Boer War Model 1896 Carbine with Carved Stock
- Price: $2,995.00
- Maker: Mauser
- Model: 1896
- Caliber: 7mm
- Description: Serial #3422, 7mm Mauser, 18" Morrison replacement barrel with an excellent, bright bore. This carbine was captured at Bakenlaagte during, or just after the events of October 30, 1901. The barrel of this carbine is in-the-white and has a few scattered spots of freckling near the muzzle, and on cleaning rod. The Ludwig Loewe marked receiver has an overall pewter patina with traces of original blue on protected areas, and light freckling throughout. The bolt is correct, but mismatched, and it has a dark, lightly pitted handle. The floorplate and trigger guard are matching. The walnut stock has a dark brown added varnish, and is extensively decorated with highly skilled carving on both the forearm and buttstock. The name A.D. THOMSON is relief-carved into the wood on the right side below the receiver. The buttstock has a large elliptical panel carved into the wood with: BENSON'S COLUMN / BAKEN (inset silver coin with profile of Paul Kruger) LAAGTE / BOER WAR / OCTR 30TH 1901. Opposite the carvings is a small copper plaque that has embossed floral decorations across the surface. The carbine came into the possession of legendary Maine gunsmith Carl "Bill" Morrison at some point in the last decade, and, since the barrel was in rough condition, Mr. Morrison rebarreled it with one of his own hand-made barrels, but never added any finish to the raw steel. An original well worn, but still serviceable, leather sling is included with the carbine as well.
The Battle of Bakenlaagte was a hard-fought affair that took place on October 30, 1901, in which a large Boer force under General Louis Botha, attacked the rear guard of Lt. Colonel George Elliot Benson's much-feared No. 3 Flying Column. Benson's Column specialized in night and anti-guerrilla operations, and had been extremely successful in hampering Boer Commando activity across the highveld; and Botha had concentrated a large force in order to counter them in a decisive battle. The battle at Bakenlaagte started when Benson's command (marching back to base after conducting farm clearing operations) became dangerously extended due to a combination of bad weather and small bands of Boer skirmishers that were harassing the British as they moved through the rough country back to their base. Upon his arrival at the scene, Botha saw an opportunity to inflict a crushing defeat on the British by rolling up the isolated knots of British soldiers with an immediate, concentrated attack. To that end, he ordered about 900 Boers to attack the column's 200 strong rear guard. The outnumbered and hard-pressed British set up a hasty defensive position on Gun Hill, and fought a desperate 20 minute action that only ended when the rear guard had been annihilated. Despite their sacrifice, the rear guard had delayed the Boers sufficiently to allow the main British force to form a strong defensive position that denied Botha his opportunity to destroy the column in its entirety. Col. Benson himself, who had ridden back to personally command the defense, was among the fallen, mortally wounded, and would expire the following day. Records of the troops involved at Bakenlaagte are sparse, and we have so far been unable to positively identify A.D. Thomson, but regardless, this is a tangible link to a dramatic and desperate episode during one of the great events in the history of the British Empire. It would make a fantastic piece for display. Antique (1610) 2995