Jump to content

Remembered Today:

Great War Rifles


Recommended Posts

    There are a great many post here on GWF on Bayonets, but the rifle post seem to be far less common, I would like to start a post on these rifles. I do have a few British, mostly older Like CLLE , L.E.1 and such, 2 fair /average “ Smellys”, I hope to get home for better photo’s on the British side.But there were MANY countries and different rifles used, I would like to show some of the lesser seen rifles from my collection. A few photo’s mad be a wee off here in there, due to lighting. 

If you agent’s like this post, say once a week like my Bayonet post, I should have enough for a few month’s at least. 
I think it would be best to add more photo’s, on each rifle than a bayonet, since there is a lot more parts to show.  


My first here should interest some of you out there, as a lot has been posted on their bayonets. 
The Greek Y1903

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rifle #1‘


Greek Y1903


There is a lot of history on the Greek , from the heroic fighting in the beginning, to simply being overwhelmed and having to retreat towards France I believe, leaving a lot of their equipment behind.The Greeks still had their own short rifle. Both The Mauser Brothers  and mannlicher beat out about 7 or 8 other competitors and the Y1903 being kind of a hybrid of both, more mannlicher. The rifle is in 6.5 mm with a Very Long bullet sticking out, like none other I have seen


I shot this rifle with original Greek ammo, may have been from age of ammo , not sure, but out of 50-60 rounds I shot, maybe 1/5 to 1/4 of the shots, the bullets tumbled down to target? Was strange. The targets, several full length ( sideways) holes were scattered about. The gun checked out, no bullets were loose and the bore is very good, well above average for a surplus rifle


As for the rifle, it is matching, has a rotary magazine that pop’s out pretty quick. Made by Steyr 1907.  Has a nice George/Dragon

On left side can Faintly be seen a Large stock Cartouche. I do not know if simply worn mostly away or may have been lightly sanded decades ago. Overall, a nice clean rifle, I just have been too confused on which “T” back goes with it, have a few , what other members say are Turkish  made T back bayonets for it

Sorry guys, try several times now, but photos loading upside down, trying here




















Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice rifle, when i remember correctly from Heino H. book Your rifle started life as a M1903 but were postwar reworked to a M1903/14 configuration, as the upper handguard extend to a front part of buttstock, the bolt is mostly italian as fivepoint star, done by refurbishments 1927/30 period. These rifles to found is hard, with M1903 there would be a short M1903 bayonet, with this rifle would be correct a long blade M03/14 probably from italian production. The system of rotary magazin is Schoenauer so the rifle calls correctly Mannlicher Schoenauer system was firstly presented 1900.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK -- I'll bite -- but odd choice of rifle for a "Great War Rifles" thread because while of the period the involvement of this type is marginal - no?

Mine is in more battered condition and shows a mix of the later upgrade/modifications - however, for comparison:






Note: different shape of grasping groove on forestock.







Edited by 4thGordons
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, AndyBsk said:

M1903 bayonet, with this rifle would be correct a long blade M03/14 probably from italian production.


That is what I chose to pair with mine - a bit of a battered example but:






Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank’s  4G, how about pic’s with bayonet mounted!🙂

Yours is the final mod, upgrade of 1930 I believe


On my choice, I trying show the lesser used, shown as well as the common for a better variety. The Y1903 was a “Must Have” to start from the large number of post and number of pages for the Greek Bayonets for this  rifle. 
Besides the Y1903, several other rifles were barely used, but still there.  The CLLE was used in larger numbers that I knew, yet also in France, there is an upgraded Gras for 1914, for reserves? The Mauser 71/84 never saw combat in Great War,but a few were in inventory with naval artillery units ( most likely training units, had not bothered to get rid of) 

Serbia, by that book on their rifles, not only used their M1899 Mauser, but even ordered men, ( 3 tier system of reserves) too old to draft, into 3 age categories, all way up to 60 year old I think. They brought out their original M1880,  2 conversions ( 7mm) and a few original rifles for the oldest men . I never seen an 1880 Serb in real life


Collecting is like a Treasure Hunt, never know what you may find, learn

Edited by Steve1871
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just did some checking,Andy, we both agree mine was/ is original Y1903. You think a post war upgrade to 1914? That makes no sense.  
Just look on line, a lot of photos of the 1914 upgrade. All are marked Y:1903/14

mine is not marked for upgrade. Also, all the Y:1903/14 have the shield/crest only, above, where mine simply say Y:1903 with a large crown over shield. As for the Italian star ( if that what it is for) . Weather as part of surplus, war surplus or other, Belgium, Turkey, I sure Italy and few other countries handled surplus arms for several reasons. Often, an inspection mark simply means it pass inspection, not denoting a upgrade, my rifle here is matching and the bolt is original



Link to comment
Share on other sites

offcoarse Yours is a M03 made by Steyr 1907 but reworked to M03/14 the differences are in upper handguard as by M03 it ends behind the lower ring and didnt extend to upper ring. Your bolt is certainly Breda marked note the different fonts in numbers. Is no problem with similar M03 were restored by italians to M03/14 configuration. The bolt and buttstock are force matched note the different stamps, and on bolt handle was probably removed intime the St.George stamp. the 28 could be date for refurbishment in italy 1928?

The Steyr M03 rifles were mostly serialed with letter suffix as Yours,  the second rifle is probably a M03/14/27 made by italians for greeks as preffix letter there? there is untypical middle ring same as missing the short upper handguard. Offcoarse the front sight guard is probably done in Greece post 1930.

Origin M1903 are probably extremely scarce as majority were reworked to M03/14 configuration.


"The Mannlicher–Schönauer rifle was the main small arm for the Greek military for some of the most active years of its modern history. Greece was almost continuously in state of war between the years 1904–1922 and 1940–1948. The version history of this rifle is rather confusing. It appears that the Greeks issued four main contracts. The original Steyr-made Y1903 ("Y" stands for model in Greek), started being supplied in 1906–07 to a total of about 130,000 long rifles and carbines. This was the main weapon during the victorious Balkan Wars of 1912–13.

The Greeks seemed satisfied with the rifle's performance and their armoury was increased with a new batch of 50,000 rifles from Steyr in 1914, with the model Y1903/14, presenting minor improvements, most obviously the addition of a full handguard. These rifles were used for the first time in World War I. When the war broke out, the Austrians stopped the delivery of the rifles, as Greece chose to be neutral for the first three years.

 Starting in 1927, Greece received about 105,000 "Breda" marked Y1903/14/27 rifles. "

Edited by AndyBsk
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If your conversion/ upgrade, why was it not marked  Y:1903/14??   All would have do is add. A. /14 to it.   On butt stock stamp, it was fairly common to have larger stamps on the butt. Have seen with U.S., Russian, Hungarian, think Romanian, and most likely others. .


This still was a Great War rifle, I proud to have in my humble collection 


could there be a compromise in our opinions, 

Since I have seen marked ( pics above) Y:1903/14.  And seen  Y:1903/14/30

these upgrades must have been more than adding a simple hand guard to go through a factory to upgrade. I would think it must have been stamped  with the extra. /14, so could mine have been looked at, simple hand guard and not rest of upgrade so no /14 stamp??Seems very odd

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Steve1871 said:

Thank’s  4G, how about pic’s with bayonet mounted!🙂


As requested:




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is normally there exist variations of marking,as mentioned the new serials on buttstock and italian Breda proofed bolt speaks clear it was refurbished postwar.there are period photos how looked the M03 and how the M03/14,even in Heino Hintermeier book.Your rifle is nice,it was refurbished postwar to M03/14 configuration.Majority of unreworked rifle were observed in Bulgaria as captured from greeks already in Balkan wars 1912/3.second difference to M03 is the stacking hook on upper ring which is probably only on M03/14 rifles.the serials on buttstocks are larger and higher positioned over buttplate as here,but You should ask on Gunboards as there are experts on area or look into greek book presented here by Demitrios.

Edited by AndyBsk
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do not know what happened to Demitrios, he was in a Bad (Car?) accident maybe half a year ago, last post was almost 3 months ago. I hope he is still with us


I thought the original Y:1903 had this large stacking hook, I not sure now, if my front piece, end cap,stacking combo is same or different than the  /14 upgrade. Whatever book you are using there. Does it list 

WHAT items of change were the   1903. To the 1903/14?? That would help out a lot here 

Thank’s for the extra pic there 4G, 

Always look more impressive, aggressive with the bayonets on them. Nice pic!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Andy, you reference this guy a lot, been looking, Is this the book? I do not know German, and no know how to order either


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes on page of 32 are mentioned the differences between M03 and M03/14, there is longer upper handguard, stacking rod, and different shape of rings by M03/14 rifle, as this change were ordered by greeks so this configuration was preffered postwar.

The 4G buttstock is probably a early M03, with slots in finger rille for easier removing of upper short handguard, the metall is most real italian as it has prefix letter so mixed in time, by greeks is this normal as used long period, and various changes was realised, i assume they repaired more as one time the rifles, possible all short bayonets were replaced postwar with long and refurbishment M1874/03 on early M03 rifles, dont forget that were made about 110000 M03 rifles minimum. Even many lost in early balkan wars.


Edited by AndyBsk
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe when You look to bayonet Y1903 section there is enough material to study,

i assume there exist various modells 

M03 long rifle and carbine , Steyr dates 1906/7/8, 11/12

M03/14 long rifle Steyr 1914 dated

M03/14 rifles ,carbines from Italy Breda 1927 marked

M03/14 rifles and carbines from Steyr 1930

but many refurbishment with various mixed parts, in various periods.

So Your metall  receiver and barell is certainly M03 made in Steyr 1907 as in video is a D range (1906) Your is E range should be made early 1907, but the bolt is from Breda also 1927-30 period, or minimum refurbished there and force matched there to old number, the buttstock is for M03/14 configuration rifle and was force matched same to this number, as only light visible large stamp on buttstock there should be old serial there but was sanded a long time ago. Hard to say is period or done post WW2 the refurbishments.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Check out the C&Rsenal page on YOUTUBE 


It covers every, and I  mean every type of rifle used by every country in World War I 



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey damn, what book is that you talk of??

If you talking Heino’s book, no find a copy and in German? Only, no can read it

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes i confirmed the link that You presented, so Heino Hintermeier "In der Stunde der Not" and this is still avialable on net, unfortunally only in german. But there is already all printed here in threads what is there, there is focused mainly on M03/14 required for austrian army in middle of 1914.


other source here in Forum-  thread about greek WW1 bayonets - Y1903 where You answered, same as Gunboard forum - Militaria Mannlichers rifles sections

Edited by AndyBsk
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Try buy many times tonight, buying goes through Amazon.de


I have 2 addresses in the U.S., Amazon.de say not deliverable to either address. Amazon.de does not ship to U.S. anymore???

Anybody know?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As some of you tend to think for a post on rifles, it should simply be No. I Mk3. And  Gew.98 for the most part. I do have a few British and 3 or 4 German.  BUT I am trying to show some more seldom seen or thought of rifles.  Some like the Mauser 71/84 were still in use, as in Naval Artillery (training or guard?) units, and colonial troops ( Native troops in beginning).  Among others

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rifle #2

5/28/21  Friday


Serbian M1899 Short Rifle


light grey patina, these saw a lot of use and are seldom seen today.  Sling was with the rifle, do not know if correct type. 
I have the correct bayonet somewhere. It has a double edged blade


I do not understand why, with large pics- full length rifle,  both staples the Greek and this one, these pics keep loading upside down only????? I even rotate pics on my phone upside down to see if fix, still load upside down only. Trying here 


If photos look out focus/pixelated, simply enlarge them and will get in focus. 














Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry for duplicate pic

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice rifle ,what for caliber is it? When 7 .92x57JS

Looks like a refurbishment to M.24 standarts and lenght,so there C suffix for Serbia,the origin M99 bayonet wouldnt work here as here should be used normal M24 bayonet probably note Mauser rail under barell.the crest on receiver is Kingdom of Jugoslavia.

Edited by AndyBsk
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jugoslavia itself did not have a model 1899, only Serbia did, only other “ model 1899 “ rifle ever produced was Japanese “Type” 99

I always see this “C” after the model date. There was the 1899 long Rifle made by D.W.M, since Mauser was at capacity with the Turkish contract rifles. This is the more common short rifle

The Kingdom of Serbia, small as it was/is, used this Crest, I found, in photos, 3 variations of it, variation of crown, , 2 variations of The folds of the pennants bordering the sides.  Yugoslavia did not have a model 1899, but after the Great War, Yugoslavia , as you well know became a large maker of new “ Mauser type” rifles/Carbines, and also of upgrading surplus rifles for lesser countries, such as Serbia

Yougodlavia used a few different crest , I believe, including this one Serbia used. I always thought, and many others too, that the (C) after date on the Serbian 1899 was for Serbia. On the 1924 (Yogo.) crest, there is no (C) stamped there 


On Forgotten Weapons channel and 

Small Arms of WW1 Primer #94, where they Show you as they describe the gun, as well as WIKI, and Milsurp, Reddit Photo archives.


According to these, The original Serbian 1899

was the final variant of the Spanish type 1893, with several improvements, chambered in the same 7X57,  several minor improvements were internal, the biggest visual was the large Thumb cut to receiver wall to help load the stripper clips, had the old style ladder sight and fairly high stock comb as a long rifle. 

Serbia had the 1899,  improvements with the 1899/07,  Changing rear sight I believe. A short lived 1908, another improvement, then the M1910


I am certain this is a Serbian M1899 as the Crest shows. I simply am not sure what variant this one is, differing from the 1899 long rifle, and the 1908 carbine, but still Serbian. I as most people believe all of these variants saw service in Great War, and soldiered on post war as well. It is an interesting rifle nonetheless . Hope you enjoy if you can





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...