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Old December 20, 2012, 09:11 PM   #51
sam colt
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bring back service weapons

You may have already seen this. In Hartford Conn. during a police gun buy back a woman turned in a rifle that her father had brought back from WW2. It was just sitting in her closet and she wanted to get rid of it. IT was a German Sturmgewehr 44, the original "assault rifle". The two cops running the buy back realized what it was and told her that it was worth $20,000 to $25000, and that it belonged in a museum. They didn't take it from her and told her that they would talk to the ATF for her so she could give it or sell to a museum.
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Old December 20, 2012, 09:23 PM   #52
James K
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Two cops make their own decision about the legality (and value) of an StG.44 and let the owner keep it?

Perhaps the gun was NFRTR registered and legal in CT. But if not, sorry to say, the cops were guilty of dereliction of duty, big time. Sometimes it goes against the grain, but cops really don't get to decide to ignore a law violation.

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Old December 20, 2012, 09:33 PM   #53
ketland
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Here is the thing about Garands, and carbines. The Garand, rifle was the standard issue rifle of the US government up until the adoption of the M-14 around 1957. Private ownership of the Garand rifle simply did not exist immediately after the war, and NONE, let me repeat NONE of them were given to a returning soldier, sailor, airman, nor Marine, nor would an average person ever have thought of STEALING a USGI issue weapon as the penalty would have simply been too high. All of the Men I have spoken to on the subject agree that civillian ownership of Garand and Carbine rifles began in the early sixties, after the adoption of the M-14 as the standard battle rifle of the US government. So,for a person to say that they kept their Garand, is simply a non-starter. Nobody kept a rifle they carried in combat, anymore than any Soldier or Marine gets to keep his M-16 today. Arms and relics from the enemy are a whole other matter.
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Old December 20, 2012, 09:42 PM   #54
sam colt
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buy back

James, yeh I wondered about that myself, but the article didn't go any further. They said they didn't want to take it to the station for fear it would get melted down. They probably called the ATF,turned her in, and she's now in Folsom makin' little rocks outa big ones!
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Old December 21, 2012, 03:03 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluetrain
Here's a tidbit about some postwar oddities. Some German vehicles used during the war continued in productioin after the war but they weren't fighting vehicles. .
The Ural motorbike is STILL in production, stolen blueprints, heck the first machinery was probably stolen aswell. i tihnk some models still have the brackets for the machine gun, damn fine motorbikes, 1940s BMWs I reckon
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Old December 21, 2012, 04:42 PM   #56
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One of our oldest living Gun Club Members is a WWII combat veteran from the Pacific. He was a veteran of Okinawa and Iwo Jima. He was in the occupying force post war Nagasaki and said walking across the ground was like walking on breaking glass.

When he returned to the US in a troop ship, to San Pedro Harbor, all enlisted men were required to open their duffle bags for inspection. Those with Japanese rifles were required to get in a line and have the crest ground off, in America by Americans. He said he was told it was because of an agreement we had with the Japanese Emperor. He said there was a pile of grenades, mortars, and land mines which had been confiscated from returning GI’s!

He did not bring back any US service arms and I have no doubt those would have been taken from him.
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Old December 24, 2012, 12:48 AM   #57
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I have heard that story in several variations and, with due respect to our WWII vets, don't believe it, although by now the vet probably does. It was a way to explain to the family how that rifle captured in hand-to-hand combat with Hirohito got the crest ground off.

Other variants are:

- Japanese troops carried grinding wheels with them and removed the crest before a Banzai charge

- Navy men had grinding wheels ready when the soldiers/marines got back on the ships

- Officers stood on the beaches with files or wheels and removed the crests at the troops left an island

- Harry Truman kept track of every captured Japanese rifle and sent the FBI to seize them and grind off the crest before returning them

- All Japanese rifles were seized and ground in the states when the troops returned (the above version)

- Americans ground the crest because otherwise the Japanese would sue to have their property returned

I am sure there are some I have not heard or forgot. But the story is simple. The crest (mum) was ground by Japanese at depots in Japan before the rifles were turned over to the occupying forces for souvenirs or for destruction.

Jim
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Old December 24, 2012, 09:57 AM   #58
ketland
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James, how dare you, "Never let the truth stand in the way of a good story".
That about sums it up for most of this stuff.
Back in the 70's, I used to frequent a little store in Santa Monica Ca. called, "Bobs Military Antiques, and war museum", which was filled to the gills with very high end military collectibles. Mostly uniforms, and medals, but also a plethora of arms, and other items. There were rows of mannequins dressed in the full and correct kit for their respective time and place, right down to the smallest detail. This of course was possible because of the huge amount of high quality bringback and souvenier material which came to the US after the war. One of the stores specialties, found behind glass cases in the back of the store in their own section, were the Japanese blades. I watched for years, as small groups of wealthy japanese businessmen would come in to purchase, and re-patriate some of those blades, the rare ones, and they would treat them with religious reverence. I also saw many german vets come in for the various reasons, and was always fascinated to speak with them, and hear about the war from their perspective. I met Medal of Honor winners, (one of whom threw himself on a Japanese grenade and survived) and saw the scars, listened to the stories, and marveled at their exploits.
As young as I was at the time, most of these guys looked pretty old to me, but today I am older than they were in the early seventies. In any case it was all fascinating. One of the things That I learned was that for every man who saw combat, in any theatre, there were a whole bunch on men behind them keeping the ball rolling, that did not, or very little. All luck of the draw.
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Old December 24, 2012, 10:16 AM   #59
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I've got an old .303 British from 1942. Didn't get a story with it, but it was made in England and has several ticks etched into the barrel. I'm thinking maybe someone kept a tally or just bumped his gun around. I'll try to post some pictures.
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Old December 24, 2012, 02:10 PM   #60
James K
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FWIW, I go back a bit further than Ketland. I was 12 in 1945 when the troops started to come home. Some from the ETO were given 30 days leave before being sent to the Pacific; some of those still in transit or on leave when the war ended were told to just wait for orders, which usually meant discharge papers.

Most of those who had actually seen combat did not talk a lot about it, but even some of them could not help bragging to a young boy. I listened to guys who had captured Hitler (he go away), who had taken a Walther PP or P.38 "offen Goring personal", captured Italy single handed, and so on. Not to take anything away from the real heroes, but the men of the "greatest generation", believe me, were also the greatest liars.

But some would tell it like it was with captured weapons. Pistols were often taken from prisoners captured in real fighting, but long guns were almost always taken from depots and dumps where captured weapons were kept. The GI's who were rotating back and who wanted souvenirs were taken in trucks to a depot or weapons dump and told to pick out a rifle and take it with them. Many rifles were without bolts; the bolts were in another pile.
(The bolts were removed when the prisoners were first captured to that if they tried to escape they couldn't just grab a working rifle.)

In the Pacific, most of the rifle bringbacks came from depots in Japan; the "mums" were ground off by Japanese workers before the rifles were surrendered to the heathen Americans. Not in the states, not on the ships, not by Japanese troops with power grinders, not by Harry Truman. By Japanese, under an agreement to allow that small face-saving measure.

If anyone thinks about it, stories about capturing a half dozen enemy rifles and bringing them back don't make sense. No one who has ever been in the service could believe that an infantryman could carry around not only his own rifle but even one captured piece. And they were NOT allowed to mail guns home; that was prohibited, and the army post office enforced the rules.

As to those rules and laws. The main deterrent to stealing U.S. weapons (and that is what it was, no matter how many fables you hear) was that if caught the smuggler would spend a couple of years in Leavenworth. Those vets wanted OUT! Now! They had no desire to change olive green for the dyed brown of army prisoners. The desire to go home, for all but a few, far outweighed the value of any weapon they might steal.

Jim
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