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Siberian & North Russia Expedition firearms/ammo


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#1 Alonzo

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 09:29 PM

Got a couple of questions relating to the American Expeditionary Force in North Russia and Siberia near the end of WW1.
I understand that some of the troops were issued the M1891 Mosin Nagant rifle. There were some made in the US...Remington and New England Westinghouse.
Which maker is most commonly associated with the American troops serving in N. Russia/Siberia? Where did the troops obtain a supply of ammunition for these rifles? Did they have a US maker supply them or did they use Russian ammo.
I just recently picked up a couple of rounds of British Made 7.62x54R 1917 dated ammo. Though cannot recall if the Brits used the Mosin Nagant while in North Russia as well. The cartridge dealer did not know of US WW1 era ammo for the Mosin.
Cheers

#2 Camp_Kearny

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 10:28 PM

AEF Siberia was armed with M1903 along with BARs, Browning M1917s, Vickers 30'06, and M1916 37mm. The 5000 replacements sent from the 8th Division to Siberia had to turn in their M1917s and were issued M1903s prior to leaving Camp Fremont. The US State Department did send stocks of Russian rifles to Siberia to be issued to the White Forces but the Commander of the US Forces, General Graves, delayed that delivery as he tried to maintain a strict neutrality for US Troops. His policy was probably wise as there were approximately 8,000 US troops in the Siberia at any given time and would have had a hard time fighting in anything larger than a minor skirmish. Also the White Forces were little better in conduct than the Red Forces and in some cases were much more violent and cruel.

I have not done as much research on NREF but I believe the Russian ammo and rifles were drawn from stocks being held in Britain but were produced in the United States.

Edited by Camp_Kearny, 16 July 2011 - 10:29 PM.


#3 yblockhead

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 06:32 AM

I have a box of 7.62x54R with REMINGTON 17 on the case. The box is dated June 1st 1917. Somebody gave it to my dad years ago, thinking it was 30-30 ammo.

#4 bummer

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 01:33 PM

A good book about the Allied Intervention in Western Russia is Fighting the Bolsheviks. This unit was a written by a Michigan school teacher that enlisted and when his unit was sent to Northern Russia, I believe it was the 339th Infantry Regiment and there is a museum in Frankenmuth that has the units history. I noticed that your from Canada and one of your artillery units fired in support of the Michigan boys

#5 bheskett

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 01:51 PM

"Michigan Own Military and Space Museum" is the one in Frankenmuth. Great stuff
Bob

#6 Charlie Flick

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 02:23 PM

AEF Siberia was armed with M1903 along with BARs, Browning M1917s, Vickers 30'06, and M1916 37mm.


Camp K:

I have not spent much time studying this deployment either, but the period photos I have seen show US soldiers carrying M1891 rifles.

The caption for this photo indicates that it was taken in the UK as the US troops of the 339th Infantry Regiment were preparing to depart for Archangel. Those rifles look like M1891 rifles to me.
Mosin_Nagant_US_339th_Inf_1919_UK_to_Archangel.jpg

This photo, taken from the Free Republic website is captioned: An American guard ladling out rice to Bolshevik prisoners during October, 1918. M1891 Rifle with bayonet shown

http://images8.fotki.com/v159/photos/1/133612/1949982/oatmeal-vi.jpg

Another from the Chicago Tribune showing M1891 rifles.

Posted Image

The photographic evidence seems fairly compelling that the 339th was armed with M1891 rifles in Siberia.

Regards,
Charlie Flick

#7 Red Devil

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 04:38 PM

Those are some great photos!l Definitely shows the Mosin Nagant in use.

#8 Alonzo

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 04:56 PM

Camp K:

I have not spent much time studying this deployment either, but the period photos I have seen show US soldiers carrying M1891 rifles.

The caption for this photo indicates that it was taken in the UK as the US troops of the 339th Infantry Regiment were preparing to depart for Archangel. Those rifles look like M1891 rifles to me.
Mosin_Nagant_US_339th_Inf_1919_UK_to_Archangel.jpg

This photo, taken from the Free Republic website is captioned: An American guard ladling out rice to Bolshevik prisoners during October, 1918. M1891 Rifle with bayonet shown

http://images8.fotki.com/v159/photos/1/133612/1949982/oatmeal-vi.jpg

Another from the Chicago Tribune showing M1891 rifles.

Posted Image

The photographic evidence seems fairly compelling that the 339th was armed with M1891 rifles in Siberia.

Regards,
Charlie Flick



WOW, those are awesome photos, thanks for sharing. It seems, with all the evidence I have found and talking to other collectors that the 339th in North Russia used the Mosin Nagant. Now the big questions...rifle maker and ammo supplier. Remington and New England Westinghouse made the M1891...is there a chance that they 339th used a US made Mosin Nagant? Additionally, did the US troops use US made 7.62X54R ammunition??? Inquiring minds need to know.
Cheers

#9 siege1863

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 07:11 PM

My Grandfather, Roy E. Brown, was a member of the ANREF! He was a driver in the 337th Ambulance Company. Due to the conditions in Russia, the ambulances were left behind in Britain. In their lieu, the men used reindeer and pony sleds to transport the dead and wounded from the battlefield. The first photo is when he was still stateside, at Camp Custer, Michigan.

RoyPolarBear2.jpg

Here is his WWI Victory Medal with "Russia" clasp.

MEDAL.JPG

#10 trenchbuff

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 07:13 PM

Camp K:

I have not spent much time studying this deployment either, but the period photos I have seen show US soldiers carrying M1891 rifles.

The caption for this photo indicates that it was taken in the UK as the US troops of the 339th Infantry Regiment were preparing to depart for Archangel. Those rifles look like M1891 rifles to me.
Mosin_Nagant_US_339th_Inf_1919_UK_to_Archangel.jpg

This photo, taken from the Free Republic website is captioned: An American guard ladling out rice to Bolshevik prisoners during October, 1918. M1891 Rifle with bayonet shown

http://images8.fotki.com/v159/photos/1/133612/1949982/oatmeal-vi.jpg

Another from the Chicago Tribune showing M1891 rifles.

Posted Image

The photographic evidence seems fairly compelling that the 339th was armed with M1891 rifles in Siberia.

Regards,
Charlie Flick


Charlie,

The 339th went to North Russia, not Siberia. The 27th and 31st Infantry were the units that went to Siberia. They were two distinct operations.

#11 siege1863

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 07:17 PM

Here is the "Polar Bears" monument in the White Chapel Cemetery in Troy, Michigan. Immediately surrounding it are the WWI dead. Other members who subsequently passed on are buried nearby. I think it is one of the finest military monuments ever.

PBMonument1.jpg

#12 Camp_Kearny

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 07:34 PM

Camp K:

I have not spent much time studying this deployment either, but the period photos I have seen show US soldiers carrying M1891 rifles.

The caption for this photo indicates that it was taken in the UK as the US troops of the 339th Infantry Regiment were preparing to depart for Archangel. Those rifles look like M1891 rifles to me.
Mosin_Nagant_US_339th_Inf_1919_UK_to_Archangel.jpg

This photo, taken from the Free Republic website is captioned: An American guard ladling out rice to Bolshevik prisoners during October, 1918. M1891 Rifle with bayonet shown

http://images8.fotki.com/v159/photos/1/133612/1949982/oatmeal-vi.jpg

Another from the Chicago Tribune showing M1891 rifles.

Posted Image

The photographic evidence seems fairly compelling that the 339th was armed with M1891 rifles in Siberia.

Regards,
Charlie Flick


Charlie,

There were three distinct US Forces in Russia during and just after WWI. There was the North Russia Expeditionary Force (NREF) which was composed of the 339th Infantry and support units. NREF served in North Russia around Murmansk and Archangel and was involved in active combat with Red forces. The NREF was commanded and supplied by the British. The last photo you posted shows US Troops wearing the very unpopular Shackleton Sheepskin Tropal Coat. They were very warm but impractical for combat. I have one made in WWII lined in kapok instead of sheepskin and the thing weighs a ton. These troops carried M1891 rifles along with Vickers and Lewis guns chambered for 7.62. Instead of M1911s, many troops were armed with the Webley .455 revolvers.

The second group were the American Expeditionary Force Siberia (AEFS) composed the 27th and 31st Infantry along with support units. AEFS served in Vladivostok and along the eastern part of the Trans-Siberia railroad in Asia Russia. AEFS was under the command of a US general and was acting more in the role of a peacekeeping force than in active combat. AEFS was involved in some rather sharp skirmishes with both Red forces and bandit gangs. All supplies were provided by the US and most was shipped out of San Francisco or Manila. I will try to dig up some photos of AEFS carrying M1903s. AEFS is one of my interests due to the strong connection with California especially Camps Fremont and Kearny.

Finally there was the Russian Railroad Service (RRS) which was a para-military force made up of railroad workers who worked to keep the Trans-Siberian Railroad open. They wore US uniforms but I am not sure what they were armed with if they were armed at all. Give me some time and I will see if I can dig up those photos.

Ian

#13 Camp_Kearny

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 09:01 PM

Here are a few of photos from AEFS in my collection. I love the caption on this first one, "A Vodka Party"

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk150/Camp_Kearny/VodkaPartyUpload.jpg

The next one's caption is "Seven come eleven, shoot craps when they don't know who is the enemy to shoot at."

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk150/Camp_Kearny/ShootingCrapsUpload.jpg

Finally here is an "action" shot of US Troops guarding the Trans-Siberian Railroad. The caption on the back states " The War is not over for these AEF Troops guarding the Trans-Siberian Railroad in Siberia -- here are some them in winter costume at one of the lonely outposts, where they remain on duty even in the severest weather."

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk150/Camp_Kearny/AttackedUpload.jpg

I'll dig through the rest of my photos and upload some more when I have more time.

Ian

#14 Alonzo

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 09:49 PM

Finally there was the Russian Railroad Service (RRS) which was a para-military force made up of railroad workers who worked to keep the Trans-Siberian Railroad open. They wore US uniforms but I am not sure what they were armed with if they were armed at all. Give me some time and I will see if I can dig up those photos.

Ian



On my display of the North Russia/Siberian Expedition one of the key items was matched pair of R.R.S insignia. With the insignia was the following description I wrote. It is a bit long though I wrote it to fit on a 11X17 sheet. It covers the basic concept of the Russian Railway Service Corps. Apparently in 1977 these men were recognized as veterans of World War One, though If memory serves me right there were only a couple of survivors left.
The Russian Railway Service Corps
1917-1920

With the collapse of the tsarist government in Russia in the spring of 1917, President Woodrow Wilson and other high ranking U.S. government officials developed a strategy that sought to support and stabilize the Provisional Government of Aleksandr Kerensky and prevent the Russian Bolsheviks under Lenin and Trotsky from coming to power and hurting the Allied war effort by carrying out their threat to sue for a separate peace with the Germans.
The railway missions were technical ventures aimed at solving Russia's transportation problems, especially those related to the control and management of the Trans-Siberian Railway. While technical in nature, however, the missions certainly had political implications as well. By offering to protect and improve the railway, American officials hoped to:
1) prevent Japan from dominating the region,
2) guard the Allied stockpiled materials at Vladivostok,
3) provide Russia and the Allies with the means to fight the Germans, and 4) help the new Russian government get food to its people.

The Russian Railway Service Corps consisted of 316 American Army railway engineers out of St. Paul, MN and Philadelphia, PA under the command of Colonel George Emmerson, the general manager of the Great Northern Railway.
The R.R.S.C., from the beginning, had been divided into two contingents: operating and erecting. The operating contingent from St. Paul had approximately 238 members. The erecting contingent consisted of 78 men, all chosen from the staff of the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia.
The Russian Railway Service Corps was initially planned to be a military unit with civilian status hired by Kerensky's Provisional Government for duty along the Trans-Siberian Railroad. They were all commissioned as officers as a way of enticing them to join.
The contingent left San Francisco on 18 November 1917 aboard the U.S. transport Thomas. By the time the unit arrived in Vladivostok on 14 December, however, Lenin and the Bolsheviks had come to power and its services were no longer desired. They were sent to Nagasaki, Japan and stayed there for nearly eight months till they were needed in Siberia. During this time 110 men were sent home, with the remainder waiting for orders. In August 1918 they were finally dispatched to Vladivostok to take part in the Siberian Intervention. In the end, Americans troops were pulled out of Siberia in early 1920; although some civilian train experts did stay on until later.
The men joined what they were told was the military, received their pay and orders from the military. They suffered hardships and deprivations in Siberia for two years after WWI was over. When they were released from service they were told that they had not been in the army, but were instead attached to the State Department. Woodrow Wilson, and every other politician involved in this fiasco have backed and filled and covered until the only one thing is clear, the men were had. For years they fought for recognition that they had served their government in the Great War, and for years they failed. At last the Supreme Court sided with them, but the government waited until there were only a few survivors.
The uniforms and insignia of the Russian Railway Service Corps are among the rarest of all World War One artifacts.
The R.R.S. insignia in the display case is an original WW1 Officers grade insignia.

Edited by Alonzo, 18 July 2011 - 09:52 PM.


#15 Alonzo

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 09:50 PM

Here are a few of photos from AEFS in my collection. I love the caption on this first one, "A Vodka Party"

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk150/Camp_Kearny/VodkaPartyUpload.jpg

The next one's caption is "Seven come eleven, shoot craps when they don't know who is the enemy to shoot at."

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk150/Camp_Kearny/ShootingCrapsUpload.jpg

Finally here is an "action" shot of US Troops guarding the Trans-Siberian Railroad. The caption on the back states " The War is not over for these AEF Troops guarding the Trans-Siberian Railroad in Siberia -- here are some them in winter costume at one of the lonely outposts, where they remain on duty even in the severest weather."

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk150/Camp_Kearny/AttackedUpload.jpg

I'll dig through the rest of my photos and upload some more when I have more time.

Ian



Ian;
Awesome pics...thanks for sharing.
Cheers

#16 artu44

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 06:06 AM

Just my two cents. This booklet of mine is a goldmine for production data. In the pictured page there are numbers about US made Moisin called "russian rifles". Relevant ammo are said produced by REM UMC but most in England.
In the next page (not pictured) a table show that they ordered 278,950 rifles and sent overseas to 15,Nov 1918 280,049 guns. Moreover 1 (one) rifle was sold to Navy and Marine Corps and average unity cost was 33.07$. A typing mistake in the table indicates caliber as 7.92 Russian.

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  • prod1.jpg

Edited by artu44, 19 July 2011 - 06:08 AM.


#17 artu44

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 06:21 AM

OK, I hate to seem lazy so I took camera again. Next page.

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#18 Charlie Flick

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 07:56 AM

Trenchbuff and Ian:

Thanks for filling in the considerable blanks in my limited knowledge of the Russian experience for US troops at the end of WW1. Good stuff there, and a subject that is worthy of further study.

Regards,
Charlie Flick

#19 Camp_Kearny

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 08:29 PM

Charlie,

No worries, I have always enjoyed researching and collecting some of the more obscure theaters of WWI and WWII especially AEF Siberia and US Forces in the Aleutians during WWII. I grew up in Los Altos Hills which was used for training during WWI for soldiers at Camp Fremont. I will try to post a list of some of the better books regarding AEF Siberia in the next couple of weeks.

Ian

#20 12thengr

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 03:11 PM

The little red books published by Greenhill , G.I. series #7, Over There! pages 75-77 has some pictures of the 339th, carrying Mosin-Nagants.

#21 p2tharizo

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 06:15 PM

It seems there are some very knowledgeable members here as far as the AEF in Siberia. I'm ashamed to say until I watched this episode on History Detectives the other night, I had no knowledge of us being there at all. I'm not trying to hijack the thread, but I feel this coincidentally fits right in to the topic of conversation. My late grandmother and I were huge fans of the show, and if you guys haven't ever seen it, I hope you enjoy this little tidbit.

http://www.pbs.org/o...iberian-bullet/

#22 Mk VII

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 01:59 PM

Britain had been making the Russian cartridge in large quantities, and was stuck with huge amounts after the October Revolution. The British offered it to the US for immediate and ongoing deliveries. Remington UMC had also been making it, and between the two there was no question of US arsenals making it.

#23 Patchcollector

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 02:21 PM

My Grandfather, Roy E. Brown, was a member of the ANREF! He was a driver in the 337th Ambulance Company. Due to the conditions in Russia, the ambulances were left behind in Britain. In their lieu, the men used reindeer and pony sleds to transport the dead and wounded from the battlefield. The first photo is when he was still stateside, at Camp Custer, Michigan.

RoyPolarBear2.jpg

Here is his WWI Victory Medal with "Russia" clasp.

MEDAL.JPG


Wow!Amazing!Reindeer sleds used for ambulances!Mindblowing to picture that!


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