Thread: unknown rifle
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Old August 10, 2016, 03:30 PM   #6
James K
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Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 24,383
There are several versions of how the Type I came to be. The somewhat abbreviated one I gave (based on Honeycutt) seems to be the most common and has been around the longest. The story of Hitler's personal involvement also varies but it appears to be something that would appeal to the mind of der F├╝hrer, cementing his grand alliance. At least one version is that the IJN did not order the rifles and apparently had no idea what to do with them, as they had an adequate supply of small arms. Most, including the one I have and several others I have seen, appear to be unissued, but others show signs of fairly heavy use.

The production of rifles for Japan appears to have been a fairly important project for the Italian arms making system, involving three government arsenals and a private company, plus numerous subcontractors. Further, the undertaking of foreign work is significant when Italy needed all the arms it could make for its own re-armament. To an old bureaucrat (me), that level of effort and major involvement spells political pressure from "on high", not just a routine search for a new weapons source by Japan. And the small number (60,000) of rifles actually procured seems to indicate a token purchase to "keep the big shots happy" rather than any real need for weapons; that many were not issued even in the last desperate months seems to confirm the lack of any real need.

Jim
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