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Insignia on Winchester Model 97 Trench Shotgun?

Discussion in 'Firearms Research' started by Bill_Rights, Apr 8, 2012.

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  1. Bill_Rights

    Bill_Rights Member

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    I was wondering what these two markings meant on the left cheek of the stock of this Model 97 shotgun? I was wondering if it was for a military supply depot, a fielded military unit or something like that?
    IMG_2754_crop_compr_637x515.jpg
    Here's some other data on the gun:
    On side of barrel at receiver:
    Bottom of receiver @ magazine:
    Overall length: 40"
    Barrel length: 19.5"

    And, just to make it worth your while to think about this, here are some pretty pictures:
    IMG_2740_640x191.jpg

    IMG_2741_649x164.jpg

    IMG_2742_645x245.jpg

    IMG_2743_633x287.jpg

    IMG_2744_640x273.jpg
     
  2. Bill_Rights

    Bill_Rights Member

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    I just realized, you might not be able to see the insignia well. Here it is in three different "autoadjust" settings with software:
    IMG_2754_crop_CLOSE3_adj.jpg
     
  3. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

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    Crossed cannons = Official Army Ordnance Department acceptance stamp.

    GHD = Guy H. Drewry Lt. Col., USA arms inspector 1930-1946.

    Looks like you may have a WW2 era trench gun.

    You'll note it's marked US and has a 'flaming bomb' on the lower left of the receiver.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
  4. Bill_Rights

    Bill_Rights Member

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    Dr. Rob, Thanks! Yes, I was just realizing that I should have said that the family this shotgun came down through thought it was a WWII (or possibly Korean War) piece. The bayonnet lug and the very stamp you pointed out might help folks identify the type of troop outfit it would have been deployed in (if there were more than one type of military Model 97). So here are those photos:

    For the marking on the left-cheek of receiver, I added an inset of the "flaming bomb" in the upper right. (Funny; at the time I shot the photos and composed the image to upload, I didn't know it was called a flaming bomb - just that it looked really distinctive. The knowledge on THR is great.)
    IMG_2760_377x306.jpg IMG_2758_240x600.jpg
     
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Your 9557XX serial number dates it to a 1950 manufacturing date.

    Too late for WWII, but just right for Korea.

    None of the markings will help determine a unit it served with.

    They are all standard ordinance inspection & acceptance marks, variations of which were used on all military issue weapons of the era.

    rc
     
  6. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    Actually Col. Drewry wasn't an "arms inspector." He was commanding officer of the Springfield Ordnance District, which included the Colt plant at Hartford, CT, the Winchester factory at New Haven, CT, and Springfield Armory, as well as a number of other factories making ordnance materiel, which included trucks and tanks as well as artillery, shells, fuses, etc. Obviously, Col. Drewry didn't hammer his initials on all that equipment, for the most part that was done by contractor personnel under supervision of an Army team, but he was the official responsible for seeing that the Army got what it needed from the factories in his district.

    Jim
     
  7. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

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    Jim my source stated he was done in '46, do I have an error?
     
  8. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    My source (Clawson) gives June 17, 1942 - July 15, 1945. I do note that his official title was "Army Inspector of Ordnance", so you weren't far off on that, even though it doesn't really describe his duties, which were at a much higher level than that title would indicate.

    Jim
     
  9. Bill_Rights

    Bill_Rights Member

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    Wow! Thanks again for all the background info. I wouldn't know where to start.

    Yes, the family who loaned me the shotgun to evaluate mentioned that someone along the way counted 19 rows of airholes in the barrel heat shield, which (they were told) makes it a later manufacture --> maybe Korean War vintage. The earlier ones had 17 holes, they were told.

    OK, rcmodel, so I won't be able to identify which campaign or region this shotgun was deployed to, based upon these standard markings. Just a thought...
     
  10. Tom D

    Tom D Member

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    It's a nice WWII late type Model 97 trench. The serial number indicates early 1943 manufacture, probably March of 1943. Winchester didn't make any more Model 97 trench guns for the Military after the Spring of 1943. The barrel is likely dated 1942 or 1943. And it has the correct late type heat shield and proper GHD inspection mark on the buttstock.
     
  11. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Nice trench gun! I love Model 97s. I have two civilian examples...both riot models. One is a takedown and one a solid frame.
     
  12. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    With most military weapons, there is no way to know to whom they were issued or which battles (if any) they were used in. Firearms records were always ephemeral and temporary, used only to keep track of who had what piece of property so someone would be accountable if it were lost or destroyed. (In combat, though, everything, including soldiers, would be considered expendable.)

    There are exceptions for such well known guns as those carried by Gen. Patton, which are in the West Point museum, but otherwise any tracking of an individual weapon is about impossible.

    Shotguns, AFAIK, were rarely, if ever, used in combat in WWII; most were used by prisoner guards in military prisons or U.S. POW camps, or by Military Police in normal police duties where full power rifles or carbines would have been inappropriate.

    Jim
     
  13. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Shotguns were used extensively in the south pacific island fighting.

    I doubt they were too effective during the initial invasion.
    But for bunker & cave clearing later on they were widely used and highly thought of.

    My dad carried a Model 97 at times on Luzon, Samar, and Leyte as a door-gunner on a SeaBee bulldozer!

    This looks suspiciously like a M1 Carbine and a Trench gun on Iwo Jima.
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/12/Carbine-iwo-jima-194502.jpg

    tc
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2012
  14. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    Hi, rcmodel,

    I don't know much (or at least my wife says so), but that picture sure looks phony. The carbine has no bolt and has some kind of attachment on the muzzle, plus a magazine that looks like a .22 mag. And the "lieutenant's" bar is on crossways.

    As to shotgun use in combat, how did they get around the Hague convention? Copper plated 00 Buck? I don't know, I am asking, since I had never seen pictures of shotgun use in combat in WWII. Not doubting your father; the SeaBees had a reputation of being a bit "more relaxed" than the Army or the Marines when it came to rules and regulations.

    Jim
     
  15. firesky101

    firesky101 Member

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    ^^^^
    looks like a standard magazine and flat bolt to me. The muzzle is hard to tell, but I know there were flash hiders for the m3 carbine, if (big if with the angle of photo) there is something on the muzzle it might be something like a predecessor to that.
     
  16. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    The flat-bolt carbine in the photo has a standard 15-round magazine.
    And an M8 clamp-on Granade launcher attached to the barrel.
    The solder has a rifle grenade attached to his pack.

    As for the Hague convention?
    The U.S. has used shotguns with lead 00 buckshot in every war we've been in over the course of the 20th century.

    Germany tried to use the Hague convention to stop the use of shotguns in WWI trench warfare.
    We pretty much told them to FO & Die.

    rc
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012
  17. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    I blew that picture up as much as I could and I think the angle confused me.

    But I will note that a problem dealing with pictures is that quite a few are of various re-enactments. I recall one picture of two "American" paratroopers in Bastogne, supposedly in 1944. The uniforms didn't look right, and there was no indication of snow or cold. I dug around and found the uncropped picture showing the "soldiers" standing on a modern street with modern cars and the stores festooned with Christmas lights. So much for an original Battle of the Bulge photo.

    Jim
     
  18. Tom D

    Tom D Member

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    The photo is a fairly well known one (at least to many Military shotgun collectors), and was taken on Iwo Jima. It looks like the shotgunner is carrying either a Winchester Model 97 or Model 12 trench gun.

    There are many other photos of trench guns being used in combat including on Okinawa, Iwo Jima, and Kwajalein.
     
  19. rswartsell

    rswartsell Member

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    Well if my uncle can be believed (and I do), he was a Marine tanker on Iwo. Tanks didn't do too well on Iwo and he lost his (like a lot of others did) and was afoot for a while and they handed him a shotgun. He was a tank commander and the only thing he left his destroyed Sherman with was a 1911. He got a Winchester trench gun but didn't have to clean out rat holes with it AFAIK.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012
  20. rswartsell

    rswartsell Member

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  21. rswartsell

    rswartsell Member

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  22. Bill_Rights

    Bill_Rights Member

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    Restoration/Repair?

    Thanks RC, Tom, Jim, Tuner and All!

    I appreciate your evaluation and feedback on the shotgun itself and the military background. I understand now that I won't be able to identify any specific "slice of history" this gun saw, but that's OK. In a sense, then, it can represent all theaters and battles this model was at.

    I was wondering, since there is significant rust out near the muzzle and bayonnet lug area, is there anything that can or should be done to restore or repair it? The rust is probably due to poor storage by the family it came down in, probably happened years after the gun was retired from service. Of course, there is the possibility that the rust damage happened under the tender ministrations of the Army, in which case it is real history and (maybe) should not be corrected. I want your thoughts on what, if anything, should be done. Thanks!
     
  23. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
  24. Bill_Rights

    Bill_Rights Member

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    Thanks RC. I can believe such a fine scrub would not damage existing/remaining bluing. You're saying that removing what rust there is will slow down or prevent future rusting? I guess just a thin coat of common gun oil will also help. Obviously, keeping the gun in a dry environment is most important.

    Your answer brings up a larger question. Your answer was basically: "Just halt the active rust and let it be." The larger question is, what if I (or a qualified gunsmith) totally restored the shotgun to like-new condition? I mean, trying to use authentic bluing, lacquer for the wood, etc. that the OEM would have used in 1942-1945. Would that ruin it as a collector's item?
     
  25. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Yes, totally.

    Collectors do not want refinished or restored firearms.
    They want them as perfect and original as possible.

    But even a slightly rusty original trench-gun is going to be worth way more then a refinished one.

    rc
     
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