In commemoration of the 100th Anniversay of the entry of the US into WWI and in honor of the men and
women who served so valiantly to preserve our freedom in the "War to End All Wars", the
New Jersey Arms Collectors Club sponsored it's 19th Annual Armistice Day Vintage Firearms Shoot
on Saturday November 11, 2017 at the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Club's Cherry Ridge
Range at Highland Lakes, NJ.
The events of 1917 proved decisive in ending the war, although their effects were not fully felt until 1918.
At the outbreak of the war, the United States pursued a policy of non-intervention, avoiding conflict
while trying to broker a peace. When the German U-boat U-20 sank the British liner Lusitania
on 7 May 1915 with 128 Americans among the dead, President Woodrow Wilson insisted that
"America is too proud to fight" but demanded an end to attacks on passenger ships.
Germany complied. However, Wilson also repeatedly warned that the United States would not tolerate
unrestricted submarine warfare, in violation of international law. Wilson was narrowly
reelected in 1916 as his supporters emphasized "he kept us out of war".
In January 1917, Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare, realizing it would mean
American entry. The German Foreign Minister, in the Zimmermann Telegram, invited Mexico
to join the war as Germany's ally against the United States. In return, the Germans would finance
Mexico's war and help it recover the territories of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.
The British intercepted the message and presented it to the U.S. ambassidor in London.
From there it made its way to President Wilson who released the Zimmermann note to the public.
In February, Wilson went before Congress, announcing the break in official relations with Germany.
After the subsequent sinking of seven U.S. merchant ships by submarines, Wilson called for war on
Germany, which the U.S. Congress declared on April 6, 1917 paving the way for the the introduction of
US troops into the brutal stalemate on the western front.
The Russian Empire collapsed with the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II in February and the old regime
was replaced by a Provisional Government . In the second revolution that October, the
Provisional Government was toppled and all power was given to the soviets. In December, the
Central Powers signed an armistice with Russia, thus freeing large numbers of German troops for use
in the west. With German reinforcements and new American troops pouring in, the outcome was to be
decided on the Western Front.
The Central Powers knew that they could not win a protracted war, but they held high hopes for success
based on a final quick offensive. Furthermore, both sides became increasingly fearful of social
unrest and revolution in Europe. Thus, both sides urgently sought a decisive victory.
On May 3, 1917, during the Nivelle Offensive, the French 2nd Colonial Division,
veterans of the Battle of Verdun, refused orders, arriving drunk and without their weapons.
The French Army Mutinies eventually spread to a further 54 French divisions totalling nearly half the
French army on the western front and saw 20,000 men desert. Appeals to patriotism as well as mass
arrests and trials (not to mention executions), encouraged the soldiers to return to defend their
trenches, although they refused to participate in further offensive action. Robert Nivelle
was removed from command by May 15th and replaced by General Philippe Pétain, who suspended all
bloody large-scale attacks.
Elsewhere in the world during 1917, Western legend Buffalo Billy Cody died of kidney failure on
January 10th while visiting his sister in Denver and received glowing tributes at his funeral from world
leaders including King George V and Kaiser Wilhem II. John F. Kennedy
was born in Massachusetts and Mata Hari was arrested as a spy in Paris and after being
convicted at a show trial was executed by firing squad in October.
On Saturday November 11, 2017, a hardy band of stalwart WW I military arms collectors and
dedicated marksmen from all parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York braved the early morning
early morning sub arctic like temperature (16° F) and gathered at the ANJRPC range at Highland Lakes,
New Jersey for a day of friendly competition sponsored by the NJACC.
Match participants brought highly collectible and prized examples of firearms used by the Allied and
Central Power nations in the Great War to compete for trophies and the glory by being mentioned in this
report. Re-enactors, Gary B. and Edward G. appeared in full WW-I Battle Dress to participate
in several contests. Edward G. won two handgun matches.
The following are some photos taken by one of our competitors, Jeff. A.
Contest rules required shooters fire 10 rounds in 2 minutes at a standard SR21-C target placed at the 50 yard line
This year there were thirteen (13) rifle contests in the course of fire with a new Great War Carbine
match added to allow participants to bring some of their more rare and seldom fired pieces.
In addition there were five (5) handgun events requiring the use of century old pistols with archaic
sights that tested the hawk like eyes and steady hands of the competitors.
A quick tour of the benches disclosed that competitors had brought a variety of U.S.,
British, German, Russian, Turkish, and Italian rifles. A plethora of seven (7) 1917 US
Enfields were on the line along with a gaggle of three (3) P-14 British Enfields
and two (2) Mosin Nagant model 1891, identical to those used by American troops involved in the
Siberian Intervention in 1918 after the Bolshevik Revolution.
Also present was a rare Model 71-84 German Mauser in 11mm.
The rifle match events commenced precisely at 10:00am under the supervision of Shoot Chairman Stan G.
Shoot Master Stan was ably assisted by Chris C. and Paul P. who provided the unheralded but
extremely valuable task of collecting and scoring targets thereby greatly expediting the match
completion and results process. Competitors were asked to score their own targets to help speed up
the scoring process.
Final scoring was done at the clubhouse by Tom P. who had help from
Rich T. and Jay R.
NJACC's own Madame La'Chef Barbara was unable to attend, so lunch was prepared by Monsieur Le Grand Chef,
Tom P, (chief cook, bottle washer, and scorekeeper). The winners of the rifle events were announced
by Shoot Chairman Stan, with some highly notable achievements.
Despite the bone chilling cold, several high scores were submitted making the day making for some interesting competition.
Two shooters tied in the GALLIPOLI Match.
Top score recognition of the day went to Andy G. who used a 98 Mauser in the
German Infantry Match to score 97-4X. The next-best score was in the Doughboy Event and
was won by Larry M. who scored a 97-2X with his US M1917 Rifle.
Andy G. was the big winner of the day, taking home four trophies: Belleau Wood ('03
Springfield), German Infantry (98 Mauser), Great War Carbine,(Marlin 94), and Small Pistol (Savage 07).
Our re-enactor Edward G. took home two handgun events: Allied Auto (US 1911)
& Allied Revolver(S&W Model 1917) Ralph G. was the uncontested winner of the
Vittorio Veneto contest and walked away with the trophy shooting a folding bayonet Italian Carcano Model 1891 Moschetto Modello 91 da Cavalleria di
Bruschetta carbine of the type made famous by Capitano Carlo Bombardoni in
Hemingway's novel "A Farewell to Arms".
The handgun events commenced on the pistol range after lunch under the direction of Shoot
Chairman Stan G. Top honors went to Edward G. using a
S&W Model 1917 revolver in the Allied Revolver Match witha score of 87-2X and a US 1911 in the
Allied Auto Match with a score of 85.
This year's Young Warrior Award went unclaimed as did the coveted Milunka Savic Award for the
highest scoring female shooter. Trophies also went unclaimed in several events, as some past regulars
were unable to attend: Verdun, Balkan Front, Arab Revolt, & Trench Sniper in the rifle matches;
Central Powers Pistol, & Stocked Pistol in the handgun events.
The Next NJACC Sponsored Event known as the
"Historical Winter Firearms Shoot"
will be held on
January 13, 2018
at the ANJRPC Cherry Ridge Range
For more information and flyer,
Please Click Here
Complete scores for all events follow: