Fusil de Infanterie Modèle 1907-1915 (2ème Type)
Rifle of Infantry Model 1907-1915 (2nd Type)
Remington Arms Company Contract:
A contract was established with Remington Arms Company based in Ilion, New York, USA in early 1916 for an unknown quantity of Fusil d'Infanterie Modèle 1907-1915 but believed to be no more than 200,000 or 250,000 rifles. What we do know is that many of these rifles did not get to France for one reason or another as speculation to the actual cause for the rejection and subsequent cancellation of the contract run the gamut. Some say the war ended before they could be fully shipped; some say they had dimensional issues with the chambers, were rejected for this problem as they needed to be re-worked before they were shipped and by the time they did get it right the war ended. Other theories are that they had poor heat treatment of the receivers which caused cracks in them when fired; the French changed the contract to make them into Fusil de Infanterie Modèle 1907-1915 Modifié 1916 with the 5 shot extended magazine and the French refused to pay for the conversion. We do know that this could not be a reason as the development of the 'M.16' was not fully completed until September of 1916, regular production of these did not fully start till November 28, 1916 and by that time the contract had already been canceled.
One thing we do know for sure is that French Ordnance (Artillery) Department did not send any inspectors to Remington Arms during the production of these firearms which caused problems during making of these rifles from the engineering plans sent by the French as it is believed that the person or persons who read the plans interpreted them incorrectly into the English standard units of measurement.
The main reason we believe these were not delivered was the inability of Remington Arms to meet the contract clauses set by the French military as they were accustomed to the punctuality, overall reliability and quality of the French armories to produce firearms. The French military had more important tasks to fulfill, notably running a war, so the choice of canceling the contract was an easy task. They expected an average production of 200 rifles per day with a first delivery of 1,000 units to take place on June 12, 1916 and if that delivery was not fulfilled the contract could be canceled. The other landmark date was August 8, 1916 when 40,700 had to be delivered, if half of that quantity was not available for shipment, the contract could be canceled. The first shipment of 9,444 rifles that were inspected indicated that the majority of the rifles had oversized chambers and bores along with front sights that had been improperly calibrated likely due to the fact that Remington’s employees were incapable of understanding the French engineering drawings. Remington Arms was informed of this, having to go back to re-work the ones they had already made, it became patently clear that the minimum delivery of 20,350 rifles on August 8th could not be accomplished so the whole contract was canceled completely. The 9,444 that were actually received by the French were sent to Manufacture Nationale d'Armes de Châtellerault where they inspected, serialized, extensively reworked and placed in stores as third class 'reserve weapons'. All these rifles have 'E' letter prefixes starting in 6,000 serial number range on them.
The most ridiculous theory on the rejection of these is that the French rejected them due to resentment of the growing influence of the United States, this just doesn't stand up to close scrutiny as at the time the contract was placed the Allies, including the French, were in desperate need of all types of small arms and welcomed all available assistance regardless of the cross Atlantic sentiments of today’s politics.
The vast majority of these rifles were sold after the war to the American public through the Director of Civilian Marksmanship (DCM), the predecessor of today’s Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP).
Contrary to popular belief none of the rifles were brought over by the American 'Doughboys' when they came to France in 1917 and 1918 and they were also not used or issued to either the 92nd and 93rd 'Colored' American Expeditionary Forces Divisions which were attached to the French Army.
*No Modèle 1907-1915 1ère Type or any other made rifle, carbines or musketoons models were ever built or modified by Remington Arms Company*
Guys: This is the best information I have on this weapon..
If those little Sweethearts won't face German bullets, then they'll face French ones!
George McReady in Paths of Glory 1955