Medic & Mp weapons in ww2?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by KodeFore, May 31, 2021.

  1. KodeFore

    KodeFore Member

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    i had a neighbor long passed who served as an MP and medic in ww2. I believe his wife had been a secretary involved in the Manhattan project.

    I am just wondering what weapons he would have carried in his positions in ww2.

    As a medic, i don't think he would have been armed in ww2?

    As an Mp I think it could have been any number of weapons, The 1911 comes to mind first and foremost, or maybe a winchester shotgun for guarding prisoners and possibly the M1 Garand and possibly m1 carbine.

    I do seem to remember him mentioning the Garand.

    Thanks

    Remembering those who fell so freedom could stand.
     
  2. RickD427

    RickD427 Member

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    Under the Hague Conventions, a medic may carry a weapon, but is limited by the conventions to using the weapon only in defense of self or patient.
     
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  3. JCooperfan1911

    JCooperfan1911 Member

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    A pistol or a carbine.
     
  4. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Dad was drafted after he graduated in 1942. He spent 42-44 working in a hospital at a bomber training base in New Mexico. In the Fall of 1942 he was transferred to the infantry and finished up his training just in time to be sent to Belgium as a replacement during the battle of the bulge.

    Dad was issued a brand new Garand when he got off the boat in France. He spent the next 2 days in a cattle car with 40 other GI's on a train headed to Belgium.

    When he got off the train they took his Garand and sent him to the motor pool to get a red cross painted on his helmet. Dad was attached to a field hospital where he spent the rest of the war driving a Dodge Powerwagon ambulance to the front lines picking up wounded and bringing them back to the hospital. He never carried a gun.

    In more recent times medics do carry firearms, but as a rule did not during WW-2.
     
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  5. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    It's hard to carry a patient and a rifle.
    I don't have a clue if that carried one. But I wouldn't want more than a pistol if I'm trying to save lives. It takes a lot of bandages, and IVs to equal a rifle.
    At the same time it takes serious nerves to go on a battlefield unarmed, to save people.
     
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  6. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    It is my understanding that in WW-2, especially in Europe, neither side targeted obvious medical personal . Having the red cross painted on the helmet meant "don't shoot" and for the most part was honored.

    Fighting in the Pacific theatre was more savage. I don't think medical personal painted the red cross on helmets because the Japanese would specifically target them if they did. While not technically allowed, there were plenty of weapons laying on the ground and I'm sure many medics did what they had to do if necessary.
     
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  7. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    In a book about the Battle of the Bulge (I recall the title as "Nuts!") heavily illustrated with US Signal Corps photos the book showed a photo of a US Army MP directing traffic armed with a 1903 Springfield bolt action rifle.
    1903 Springfields were limited issue through out WWII, with M1 Garands preferred for frontline combat issue and supposedly older service designs issued to MPs and others not on the frontline.
     
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  8. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    Medic is complicated, as per above.

    While "police" is in the Military Police title, their function is more about security along lines of advance, than being a Beat Cop (military law enforcement, in the Army, is handled by CID, the Criminal Investigative Division).

    As Road March security, MPs carry every small arm of the mechanized Infantry. Unlike a Rifle Company or Battalion, they will not have a Weapons Squad or Platoon attached. MP units are typically attached (or integral) to larger organizations, so they draw Supply from those Organizations.

    During WWII, MPs were often issued all manner of rifles, M-1917 & 03A3 as well as Garands & Carbines. The 1942 intention was to replace all 1911 issue to MP with Carbines exclusively. It did not work out that way. MP Jeeps, on the other hand, often wound up festooned with all manner of MGs.
     
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  9. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    Oh, and since it's Memorial Day, and on topic, my late Cousin Craig, MP in the 82nd, while in Egypt
    Craig at Suez.jpg Craig in Egypt.jpg
     
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  10. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Member

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    I do not know how typical this was, but I was told by a WWII veteran the story of a medic treating a Jewish victim at a newly freed concentration camp. He (the medic) ordered a captured German guard to get a pail of water. The guard refused, saying he would not serve to aid a Jew. The medic was in this case armed with a handgun which he promptly drew and shot the German guard dead. He repeated his order to the next guard who promptly fetched the water.
     
  11. Steel Horse Rider

    Steel Horse Rider Member

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    I worked with a Polish Tool and Die maker from Chicago in the late 1970's who was a corpsman in the Marine Corp in WWII and was involved with the invasion of Iwo Jima. He was issued an M1 Garand which he promptly discarded when he was required to treat a wounded or KIA soldier. He said that there were always plenty of weapons laying around after a battle to pick up so he didn't have any idea how many weapons he went through before being stationed with the occupation force in China at the end of the war.
     
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  12. Sovblocgunfan

    Sovblocgunfan Member

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    this is correct. An uncle in my family was a medic in the Philippines Campaign. He was a medic embedded with a group called Doughboy White. You should read about it. Serious bad things and tough, tough men. This uncle and his medic counterparts carried 1911s and carbines.

    there is a picture of medics fording a stream with wheeled stretcher carts. They were all carrying carbines slung.
     
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  13. DocRock

    DocRock member

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    Medics carried what they wanted to and could obtain. In North Africa where the Brits, Italians, and Germans very much adhered to the various conventions prior to the arrival of U.S. troops, one can imagine medics carrying a sidearm, carbine, or maybe nothing. By the time they got up into the Italian peninsula, I bet they were all armed but that the M1 carbine will have been popular.

    During the Battle of Britain, the RAF made an informal policy of shooting down red cross marked flying boats sent out to retrieve Luftwaffe pilots downed In the Channel.

    In the Pacific theatre, the Japs paid no heed whatsoever to the red cross. They bombed well marked hospitals, torpedoed hospital ships,and shot medics with red cross arm bands to the extent that Navy hospitalmen with the Marines stopped wearing them. Given the regard in which they were held, again, they will have carried what they wanted and could obtain. But there were Navy hospitalmen decorated for feats of arms, not just courage under fire.

    As to MPs, that will have been highly variable based on role and assignments. MPs providing route security at and close behind "the front" will likely have done their best to obtain Garands. MPs conducting and guarding prisoners in rear areas almost certainly had large numbers of shotguns. There are pictures from WWI of MPs providing rail security armed with Krags, so it seems likely a fair number of Springfields were used in that role in WWII.
     
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  14. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    When looking at historical photos from WWII, remember as well that many times guys doing stretcher duty were not medics at all - just ordinary joes told to do a job, so whether they did or didn't have arms might not tell you much. I greatly admire medics (and chaplains) who ministered to soldiers and marines that were desperately wounded and still under fire - while not carrying any arms at all.... Pretty impressive in my book.

    My Dad was career Army Engineers (1942 - 1970) so I grew up an Army brat.... and did my service from 1968 - 1971...
     
  15. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    My father was a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge, Hurtgen Forrest, the Roer River, Aachen, etc. as armored infantry with the Third Armored Division.

    He was injured a few times, and sent to hospitals behind the lines. He recounted how at the hospitals he had to guard his combat kit as several items were stolen by rear echelon personnel as souvenirs.

    The bravery of these men who survived days and weeks of constant battle is beyond belief.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2021
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  16. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    According to my limited research, in WW2 MPs were often issued Colt or S&W 1917 45 or S&W victory 38 revolvers as a sidearm (especially stateside), since they required a sidearm and generally weren't deployed as "front line" troops when in theater (along with the standard 1911/1911A1). Shotguns of many types were also issued for various duties. Medics often only carried their issued sidearm.
    In modern times, I have seen conventional medics carrying the standard M4. Special Operations medics aren't in any separate Geneva category, and carry and use any type of weapons required for their mission (including belt fed machine guns and sniper systems).
     
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  17. lysanderxiii

    lysanderxiii Member

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    The way the Geneva Convention was approved in 1929, and the way the US interpreted it, medical personnel were not supposed to bear arms. This actually prevented a Dentist from getting a Medal of Honor for 58 years . . .

    CAPTAIN BEN L. SALOMON
    UNITED STATES ARMY


    For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:


    Captain Ben L. Salomon was serving at Saipan, in the Marianas Islands on July 7, 1944, as the Surgeon for the 2nd Battalion, 105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division. The Regiment’s 1st and 2d Battalions were attacked by an overwhelming force estimated between 3,000 and 5,000 Japanese soldiers. It was one of the largest attacks attempted in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Although both units fought furiously, the enemy soon penetrated the Battalions’ combined perimeter and inflicted overwhelming casualties. In the first minutes of the attack, approximately 30 wounded soldiers walked, crawled, or were carried into Captain Salomon’s aid station, and the small tent soon filled with wounded men. As the perimeter began to be overrun, it became increasingly difficult for Captain Salomon to work on the wounded. He then saw a Japanese soldier bayoneting one of the wounded soldiers lying near the tent. Firing from a squatting position, Captain Salomon quickly killed the enemy soldier. Then, as he turned his attention back to the wounded, two more Japanese soldiers appeared in the front entrance of the tent. As these enemy soldiers were killed, four more crawled under the tent walls. Rushing them, Captain Salomon kicked the knife out of the hand of one, shot another, and bayoneted a third. Captain Salomon butted the fourth enemy soldier in the stomach and a wounded comrade then shot and killed the enemy soldier. Realizing the gravity of the situation, Captain Salomon ordered the wounded to make their way as best they could back to the regimental aid station, while he attempted to hold off the enemy until they were clear. Captain Salomon then grabbed a rifle from one of the wounded and rushed out of the tent. After four men were killed while manning a machine gun, Captain Salomon took control of it. When his body was later found, 98 dead enemy soldiers were piled in front of his position. Captain Salomon’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
     
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  18. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    I've never read of any of our medics in the ETO having a firearm on him. As for the PTO, dunno. Haven't read anything but everybody knew the Japanese DGAF about the Geneva Convention.

    German medics could be armed with a pistol. Druzhina (medics) in the Red Army were not a a rule armed but when recovering an injured soldier, were told that they must also recover his weapon too.
     
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  19. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Not wartime, but a coworker was Navy SP. He usually carried a well worn Victory but finished up with one of the small batch of Ruger Service Sixes in the last days of the GI revolver.
     
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  20. Col. Harrumph

    Col. Harrumph Member

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    A friend of mine, since passed, was a medic in the 3rd army in France (no he never saw Patton... I asked)... came ashore on D+3 or 4 as I recall his story. He was unarmed while wearing a medic's helmet, but when detailed to escort POWs he covered the red crosses and carried a carbine.
     
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  21. KodeFore

    KodeFore Member

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    thanks for the responses.
    when i was a radio operator assigned to an artillery battery in the late 80s ( 1/39th was there for the transition from leg to abn )
    Our medics carried the same m16a1s we had and had white red cross arm bands that were easily removed.
     
  22. X62503

    X62503 Member

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    Thank you all for these accounts, tremendous.
     
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  23. jstert

    jstert Member

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    my dad was a ww2 m.p. and described it late in life. after turning 18 he enlisted in the army on 12/7/42. he initially trained as a quartermaster at fort lee va, then was simply sent to infantry replacement training at indiantown gap pa. he arrived in england in 1/44 as a replacement. because of his 6’2” height and one semester of university he and a bunch of other replacements with a similar profile were put into the reconstituted, troubled, 210th m.p. co, which was part of the 5th engineer special bde. they were trained in amphibious warfare and handled the omaha beach sector at the normandy landings.

    my dad’s lcvp landed midmorning on 6/6/44 at easy red sector after circling offshore for a few hours. the first waves of infantry had just breached the german beach defenses but the beach zone was still under intense fire; an adjacent lci took a direct hit. he made it to the shingle after being dumped in water over his head, then went up a draw and dug in, intact. he was armed with a carbine, but had no ammo in his mag and no recollection of shooting. later he liberated and carried a belgian-made, nazi-marked, browning hipower 9mm and a leather shoulder holster (sadly stolen from his condo just before he died). as time went on his unit acquired various jeeps and armored cars mounted with 30 and 50 cal machine guns. his armored car ran over a landmine in 2/45 and he was luckily thrown clear from its open cockpit but, because it was deemed to be an overlooked, friendly mine field, no purple heart. after v-e day he declined ocs. as a new 2lt with amphibious training he guessed would be in on the invasion of japan but figured that he used up all his luck at normandy. he was discharged on 12/6/45 and returned to university in 1/46.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2021
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  24. Gridley

    Gridley Member

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    I believe medic has been well covered, so I'll toss out some stats on MP units.
    TO&E data from fall 1944:
    Infantry Division MP Platoon TO&E 19-7, 70 men, 17 rifles (nominal M-1, M1903 as substitute), 53 carbines. Note: all rifles and 12 of the carbines were issued with grenade firing adapters (M-7, M-1, or M-8 as appropriate).
    Armored Division MP Platoon TO&E 19-117, 91 men, 67 carbines, 23 SMG, 1 pistol. Note: also 1 ATRL, and one .50 cal (mounted on the platoon's single halftrack).
    Corps MP Platoon TO&E 19-77, 44 men, 8 rifles (as above), 32 carbines, 4 SMG.
    MP Company TO&E 19-37, 170 men, 40 rifles, 130 carbines
    MP Battalion (Army) TO&E 19-35, 566 men, 128 rifles, 428 carbines, 2 pistols.
    MP Escort Guard Company TO&E 19-47, 135 men, 43 rifles, 12 carbines, 8 SMG, 36 pistols, 36 shotguns.
    MP Company (Aviation) TO&E 19-217 (type A or B), 101 men, 8 rifles, 5 or 6 SMG, 88 or 87 pistols, 12 shotguns.
    MP Criminal Investigation Section (type II), part of TO&E 19-500, 11 men, 11 pistols.
     
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  25. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    MPs could get a lot of M1903s instead of M-1 Garands.
     
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