More than 100,000 rifles used in the Korean War are going under the hammer in South Korea - and the profits will be used to fund the countries defence force.

The sale will be aimed at US collectors, who will have an opportunity to buy around 35,000 carbine rifles and 87,000 M1 rifles by the end of the year.

"Importers are very interested in them as many Americans want to buy them as curios for their collections," said a statement by the Korean Defence Ministry's "green" logistics planning division.

The M1 was first manufactured in 1926 and was used by US forces in the Second World War, Korea and during the Vietnam War.

It was lauded by famous US military men such as General Douglas MacArthur and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

And General George S Patton, the hero of Normandy, called it, "the greatest single battle implement ever devised by man."

The model was only replaced by the M16 in the 1980s.

The weapons were donated by the United States to South Korea during the latter's bloody conflict with communist North Korea between 1950-53.

Estimated prices are $218 per M1 and $160 per carbine according to Koreas Defence Ministry - meaning the defence forced could earn $23m from the first weapons shipment.

However, Korea may be selling itself short - the same weapons reportedly bring up to $1,000 in the US collectors market.

And another sale could be in the pipeline...

Korea's defence ministry retains a stockpile of around 640,000 M1 carbines for use by reserve soldiers. These will need to be disposed of by 2020 as the military modernises.

Meanwhile, an exhibition of home-made and primitive weapons used by Vietnamese soldiers and citizens against the US and France, dating back to 1930, is to be held at the Vietnam Military History Museum.


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