Japanese rifles in WW1 Russia


When working on a WW1 videogame set on the Eastern Front (we are developing such a game), you might not immediately think of Japanese rifles as something that needs to be modeled. But as many of you likely know, the Russians didn’t have enough locally manufactured rifles for their large army, and would go on to import hefty numbers of foreign weapons… including the aforementioned Japanese rifles.

We currently have the Type 30 and Type 38 Arisakas in game. Many of these would have been directly purchased from Japan by the Russian Empire, but others would have taken a more roundabout route via the UK. The British had their own rifle shortage earlier in the war, and imported Type 30s and Type 38s to make up numbers. The Royal Navy used some of them, but many were sent to Russia.

Tracing the usage of these weapons can be a challenge – we don’t feature exact formations in the game, instead using more general ‘squad types’ which are meant to broadly represent the types of uniform and weaponry you’d see from a particular group of soldiers during the war. We recently added a Latvian Riflemen squad, whose members can make use of Type 30 and Type 38 rifles (among other rifles), since our research suggested that the Russian Empire did assign those weapons to combat use among legion troops like the Latvian Riflemen. The Arisaka Type 30 can also be used by certain members of the ‘Frontovik’ squad, who are intended to represent general Russian infantry during the war. Naturally they more commonly use Mosin-Nagant rifles and carbines, but we wanted to represent the significant number of the Japanese rifles which were used by the Russian Empire.

Many of our fans are enthusiastic historians who know a lot about the period and weaponry, often owning some of the weapons themselves. We get questions about things like the appearance of the dust covers on the Type 38 (added based on experiences in the Russo-Japanese war) and more than once we’ve been able to improve the accuracy of our 3D models or uniforms thanks to keen eyed fans. As we aim to represent details from the First World War which often get forgotten, it’s refreshing to see that many people share our interests and appreciate the small particulars that we try to get right. So I guess this is just to say thanks to everyone with an interest in history, and to everyone sharing their love of history so new people can join in!

Source: reddit post


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