VIDEO: WWI Lebel VS Modern HK416F

    lebel vs hk416F

    French troops in both WWI and modern kit with their respective weapons (Ecoles de Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan)

    The French Armée de Terre has shared an interesting video on their official YouTube comparing the iconic First World War-vintage Lebel M1886 with the French Army’s new rifle the Heckler & Koch-made HK416F. The video is part of the French Army’s clash of the titans series, the first of which compared a modern Leclerc MBT with a World War One Saint Chamond.

    While the video is in French, Youtube’s automatically generated translated subtitles do a fairly good job of getting across what is being said if your French is a little rusty. The best part of the video, the comparison of the two on the range, is fairly easy to follow – even without subtitles.

    Lt. Colonel Franck, from the Ecoles de Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan, describes the features of the 1886 Lebel and discusses its history and importance. Adjutant Patrice then discuses the new new HK416F, explaining its features before a sergeant from the camera crew is given some instruction with the new rifle and goes up against a solider in period uniform with the Lebel at the range.

    On the 9th October, the Ecoles de Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan, France’s leading military academy, posted on their facebook that they had helped film the video:

    The Youtube channel of the  l’armée de Terre will soon broadcast the 2nd episode of the “CLASH OF THE TITANS” which was completely filmed at the schools of Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan. For this report, the school weapons evolution room has released Lebel rifles from its precious collections, and the students have lent themselves to the reenactment game. The latter will face the HK 416 f assault rifles now in the army and schools. Stay in touch, broadcast is imminent.

    They also shared some cool behind the scenes photos:

    A WWI-era equipped Poilu with a modern HK416F carbine.

    A French soldier in modern kit with a Lebel

    A pair of Poilu with HK416Fs and a drone hovering near by.


    Matthew Moss

    _________________________________________________________________________ – Managing Editor – Managing Editor

    Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written several books and for a variety of publications in both the US and UK. He also runs Historical Firearms, a blog that explores the history, development and use of firearms. Matt is also co-founder of The Armourer’s Bench, a video series on historically significant small arms.

    Here on TFB he covers product and current military small arms news.

    Reach Matt at: [email protected]