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Revolvers in WWII?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by greyhound, Oct 3, 2003.

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  1. greyhound

    greyhound Member

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    So I am re-reading "Band of Brothers", and this time around I notice a lot of instances where the men were carrying revolvers (I assume a Smith and Wesson .38 Special). Given that the standard issue sidearm was a Colt .45, I assume that the revolvers were personal possessions of the troops as opposed to government issue.

    Now I know that Smith and Wesson Model 10s were issued to the aircrews but these were Airborne infantry. Does anyone have any knowledge of how common it was for "the boys" to bring over their revolvers to supplement their issue weapons?

    For those really into the story (or the HBO series), when then Lt. Winters loses all his equipment on the night before D-Day, in the book it specifically says he finds a revolver as well as an M1 to replace his lost equipment, and there are other references throughout the book...
     
  2. Stickjockey

    Stickjockey Member

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    IIRC, there were a number of Colt Military/Police models issued as well. .45ACP in half-moon clips, I believe.
     
  3. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Throughout World War Two some revolvers were used. In particular the Smith & Wesson "Victory Model" which was a .38 Special 1905 Hand Ejector/Military & Police (4th change) in military dress - usually 4" barrels, Parkerized finish and plain walnut grips. While they were generally standard with Navy pilots in the Pacific they saw some issue throughout the services.

    World War One Colt and Smith & Wesson model 1917 .45 revolvers were referbished and issued, primarily to Military Police.

    Very few soldiers had personal weapons brought from home. Those that had handguns generally captured them from the enemy.

    Hollywood I think, seldom knows anything about anything when it comes too guns.
     
  4. Abominable No-Man

    Abominable No-Man Member

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    Don't know for sure about WWII.

    My godfather brought his own .357 along with him when he went to Vietnam, though. This was in violation of a lot of regs, but apparently the chain of command was willing to turn a blind eye to such things back in the day...........

    ANM
     
  5. cdbeaver

    cdbeaver Member

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    In Korea, I had my parents MAIL my S&W M&P .38 special to me. I carried it for a short time until somy guy offered me an obscene amount of money for it. We both wound up happy.
     
  6. jar

    jar Member

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    The model 1905 HE and the 1917 were manufactured and issued in WWII. The 1905 was probably the most common and many, many of them were issued to both US troops and sent to the Commonwealth. Lot's were chambered in 455 and in the 38/200 as well as 45acp and the 38Special.
     
  7. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    I beg to differ ….

    During World War Two from 1942 through 1945 S&W only manufactured the 1905 H.E. Victory Models in either .38 Special or .38 S&W. The latter were called “38-200†and were intended for the British and Commonwealth countries. However a large number were “diverted†into U.S. hands. Many went to the O.S.S. Others were used by domestic police and defense plant guards.

    All of the U.S, model 1917 .45 revolvers were manufactured from 1917 through 1919. The production of .455 Hand Ejectors - again for the British and Commonwealth - started in 1914 and ended in 1917.

    During World War Two the official British service cartridge was a version of the .38 S&W. They used revolvers made by Enfield, Webley, Smith & Wesson and possibly a very small number of Colt Commandos. While a few officers might have had them, the .455 revolvers were officially retired during the late 1930's. Very late in the war, around the beginning of 1945 they started using Browning P-35 Hi-Power pistols made in Canada.
     
  8. guy sajer

    guy sajer Member

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    Here's a few mentioned by Old Fuff .

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    Privately owned weapons. Remember, he got his from the police chief in Kokomo, Indiana. "God Bless cops!":D
     
  10. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Very nice representative collection. Now you need a S&W 38-200 any you're set.
     
  11. OkieGentleman

    OkieGentleman Member

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    Revolvers WWII

    Funny. I was was channel surfing last night and happen to catch a old Marine talking about his outfit in combat in the Pacific.

    He was telling about a S.W. revolver that was passed down through 10 of the men in his company as each new owner was killed or wounded.

    In the back ground someone had found some old combat footage that featured his outfit in combat and you could clearly see the revolver being used as a bunker was being checked for Jap troops.

    He said it sure gave him a lot of comfort at night in a fox hole.
     
  12. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    As far as I know, the only military 1917s made in the WW II time frame were in two batches, both for Brazil.

    Part of the contract was fulfilled just before America's entry into the war, and the second part of the contract was fulfilled after the war ended.

    None of those guns were ever taken into US service.

    Those that had been made for service in WW I, however, were.
     
  13. Hand_Rifle_Guy

    Hand_Rifle_Guy Member

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    FWIW, the Brits used lots of leftover Webley revolvers in .455 as well as lots of Webley and Enfield revo's in .38/200.

    .45 Webley's of all marks were used, but mostly Mk VI's.

    Americans forces had 1917's, 1909's, and M&P's, depending on which branch of the military you're talking too.

    Apparently, many soldiers preferred the 1917 to the Colt 1911. I know I do, but I'm no soldier.
     
  14. guy sajer

    guy sajer Member

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    re: MKVI .455

    Too bad our "all knowing" friends in ATF wouldn't allow a shipment of surplus MKVI's be imported about 8-10 yrs ago . Something about needing a firing pin/hammer block device installed . Although they did install this device on a large batch of .38/200 Webley's just before this time period .

    I have mine , but I would have loved to have a second .

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2003
  15. foghornl

    foghornl Member

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    Not sure which ones, but I do remember my late Dad talking once or twice about the .38 revos some of the Navy guys had....PT Boat commanders usually. (Dad was an Army guy, with the US Rifle cal .30 M-1 and 1911) From his descriptions, sounded like the Smith M&P models.
     
  16. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    Those would likely have been the Smith & Wessons.

    One of the episodes of "The Color of War" on the History Channel had film of a landing craft boat officer, taken during the approach to a beach in the Pacific, with an S&W .38 in his hand.
     
  17. Luckyorwhat

    Luckyorwhat member

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    .38 spl model 10 frame victory

    Anyone know where to shop for replacing the frame from a victory model (model 10 .38 spl)? Would any other K frames work?
     
  18. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    In any war, when soldiers "at the sharp end" have found that something is either useful or confidence-building, they find ways and means to get hold of what they want. Wonder how many soldiers carried sidearms at the front which were totally unauthorized, unissued, and unknown to their superiors? Enemy captures, private purchases, even "liberated" from civilians... where there's a will, there's a way! :D
     
  19. Tharg

    Tharg Member

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    know sure as heck if i was in iraq or wwII or wherever that i'd want my trusty wheelgun w/ me...

    my HK has never ever jammed... but there is always that chance... my gf's brother has a old colt single action in 45LC he recovered from a river... it still shoots fine....

    revolvers are simple... takes a shell to not fire off for it not to work basically...

    can't see why they wouldn't be used as sidearms and backups to thier issue auto's in any war/action.

    J/Tharg!
     
  20. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

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    I've read at least two books where GI's mentioned Colt .45 cal revolvers being issued in ww2.

    The first was a cavalry scout, who complained "the officers grabbed all the revolvers, were were stuck with the new autos." (remember when this guy joined he was still washing out stables). he lost his .45 and picked up a P38 and a Nazi Hi-Power in Italy.

    The second was a tanker Sgt. who sent a letter home, telling his mother he had qualified with a Colt .45 revolver and was looking forward to seeing France..

    I read someplace else (newspaper writer cleaning out his dad's house) dad was an OSS operator and had a 2inch Colt .45 and a Luger.

    I've seen at least one Frank Capra photo of a paratrooper in N. Africa with all his gear spead on a blanket, included were a tommy gun with a 50 rd drum, a ww1 trench knife with brass knuckles and a 1917.
     
  21. mhdishere

    mhdishere Member

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    According to a story my Dad (WW II, USMC, Pacific) told me many years ago the Marines were given a choice of a .45 auto or a revolver, he took a revolver because it was more reliable. I THINK he said it was also a .45 revolver. Unfortunately he's no longer with us so I can't verify.
     
  22. PinnedAndRecessed

    PinnedAndRecessed member

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    greyhound:

    When the 101st made their initial jumps, only officers and noncoms were issued sidearms. Those issued were the 45 acp, IIRC.

    Then, when we realized how many troops were shot while hanging in their chutes in trees (because they couldn't get to their weapons), we began issuing sidearms to all airborne troops. At what point, I don't remember.

    But many airborne troops found sidearms on their own. Many were given such by family from the states.
     
  23. JPL

    JPL Member

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    During the Korean War my grandfather sent my uncle a revolver.

    Uncle Ted was pretty badly wounded.

    He made it back, but the revovler didn't.

    No could what it would have been, and they're both gone now.
     
  24. Lone Star

    Lone Star Member

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    If you look at many WW II photo histories, you'll see some revolvers.

    The guy who wrote, "Band of Brothers" and other books about his time with the 101st is named Donald Something. In one book, he mentioned carrying a nickled M1911 .45 that he got from home. Also mentioned passing a British armored column in Holland, and noted that the tankers had S&W .38 revolvers. And that many of their tanks were Shermans! (The US was truly, "the arsenal of democracy".

    Certainly, many unofficial weapons were used. I've talked to several vets who carried captured Axis weapons and seen photos of others.

    Wing Commander "Bob" Braham, DSO, DFC, etc. carried a Luger obtained via an RAF intelligence officer. It came off a German shot down over Britain. Alas, it was taken off of HIM after a FW-190 pilot shot down his Mosquito over Denmark in June, 1944. Incredibly, the officer who shot him down heard that his victim was the famous Braham, and asked to meet him. After the war, they became friends, and he wrote one of the two Forwards to Braham's, "Night Fighter!". (The other Forward was by Sir Basil Embry, Air Chief Marshal, RAF.)

    Lone Star
     
  25. PinnedAndRecessed

    PinnedAndRecessed member

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    The author of "Band of Brothers" is Stephen Ambrose, deceased. He was professor of history at LSU. Also wrote "Custer and Crazy Horse", "Citizen Soldiers", "D-Day", Ike's biography, etc.

    I liked most of his books but thought "The Wild Blue" was weak. Turned out to be mostly a book about Geo. McGovern as WW2 B-24 pilot.
     
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