The curious Danish Rolling Block

Over the course of the past 150 years or so, Denmark and the U.S. have traded each other’s rifle designs back and forth. Today, the Danish military uses the Canadian-made C7/C8 system, which is fundamentally an M4/M4A1, while the elite Slædepatruljen dog sled patrol still carries Great War-era M1917 “American Enfields” in .30-06 as they walk their icy beat in Greenland.


Going back to the 1950s through the 1960s, the Danish military used the M1 Garand, or Garandgevær M/50 in local parlance, keeping them in reserve through the end of the Cold War.

Prior to that, the Danes used a standard Scandanavian bolt-action rifle, the Krag-Jorgensen, a design that was a staple in America on the front lines of the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection, then kept around as a second-line and training rifle as late as WWII.

This U.S. Volunteer, photographed in Tampa in 1898, preparing to ship out for points south in the War with Spain, is carrying the distinctive Krag

Danish troops with their side-loading Krags, a rifle they carried for nearly 60 years

All this sharing can be traced back to 1867, when the Royal Danish Army, looking to re-equip after their war with upstart Germany three years prior, bought one of the most modern breechloaders in the world– the Remington Rolling Block.

Notably, Denmark adopted the rifle before the U.S. Army (who adopted it as the Model 1870).

More in my column at

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