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Serbian/Yugoslav military handgun cartridges.

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The Kingdom of Serbia was established in 1878 when the indigenous peoples threw off the centuries-old yoke of the Ottoman Empire. Realizing that their position between the competing giants of Austria-Hungary and Turkey could only be insured by a strong army, the Serbs set about creating one of the most patriotic and well-equipped forces in Eastern Europe.

While originally equipped with ex-Turkish and Austrian handguns, in the late 1880s the Serbs began standardizing on modern weapons. As did many armies around the world, when they began to look for a handgun they approached the Belgian firm of Fabrique d'Armes Emile et Leon Nagant, from which they purchased 12,000 revolvers. The Serbian Revolver M,91 was very similar to 7.5mm Nagant revolvers adopted by Sweden, Norway and Luxembourg.

* Metak za Revolver Nagan 7.4.mm--consisted of a straight-walled, rimmed case 22mm long loaded with a 104-grain paper-patched lead bullet that a charge of blackpowder pushed to 725 fps. Very few Serbian Model 1891 revolvers survived the Great War. (1)

During the early months of World War I, the Serbs repeatedly defeated the Austrian army and large .numbers of small arms were captured including the Gasser M. 1870, M. 1882 and M.98 revolvers.

* 11mm M.1870 scharfe Revolver-Patrone--utilized a slightly bottlenecked 36mm, rimmed case containing a heavy 278-grain lead bullet that 22 grains of blackpowder propelled to a velocity of 525 fps.

* 11mm M.1882 scharfe Revolver-Patrone--the M.82 revolver utilized a shorter, 29.5mm case loaded with the same weight bullet and powder charge, producing very similar ballistics.

* 8mm Revolver scharfe Patrone M.98--developed for the Austrian army and police in the late 1890s, the Rast & Gasser Armeerevolver M.1898 was a solid-frame, eightshot design. Its cartridge featured a straight, rimmed case 27mm with a 121-grain FMJ bullet that a charge of smokeless powder pushed to 785 fps.

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The Serbs also made use of a number of Roth-Sauer and Steyr pistols they captured from their Austrian foes.

* 8mm Repetierpistole scharfe Patrone M.7--in 1908 Austria-Hungary took the Roth-Sauer (a.k.a. RothSteyr) Repetierpistole M.7 into service, the first time that a major military power had approved a semiauto handgun. Its cartridge featured a straight rimless case 18.5mm long loaded with a 114-grain FMJ bullet at a velocity of 1045 fps.

* 9mm Repetierpistole scharfe Patrone M.12--designed around 1910 by Sellier & Bellot for the Steyr Repetierpistole M.12. It utilized a straight-walled, rimless case 23mm long loaded with a 116-grain FMJ bullet that achieved a velocity of 1115 fps. The Steyr M.12 was the standard pistol of Austria-Hungary during World War I and was also used by Chile, Bulgaria, Rumania and Bavaria.

While Austria-Hungary conquered Serbia in 1915, a large part of the Serbian army escaped to join the Allies. They were reequipped with French weapons, among which were numbers of Revolver d'Ordnance Mle. 1892 and so-called "Ruby" automatic pistols chambered for the 7.65mm Browning.

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* 8mm Cartouche d'Ordnance Mle. 1892--consisted of a rimmed, straight-walled case 27mm long loaded with a 122-grain FMJ bullet that was propelled to a velocity of 740 fps.

* 7,65mm Browning--a straight-walled, semi-rimmed case 17mm long, it was loaded with a 71-grain full metal-jacketed (FMJ) bullet moving at 900 fps.

After the war, the Serbs received a quantity of Mauser Pistole C96 (the famous "Broomhandle") pistols as reparations from German and Austria.

* 7,63mm Mauser--Its cartridge consisted of a rimless, bottlenecked case 25mm long with an 86-grain FMJ bullet moving at an impressive 1410 fps. These proved very popular with the Yugoslavs and many saw use through the end of World War II.

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After the Great War, Serbia became part of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. In 1929, it became the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. As soon as it was financially possible, the new nation set about standardizing the new army's equipment. These efforts were only moderately successful.

In 1923, an order was placed with Fabrique National for 60,000 Mle. 1910/22 pistols known as the Automatski pistolj Brauning 9mm M.23. Additional pistols were purchased during the 1930s and they became the most common Yugoslav service pistol.

* 9mm Metak za Pistolj Brauning M.23--consisted of a straight-walled, rimless case 17mm long with a 95-grain FMJ bullet traveling at approximately 955 fps.

After the Wehrmacht defeated the Yugoslav army in April 1941, partisan armies formed to resist the conquerors. The Partisans were controlled by the Yugoslav Communist Party under Josef Broz Tito while the Chetniks were loyal to the exiled King Petar II Karageorgevic. Both captured vast quantities of weapons from Axis occupation forces, including German P.08 Lugers and Walther P.38 pistols, many of which continued in service until the late 1950s and remained in reserve even longer.

* 9mm Patrone 08--the Luger and P38 used a car tridge consisting of a rimless, tapered case 19mm long loaded with a 123-grain FMJ bullet moving at approximately 1150 fps.

The Partisans and Chetniks also captured large numbers of Italian small arms, including the Glisenti Modello 1910 and Beretta Modello 1934 pistols. While the latter fired the M.23 cartridge (see above) the Modello 1910 used a unique round.

* 9mm Cartucce a Pallottola Mo. 10--the Modello 1910 pistol's cartridge used the same case as the German 9mm Patrone 08 but was loaded with a 124-grain flat-nosed, FMJ bullet moving at a moderate 1050 fps.

Political, religious and ethnic differences led to a virtual state of war between the Partisans and Chetniks and they often spent more effort fighting each other than the Germans and Italians. (2) Late in World War II, the Partisans began receiving aid from the USSR in the form of small arms, including TT33 Tokarev pistols and obr. 1895g Nagant revolvers. The latter were issued to mounted units, who reportedly used them until the mid-1950s.

* Pistoletnyi patron 7,62x25 TT (3)--the Soviets also provided the Yugoslavs with Tokarev TT33 pistols and PPSh41 submachine guns. The Soviet 7.62mm cartridge used the same case as the 7.63mm Mauser cartridge but with an 87-grain FMJ bullet moving at 1380 fps.

* 7,62mm Revol'ver patron obr. 1895g (4)--the cartridge for the Nagant gas-seal revolver propelled its 108-grain FMJ bullet to 900 fps. The bullet was seated down in the rimmed, tapered case 27mm long so that when the cylinder moved forward, the case mouth entered the barrel's forcing cone where it formed a gas seal upon firing.

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The Allies eventually recognized Tito as the head of the resistance and head of the postwar Yugoslavian government.

In 1957 the state arsenal Crvena Zastava in Kragujevac began production of a modified TT33 Tokarev known as the Pistolj I Automat M.57, which remained the standard Yugoslav service pistol until quite recently.

* 7,62mm TT Metak za Pistolj I Automat M.57--the Yugoslav M.57 cartridge has dimensions and ballistics identical to the 7.62mm Tokarev.

Needing a smaller, lighter pistol for police and army officers, in 1970 Crvena Zastava developed a blowback pistol, the Pistolj Automat M.70, chambered for the 7,65mm Browning.

In the late 1980s a design team at Crvena Zastava, led by Bozidar Blagojevic, began development of a new service pistol chambered for the 9mm Parabellum cartridge. The final design combined features of the SIG P226 and Walther P88 and was adopted in 1991 as the Pistolj I Automat CZ99.

* 9mm Metak za Pistolj I Automat CZ99--Yugoslav issue ammunition uses a tapered, rimless case 19mm long whose 124-grain FMJ bullet is propelled to approximately 1150 fps.

Tito died in 1980, and the country slowly descended into anarchy as various ethnic groups demanded more autonomy if not independence. The power of the Communist party declined, and Yugoslavia broke up in a series of civil wars following the declarations of independence by Slovenia and Croatia on June 1991 and Bosnia and Herzegovina on March 1992. Macedonia left the federation peacefully in September of 1991.

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Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was established in 1992, which was reconstituted as a political union called the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro (Vojska Srbije i Crna Gore) in 2003.

I would like to thank Lou Behling and Janez Hartman for supplying cartridges, photos and information used to prepare this report.

(1) According to Serbian author Janez Hartman the designation "7,4.mmM was used, even though the bullet was 7.5mm in size.

(2) Some Chetniks were so anti-Communist that they cooperated with German and Italian occupation forces in fighting the Partisans.

(3) Soviet designation.

(4) Soviet designation.
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Author:Scarlata, Paul
Publication:Shotgun News
Geographic Code:4EXHU
Date:Jul 1, 2015
Words:1439
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