July 07, 2011
It's a peaceful tourist destination now, but like a lot of Caribbean countries, it has an often-violent past that includes some interesting and unusual arms. See Paul Scarlata's report on Dominican ammo in the September 1 SGN.
Dominican security forces during the disturbances of 1965 were armed with a motley collection of arms, including a Cristobal M2 carbine, a Lanchester SMG and a couple of Lewis guns.
The Cristobal M2 combined Beretta-style double triggers with the U.S. .30 M1 Carbine cartridge to make a powerful, if somewhat old-fashioned, wood-stocked submachine gun.
Here are a couple guns any Title II collector would love to own; a Cristobal SMG and an AR-10. The Dominican intervention was a sideshow at the start of the Vietnam War.
The Cristobal was not a bad idea, combining features of the Beretta M38 SMG with .30 Carbine ammo. But the wood stock made it look old-fashioned by the 1960s.
Here's a typical Third World combination: surplus German steel helmets and FN FALs. The Dominican Republic was one of the many nations large and small that adopted the FAL.
The coal scuttle helmets look a little more appropriate with the M1953 Mauser and bayonet. These were M1908 Mausers bought from Brazil and reconditioned at San Cristobal.
An M16A1-armed U.S. trooper patrols the streets of Santo Domingo in 1965. U.S. troops were fairly quickly withdrawn, to be replaced by a largely Brazilian peacekeeping force.