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:

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    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!

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    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:

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    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:

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

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    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.

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

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    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. He can be reached via email at [email protected]


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