A Trip to the Bundeswehr’s Fantastic Defense Technology Museum in Koblenz, Part 8: Weird & Wonderful [GUEST POST]

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!

We previously looked at some of the great selfloading rifles, submachine guns, assault rifles, and pistols at the Koblenz museum. Today, we will round out the tour with some of the oddities and other weapons at the museum that may not fit into the other categories, or are called “G11”. You’ll see why later. First, a Gyrojet! As seen in You Only Live Twice:


We often remember the Lebel as the first modern repeating rifle, but in fact there were several blackpowder predecessors, like the Jarman 1884 rifle in the top of this image. Below that is a very unique 1871 Mauser conversion by Werndl to a repeater with a magazine capacity of no less than 27 rounds!


Of course rapid-firing weapons were nothing new even then. Here’s a “salvo-rifle” from the 1850s, on the left, and an 1857 Prussian cavalry carbine on the right:


Don’t get whiplash, we’re zooming ahead – an XM29 OICW is on display at Koblenz, too, along with one of its 20mm grenade rounds (lower right). Whether this is a prototype or a firing weapon is not know to me, but if it is a mock-up it is less obvious than the example at HK’s Grey Room. To the left in the image is a tactical tuna, the F2000:


A Spanish siamese Alfa-55 machine gun with interesting belt-box arrangement


One of six hand-cranked Philco-Ford XM173 automatic grenade launchers designed for ground use. The electrically-driven M129 variant of this weapon together with an XM134 Minigun made up the turret armament on early AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters, and was used as armament on other whirlybirds as well.


Now… For G11s. LOTS of G11s! (Did you expect anything else from the Bundeswehr museum?)

DSC_1138 DSC_1139 DSC_1140 DSC_1141 DSC_1142 DSC_1143 DSC_1128 DSC_1130 DSC_1132 DSC_1134 DSC_1136 DSC_1137

And that’s it for our tour of Koblenz! Many thanks again to Bronezhilet who provided the pictures!

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 is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


  • Tom

    “Of course rapid-firing weapons were nothing new even then. Here’s a “salvo-rifle” from the 1950s…”

    I think you might mean 1850s 🙂

    • Could have sworn I already fixed that before the post went live. Oh well, thanks for catching it!

  • DanGoodShot

    Did I mention this place is now on my bucket list yet?? Definitely top 15.

  • GD Ajax

    The G11, the future of firearms, 50 years ago. I.e. See Lightweight Small Arms Technologies.

    • The G11 was just a little more recent than 50 years ago.

  • PK

    An archive of all the photos so far, hi-res, would be extremely helpful.

  • El Duderino

    G11, more moving parts than a Chiappa Rhino! But not by much…

    • ColBatguano

      Looks like a 2×4 with a barrel hanging out the end!

  • Avery

    Woah, woah, woah, that last picture isn’t from the H&K G11, it’s the helical magazine and action from the Mauser G11. Now I’m wondering if they had a copy or mockup of the Mauser G11 there.

    • Good catch! I am not sure, it’s possible that they did have a Mauser G11 there.

  • Jonathan Ferguson

    I can confirm that the OICW is very real. The optic is a mock-up however.

    • Neat, thanks. Does the GL also function?

      • Jonathan Ferguson

        I didn’t cycle it, but I believe so. Quite the monstrous bit of kit.

  • claymore

    I actually got to fire 3 rounds out of a Gyrojet way back in the early 80’s. It was kind of a strange experience it fell like you were holding a die-cast toy weapon and even stranger was the lack of recoil when firing. Not very accurate beyond in your face ranges.

  • “A Spanish siamese Alfa-55 machine gun with interesting belt-box arrangement”
    That’s actually a Japanese Type 89 aircraft MG
    Alfa 55 was a fary straightforward tripod-mounted, belt fed gun wth single barrel

  • SP mclaughlin

    Teutonic Wizardry from Outer Space.
    Also, if the F2000 is a tactical tuna, then the XM29 is a mega yacht.

  • Ambassador Vader

    I just came here for the g11 porn.