Rifle: Dutch Mannlicher No.5 Carbine

Dutch Mannlicher No.5 Tilt

Rifle Mannlicher M1895 Manufacturer Hembrug
Cartridge 6.5×53mmR Overall Length 37.5″
Action Rotation Bolt Barrel Length 17″
Magazine 5-rnds en-bloc Weight 7.2 lb

 

At the outbreak of WWII the Dutch armed forces were still more than equipped with WWI surplus rifles, but they had mechanized and changed and needed more carbines.  As we’ve seen elsewhere, a simple and thrifty plan was put into place.

Dutch Mannlicher No5 leftWe have covered the original Dutch M.95 before.  Well, WWI production was enough to satisfy the Netherlands all the way into WWII.  However, this surplus did not extend into the production of carbines.  Over 20 years the military had become more mobile, with more specialized troops, and less need for standing infantry.  So there were more than enough long rifles on hand but not enough carbines.  The solution was a simple one. In 1938 experiments began with just how to efficiently and properly shorten the rifle.  Two versions of police carbine had been in use, produced from former rifles, but these were meant for short range shooting and retained the original sights.  Ultimately a new design was adopted in 1939.  This conversion included:

  • Shortening the stock
  • Shortening the barrel
  • Milling the outside diameter of the barrel down
  • Replacing the front sight
  • Swapping the rifle rear sight for a carbine rear sight
  • Moving the lower sling swivel rearward
  • Wood fill for original sling swivel and cleaning rod channel
  • Either carbine barrel band fitted or original rifle band modified by attaching sling swivel

An initial batch of 9,500 was begun in order to arm motorized artillery and anti-aircraft troops.  An additional 20,000 were then ordered, produced with new-made barrels and 30,000 additional from acceptable long rifles.  We’re unsure if the new-made barrels retain the step at the barrel band or not.  The German invasion of the Netherlands halted production with an rough estimate of 35,000 units produced.  These carbines were distributed as they were produced and were already in the field during the German invasion.  They would have been used, to sadly limited effect, during the invasion.

Dutch Mannlicher No5 comparisonSpotting a N0.5 is actually fairly easy.  Most will have a forward sling swivel brazed under the original barrel band.  Sadly, our example does not (although the band is matched).  Ours actually shows signs of being assembled from rifle and carbine components, so there may be more to the story.  However, an easy tell is the filled in rear sling swivel location and original cleaning rod channel.  At a glance, the finger rest in the stock is actually positioned further forward than on an original carbine.  If the rifle lacks a handguard or if you gently lift it off you should also see a milled down barrel, unless you find one of the new-made ones we have not surveyed yet.  Let us know if that is the case by the way!

Overall Dutch Mannlichers don’t get enough love.  They are light, chamber an excellent 6.5mm cartridge (sadly rimmed though), and the actions are generally smooth and firm.  A broad variety means there is plenty to collect so if you encounter one don’t be afraid to pick it up!

Dutch Mannlicher No5 top

 

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