Aww, Stop making with the Negative Waves!!! ( Kelly’s Heroes).
The SS may have been “Posing” with a Captured weapopn, but just as likely it was a “Pick up and use” as the SS were always scrabbling for useful equipment, as they were not on the “pecking order” of direct Wehrmacht supplies, but up to 1942 at least, utilised “Capture Nations” equipment, mostly Czech, and Polish ( Photos of SS troops in France show use of Czech ZB26 and Polish BARs ( KM29?) (Both in 7,9 calibre), as well as Geman MG08/15/34 (Belt feed modification to steel link).
Not unlikely they also picked up a few CSRGs along the way.
Very nice (and rare) Photo. Please repost over on Gunboards, French section or MG sections…They will be thrilled.
The CSRG , although conceived in times of peace, was manufactured in Wartime, and for its time, was futuristic ( stamped metal, screw machine parts,
made in a Bicycle factory, product tested on the Battlefield). Its major defect was the Cartridge ( 8mm Lebel) which by its tapered design, required a very curved magazine, which was the major cause of its problems.
Training overcame many of the Long-recoil function problems, and the French CSRG Gunners were intensively trained ( on a par with the training received by German MG08 and 08/15 Gunners.
The Awards List of Valour decorations received by CSRG gunners from 1916 to 1918 is way out of proportion with those received by any other Service awardees.
The Gun did have defects, due to its Long recoil mechanism ( strong gun holding essential for full operation) Too tight tolerances to allow for heat expansion ( barrel expanded and shooting got sluggish to stopping in over-used guns); magazines with their “View slots” were prone to mud jams, as well as thin metal ( deformation)…this was partly solved by producing Hundreds of thousands of magazines in a “Use and Lose” attitude ( although the magazines were supposed to be kept, maintained and re-used.)
The 1918 US order for a .30/06 chambered CSRG was doomed from the start…the .30/06 was too strong a cartridge, and also required a redesign to use a 16 round straight box mag ( thicker metal, no view ports) but the real clincher was “Incorrect chambering tools” which left the guns ( several tens of thousands) with undersized chambers, so that US .30 cal ammo would barely chamber if at all, and then fail to extract… A complete Fiasco.
Properly trained US troops ( under French training methods and schools) utilised the CSRG15 in 8mm well enough; they certainly used the M1914 Hotchkiss and the 75mm M1897 Gun quite well…but even cultural differences between French and US training mindsets affected the outcome.
But eventually both Lewis Guns and late in 1918, BARs became the AutoRifle of choice for US troops.
Post war, several countries which had acquired CSRG15s in 1918-19, set about “improving” them.
Belgium rebuilt theirs to 7,65mm Calibre, utilising some of the CSRG1918 design ideas (straight mags, etc) and allowing for the Tolerances between barrel and recoil sleeve to be improved. ( FM1915/24) and Poland was more successful still, with its 1927 conversion to 7,9mm ( Kbkm27). This remained in parallel service with the New (FN Built) M29 BAR, also in 7,9mm; in the mid-30s, SEPEWE sold the CSRG15/27s to Greece, and these saw some use in the 1941 Invasion by Italy and Germany.
It is unknown whether the SS got any Polish CSRGs ( either calibres) for the Invasion of France.
Finland had acquired some CSRGs after WW I, but these were “disposed of” well before the Winter War (1939).
All in all, the CSRG was produced in enourmous numbers for a WW I Auto Rifle
( the French Name, Fusil Mitrailleur, signifies a rifle with full auto capability, as distinct from the FSA ( Fusil Semi-Automatique, which is SA only).
The Book “Honour Bound” is a “Must read” for all those wishing to foillow the progress of the CSRG from its early prototypes back in the first decade of the 1900s, through to an Aircraft gun in 1913, to the Infantryman’s friend in 1915.
production and field trainig is included, as well as samples of Citations for Valour by CSRG gunners.
Details of the ammunition are also well laid out.
SO, in the words of (Donald Sutherland) to his mechanic…“Quit making with the negative waves!!”