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Text Book of Small Arms 1909 | Compass Library

Text Book of Small Arms (1909)

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War Office, 1909

H.M.S.O., 1909

printed by Harrison and Sons, London, 1909

An original War Office British Army small arms manual, published in December 1909. The book was mainly intended for use by officers under instruction at the British School of Musketry at Hythe. This copy was issued to the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield Lock in 1910, and has the factory’s official stamp on the title page. It is a comprehensive survey of the rifles, pistols and ammunition of all the European armies and Great powers just before the First World War. All the iconic small arms of the time are examined in detail, with their individual characteristics closely scrutinised. The Lee Enfield Mk III, The Mauser 1898, the Martini-Henry, the French Lebel, the Krag-Jorgensen 1889, the Mannlicher-Carcano, the Japanese Year 38th 1907, and the US Short Magazine Pattern 1903 are all included, along with many others. Pistols covered include the Webley .455, the Mauser Automatic (as used by Winston Churchill during the charge of the 21st Lancers at the Battle of Omdurman in 1898), the Borchardt-Luger and the Webley-Fosberry automatic revolver. There are detailed sections on ammunition and ballistics and several excellent coloured diagrams of the ammunition and magazine clips of all the major powers. There are numerous detailed diagrams and plans of the weapons throughout the book. An invaluable reference work for anyone interested in the small arms of the combatants who were about to take part in the First World War.


In good condition. The original blind-stamped boards are in good condition, with some wear at the spine and edges, some marks, and some fading. The binding and hinges are secure, the hinges having been carefully reinforced with archival paper tape. The text block has been reinforced in a few places with archival paper tape. The text is in good condition, with a few minor marks, and some foxing to the title page, first few pages, and a few other pages. There is some browning to the title page, and pencil annotation to a couple of pages. The line drawings, coloured diagrams, and plans are in very good condition. With an embossed stamp of the ‘Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield Lock’, dated 30 May 1910, on the title page.

Published: 1909
Illustrated with diagrams (some coloured), fold outs, and drawings
Red cloth with gilt titling
Dimensions: 145mm x 220mm
Pages: 272