As part of C&Rsenal’s WWI Primer series, Othais and Mae take a look at the French-contract “Mousqueton Winchester” M1894 carbines, which also served in the conflict.
In search of rifles to help equip rapidly expanding armies during World War I, French purchasing agents bought a number of commercial “off the shelf” designs readily available to arm secondary or rear echelon troops such as transport personnel and aircraft ground crew. Among these designs was John Browning’s Winchester 94 model in .30-30, of which some 15,100 were picked up by the French starting in 1915, equipped with sling swivels and different rear sights calibrated in meters.
It wasn’t the first French use of Winchester cowboy guns, as they had tested Winchester Model 1866s back in the day and even used them to a degree in their war with Prussia in 1870.
And they weren’t the only ones to use Winny lever actions during the time, with the Russians buying all the Model 1895s in 7.62x54R they could get their hands on, the Brits buying small amounts of both 92s and 94s, and the U.S. Army issuing some 1,800 M1894s to the Signal Corps’ “Spruce Squadrons” in the Pacific Northwest.
For even more on the ’94 in the Great War, check out the video below from Ian with Forgotten Weapons, which he posted a few days ago.