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GUNS Magazine March 2010 - Page 28
™ • HOLT BODINSON • GUARDIA CIVIL’S 7.62 SHORT RIFLE Spain’s long-serving Mauser. nit-marked Mausers are among the more interesting of the U breed. Being able to associate a particular Mauser with the personnel who carried it breathes some life into our old warhorses. It enriches what otherwise would be just another collectible. One model in particular is highly collectible, often appears on show tables and is very affordable. It’s the 7.62x51 chambered short rifle of Spain’s famous Guardia Civil. To anyone who remembers Franco’s rural Spain, the mere sight of a Guardia Civil 2-man patrol wearing their black, Napoleonic era, tricorn hats and often carrying 9mm Bergmann “Destroyer” carbines was imposing indeed. Those patrols were the law and order of rural Spain as they had been ever since their formation in 1844. Today, an expanded Guardia Civil under the Interior Ministry fulfills the role of a paramilitary national police force, stationed with their families in garrisons, and assigned with responsibilities ranging from highway patrol, border security and customs to Internet crime prevention, anti-terrorism and UN peace keeping missions. Except for ceremonial purposes, their tricorn hats are gone, but not their esprit de corps, expressed in their mottos of “Honor is My Emblem” and “Everything for the Fatherland.” Unique Crest The official crest of the Guardia Civil consists of the Royal Crown together with a Roman fasces crossed by a sword. It is the Roman fasces and sword that embellish the front receiver ring of the Guardia Civil’s short rifles. It’s an attractive and unique firearm crest and symbolic of the role the Guardia Civil plays in civil society. The Roman fasces, a bundle of rods typically surrounding an axe and bound together with straps, symbolizes the power and authority of the state. Symbolizingthepowerofthestate,GuardiaCivil shortriflesaremarkedwiththeRomanfasces. TheM1916GuardiaCivil(above)ischamberedforthelowerpressure7.62naTO,not.308 Winchesterastheimportermarkedthem.Withits21"barrel,thecompact1916shortrifle(below) wasidealforthemultiplemissionsoftheGuardiaCivil. In ancient Rome, fasces were carried by retainers in front of governmental officials as they moved about to signify the power of their office. A little closer to home, images of the Roman fasces appear in the Oval Office, the Senate, the House of Representatives, on the Capitol and Supreme Court buildings, as the front arms of the chair in the Lincoln Memorial, in the crests of our own National Guard and Army Military Police and in many other official domains. Once you begin to look for it, you’ll find the Roman fasces is a widely used symbol within governmental circles. Designated the Model 1916, the Guardia Civil short rifle follows the pattern of the 1893 Spanish Mauser. This was a breakthrough in Mauser design history because it was the first Mauser model to feature the modern, clip-fed, 28 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • MARCH 2010