WW II Small Arms in Libya

Although this these images are from a post that is several years old and on an Airsoft forum, the historical relevance is still very important to consider when examining small arms in the MENA region. These photographs came out during the massive unrest in Libya during and following the Libyan unrest otherwise known as “17 February” that overthrew long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi. Although many of these small arms were actually used in fighting, the photographs appear to show a lull, where militia forces aren’t actually engaged but are rather conducting target practice or celebrating.

Two variants of the U.S. 1919 are shown, the first one appears to be a heavily modified 1919A4 variant, while the second one is a 1919A6. At first glance, these may appear to be 7.62x51mm NATO variants that Israel modified to use in the IDF during the 1950s and 1960s. However, a closer look at the belt of ammunition reveals the length of the rounds do appear to be .30-06 Spr and thus are most likely original manufacture 1919A4s and A6s.

libyanrebs15 libyanrebs07 libyanrebs06The photo below shows a Browning Hi Power, Sterling SMG, and a Caracano rifle in the background.

The proceeding two photographs are of a Russian 7.62x54Rmm DP28 light machine gun. These might have arrived in Libya as a form of surplus support from the Soviet Union during the Cold War.


At an initial glance, this would appear to be a German 9x19mm MP40, but instead, due to the circular opening in the magazine well it is in fact, the predecessor to the MP40, the MP38.


This rifle appears to be a Mauser K98 with a broken stock that has been replaced


17 February Unrest Summary (Wikipedia)-

The first Libyan Civil War, also referred to as the Libyan Revolution[33] or 17 February Revolution,[34] was an armed conflict in 2011, in the North African country of Libya, fought between forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and those seeking to oust his government.[35][36] The war was preceded by protests in Zawiya on 8 August 2009, and finally ignited by protests in Benghazi beginning on Tuesday, 15 February 2011, which led to clashes with security forces that fired on the crowd.[37] The protests escalated into a rebellion that spread across the country,[38] with the forces opposing Gaddafi establishing an interim governing body, the National Transitional Council.

The United Nations Security Council passed an initial resolution on 26 February, freezing the assets of Gaddafi and his inner circle and restricting their travel, and referred the matter to the International Criminal Court for investigation.[39] In early March, Gaddafi’s forces rallied, pushed eastwards and re-took several coastal cities before reaching Benghazi. A further UN resolution authorised member states to establish and enforce a no-fly zone over Libya, and to use “all necessary measures” to prevent attacks on civilians.[40] The Gaddafi government then announced a ceasefire, but fighting continued.[41][42] Throughout the conflict, rebels rejected government offers of a ceasefire and efforts by the African Union to end the fighting because the plans set forth did not include the removal of Gaddafi.[43]

Miles is the founder, editor, and local Khan governing Silah Report. He is quite found of obscure languages, dangerous locales, and fascinating small arms designs and uses.

  • Hrachya H

    The DP-28 looks like brand new!

  • Yoel

    Whenever I see such a museum pieces at the hands of fighting groups in crumbling countries I always wondering – could those weapons actually stolen from some museum, raided by those groups and brought back to service?
    It remained me of this movie ‘demolition man’ where Simon Phoenix break into the museum because it the only place you can get a real firearm in the utopian city-state of San-Angeles.
    Of course Libya & Syria aren’t peaceful San-Angeles but it make you think where in a fully disarm society one might head to arm himself when the sit hit the fan…

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