2018-04-24-2019-01-23 --- 2019-01-23 20:54:17--18
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LOT :130
Estimate EUR : €5,000.00 - €8,000.00
Auction Date : 24-04-2018


AN 1871 MAUSER CAVALRY CARBINE, 'HOWTH GUN RUNNING' single shot, black powder, bolt-action rifle, 11mm cartridge, stamped with registration numbers and factory mark GERR MAUSER & CO. OBERNDORFF, with additional bayonet lug. 112cm long (stock partially cut)


Provenance: By descent to present owner.


Exhibited: 'Volunteers' Glasnevin Cemetery Museum (December 2013 - March 2014) as one of the rifles landed aboard the Asgard at Howth in 1914 as part of the Howth Gun Running. The exhibition marked the foundation of both the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army.




Designed by Peter Paul Mauser, it was the first cartridge rifle adopted by the Prussian Army in 1872. It was a revolutionary design at the time, but by 1914 the German Army was using the more modern 1898 Mauser Gewehr rifle. Patrick Pearse admitted shortly after the landing that the Mauser was of an antiquated pattern, without magazines, and [was] much inferior to the British service rifle. Equally the powder cartridge, once fired, would give away the firers position in a cloud of white smoke.

On the other hand, Darrel Figgis, who purchased the rifles in Hamburg, described the Mauser as ideal for our purpose, cheap and undeniably effective.
Although technically obsolete, the Mauser was an effective weapon, firing a larger bullet than the British Lee-Enfield. It had ferocious recoil, however, as Tom Walsh recalls in his witness statement recorded in the Bureau of Military History (BMH.WS0198.)

In the excitement I did not heed the lectures and did not hold the gun correctly. The result was that [the first time I fired it] the butt hit me under the chin and knocked me out. The other disadvantage was the low rate of fire (four or five rounds per minute) as it did not have a magazine. Soldiers in the British Army at the time were trained to fire fifteen bullets a minute with their Lee-Enfield rifles, which had ten-round magazines.


After numerous failed attempts to purchase arms in France and Belgium, Darrel Figgis and Roger Casement managed to source 1,500 1871 Mauser rifles. They were bought in Hamburg from Moritz Magnus Jnr. In an unusual turn of events they had to pretend to be Mexicans, as it was forbidden for German companies to sell arms to Britain. Although the weapons were subsequently used as part of the 1916 rising, the initial consignment was to be used to defend Home Rule, which had been passed lawfully by Parliament.


The weapons were to be taken from Hamburg by tug boat and then met off the Irish coast by two yachts, one of which the Asgard, manned by Erskine Childers and his wife Molly, was to take the weapons into the fishing village of Howth, around 15km north of Dublin city.The other, the Kelpie, belonging to Conor OBrien transferred his cargo to Sir Thomas Myles in the Chotah off the coast of Wales and this cargo of 600 rifles was landed under cover of darkness on 1st August at Kilcoole, about 25 kilometres south of Dublin. Irish Volunteer and Fianna were the only two organizations involved in the Howth Gun Running, the Irish Citizen Army were not privy to any plans. They met the Asgard at Howth and successfully unloaded the entire consignment. Unchallenged by the Dublin Metropolitan Police a battalion of troops the Scottish Borderers were called out. They were ordered to seize the crowd, a melee broke out and in the confusion the group dispersed, returning in smaller factions to various company headquarters in the city.


Tragedy struck later when the Scottish Borders returned to the city to be met by a crowd of nationalists supporters who jeered them as they marched to Richmond Barracks along the quays. They opened fire on the crowd killing three and injuring 37.






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