Fn Belgian Mauser Serial Numbers

Sword bayonet for use with the 7.65 mm. M1889 Mauser rifle.

Mauser Sporter Serial Number Lookup

Much of the conventional wisdom regarding Belgian Mauser bayonets was clarified by research published in 2016 by Anthony Vanderlinden in his book, FN Mauser Rifles.

M1916 bayonets were produced from 1916–1918 at Manufacture D'Armes de le Etat (Arms Manufacturer of the State): abbreviated MAE. During this period, MAE had temporary factories in Calais, France; and Birmingham, England, having been forced to evacuate their Liege factory in 1914.

Paul Mauser was disappointed that Germany had adopted the Model 1888 without consulting him, but a 7.65 mm. Smokeless-powder rifle that he developed was adopted by Belgium in 1889. My Safari.375 with the FN receiver has serial number of simply 393XX. This is the number on both the receiver and bolt handle. Perhaps there was a lightly stamped number that got polished off since the gun has been refinished? It has also been rebarreled so there is no number on the barrel.

The wartime M1916 bayonets included a number of variants among which Belgium made no distinction. Bayonets of conventional construction, with the crosspiece pinned to the tang (visually identified by the tang meeting the crosspiece at a right angle), were conversions of earlier M1889 bayonets. The hooked lower crosspiece was deleted and the blade replaced. This probably accounts for the relative scarcity of M1889 bayonets today.

New made M1916 bayonets had the hilt made from a single forging, visually identified by a radiused transition where the crosspiece meets the tang.

Blades were either of a flattened cruciform profile or T-back blades salvaged from French M1874 Gras bayonets. Blade length was 450 mm. Many, including this example, were subsequently shortened during rework. The scabbard has been shortened by cutting off the lower portion and neatly brazing a cap on the end.

The muzzle ring diameter was 17.5 mm. Regardless of manufacturing process, blade profile, or blade length, if the muzzle ring diameter was 17.5 mm., the bayonet was designated M1916.

The '1Ch' crosspiece marking indicates use by the 1st Division de Chasseurs Ardennais (in English, The Ardennes Hunters), one of the most capable Belgian Army units to fight in 1940. The Chasseurs Ardennais were a small, highly mobile infantry force, equipped with light armored vehicles, motorcycles, and bicycles. The Division took the brunt of the German onslaught on May 10, 1940, as German panzers struck the low countries through the Ardennes Forest.

The Chasseurs Ardennais' mission was to delay the Germans and prevent them from encircling the Belgian Army, before French troops could come up to help stop the German advance at the Meuse River. At Bodange, vastly outnumbered and outgunned Chasseurs Ardennais held up Rommel's 7th Panzer Division for 9 hours, before giving ground. The Division fought its way completely across Belgium during the 18 days of combat, making its final four-day stand at Lille, France, buying the British precious time to evacuate Dunkirk.

With no chance of evacuation, many of the Chasseurs Ardennais evaded capture and fought on with the Maquis (resistance). More than 500 Chasseurs Ardennais were killed in the 18 days of May 1940. Over 200 more were later killed fighting with the resistance. Reconstituted after the German surrender, the Chasseurs Ardennais remains one of the most prestigious regiments in the Belgian Army, having served in Korea, the Belgian Congo, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan.

The Belgian Model 1889 Mauser

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Hopkins & Allen Arms Co
Calibre 7.65 x 53mm
Serial No: 3691
Price: £650 - Sold

Very Good Condition - Rare US Contract Example

The rifle requirements were developed through a process of lengthy trials and included, most notably, the box magazine that could be loaded by
stripper clip or by individual rounds, the barrel jacket, and the smokeless small caliber 7.65 mm cartridge.
The Mauser design was ultimately adopted by majority vote

FN was the sole manufacturer of the Model 1889 rifle in the 19th century. Belgian state arsenals started making parts in order to repair guns.
By 1913 this led to the assembly of complete rifles.

At the outbreak of war in 1914, the Belgian military was completely equipped with Model 1889 rifles and carbines. The Garde Civique was mostly using the Model 1889 rifle, although some outdated Comblain Model 1882 single-shot rifles were still in use.

Fn Belgian Mauser Serial Numbers 61

Fn Belgian Mauser Serial Numbers

Allied Manufacture
Shortages were critical during the war. Dissatisfied with available French designs, Belgian purchasing commissions started working in
November 1914 to manufacture Mausers abroad.

The Belgians found a willing manufacturer in Hopkins & Allen and signed a contract on August 4, 1915, for the manufacture of 140,000
Model 1889 rifles and 10,000 Model 89/16 carbines. Hopkins & Allen greatly underestimated the demand and cost of materials and labor in
time of war and underbid the contract. This ultimately led to its bankruptcy.
The first Hopkins & Allen rifles were completed in October 1916. These Mausers are easily identified by the “Hopkins and Allen Arms Co. Norwich, Conn. U.S.A.” marking on the receiver.

At the bottom of the the images there is an archive picture not of this rifle to show the action & barrel jacket removed