The Czech G24(t) Rifle

Unexpected treasure in a parking lot
15

This unfired Czech G24(t) was brought back by an American GI after WWII.
It is a tangible connection to one of the most pivotal periods in human history.

There is a curious institutional intimacy associated with the practice of medicine. As a physician I am frequently called upon to get fairly deeply into other people’s lives. Nobody mentioned this tidbit when I was applying to medical school. However, along the way you make some great friends.

I got the text during a busy day at work. A friend and patient had a rifle and some artifacts from a long-deceased relative who served in Europe during WWII. We had discussed this stuff during prior clinic visits.

I had seen some cell phone snaps. The rifle was clearly a military piece with a straight bolt handle. I had presumed it was a WWI-era Gewehr 98 recycled for service in the dark days of WWII. My friend asked if she could drop by after clinic closed so I could lay eyeballs on the piece. I figured it was time to try to establish a value so she could sell it.

In Person

In the flesh the gun was stubbier than a WWI-vintage G98 and the straight bolt handle was my first clue it wasn’t one of the ubiquitous Kar98k’s carried by the Wehrmacht throughout their many-splendored forays of wanton destruction. The weapon was in perfect condition and appeared unfired. Both the steel and furniture were liberally festooned with waffenamt proof marks.

Included with the weapon was a bayonet in a pristine sheath with matching frog dyed inexplicably deep blue. There was also an SA dagger and a box full of personal effects. Taken in total all these artifacts painted a most fascinating picture.

The straight bolt handle immediately distinguishes the G24(t) as something other than a typical Nazi Kar98k rifle.

Detective Work

The vet in question was this sweet lady’s uncle, now long dead. Like most heroes of his generation, he didn’t speak a great deal about his service overseas. The material in the box showed he was assigned to the 333rd Engineer Special Service Regiment, part of Patton’s 3rd Army.

Poring through the box was like going back in time. There was his DD214 form ushering the man honorably out of military service in 1947. A German language tour guide included a foldout map intended to help guide the occupying Axis legions — whenever they weren’t busy enslaving and murdering — around Paris. Carefully preserved letters home expressed powerful and passionate emotional bonds between people now long passed. Studying it all was a somber, almost holy experience.

Taken in total, this treasure trove of memorabilia tells a fascinating story of a lonely GI longing to come home.

The Rifle

Google knows all. The rifle was actually a Czech G24(t). The Czechs produced a Mauser-derivative rifle called the vz.24 from 1924 until 1942. Designed shortly after WWI, the vz.24 was widely exported, seeing active service in places like China, Spain, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Paraguay. When the Germans occupied Czechoslovakia in 1938 they seized tens of thousands of these superb military rifles along with the machinery to build more.

From 1938 until 1942 the Czechs were forced to build redesignated G24(t) rifles for the Germans. Gewehr 24 was the German nomenclature. The “t” is short for tschechoslowakisch, the German term for “Czechoslovak.” The German version of the gun featured slots for a standard Wehrmacht sling and a bolt-disassembly disk mounted in the buttstock.

“To peruse such holy stuff as this is to glimpse an entirely different world.”

As production evolved and pre-war parts stocks were consumed, the G24(t) began to take on a more Germanic personality. The flat butt plate was replaced with the cup sort of the Kar98k and the beautiful walnut stocks were supplanted by the cheaper laminated kind. By 1924 the Povazska Bystrica plant was converted to produce Kar98k rifles and the G24(t) died a natural death.

This particular copy looks like it just slid out of a box at a gun store. The bore is unspoiled and the finish is literally perfect. The Germans serialized and marked every single piece of their weapons. While the Nazis were busy imprinting serial numbers on their firing pins, we Americans were churning out up to 65,000 M1 Carbines per day.

The Dagger

The Nazis were rabid about their heraldry. While they are rightfully reviled as some of the most committed villains in all of human history, they rocked some undeniably cool uniforms. Part of the martial tradition involved the widespread issue of ceremonial daggers.

This dagger was issued by the Sturmabteilung or SA. SA thugs who answered to the reprobate Ernst Rohm were known as Stormtroopers or Brownshirts. When Hitler’s friend Rohm became a wee bit too powerful, der Fuhrer ordered the SS to kill him. The subsequent blood purge in the summer of 1934 cemented Hitler’s grasp on power and became known as the Night of the Long Knives.

The G24(t) fed from the top via the same five-round stripper clips used by the Kar98k.

This particular dagger was a private-purchase item produced by a company called Robert Klaas in Solingen-Ohligs, Germany. These blades spanned the spectrum from pedestrian to ridiculously ornate with everything in between. As this was the typical run-of-the-mill variety it was likely owned by some working class Nazi thug rather than the more rarefied sort.

Ruminations

I stood in the parking lot behind the clinic and rendered an opinion on these artifacts as best I could. Then — this sweet lady asked if I would accept the whole lot as a gift. I was honestly rendered speechless, something my wife can attest is a fairly infrequent thing.

Nowadays there is just so much blasted moral ambiguity in the world. Overpaid sports figures kneel before our nation’s banner, while rampaging hooligans burn our cities to the ground claiming arson is a righteous form of political protest. Old heroes like this guy fought, suffered, and died so today’s generation can embrace such foolishness.

To peruse such holy stuff as this is to glimpse an entirely different world. Ration books speak to a time of want simply unimaginable today. The German tourist guide reflects a period in human history wherein entire people groups enslaved and murdered others in the satanic pursuit of racial purity. To possess such things is much more stewardship than ownership. It is to be the custodian of tangible history.

Special thanks to www.worldwarsupply.com for their assistance.

Subscribe To GUNS Magazine

Purchase A PDF Download Of The GUNS Magazine November 2020 Issue Now!