WWII Firearms in Libya Part 1

Part 2 // WWII Armor in Libya

During the 2011 rebellion against dictator Muammar Qaddafi, all sorts of weapons found there way into the hands of the rebels. Some were improvised, such as this S-75 SAM mounted on a T-55, some were contemporary, and some were older than the fighter who wielded them.

Carcano rifle. Introduced in 1891, the Carcano would remain Italy’s primary rifle for WWI and WWII, ceasing production in 1945. As an occupier of Libya during the interwar period and WWII, it’s not surprising to find Carcano’s in the hands of Libyan rebels. The IJN also used the Carcano after Arisaka production was allotted for the IJA in 1937.

The man in the background is holding a Carcano. Also in the picture is a Sterling SMG and a Browning Hi Power. The Carcano was predominantly used by rebels in the Nafusa Mountains. A member of the rebel military council overseeing the western mountain front, as many as 1 in 10 rebels in the region were armed with World War II-era weapons.

RP-46. Russian light machinegun that fed from a large, cumbersome, 47 or 60-round pan magazine or a belt. The Degtyaryov was very robust and reliable, capable of being buried in sand before firing off 500 rounds.

One of the Degtyaryov’s main drawbacks was the flimsy bipod, which snapped rather easily. This was corrected with the RP-46.

The RP-46 improved on the standard Degtyaryov by adding a heavier barrel for prolonged firing, a user-adjustable gas system and the capability to fire from a belt feed.

Browning Hi Power. Single-action, semi-auto pistol firing either 9mm or .40 S&W, the Hi Power was designed by John Moses Browning and completed by FN in Belgium back in 1926. It served on both sides during WWII, being a coveted sidearm for its large capacity. The Hi Power would go on to be one of the most widely used pistols in the world, serving with over 50 different countries. It is still manufactured today This is Muammar Qaddafi’s personal, gilded pistol.

Bonus: M33 helmet. Italy’s standard helmet during WWII and all the way up until the 1990s.  While not possessing the same degree of protection offered by the German Stahlhelm, the M33 was seen as a successful design, since it offered three times the resistance of the Adrian, was light and was relatively comfortable.