The Krag Rifle will be highlighted in the Museum’s Nation Overseas exhibit where visitors will learn about America’s early entry on the world stage and gain insight into then Secretary of War Elihu Root’s reorganization of the Army in preparation for war in the 20th century. The Krag Rifle that will be displayed was recovered from the battlefield at San Juan Hill, a decisive battle of the Spanish-American War.
According to Rune Johannessen, Executive Vice President of Norway’s Kongsberg Protech Systems, Kongsberg’s history with the United States began with the U.S. Army’s contract for 500,000 Krag Rifles in 1893 and this relationship remains strong today as Kongsberg is the only provider of Common Remotely Operated Weapon Stations (CROWS) for the Army. “We are pleased to sponsor this display of historical significance to the country of Norway, to the evolution of firearms, and to the U.S. Army,” said Johannessen, “and to help illustrate how innovation can directly transform the battlefield.”
Prior to the Krag Rifle, the Army was using a .45-70 caliber single-shot Springfield Rifle and the cartridges were packed with old-fashioned black powder. When fired, the Springfield Rifle had a strong recoil and would produce a large cloud of smoke giving away the position of the shooter. The Krag Rifle was considered a substantial improvement with a bolt-action that delivered a shot with smooth action using new smokeless powder ammunition. Additionally, the Krag was a magazine rifle and enabled a Soldier to carry twice the amount of rounds as the heavier rounds required for the Springfield Rifle.
“Soldiers will tell you that in wartime their firearm is their closest companion,” said MG John P. Herrling (USA-Ret.), the Capital Campaign’s executive director, upon receipt of the gift. “The story of the Krag Rifle will be one that every Soldier can relate to even while being told in an important historical context.”
Their gift places Kongsberg Protech Systems in the Two-Star Circle of Distinction reserved for donors of $100,000 – $249,000.
About The Army Historical Foundation
The Army Historical Foundation establishes, assists, and promotes programs and projects which preserve the history of the American Soldier and promote public understanding of and appreciation for the contributions by all components of the U.S. Army and its members. The Foundation serves as the Army’s official fundraising entity for the Capital Campaign for the National Museum of the United States Army. The Museum will be constructed at Fort Belvoir, Va., to honor the service and sacrifice of all American Soldiers who have served since the Army’s inception in 1775. For more information on the Foundation, the National Museum of the United States Army, and the Army Commemorative Coins, visit www.armyhistory.org.