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??? Records of military arms serial numbers

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Rembrandt, Oct 7, 2006.

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  1. Rembrandt

    Rembrandt Member

    Feb 1, 2003
    Did the military assign specific firearms to each soldier with a serial number paper trail.....curious if one could track what guns Audie Murphy, Alvin York, Carlos Hathcock, and others actually used. I'm sure many people used the same gun over it's life expectantcy....but does the military keep a record?
  2. thumper723

    thumper723 Member

    Dec 21, 2005
    Lost somewhere in time!
    Can't speak for the Army or Marines, but as a Navy helicopter pilot, here is how it worked for us.

    Detachment of 6 pilots, 3 aircrewmen, we checked out 10 M11s and 30 Magazines.

    Said magazines were signed out to a LT, and signed into the armory on the ship.

    Once the ship was underway, the weapons were moved out to a safe in the Pilot/Aircrew office. (We are on a CG, this is a 10x5 room next to the hangar) We grabbed a M11 and 3 mags when we went to fly, no specific assigned weapons.

    Some of us brought our own weapons, and we took those. I carried a DoubleStack 1911 with 2 spare mags.

    Upon landing, clear weapons, and put them back in the safe.

    Return from deployment, and check back into base armory.
  3. Steve in PA

    Steve in PA Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    NE PA
    For those guys you mentioned, I doubt it. I don't believe those type of records (serial numbers/names) were kept back then. Even if they were, I'm sure they were lost.

    Today is alot different. I went into the USMC in 1979 and you will have a weapon assigned to you, be it a pistol, rifle, machinegun, etc. My weapons card had my rifle M16A1 with serial number 1626648 (yes, I still remember my last issued rifle). Is there a log stating that through "x" years, that particular rifle was issued to me? I guess someone who was an armorer would have to answer that.
  4. Sunray

    Sunray Member

    May 17, 2003
    London, Ont.
    "...with a serial number paper trail..." Only at the unit level during W. W. II and those records have long since been destroyed.
  5. Hoppy590

    Hoppy590 Member

    May 25, 2006
    MA :(
    i believe both Carlos hathcock's and Chuck Mawhinney's ( the most recorded kills for a sniper in nam) rifles are on display witht he corp. i just cant remember where
  6. aka108

    aka108 Member

    Aug 26, 2006
    Tallahassee, FL
    I would really like to know who carried and where they were utilized some of the 98K, Argentine and Perivan, Mosins and a bunch of others. Would be interesting if you could track back some of them. Guess best to let the imagination rule.
  7. qlajlu

    qlajlu Member

    May 19, 2006
    Kearns, Utah
    I'm not sure I understand the curiosity here, but I would think that those records, especially in the cases of WWII warriors (Audie Murphy) would be blurred. In the heat of battle, a firearm fails and is discarded, a fallen soldier's rifle is picked up and put back into service, a soldier "upgrades." The scenarios are endless.
  8. Dr. Dickie

    Dr. Dickie Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Jacksonville Beach, FL
    I am quite certain they did not in WWI, and the answer to you specific question about tracing back Alvin York is NO. That is why I know they did not in WWI. There is still a controversty about what gun Alvin used to do his famous shooting.
    His personal diary indicates that he was given an M1917 (as he called it a British rifle) when he got out of training in England.
    However, later (after he came back and became famous) he said it was a Springfield. Personally, I think he changed it to Springfield because that was a more "American" rifle. If they could trace the rifles back by paper trail, they would have years ago.
  9. deadin

    deadin Member

    Jul 13, 2005
    Ocean Shores, WA
    Audie Murphy's M1 Carbine was discovered during an arsenal rebuild due to a casual remark in his book. He made a point that he remembered the serial number of it and mentioned it in the book. It no longer has the broken and field repaired stock. It was rebuilt and is on display at, I believe, the Rock Island Arsenal.

  10. entropy

    entropy Member

    Feb 9, 2004
    G_d's Country, WI
    I still have my Weapons Issue Card. But only because I was the Unit Armorer. Yes I had a master list of who was issued which weapon. (We were a Med. Bn., so the enlisted were 'buddied up' on the rifles, 2 soldiers were issued one rifle. :rolleyes: I could see where that would work well in a combat zone. I, being the Armorer, had an M60 'on reserve' at the Maint. Activity (My Det. wasn't authorized any, but several Det's in the Bn were, and since I worked in the S-4 as well as HHD Armorer....:evil: ) I mostly used this list to track down slackers who didn't clean their weapons well enough when the other Armorer (a huge slacker) took them in. (usually while I ws getting yelled at by the Motor Pool Sgt. for trying to turn in a "filthy" truck...:rolleyes: :p
  11. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    The military doesn't keep records as to what rifle an individual soldier was issued.
    Such records have no value.

    All the military cares about is where a rifle is NOW, and who is responsible for it.
    Once a soldier turns in a rifle, the records cease to have any purpose and are destroyed.

    Due to the ways weapons were shipped and issued, there's no way to tell even what service had it, or what part of the world it was used in.
  12. Jim K

    Jim K Member

    Dec 31, 2002
    When I was a unit armorer, I kept both an inventory record and a master list of weapon assignments. But those were temporary; when outdated (soldier was discharaged, transferred, etc.) the records were updated, and the obsolete records went in the trash (burn bag) along with his weapons card.

    The soldier's permanent record (201 file) recorded the type(s) of weapons with which he had qualified, but not the serial number of the weapon(s) he was issued. Many soldiers qualified with weapons they were never issued and many were issued and used weapons for which they were never formally qualified.

    So unless a service member remembered or wrote down the serial number of his weapon, any attempt to find out what weapon or even weapon type he was issued would be futile.

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