Yugoslav Mauser rifle (post WWII) crest study
Yugo Crest Study
I snagged this carving image off an auction site. It sold for a pretty fair amount. I've no idea who the winner was. If you're here and object to my using it, lemme know and I'll yank it. If you just would like recognition, sing out!
Many here are aware I have been trying to run a study on the various crests stamped upon the receiver rings of Yugoslavia's post WWII military Mauser rifles. I was invited to post it here for a sticky some little while ago.
My apologies for not getting it posted sooner but, I have been much occupied otherwise. It has become clear to me that I cannot get this all posted at one time so I'm going to make this an introduction, present what I'm trying to do, hope to accomplish, and give some idea what I have learned so far. I will present the bare bones here now so we can get this anchored, and then I will build on it as I can. Then with your help, maybe we can learn more about these rifles and perhaps how to better judge when and where they were made/reworked.
Thank you and the owners of this forum for extending me this opportunity.
I've observed that there is a wide range of variety in the crests applied to post WWII Yugoslavian Military Mauser rifles. This is due to the fact that the tools used to make these impressions were individually hand cut by different artisans. The many variations come, in part at least, from the difference in skill levels and the whim of the maker. There may have been a difference in available patterns as well because there are one of two major design characteristic visible in every crest.
reference: I had this comment in an email from Branko (Bogdanovic- Author of "Serbian & Yugoslav Mauser Rifles," Zastava Historian and researcher for the Milkitary Museum- Belgrade) ... First of all, the crest design itself was not strictly regulated. Separate tools were made in each factory and workshop and crest shape depended on toolmaker's skill. The same applies to the inscriptions as well. They were all either engraved or stamped. (As in Hadzici's TRZ.5) Elektropenciling only started to be applied for the first time on the semiautomatic rifle PAP M1959. (sks) Branko
The crest design under discussion is the Post WWII Communist crest applied to the receiver rings of Yugoslavia's Mauser rifles. It is basically well known- 5 torches (a 6th was added in 1963 but this version will not appear on our Mausers) w/in a wreath of wheat stalks crossed at the bottom. These wreath stems should officially (I believe) be crossed left over right. But the ends can be seen either way about equally on the stamps. Whether this is the result of carelessness or perhaps dyslexia on the part of the tool makers or variations in available patterns is unknown.
Concerning patterns, there appears to have been, as noted above, two distinctly different design variations available to the tool makers. Details may change: whether the crest be crude or refined, the number of grain seeds represented, the size and consistency of the star, the wreath, the arrangement of the torches and their flames, all details may vary. But, there will consistently be one of two features. The crest will either be circular, round as a circle or, ovoid as in an elongated circle or 'egg shaped.'
So far, I have only identified a few crests as being specific to certain shops. One example is the small, refined crest seen on the earlier Kragujevac (factory 44) rifles. These are notable by being smaller than most crests seen and very finely made. This crest is seen on 24/47s marked 3AVOD 44 which was replaced with the familiar Serbian Cyrillic ПРЕДУЗЕЋЕ (PREDUZECE) 44 stamp in Sept 1947 so we know it was used prior to that date. I have not seen another crest on the 3ДVOD (ZAVOD) 44 rifles but that crest does appear, with others, on later rifles produced there. It is my guess that this finely made stamp was the first in use at Kragujevac. So far, I have not been able to catalog the other Kragujevac crests. Another factor affecting time of use there would be when the use of the Latin script "PREDUZECE" first began to be used. I cannot say for sure when that was. If any here can say, please do.
There are other crests unique to a specific shop. These are some particularly crude crests seen on Hadzici's TRZ.5. By association, there's a crest identified with shop TR137 (location unknown) while not identical to a TRZ.5 crest, was undoubtedly made to the same drawing and perhaps may reasonably be believed to have been made by the same hand. In either case, that may also suppose a nearness in geographical location to each other.
There's a well detailed crest soundly identified with shop RADIONICA 124 (location unknown). So far it is the only one so identified with that shop. But this same crest appears on a RAD 145 rifle.
I also have two apparently identical crests but on a PRED 44 and RAD145 rifle, respectively. There are a number of crests cross represented. Each tool was cut by hand. Can two tools be so nearly identical? Considering the roughness apparent in the details- look at the stars, wheat stalks, especially the grains representation, banner, torch base and flames, date--- none are exactly or even remotely consistent--- I would say not. So I don't think we can say we have a number of identical tools provided to different shops by the same maker, except perhaps in the case of the three similar crude TRZ.5/TR137 crests (so far).
My best guess about that is that a rifle was first reworked, and crested, at one shop, and then later reworked at another who then placed there stamps upon the rifle. I'm open to suggestions. Any and all information is welcome. I do intend working this into an article to be presented for publication. If any are concerned about information being so presented, or want recognition for any images used, please let me know.
So it appears we have a lot of cross comparing to do and determining what it may mean. Each tool was cut by hand. Can two tools be so nearly identical? Considering the roughness apparent in the details- look at the stars, none are exactly or even remotely even and square- I would say not. So I don't think we can say we have a number of identical tools provided to different shops by the same maker, except perhaps in the case of the three similar crude TRZ.5/TR137 crests (so far).
Below I will post some crests I have so far cataloged. Then some I have not pegged.
A note on my images. They have come, often, from you and members of other forums, some were lifted from auction sites and some are/were my own. I will not try to identify each owner of the crests. Y'all know who you are. Feel free to sing out if you want to claim credit. If someone recognizes their crest and does not want it posted, contact me and I'll take it down.
Why do this? One, I have an "enquiring mind" and just want to know. To add to our knowledge base. To maybe help identify otherwise unknown details about a rifle. By example we can now surmise, if not positively state, that two rifles with no manufacturer's code well may have been done at TRZ.5. Maybe we can, in time, narrow a crest to period of use such as the 3AVOD 44 stamp to help date rifles. Maybe to track a weapon through it's refurb/repair course. By example, we know a lot of 24/47s went through (at least) a second rebuild before going into final storage. Maybe we can say where both operations were done? Who knows. I can say Branko has little interest or no info to share so we're pretty much on our own here. That's ok. We found TRZ.5 on our own, didn't we?
These are identified RAD 124 crests on different rifles. I have more identical so identified.
This is on a block font, hyphened TRZ-5 mod 98. I believe this seldom seen shop identifier to be a very early type. This may be one of the first crests applied to post war Yugo Mauser rifles. It is notable by its crudeness and roughness. The Block font, hyphened TRZ-5 stamp is, I would say, extremely rare. I only have two examples. "Moconfed"s below makes a third. Each has had this same crest.
The top of this group of three (below) is on an identified script font TRZ.5. The bottom two are from rifles unmarked as to manufacturer. Close examination will reveal variations in each crest indication each was from a different tool. They are crude or perhaps merely simplified. Were these made by the same maker? The bottom two appear to be a little for finely made than the top. Could it be that the drawing used was what was crude and not the tool maker's skill?
The left crest here (below) is on a TR137 rifle. It is similar but not identical to the one on right or any of the others of the three above. Clearly crudely made. By the, or one of the, makers above? Or perhaps simply to the same drawing? Were these crests made in close geographical location to each other? Other than TRZ.5, none of these other shop's locations are known (or the knowledge restricted).
This is all for now. I'll add to it as time allow. Please add anything you can. Even if you merely have a crest already represented, plurality matters. The more crests we can ascribe to a shop, the greater the weight of evidence that it belonged to one shop or another. That could help explain the cases of isolated duplicated crests attached to different shop marked rifles.
Thanks for your help.
PS: PRED 44 coming soon...
(having difficulties with this new fangled image manager... )
Last edited by nothernug; 02-26-2010 at 10:42 AM.
"In times of trouble and of war, God and soldiers we adore; When wars are done and wrongs are righted, God's forgotten and the soldier slighted." Ye Olde English proverb; origin unknown
I make reproduction Yugoslav pre-WWII rifle slings and bayonet frogs.