Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Gothia Arms Collectors

Browning Automatic Rifle -- with a Swedish accent. From Gotavapen.se

From far-away Sweden comes an interesting web page. How interesting? Well, we kept exploring different avenues in it instead of writing this post up. Oops. As you might expect, it’s great on Swedish weapons, which are an interesting blend of Swedish ingenuity and craftsmanship — think Ikea meets weapons engineering — and foreign best practices. (Well, it’s hard to fit their adoption of the Schwarzlose machine gun into that niche, but we can try. In their defense, they then went on to adopt the BAR and the Browning LMG).

There are some surprisingly good things. It’s great to find something you didn’t even know you needed to know, but that’s how we felt about the Swedish Army Museum’s curator’s advice on maintaining and restoring edged weapons.  That was typical of the kind of pleasant surprise one finds tooling around Gotavapen.se.

An example of the high-quality reporting of Olof Janssen is here: Swedish Browning Machine Guns. We never heard of the Swedish 8mm x 63mm round before, a mule of a cartridge that was used only in these Brownings (which were also made in versions for Sweden’s rifle cartridges, 6.5 x 55mm and later, 7.62mm NATO). Sweden is not a NATO member, maintaining its historic neutrality, but does frequently exercise and operate with NATO forces. For example, Sweden participated in Kosovo peacekeeping, and sent a Provincial Reconstruction Team to Afghanistan.

Some of the many, many Fairbairn-Sykes knives, whose lineage and variations are treated extensively here. Gotavapen.se

There’s a great page on SOE clandestine & Resistance weapons, and it’s probably the best site on the web for understanding the worldwide symbol of commandos and special operations forces: the Fairbairn-Sykes Commando Knife.

There’s also some very interesting stuff on the Swedish-language side that’s not on the English side — some of it is gun material, including quite a bit that’s not in English. An example of that is this report on the Kulsprutepistol M/40 — which is what Swedes called their M1928 Thompsons. (Heck, we never knew that Sweden adopted the Tommy Gun. We thought they used Suomis and Carl Gustav M45s… and so they did, according to a Swedish-language and an English-language history of Swedish SMGs. But they used a few early Thompsons, too. (The Swedish 1928 overstamped 1921 Thompsons then went to Israel).

Some of the Swedish side is about badges and decorations, including an interesting page on the Turkish Gallipoli Star, and a page on the Swedish Navy from 1935-39. If you know any Scandinavian language (except Finnish), you can easily figure the Swedish out. If you don’t… well.. you still can look at the pictures!