Category Archives: Old Ordinance

The old military rifles

Rifle, weapons, old ordinance

THE FACTORY OF ARMS ARMY OF TERNI (ITALY)

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The author of these notes, not Terni, believes that in order to better appreciate the effort that since 1993, the association is doing to see built and opened to the public the Museum of Arms, we should put the same museum in the context of the story is Factory d’Armi that the former Army of the city of Terni, if such factory was built. This is a short documentary and photographic chronicle of what has been said. I thank the members Sandro Patumi, Giovanni Piana and Gianluca Albonetti for the photographic contribution offered to the Association.

Terni of Italy, Armi's factory, weapons

 FROM 1875 TO 1919

Shortly after Unification of Italy (1862), there was talk of setting up a national armory a Terni, Terni in what was considered a strategic city for its location at the center of Italy and the richness of the waters that surrounded it: the proposal was opposed by the nearby Papal State and postponed indefinitely. The proposal was repeated and, in 1869, dr. Peter Masters, Director of Statistics at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce wrote on an “Italian Economy” …

In 1872 the Marquis Luigi Campofregoso, executor of the studies and the installation of the new plant, in his writing – The extraordinary importance of military and industrial Val Terni – concluded: “… I highly recommend this location ternana the attention of the Minister of War, General Commission for the defense of the State, the big capitalists and enterprising of all men. ” On March 19, 1874 issued the Royal Decree authorizing the expenditure for the construction of a factory in Terni d’Armi. Became to keep in mind that there was already one in Terni steelworks called “La Ferriera” and that, almost simultaneously with the proposed construction of the factory d’Armi, the Navy proposed and obtained the institution, always at Terni, a steel mill for the production of steel, construction breastplates and blanks cannon opened by King Umberto I ° in July of 1887.

The factory occupied lots granted free of charge to the State by the city of Terni, to the east of the city, on the road that leads to the Nera Valley and along the avenue entitled subsequently to Benedetto Brin. The factory was opened in 1880 and consisted of a main building and laboratories generally constructed to the building; was created a shooting range of 200 meters for the testing of weapons.

The energy was driving more than 1000 horses that came from the turbines to the main shafts of all the plants and that, longitudinally through the laboratories, the distributed sub-trees and their references. The workers came in large part from Turin, Brescia and Torre Annunziata and began to work on the Vetterli rifle mod. 1870 at a rate of 25 rifles per hour. In 1891, it was designed rifle mod. 91 cal. 6.5: the Director of the Commission were part of the Factory of Turin d’Armi col. Alessandro Olioli – Fasola, Captain Giuseppe Vitali and foreman Salvatore Carcano. The construction of the new rifle was entrusted to the Factory d’Armi of Terni.

In March of 1918 the workers were 7,172, of which over 3,000 women with two shifts of 12 hours.

FROM 1919 TO 1946

Between 1919 and 1921, due to lack of orders, the activity of the plant decreased to the limit of paralysis which was overcome by the restoration of parts d’arma and with various studies and transformation that allowed the full recovery of the plant, and between 1935 and 1940, the machinery was almost entirely renovated. In Piazza Cornelius Tacitus, in 1935, instead of the war memorial moved the entrance to the public gardens, was built the fountain “pen and ink” as it is now dubbed.

Armi's factory, Weapons

By the architects Ridolfi and Bean, the fountain features three distinct phases. In the first the water comes to the edge of the basin in the form of veil to flow over the surface decorated by the artist Cagli with the signs of the zodiac; Water in the second precipitates in a further bath to become energy represented, the third phase, by a very high metal needle covered with stainless steel. The authors of the project say the fountain “It stands in the same night as the symbol and essence of Terni: Industrial and dynamic.” On August 11, 1943, in one of the 108 bombing suffered by Terni during the war, the factory d’Armi lost 34 people including the Director General Antonio Passarelli and, in September, the Germans moved to the North about 3,000 machine tools. Later the plant was occupied by the Allies that left him in 1946 AD FROM 1946

PRESENT DAY

Thanks to the skill of the workers who returned the precious material (industrial diamonds) hidden at your own risk, who tracked down many machine tools and “reconstructed memory” those lost, the plant resumed its activities dealing with the repair and conservation of Italian and foreign weapons, of mechanical parts and fittings for study and research. In 1978, the Factory d’Armi (FAET) has changed its name to the Military Armaments Light Plant of Terni (Smalt) and, from 2000 Polo Equipment Maintenance Light (PMAL) that, with modern CNC machine tools and systems computerized surface treatments of all kinds, on par with the national industries also providing the “logistical support” our troops abroad. On May 2, 1875, His Excellency Mr General Ricotti, War Minister laid the foundation stone of the factory d’Armi of Terni, saying among other things in his inaugural address: “Gentlemen, the nationality of Terni wanted to honor the mandate to place the first stone of the factory d’Armi that here, for the vote of Parliament and determination of the King, must be implanted. … In short, there will arise a great plant in the country that will work and honest gain a considerable number of workers and therefore no small advantage to the city, and, provided of the most perfect machines ed’ogni means more acconcio, will, I hope, readily compete hill d’armi most renowned factories abroad, both in quantity as in quality of products. … With this belief, in the name of His Majesty the King d’Itala Vittorio Emanuele II I place the first stone of the factory d’Armi of Terni. “” … With l’Augurio that the city of Terni, the Polo Equipment Maintenance Light, the association “Arms Museum – City of Terni “and the Arms Museum – town of Terni can always coexist and represent a piece of history of the cities of Italy …”

The President Brig. Gen. (res)

Guido Pesce

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Springfield 1903, rifle, military, ex ordinance

SPRINGFIELD 1903: THE STARS AND STRIPES RIFLE

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Alessio

Dear friends and readers, we continue today in our roundup of articles that leads us to become better know the rifles that have made the history of many battles and wars, in more or less distant times, and who have contributed in a decisive way to give precedence to some armies and peoples against others.

These rifles which, while being equipped, with their strengths and weaknesses, of an inferior technology compared to the latest generation of rifles, bought, over the years, an increasing appeal because they have been the protagonists of historical periods. Today we speak about the Springfield 1903, starting with the steps that led to its design and manufacture, and to do this, we must go back to the year 1898 In that year the United States army was engaged in the “Spanish-American” war and had the Krag-Jorgensen rifle as weapon ordinance, with 30-40 caliber and ammunition produced by the same house, supplied since 1892.

 Springfiled 1903, rifle, military, ex ordinance

The US army, however, was in serious trouble, facing an opponent with a “Mauser” of Spanish production, designed and built in 1893, that had two key advantages over the Krag-Jorgensen rifle: best ballistic characteristics in terms of accuracy on the useful shot and a greater loading speed of the weapon, a feature that allowed to have a much greater volume of fire.

The US military leaders wanted to run for cover by commissioning to Springfield a weapon that had similar characteristics and also better than the Mauser. Later it was learned that the same military leaders were able to put pressure against the Mauser to get information and projects, some of which will then be transferred in Springfield with a “royalties” paid to Mauser.

BIRTH OF SPRINGFIELD 1903

The Springfield completed in 1902 the design of the rifle and began the production on an industrial scale for the army in 1903, the same year from which it takes its name. In the same year the agreement was signed in which this rifle becomes weapon ordinance for the US army. Initially, however, there are doubts at the military top, because it is believed that this weapon present some defects, such as a too fragile attack for the bayonet and ammunition that is ill-suited to the rifle and with rounding to its vertex that, slowing down the speed during the trajectory, reduces the performance and, therefore, the degree of injury to the opponent.

Th President Theodore Roosevelt himself, previously senior officer of the Army USA, orders at Springfield the return of the models in use in 1905 to replace with a bayonet attack more effective. Almost at the same time, the Germans are experiencing a new bullet model called “Spitzer”, which means “sharp”: it presents cutting-edge ballistic characteristics for “stability” during the trajectory and greater speed of exiting from the barrel of the weapon, both elements that allow a ‘high penetration capacity” and, therefore, great efficiency from the point of view of war.

Springfield 1903, rifle, military, ex ordinance

The U.S. run for cover again and succeed in designing a ammunition, called 30-06, which has almost the same features as the German one, but in 1906 they are forced once again to retract the Springfield rifles to replace the barrel and re-calibration of the sights. The new ammunition has ballistic characteristics different from that used previously and the outbreak of the powders generates departure at greater velocity of the bullet, creating inside the barrel much higher pressures that become excessive for those supplied up to that moment.

In fact you get to the First World War, with the army US that is not yet equipped with Springfield rifles sufficient for all the soldiers, as a result of these continuous improvements of the initial project. Then is intensified the production of the same model that, between 1915 and 1918, leads to build other 265,000 rifles, in addition to the other 850,000 which, at the end of required mechanical changes, were given back to the army. A designer named John D. Petersen designs a specimen of Springfield that has a system reset similar to a prototype of semi-automatic, but since this requires the modification of the “receiver” with new rifles reduction for the army, it remains only a prototype.

During this period, and for all the time in which this rifle remained as ordinance weapon of the army of the United States, were designed and built several prototypes of Springfield1903 with different characteristics which, however, being prototypes, were never produced in large scale but in very limited series.

The other models were:

- Rifle M1903 Mark1, already mentioned above, with the breech and, especially, stop tooth modified that allow semi-automatic operation;

- M1903A1 rifle fitted with checkered pistol stock , trigger and recoil pad;

- M1903A rifle that has the same characteristics as those described above, but is made ​​with a lighter overall structure;

- M1903A4 rifle that is the version of “sniper” with pistol grip and possibility of application of optical magnification to 2.5, most available on the market compared to previous models, in the estimated number of 25,000 units.

Today the “demilitarized” weapon is widely used for the “shot in polygon” because it is very accurate, especially the A3 model with four-barrel grooves. Because of the limited availability of Springfield on the market, especially in later versions, built only in the prototype stage, the purchase for sport and for collecting involves a very high price.

But is also true that for the pure collector this is a rare “gem” for its collection, symbolizing a “piece of history” in the early decades of the last century.

Alessio Ceccarelli

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