nominally independent of British rule in 1922. It had a king and
an Army. The Army was armed with Remington Rolling Block Rifles in .43
Egyptian, Martini-Henry 577/.450 Peabody type rifles and carbines and conversions
of these Martinis to .303 British, but the principal rifle was the .303
No.3 Mk1 and Mk1* Enfield. Britain remain in control with Imperial Troops
dominating the country.
In 1936 a Treaty was
signed requiring all British Empire troops and other officials to retire
into the Suez Canal Zone. At the outbreak of WW2 British forces assumed
virtual control of the entire country, which while technically neutral,
was at the service of the British Empire.
There was great dissatisfaction
within the Egyptian Army at this puppet status imposed on their country.
A revolutionary movement began to fester. In the postwar period King
Farouk, a gun collector and weapons expert sat upon the throne. He
armed his body guards with Colt .45ACP pistols which were specially marked,
and sold off as surplus in the late 50's and are very desirable.
In 1948 the State of
Israel was founded with the Soviet Union and the USA playing a prominent
role in the UN and the real world supporting this move. This was
to have profound effect on later events. The Arab states, seeing
this move as an attack on the concept of the "Arab Nation", began a war
with Israel to reclaim the land allocated in Palestine to the State of
The Soviet Union authorized
the sale by Czechoslovakia of most of the armament that made its victory
in the 1948 War possible. This included small arms such as the Kar.
98K Mauser and MG34 GPMG as well as aircraft such as the BF109 Messerschmidt
fighters still in production in Czechoslovakia.
Egypt fought the war
with .303 Enfield and 98k surplus Mausers bought on the world market, along
with 8mm Carcani used for training purposes.
In 1949 after the cease
fire FN in Belgian began supplying 7.92x57 Mauser carbines to Egypt and
in 1951 SAFN 7.92x57mm Model 49 rifles with the Farouk crest. Farouk
was overthrown in a 1951 coup by the Army after Egypt renounced the 1936
Treaty and conflicts began between rioters and British troops in the Canal
A junta led by Col.
Naguib ruled the country and began purchasing arms from Yugoslavia including
M24/47 and M48 Mausers in 7.92mm. A deal was negotiated with Sweden
to buy a factory to produce the 7.92mm version of the M42B rifles at Helwan
as the "Hakim". Egypt was still chronically short of small arms.
On Nov.14, 1954 Naguib
was deposed by the more militant Col. Abdul Nasser. He had CIA contacts
and sought American arms assistance which was not forth coming as it would
conflict with US support for Britain and Israel. The Soviet Union,
having previously reversed policy under Stalin, now agreed to supply arms
to Egypt from Czechoslovakia.
The VZ52 was the first
rifle type supplied. It was the same rifle and pattern with Castro
in Cuba as the Soviet Union did not want to be directly identified as the
supplier of arms to a country about to confront a western power.
the Suez Canal and Britain, France and Israel invaded in the fall of 1956
as the Hungarian Revolution was underway and the Russians were involved
Israel captured many
small arms and some came into the USA via Golden State Arms Corp. in 1958,
including some VZ52 and SAFN.
All known Czech production
of the VZ52 and VZ52/57 was coded "SHE" for the factory of original production.
The Egyptians made a modification of the Hakim rifle as the Rashid and
there have been rumors that they may have made original VZ52 or conversions
to the VZ52/57 at Helwan "Maadi" complex using Czech supplied parts and
The Rashid production
was set up, supposedly with the help of Swedish technicians, in the plant
where the Hakim was being made on Swedish tooling in 7.92mm after Egyptians
had received the VZ52, VZ52/57, SKS, and AK's from the East Bloc and had
decided to replace the 7.92mm weapons with the short round. About 6500
were made before production was halted according to the info available
and many wound up in the USA in the late 80's. Some are marked UAR (United
Nasser had ambitions
to form a united "Arab Nation" and formed a union with Syria in 1958 as
a start in that direction. VZ52's and other arms were sent
to Syria. The union did not endure.
Russia had a grand
plan to overthrow Anglo/American hegemony in the Middle East.
It was basically Stalin's
conception and his successors carried it forward. That was the reason
the Russians constructed the Aswan High Dam.
In the early 1990's
Egypt trained Palestinian Arabs on the new PA and VZ52's which were well