July 26, 2017
When World War One broke out in 1914, France mobilized millions of men into military service – and it became abundantly clear that a lot of new rifles would need to be manufactured. The 1886 Lebel was no longer in production and was a slow rifle to make in any case – but the 1907 Colonial Berthier was being produced already, and was a more efficient design as well. By late 1914, plans were underway to drastically increase Berthier rifle production.
A few changes were made to the 1907 pattern, mainly changing the front end to accept the standard 1886 Lebel bayonet (“Rosalie”). After the first 80,000 had been made, the bolt handle was also changed from the bent carbine style to a heavier duty straight type. With these changes made, the Modele 07/15 was ready for mass adoption by the infantry, where it would serve side by side with the Lebel.