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Weapons Captured from France, Norway, Belgium, and Western Europe

The German army was exceedingly frugal when it came to equipping troops with firearms and other equipment. Huge stores of foreign war material were captured as countries were annexed, conquered, or as enemy troops were defeated. Some of these weapons were reissued to German soldiers as substitute standards. With the conquest of Western Europe, a large quantity of French and other arms fell under German control.  French arms were issued in moderate numbers to German troops stationed in France. These were primarily issued to troops with less combat potential than front line infantry. Railway and air Base guards, security forces, and those troops with static duties were more likely to receive captured French arms such as a Mas36, Lebel, or Berthier rifle. Foreign machine guns were similarly issued to reserve type and static troops. Common machine guns in German service take from Western European countries include the Danish Madsen, the Norwegian Colt M29, the French Hotchkiss, and the French FM24/29 machine guns. 

In the case of these photos, it is impossible to tell without more context if the soldiers were issued these guns, using them without orders, posing with them as curiosities, collecting them for disposal, or anything else. We cannot merely assume that the fact that we see a soldier holding a foreign gun the German soldier pictures was actually issued it or even using it for any prolonged period of time. 

These photographs were taken from a number of books,  online sources, and auction sites.  They are presented here for educational purposes.  

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