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View Full Version : Mosin nagant question?


Peptobismol9
June 14, 2009, 10:00 PM
Is there any way I can look at who my rifle was issued to or track where it was stored at. I think it would be cool to see kill counts, or soldier information.

Tucker 1371
June 14, 2009, 10:07 PM
I think it would be cool to see kill counts, or soldier information.

Not sure but I don't think you're going to be able to find "kill counts" for your rifle. I doubt many soldiers other than snipers kept records on the number of folks they killed. Soldier info might be a different story but then again it is likely the rifle could have changed hands during the war. Another highly likely possibility is that your rifle never saw combat and was just surplus that never got issued.

Peptobismol9
June 14, 2009, 10:09 PM
Yeah. But it does look extremley weathered. And It would be nice to imagine it having a little more history than sitting in a crate for years.
Its an Izhevsk.

stubbicatt
June 15, 2009, 09:44 AM
Probably been dropped more than once.

I read once where of all the men born in the Soviet Union in 1923, 3% survived the war. 97% casualties of men born that birth year.

Casualties in the eastern front were staggering.

carguychris
June 15, 2009, 11:53 AM
Probably been dropped more than once.

I read once where of all the men born in the Soviet Union in 1923, 3% survived the war. 97% casualties of men born that birth year.

Casualties in the eastern front were staggering.
+1, with a little more detail...

The Soviet Union did not prepare adequately for the Nazi invasion of June 22, 1941. Stalin believed that he had negotiated his way out of hostilities with Germany with a recently-signed mutual nonaggression treaty known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Up until June of 1941, Germany had held up its side of the bargain, including compliance with a secret appendix that dictated how the two countries would partition Poland after its invasion.

In 1941, the Red Army was massive. However, most of the good equipment and training was reserved for a few elite combat units; most of the Army was underequipped. Keep in mind that in the Soviet Union of the 1930s, two of the main purposes of the Red Army were to quell domestic dissent and to give young Russian men jobs. Neither purpose requires a full complement of combat equipment for every soldier. Much of the Army was dispersed across the Soviet empire doing what would now be described as peacekeeping work, i.e. building infrastructure or guarding checkpoints.

Secondly, the Soviets had recently attempted to retire the Mosin-Nagant and replace it with the semi-automatic SVT. The Tula Arsenal had been shut down, retooled to produce the SVT-38, and then shut down and retooled again after the rifle failed in field trials and was redesigned to create the SVT-40. When a military force expects a piece of equipment to be replaced, they often defer maintenance of the "obsolete" older equipment, and the Red Army's Mosin-Nagants were no exception. Many units were short of functional rifles. Those that had rifles often lacked ammunition.

When the Nazis invaded, the Soviets were totally unprepared tactically and strategically. Many units had incompetent officers because Stalin had sent the experienced officers to the gulags in recent purges. Some units were led by political hacks with little or no military training. Last but not least, the generals had never worked out a strategy to conduct an orderly full-front retreat or to replace severed communications and transport lines because planning for "failure" was considered unpatriotic and could get you sent to the gulag. :rolleyes: Entire field armies were lost. In some cases, generals refused to retreat for fear of being sent to the gulags; in other cases, discipline collapsed and units fell apart; in other cases, units tried to retreat but were wiped out because nobody on the ground knew how to do it properly. IIRC the Red Army lost more men in the first 2 weeks following the Nazi invasion than the USA lost in the entire war on all fronts combined. (Ponder that for a minute.)

You have widespread chaos and devastation. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers are being killed. Some units are in a state of total anarchy. The generals in Moscow have no idea of the strength or position of entire divisions. (In some cases, they are planning the movements of divisions that had been wiped out the previous week.) Droves of refugees are pouring eastward down the highways, making it difficult to move troops and equipment westward. To add insult to injury, many of the lost divisions were elite combat units that had been fully equipped with the newfangled SVT-40, and their rifles have been lost to the enemy. To pour more salt on the wound, Nazi troops soon advance so close to Moscow that the Soviet leadership decides to close the Tula Arsenal (located only 60 miles south) and evacuate the equipment to Izhevsk. Production on the Tula equipment was restarted at Izhevsk, but months of output was lost in the interim.

The entire Red Army was so short of rifles that many soldiers are sent into the field unarmed with orders to pick up rifles from dead comrades. :eek: Many rifles were literally falling apart. The Soviet leadership decided to basically discontinue the SVT-40 in favor of the Mosin-Nagant because (1) the M-N has fewer moving parts and requires less machining, so it's cheaper to manufacture, and (2) it's easier to train conscripts to use the simpler M-N. Many conscripts were only trained for a couple of weeks and had a life expectancy of only a few days (if not a few hours or minutes) once they reached the front. :eek:

You will never know the names of the soldiers who used your Mosin-Nagant. Those soldiers were too busy trying to stay alive to keep track of trivialities such as the serial number of the rifles they were using.

Just remember that your rifle survived the bloodiest and most frightening conflict in human history. :)

noknock
June 15, 2009, 02:12 PM
Very impressive writeup. Great job and very informative.

Peptobismol9
June 15, 2009, 02:20 PM
Very amazing. If you wrote that yourself you definatley know what you are talking about.

chris in va
June 15, 2009, 04:18 PM
How come we didn't read about this in class? Amazing reading the 'behind the scenes' stuff.

carguychris
June 15, 2009, 05:25 PM
How come we didn't read about this in class?
Don't get me started. Wait, you just did. ;)

Popular WWII history is taught from the American and British perspectives because that's where the press went.

Popular WWII history tends to emphasize the exploits of colorful and intruiging personalities such as Douglas MacArthur, George S. Patton Jr., and Billy Mitchell, because that's what sells.

Popular WWII history doesn't emphasize logistics and tactics because many people aren't interested in that. OTOH this is how wars are won and lost.

Popular WWII history tends to ignore the Eastern Front of WWII because it was a battle between two repressive regimes lead by two of the most despicable people in the history of humanity. The story just doesn't lend itself to warm and fuzzy feelings. :rolleyes: OTOH one of those leaders degenerated into an irrational lunatic and his country collapsed around him, while the other leader actually learned from many of his mistakes and turned his country's military into one of the most awesome fighting forces ever assembled. There's got to be a good story in there somewhere. :)

I'll get off my soapbox now. :D

Jimro
June 15, 2009, 11:26 PM
Military history has it's own adherents. The problem is that we often end up "navel gazing" and reflecting only on our own military history and tradition.

In his book "Learning to Eat Soup With A Knife" LTC Nagl compares the successful counterinsurgency conducted by the British in Malaysia with the unsuccessful counterinsurgency conducted by the US in Vietnam. His larger point was whether a large institution has a culture of learning or not.

Hollywood has put out movie after movie about the American experience in Vietnam. When was the last time you saw a movie about the Malaysian insurgency? Heck, ask a few strangers on the street about the Winter War or Boer War and see how many blank expressions you get (especially from those under 30...).

Jimro

srt 10 jimbo
June 16, 2009, 07:45 AM
History is written by the side that Won.:D

Mk VII
June 16, 2009, 09:29 AM
In his book "Learning to Eat Soup With A Knife" LTC Nagl compares the successful counterinsurgency conducted by the British in Malaysia with the unsuccessful counterinsurgency conducted by the US in Vietnam. His larger point was whether a large institution has a culture of learning or not.

Hollywood has put out movie after movie about the American experience in Vietnam. When was the last time you saw a movie about the Malaysian insurgency?

'The Virgin Soldiers' was one film about the Malayan Emergency, although the central characters are clerks at the base and the only battle scene comes in a train wreck right at the end.
US defense analysts studied the British war in Malaya in depth, as the only successful anti-communist counter-insurgency campaign conducted by a Western colonial power, believing it had important lessons for the conduct of the war in Vietnam. In reality the parallels were more apparent than real.

ksstargazer
June 16, 2009, 02:11 PM
If your mosin nagant was a Finnish mosin, you at least may be able to tell what district it served in. On civil guard rifles, there are often civil guard district numbers stamped on the barrel. They are preceded by an S and then the number. My M28/30 and a M39 was used in Ragsepori, one M28 in Sisa Soumi, and my other M28 in Vaasa. It would be interesting if the Finnish government knew and could release the name of the soldier who used it. One link to the soldier are initials, and sometimes names, etched on the stock. Soviet mosins, which were at least a couple of orders of magnitude times more common and the fact that Soviets had no interest in details such as serial numbers issued to man who was lucky to live through a few minutes of combat, have little history recorded about them. You know which arsenal produced them and the year and that is about it. I doubt too many pre-1943 rifle saw no action. The Soviets threw all they had at the numerous battles on the Eastern Front. Its likely the mosin you own was used by more than one soldier. Of the estimated 27 million Soviets that died in WW2, about half either were soldiers or assisted in the war effort. I believe about 17 million mosins were made so since not every soldier died, it is safe to say the vast majority of mosins were in service.

Peptobismol9
June 18, 2009, 02:25 PM
I have an Sks that has a cross carved into the stock. It isnt accidental. It was carved deep and precise. EDIT: I never realised it until Looking a little closer, but there are 2 even well placed slashes on the bottom. Hooray. Its likley to be count of something. kills?

davlandrum
June 18, 2009, 03:40 PM
Its likley to be count of something. kills?

Probably the number of hot meals the poor guy had...:rolleyes:

The great thing is, you can make up any story you want, and no one could call you on it. Of course, if each slash was one kill, it is not going to be a very exciting story....

Even with information technology today, you could not find out from the Army who a specific M16 was issued to - they don't track them that way. They could tell you what unit had it on their property book and what years, but down to an individual, no way. I would actually be surprised in the midst of WWII on the Russian Front that they could even know what unit.

Thermodyne
June 18, 2009, 10:09 PM
Military history has it's own adherents. The problem is that we often end up "navel gazing" and reflecting only on our own military history and tradition.

In his book "Learning to Eat Soup With A Knife" LTC Nagl compares the successful counterinsurgency conducted by the British in Malaysia with the unsuccessful counterinsurgency conducted by the US in Vietnam. His larger point was whether a large institution has a culture of learning or not.

Hollywood has put out movie after movie about the American experience in Vietnam. When was the last time you saw a movie about the Malaysian insurgency? Heck, ask a few strangers on the street about the Winter War or Boer War and see how many blank expressions you get (especially from those under 30...).

Jimro

Nixon got what he wanted from China in exchange for SVN, not to mention that the Alaskan pipeline came on line about then, relieving the need to have a claim on the oil in the SCS.

Can You name the other two wars we had going from the late 60's with one running into the 80's. By then we had learned how to fight by proxy correctly.

overkill556x45
June 18, 2009, 10:32 PM
As far as "kill counts"....real war doesn't work the way it looks on your Xbox 360. You don't end a mission and get a neat printout of how many shots you took (gotta count mags left in pouches for that), or how many hits you made. Most of the time a soldier just has to shoot back at the muzzle flashes and hope for the best. Been there, done that. While I also enjoy first-person shooters (especially COD4), I think they create an especially unrealistic view of what life at war is like. There are very few soldiers who can tell you accurately how many enemies he (or she nowadays) has killed, or exactly when and where those shots were fired. Firefights--even the ones way back then--are very fluid and confusing. Very seldom does a soldier get a typical deer-hunting-style shot: enemy unaware of his location, enough daylight to see clearly, fire the shot AND SEE old boy drop. Usually, it's like I said: take snap shots at either muzzle flashes or back along a tracer trail.

Trying to find a nonexistent record for a 60-something year old rifle is going to prove very difficult. You can, however, use the stampings on the receiver (on the top front) to find out what factory it came from and what year it was produced. Being from the Soviet era, you can bet it did its share of re-distributing the wealth and equally distributing abject misery. Probably mostly using the steel butt plate or big pointy thing that goes over the muzzle (bullets cost rubles, comrade, and chained prisoners are easy to dispatch without firing a shot). I think most of the MN 91/30s in circulation here in the states are from the mid-late 1940s, so they may have missed WWII altogether, but done duty in the periphery of the USSR.

Sorry for the rant, but it really steams me for some reason when people assume war is just how it looks from behind an Xbox controller. Not your fault, just me being a grumpy old veteran.

Buzzcook
June 19, 2009, 01:07 AM
Boer War , Breaker Morant.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breaker_Morant_(film)

Only movie I know that deals directly with the Boer War.

You have to watch Soviet era movies to see good movies about the Eastern front. Enemy at the Gates is the only modern English language movie I know of.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enemy_at_the_Gates

Google reminded me of Cross of Iron.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074695/

I think of it more as a Peckinpah movie than as a war movie.

The Eastern Front was huge. The Battle of Kursk dwarfed any battle on the Western Front.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Kursk

elkman06
June 19, 2009, 06:33 AM
For me, it's family that creates a visualization of the Mosin.
My G-Grandfather was a German living in Russias' upper Volga area prior to the Bolshevik revolution. He, just like all young men of the time was conscripted into the Russian Army for a 2 yr period. He had to have wrapped his hands around a Mosin during his service.
elkman06

carguychris
June 19, 2009, 08:54 AM
As far as "kill counts"....real war doesn't work the way it looks on your Xbox 360. You don't end a mission and get a neat printout of how many shots you took (gotta count mags left in pouches for that), or how many hits you made. Most of the time a soldier just has to shoot back at the muzzle flashes and hope for the best.
+1. FWIW here's another war story to illustrate this point. During WWII, the Germans kept painstaking records of almost everything. (This is one reason that historians have written so many books about the Third Reich... the research is easy.)

After the war, the U.S. Army found the numbers of Luftwaffe fighters that were shot down intercepting USAAF strategic bombers and compared them to the claims of the USAAF air crews. IIRC the air crew "kill counts" overestimated the number of Luftwaffe aircraft that were shot down by about 60%. This is one hefty error!

While it's possible that there was some outright fraud on both sides when compiling the numbers, IMHO the real explanation is simpler. Combat is confusing. The Lutwaffe would usually attack bomber formations head-on, straight down, or with the sun to their backs so their planes wouldn't present a target for very long. Hence, the enemy fighters would only be visible to the USAAF gunners for a few seconds at a time. It was smoky, it was noisy, and the gunners were frightened. There's lots of distractions inside the bombers with the pilots, navigators, and bombardiers trying to find the target. Several gunners were often shooting at the same fighter at the same time. Who hit it? How many enemy planes were there? Did two gunners in different bombers see the same German fighter go down, but it looked different since they were watching from different vantage points?

Now consider that these guys were operating in a relatively sterile and quiet environment compared to the average infantryman.

Thermodyne
June 19, 2009, 09:36 AM
Now consider that these guys were operating in a relatively sterile and quiet environment compared to the average infantryman.

American European theater heavy bomber crews took the highest casualties per capital of any unit in the war IIRC. Also at 28 thousand feet and -30f one tends to not really recall things accurately. Personally I can't see how they hit anything under those conditions. Also if 6 gunners were firing on a 109 and it blew up, all six would make a claim confirmed usually by another gunner in their aircraft. I knew a 17 pilot with 34 missions when I was young, and he claimed that the flack got more 17's than fighters. And that a great deal of the losses were planes that had mechanical failures or pilot error. And that many just ran out of fuel on the way home.

snevensmores
June 19, 2009, 09:53 AM
carguychris, that was one of the more informative posts/summaries/whatever about WWII that I've heard in a long time. Really interesting -- awesome read. Kudos to you.

And to repeat what others have probably already said (I didn't read the entire thread), IF the rifle was used in combat, that soldier (or soldiers) probably had no idea how many rounds he fired, how many woundings/killings he had, etc. WWII at its worst was just a blaze of gunfire, especially with the mess they had. No telling if you shot the enemy or if the guy next to you did. Check for tally marks on the side of the stock, though. Maybe somebody got a lil cocky :).

I've got a Hungarian-made Mosin M44. Who knows if it saw action or not. I assume that it never did. I'd just appreciate the history of the gun, and maintain it well. It's a relic, now. I believe mine was made in 1951 or so, and it has plenty of scrapes and scratches on its stock. It's well-worn, but it was my first-ever gun -- purchased by my parents when I was 17 for like $70. That, to me, is enough to keep it around to remind me of the "greatest generation" and all that was sacrificed.

Plus, it shoots like a cannon, and that's always fun :). Still trying to get my girlfriend to try it out once...

MagnumWill
June 19, 2009, 11:51 AM
I agree with a lot of the posters. I own my Mosin-Nagant for its historical value, ungainly aesthetics and its significance to some people, such as Soviet conscripts who trusted every inch of their life to it. Just imagine: If you were in the middle of a hellish, dazing fight with the third Reich, and the only thing that you know that can get you out of it is your wits and the mechanical pipe with gunpowder in your hands. I'm sure a lot of praying occurred behind these guns.

And usually, a good way to tell if it saw action- if it looks like someone dug it out of the dirt after thirty years- then it probably did. :) if it still looks like a rifle, it probably didn't. :p

Oh- and my girlfriend loves my P/U Mosin... i'm so lucky :p