Italian version of the USA M14. Fires in semi or full auto fire a 7'62x51mm-NATO fed by a 20-rounds clip, although, in case of an emergency, it may also feed with stripper clips "a la Garand". There were 3 versions: the "standard one", the MK4 (Light Machine Gun) and the "Alpine Troops" (folding stock). This rifle was retained in service with the Italian army until the beginning of the '80s, although this weapon is still today used in Italy for troops training and retained as a strategic reserve. However, at the beginning of the '90s, this weapon saw a widespread use in an Italian army operation: OPERATION VESPRI SICILIANI. It happened after summer of 1992, in Sicily, after the bomb-killing, by mafia, of two very important anti-mafia attorneys: GIOVANNI FALCONE and PAOLO BORSELLINO. Police personnel in Sicily was in too low number to ensure everyday Law Enforcement and fight mafia at the same time. So, the Army started Operazione Vespri Siciliani: a few thousand soldiers, armed with the BM59 rifles taken from the strategic reserve storage (this, due to the Military heads' belief that the 7'62-NATO cartridge should have been more effective in Urban Operations and C.Q.B.) SEIZED CONTROL of the Sicilian territory, ensuring normal Law Enforcement and allowing local police to concentrate all of its personnel on Mafia-related investigation. OPERATION VESPRI SICILIANI ended a pair of years later, after the arrest of hundreds of mafias bosses and hit men, including the killers of Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, and the "head of mafia", SALVATORE "TotÚ" RIINA.
Picture and information courtesy of: PIERANGELO TENDAS