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Sidearms During WII

Discussion in 'Small Arms and Edged Weapons' started by arcadiaredneck, Jul 14, 2008.

  1. arcadiaredneck

    arcadiaredneck recruit

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    Hey Y'all. I'm a new member and a New WWII Reenactor. I've heard during the War, Enlisted men who wanted a Sidearm did whatever they could to Procure one, even sending for Personally owned ones from back home. Did Soldiers Ever carry SAAs?
     
  2. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Patton carried his own personal Colt SAA with the ivory grips, BTW, he never carried a two handgun rig. He carried either his Colt, or his S&W .357, but never both at the same time. He had a great number of person sidearms, not just those two.
     
  3. mac_bolan00

    mac_bolan00 Member

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    in "as eagles screamed," the author's father even bought him a colt 1911 just before he was sent to england to be parachuted down to normandy during the invasion.
     
  4. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Most enlisted combat troops recognized the following about side arms:

    1. They weighed a pound or more and several with ammunition. You have to carry that weight with you. Not a good thing. The occasional trophy piece, maybe loaded, to be thrown in your "B" gear (left behind in combat) was ok. But toting an extra hand gun as a weapon....useless weight.

    2. Pistols in combat are well neigh useless. Combat soldiers also were generally opposed to carrying the lighter M1 carbine due to its lack of stopping power in relatively short range accuracy.

    3. Getting ammunition could be a problem if the unit they were in didn't already have it being issued.

    Now, troops never in combat etc, might think an extra piece was worth the trouble but they soon learned otherwise.
     
  5. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Other than airborne and aircrew, I did not think enlisted were 'allowed' to carry sidearms.
     
  6. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    Maybe that was true in Europe, but I have been told by two different Marine veterans of the fighting in the Pacific that pistols, especially, the Colt 1911 .45 ACP, were highly prized by the Marines. I have also read at least one account by a Marine infantryman about how valuable a pistol was at night in fighting against Japanese infiltrators.

    A personal acquaintance of mine who served with the Marines in the Pacific told me that a pistol was favored at night because the Japanese infiltrators would sneak up on the Marines in foxholes and try to bayonet them or roll a grenade into the foxhole; rifles were too long and awkward to quickly get into action, but a pistol was ideal in the combats that would take place in the dark at something like 0-5 yards. My informant claimed that in his unit whoever was in charge of the squad when on the line tried to make sure there was at least one Colt .45 in each foxhole for the man on watch. When the watch was changed, the man who took over was given the pistol.

    As for the M-1 Carbine, there were some complaints that the .30 Carbine round lacked stopping power, but the weapon itself was highly popular with both the Army and the Marines because of it's small size and light weight, and the fact that quite a bit of ammo could be carried without much trouble. I have also read that captured Carbines were used and prized by both the Germans and the Japanese for the same reasons. in actual combat, stopping power was seldom a consideration; a wounded enemy was more of a liability than an asset to his own side.
     
  7. Tony Williams

    Tony Williams Member

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    Ask a soldier at the sharp end whether he'd prefer his enemy to be killed rather than wounded - especially in close-quarter fighting, when a wounded enemy might still be able to kill you - and you would get a different view...
     
  8. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WWII Veteran

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    PzJgr
    Sorry...Not so......
    Tank crew wore sidearms and that's me on guard with my Smith & Wesson in its holster.
    Ron
     

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  9. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    That is where a pistol is useful: 1 to 10 yards.
     
  10. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    "The only good Injun is a dead Injun" :D
     
  11. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    IIRC Members of crew served weapons were allowed to carry sidearms too. Along with a few other military specialties.Model 1911/1911Als were usually issued to members of crew-served weapons such as mortars and machine guns. I found this to be funny though,

    "Geneva Convention & Arms: medical personnel were forbidden by the Geneva Convention to carry arms – but they did sometimes carry a Trench Knife M-3 + Scabbard M-8 (to help cut up clothing to reach wounds) . Other cases were also reported ! though this was not permitted … it is however funny to note that Army Regulations governing "Wear of pistol in field: pistol (or revolver) with holster and clips including 21 rounds of ammunition, will be worn by Officers and Warrant Officers in the field . It will NOT be worn by Chaplains ! It WILL be worn by Officers of the Medical Department ONLY when necessary for their personal protection …" so how about this, now ? (there is indeed proof of armed medical personnel, and of medics with captured enemy sidearms) "
    WWII COMBAT MEDIC
     
  12. Seadog

    Seadog Member

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    At close range, the M1911A1 was the best way to stop an enemy. The carbine was an adequate weapon for tight areas Not as much stopping power, but it can put a lot of shots into a small area for the amount of weight carried. It all depends on what terrain is being traveled and for how long. If you are looking at walking long distances and shooting at a distances across fields and towns, you want something like the Garand. In jungle fighting, the carbine would be preferred. Accuracy in the jungle is a laugh. Rarely do you get a long distance shot. You want to be able to swing the weapon quickly and carry a large number of rounds with little weight.

    If you move a lot from location to location, where you spend several days in a foxhole or bunker, many would like a .45 cal backup. You can shoot a fanatic enemy with a rifle, and it may shoot fully through the body without deterring them. You hit them with that Colt slug and they do not get back up.
     
  13. german mauser k98k man

    german mauser k98k man Member

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    if you have to get a sidearm then get a luger,berretam92,or a whatherp38.
     
  14. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    A Luger is a waste of time as a combat pistol; no stopping power unless chambered for 9 MM (and then not much), and fragile, likely to break or jam. Lugers belong in collectors cases, period.

    A Berretta 92 has a large capacity magazine which is about it's only virtue. Given a choice, most US combat units prefer the old 1911A1, especially elite forces like the Rangers and special forces.

    The Walther P-38 does not have a hi-cap mag, is chambered for the 9 MM Parabellum, and has a heel-catch magazine arrangement which is slow and awkward to change.

    If you want a real combat pistol, get a Colt 1911A1 .45 ACP and learn to shoot it.
     
  15. german mauser k98k man

    german mauser k98k man Member

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    i have got one but it is not as accurate
     
  16. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    I remember reading this a long time ago and thought this would be appropriate. LOL.

    "From the TheFiringLine.com, the topic was about the 'ole G.I. .45s accuracy. Sorry it long........

    Tony, this from a previous post; hope it helps:
    The post about 1911 inaccuracy reminded me of a personal experience many years ago...
    I was attending one of the original SOT courses taught by former 5th SFG(A) Project Blue Light Operators. All the students were young Rangers or SFers and had brought their issue 1911A1s from home station. These were classic parkerized G.I. pistols... worn, loose, fixed sights, absolutely no custom features. Most of the pistols were older than the troops carrying them by at least 20 years and a couple of wars. The chief marksmanship instructor (a senior Master Sgt and former Camp Perry competitor with the Army Pistol Team) brought up all the same old concerns about "Old Slabsides" (i.e., loose, shot out, terrible sights, incapable of any decent accuracy). He then asked us if we thought that the condition of our pistols would handicap our bullseye or combat firing drills. We unanimously agreed that we would be lucky to hit anything with our old clapped out pieces. He then selected (at random) a pistol straight out of a young Ranger Bn E-5´s holster. After clearing the weapon, he shook it. It rattled nicely. He observed that the pistol did indeed look pretty beat. He then loaded a 7 round magazine, placed the weapon UPSIDE DOWN in his weak hand, using his little finger to engage the trigger, and fired at standard 25 yard pistol bullseye target. Afew seconds later, there was a 7-round, 2" group clustered in the 10X ring (from 25 Yards). He cleared the pistol, handed it back to its chagrined owner, and addressed our rather silent and open mouthed class. "Well..." he said. "I guess if ya can´t hit the targets during this course, it won´t because of your .45". The point was well taken. We learned to assimilate and apply marksmanship fundamentals prior to progressing to the sexy combat firing drills...and we never doubted our 1911A1s again. By the way, all students learned to engage multiple targets out to 25 yards with consistent doubletap headshots using our WWII/Korean War era 1911s. The point of this shooting was to prove that we could do so, not that doubletap head shots were necessarily the best technique with an 8-round capacity weapon. In any event, I have never met an inaccurate 1911A1. The stock pistol is capable of out of the box acceptable combat accuracy (2"-4" groups). The ergonomics are superb. It fits my hand like no other pistol. I shoot it well. The SA trigger pull is consistent and enhances accuracy and speed. It is reliable, simple to field strip, and repairable by the user (in the unlikely event something breaks). The .45 ACP round is ballistically more accurate than the 9mm and provides better stopping power when comparing both rounds in their full metal jacket incarnations. It is not a weapon for the novice (todays DAs are "safer" for the occasional shooter) but, it is a weapon that an expert can wring maximum performance out of. With modern defensive ammo, sights, triggers, customization, etc., the 1911A1 (in its many versions) competes on equal or better footing with any combat handgun (or centerfire competition weapon) out there. I say this as an avowed fan of Glocks, SIGs, and other modern pistols. A "stock" Milspec 1911A1 (such as an out-of-the-box Springfield) provides the shooter with an awsomely lethal and bombproof handgun. And, oh by the way...it conceals better than any other large frame pistol and better than a lot of mid-sized ones (try concealed carry with an M9)"
     
  17. german mauser k98k man

    german mauser k98k man Member

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    how can that be? the 9mm goes at 35000 psi and the 45 acp goes at 21000 psi the faster the more accurate
     
  18. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    You've got an awful lot to learn about "accuracy"....and ballistics.
     
  19. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    The 1911A1 is not a weapon for the novice, but then no pistol is. Neither must one be an "expert" to consistently hit with "old Slabsides". But it does require some knowledge, and plenty of practice to be good with John Browning's masterpiece. That's why I said one should get one and LEARN TO SHOOT IT.

    As for practical accuracy, I read of an instance during the Korean war where a Marine sergeant killed six North Korean soldiers with seven rounds from his 1911A1. None were closer than 20 yards, and each one had been hit in the head. Granted, the Marine had been carrying and shooting the Colt for more than twenty years.
     
  20. german mauser k98k man

    german mauser k98k man Member

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    i handload and the 9mm is flater shooting but the 45 has better terminal preformonce
     

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