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INSTRUCTIE Mosins the Last Stop

Kevin Carney

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In the 1990's many Mosin Nagant rifles were brought in from Rumanian and the surrounding countries. There was a mix of all the models of the Mosins with a large bulk of them being the 91. To the collector it opened a treasure trove of new and never before seen markings here in the United States. One of these markings was showing up on Model 91's which, appeared to be well used examples. At first they stood out for they had a red stripe on the buttstock ranging in color from blood red to magenta with the single word in capital letters stamped INSTRUCTIE. To a novice in language it appeared that this could be only mean a form of instruct or instructional. It appeared a new form of drill rifle was now in the collectors market in the US, maybe similar to the YT marked instructional rifles of Russia. As it turned out in researching this marking, these rifles were instructional but, also, much more. It turned out that these marked rifles would be called upon to action as late as 1968. Quite a fate since the adoption of the Mosin in 1891. To understand better the history of Rumania had to be looked into.

Rumania is an interesting country which, the people date back before the time of Christ. The Gaete actually started mining iron ore and forging techniques as early as 2-3rd Century BC. After warring with the Celts which, almost decimated them, the remaining people were to be called the Dai (Dacians) which, develop a civilization north of the Danube. Throughout time these people clashed with the Germanic tribes and the Roman Empire. Present day Rumanians consider themselves decedents of the Dacians and Roman colonists. By the 14th century the Ottaman Turks had control of the region but, let Rumanian princes and Greek merchants establish an economic monopoly which, in effect held back the development of the Rumanian middle class. In 1598 Wallachia Michael the Brave pledged his allegiance to the Holy Roman Empire. By 1600 he then captured Transylvania and Moldavia. This was the first time the nationalist feeling of the Rumania people was felt.

Russia's relationship with Rumania came about in early 18th Century when Peter the Great tried to take away Turkey's control but, was defeated by the Turks in 1711. It was finally during Catherine the Great's reigned that Russia actually got their foot into door of Rumania and actually started over seeing the affairs of the people of Wallachia and Moldavia. Finally with the Russo-Turkish War of 1828 and the Treaty of Adrianople, the Turks were pushed totally out. Russia withdrew from Wallachia and Moldavia in 1834 which, left the peasants in poverty. Nationalism of the two areas grew to a fever pitch with the cry of unifying both. Again, Russia returned and with the defeat of Russia in the Crimean War, the protectorate was abolished. Finally in 1861, the country of Rumania was fully recognized by the European Nations and by 1866 Rumania had a constitution.

Rumania survived through the years leading up to W.W.I which, eventually came. King Carol I was in favor of backing the Central Powers in the conflict but, the people themselves voted to stay neutral. Shifts in feeling started in 1914 with the crowning of the new Rumania King Ferdinand I. It was not until 1915, when Bulgaria entered the side of Germany, that the allies, who were becoming increasingly desperate, would lose Rumania. After many Russian victories and the promise of land to Rumania, by the allies, that Rumania took the bait (with prompting from France) and declared war on Germany, moving into Transylvania on Aug 27,1916. The reward for declaring war was arms promised by the allies, including 262,000 rifles from Russia, many of which were the Mosin Nagant M91. We will leave the story of and marking of these rifles for another day.

After W.W.I, Rumania stayed relatively quiet with relations between Russia and Rumania cooling toward the Communist government of the Soviet Union. France became one of the largest suppliers for arms to Rumania in the interwar years. As W.W.II started to rear its ugly head, the Rumanians saw a rise in fascism in their country and fear of communism led them to side with Germany. Rumania had large oil refineries and they figured they would be in jeopardy from their neighbors, especially the Soviet Union. Fighting continued until 1944, as Rumania's tiny Communist Party rose in popularity. Finally, under Soviet pressure which, included Soviet troops surrounding the palace, King Michael was forced to abdicate. From 1947 on, Rumania stayed in the sphere of influence, with the Soviet Union finally becoming a member of the Warsaw Pact in 1955. It stayed a poor country but, was in line for second class arms supplied by the Soviets. A ripple in relations was started in 1956 when the Hungarian Revolution inspired small uprisings in Rumania. These were easily put down and eventually Khrushchev rewarded

Gheorghiu-Dej, who had consolidated power recently with the withdrawal of Soviet Troops. Relations with China by Rumania and Albania drew closer with the 1960 tensions of the Sino-Soviet breakdown in relations. He pushed nationalist feeling in the country and there was a movement to purge all the Soviet. Gheorghui-Dej died in 1965 and was replaced by Nicolai Ceausescu, who was a strong Nationalist and pushed the envelope even farther by meeting with Tito of Yugoslavia and forming a mutual defense pact between the two countries in case of a Soviet-Bulgarian invasion. Fueled by this was unrest in Czechoslovakia which, was also becoming defiant of Soviet policy. By 1968 the Soviets had enough and invaded Czechoslovakia which, put the brakes on descent in Rumania. It is also here where the INSTRUCTIE marked rifles came into existence. Fearful of an invasion, Rumanian started pulling out quantities of arms, many were left over from the Mosin 91's that were supplied by Russia during W.W.I and mixed into the pile of arms were Mauser 98k's and a few 91/30's, M38 carbines and a few 44 carbines. The majority of weapons were 91's but the latter were also used. The plan was to take the lesser quality guns which, will be marked in various ways with the most common being a red band and the word INSTRUCTIE stamped in the wood of the buttstock. A less common way of marking is without the painted band or sometimes on the receiver in the metal. Sometimes the word instructie will be filled in with red or white paint. Most of the rifles are W.W.I or earlier dated Model 91's which, will exhibit weak bores, mild cracks in wood and generally well used. Through the imports of 91's from Balkans there has been about 20% of these marked this way and less with the later mentioned rifles. The author has only been able to examine two 98k's which, were actually brought in with a mix of German 98k's which, were brought in from Yugoslavia years back. At that time not knowing what they were, they were noted only.

The plan was to take these rifles and supply them to the general populace when the invasion happened. These weapons where distributed through school organizations, trade unions and para military organizations. The thought was to get the people familiar with arms and to disperse them to the general public in case of invasion. Although these were lesser quality, they could still be used. It was a stop gap measure which, could buy Rumania time and hopefully, Tito of the Chinese, would come to aid them. Rumania was a poor but, they had surplus arms and were actually a storage facility for the Warsaw Pact.

The INSTRUCTIE guns must not be confused with standard drill rifles which, the Rumanians also have. The difference on the drill rifles was that these will be stenciled in white lettering with a background of black tar like paint. The word Excistu or EX (sometime stamp on the metal) is stenciled in white. These rifles differ radically, for the bores will be bad. These will also have chamber problems and other defects. These were not be safe to shoot in an emergency. As a matter of fact, these will have the firing pins clip to rendered them inoperable.

The crisis in 1968 came to an end, due in part to Rumania bending and reaffirming the commitments to the Warsaw Pact and quietly forgetting about their naturalistic tendencies. Rumanian settled into a quiet state with economic gains in the 70's in a small step until 1977 when it was devastated by an earthquake and drought.

Although invasion never came in 1968, tensions were high. Romania which, has always looked for a direction of independence, always paid dearly throughout the history of its people. Should the 1968 invasion had happened, who knows what would have become of Rumania or its people. Once again, the Mosin Nagant was called upon, maybe in a secondary role but, the amazing part is after 70 years, the Mosin was turned to again for service.

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