Other GunsMiniature GunsCarcanoBoys ONB model.
This scarce carbine is a poignant if not slightly disturbing military collectible from pre-war Italy. This is a blank firing rifle and could never be fired with live ammunition so it does not require a license.
Mussolini and the fascists did little to conceal their dreams of expansion and empire for Italy and in order to realise these nationalistic aims, militarisation of Italian society was necessary, and particular emphasis was placed on indoctrination of the country’s youth.
To this end, in 1926, after barely four years in power and following Mussolini’s expressed desire to provide pre-military training and to arm Italian youths beginning at a very young age, the fascists established the Opera Nazionale Balilla (ONB) youth organization. The term “Balilla” evoked the memory of a young boy, Giovan Battista Perasso, whose nickname was Balilla, who on December 5, 1746, touched off a popular revolt against the Hapsburg occupiers in Genoa. By December 10, the revolt had managed to free the city from
the Austrian troops.
The ONB program encompassed boys from six to 18 years of age, organized along military lines, who, depending on their age group, were issued uniforms and weapons of various types ranging from strictly toy weapons to light machine guns. In October 1937, the ONB was replaced by the Gioventù Italiana del Littorio (GIL), which was disbanded in July 1943.
In 1931, in response to a request by the ONB, production began of a very faithful blank-firing copy approximately four-fifths the size of the corresponding full-size Carcano moschetto modello 1891, commonly (although actually improperly) referred to as the cavalry carbine both in Italian as well as in English. This carbine was designated the moschetto regolamentare Balilla modello 1891 ridotto (reduced size Model 1891 Balilla regulation carbine) and was also referred to as the moschetto per ONB, or more commonly as the moschetto Balilla. It was ultimately designed to familiarize young boys with the regulation Carcano battle rifle and its proper handling.
This is an excellent example and seldom seen in the UK. It is virtually mint with the exception of a chip near the heel of the butt. This is an interesting artefact that would grace any military carbine collection as an item to stimulate conversation!
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