login   |    register
Osprey Publishing [ MORE REVIEWS ] [ WEBSITE ] [ NEW STORIES ]

Book Review
Mauser Military Rifles
Mauser Military Rifles
  • move

by: Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]

Originally published on:

This is a review of the Osprey Publishing LTD book Mauser Military Rifles by author Neil Grant, illustrators Peter Dennis and Alan Gilliland and series editor Martin Pegler.

Drawing upon first-hand accounts and primary sources regarding their mechanical performance, this fully illustrated study charts the origins, combat record and lasting influence of the Mauser family of military bolt-action rifles. It explores the full range of these iconic German weapons, notably the hugely successful Gew 98, a standard-issue weapon for the Kaiser’s forces during World War I that provided the basis for the US Springfield M1903.

It also investigates the Kar 98k, which was produced in huge numbers in Nazi German and equipped Wehrmacht troops throughout World War II; it saw use with Mexican, Israeli and Yugoslavian forces after 1945, and even played a role in the 1990s Balkan conflicts in the hands of snipers. Featuring full-color artwork, this volume is ideal for anyone seeking an understanding of these sturdy and accurate rifle’s unique place in the history of small-unit tactics in the 20th century.
** Quoted from the back cover of the book.

Osprey Publications Ltd has released Mauser Military Rifles as Number 39 in their Weapon series. It is a softcover book with 80 pages. Included with the text are black and white photographs and color photographs, color illustrations, informational charts and detailed captions. It has a 2015 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-4728-0594-2. The book details the Mauser Rifle from its development and introduction to its use by the German military and other nations during World War I, World War II and on through military history.

“Mauser provided the main German infantry weapon through the greatest conflicts of the 20th century” ** Quoted from the author’s text.

  • Introduction
  • Development
  • Forging a legend
  • Use
  • Facing the test of battle
  • Impact
  • The right arm of the German soldier
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Index

The text in the book is well written and extremely detailed. Neil Grant covers the German Mauser rifle from its development and introduction to its use through different conflicts in world history. As one can guess by the title the main focus is on the rifle and its progress through history. Discussed are the many early rifles and their upgrades and improvements that lead to the now famous Mauser rifle that is known throughout the world. The various countries that included the Mauser rifle into the military’s weapon inventories is also discussed and detailed. Other areas that Neil Grant covers is the training that the Germany military went through with the Mauser as well as other areas such as how the weapon was cared for by the individual soldiers and also the ammunition that was employed with the Mauser.

Another area discussed is Mauser accessories, this includes detailed information on bayonets, grenade launchers and silencers. The history of the Mauser and its use throughout military history is written and formatted in a correct chronological order starting with its initial issue, the Spanish-American War, the 2nd Anglo-Boer War, WWI the Inter-War Period, World War II and after 1945. As a fan of captured equipment being used by the captors against its former owners I was pleased to find that a section of this was covered under the title of Booty Mausers in Axis Service.

The book closes out by discussing the impact that the Mauser had on the user, the battlefield, the enemy and war production. As I read through the text I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. I feel that if the text is well written then it shows that the author has taken the time to be a professional with their writing.

Anyone wanting to add an excellent reference and history book on the Mauser rifle from its development and introduction to its use by the German military and other nations during World War I, World War II and other conflicts before and after the World Wars throughout military history to their personal library will be pleased with this very informative and interesting book.

There are a total of 34 black and white photographs and 17 color photographs. The majority of the photographs are very nice and they range from wide angle photographs to close-up detailed photographs. I would say that the photographs that were chosen for this book were for the most part lesser known photographs as opposed to photographs that are featured in many other titles that deal with the same subject matter. The majority of the photographs are clear and easily viewable, however a few have an out of focus look to them and some appear to be too dark, and others appear too light.

This is typical for the discussed periods of history and consideration needs to be given to the fact that some of the photographs are several years old and the quality of the photographs is of no fault of the author and do not take anything away from the book. I appreciate the fact that there are several photographs of just the weapons themselves as opposed to photographs that feature the weapons in a broad generalized military photograph. In my opinion it makes it much easier to study the various weapons and their details and variations.

Author Neil Grant has stuck to the title of the book and chose photographs that are specific to the Mauser and did not include photographs that strayed from the main subject of the book. The majority, if not all, of the photographs will prove to be a wealth of information to the military firearm enthusiast and military modeler due to the details they contain.

Some of the variations of the Mauser shown are:
  • M1871 Jägerbüchse, Kar 71 black powder cavalry carbine
  • M1889 Mauser
  • 1898 flap-locking design Mauser
  • 1915 self-loading Mauser
  • T-Gewehr anti-tank rifle
  • Gew 98 with bolt protector and extended magazine
  • VK 98 – Germany’s last-ditch rifle
  • Gew 98 with a M17 ‘Shooting Cup’ attached
  • Kar 98k with folding stock
  • Gew 33/40 German mountain troops rifle with protective plate on the butt
  • Kar 98k with a 4xZf 39 scope on a turret mount

Some of the photographs that I found to particularly interesting contain subjects such as:
  • Belgian troops in a trench in 1914 armed with M1889 Mausers
  • German Hussars preparing to patrol Lake Ochrida on the Macedonian front in 1917
  • New Zealand gunners with a captured T-Gewehr anti-tank rifle near Grévillers, August 1918
  • A color photograph of a Mauser with a winter trigger that was designed to be used with heavy winter gloves on the Eastern Front
  • A color photograph of a folding stock version of the Kar 98k designed to be used by paratroopers
  • The unsuccessful 1898 flap-locking design Mauser and the 1915 self-loading Mauser
  • A collection of weapons designed to replace the Kar 98k such as the Gew 41(M), Gew 43(W), FG 42 selective-fire airborne rifle and the MP 44
  • Two female workers posing with a Mauser/Zeiss ‘shooting’ machine used to test rifle sight alignment

There are 4 color illustrations by illustrators Peter Dennis and Alan Gilliland. The illustrations are very well done, nicely detailed and are of:
  • The Mauser Exposed - A cut-away view of the Mauser rifle showing an internal view of the main operational parts of the rifle
  • 2nd Anglo-Boer War, 1901 - Boers engaging a British supply train/li>
  • World War I, August 1918 - German troops manning the parapets of a trench. Various versions of the Mauser are shown.
  • The fall of Berlin, April 1945 - German troops manning various locations waiting to engage Soviet armor and troops during street fighting in Berlin.

There are 3 informational charts provided which provide information on:

Mauser Weapons In Context
Total KAR 98K Production 1934-39
Total KAR 98K Production 1940-45

There are 5 notes included in this volume and they are:
Editor’s Note
Imperial War Museum Collections
Artist’s note

The captions are well written and are greatly detailed and explain the accompanying photographs and illustration in great detail eliminating any doubt as to what is shown and taking place in the accompanying photograph. The captions go into very specific detail as to weapons and their variations and modifications, locations and dates, military units shown and other such pertinent information. I was very impressed by Neil Grant’s captions as they are very helpful to the reader due to their detailed content as opposed to other captions I have seen that are very brief and lack detail.

Also provided in this volume are what I would call profiles that describe, not individuals, but other countries militaries and their use of the Mauser. Some of these profiles contained photographs and information in regards to:

The ‘Howth Mausers’
Turkish Mausers
Chinese Mausers

This book was provided to me by Osprey Publishing Ltd. Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here when you make your purchase.

As with the other Osprey Publishing weapons series titles I was impressed with this volume. This is a very nice reference book that contains many close-up detailed subject specific photographs and illustrations and well detailed captions. It details the Mauser from its development and introduction to its use by the German military and other nations during World War I, World War II and on through military history. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey Publishing titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others as it will be a welcome addition to one’s personal military reference library.

The Military Book Club Encyclopedia of Infantry Weapons of WWII - Saturn Books Ltd.
Guns of the Reich - Ian V. Hogg
Firearms of the German Forces, 1939-1945 - George Markham - Arms and Armour Press
German Automatic Weapons of World War II - Live Firing Classic Military Weapons in Colour Photographs - Robert Bruce - Windrow & Greene
The German Sniper 1914-1945 - Peter R. Senich - Paladin Press

Search inside the book on the Osprey web site Live links
Osprey Publishing also has Mauser Military Rifles available as:
- eBook (ePub)
- eBook (PDF)
Look inside the book on the Amazon web site Live links
Look inside the Kindle Edition of the book on the Amazon web site Live Links

Highs: Well written text and captions Subject specific photographs and illustrations
Lows: Nothing to mention
Verdict: Another excellent volume in Osprey Publishing’s Weapon series. Definitely beneficial to the military small arms enthusiast and military modeler.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: 978-1-4728-0594-2
  Suggested Retail: US $18.95 / UK £12.99
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Apr 28, 2015

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

View Vendor Homepage  |  More Reviews  

About Randy L Harvey (HARV)

I have been in the modeling hobby off and on since my youth. I build mostly 1/35 scale. However I work in other scales for aircraft, ships and the occasional civilian car kit. I also kit bash and scratch-build when the mood strikes. I mainly model WWI and WWII figures, armor, vehic...

Copyright ©2021 text by Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]. All rights reserved.


So many excellent color photographs to help modelers paint authentic rifles.
APR 28, 2015 - 08:48 AM
The WEAPONS series from Osprey Publishing are great books. I have really enjoyed all of the titles that I have reviewed so far. I'm looking forward to the chance to review more of them. Thanks, Randy
MAY 04, 2015 - 07:56 AM

What's Your Opinion?

Click image to enlarge
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move