This is a rare First World War Gew98 that was rebuilt post war for the German Wehrmacht and re-designated as a Karab 98b (K98b). Post WWI Germany was under Allied control and supervision, with the Treaty of Versailles only allowing Germany to produce carbines and not rifles. However, under Hitler's command Nazi Germany secretly produced rifles to re-arm itself in preparation for WWII. Using existing stocks of First World War Gew98s, this programme served to conceal rather than identify the provenance of the rifles. This is a great example of that bearing the correct configuration of early Nazi Wehrmacht eagles used by Simson; they are Eagle 6 & 43 followed by the letter S = Simson, and with Eagle 81 used used on the barrels. The rear sight was upgraded to a K98k's and numbered to match the rifles. Note the Nazi Waffen stamp WaA280, Eagle 6 and letters sS meaning schweres Spitzgeschoss/heavy pointed tip bullet. Most of these reworked rifles were reconfigured to have a drop down bolt lever similar to the K98k, and a scollop in the wood work to accommodate it. But this one hasn't, which is far less common. Many were also assembled using parts and were not fully matched, as is this one. The blank receiver is also another feature found on these rifles. Quantities of these rifles are known to have been supplied to Nazi SS units as well as frontline elite troops.
Another very important and often overlooked part of the these rifles history is their involvement in the early stages of WWII. Films and images of the invasions of Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway, the Low Countries, and France show these modified Gew98/Karab 98b rifles as a mainstay weapon in these operations, as supplies of the K98k had not kept up with the rapid expansion and deployment of Wehrmacht forces. Most pre-war parade photos show troops carrying these long rifles. In addition to their prominent use in WWII, these rifles also survived the turbulent history of the inter-war years and witnessed the rise of the Third Reich, training many of the soldiers who were later to participate in the early campaigns of WWII. They’re earlier service in WWI also should not be overlooked.
A rare and seldom seen survivor from both World Wars. Deactivated with a working action, it can be cocked, stripped and dry fired.
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