Bumar
Fabryka Broni

FB Radom Long Arms

In 1921 the Council of Ambassadors, a governing body for surrendered Germany created by the Treaty of Versailles, have decided to hand over the Royal Rifle Plant in Danzig (Gdańsk), o­ne of the main Mauser Gew.98 manufacturers in Germany, to Poland. The Gdańsk machinery were initially shipped over to Warsaw, where they served as the base of the Warsaw’s Państwowa Fabryka Karabinów (PFK, State Rifle Factory). As early as December, 1923 a decision was made to gradually hand-over majority of machines and equipment taken over from Gdańsk to the Radom plant, which was to take over the rifle manufacturing from the Warsaw plant. Some of the early Radom machinery was also handed over from the Dęblin military repair depot. When construction conditions allowed it in late 1924, the machines from Warsaw were transferred to the Radom plant. Over 1000 machines were transferred within 10 months. In 1926 the plant was already capable of manufacturing 250 rifles a day. Until 1939 the machinery of the FB grew to more than 2300 machines and other technical appliances of various types.

Between 1926 and 1939 the main staple of the FB was the 7.9-mm Mauser repeating rifle and carbine. In the beginning it was the kbk wz.98 (Model of 1898) carbine, based upon the WW1 German Kar. 98AZ, taken over from Warsaw’s PFK, which after the Radom factory was activated, switched-over to machine gun production. In 1930 a new infantry carbine was launched in Radom, a “short rifle’ concept-compatible kbk wz.29 carbine. The main difference between the kbk wz.98 and kbk wz.29 carbines was the bayonet mounting system: the wz.29 had a shortened lower handguard, enabling more robust bayonet mounting. After the kbk wz.29 was introduced into the inventory, the kbk wz.98 carbines were phased out from the infantry and taken over by the cavalry. In 1936 FB started production of the modernized Gew.98 rifle – called the kb wz.98a, intended to compliment the armament of the infantry squad, as of 1924 based upon 600-mm barrel length carbines (kbk wz.98 and kbk wz.29). By 1939 a total of 44500 kb wz.98a long rifles were made in Radom.

In 1936 large export orders connected with Spanish Civil War as well as shortage of strategic rifle reserves brought about measures to surge rifle manufacture in Radom. The General Staff decided to extend the FB’s capabilities, ordering a ‘period of extended manufacturing capability’ between June 1937 and April 1939. The target was to convert the FB from single-shift to double-shift organization, in order to raise the monthly output to 13000 rifles/carbines. Financial and organizational problems, lack of qualified cadres that were to be educated from the scratch in a rural area with no industrial background of any kind, as well as problems in machine acquisition hindered the move from the beginning, and as a result of these hindrances the FB reached 13000 monthly target o­nly in 1939, but eventually the plant highly exceeded it then. Production data for the 1st quarter, the o­nly available for that year, show as many as 58200 kbk wz.29 carbines, 4800 kbk wz.98 carbines, 5250 kb wz.98a rifles and 32300 “kbk E’ export kbk wz.29 carbines, combining to an astonishing 31000 rifles and carbines a month for the first three months of the year. During the whole 12 months of 1938, 50220 kbk wz.29s and 98s, 5280 kb wz.98as and 89 040 kbk Es were manufactured, giving an average monthly output of ca. 12000.