Military Museum, Wrocław City Museum
Curve-barrelled machine guns, UR anti-tank rifles, Mauser and Mosin guns, a Turkish flame-bladed sable and an impressive collection of helmets and military uniforms are just some of the highlights of the Military Museum.
Curve-barrelled machine guns, UR anti-tank rifles, Mauser and Mosin guns, a Turkish flame-bladed sable and an impressive collection of helmets and military uniforms are just some of the highlights of the intriguing and original collections of Wrocław’s Military Museum.
The focus of the Military Museum is on showcasing firearms from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Apart from popular gun makes such as the Mosin or Mauser, which were in general use throughout World War II, Wrocław’s Arsenal also houses unique designs as well as rare and original weaponry.
Curve-barrelled machine guns and lethal UR anti-tank rifles
Wrocław’s curve-barrelled machine gun was designed in 1953. With a slightly curved barrel, the gun could fire from an armour-plated position without the necessity for the gunner to lean from behind the shield. The gun was manned by two soldiers: a gunner and a gunner’s mate. “This is Poland’s only specimen of this kind,” says Mariusz Cieśla, PhD, Director of the Military Museum in Wrocław.
UR anti-tank rifles were designed in the 1930s by a team of Polish engineers under Józef Maroszek's supervision. A long barrel and an additional powder charge made the gun a lethally efficient weapon. The gun would pierce a 15-mm armour plate from a 300-metre range.
P-83 pistols were standard equipment among the officers of the Polish Army. That said, the Military Museum item is its luxury version. This nickel-plated shiny pistol was used by Second Lieutanant Artur Linard, a distinguished alumnus of the Military Academy in Wrocław.
Melee weapons: a Turkish sable with a profession of faith
The Museum’s collection of melee weapons (spanning the 18th and 20th centuries) features a number of sables used by warriors in the East.
One such item is a flame-bladed sable. The blade, which according to some theories improved the thrust, imparted an original quality to the sable.
The Military Museum houses another 17th-century Turkish sable, its blade featuring a Muslim profession of faith. “Weaponry was produced by top class specialists, not common blacksmiths. Armourers made a very well-paid profession, which required expertise in material technology or physics,” Mariusz Cieśla, PhD.
The collection of more than 500 helmets is equally impressive. Tin hats were in use already in the 18th century to protect soldiers against bullets and shrapnels and melee weapons while in battlefield. The overwhelming majority of the collection comprises helmets used by the Polish Army that were bequeathed by Jacek Kijak. The helmets come from a variety of military units, not exclusively Polish, but often refashioned with Polish markings on them. One such item is a German helmet with a coat of arms of Wrocław.
The collection also features helmets from different parts of the globe: “The DDR army helmet was designed by the Germans during World War II, but Hitler refused to accept the design,” says Mariusz Cieśla, PhD.
The collection also features leather helmets, headsets and flying caps, as well as police helmets and soundproof helmets used by airport and aircraft carrier crews.