The German Rifle Model of 1888 has been the subject of controversy among gun experts for years. Because the rifle was loaded with a clip resembling that of the Mannlicher and based on his patents, it is often mistakenly referred to as the "Männlicher" or as the "Mauser-Mannlicher." Its official designation was "German Infantry Model 1888"; but it is often listed in Germany as "Mauser and Commission."
This rifle was actually a development of the German Infantry Board or Commission and no receiver of this model ever bears the Mauser factory stamp. These arms were manufactured in huge numbers in a Mauser plant, but in 1888 finances of the Mauser Company had been taken over by the giant German firm of Ludwig Loewe and Company of Berlin and such rifles are usually stamped "Loewe, Berlin 1888, 1890, 1891" or simply "Gew. 88."
Model 88's were also manufactured by all the standard government arsenals, and by such well-known makers as Haenel, Schilling, Sauer and Sohn at Suhl; and by Steyr in Austria. In 1889 arrangements were made for manufacture of rifles of this type in Belgium by Auguste Schriever et Cie at Liege. In the official Mauser plant record "Mauser Gewehr und Patente," published in 1936, is found the statement that Mauser submitted design ideas to the Commission and was very annoyed when they passed over his design recommendations. Indeed, Paul Mauser was extremely bitter about the adoption of this rifle, contending it was inferior to his newer experimental designs. Time, incidentally, proved that Mauser was right.
In the early official catalogues of Ludwig Loewe and Company, manufacturers of genuine Mausers during that period, is found the following statement: "In this rifle (Gew. 1888) there was retained the approved breech closing mechanism of the Mauser rifle pattern 1871 with slight alterations, and there was combined within the cartridge holder from the Austrian Mannlicher rifle.
"This latter feature, however, was not adopted without an important alteration made by the Small Arms Inspection Committee in Spandau, which alteration made it possible to arrange or pack the cartridges symmetrically, and introduce the packet into the magazine with either side uppermost. The cartridge holder constructed by Mannlicher up to that date had a rhomboid form and could therefore only be introduced into the magazine in one particular way i.e., the holder
Was this article helpful?