Mannlicher M.95 Rifles and Carbines in Poland
A unit called 'Polish Legion', consisting of Poles living in the Monarchy's territory, and ethnic Poles from the captured Russian prisoners served in the Austro-Hungarian Army during WW1. Significant number of Poles lived in Galicia, the area the Russians invaded at the beginning of the war, so they were dedicated to fight against the Russians. The Polish Legion carried the M.95's and 5000 Mannlicher-Schoenauer M03/14 rifles. For details and pictures of M03/14 rifles see the Mannlicher-Schoenauer page.
After the end of WW1, The former Habsburg territory of Galicia (with the exception of Bukovina) was given to the newly formed independent Poland. The
general of the Polish Legion (Josef Pilsudski) became the president of Poland. With the territory, Poland gained a large number of former Monarchy weapons.
Records indicate the existance of these weapons in Polish service between WW1 and WW2. The Polish units these guns served are unknown.
Most guns in Polish service received small 'z' stamps if/when they went through repair. 'z' = Zbrojovnia (Small armory). The 'z' marks may vary in size and location on different parts and it maybe circled or boxed or enclosed in other graphics symbols. Sometimes the mark can be found under the woodline. If the repair of the Mannlichers followed the Poles Mauser repair methods, a small Polish Eagle stamp maybe found somewhere on the rifle. The right side of the buttstock maybe arsenal depot marked like 'Zb' or 'Zbr-1' or 'Kr-23' (Kr = Krakow).
During the Spanish Civil War, the Soviet NKVD Agency supplied the Communist Republican Forces in Spain with 20,000 Mannlicher Wz.95 rifles and carbines purchased from the Polish Ministry of Defense. The rifle shipment did not reach the Reds, it was captured by Franco's Nationalists. Most Spanish Civil War weapons ended up on the U.S. surplus market during 1959-62. These guns may have additional Spanish Civil War markings and various graffity. More info about the weapons used in the Spanish Civil War