Weapons of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution

Events leading up to the Revolution, which Western historians tend to ignore

During the 1956 Arab-Israeli Conflict/War, the US supported Israel, while the Soviets supported the Arab Nations. The Eisenhover Gov't figured that the Soviets 'need' a conflict closer to home to deter their interest away from the Arab-Israel Conflict. The CIA relied on their European secret ex-Nazi spy net, which indicated that Poland is the most 'ripe' nation to overthrow their Soviet-backed government. Radio Free Europe, Voice of America radio stations and agitators in the Warsaw Pact countries stepped up their propaganda campaign. A demonstration supporting the Polish Uprising was organized in Budapest, Hungary on Oct. 23, 1956. The revolution started during this demonstration. Details on Wikipedia
More facts conveniently missing from the Western history books: After Yugoslavian president Josip Broz Tito's death, secret documents were released about Tito's part in the negotiation between the US and the Soviets. As a result, Krushchev withdrew from any involvement in the Arab-Israel Conflict, and Eisenhover gave free hand to the Soviets over Hungary - as planned. Of course the US lifted no finger and did not send the falsely promised help. The USSR invaded Hungary with twice as many tanks than the Germans needed to defeat both France and Britain in 1939. Due to the dirty politics of the superpowers, the small nations suffer. During the revolution thousands of Hungarians died needlessly for the benefit of the US and Israel, even more executed/disappeared during the communist savagery following it. Nearly 1/4 million people fled the country.

These were the most common firearms used by the Hungarian Revolutionaries

Mosin Nagant Model 1948 Infantry Carbine
Gyalogsági Karabély, 48.Minta

Made by Fémáru Fegyver és Gépgyár (FÉG), Budapest, 1952-53
Manufactured: 80,000 in 1952 and 80,000 in 1953
Caliber: 7.62x54mm rimmed
Integral charger-loaded box magazine, 5 rounds
Turning-bolt action, locked by rotating lugs on the bolt head into the receiver
1016mm [40.0"] overall, 4.05kg [8.9 lbs]
518mm [20.4"] barrel
Muzzle velocity 790 m/sec M1908 ball ammunition

Hungary was pressured through the Warsaw Pact to purchase the license from the Soviet Union for the manufacture of Mosin Nagant and other Soviet weapons. Production seems to have been confined to good-quality copies of the Soviet Model 1944 carbine, known as 48.M (48 Minta) in Hungary.

Mosin Nagant M1944/56
Gyalogsági Karabély, 1944/56 Minta

(Un-official designation)

Made by Ishevsk or Tula, Soviet Union, 1944-48 and carried by Soviet troops stationed in Hungary in 1956.
Many of these guns were captured and some of them were marked/altered/modified by the Hungarians during the breef life of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Number of captured weapons - unknown. Number of captured weapons with actual 1956 Revolution related markings - unknown.

The type of these modifications are similar to what Finland did to the captured Soviet weapons during WW2 - Reuse usable parts, replace not servicable parts and mark the weapon somehow as time allowed: Grind and re-stamp or just re-stamp.

Variant No.1

Originally a 1944 Ishevsk M44. The Soviet markings were carefully machined down from the barrel shank and replaced with the 1956 date and the serial number.
The new serial number was also stamped on the bolt and on the magazine floor plate. The 'FR' prefix may stand for Forradalmi Regiment (Revolutionary Army). The 'O', which is stamped where the original Ishevsk triangle logo was, may have a meaning similar to the holes in the communist flags. Neither of these theories can be confirmed. No other part of the rifle was altered. Assumably from the new serial number, at least 35 rifles must have been modified similarly.

Variant No.2

Originally a 1945 Ishevsk M44. A small Kossuth Coat of Arms crest (the official symbol of the 1956 Revolution) was stamped above the Ishevsk Factory triangle.

The original Soviet buttplate was re-used with the '02' factory code added.
The original stock was replaced with a Hungarian stock showing the '02' and Budapest codes

Photos of this Variant No.2 are courtesy of Ted, www.7.62x54r.net
Check out his detailed webpage on this subject

Mosin Nagant Model 1948 Infantry Rifle
Gyalogsági Puska, 48.Minta

Made by Fémáru Fegyver és Gépgyár (FÉG), Budapest, 1949-55
Caliber: 7.62x54mm rimmed.
Integral charger-loaded box magazine, 5 rounds.
Turning-bolt action, locked by rotating lugs on the bolt head into the receiver.
1232mm [48.5"] overall, 5.1kg [11.3 lbs].
729mm [28.7"] barrel, ?-groove rifling, RH, concentric.
Leaf sight graduated to 2000 meters.
Muzzle velocity 835 m/sec M1908 ball ammunition

A small number of quality copies of the Russian M1891/30 were manufactured in Hungary and referred to as 48.M (Model 48). All markings are similar to the markings shown for the M.48 carbine above.

More details can be found on 7.62x54.net about this rifle

7.62mm Submachine Gun PPSh41
7.62mm 1948 Minta Géppisztoly

Made by Fémáru Fegyver és Gépgyár (FÉG), Budapest, 1948-55
Caliber: 7.62x25mm.
40-round staggered row detachable box magazine.
Blowback, selective fire.
842mm [33.2"] overall, 5.4kg [11.9 lbs] with loaded 71-rnd drum mag.
270mm [10.63"] barrel.
Muzzle velocity 500-515 m/sec.
Cyclic rate: 700-900 rpm

After WW2 the Hungarians were enforced to use Soviet-type weapons and manufactured a copy of the Soviet 7.62mm PPSh M1941 as the Model 48. The PPsh41 was designed by Gregori Spagin. A submachine gun intended basically for police purposes known as the Model 54 was also manufactured. After the Model 48's were replaced by the AK-47 type weapons in the Army, these were used by the Hungarian Border Patrol.

Mannlicher M1943 Infantry Rifle
Gyalogsági Puska, 43.Minta

Made by Danuvia Gépgyár, Budapest and Fémáru Fegyver és Gépgyár (FÉG), Budapest, 1944-50?, approx 91500.
Caliber: 7.92x57. Muzzle velocity 780 m/sec with S.S. ball cartridge.
Integral charger-loaded box magazine, 5 rounds.
Action: Turning-bolt action, locked by rotating lugs on the detachable bolt head into the receiver. The rifle had a two-piece bolt with the bolt handle positioned ahead of the receiver bridge when the bolt is forward.
1092mm [43.0"] overall, 3.91kg [8.6 lbs].
605mm [23.8"] barrel, 4-groove rifling, RH, concentric.
35.M Sword bayonet

In 1943 the success of the G98/40 German contract rifle persuaded the Hungarians to adopt a new rifle along with the 7.92x57mm Mauser cartridge. The 43.M, which had a Mauser-type magazine, was a G98/40 with Hungarian 35.M-style barrel band, nose cap/bayonet lug and sling swivels.

Production in 1945 was interrupted by the end of WW2. Based on some sources, work began again in about 1947, but ceased in cca. 1948-1950 under pressure from the USSR in order to adopt the Russian 7.62x54mm cartridge and the Mosin Nagant M1891/30 and M1944 rifles.

Kalasnikov AK-55

Made by Fémáru Fegyver és Gépgyár (FÉG), Budapest, 1955-63 under license from the USSR
Calibers: 7.62x39mm(M43) / 5.45x39.5mm / 5.56x45mm
30-round staggered row detachable box magazine originally, a 40-round magazine was made available later
Gas operated, Selective fire
870mm [34.3"] overall, 4.86kg [10.7 lbs]
415mm [16.3"] barrel, 317mm [12.6 inch] later
Tangent sight graduated 100-800/1000 meters
Muzzle velocity 731 m/sec

The original AK-55, copy of the Soviet AK-47 (A = Avtomat, K = Kalasnikov), Manufacturing quality was very good.

Schwarzlose Heavy Machine Gun Model 07/12
Schwarzlose MachinenGewehr M07/12
Schwarzlose M07/12 Geppuska

Made by Steyr, Austria, 1905-18.
Caliber: 8x50R
Delayed blowback
1067mm [42"] overall, 20kg [44 lbs] + tripod 19.9kg [43.8 lbs]
527mm [20.75"] barrel.
Tangent rear sight
Muzzle velocity 2000 feet/sec.
Cyclic rate: 400 rpm

This gun is remarkable for being the only machine gun based on the retarded blowback system which met with any degree of success prior to 1950. It was invented by Andreas Wilhelm Schwarzlose in Germany, in 1902. Steyr purchased the manufacturing right in 1905. This weapon has a fixed barrel, few moving parts and rugged construction. The breech is at no time truly locked. When the gun fires, the rearward thrust of the exploding gases actually starts the action opening at the same instant it starts the bullet down the barrel. However by using a very short barrel and a combination of very heavy recoil parts and springs, plus a system for developing a mechanical advantage in the mechanism, Schwarzlose produced a machine gun which permitted the use of military rifle cartridges without an impossibly heavy breech mechanism.
The gun was water cooled. It required lubrication of cartridge cases to prevent case ruptures caused by the action opening so fast that it drew the case back while the bore pressure was still too great, and the case was still sealed by expansion to the barrel chamber wall. An oil pump was built in, and on each stroke oil was squirted into the chamber to lubricate the incoming cartridge case. This system was eliminated by the 1912 modifications.
Starting in 1931 some Schwarzlose machine guns were modified to use the 8x56mm Model 31 cartridge, these are called the Model 07/31.

Tokarev TT Model 48

Type: recoil operated automatic pistol
Chambering: 7.62x25mm Tokarev (M30 Tokarev, .30 Mauser, 7.63 Mauser)
Magazine: 8-round detachable box
Muzzle velocity: 1378 fps
Length overall: 195mm 97.68")
Barrel: 115mm (4.57") rifled, hard-chromed
Weight unladen: 850g (30.1oz)

Photo courtesy of AdamsGuns.com

This is a copy of the Soviet Tula Tokarev TT33 model, as originally designed by Fedor V. Tokarev. The Hungarian '02' code and year of mfg. is on the left side of the frame. The socialist symbol of Hungary (Rakosi Crest) is on the grips. Cartridge: FMJ, 5.52g

Walam 48M (Model 48)

Type: blowback operated automatic pistol
Chambering: 9mm Short (.380 acp) and 7.65mm (.32 acp)
Length overall: 6.89" (175mm)
Barrel: 3.94" (100mm) rifled
Weight unladen: 25.6oz (725g)
Magazine: 8-round detachable box
Muzzle velocity: 920 fps

WALAM is short for WAlther-LAMpart. This pistol was originally intended for Egypt. The contract was terminated and most guns were sold commercially, some used by the police. The Walam is a high quality modified copy of the German 7.65mm Walther PP chambering 9mm Short ammo. Some of the parts were made by Walther. Most parts, including the magazine are interchangeable with the Walther PP. The loaded-chamber indicator is mounted on the top left of the Walam slide rather than at the rear of the slide as does the Walther. These pistols are .75" (19mm) longer than the PP. Loading, firing, and field stripping of these steel framed pistols is the same as that of German Walther PP and PPK. Note: The Walam pistol is also occasionally called the Model 48, (or 48.M) which can lead to confusion with the Hungarian Army Model 48 (the copy of the Soviet Tokarev TT-33).

1948-1958 made Walams are marked 'WALAM 48 Cal 9mm Browning Made in Hungary FEG' with the year of manufacture. The grips are plain checkered, as shown on the picture above.

1956 Hungarian Revolution related websites

freedomfighter56.com - Read individual stories of the freedom fighters in English or Hungarian
History of the 1956 Revolution
Weapons of the Revolution - in Hungarian only
Please, submit other related websites by email on the Home page