|Rifle||Mauser G24(t)||Manufacturer||CZB Považská Bystrica|
|Action||Rotation Bolt||Barrel Length||23.23″|
|Magazine||5 rounds staggered||Weight||9.13 lbs|
Germany’s advance across Europe in WWII created a demand for small arms far beyond its domestic capacity. In addition to capturing equipment from defeated powers, Germany took control of factories in order to rearm. The G24(t) represents a transition of Czechoslovakian production from their native vz.24 to the Kar98K.
We’ve discussed the history of Czechoslovakia in brief before and certainly will again, so let’s skip to the specifics. Following the Anchluss in 1938, Adolf Hitler turned his attentions on the Sudetenland, a region consisting of the Sudetes mountains and beyond ringing the western sides of Czechoslovakia as its border met Germany and Austria. In 1939 Germany invaded properly and broke the country into the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and the puppet state Slovak Republic. Former Czechoslovakian arms and equipment production was quickly turned to arm the Wehrmacht as resources were secured. Czechoslovakia’s factory in Považská Bystrica was engaged in manufacturing the Mauser model 98 descendant vz.24 rifle for domestic and export sales at the time of the invasion. Germany allowed the plant to complete its standing order for fellow Axis power Romania. With the completion of the Romanian vz.24 contract, Bystrica was finally put to work for the German soldier. In a nod to efficiency, surplus vz.24 components were put to assembly in a slightly modified format. Initially the only changes were the inclusion of bolt take-town washers and German-style sling cutouts in the stocks. Eventually cupped butt plates and laminate stocks appeared as parts were used up.
These ‘adjusted’ vz.24 rifles were designated the Gewehr 24 Tschechoslowakei, meaning Military Rifle Model 24 Czechoslovakian. They display this as G24(t) on their receiver wall and a “dou” code marking for the Povaszka Bystrica plant over the two digit year of production on their receiver ring. The first few series of rifles bore WaA607 code markings on solid stocks with flat butt plates. About the time laminate stocks appeared, the WaAA80 replaced WaA607. It seems by 1942 the flat butt plates dried up and cupped plates were fitted. Roughly 255,000 were produced from 1941 through 1942 before parts were exhausted and production of the standard Kar98K took over.
G24(t) rifles were chambered for 7.92x57mm Mauser and load their five round capacity, staggered, integral magazines from chargers. Their tangent rear sights are adjustable to 2000 meters. The action is a standard Mauser Model 98 rotating bolt and all G24(t) feature straight bolt handles. Original stocks could be either solid wood or laminate, flat butt plate or cupped, all will have the cut through the stock for the German sling but some may still have Czechoslovakian style sling swivels remaining.
Service life for the G24(t) is hard to nail down. Currently we have not found a reputable source detailing the issue and use of the G24(t) rifle in the German army. Many have speculated SS use but we have not found mention of a single rifle that does not display the prominent H of the Heer. Given their strict interpretation of what constitutes a primary arm, the G24(t) was most likely given to second line units. Several rifles have also been found marked with the double cross over the Carpathians property mark of the Slovak Republic. Given Považská Bystrica’s location it is likely these rifles never left the country but were donated by Germany to bolster its puppet ally.
Shooting the G24(t) is just the same as firing a standard vz.24. None of the changes for the Germans really represent a detectable change in the rifle outside of lugging it around all day with a slightly different sling. Czechoslovakian Mauser production quality was outstanding and all arms produced by its factory pre or post occupation provide smooth operation and accurate shooting. They are sturdy and reliable beyond compare and the G24(t) is no exception.
This rifle does stand out, however, in the unique history it reveals. Its transitional nature reminds the collector both of Germany’s aggression towards and odd respect for its neighbor. Clearly, the Wehrmacht took what it wanted from Czechoslovakian industry but yielded to the quality of their arms. Instead of immediately switching to supervised Kar98K production, they used components from before the invasion to assemble Germanized weapons. This wasn’t just thrift and cheapness. This was an acknowledgement of the quality of the parts on hand. Compare this to the occupation of Yugoslavia, where Germany did steal weapons from the battlefields and armories, but left much of the industry and overproduction components in mothballs.
Regardless, the G24(t) is an extremely uncommon German rifle to happen across and if you have the occasion there are few rifles that reflect so well the scramble for reliable armament in the expanding conflict of WWII. Those that already own their own should take the time to dust them off, oil them, and display them in order to share their story.