A Trip to the Bundeswehr’s Fantastic Defense Technology Museum in Koblenz, Part 1: Selfloading Rifles [GUEST POST]

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The history of modern small arms is in part so fascinating because of how many firearms have been developed even in obscure circumstances, and how many of those obscure small arms still exist in museums and private collections around the world. Even though I make learning about obscure modern small arms my hobby, I am continually surprised by the new and unique weapons I uncover both on the Internet and in real-life excursions to some of the aforementioned collections.

TFB reader Bronezhilet recently visited the Bundeswehr’s (German Army) Defense Technology Museum in Koblenz, Germany, and shared with TFB the photos he took of the small arms in the collection there. Over the course of a few installments, we’ll be taking a look at groups of these photos. For the moment, we won’t be taking an in-depth look, but I encourage our readers to check out these weapons for themselves!

Today, we’ll be taking a look at the selfloading rifles in the Koblenz collection, starting with the M1941 Johnson, which we’ve discussed before:

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Next up, we’ve got an M1E7 prototype, a T44E4 or M14 cutaway (the “T44E1” label is mistaken), and a fixed-stock BM-59:

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Then a Vickers Pedersen Carbine:

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The weird and wonderful Czech ZH-29:

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A rare American Stendenbach semiauto rifle, apparently modified for German trials with a Lange-Visier rear sight, and below that an early Vollmer SG-29, a predecessor to Vollmer’s early assault rifle projects:

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Hey look, a great Model 8!

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And the fabulous Roth-Krnka semiauto rifle! I really need to write an article on this one:

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A rare Swiss semiauto conversion of the 1911 straight-pull rifle:

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A fantastic, advanced for its time Meunier 1916 Carbine, and an RSC 1918 Carbine, both WWI French semiautos:

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More World War I semiautos, the German Fliegerselbstladergewehr, and the wild Farqhuar-Hill:

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Let’s throw in a Mondragon with a detachable magazine for good measure!

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That’s it for now, stay tuned for next time, when we continue our look at Koblenz’s excellent gun collection, and more rare semiautomatic rifles!



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • JustAHologram

    I expect the WWI gun market to be in an uptick at the moment

  • IshTheBuddha

    I would really love to have a Johnson rifle. There’s something about it that I really like.

  • Brandon Davis

    They also have a few original Stoners there in different configurations, at least back in the 90s. It was the first time I’d ever seen one in the wild.

  • guest

    Interesting to see that just as “way back when”, as today, countless manufacturers with countless designs were struggling to solve what is by and large ONE problem.

  • Spear Fish

    Went there last year. Great museum filled with all sorts of weaponry not just small arms. Has a large section with artillery, rockets, vehicles, planes, etc.