known as Siam remained an independent nation while all the other
around it fell to colonial rule. The Thai crest is the
a disk with sharpened cutting blades around its
is found in several variations design in its center.
In the 1950's the
U.S. began supplying small arms and ammunition to Thailand.
M1 Garands in .30-06 and M1 and M2 .30 carbines were
the rifles delivered.
At this point in
time Thailand had various obsolete rifles in service or inventory.
The oldest were
the M1888 Mannlichers in 8x50mm Siamese, the Steyr M1895
pull bolt action) 8x50mm Siamese, M1903 Type 46 Mauser in 8x50mm
( this design was based on the transition Mauser M1897, a
to make this rifle was supplied by Mauser to Siam along with a license,
but it proved beyond the capacity of the Thais to make this rifle in
Tooling for production of major components was shipped to Japan by the
Thais and rifles were, in the main, assembled in Siam with Japanese
help. Machinery for making parts was set up in an arsenal at
by the Japanese. In 1923 an improved 8x52mm cartridge was
and many Mausers were converted to the new the round. New
of the type 38 pattern in 8x52mm were delivered in 1928-29 and numbered
In 1930's Thai Police
organization purchased new BSA .303 Enfield No.1 Mk111*
rifles. These have
a "Tiger Head " crest marking and some say this is because the
was known as the Tigers. Another report says the BSA .303
Enfield No.1 Mk111*
rifles, a quantity of 80,000, were purchased by the "Wild
Tiger Corp", a
Patriotic Association of leading figures in the Thai society founded
by King Rama VI,
and presented to the Thai government. The number 0f 80,000
seems very high.
Based on what I have been able to learn I would speculate that a
much smaller number
of Enfields were purchased by the "Tiger Corp" and then
issued by the government
to provincial police or militia type units.
About 1935 a program
was initiated to modernize the Model 1903 Thai Mauser by shortening
from Long rifle to short rifle configuration. This conversion
said to be called
the "Rama VI " rifle. It is believed that only a small number
numbers of Mauser Rifles such as the 7x57mmm Model 1904 made at Mauser
Oberndorf A/N and the identical Model 1907 made at DWM were purchased
use in Siam. Around 1938 the Standard Modell short rifle and
in 7.92x57mm were acquired from Mauser Werke in Oberndorf A/N.
During WW2 Thailand
was a co-belligerent of Japan and was given 6.5mm Arisaka
rifles and carbines.
Various French rifles and carbines were supplied by the Japs
in small numbers.
During the Malaya
Communist insurgency beginning in 1949 the British supplied
Mk.1* .303 Enfields to Thais to help them secure their border with
A U.S. MAG helped
the Thais to modernize their Arsenal in the 50's as .30 caliber
and some existing rifles M1903 Type 46 in 8x50mm and Type 46/66 in
were cut down to .30-06 short rifles. The Thais found .30-06
recoil intensive but really liked the .30 Carbines.
About 1956 Bangkok
Arsenal began converting 6.5mm Arisakas to a very handy
carbine for police
use. This is really one nice light rifle . It is
like the M1 carbine,
but the cartridge is much better. It has a Charkra Crest and
the Siamese systems of numbers for serial number.
During the war in
Viet Nam the Thais bought new .30 Carbines from Howa in Japan
as the U.S. could
not supply them. The Thais wanted to convert their .30
to 7.62x39 and
looked into the idea out but it was not feasible.
Over the course
of the last century Siam/Thailand acquired various small lots of
weapons of non-standard type as well as machinery to produce such small
arms as a Spanish semi-auto pistol and the Ingram Submachine Gun,
of which were made in any large number.