit initiative, by-passing strong points, and penetrading deeply instead of mass shoulder-to-shoulder attacks.

The Germans broke the French, and American troops were hastily thrown into the gap. It was the Americans who won the Second Battle of the Marne. As the Americans marched up, they were met by streams of demoralized French who called out "La guerre est finit." ("The war is over.")

The Americans replied "'pa finit." ("not over.")

After the battle, an American sector was created and the American sector was called the 'pa Finit Sector.

barman
June 30, 2009, 04:13 PM
The Germans broke the French, and American troops were hastily thrown into the gap. It was the Americans who won the Second Battle of the Marne. As the Americans marched up, they were met by streams of demoralized French who called out "La guerre est finit." ("The war is over.")


And the French are supposed to be arrogant... whatever! Is it just you or that rumor that Americans claim to have won both WW1 and WW2 all by themselves is true?

You forgot that during the counter-offensive at the second battle of the Marne, there were 24 French divisions for 8 US divisions. Mangin and Berthelot were entirely succesful by their own means.

I'm not denigrating the help of our American friends. They came at a decisive moment and provided the extra push necessary for the allies to win over the Germans.

But, PLEASE, give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.

France was the country among the Allies that fought the most during that war. More than Brits, more than Americans.

barman
June 30, 2009, 04:24 PM
Anyway,

Back to the topic, rifles of the Algerian war.

My Uncle was a draftee during the Algerian "events", it wasn't officialy called a war until a decade later.

He was issued a MAS-36. He told me the Fellagahs would use whatever they could get their hands on. That included French, German and US equipment. Sometimes they would catch some rebels with real obsolete guns like Gras rifles (single shot).

Vern Humphrey
June 30, 2009, 04:24 PM
And the French are supposed to be arrogant...
You don't like the fact that we stopped the Gemans just short of Paris in the Second Battle of the Marne? Take it up with Cleo, the Muse of History.
whatever! Is it just you or that rumor that Americans claim to have won both WW1 and WW2 all by themselves is true?
And you call us arrogant?

barman
June 30, 2009, 04:33 PM
we stopped the Gemans just short of Paris

Once again, you didn't do it all by yourselves; please read my previous post one more time.

Vern Humphrey
June 30, 2009, 04:57 PM
Once again, you didn't do it all by yourselves; please read my previous post one more time.
The Second Battle of the Marne was won by the US. Beginning on the 27th of May, 1918, the Germans drove Duchene's Sixth French Army back more than 60 miles, making a salient more than 50 miles wide. It was men from the retreating Sixth French Army who called out "La Guerre est finit" to the advancing Americans.

A total of five US Infantry Divisions were committed to block the gap left by the retreating French. The US 3rd Infantry Division stopped the German advance at Chateau Thierry and the 2nd US Infantry Division launched counterattacks into Vaux, Bourches and Belleau Wood. This action saved Paris and broke the back of the German advance.

The American victory also had a major inpact on French morale, which improved markedly as a result.

As John Keegan, the Dean of British Military Historians wrote in The First World War,

The French had five of the enormous American divisions, 28,000 strong, in their order of battle, and these fresh troops fought with a disregard for casualties scarcely seen on the Western Front since the beginning of the war. On the night of July 18/19 the German vanguard which had crossed the Marne three days earlier fell back across the river and the retreat continued in the days that followed. The fifth German offensive and the battle the French called the Second Battle of the Marne was over and could not be revived.

See also Brigadier Vincent J. Esposito's West Point Atlas of American Wars, Volume II for detailed maps of the battle.

Palo
June 30, 2009, 04:58 PM
As an aside, during ODS I was attached to the 2nd REI (French Foreign Legion) as a liaison and most of the enlisted & NCO's were Dutch, Swedish, German, Norwegians, Swiss and a couple of Englishmen. All the officers were French. Troops overall were very competent (even the officers).

Vern Humphrey
June 30, 2009, 05:14 PM
One point you might make is that the officers in question were not actually members of the Legion. Just as the US Marines have no medical personnel or chaplains, and Navy personnel are seconded to the Marines for those duties, so the Legion has no officers. The officers are seconded from the regular French Army.

barman
June 30, 2009, 08:52 PM
The Second Battle of the Marne was won by the US.

So, according to you, neither Mangin's 10th Army nor Degoutte's 6th Army played an important role in the victory at the second battle of the Marne? Despite the fact they advanced 5 miles on the first day of the counter-offensive that was launched on July 18?

Sorry, but the 2nd battle of the Marne was a Franco-American victory. NOT only an American one. Both the US and France managed to be decisive and efficient at the right moment.

barman
June 30, 2009, 08:55 PM
One point you might make is that the officers in question were not actually members of the Legion. Just as the US Marines have no medical personnel or chaplains, and Navy personnel are seconded to the Marines for those duties, so the Legion has no officers. The officers are seconded from the regular French Army.

You're mostly right but you don't take into account legionnaires who get the French nationality after their 5 years contract. After that they're able to become officers of the Legion.

Vern Humphrey
June 30, 2009, 09:05 PM
So, according to you, neither Mangin's 10th Army nor Degoutte's 6th Army played an important role in the victory at the second battle of the Marne?
You love to set up strawmen, don't you?

The German attack, which began on the 27th of May, was stopped by the Americans. It took six weeks for the Fench to rally and be in shape to attack with the Americans -- a breathing space bought for them by American blood.

barman
June 30, 2009, 09:18 PM
You love to set up strawmen, don't you?

The German attack, which began on the 27th of May, was stopped by the Americans. It took six weeks for the Fench to rally and be in shape to attack with the Americans -- a breathing space bought for them by American blood.

I'm not setting up strawmen, I'm commenting on your statement that "the 2nd battle of the Marne was won by the US".

So, yes, the US stopped the German advance at Chateau Tierry and Bellau woods. Does that represent the whole battle of the Marne? I don't think so. Plus, the French launched a major counter offensive on July 18th, which included Degoutte's 6th Army.
a breathing space bought for them by American blood

France had 95000 casualties in that battle when the US suffered 12000.

So thank you for helping us, we needed your help, you were awesome, but stop pretending you were the only ones worth mentionning. That's just too absurd.

Vern Humphrey
July 1, 2009, 09:44 AM
I'm not setting up strawmen, I'm commenting on your statement that "the 2nd battle of the Marne was won by the US".
So don't try that, "Do you mean to say such-and-such" strawman.

The Second Battle of the Marne was won by the Americans.

kjeff50cal
July 1, 2009, 11:46 AM
Tweeeet! I see thread drift, Not High Road Procedure, not to mention a third battle of the Marne.

Officers'Wife
July 1, 2009, 12:03 PM
The 1st World War was a horrible meat grinder for all nationalities. In the end there were no victors, only a treaty of peace that was resented so much it's terms were broken a decade later. In the end, it matters not whether French or American won the Marne. All that matters is the offensive was stopped.

Ohio Gun Guy
July 1, 2009, 10:26 PM
Actually, It may have been the Germans who stopped the Germans......:uhoh:

I had 1 Great Grandfather and 1 Great Great Uncle in WW1 and they were both German immigrants (Within a few generations). One side of the family still spoke German at home. My Original point was only meant to say that when I read & watch history shows about WW1; I am amazed at the casualty rates. I think to myself, could you / would you do that? And I dont think the mutiny of the French was out of Cowardice, but out of common sense. How many thousands of men needed to die in a heap infront of a German Maxim machine gun to figure out, the stradegy wasnt working? Now I think the French Army had its back broken, and the British and Americans kept the Germans at bay (As well as the Germans not capitalizing on the situation). However, they dug deep and got back in it. We (The U.S.) didnt win it on our own, but I do believe we were the difference.

barman
July 2, 2009, 11:15 AM
Back on the topic, here are two pictures of armed Fellaghas, I can identify a MAT-49 sub-machine gun in the middle of the first picture.


http://www.anac-fr.com/algerie/images/alg_531.jpg

http://www.lazharchraiti.org/LazharImages/lazhar03.jpg

DawgsFan_07
July 2, 2009, 11:28 AM
To some of the above posters debating the French vs. American performance in WW1:

Yes, I do believe the US made A difference that bought victory such as it was, in that war. However, you could say the same for the British Army, or some French units.

For those who would accuse the French nation of cowardice due to widespread mutinying, desertion, and low morale when we arrived, may I simply point out that the French Army had been fighting in some of the most terrible conditions for three years and taken horrible casualities.

The British, American, and German armies all suffered similar problems after several years of fighting in every extended war e.g. the US Civil War, WW2, Vietnam, etc etc.

For myself, I cannot disparage the courage of men who broke after years of trench warfare when I was not there and have yet to see combat myself.

The Annoyed Man
July 2, 2009, 12:10 PM
I can't speak to the weapons, but I and my family were directly affected by this war in several ways...

We were living in Paris, France in 1960, and the OAS blew up a bomb in an apartment building two doors down from the school I attended - during school hours. I can still remember the sound of the explosion. It blew a significant chunk out of the marble floor in the portico of the building, and I remember being fascinated by the small crater, which I walked past on my way home that day. I was 8 years old.

My mother, who is French, was born and raised in Algiers, Algeria. The hall of records where her birth and citizenship information was recorded was destroyed during fighting in the war, and her records were lost. When we left to return to the U.S. in 1961, we had to leave my mother behind. She couldn't reenter the U.S. because her visa could not be verified due to the loss of her birth records. It was one of the most wrenching experiences of my life to that point. My father, brothers and I came home by ship (the SS France's maiden voyage to New York Harbor), and my mother was able to fly home a couple of weeks later.

My maternal grandfather was a fairly prestigious professor of Anatomy and Physiology at a local medical school in Algiers. A library which bore his name was destroyed in the fighting. He never forgave them for it.

The movie, "Day of the Jackal," dramatizes an actual assassination plot against Charles DeGaule fomented by the OAS. Many years later, one of the actual conspirators bought a small gas station/auto repair shop in Pasadena, California, where I lived at the time.

Small world, isn't it?

Earthjade
July 3, 2009, 01:09 AM
My father was a paratrooper during that war.
He served under Colonel Bigeard's 3rd R.P.C from 1956 to 1960. Along with the Legion, the paras were the sharp edge of the French military efforts there. He took part in a few paradrops and dozens of helicopter insertions when A.L.N troops were spotted out in the bled.

As far as French weapons were concerned, his unit carried mainly two - the MAT-49 sub-machine gun and the MAS-49 rifle. Some other paras (like lieutenants) had the US Garand with the foldable stock, but these were not common. In the scrub fighting that took place often, my father said he preferred the MAT-49.

In terms of the A.L.N weapons, they used whatever they could get their hands on, which included captured French weapons. Also, there were a lot of shotguns and sporting rifles. Military rifles included German Kars from Czechslovakia and a few Lee-Enfields that Nasser gave to them after the UK pulled out of the Suez in 1956. In the first few months of his service, my father was wounded by four .45 bullets...he was shot with an American Thompson. Whether this was from an overseas arms deals or was part of a cache hidden away since WW2 (Operation Torch) he doesn't know. Not that much in the way of Soviet equipment, as the relationship between the F.L.N and the USSR was cool at best.

He also told me from time to time the A.L.N had MG-42s in the field. The sound of the MG-42 put a sense of dread into the paras...if you were hit by that, it's likely you would have been hit by 3-4 bullets and not just one. Not sure where the MG-42s were obtained from. They may have been from Tunisia (abandoned by the Germans in 1943) or they could have been from the eastern bloc. I know that some Eastern nations made knock offs of the MG-42 (usually with a slightly lower R.O.F).

lionking
July 3, 2009, 12:40 PM
you may find some here

http://images.google.com/images?q=algerian&q=source%3Alife&safe=active

Algeria
August 7, 2009, 04:14 PM
Hi everyone,

I am new to this but I am trying to help a friend at work. She is a French citizen and her father left for the Algerian conflict to never return. She has not met him yet and her mother already passed away. Any tips as to where to go find military records for those who served there? He was an officer during that time.

Best regards,

Luis

CornCod
August 8, 2009, 07:46 PM
Luis,

My first attempt would be the French Consulate in New York or the Consulate in the nearest big city where you live. They might be able to point you in the right direction.

French Consulate of NY
934 Fifth avenue
New York
USA
NY 10021

akodo
August 9, 2009, 08:56 PM
I know it was "Thread Drift" but Vern's history was wonderful.

Not to step on any toes let me say that there is critical and important.

If you are stringing 5 different 12 foot lengths of rope together to span a gap a little over 50 feet, and one rope breaks, you are screwed. If a guy comes by with a new, very strong 20 foot length of rope, he is critical in the success...but the other ropes are important too.

Same can be said of getting Diptheria to snowlocked Nome, Alaska along the Iditarod trail (and the well known race founded on this historical event, even if the race now overshadows history)

Of course, the serum was moved by train from Seattle to Fairbanks before the harrowing dogsled relay...and without that railway track the serum would never have arrived...yet still it is the dogsled relay that was critical to the juncture,

The fresh US troops with fire in their belly were the critical ingredient thrown into the conflict that changed it from a loss to a victory...but the fresh US troops in a vaccuum would no more have succeeded in winning that the dogsledders of the Iditarod would have succeeded had the medicine not been at Fairbank for them to sled off with.

cane
August 10, 2009, 09:01 AM
Just to clarify your statement about how the diptheria vaccine got to Nome.

Remembering the devastating effects of the influenza epidemic of 1918-1919, when diptheria was suspected in Nome during the winter of 1925 the community requested that serum to combat the disease be sent to them as quickly as possible. In response, serum was rushed to the people of Nome from Seattle. A ship carried the serum from Seattle to Seward, where it was carried by the Alaska Railroad to Nenana, then by dog teams to Nome. Twenty individuals transported the serum the 674 miles between Nenana and Nome in 127 1/2 hours.

strangelittleman
August 11, 2009, 09:21 PM
I know it was "Thread Drift" but Vern's history was wonderful.

Not to step on any toes let me say that there is critical and important.

If you are stringing 5 different 12 foot lengths of rope together to span a gap a little over 50 feet, and one rope breaks, you are screwed. If a guy comes by with a new, very strong 20 foot length of rope, he is critical in the success...but the other ropes are important too.

Same can be said of getting Diptheria to snowlocked Nome, Alaska along the Iditarod trail (and the well known race founded on this historical event, even if the race now overshadows history)

Of course, the serum was moved by train from Seattle to Fairbanks before the harrowing dogsled relay...and without that railway track the serum would never have arrived...yet still it is the dogsled relay that was critical to the juncture,

The fresh US troops with fire in their belly were the critical ingredient thrown into the conflict that changed it from a loss to a victory...but the fresh US troops in a vaccuum would no more have succeeded in winning that the dogsledders of the Iditarod would have succeeded had the medicine not been at Fairbank for them to sled off with.
Dude, what in the wide world of sports does this have to do with the Algerian War? Drop the needle & cooking spoon and step away from the keyboard.

RedLion
August 11, 2009, 10:58 PM
Wow, and I thought I was bad at thread drifting.....I just came here to look at some cool pictures, learn some cool facts, ect.

Seriously! The allies won WWI, really. If you want to decide who won it more or better... well you can settle that however you want, but it really doesn't have much to do with Algeria.

paintballdude902
August 11, 2009, 11:19 PM
from all i ahve read about the conflict it was pretty rag tag all around; by that i mean there were a number of command issues, supply was hard to main tain since ther was a large assortment of weapons in many many different calibers

to everyone who wants to talk trash about the french sure they got there tails handed to them on many occasions but many other countries did too like the brit even the great usa. my self im polish my grandfather walked out of poland in 1939 to meet up with the french troop served with them untill dunkirk where we joined a british unit (lucky him) got out on the very very last boat out he finished out the war with a pretty rag tag group made of french, polish, brits, and us troops. they marched from africa up italy and all around europe even did some time in the middle east at some point during the war cant really tell when all we have are some un dated letters to his uncle (General izydore modelski polish general from wwI to wwII until he defected from poland when the soviets took control)

we all like to say our country won the war but we didnt the us did win either one the allies did the war would ahve been lost if it wasnt for the us but if it was just he us we probably would ahve lost too since we were fighting 2 enemies on 2 halves of the earth

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