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Old December 6, 2012, 09:53 PM   #26
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At least some returning vets were allowed to purchase their sidearms, and rifles, if they so desired. And some of those "purchases" never involved Uncle Sam actually getting any money!

Lots of them were just "kept", others were "bought" from the supply sgts (who often pocketed the money and just combat lossed the guns) and some were actually bought and paid for, with all the proper paperwork.

Over the years I have met vets who retained their service arms in each of these ways, so I do know it happened.
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Old December 7, 2012, 11:02 AM   #27
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My understanding from the talk was that there was no security in most places so you could take most of anything you wanted. And that the government was not much interested in accounting for, and storing, and inventorying tons and tons of equipment that was no longer needed for anything, would soon be obsolete, and maybe still didn't work good.
I know even long after the war of purchasing things left over for $1. They just wanted to get rid of it.
The one written account, and published that I know of is Andy Rooney, in his book, about his WWII experience. He took his jeep with him. No one said anything, or cared, as they did not want to inventory, account for, ship back, etc a jeep that they could not then sell. Other than for $6. It wasn't worth it to the government.
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Old December 8, 2012, 02:20 PM   #28
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The father of one of my friends, was a radio station operator, and upon his return to the states for discharge at San Francisco, he had a carbine and a .45. They asked him to pay for the carbine (which he was issued, per his rating) but not for the .45 (which had been given to him at his duty station). So he did, both.

There was more than a little variation on the practice, especially depending on who was on duty, and the time of day. Clearance personel at 2am, trying to process a shipload of troops tend to cut a few corners to get finished so they can all get some sleep.
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Old December 8, 2012, 02:37 PM   #29
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Gee, we've gone from weapons to jeeps.

I think the top response here is from old0311-1.

And, if jeeps, why not b-29's and P-51's? Gotta love this stuff.
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Old December 9, 2012, 07:53 AM   #30
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My grandfather, USMC, kept his 1911 after leaving the Pacific. He simply told me that he was able to bring it home with him. He never did talk much at all about WW2 and I wish he had but can understand why he wouldn't.
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Old December 9, 2012, 09:12 AM   #31
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Had an opportunity to speak with another old grunt at the range yesterday. He assured me that upon return to the states, they were stripped of all US weaponry, and had to have all souveniers OK'd and signed over, as the photos erlier in this thread attest to. Also noted that upon release from the service they had to sign paperwork in which the Marine had to describe his physical condition, etc. Said if a man refused to sign, they would be held at base until they did, and that most guys just wanted to be on their way. I have also heard this from those who served in the army, that to get the ruptured duck, they had to indemnify the government from any future claims by signing paperwork establishing their physical and mental well being. Interesting.
Also interesting to note that all the "stories" of men keeping arms they had in combat appear to be largely just that, stories, and that the most likely true source for those arms was post war civilian purchase, in spite of what "Grandpa" said.
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Old December 9, 2012, 10:15 AM   #32
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The fact is, weapons were brought home, in both approved ways and un approved.
My father was a WWII vet of Europe.
He told me that an uncle brought home an M1 Thompson SMG...the uncle served on a navy ocean going tug which pulled landing craft off invasion beaches. My uncle was in the beach party under fire, and armed only with a 1911. He picked up the Thompson, and kept it for the rest of the war. When my uncles ship docked in San Diego, he walked off with his sea bag and the Thompson over his shoulder, and nobody stopped him.
According to my dad, they fired it one time at an Ohio farm in the late 1940's. My dad said it scared great grandfather so much, that the old man took the gun and buried it somewhere. They are all dead now, and no doubt, that Thompson is a pile of rust.
My father was a weapons expert in his Cav unit. He had a collection of German automatic weapons on his armored car...MG42, MG34, and others. He used them to familiarize other units in the German weapons. He had arranged to have them dewated in France to bring home, when he got dysentery and went in the hospital. When he got out, his unit had shipped out for the Pacific, and all his stuff was gone. As an aside, the atom bombing in Japan meant that his unit beat him home...their ship just changed course mid trip.
My father brought home two pistols from his service, both properly papered. I have one, and my brother has the other, and we both have the paperwork.
Mine is my most reassured possession...it is sad that future generations won't get to have such heirlooms of the service of their relatives.
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Old December 9, 2012, 10:20 AM   #33
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One thing can certainly be said about "bring back" discussions.

The first liar doesn't stand a chance!
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Old December 9, 2012, 11:01 AM   #34
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It's not hard to see why the M1 rifle was still being manufactured in the 1950s.
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Old December 9, 2012, 08:04 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueTrain
It's not hard to see why the M1 rifle was still being manufactured in the 1950s.
To give them to the Greeks to stop the Red Hoarde?
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Old December 9, 2012, 08:40 PM   #36
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" Gee, we've gone from weapons to jeeps.

I think the top response here is from old0311-1.

And, if jeeps, why not b-29's and P-51's? Gotta love this stuff."


Ketland
You don't have to go far from here to see still the old graveyards of surplus aircraft from the military.
After WWII they had hundreds of them, which were dumped out in the desert and sat there for many years rotting and rusting. You usually could buy one for $1. You had to move it, store it, repair it, etc., and there are still many of them in operation today where exactly that was done.
They did the same with ships.
In San Francisco Bay there is a back bay called Suisun Bay (Susan Bay) where there are still dozens or more old ships, sitting, rusting.
They revived one from WWII to use as a museum (the vets did, not the govt) and it was here in San Pedro for many years. I don't know where it went to now. A supply ship. Lane Victory.
Here is a link.
dc
http://www.suisunbay.com/
http://www.lanevictory.org/
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Old December 11, 2012, 10:11 AM   #37
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Not just planes and ships. During the war the government built brand spanking new factories and after the war sold them for pennies on the dollar and in some cases gave them away.

The movie Tucker gives an example of that. Which is why it rings a little hollow when people say America should have had a Marshall Plan of it's own. We had the most modern industrial system in the history of the world, all paid for by Uncle Sam.

By the way Israel armed itself to a great extent by buying "scrap" metal. Tons of surplus armaments were sold as scrap. The toaster you bought in 1948 could have been a bazooka in 47.
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Old December 11, 2012, 11:41 PM   #38
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One book I read about Korea said the Marines held onto many of their vehicles, amphtracs, etc., even got hold of Army vehicles, repainted them Marine Corps green. When the Korean War started they were much better prepared than the Army. Weapons have always been sensitive items in Uncle Sam's military, I doubt that many were brought back legally. Did Uncle Same EVER allow serving or retiring personnel to purchase their weapons?
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Old December 12, 2012, 01:06 AM   #39
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Gee, I didn't know those guys were able to bring home tanks and trucks and cannons and everything. I guess it was pretty free for all back then.* I don't mind that my neighbor brought home his B-29 from WWII, but it's got this big round thing underneath that he keeps fooling with. Should I move?

*Or a lot of WWII vets told a lot of lies.
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Old December 12, 2012, 01:37 AM   #40
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Quote:
Gee, I didn't know those guys were able to bring home tanks and trucks and cannons and everything. I guess it was pretty free for all back then.* I don't mind that my neighbor brought home his B-29 from WWII, but it's got this big round thing underneath that he keeps fooling with. Should I move?
Well I'm not sure how that WWII vet fit a B-29 in his duffel bag, but nevertheless, I would consider calling the police on him because, eh heh hem, that is probably a bomb Keenan! Hopefully its been deactivated but you never know.

Quote:
Or a lot of WWII vets told a lot of lies
Well I got a good story for all you skeptics! - my grandfather was issued a Remington Rand 45. One day out near Normandy with his men (he was a staff sergeant) they were attacked by a pair of Me 109s. They ducked for cover, and my grandfather drew his 45. He fired the entire magazine after the plane passed right over them, the plane caught smoke and sputtered, and the pilot bailed. The other plane flew away. The men were able to catch the Nazi pilot that bailed, and it was none other than Gunther Rall. He had his BYF 42 luger on a shoulder holster, which my grandfather confiscated. In case you don't know, Rall was a top German ace with 275 confirmed aerial victories. Today I am fortunate enough to have both guns but I am also cursed because no one seems to believe me.
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Old December 12, 2012, 08:31 AM   #41
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Check out Gunther's biography here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%BCnther_Rall
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Old December 12, 2012, 09:12 AM   #42
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My dad was in Germany on VE day. They had recently occupied a small German village and had rounded up all civilian weapons. They were prepared to destory them when they got the word that the war had ended. An officer gave them permission to take anything they wanted.

Dad picked out this. A brand new pre war FN produced SXS with hang tags still on it. He built a wooden box and it cost him $1.50 to mail it back home. He could have just as easily have mailed back home a Luger, M-1, 1911 or anything else he could have gotten his hands on. I'm sure many others did.

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Old December 12, 2012, 10:37 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dfariswheel
...GI's being told that a troop ship was going to be searched and anyone caught with a GI issue firearm would be in BIG trouble and wouldn't be mustered out.
Many of them threw guns overboard, only to never have any search done.
Other troop ships were searched...
The account from a WWII vet I used to listen to is practically identical to that. he said he had traded for a practically new 1911, and had planned to bring it back in his duffel bag, but then he was told that they would be searched when they boarded the troop ship. He got paranoid and ditched the piece a sewer. They were never searched.
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Old December 12, 2012, 12:53 PM   #44
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I once spoke to a Korean War veteran (USMC) who told me he tried to bring back a Chinese burp gun and a M1911 on the troop ship back to the States. They were nearing port when they were told their bags would be checked for contraband, he got nervous, so over the side they went. He added that their bags were not checked after all.
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Old December 12, 2012, 10:57 PM   #45
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madcratebuilder - what's a Jap. consolation bag? Do they stuff ashes in it or what?
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Old December 14, 2012, 04:31 PM   #46
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i know for a fact that GI,s were the worst kind thiefs, a friends dad told the story of breaking down doors and taking away all they could carry,another told of stealing(liberating) a very fine double barrel with two or three barrels,shotgun-shotgun,rifle-rifle, rifle-shotgun. as he had the shotgun-shotgun, i ask what happened to the other barrel,s and he said there is no honor amoung thiefs, some SOB stold them. eastbank.
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Old December 14, 2012, 04:51 PM   #47
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You may be shocked to learn that GIs might steal from one another (I think the word was "swipe"). No doubt Marines are above that sort of thing. Still, it's hard on the morale of your little unit, just like someone stealing someone's lunch at work.
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Old December 15, 2012, 03:29 PM   #48
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Dad brought home a few from the pacific. His garand (his claim) an ariska (mum intact) and a set of swords taken in battle by him. Korea turned up a carbine. He never revealed how he got them home. All of which came into my possesion after his death. The Swords were not military issue and shortly after he passed, I returned them to the Japanese consulate to be returned to the proper family by custom. Dads rifles are kept in a glass case along with his medals in my gun room. I have no reason to doubt his word.
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Old December 20, 2012, 08:29 PM   #49
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Dad brought home a few from the pacific. His garand (his claim) an ariska (mum intact) and a set of swords taken in battle by him. Korea turned up a carbine. He never revealed how he got them home. All of which came into my possesion after his death. The Swords were not military issue and shortly after he passed, I returned them to the Japanese consulate to be returned to the proper family by custom. Dads rifles are kept in a glass case along with his medals in my gun room. I have no reason to doubt his word.
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Hmm, are you sure about the sword claim? Almost all, that being 99.999% of the "Samurai" swords brought back from battle, were production blades made in factories prior to, or during the war, and would not have been signed by the maker. Heirloom quality blades did make their way back to the US in some limited quantities, however those blades were either bartered or forfeited during the postwar occupation of the japanese homeland. This is how they come attached with a family pedigree, as well as the makers mark on the tang of the blade (known as Nakago, in japanese).
Not here to disturb your fathers credibility, but the battle pick up story does not wash. The Garand and carbine story have some issues also, As I have researched this issue deeper, it turns out that the take home your rifle issue has been pretty much put to rest. If he did keep his garand, he would have had to jump some hoops to steal it. nuff said.
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Old December 20, 2012, 08:48 PM   #50
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I have no Idea what hoops he had to jump through but he had them. Yes, the blades were signed by maker and confirmed by consulate. They were very happy to get them back. Again, I have no reason to doubt his voracity.
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