Essay Rough Draft

Michael Richardson

Williams, 2nd hour

Mauser through the ages: Superiority at its finest

Mauser Waffen co. has for years manufactured and distributed state of the art rifles that have not only seen their glory on the battlefields of the world, but also in the homes of countless big game hunters and collectors around the globe while maintaining innovative expansion, improvement, and setting the bar for the standard along the way. Peter-Paul and Wilhelm Mauser were born to a gunsmith family in Oberndorf am Neckar, Germany. The boys were raised by their father, who worked in the local military fort. The brothers soon learned the tools of the trade, and set out to work in Remington Company, then moved back to Germany and joined the army, repairing artillery pieces and rifles for the Prussian army.

When Paul Mauser finally passed away, he had left behind a legacy of innovation that would reverberate around the world. His next of kin had his work set out for him; however with the arms race to WW1, Mauser had expanded its industry all the way to Turkey, where they made their first major contract. Mauser was so good, that the allies stole some designs and developed their own Mauser type rifles.

Mauser was indeed State of the art; however they did not get there in one night. It took decades of trial and error to get the legendary M98. The Gewehr model 1871 was the first step in progress. It offered the reliability of bolt action rifles in a large bore caliber, the 11.5x60mm. The Prussian military tried it out, and though it jammed continuously and was not very accurate, the army still fought as they had with muskets, so it was an opportune weapon. As Military warfare changed, the G71 outlived its purpose, so the Mauser brothers revealed their Gewehr 1891. It was chambered in a new caliber, the 8mm Mauser, which provided power, accuracy, and a larger magazine capacity. The bolt design tended to stick, and though the Prussians accepted a few into their service, the company had to either redesign or go out of business. In a span of only five years, they came out with the G96, the older brother of the G98. The military saw the advantage of the new rifle, and accepted it, however Mauser took it a step further, and in two years, Mauser made it into the history books.

The Gewehr 98 was offered in two variations, one with a turned down bolt handle, and the other with a straight bolt. The reloading and cocking was done simply by lifting the bolt, jerking it back to expel the spent shell, pushing it forward to cock it, and turning the bolt back down to lock in a new round in the chamber. As the news spread, every country with any sense wanted to get their hands on a Mauser. The company experimented with telescopic sights, and was impressed when Zeiss offered a specially designed scope. The Mauser was in fact the first successful sniper system, and was employed to roughly one out of every ten soldiers. To this day, Mauser offers sporting rifles with the M98 system, which is the most common bolt action rifle in the world.

The Ottoman Empire was a strong ally of the German Empire, and fittingly enough, they hired German military companies to train their own troops. France had long been training their enemies, and as soon as their armies began to have a spike in defeat, they knew they needed to find a superior force to the French. The new German trainers were armed with Mauser M98's. Thus the Turks saw with awe and admiration the effects of the legendary Mauser. By the beginning of the 20th century, Turkey had ordered 30,000 Mauser rifles and 10,000 Mauser sights for their Mosin Nagant's.

The Czech area of Czechoslovakia was at one time a part of the German Empire up until its fall, and afterwards still had German born citizens living in an area called the Sudetenland. Though they recognized themselves as an independent nation, they couldn't pass up the opportunity to outfit their army with only the best. The government ordered a design for specially made Mauser carbine rifles, which were the earlier versions of the Kar98. The Vz-24 was made under license in Czech plants in 1924, hence the name.

Spain was a close ally of Germany's until after WW2. As the Spanish continued their own internal struggles, the need arose for a good rifle. They purchased an array of different rifles, some Krag's, Lebel's, Enfield's, and even a few American Springfield's. But none surpassed the Mauser in her 8mm caliber. The Spanish placed an order for several simpler versions of the M98, and acquired them in 1916. Aside from the previous contracts, Mauser expanded their industry to most of Europe. Austria Hungary, Sweden, and a few others purchased Mauser's in varying calibers and models as well. In the later years of the friendship with Spain, Germany found themselves in need of another testing ground for their new Karabiner 98 and other German military weapons of all sorts.

Adolf Hitler took this opportunity to send in the old Gewehr 98's as well as plenty of new Kar98's to the Spanish Fascists, who were threatening to overthrow the Spanish Republic. As soon as Germany pledged their support to Fascism, the Republic was obviously devastated, and though the Allies helped out the Republic, they were no match for the Mauser and the Stuka dive bomber. While things went down in Europe, Mauser was in the midst of a contract with the Belgian company FN. The company was interested in purchasing a design for a Kar98 prototype in .30-06 to distribute to Argentina, Brazil, and Peru. FN also tried to persuade Belgium to accept Mauser; however their ties with France prevented the switch from the Lebel.

The Karabiner 98 kurz is possibly the most famous and infamous rifle in history due to its association with Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler. As soon as the Weimar Republic was stabilized, they took time to review their failures as the German Empire, and it was decided that the Gewehr 98 was too bulky and long. The poor maneuverability in the trenches was evidence enough of that. The new era of fighting required a shorter, lighter rifle. As it's father, the kar98 was loaded with five round stripper clips of 8mm Mauser. It was the most powerful rifle employed in the war, and was a turning point for bolt action technology. It was also the first sniper rifle to employ the long eye relief scope, also called a scout rifle.

By the end of the Second World War, Mauser was brought to her knees. The Allied bombing raids had caused a crippling blow and halted production. The Japanese soon lost as well, and with China resuming their civil war, the Nationalists were left with no support, the Soviet Union choosing to back the communists. Mauser, though unable to actually produce the rifles, showed their devotion to the art, and sent in simplified Kar98 designs to be produced in China. The rifle was rightly deemed the Chang Kai Shek rifle, though it was also common among Zedong's army as well. This was the last major military use of the Mauser.

Mauser has instead turned their business to sporter rifles for hunting. As with the old military company, they are offered in all standard issue calibers such as 8mm, .30-06, .308, and many others. The most common rifle sold uses the 98 system, which will endure for years to come. Seeing as the rifles are handmade, they retain the quality that factory made rifles lose, and the company offers them in a custom caliber for a little extra charge. The receiver is carved form a single block of steel, and oiled to perfection by a certified gunsmith. Hunters in North America use them mainly for deer, elk, moose, and even grizzly bear hunting.

Seeing as the whole purpose of the Mauser rifle, as all the other military battle rifles, was to have the power and accuracy to take down human targets with as little difficulty as possible, it was also used to hunt large game, especially in Africa. South Africa had many German citizens, and thusly many Mauser sporters and military models were introduced to the continent. Antelope, large cats, and even elephants have been taken down by the 8mm. at the advent of WW1; Mauser designed a special bolt action anti tank rifle which also saw use as an effective elephant gun due to using the massive 13.2mm shell.

The company's main income is from the M98 or the M98 magnum, however to appeal to other buyers, they introduced the M03, which offers a hand cocking system on the end of the bolt. This came about from the complaint of a scope getting in the way and making it difficult to load, so the company produced an under loading box magazine to offer a quick reload. The company still competes with Winchester, Mannlicher, and Remington.

Going back to WW1, the English and Americans were all but uninterested in the new Mauser system. Five years after the M98 was invented, Springfield Company found a loophole in the Mauser patent by chambering their new rifle in the .30-06 cartridge, an almost identical one to the Russian 7.62x54mm. They called the rifle the Springfield M1903, and it was issued as America's standard infantry weapon to replace the out dated Krag. The rifle was used from WW1 up until the end of the Vietnam War, going under several variations along the way.

Britain was observing as well, and was a bit reluctant at first to even try and work on a new rifle, believing the Enfield was better. Rather than admit that the Germans had designed a superior rifle, they secretly submitted an order to Remington Company in America via an Enfield contract, seeing as the Americans had successfully duplicated the system. This new rifle would be issued as a secondary weapon for the home guard. The pattern 14 rifle was produced in large quantities and shipped throughout the British Empire under the Enfield name in the standard British .303 caliber. This also brought America closer to Britain, and provided them with good trade standing because of the Remington and Springfield factories.

As soon as Remington and Springfield shipped the rifles to Britain, they soon found themselves involved in the war as well. Springfield, which had only produced a limited quantity of rifles, didn't have the resources to continue such a large order. In 1917, Remington took the Enfield P14 design and converted the caliber to the .30-06. Though the M1903 remained the standard much the same as the SMLE in England, the M1917 played a crucial role in the American victory, and was seen in the hands of the battalion of Americans who fended off the Germans while trapped in the black forest.

Mauser continues to produce the rifles as they have for decades, and no matter what is thrown in their direction, they manage to move past it with flying colors while maintaining their elegance, superiority, and genuine style that is known worldwide. If not only in design, Mauser is certainly rich in their history, and will hopefully continue to grow and flourish for the years to come.