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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've recently purchased a beautiful 1918 "ersatz" canvas holster for both the M12 and M07 Steyr pistols.It's the time taking some pics of the holster and of my nice 1918 vintage Austrian Army M12 Steyr.It's a "last minute" produced gun s.n. 640y (1918 Austrian Army guns are reported in 1407w-1580y range-my 8395y it's a "Steyr 1919"
NPV commercial gun and also the 3124y it's a "Steyr 1918" Wn19 Army proofed gun) and the finish tells it:the gun is more rough than usual and the bluing is a greysh one.I checked it very well,the bluing is not really faded.it's different than usual,probably they missed one or two rust bluing procedures for sparing time and work.This has not to be considered usual for 1918 guns:my 1918 Bavarian Army M12 is perfecly blued,with a deep blue cover.
But the war was at the end,Austro-Hungarian Empire had enormous troubles in purchasing every kind of raw materials and also the hope of closing the war on the southern front with the dreadful defeat suffered by the Italian Army near Caporetto(late October 1917 after a winning gas attack carried out by German troops sent to this front after the Russian closed the war) that lead to the capture of 300.000 Italian soldiers and an enormous bulk of goods(including an high number of weapons immediatly issued and used by the troops)was a bitter disappointment.The Italian Army stopped the Austrian advance in front of the Piave river and no Austria effort was able to cross this line.This was the scene when my gun and the holster were produced.The closing strap of the holster is a piece of Italian Military leather(we call it "grey-green" colour) and the canvas was a rescued one(there are marks of former stitchings).The flour in the bread for the soldiers was mixed with sawdust,but the Austrian troops went on fighting proudly till the end.A great Empire was looking at his last days.
I apologize for my poor English and also for having perhaps too much stressed the historic panorama around the story of the gun.


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Paolo:
A very interesting holster. Thanks for posting it and for the accompanying history - the context of a weapon is a l w a y s interesting.
I have the twin of your trench club.
Thanks again!
-C. Brown
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Pancho
The club is a standard pattern Austrian Army trench defensive mace.They were hung inside the trench at the side walls;they were not individual weapons;the soldiers had to shoot the enemy with the rifles till the last moment;if the enemy soldiers got inside the trench,they had to take the clubs and use them for the close combat.
The rumors about the use by the Austrian soldiers for killing the poisonous gas injured soldiers are quite fake;this "legend" was created by the Italian Army"propaganda"office to increase the ostility against the enemies and to "cover" the High Commands responsability in having not prepared the Italian troops to the gas attack who lead to the brake in the Italian lines near Caporetto(as I said ).The other items are some original Sellier & Bellot and Hirtenberger Patronenfabrik ammo boxes,a "der tapferkeit"(to the bravery) brass medal,a cigarette case marked"3. weinachten im felde 1916"(third chrismtas on the field 1916) and a "kappenabzeiche" (cap badge) very
frequent among the Austria troops and often different from a unit to another or from an Army corp to another.The helmet is a plain Austrian M16 one witha a repro(well made) cover.
 

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Paolo,

That's amazing about the mace. I had no idea these instruments even existed. Posed side by side with the Steyr, a modern semi-auto pistol, it seems to connect mediaeval Europe with the twentieth century, similar to the animal-like beheadings in Iraq juxtaposed with the AK47. A cruel reminder of the consistant brutality of war.

Off topic, but...
By the way, as an American, kindly allow me to express my thanks for the Italians staying with us in Iraq. Italy, Poland, England, even El Salvador, and other nations have stayed true. Behind the U.S. and Britain, Italy is the 3rd largest contributor of troops, to include, Carabinieri, soldiers, and civilians.

Thanks,
Pancho
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