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Old December 6, 2012, 08:25 AM   #22
Senior Member
Join Date: September 26, 2005
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 6,141
You may recall the story Skeeter Skelton told about when he was going overseas as a Marine just after the war, I think it was. Being the sort of fellow he was, he felt the need to take personal weapons with him, two revolvers. Someone found out and he had to sell them. I don't recall who he had to sell them to that was allowed to buy them, though.

Sometimes units that are in one place for a long time somehow manage to accumulate a lot of junk, most of it literally junk but some of it good stuff. Lots of spare parts and accessories. The unit I was with was relocating to the states after being in the same location (under different names, beginning as the 11th Airborne Division) for something like 20 years. That sounds like a eternity when you're only 20 years old yourself. Anyway, the commanders realized that some units might possibly have some extra, surplus and mostly unauthorized stuff that no longer had to be accounted for but which they nevertheless didn't want dumped somewhere. They established a literal dumping location under the biggest tent they had for units to drop off anything they weren't supposed to have (and didn't want to keep). There weren't any complete weapons (and I looked carefully!) but there were machine gun barrels, mortar barrels (60mm) and all sorts of electronic equipment. That was only 44 years ago but frankly that's all I remember about it.

The same thing still happens, no doubt, and happened when my son's unit did the same thing. There were also lots of little unit museums here and there that really didn't fare too well with major relocations. Most of that was stuff like drums and flags and whatnot but in some cases, units had obsolete vehicles from fifty years ago that was still kept in running condition. My son reported that a couple of half-tracks were still around, ready to go. Don't know what happened to them.

The paperwork for a firearm to be brought back as a war souvenir was a little more elaborate than the one illustrated here already. Unfortuantely, by the time I got overseas, everything had already been brought back. My father spent the last year of his time overseas as a POW, so his chances of bringing home something useful were low but at least he got home.

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. And some German army decorations and awards were only manufactured and awarded (with allied permission) after the war, too, though only in very small numbers and the actual awards were of relatively poor quality.
Shoot low, sheriff. They're riding Shetlands!
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