Ordnance went up front

A PDF copy of Roy Dunlaps "ordnance went up front", a memoir written by a WWII infantryman and previous gunsmi

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English Pages 538 Year 1948

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Ordnance went up front

Table of contents :
I. “APPROACH”......Page 10
II. SIGNED UP......Page 13
III. ON THE MOVE......Page 16
V. DESERT STATION......Page 27
XIX. A DETAIL WITH QM......Page 192
XXXI. OUT OF THE HILLS......Page 285
XXXVI. JAPAN......Page 316
XXXVIII. THE 7.7MM JAP RIFLE......Page 346
XL. JAP MACHINE GUNS......Page 367
XLI. U. S. WEAPONS......Page 378
INDEX......Page 531

Citation preview


Some Observations and Experiences of a Sergeant of Ordnance, who served throughout World War II with the United States Army in Egypt, the Philippines and Japan—including Way Stations. With Comment and Opinions on the many different Small-Arms in use by the Forces Engaged.


COPYRIGHT, 1948, BY THOMAS G. SAMWORTH All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced in any form without permission. A Samworth Book on Firearms Published by SMALL-ARMS TECHNICAL PUBLISHING COMPANY Plantersville, South Carolina


FOREWORD This isn’t really my fault: I was parked peacefully beneath a coconut palm splitting a banana with a monkey and wondering if I’d live through the coming invasion of Japan when some hopeful soldier who had attended mail call threw me a letter from T. G. Samworth, “who gets out the books on firearms,” starting everything. The monkey ate the envelope, and since he looked smarter than I felt, I asked him what I should do—tell the man the truth, or write him a gory story (Mr. Samworth had the idea I was the Second Rifleman to go to War, à la McBride). Anyway, I wrote and explained that I was usually the snipee instead of the sniper, and that there wasn’t much I knew to write about except small arms, which would be OK but for the fact that a batch of other guys had been doing the same thing all through the war, though it was evident that two-thirds of them never handled the items they publicized. Besides, I had to work for a living, instead of fighting—most of the time anyway—so I wasn’t glamorous. The answer was, in effect, “Write it up anyway, you’ve seen enough guns, in enough places, and know enough about them to make a book.” Besides, he offered money. So I then had a postwar project. This is it. If the following manuscript can be classified at all, it must be as an elaborated technical diary of an American gun nut through the rifles, pistols and machine guns of World War II, both enemy and allied. I make no pretense of covering all the weapons used—such a book would be a straight catalog eight inches thick—but endeavor to present as many of the firearms in the small arms category as I am or was familiar with. These are the guns issued to individual soldiers for the express purpose of killing other individual soldiers: In military parlance, the anti-personnel weapons. Theoretically, grenades, booby-traps, mines, mortars and such toys should be included, however I narrowed the “weapons” down to firearms because I feel that only firearms can be of interest to non-military readers in such a

book as this. Military readers won’t have to read about those other bits of equipment here. Besides, why should I tell people how to make grenades in the basement? I have done my utmost to obtain factual information. All measurements and weights, unless otherwise stated, were taken by myself directly from the equipment mentioned. Where cartridge and bullet data are concerned, I averaged dimensions, angles and weights from several samples of each caliber wherever possible, checking my figures and enlisting the aid of men more skilled than myself in the use of special measuring tools. Often my figures are slightly different from those given by more established writers and reference manuals, however—I have the books and manuals too—I choose to believe what my scales and micrometers and calipers tell me, rather than copy from specification sheets or other publications. In the past arms writers have often been forced to go by official or semi-official specification writeups on foreign material, since it was impossible to obtain the actual weapons. The result was that many errors, some small, some of magnitude, came to be perpetrated time and again. One particular error, regarding British equipment, I traced through two well-known American arms books to a manual written by a British brigadier who must have used a ouija board for his source of information. Wherever possible I have avoided using information not gathered by myself and in such cases as it was impossible to present a complete description of the particular item concerned without the use of such hearsay data, I have tried to mention that fact. Luckily, I was able to see, handle, use and work on most of the German, Italian, Japanese, British, American and other principal small arms, and compile a few statistics concerning them for my own use during the war. As it is doubtful that anyone except a confirmed American gun crank would be interested in this volume, it is written at that level. The vocabulary and general terminology will be familiar to most gun men. When I write “FPS” I expect the reader to understand that I mean “Feet Per Second Muzzle Velocity,” without having to stop to explain on every other page. I do not go into detail on bullet ogives or degree of angle on boattails, which may offend some ballistics

student-handloaders. Technical military wording is defined when used. The reader won’t read very long before he begins to suspect I’m one of those people who like all guns, and he’ll be right. I contend that all guns are good—some are just better than others. And I’ll argue that stand with anyone, basing my reasoning on the grounds that for any arm, in any country, to get beyond the inventor’s model stage and into production it must have sufficient merit to warrant the huge expenditure in money and/or man-hours of labor necessary to manufacture any modern or semi-modern weapon. In order to present the various rifles and pistols covered in as unbiased a manner possible, I try to list all features, good and bad, and make plain that my personal opinion is just personal. There has been a great deal of illconsidered writing concerning certain German and Japanese small arms, which I hope I can counteract in a small way. So far as U. S. equipment goes, I let it go; I give it a onceoverlightly treatment, compare it in my own light and experience with similar items of other nations and leave the final decision to the reader. Working on our small arms was my technical job in the army for most of the war and I have no illusions about what they could and did do. I’m the rifleman who went to war—to fix ‘em. We had a lot of good stuff and a lot of stuff not so good, but as a rule only about half the quantity or quality the home front thought we had. The propaganda this country swallows would make Goebbels roll in his grave. In envy. He had suckers, but not so many. The mechanics of the writing herein aren’t very good, I know. “Was” and “Is” in regard to weapons just about floored me, for it is very hard to keep tenses straight in all cases. A good many war weapons will not be made again; most Axis arms are positively past numbers, but how about Italian stuff? I finally gave up, with a short prayer that people will overlook these shortcomings. Concerning my war career, the autobiographical data are kept as unobtrusive as possible and used to tie in war and weapon information principally, for, as mentioned, I’m no hero, did nothing spectacular, and try to soft-pedal my own noise (I’m not being modest—I just don’t think my personal history is interesting). The army gave me six ribbons, three with stars and arrow-heads and such on them, which proves nothing except that I got around a little. I

have a fine battle dress jacket so covered with insignia and bars and brassards it looks like a military store window showpiece, but I am now so wide I can’t wear it any more, so, as the man said, what price glory? I’m satisfied. My malaria hasn’t bothered me for eight months; I wasn’t hurt too much by jungle rot although my ankles and feet and legs are now sort of a purplish-brown color; I didn’t get a Purple Heart, for which I am very happy, and though my joints complain sometimes that I slept on the ground a night or so too often, I’m not bad off. A lot of things could have happened to me that didn’t. I hated the army, but I didn’t mind the war so much. Thanks. ROY F. DUNLAP Lincolnshire, Illinois. March, 1946.



I “APPROACH” This probably really started when I was about three years old, since somebody is pretty sure to have given me a toy gun about then. Business picked up when I grew up to six years and enough strength to operate an air rifle. At nine I altered one of them into a workable pistol, and have been maltreating guns ever since. About 1936 or ‘37 I became interested in serious shooting and after a season or two with vermin rifles and plinking pistols went in for military rifle shooting. I was a member of the Chicago Rifle Club, an averaged-sized rifle and pistol club which boasted it was able to put a Class A .30 caliber team in the National Matches all by itself. Could, too. The men who weren’t Distinguished Marksmen were making sure they were going to be. In other words, I was in fast company and if I wanted to really belong I’d better aim when I shot. I kept my eyes and ears open and worked at it. By the time the war interrupted I had a fair idea of what the score was in the rifle game (and my name on a trophy or two). Fort Sheridan, Illinois, was our “home” range. Forty (now fifty) firing points, all the way back to a thousand yards, and the army manned the telephones and the pits for us, costing us anywhere from thirty cents to a dollar an hour per target, depending on the number of targets rented. After the day’s match or matches we’d rent a few on our own hook and have our fun and practice. Our gang used to go down to the short ranges and practice rapid fire (small wagers here and there, etc.!). We didn’t spare our ammunition or our National Match Springfields as some of the shooters did, which was probably why one of us nearly always headed the match bulletin. We all learned things—how and why the big rifles work. I shot two barrels bald-headed in less than four seasons and had a fair start on

another when the big interruption came, which is enough M1 ammunition to accustom one to the recoil. In the meantime I’d been to the National Matches at Camp Perry twice, the second time with the Illinois Team. I won absolutely nothing and caught such a cold I didn’t even fire the team match. My .30 Newton bullgun kicked me silly, I wound the wrong sight setting on my telescope thereby doublecrossing myself in the Wimbledon Match, got to the smallbore range too late to shoot the offhand match, but, still, I had a good time. It paid off in the end. The younger riflemen did get the opportunity to repay Uncle for the free shooting in their chosen sport and the older ones found their knowledge could help out in more ways than that of spending evenings in bull sessions. Three of my younger friends did terrible execution among the enemy with rifle and carbine; six others and myself went into uniforms to serve in various capabilities and in every theatre of the war. At least three older shooters went into specialized production jobs in small arms plants. This is just the record of the one rifle club, of course, and undoubtedly nearly every shooting organization can point out members with similar records. We, and they, had gun knowledge. Yes, the old Director of Civilian Marksmanship program did pay off, more than the generals knew. And not one of all the men I know is tired of guns. Rather, the opposite—we’re more anxious to shoot than ever. One ex-platoon sergeant of the Rangers, for fifteen months a prisoner in Germany, spent his furlough Sundays before discharge on the firing line at Fort Sheridan, back in the matches! Another, who fought the Japs under very messy conditions for a couple of years, worried in every letter that he hadn’t greased his match rifles well enough in 1941. A third, who finished the war a Major, after seeing Burma as one of the leading lights of Merrill’s Marauders promptly traded one of the boys back from Germany out of two Mausers. A man I knew in New Guinea, who eventually collected a couple of Nip bullets in the chest, is irritated mainly because he can’t shoot any gun with heavy recoil until he heals up a little more. I have rheumatism or something in my right elbow and shoulder (and the rest of my joints, too, for that

matter) so that I may have to do my future pistol shooting lefthanded, but don’t believe it will affect my rifle holding. Riflemen are hard to discourage.

II SIGNED UP Even before Pearl Harbor I had ideas about getting free board and room with my shooting and was toying with the notion of joining the Canadians, who cordially recommended the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, the “Princess Pats,” who I gathered consisted mostly of Americans who couldn’t wait. My friends and neighbors, etc. queered that, however, by classifying me in the Selective Service (IB) so I couldn’t leave the U. S. So I held still and after that December 7th settled my small affairs, moved my personal equipment and tools to storage with the family, sold off odd guns, ammunition and furniture and started to enlist. Please note the word “started.” This was in February, 1942. They were still particular. I went in to the Marines’ office: “Yer too old — you need glasses.” I was 27. Heck, I hadn’t figured on making beach landings for them, I wanted a spot as armorer or weapons instructor. No go. Had to be under 25 years unless you were a privileged character. Later it developed that they hunted up a batch of their old Team shots, master riflemen and experienced with all the Marine tools and procedures. These men trained the Marines of Betio and Iwo and the other headline names from the Marine attacks up through the Pacific. They did all right, for the time they had. Anyway, I didn’t get in the USMC. So I joined the Army. Even that took weeks. When I did get in I thought I knew why. In the spring of 1942, Mister, the U. S. Army was in sad shape. We didn’t have from nothin’. They were in a hurry to get us on our way—four weeks’ basic. After three and a half a large percentage, including me, were transferred into the “cadre school,” or school for noncoms. A big honor or something, but I didn’t like it, since I was very sick of close-order drill and calisthenics, which was

what the basic training at Aberdeen Proving Ground amounted to, except for short lectures given by officers who had learned them by rote, apparently. I wanted to go to the Technical Training Schools, to learn the small arms since I was determined to be an armorer now that I was in Ordnance. After a week of irritating the cadre officers I went to it. I found I knew more than the instructors and therefore couldn’t learn much from them (I knew practically nothing, too!). Outside of the machine guns and the 20mm cannon I had already handled, shot and worked on everything the course covered. The instructors were either old army non-coms who had got into Ordnance for a soft job, or early draftees who had fallen into the spots. None knew more than how to assemble and disassemble each gun and the names of the parts. Usually each one knew only one or two weapons. Not a man of them knew what a repair job was. All they could do was read out of manuals. About three weeks of this and I heard of an outfit forming for overseas duty so I checked up. A sergeant I knew got me an appointment with the C.O. of the Small Arms Company. The first thing he asked me was how to put in a front sight on a .45 pistol. I knew I’d arrived. This was the 98th Battalion, formed in Aberdeen, the best that the U. S. could turn out at the time. About half the men were transferred in, the rest were volunteers as I was. All were a grade higher than the usual caliber of soldier, most had quite a bit of service and training for that period and all knew a little more about their jobs than the usual Aberdeen product. We worked that summer in the Base Shop at the post, doing the repair and maintenance work for the post and a lot for the Proving Ground (the Army post of Aberdeen Proving Ground and the Proving Ground itself were under separate management; in fact, the testing areas and equipment were out of bounds to spies and soldiers). I got my fill of repair work training—they threw Browning M2 Aircraft Machine guns at us. These were .30 caliber light weapons, convertible to feed from either side, and the crankiest, stubbornest mechanism in the way of a Browning ever put out. The Proving Ground would get a batch in from the factories, test them, and throw the failures in our laps. There wouldn’t be a thing wrong with the gun except it wouldn’t work. All you could do was switch parts here and

there till it did. Then you had to change it over to feed from the opposite side and do it over again. And so on ad infinitum. Mostly the trouble was in the feed pawls, springs or lever—being airplane guns they had to pull their own loaded belts out of the boxes and had to lift a weight equal to eleven pounds while operating, or rather, they had to hold a weight of eleven pounds on the belt and feed it as well. Ordinarily a machine gun is a very simple weapon. It may be a terrific job to repair one, but it usually is no trouble at all to find out what is wrong with it. Of course we worked on all the other equipment the army used, but nothing remains in my mind as do those pestiferous M2’s. The army quit using them in 1943, though the Navy still has a few in planes. We had a lot of about five hundred 1917 S. & W. and Colt revolvers, most of which had been wrecked. I saw dozens of blownup Colts, with cylinders and frames damaged as well as barrels. The Smith & Wessons seemed to hold better, only splitting the barrels when two or three bullets were lodged in them. Most of these guns had been damaged in tests of various kinds and we would fix a few of them up from time to time. I spent a week making receiver wrenches, for removing barrels from rifles. These are merely blanks of steel with the center cut out, profiled to fit a rifle receiver closely when slipped over it. Handles are welded on, long enough to give fair leverage. In use the rifle barrel is clamped in a strong vise and the receiver unscrewed from the barrel. The wrench I made for the M1, or Garand, was a good job, if I say it myself. It fitted the receiver well enough to support all weak portions when pressure was applied and distributed that pressure so that no part of the receiver could be damaged.

III ON THE MOVE Comes September and orders to pack. Our name had been changed and we were now the 1st Bn. 303rd Ordnance Regiment. This was the old Ordnance Base Shop Battalion, no longer used. It was comprised of around 600 men, having five companies: Headquarters & Service; A (Supply & Depot); B (Artillery & Fire Control Repair); C (Tank & Automotive); and D (Small Arms). Our small arms outfit was the smallest, having only 42 men, and the tank crew the largest, having almost 300. The Bn. C.O. was a Lt. Colonel. There was a great deal of rank, both commissioned and enlisted. A short time before we took off we received a batch of infantrymen who were scheduled to be our “guards,” handle our military details, etc. overseas, while we worked. Somebody switched this though and we ended up by absorbing them and making ordnancemen out of them. Small Arms drew just two; one broke a finger hitting one of the guys on the head and didn’t go, and the other turned out to be a violinist of near-concert caliber. He was really good, so we were happy to get him. Any army outfit is glad to have anyone who can entertain in any way. Our departure from Aberdeen was in the best tradition—wait all day and leave at night. We went South, to a little concentration camp outside Charleston, S. C. There we were confined to a tent section approximately 150 yards square for a few days, which we spent playing poker. We were guarded closely and everything was very secret. In fact, we had been ordered to tear the crimson and gold ordnance braid from our overseas caps, so that no one could identify our branch of service. Everyone figured we were going to England and couldn’t understand the security measures. Anyway, we suddenly were issued helmets (most of us got new ones but a few

lads caught the old 1917 soup dishes). This was the first time any of us had seen a helmet. I told you the army was short of stuff, remember? We were all armed with Remington-made 1903 rifles, with straight stocks.

MILITARY SMALL ARMS CARTRIDGES (For description see back of page.) MILITARY SMALL ARMS CARTRIDGES 1. 6mm Lee, U. S. Navy, DBS. 2. 6.5mm M38, Japan 3. 6.5mm M38, Italy 4. 6.5mm Mannlicher 5. .276 Pedersen, U. S. Ex. 6. 7mm Mauser 7. 7.5mm M29, France 8. 7.54mm, Switzerland 9. 7.62 mm, U. S. S. R.

10. .30M1906, M2, U. S. 11. .30 U. S. (30-40 KRAG) 12. .303 mk VII England 13. 7.7mm Rimmed (.303) Japan 14. 7.7mm M99 (rimless) Japan 15. 7.7mm M92 (semirimmed) Japan 16. 7.92mm Mauser, Japan 17. 7.92mm Mauser, Germany 18. 8mm Breda-Fiat (Rimless) Italy 19. 8mm Mannlicher (rimmed) Italy 20. 8mm Lebel, France 21. 10.35mm, Italy 22. 7.92mm P318 A.T., Germany 23. 7.8mm M35 (7.92mm P318P) Poland

These were fairly well made, since they came out before the stamping mania hit the production lines, and all parts were as made on regular pre-war service Springfields. Of course, the floorplate would probably pop out if you dropped the butt more than two inches when lowering it to the ground, and the safety usually flew off when you slammed the bolt open on inspection, but we could cure little things like that, being an ordnance outfit. Machine work wasn’t bad at all, compared with later stuff. From Charleston we went back on the troop trains, heading North. Our port of embarkation was Newport News, Virginia, over the hill, so to speak, from Aberdeen where we’d started from. On the ship we drew a break. It was the great British White Star Line Mauretania, new in 1939, when it had made just one or two trips as a

liner before being converted to transport service. This was the first time she had ever carried American troops and she had been fitted out at one of our Navy Yards with hammock hangers. The British had never attempted to carry more than 5,000 men on her, but the U. S. leased her and put 8,000 on board. The cheese was somewhat binding but at that, compared with American transports I later traveled on, we had plenty of room. A very large ship with literally miles of corridors and passageways, ten decks, vast holds and hundreds of crew members, it was a liberal education to the swarm of soldiers. Being a private at the time, I had been put on a detail which turned out to be a wonderful deal: I had to help with the food on one of the mess decks. On this ship there were, I believe, four large compartments or rooms where tables were set up to take care of the soldiers who could not get into the large ship dining rooms. Adjoining each of these was a “Pantry” where the British stewards served out the cold rations— bread, butter, jam, dessert, cheese, etc. The hot food was carried in large pans from the central galleys, my gang being the carriers. The pantry was the spot to be in—it had steam pots, much like the coffee makers in the one-arm lunchrooms, where hot or cold water was available at any time; Fresh water; as well as tea, sugar and all the aforementioned cold foods; plus what could be picked up in the way of delicacies not on the regular menu. So I appointed myself first assistant to the young British steward and worked in the pantry. Result, I lived like a king, compared with the other troops. The work only took an hour or so in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. Being under American orders there were only two meals a day. More about this later. Also, the working classes were entitled to a bunk in a cabin, while the rest of my outfit had to put up hammocks on the promenade deck every night and take them down every morning. So I had a private room with bath for the voyage—me and ten other guys. Anyway it was air conditioned, either hot or cold available at all times, lights to read in bed by, both bathtub and shower—no wonder I was pleased with that transport! The crew of the Mauretania were our first contacts other than American, and what contacts. What a crew; between four and five

hundred men, all “4F’s,” either under military age, disabled or overage, most of them regular seamen and the young ones as reckless and tough as any Dead End Kid. My steward was 19 and had been at sea six years; admitted he was a fugitive from the conscript laws. “They’d only put me in the bloody British Navy and I can’t stand the ——— salutin’ and sirrin’.” So he rode the unescorted merchant marine ships around the world, constantly being logged (docked) a few days’ pay for not being more civilized toward his job or his superior officers. Another boy had worked in a seaplane factory and decided to see the world before he died. His heart was due to stop any minute. One of the deck gang regaled the soldiers with tales of shipwrecks, fights with subs and bombers, stories of drifting on rafts and such until no one would listen any more. It was obvious he was telling tall ones, being wilder than any fiction war story had a right to be. Finally one of the boys mentioned him when conversing with a minor ship’s officer and was flabbergasted when he was told not to mind Eddie, as he’d been torpedoed four times and the last time he’d been adrift about a month, and it had left him a little bomb-happy, in a manner of saying.... Ships such as these, under the British system, have literally three crews: the deck crew, who handle everything on deck, navigating the ship and boats, attend to loading and docking; the engine crew, consisting of the engineers, the electricians, machinists, maintenance men, etc.; and the service crew, made up of the stewards, cooks, waiters, and messboys. Lord of everything below the bridge is the Staff Captain. Above him is the Ship’s Captain, who never left the bridge, having an apartment there, and who had never been seen by many of the crew! We left Newport News just at daylight, heading south along the coast. As land gradually faded away there was much conversation as to when we’d pick up the convoy and head for England. The crew had no idea as to where we were headed. The Mauretania went from port to port seldom hitting the same one twice in the same year. I ventured the thought that we were not going to have any convoy and was ridiculed thoroughly. No American soldier was going to be

shipped unescorted through dangerous waters; positively no (at that time most of us still believed our own propaganda). So we went to Africa the long way around. Forty days on the sea. Through the Caribbean unescorted, when German submarines were trying hard to sink one ship per day and keeping pretty close to the schedule for awhile. The Mauretania was fast, too fast for efficient use in convoy, and armed well enough for air attack should we encounter planes. I believe there were fifty-four 20mm guns alone, as well as eight medium caliber anti-aircraft guns. On the back end was a six-inch naval rifle, with a Royal Navy crew to man it. England was doing what she could for us, anyway. At Rio de Janeiro we broke our hearts looking at the beautiful city we couldn’t visit. We lay in the harbor two days taking on provisions and fuel, but of course no one could go ashore. The harbor is just as spectacular and lovely as its reputation represents it. It was to be the last time we were to see a city with lights for a long time. The ship now made an end run to South Africa, by way of the South Pole, to dodge a few reported subs. Cold? It was awful; just a few days from the Equator and now we looked at mountainous gray seas, expecting to see icebergs any minute. Our cabin was invaded by the boys from the upper decks, trying to keep warm. Men slept in all the corridors, on stair landings, anywhere there was any heat.

IV TO EGYPT VIA SOUTH POLE The port of call was Durban, U. S. A. (Union of South Africa). We had to remember the double meaning of those three letters from there on in. None of us had any knowledge of the place and most of us had never heard of it. We were learning more about the world. Durban is a quaint little jungle village of 300,000 people, with 25,000 automobiles, open-air streetcars, doubledeck busses, big movie houses, skyscraper apartment buildings with automatic elevators, a business section as modern as any American city and a climate about 60% better than Southern California. If you ever do a little embezzling or rob a bank and have to jump the old home town, go to South Africa. They even have good ice-cream! The harbor facilities seemed adequate for anything. At least the ship slid up to the dock and tied up. No tugs, no backing and filling, no nothing, we just went in and stopped and for a ship that size that is sensational. It was also a piece of fancy seamanship, though it was two years before I realized it. In Durban just two days, we were allowed ashore from noon till midnight. The people of the city made all efforts to welcome us. The South Africans are large physically, and live on a larger scale than any other British colony or dominion. Everyone was very friendly toward us, inviting us to their homes, opening their service clubs, sharing their beer and whiskey with us. In general, nice people. Living in a game country, the attitude toward shooting is much the same as in America. There is probably more per-capita big game hunting there, and they have rifle associations, clubs, matches and an organization which corresponds to our National Rifle Association through which military equipment is available to members.

The climate is semi-tropical, in that winter temperatures never reach freezing, but is only uncomfortable for a month or two in the summer. At the time we were there (our “fall,” their “spring”) the weather was perfect. All our known fruits and vegetables are grown there and huge quantities are canned in their factories. In addition they have quite a few items unfamiliar to North America. Their oranges are very good, having a slightly different flavor from any of ours. The residential districts were lovely, with modern well-built homes and apartments, streets lined with fine trees, in some cases the flaming, scarlet-flowered jacarilla, which blooms for weeks. There are only two million whites, roughly speaking, in the Union, and the negro population approaches ten million, the biggest groups being the Zulus and the Kaffirs. If you think there’s a color line in the U. S. you should visit Africa! South Africa classifies humans as Europeans or Non-Europeans in origin. Period. When our colored soldiers came ashore the people were somewhat stymied—they wanted to be nice to the Americans, but they didn’t know what to do. They realized that the American negro is civilized and used to civilized surroundings, which their “Non-European” cafes, bars and districts definitely didn’t provide. The problem was solved for the moment by more-or-less declaring that the American colored troops were sort of “honorary Aryans” for the moment and allowing them to use all white establishments for the period of our stay. We had only a few of them on the transport. I presume the South Africans immediately provided for another service club for any future visits since they are being very careful to keep the native population undisturbed. Many native leaders have been campaigning for years for more or equal rights in the government, which of course means the end of white domination politically, should they be won. On a sunny October Sunday we sailed from Durban, leaving about noon. I was sad about it, account of a fruit-grower in the city had invited our violinist and myself to drive out with him to inspect some orchards in the country that day, so we missed a 50 or 60 mile tour of the countryside. We left about 500 American air force men here, who were to go to India, and picked up an equal number of British infantrymen. The Tommies were both veterans and recruits, going out as

replacements to the Eighth Army. A day or so later when they discovered they were only to get two meals a day, things happened. They didn’t like it. The British Army may not get such good food, or very much of it, but it demands its regular rations when they are available. At any rate, the 500 Britons raised enough hell so that the schedule was revised and the whole 8,000 on board ate three times a day for the rest of the trip, even if the third meal turned out to be mostly tea, bread, butter, jam and an orange. When more than three enlisted Americans come to any higher authority with a complaint, it is mutiny, they get court-martialed and spend the next couple of decades regretting it, but British soldiers can petition or complain in numbers and no one but the high command can punish them. The principle is that the majority opinion is usually justified, therefore they are right, so whoever or whatever was wrong gets straightened out fast. Going north on the east coast of Africa, getting warmer as we neared the Equator again, we got a glimpse of the war at long range. One night we had a spectacular show of lightning flashing on the horizon, which turned out to be the sea battle of Madagascar, between British and Free French units and the Vichy French ships based there. About the time we headed into the Red Sea I ate something I shouldn’t—probably some of the fancy fruit stored in the hold for officers only—and came down with amoebic dysentery. For four or five days I was a very sad sight. As I had a bunk in a cabin and the ship sick bay was limited for space, the doctors gave me a bottle of bismuth and their best regards. In a week I lost between 25 and 30 pounds. For the first time in my life I saw my ribs. Recovery was very fast, however. There was little movement of the ship so there were no complications on that end. The Red Sea is just as hot as it is cracked up to be. Most of the time the heat haze hangs over the water like fog, limiting visibility to a few hundred yards. There was no movement of the air and the sea was so quiet it was flat. I was well enough to carry my own bag off the ship at Suez, our landing point. The Mauretania was too large to go inshore so we landed on good-sized British landing barges, from half or

threequarters of a mile offshore. It was not until we were on those barges that we really realized the size of our gigantic vessel. And it was not until we rode smaller ships in later years that we appreciated it. You don’t get sick on a ship that doesn’t rock or roll and the big ones don’t do either to any harmful degree. The land approaches to Suez and Tewfik are highly discouraging: the sand-colored and gray-tinted hills and junior mountains on both sides are very unattractive. No sign of any green vegetation or trees. Just bleak desert heights. Our landing was on some of the smaller docks west of the mouth of the Suez Canal, and we got our first impressions of the Arabs and Egyptians around the waterfront. They were working for both themselves and the armies all over the place. Didn’t look too bad, though the sight of all ages and both sexes using the banks and wharves as latrines very openly was rather startling. While waiting for our transportation to get straightened out, a British version of the USO popped up and we got cups of good tea and a couple of very good “bisquits”—large heavy cookies. This went over big even though most of the men had been beefing about drinking tea all the way over for it had been a long time since breakfast. Finally we loaded on the train—the Egyptian State Railway; open air, somewhat undersized and rather slow. The cars were uncomfortable but we were too excited to care much. Everything was new and interesting, the dress of the people, the numerals on the cars, the British military vehicles occasionally seen and the evidences of bomb damage. On this numeral business, if we use the Arabic system, just what do the Arabs use? Must be the Coptic. The one and the nine are written the same in both systems, but there similarity ends. Their two is a reversed seven, their zero is a dot, their five a zero, and so on. We soon learned to read them as well as our own, though it was not really necessary, as all street signs, vehicle licenses and number plates are made with doublespaces and the numbers written in both systems, one above the other. As we pulled out of Suez, British soldiers ran alongside the train and handed up cans of beer. This, joyfully received, cemented international relations in the Middle East. The incident will also illustrate how desperate things were at the time and how welcome

we were, because, for an English soldier to give away beer at any time—for any reason—and to an American, well it just is not possible to comprehend. Maybe they were so happy about Alamein going OK they were not responsible for their actions. We now knew where we were going. Heliopolis. Well, we knew the name of the place. The train chugged along through the most desolate desert in the world, the Arabian desert of Egypt, varying from the buff color of sand and gravel to the oppressive gray-black of the rolling hills and dunes covered and colored with bits of black flint. The train rolled steadily northwest and for hours we saw no signs of civilization and nothing green or alive. That desert is dead. There are no birds, no animals, no cactus, no vegetation; compared with it, Death Valley is a summer resort. After dark we stopped, destination reached. As we lugged our bags away from the rails and tried vainly to spot some signs of a camp or town our morale sank fast. The desert night is cold and there was no sign of a camp of any variety. We did have pup tents and winter clothing but no food except “D” ration, the indestructible chocolate bars, and no way to warm ourselves. Finally a few trucks showed up and we tore through the night to a makeshift mess hall some distance away and then to a batch of tents dimly visible in the starlight. We rolled up in our blankets and tried to find a soft spot in the sand. Rocks were too numerous.

V DESERT STATION In the morning we got a good look at the landscape. More sand. We learned that we were to set up a shop here and service what American equipment happened in, but mainly we were to work for the British Eighth Army. Since El Alamein (two hours away by car) appeared to be a complete English victory, we would not have to worry any more about doing our own personal fighting. The area was named Darb el Hagg and was approximately 15 kilometers from the city of Heliopolis, which was in turn about 10 or 12 from Cairo. Practically a metropolitan post, except that the desert is the desert whether it is one or a thousand miles from a town. An American construction company was building with native labor all the buildings of a great camp and base, to become the Heliopolis Depot, USAFIME—(U. S. A. Forces in Middle East), in time. It was building, but at the moment there were just about four prefabricated-style shacks used for offices, etc. and a couple of mess halls. The hundreds of soldiers lived in tents, some British, some American, scattered over the desert. The American pyramidals were better at this time of year, for although very hot during the day they were easy to stake down and hold against the sandstorms. The British tents were of light cotton cloth, made in India, solely for shelter from the sun. They were the wall type, not waterproof and were double, that is, with an inner roof and wall usually blue or purple in color. It was best to dig them in against wind. You simply excavated as far down as the wall of your tent was high, parked the tent in the hole and filled sand down around it. This made the shelter windproof and you were low enough to be safe against most bomb bursts in case of air attack.

A small English outfit there gave us a little help and was kind enough to allow us to buy at their canteen, so we got a little chocolate and beer and pipe tobacco. They moved out in a few days, though. With November came the sandstorms and high winds. There were enough dunes and loose sand in the region to keep us uncomfortable. When it was really blowing it came through everything except rubber or glass. Visibility went down to about 30 yards and you needed to wear a gas mask to face it then. The sand, fine as flour, seems to rise, weightless, and blows like smoke. Although the wind blew at night, the sand seemed to blow only during the hours of light, from eight in the morning till around fourthirty in the afternoon. At that time of year in Lower Egypt only about nine hours of daylight a day relieve the cold nights. Usually at night the air cleared magically. During the day we holed up in our tents if it was blowing, or tried to find scraps of lumber to build tables and chairs with if it was clear. Censorship was so strict we almost gave up letter-writing. The sand made card playing difficult, besides, very few of us had any money left. I had won about $150.00 on the boat but had loaned out around $100.00 and had spent the rest. I’d been one of the first batch to get to Cairo and so needed a payday to recuperate. The camp went up fast, spread over a wide area to reduce damage in case of bombing. Buildings were all of brick, locally made out of sand and cement, walls one layer thick, no bracing. Do not dent with truck or, no wall! Beams, columns and girders on the larger structures were either of steel or Indian mahogany. American prefabricated steel frames came in for some of the shops. Everything was roofed with heavy galvanized corrugated steel from India. Lumber was worth its weight in silver and for months every board was precious. When we were in tents it was an afternoon’s work to collect enough for a small campfire at night to keep warm by. Our barracks were finished in a few weeks, shortly after the shop building was done. These barracks were long one-story cement floored brick shacks, with the universal “tin”—steel—roof. Windows were of a translucent greenish cellophane material. Later we had screens and electric lights. Latrines, washrooms and showers were built into about half of them, water being run in one-inch pipe from

one to the other, tapping off a water line from a well system out in the desert a couple of miles away. This was the height of luxury, we thought. Of course, there were quite a few times when the signs went up “Water Low—No Showers, Washing or Shaving Until Further Notice.” During a sandstorm just as much sand got in these as in a tent, if not more, and during a high wind the roof might leave. But I’m not complaining, they were comfortable and easy to take care of. The shop buildings were the same thing on a larger scale. Everything, built by frenzied Egyptian workmen, was on the verge of collapse. They were capable of good work, but seemed to think that they had to go so fast they couldn’t be bothered with the details. Roads were built so that trucks could maneuver between the buildings without having trouble with patches of soft sand. Since our barracks and mess hall were about a mile from the shop, we were very interested in trucks. What few vehicles had arrived assigned to our unit were promptly commandeered by outfits who needed them to move on up the line with, or who convinced the higher-ups they did. About the only trucks we had access to were a batch of Canadian Ford farm trucks, with stake and slat bodies, rear wheel drive only. These came to us someway through the R.A.F. and were all painted and scarred up. Some had German crosses plainly visible under the R.A.F. cocardes painted on cabs for aircraft identification. They had been captured and recaptured, used around the desert for a couple of years. Many had been copiously ventilated by strafing fire from planes. The tops of all were dented in from the common habit of the desert soldier of sitting on the cab whenever possible. Except for the right-hand side steering drive these were familiar to our drivers and we got along fairly well. When we had any. Whenever the pressure was on in the shop we rode back and forth, morning and noon, but were on our own at night, after the workday was done. About the time sufficient power was available to light the shop for night work, we ran out of work. I never expect to be as cold as I was that winter in Egypt, on the burning desert, of fiction. We worked in all our clothes and stayed in bed when we could, but the gasoline we had our hands in a hundred

times a day kept us chilled. A prolonged session at the cleaning tanks was not as bad as going in and out and getting the constant chill of evaporation. The general messiness of the job made it unwanted and so the common cry of derision whenever any man pulled any sort of boner was “Put ‘im in the tank,” the implication being that he was not good enough for anything except washing cosmoline and dirt off guns. At first we had trouble with lack of facilities, having only a couple of big tables to work on. A few very loud squawks brought individual benches, and a batch of vises from the English. We had no tools except the receiver wrenches I had made in Aberdeen for removing and fitting rifle barrels (I think the master sergeant made the company clerk carry them in the field desk!). I (and a few other men) had sets of our own files and screwdrivers. Our organizational equipment was supposed to arrive on or about the same date as our transport; as usual, something slipped and there were four months before we received it. Then we got plenty, for they had shipped two lots, by different convoys in case one ship was sunk (both convoys arrived at the same time). In the meantime we accumulated a few automotive tools—large screwdrivers, files and hammers, and the British supplied us with all the special tools and gages used on their weapons, and some small general tools as well. I collected quite a lot of miscellaneous German and Italian tools from the enemy equipment I ran across, but only a couple of us were able to get at this stuff. Of course I had some rifflers and private stuff to help out with. We were working on nothing except British equipment at this time so didn’t miss our special-purpose tools so very much.

VI MODERN EGYPTIAN LIFE IN CAIRO Cairo was one of the most expensive foreign cities in the world at that time, without inflation. Prices on food, drink and transportation were actually no higher than in any large American city, but it seemed we spent more. Of course the souvenir angle crept in, and every other Arab on the street was a hawker selling something. Anything and everything was sold by these peddlers. Persistent to the point of suicide, they pestered us until we hated to step out of a vehicle on a side street. Naturally, they planned on retiring on what they were going to make from the Americans. Undoubtedly some did, too. We are a nation of suckers. Taxi and gharry (carriage) drivers were more-or-less limited by law in gouging, so we usually didn’t have much argument over the fare. But all of them expected baksheesh, meaning a present over the tip class. Most of the population wanted and asked loudly for baksheesh, constantly. Cairo, one of the greatest of international cities, at that time had a population over two million. The ruling rich class of the country is composed of only a few families, usually of ancient Arab-Egyptian lineage, though some are mixed with old Jewish and French blood. They are very rich. The poor are very poor and very numerous. Only a small middle class exists and that only in the cities, as shopkeepers, civil servants and agents of all types. These are nearly all fairly well educated and it is they who clamor for progress. The poor man, whom the English and we called “Wog,” is a small husky brown character, frequently lousy and in the majority of cases with inherited syphilis, who seldom has more than the

galabeah on his back and a coin or two for his daily meal. Although technically a Mohammedan he isn’t too devoted—or well fed—to pass up a piece of pork or a drink. He is uneducated, unbathed and unbothered. He is an Arab and his language is Arabic; the ancient Egyptian race is dead. The present Egyptians spring from the last tide of empire from the East. Although the Koran allows him four wives, he usually is too poor to have more than one and it takes most of his life to save enough money to pay for her. He has no shame and no morals whatever. He is dedicated to trying to chisel his way and cheat everyone possible, in such a childish and open manner he seldom succeeds. This is merely his way of life, trying to get the better of his fellows. And he can reconcile easily his knowledge that the white man is the great inventor and builder with his conviction that he himself is really much more intelligent and therefore can get the best of any of them in any kind of deal. A lot of peoples and races seem to have this same slant. Maybe the Japanese at least have changed their minds. The Wog is an inveterate smoker from the age of five, though he seldom can afford more than a few at a time. He would work harder for a few cigarettes than for money equivalent to their cost in town. Not just American cigarettes, prized throughout the world, but cigarettes of any kind. If he gets a few piasters ahead he’ll gamble or perhaps go to a native cafe for a go at the hubbly-bubbly, the familiar water-pipe. Here he will get a load of hashish, so cut and adulterated it does not really cause much trouble beyond a dream or two. Running dope into Egypt is one of the commoner Near East profitable occupations. Almost every week the papers have accounts of smugglers caught and almost unbelievable amounts of cash and drugs confiscated. Cairo has great modern business buildings, though few are over four or five stories high. The commercial districts are not too different from those of southern American cities outwardly. In fact, they look better as a rule; the department stores and luxury establishments are grade A by any estimate. The French department stores are as attractive as any Chicago, New York or San Francisco can offer. The streets are lined with small shops—bars, night clubs, barber shops, curio stores and military equipment stores, engaged in selling to the

hordes of Allied soldiers all the immense variety of insignia, clothing and knickknacks they could buy or make. Since Egypt was overrun with the troops of every nation except the Axis, it was resolved to separate them from their money. Everything was aimed to this end. Until we arrived the British had managed to keep prices pretty well in hand in the matter of small items at least. And, for awhile, things were OK. As more Americans arrived and began the customary overpayment for trifles, things went up. Too, supplies diminished greatly, since little was coming into the country and stocks were consumed. In the fall of 1942 I bought a beautifully carved little ivory elephant for the equivalent of 60¢. A year later the same item was priced at approximately $5.00. The west bank of the Nile is green for some miles at Cairo. It is quite beautiful and there are quite a few nice villas there, among the cultivated lands of the valley. Gezira, the large island in the river at Cairo has the finest residential district, with lovely homes and apartment buildings. Most of the “foreign” colonies are there. The English have built up their fine sporting club, with golf course, racetrack, athletic fields and clubhouses. The island is green throughout, lawns and trees and tropical plants keeping it always pleasant. For the past twenty years the Italian and French modern architecture has had a great influence on their building and the villas, apartments and even the office buildings are lovely. Any Cairo architect should be able to make a fortune in the United States, particularly in the West and South, for they can make their creations acceptable to the eye far more so than any of our own “Modernistic” designers. And they are not only to look at; they are functional and damned good to live in. Actually, they influence the modern lines with the ancient Arabic type of structure we know and call “Spanish” in type. Heliopolis or Gezira by moonlight is a sight never to be forgotten. Cairo was of course blacked out, though not completely. All vehicles used blackout lights, meaning that the headlights were painted blue and a narrow slit scraped across them, street lights ditto without the slits. Very, very dim. There was just sufficient light to enable a pedestrian to avoid collision with anything larger than a half-grown boy. Traffic did not even pause at night. It took us quite

awhile to get used to the idea of people driving in the dark. Cairo has more traffic than any place I have ever seen except the Chicago Loop during rush hour. Military trucks ruled the roost of course, giving no quarter to limousine or taxi. We Americans could not get used to the layout of the city, which was distinctly not in favor of efficient motor travel. If you locate two parallel streets, it is an accident. The city is built around “squares,” which are not our type of county-courthouse square, but are merely intersections of from anywhere between three and six streets or boulevards, all meeting at some statue of a departed king or khedive, or other landmark. You are always traveling at an angle or a curve and often can make a single right-angle turn and end up where you started. The town has been growing for about a thousand years without benefit of city planning, but you can become reasonably familiar with the downtown area and the directions of the various sections or suburbs in a few months—if you carry maps and learn enough Arabic to ask directions from the natives, which we did if we were smart. The true native sections are only a little improved over their condition of past centuries. Most of them have no sewage system in the modern sense, as does the metropolitan and modernized section; no water system from house to house; nor electricity. Streets are often a page straight from Kipling, with camels, beggars, moneychangers, and roving entertainers pushing through narrow passageways. The Allied soldiery seldom came here, for there was nothing to draw them. I passed through them often on foot, on my way to the bazaars or markets, and was never bothered. The people seemed quite a bit more likable than they did away from their home grounds. There was little begging or peddling except the few professional or religious beggars which were not often seen downtown. I liked the shop sections of the quarter, where men ran lathes with bows and loose thongs, holding their work with their toes and doing good jobs at woodturning. The coppersmiths and brass workers had incredible stocks of pans, pots, trays, candlesticks and other items, some so huge I wondered how they could be lifted and used. All the things necessary to life were made or traded in here. The workmen apparently rent their little cubbyholes on the streets

and live in the mud or stone warrens existing in the rear. These mud affairs sometimes reach four stories in height, looking as if they will fall any minute. Do not confuse them with thoughts of adobe structures; these are just plain mud, slapped on a flimsy framework of branches and wooden timbers. One of the screwiest aspects of Egypt is the way buildings look as if they had just been tagged with a small bomb. Something is always missing. The secret is that there is—or was, at any rate, shortly in the past—a ruling that no building could be taxed until it was completed. Therefore no one ever completed a structure. Occasionally a magnificent villa or tall apartment building will be seen with a halffinished balcony or a corner of the upper cornice revealing beams or steel and stone. Around the Suez canal cities and Alexandria, however, do not make snap judgements. The Luftwaffe prowled around a couple of years and all their bombs didn’t land on the ships they were meant for. Heliopolis is a sort of upper middle-class suburb of Cairo, erected within the past half century, principally by a foreign nobleman, a Belgian or French baron of great wealth who wanted to recreate the name of Heliopolis. The ancient city of that name was actually a few miles northeast of the present city. The modern town is well laid out, with wide streets and sidewalks, covering quite a bit of ground, very roomy in concept, with almost no crowding, even in the poorer sections.

STEEL AND SPECIAL PURPOSE CARTRIDGES (For description see back of page.) STEEL AND SPECIAL PURPOSE CARTRIDGES 1. German 7.9mm Steel case & bullet. 2. German 7.9mm Steel case, copperized. 3. Japanese M99 7.7mm Steel case, black. 4. Italian 8mm Steel case, blackened. 5. U. S. .30-06, Steel case (a blank). 6. German MP43 7.9mm all Steel-case, bullet & primer. 7. U. S. .30M1 Carbine, Steel case. 8. U. S. .45 M1911, Steel case.

9. German 9mm M’08, Copperized Steel case. 10. German 9mm M’o8mE. Steel case & bullet jacket. 11. German 9mm M’o8mE. Brass case, steel bullet. 12. German 9mm M’o8mE. All Steel, Case, core, & jacket. 13. U. S. .30-06 Dummy cartridge, Tinned Brass case. 14. Japanese 7.7mm Dummy, usable in both rifles and machine guns, all steel. 15. Japanese 7.7mm Dummy, ditto, all brass. 16. British .303 Dummy, Bronze case. 17. Japanese 6.5mm M38 Dummy, all brass. 18. Italian 6.5mm Dummy, Brass, wooden primer. 19. Italian-used 8mm Mannlicher wooden bullet Rifle grenade cartridge. Brass case. 20. U. S. .30-06 rifle grenade blank, Brass case. 21. Japanese M38 6.5mm rifle grenade cartridge. 22. U. S. .30M1 Carbine grenade blank, brass. 23. Italian 45mm Beretta Brixia Mortar blank.

Most of the homes are modern and belong to the doctors and professional men of Cairo. There are many apartment buildings and some hotels. I have an idea that in normal times it serves a good many of the visitors from Europe for accommodations at prices more in line with the average pocketbook than Shepheards’ or Mena House or the Semiramis. It has a race track, or sporting club, and the main airdrome serving Cairo is on the edge of town. Connecting Cairo with Heliopolis is just about the best electric railway I’ve ever ridden on. Best in that it is handled skillfully. Fast and comfortable, it stops and starts without dislocating your neck vertebrae. The trip costs 15 milliemes, about six cents, for first class, or seated. If you are willing to stand up, it is cheaper (a very pious

idea for some of our own transportation companies to consider— straphangers take notice). Egyptian money is based on the millieme unit: 10 milliemes equal one piaster, 100 piasters equal one pound Egyptian, worth $4.14. The people wear all types and combinations of types of clothing — western, desert, oriental, continental. The upper classes wear upperclass tailored suits, as in this country. All government and city officials wear uniforms. The lower classes wear the galabeah, like a loosesleeved nightgown, usually made of light-colored striped material, very like that of some barber’s cloths in this country. You know, the king-size bibs used to keep the larger wads of new-mown hair out of the underwear. In between are found combinations of all kinds of clothing. A few Panama-style straw hats are seen and a few felts, but ordinarily the men go hatless or wear red tarboosh, what we have called the fez; like an inverted flower pot. The upper or educated class nearly always wear these with their American-style business suits. The women wear either black gowns and veils covering them completely, or very up-to-date dresses and makeup. Usually only the poorest women wear the traditional Moslem clothing and veil. And if she is good looking the veil gets very thin or lost completely. Cairo styles are very close to French designs because of the strong French influence in Egypt (French is the official language, all government publications being printed in both French and Arabic). For sports or leisure wear many of the men wear shorts, and shortsleeved jerseys or polo shirts. West of the river is a cultivated area of the Nile Valley, and when it comes to farming, an Egyptian fellah can make a Japanese gardener look like a lumberjack raising cotton in a stone quarry. There are four thousand years of handling the same piece of soil, not always renewed by the river floods as claimed by the school books, and he knows how to make it produce one hundred percent. Every inch must be irrigated of course, through their canal system. There is no wasted arable land. Cattle are seldom seen, because they need feed and land is too valuable to use as pasture. The work animal is the donkey, small, white, strong and tough. Donkeys, goats and camels can exist on what forage the edge of the desert provides.

Goats provide the milk of the country, though there are a very few dairy cows close to the city. The fellahs, or farmers, are about the only class in Egypt who can go in for the four wives allotted by the Koran, since all four can work and earn their keep. I saw a few of these families when the crops of vegetables were coming into town, or on a holiday. Papa would walk at the donkey’s head, leading him. On the flat-topped two-wheeler would be all four wives, a couple of mothers-in-law, a half-dozen or so kids, all of whom would be shouting very disrespectful comments and doing continuous back seat driving. The old man never had a chance for they outnumbered him and were just as big as he was. Any ideas regarding harems and the position of the lord and master we had received immediate revision. Across this little truck farming section west of Cairo is Gizeh, with Mena House at the bottom of the slope. The rim rises hundreds of feet above the valley floor to the outlying desert, and on the edge, overlooking the valley, are the three large Pyramids. They are impressive all right, and the Great Pyramid is larger than expected. Conversely, the Sphinx, down the hill two or three hundred yards and a little south, is much smaller than you have been led to believe by pictures. It does not sit majestically out in the desert. It peeps out of a sort of unfilled swimming pool, over the sandbags holding up its chin. There is a tiny spring a few yards away, which furnishes the only spot of green in all the array of ancient tombs and monuments. The slopes are covered with smaller, semi-destroyed pyramids and tombs, and on the horizon are visible some of the eleven pyramids of Sahara. Being unromantic but practical, what sank in on me deepest was the condition of the mortar in the Great Pyramid at the newlyuncovered base. Good as the day it set, not a grain of sand can be brushed off; somebody knew how to make cement back then, as well as push around large chunks of rock. The British used the main source of the stone, Tour el Cabes (or Caves) as an ammunition dump. The caves are so large and so deep that railway spurs were built in them. The Nile? Just another river, a couple of hundred yards wide at Cairo above Gezira—maybe two-fifty—medium deep, can be navigated by big side and stern-wheelers for several hundred miles

upstream except in the dryest seasons. No, it is not blue like in the story books; it is muddy like the Mississippi, and most of the time the banks are just the barren edge of the desert, since nothing can grow without some nourishment from the soil, which is scarce.

VII WITH THE EIGHTH ARMY Egypt was the base of operations for the British Eighth Army. American equipment came to them up the narrow-gauge line from Suez. Their tents dotted the desert from Tewfik to Alexandria, their trucks never stopped rolling, and in their ranks were all the soldiers fighting Hitler. Not only the British Tommy, the main force, there were Scots, Indians, Ghurkas, South Africans, Australians, New Zealanders, Greeks, Poles, Free French and whoever else wanted in. At the time of El Alamein the Eighth consisted of seven and one half infantry divisions and three armored divisions. The infantry divisions were the 1st South African; the New Zealand; the 51st (The Highland Division); the 4th Indian; the 44th and 50th English; and the Fighting French Brigade which had attached, I believe, a few Poles and a Greek organization. The 9th Australian Division was also used in the battle, being sent in to counterattack and complete the breakthrough after the initial phase of artillery and tank battles. The 2nd South African Division and part of the 1st had previously been lost at Tobruk, being captured almost intact by Rommel. The Australians were sent back home, to protect their own country, shortly after the battle, leaving only a few AA units in Africa. The panzer divisions were the 1st, 7th and 10th, all British. Each had one brigade of around 150 tanks and one brigade of motorized infantry. Two other brigades of tanks and a pool of replacement vehicles were kept in reserve at all times, so that the army could muster close to a thousand tanks, the best of which were the U. S. M4A4 Shermans. The Afrika Korps combined with the Italian forces was composed of the two German armored divisions, the 15th and 21st; one motorized infantry division; the 90th Light; one positional

infantry, 164th Division; a group of paratroop battalions, fighting as infantry, and some small special purpose units; two Italian armored divisions, the Ariete and the Littorio; the Trieste motorized division; four infantry divisions, the Trento, Bologna, Brescia and the Pavia; and the Folgore parachutist division, also fighting as infantry. Axis tank strength was not over six hundred, and since most of the divisions were under strength, the Eighth Army outnumbered them slightly. The Germans were of course dug in and fortified as best they could, and had sufficient 88’s to cover all the dangerous sectors, which was why the British attacked at night, covering the advance with the heaviest artillery barrage in Africa. It was a case of mobile 25pounders against the longer-ranged but heavy Flak 18’s and 36’s. The 25-pounder is also an 88mm caliber gun, built and handled like our old 37mm and present 57mm anti-tank weapons. It cannot achieve the velocity of the German 88mm but is a far more flexible gun, being usable as howitzer, cannon and rifle by means of varying powder charges. The British had air superiority and had all sorts of units in the Desert Air Force—even a few Canadians! The only American outfit was a bomber squadron of B-24 four-motored planes. They did everything except strafing, for the British Air Marshal knew that it was necessary to keep knocking out the German rear echelon organization all along the coast. The old Eighth Army was quite an organization, with all its differing units, each with their own uniforms and insignia. One thing sure, it had the highest morale of any army I ever saw, in spite of their sad past, when they were pushed around time after time by superior German forces and equipment. The Sherman tank was the first bit of armor on the desert to even stand an arguing chance with a Mark IV. The British had to support us most of the time, as well. Remember, this was on the other side of Africa, not on the North Africa of American landings and the Tunisian Campaign. Our beef (not much) came from New Zealand; coffee, from South Africa; mutton, (too much) from Australia. And if we went out in the blue we wore British battle-dress and their helmet. The melting-pot troops and colored colonials used for guard duties were not yet educated to

the American helmet. If it wasn’t British they shot and then investigated. Fatigues were out; our fatigue coverall and cap happened to be almost identical with the German service work clothing. We didn’t mind who supplied us, but cigarettes disappeared. Nobody sent us some; from January until June of 1943 no American cigarettes were available to us. We had a so-called P-X but it never had anything except a half-dozen packages of Egyptian hard candy and some five-pound cans of corned beef (you figure out why they had the latter—we couldn’t!). The British were issuing to all troops who put in for them 50 “Victory V” cigarettes per week. These were made in India and would burn the throat out of a 37mm gun. They were so bad even the Egyptians hated to take them. The English soldiers told us flatly that they would ruin our lungs. In a couple of months the P-X got a supply of Woodbines from the British NAAFI (England’s Navy, Army, Air Force Institute, their canteen and U.S.O. service organization). Woodbines are the cheapest popular English commercial cigarette, not so good, but smokable. These, in packets of 10 were available at a piaster a pack. They helped a lot, but I and most of the boys bought the better grades of English cigarettes in their service clubs and also smoked the better Egyptian brands. This system was expensive but easier on the throat. We used to get a kick out of reading in the home magazines about how well we were taken care of. Clothes were not so bad, and most items were available. Shoes were practically unobtainable. I remember that when I was ready to leave my right one had three patches sewed on the outside of the uppers. When shoes wore out they were turned in to the salvage shops operated by the army in the enormous repair base in the former Egyptian Army post of Abassyia, between Cairo and Heliopolis. There native workmen hired by the British repaired them as best they could. The British would have issued us their shoes, but theirs are black, not brown, hence not allowed by our own command. For dress, that is, off-duty wear, we could get hand-made footwear of any kind at prices not too steep. From $10.00 to $20.00 would purchase anything you could think up from a native cobbler, of fair quality leather and good workmanship.

During the winter of 1942-43 we worked steadily. Every other Sunday afternoon, from 12:30 on, was free, and half the men were allowed to go on pass. Otherwise working hours were from seven A.M. till five P.M. We had reveille at 5:15, were at work in the shops by seven. When you consider that it was not full daylight until around eight and was dark by five, you will see that there was little sightseeing done that winter, voluntarily, at least. In addition it was so cold we could not often work up enough nerve to go into town at night, though we were allowed to. No transportation was provided, of course, and we had to take our chances on trucks moving in the right directions. The officers looked the other way, on the matter of liquor, and anyone who desired to could keep a bottle in his bag. There was very little drunkenness, however. We were so miserable from the cold that we all hoarded our “Cyprian Brandy” or whatever kind of carbonremover we had, merely taking a drink or two at night to relax a little. I did not go for it, not because I was pure in heart, but because I couldn’t stand the brandy or native liquor; horrible stuff. Probably the temperature never went below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, but we were all chilled constantly. We had absolutely no heat anywhere other than the cooking ranges and our lone blowtorch in the shop for melting cosmoline. We worked in long woolen underwear, fatigue uniforms with usually a wool shirt underneath, and over this field jackets or mackinaws, or both. Heavy winter caps with earmuffs completed the costume. All spare time, before breakfast, during noon hour, etc. was spent in bed. All soldiers spend all possible time on their beds, bunks or cots, but we did it to keep warm, not to loaf. On the matter of bedding we were OK. A sufficient supply of wooden cots, with frames of heavy mahogany and covered with woven reeds, was accumulated. They were much better than sleeping on the cement. Mattress covers were filled with a shredded palm fiber which we got in bales for the purpose (two nights and it was packed like concrete). We were issued three or four extra blankets, some good all-woolen Australian ones and some which seemed to be made of pig bristles.

The only catch to this seemingly luxurious sleeping accommodation was that we and it were promptly covered with fleas and bedbugs which we never did defeat in even a skirmish. The fleas did not live on us, they just got on for lunch and then left until suppertime. They were my cross for the next year; they loved me. The guy next to me was immune to all animal life; nothing bit him. I had welts like a nudist in an angry bee colony. The bedbugs were not important. They carry no disease and the bites didn’t seem to itch or hurt. But those African fleas could raise a lump a quarter-inch high and an inch in diameter, as hard as iron, and it would last two weeks. Iodine was the only remedy. The British had a good insect repellant powder, but we had nothing, and the commercial preparations we bought did not work. I was assured by the Tommies that after a year or so they would quit biting me; after a white man’s blood thinned out they didn’t like it. I got a hell of a lot of comfort out of that. Early in the game I and two others were selected to learn the enemy guns, while five of the remaining men of the company were to study the English weapons in detail. The five went to Abassyia, nearby, and the three of us for the German and Italian stuff climbed on the back of one of the Canadian Fords and hit the Convoy Road to Alexandria. The Convoy Road was a British military highway, a surfaced road through the desert, passing through no towns or cities, used only by the army. It ran from the Cairo road system west of the Nile up to Amria, a few miles west of Alexandria, where it joined the Western Desert road. The entire distance was around 130 miles, through one immense camp. We were never out of the sight of tents. Here was the source of the power driving Rommel west. Units were moving up and back, as the British system is to relieve and replace units rather than individuals. During this past war the American way was to keep any committed unit up in the line and maintain strength through the individual replacement system. Most of us who saw both systems from the bottom shelf think the British the best. Men stay healthier and stronger if a rest period can come up once in awhile. According to a G.I. movie on trench foot, one American division in Italy had 4,000 cases; the British division alongside it, under

identical conditions, had 300; (according to the movie it was because the British soldier did as he was told about taking care of himself, while the childish American did not). Me, I think it was because the whole English outfit pulled back of the lines for dry socks, hot food and sleep every week or two while a relief crew held the line for them. This of course is only possible—or necessary—where warfare slows down a bit from the armored drives or fast advances. In the desert war, supply was such a problem that any unit not actually fighting had to remain or come far to the rear. In no theatre of any war was there ever any such scale of movement on land as existed in the Western Desert, Libyan, and Tripolitanian campaigns between the Afrika Korps and the British Eighth Army. Armies, battles, bases might jump 100 or 200 miles in a single day. A tank crew might deadhead over Halfaia Pass in the morning and fight in the shadow of the Marble Arch before nightfall. Names meant nothing. Knightsbridge? There is no bridge or town of any kind, just a spot on the desert that was covered with wrecked tanks, mostly British and American; El Alamein is a scrap of unpleasant badlands that was covered with wrecked tanks, mostly German and Italian; Tobruk, where the Australians made their great stand, and where the South Africans lasted only two days under similar circumstances; Benghazi, where each side seemed determined to destroy most; all these places are names on a map, where cities used to be. You have to read the scale of distances on the map and let it sink in before you can understand how far apart the battlefields were. The 1,300 miles stretching from the northern end of the convoy road west of Alexandria and paralleling the coast to the gates of Tripoli were through unbelievable quantities of wrecked and abandoned equipment and supplies. Salvage operations went on as best they could, and within a year everything worthwhile was in Egypt or Tripoli where it would be worked over. The quantities of captured weapons had to be disposed of, and they were too good to destroy, so the Eighth Army had by now a system perfected to utilize them. West of Alexandria, close to the beaches of the Mediterranean, were great salvage and repair

centers. Serviceable or repairable items from here went to the skilled workmen of the base depots. I was to learn at one of these.

VIII AT THE CAPTURED EQUIPMENT DEPOT The 6 A.O.D. (Sixth Army Ordnance Depot), at Dekheila, (pronounced as in tequila, if you know that) about 12 or 14 miles west of the city of Alexandria was the British Captured Equipment Depot for the Middle East. Weapons, field equipment—tentage, clothing, personal gear—signal and optical equipment were handled here. Artillery and vehicles were handled at a different location a few miles away, though there was a stray 88mm sitting beside the small arms shop, with 16 of the nicest, newest Continental truck tires on it — tires the black market would pay $200.00 apiece for in Cairo. And me with no tractor (how did I ever get off on this tangent?). Close to the water’s edge and due west of Alexandria Harbor, the entire area was under total blackout at night. It had been an Egyptian Army camp in past years and the old one-story buildings were still used. Some sheds had been put up, housing equipment, but all personnel below grade of warrant officer lived in tents on the sandy white hill range paralleling the beach road. This beach road was a highway of sorts and separated the tent living area from the barbwire enclosed Depot. Guards were all over the place, either Indians who spent all their spare time polishing their Enfields and leather bandoliers, or various breeds of “colonials” who to me looked like jungle blacks who had the spears in their hands replaced with fixedbayoneted rifles. Most of them knew no English except the words “Inglis Solja.” Their challenge was like something you hear in the zoo at feeding time, but you had better freeze when you heard it, even if you had both feet in the air jumping off a truck. They loved those bayonets. White British soldiers swore they could see at night

and I am inclined to agree. I know I have been called at a distance in pitch darkness and had to identify myself, while the familiar Britishers with me went unchallenged. The weapons shop was quite small, about 70 or 80 feet long and 50 wide, yet out of it had come hundreds of thousands of rifles and machine guns and machine carbines. There were half a dozen similar buildings used for parts or for storage of completed or damaged weapons. There was one very large warehouse used solely for storing unwanted Italian swords, sabers, bayonets and knives. Thousands of each were neatly piled or stored in chests piled high on one another, and the variety was countless. Italy never declared anything obsolete. Bayonets and sabers 80 years old had been taken—swords of our Civil War period. Models of every type existed. Few had good steel and since there was not much call for extra bayonets, these stayed here and collected dust. The parts department, operated by a small red-haired sergeant named “Ginger,” naturally, took up another building which had hundreds of bins. Here were parts from captured enemy depots, bases, repair trucks, armorer’s chests and disassembled weapons— enough new Luger and Mauser parts to take care of all the gunsmiths in the world for quite awhile. The thousands of screws, pins, springs and parts all had to be cataloged and binned for their own guns as they were received, and Ginger was a genius at deducing what gun an odd part belonged to. Since the enemy were introducing new equipment constantly he had to keep after it day and night. He spent most of his days on his hands and knees, with the floor covered with unidentified bits of metal, separating them into their respective groups as he placed them. Two or three men assisted him, but none could take his place. At that time the number of known enemy weapons used in that theatre, 20mm and under, was right around 90. The number of parts for each ranged from 42 for the M’08 (Luger, the only pistol whose parts were kept separated) to over 400 for some of the 20mm Flak units. You figure out the parts job. I was lucky and got myself in fairly solid by being able to identify and classify the P.38 Walther pistol and its parts and history, as this was very rare at this time and only an incomplete receiver had yet turned up here. I had known the gun somewhat previously.

The men handling this material were the cream of the British Ordnance Department, or, to give it the correct name, the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. All but two or three of the 45 or 50 sergeants and warrant officers in the Sergeant’s Mess were regulars—true professional soldiers. Although I was a “T-corporal” (Technician 5th Grade) I was considered a guest and allowed to live with the sergeants, eat in their mess, etc. This was extremely important. The Sergeant’s Mess had their own dining hall, with adjoining bar. With a full stock of liquid refreshments they used the best Scotch for bar whisky. The corporals and privates were allowed only beer in their messes. Each of the sergeants and W.O.’s contributed a small sum monthly, which added to their regular ration allowance, made it possible for the mess sergeant to hire a couple of natives for service as kitchen help and waiters, and raise the quality of the food a trifle. Meals were very light, compared with our army standards, except the evening one, when we usually had an excellent dinner. Tea was served at every meal in enormous china cups, which helped keep us warm in the cold mornings. Those cups held heat like fireless cookers. We were the first “Yanks” they had ever made contact with at close quarters, and they were the first old-timers we had run into. Everyone learned. Our immediate “instructor” was a staff sergeant 24 years old, with 10 years in the army. He came into their Boy’s Army at 14, and took the four-year armorer’s course. He had shot at Bisley on service teams and as individual, and was a veteran of the Narvik expedition. Born in India he had spent most of his life there, being in England only two years. He did not like England, because of the climate. He was reputed to know more about weapons than any man in the British Army. The rest were of the same stripe, except that there were quite a few warrant officers second class and a few first class. These were the men who worked on the guns passing through this base. When any British Non-Commissioned Officer works, it’s news; when Sergeants and W.O.’s stand at benches, it’s unbelievable. Something like seeing American Majors and Lt. Colonels greasing trucks.

The official shop head was a W.O. 1st Class, who of course was an old-timer and who had about as much knowledge of weapons as our sergeant. Under the British system, a would-be armorer puts in four years learning how. He is taught not only all weapons up to 75mm guns but also blacksmithing, tinsmithing, bicycle repair and a general mechanics course. Under the armorers’ training he learns some pretty fancy gunsmithing, working with all sorts of civilian pistols and shotguns as well as machine guns and rifles and making broken and missing parts by hand. One year of the training period is spent in an arsenal or armory as a regular workman, although of course not in a single production job. Practically all of this time was devoted to the Lee-Enfield rifle and emphasis was placed on speed of work. I have seen some of these armorers spin screwdrivers in each hand disassembling weapons, working very fast, but never interrupting their conversation which usually was thousands of miles away in subject. The officer in charge, a Lieutenant (First) was called by all “Mister.” And I never saw anybody salute anybody around the place. The lieutenant was in charge of the small arms shop at Wardian, the great tank repair base in Alexandria, as well as the shop at Dekheila and also, I believe, of the storage depot where finished items were held until requisitioned. And the sign on his desk did not read: “Commanding Officer” or “Shop Officer”—it said: “Chief Inspector”; and meant it. This was extremely shocking to us three Americans, since in the American forces, under the same set-up, the commanding officer would have been a Lt. Col. He would have to have a Major for executive officer, a Captain for shop officer, a Lieutenant or two for running errands and opening doors, and a Warrant Officer and a Master Sergeant for keeping the paper straight. In addition, each of the three sub-sections would have required a Captain or First Lieutenant to command it and a Second Lieutenant to see about supply and disposal. The enlisted office personnel would have been unlimited, since we would develop enough red tape to employ a full platoon, at the most conservative estimate. The above sentences are not meant to be funny.

We saw and talked to this British officer several times. The Depot officers and NCO’s put on a ball in the Alexandria Fleet Club on New Year’s Day evening, and I was invited to sit at the Lieutenant’s table. During the evening his wife talked about the days in India when he had been an armorer, etc. Turned out he had come up from the ranks, had 18 years in as an enlisted man and was another of the foreign weapons experts in their service! He had been out of England 16 years and had been stationed in Africa at the start of the war, his wife of course being with him. There was very little he had not heard about in the small arms line. All the men knew American equipment fairly well, since in their training they learn a good bit about other nations’ military weapons. They considered we were “best” only in the matter of the heavy machine gun, stating the .50 Browning was the best weapon in its class. Alexandria was close enough to permit night expeditions from the camp and I’ll never forget the few trips I made into the city. The road followed the coast and skirted the harbor, passing camouflaged anti-aircraft guns and Egyptian Army road guard posts. Going in was simple—all British drivers had orders to pick up any man in uniform going their way and plenty of trucks moved in both directions up until about 10 P.M. After that, it was usually a taxi trip back. First you found a taxi which under inspection appeared able to last out the journey, then you persuaded the driver to go. He was usually reluctant, not liking driving out of the city with a load of soldiers who might pay him and might not. After a good bit of mangled English and Arabic he would decide to take a chance and collect his assistant; in Egypt it takes two men to drive any motor vehicle— one to operate and one to act as helper in repairing the inevitable breakdown, messenger if necessary, squeeze the rubber-bulb horn and of course, company, for the trip back. In case the driver had not been working long enough to pick up a smattering of the various languages spoken, the pal had to act as interpreter. Often the “assistant” would be just a boy. Since the Egyptian Army guarded portions of the beach road at night and stopped every non-allied, non-military vehicle, there were times when the taxi would drag to a sudden halt, while the driver

showed credentials, meaning us, and stated his destination. Everything in order, the guard would pass him and bid “Salaam Alekeoum,” the sonorous Mohammedan phrase ringing through the darkness. Alexandria was about three-quarters of a million in population, and slightly more “Western” than Cairo. The prevailing foreign influences are Greek and Italian, rather than French as in Cairo, though it is also a very cosmopolitan city. I went to a talking movie once, in four languages!—English sound; French running dialogue superimposed on the picture itself; on one side a supplementary screen with dialogue in Greek; on the other a projection on a similar screen of a revolving roll, with the Arabic version. All moving picture theatres operate as do legitimate theatres in the U. S. All seats are reserved, prices vary for balcony, orchestra, etc. and shows begin at stated times, no one being allowed to enter during a showing. They always have quite a lobby, with a bar and sometimes a tea-room built in. The better restaurants printed their menus in four languages— English, French, Greek and Arabic. There were many Italians in the Near East before the war, acting as agents for Italian companies or becoming residents and forming a European shopkeeping class. However, when Mussolini decided England had lost the war and jumped in, all the Italians in Egypt disappeared and an equal number of “Frenchmen” instantly appeared. They fooled no one, but the British did not care to make an issue of it and contented themselves with taking over official Italian offices and property. In Cairo the Italian Consulate was a very fine building, which blossomed out as the New Zealand Forces club, making a super service club. Christmas, 1942, was quite an event. Christmas is the only day in the year the British private gets a break. Theoretically he can have his say about anything. If he does not like the way the army is run, he can go tell the general about it, or anyone else, without fear of getting kicked around for opening his mouth. I do not know about the use this privilege gets. Also, it is the day the officers and sergeants are supposed to pay for their privileges by working for the ranks. In this little camp it took the form of serving the dinner. All the officers connected with

the unit and all the warrant officers and sergeants acted as waiters and runners for the privates’ and corporals’ Christmas dinner. They really had a dinner, too. For weeks the cooks had been saving up and buying extra items with money allowances, so instead of the usual bully beef or mutton meal they had a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings. I carried plates along with the rest of the “waiters” and did as well as anyone. The privates of course enjoyed this part of the festivities greatly and commented freely on all involved. The dishes had been rented from an Alexandria restaurant. The morning had been spent trying to work up an appetite with a football (soccer) game between the sergeants and the officers. This had been a long-scheduled event, and the participants showed up with weird costumes and equipment. A few had regular shorts and cleated shoes, but anything went. One large officer had a pair of German hobnailed boots, a helmet made out of the top of a tankdriver’s head protector, and his underwear. Due to the facts that the field was cement-hard, the weather cold, and all concerned, including spectators, had celebrated freely the night before, the game was aborted at the half, with the score even, in order that all might adjourn to the nearest bar. By noon the party was going strong, when the above-mentioned duties intervened. By the middle of the afternoon our own dinner was ready. We had every imaginable course, from fish to turkey, and soup to nuts, inclusive. I am not much of a drinker, seldom taking on anything stronger than soft drinks, however this bar had a lovely stock of good liquor. Christmas, everything was on the house, but at other times, a drink was three piasters, or about 12¢ (a drink was a hand-poured, eyejudged inch in the bottom of a medium-sized water glass). For New Year’s Eve, a case or two of fancy twelve-year-old Scotch was produced, as the boys did not consider the Johnny Walker used as bar whisky very good! Beer was harder to get than hard liquor, being rationed from headquartermaster. All this at a time when American soldiers in a lot of places were stealing dried apricots and raisins from the cooks to make their own. I very much enjoyed my stay here, even though the fleas were after me by divisions instead of squads. We slept on trestles, which were sawhorses with three wide boards laid on them to form a

platform on which we spread our blankets. These came in all heights, the higher the better, but I got to the quartermaster too late. My trestles were about six inches high, and even a young sand flea can make that in one jump. Low flying pursuit planes blasted over us every dawn, nearly pulling the tents into the sky, and about once a week we would get a sand blow and if sleep were possible, we’d wake with sand drifted all over the tent, our equipment, and us.

PISTOL AND CARBINE CARTRIDGES AND BULLETS CARTRIDGES 1. 6.35mm (.25 ACP) 2. 7mm Jap. Nambu 3. 7.62mm (.30 cal.) Luger 4. 7.63mm Mauser 5. 7.65mm (.32 ACP) 6. 8mm Jap. Nambu 7. 9mm Corto (.380 ACP) 8. 9mm M1910 (Italian Glisenti) 9. 9mm M38 (Italian Submachine Gun)

10. 9mm Parabellum M’08 (Luger) Loaded for Afrikakorps 11. 9mm Par. M’08 Alternate (steel case and bullet) 12. 9mm Par. M’08 Standard 13. 9mm Par. M’08, Steel Bullet 14. 9mm Browning Long 15. .38 ACP (Super .38) 16. 9mm Mauser 17. 10.35mm Italian M90/89 18. .45 ACP (11.43mm) 19. .455mk Webley BULLETS 1. 7.6mm (.30) Luger 2. 7.65mm (.32 ACP) 3. 8mm Nambu 4. 9mm (.380 ACP) 5. 9mm (Italian 1910) 6. 9mm Parabellum 7. 9mm Par. (steel) 8. 9mm Mauser 9. .45 ACP 10. Cal. 30 U. S. Carbine Bullet 11. German 7.92mm MP 43 Bullet 12. U. S. .30 Carbine Cartridge

13. German 7.92mm MP 43 Cartridge

RIFLE BULLETS GERMAN 7.92MM 1. AP Incendiary (318) 2. Ball 3. Incendiary 4. Armor Piercer 5. Tracer 6. “Observation” (explosive) BRITISH 7. .303 Ball MKVII 8. 7.92mm Ball 9. 7.92mm AP

10. 7.92mm Tracer 11. 7.54mm Ball, Swiss UNITED STATES 12. .276 Pedersen 13. .30 Ball M2 14. .30 Ball M1 15. .30 AP, M2 16. .30 Tracer ITALIAN 17. 6.5mm 18. 8mm Ball (rimless) 19. 8mm AP (rimless) 20. 8mm Ball (rimmed) 21. 10.35mm Ball FRENCH 22. 7.5mm M29 Ball (early) 23. 7.5mm M29 Ball 24. 8mm Lebel (made in Italy) 25. 8mm Lebel (Balle D) JAPANESE 26. 6.5mm Ball 27. 7.7mm Rimmed (.303) Ball 28. 7.7mm Rimmed (.303) Tracer

29. 7.7mm M99 Ball 30. 7.7mm M92 Ball 31. 7.7mm M92 A.P. 32. 7.7.mm Tracer 33. 7.92mm 34. 7.92mm (early type)

IX BRITISH AND GERMAN AMMUNITION The cartridges alone in Africa would drive a collector off his reference books. The Americans and British used .30-06 Model 1919A4 air-cooled heavy barreled machine guns in tanks and as infantry weapons. The British used the same cartridge in aircraft guns, but it was then labelled and stamped “300 RAF,” sometimes “300 Z.” It used our standard M2 loading, with 150-grain ball and M2 armorpiercing bullets, no extra powder. The “Z” (pronounced “zed”) can mean either higher powered or special stuff, or just nitrocellulose powder propellant. To cap it off, in writing of this caliber, the British usually term it the “Point Three” Browning (for .3″, which is, after all, the correct measurement). All the .300 I saw was loaded by Remington, put up in boxes of 20, loose, and if I remember correctly the last figures published in 1942 gave it 2,920 feet per second muzzle velocity, which applied to our M2 of that period. Apropos of nothing, the Russian service cartridge, the 7.62mm or “Three Line” Nagant (.30) used at this time a 148-grain bullet at 2,940 feet per second, fired from a longer barrel than our arms. The old .303 British Mark VII is still about the best man-stopper in a service rifle cartridge. Why? Well, I’ll tell you, but you’ll probably have to cut one open to convince yourself. That 174-grain flat based bullet is very scientifically balanced, or perhaps, unbalanced. The lead core does not fill the jacket completely; the first ⅜″ inside the tip is aluminum (some wartime loadings have tenite or other light plastics). Result, the bullet spins on its axis and is accurate enough, but when it hits something it flips over on its side and causes a little

more trouble than it ordinarily would; not always, but usually. The Germans haven’t squawked too much about it being a dumdum so it must not have been too vicious. It slaps men down quite satisfactorily, and is considered usable on game of the deer class as a fairly effective hunting bullet. Not recommended, but then not bad. Two loadings are furnished, the standard velocity rifle cartridge and their “high-velocity” machine gun load at a claimed 2,900 FPS. The machine gun cartridge was supposed to be marked Mk VIII Z (from here on in we will abbreviate “feet per second” with FPS, and drop “muzzle velocity” completely). Both cartridges use the Mk VII 174-grain bullet and cordite in the 2,450 FPS-rifle cartridge, nitrocellulose powder in Z loadings, if English manufactured. I have seen Winchester-made .303’s loaded with ball powder, as in our .30 M1 Carbine cartridge. The high velocity load is nothing to laugh at in the way of pressures, and of course every man who can get any uses it in his rifle. The primers on fired cases look painted on; on a 30-06 cartridge of first class brass, such as 1938M1, this would indicate a chamber pressure of around .60,000 lbs. per square inch. I have no idea what to go by in rating the British case; the primer is larger in diameter; I don’t know the hardness of the metal in the primer cap; and maybe a Berdan type runs differently than a Boxer type in pressure capability. In the last respect, I have broken down cartridges and found both types of primers, not American made. British-made Boxer firing primers had brass cups; the Berdan type, copper cups. At any rate, on paper at least, this .303 Mk VIII is the most powerful military cartridge out, in small bore, though not intended for rifle use. Its velocity is 200 feet per second higher than our old M1 load, which pushed the 173-grain bullet at 2,700 FPS. The lighter-bullet M2 .30-06 and the Russian load have higher velocities, and the German armor-piercers come close to its speed, with even heavier bullets. And if the guy down the block who knows about guns tells you that the Lee-Enfield will not hold a high pressure cartridge, inform him that it is a lot tougher than American writers have rated it in the past. The other rifle caliber loaded by England is a headliner: the 7.92mm caliber Mauser cartridge, known in general military parlance

as the 7.9, commercially as the 8mm x 57mm Mauser, 57mm being the official length of the case (two and one-quarter inches). Caliber of the bullet in inches is .324. Most of the rimless military and sporting cartridges in the world today evolved from this cartridge, including our own longer .30 M1906 service cartridge. The base of the cartridge has become the standard for most cartridges below the very heavy big game class, although slight manufacturing differences have caused small variations in dimensions. The British loaded the 7.92mm in ball, tracer and armor-piercing forms, using a long boat-tailed 195-grain ball bullet propelled by flake powder, but employing tubularcut nitro-cellulose in tracers and AP. All bullets are steel-jacketed, evidently with a non-rusting white alloy. So far as I know, no steeljacketed .303’s were loaded, though both gilding metal and white metal alloy, probably nickel, were used for jackets. Since the only British 7.9mm weapon was the Besa machine gun for tank use, there was not too much of their ammunition put out in this caliber. All the English small arms ammunition was marked by color or lacquer on annulus, or in plain language, around the primer: purple for ball; green for armor-piercing; and red for tracers. For variety we can now jump over to the German 7.9mm service cartridges. How they ever kept track of all the details of all the types will remain one of their war secrets, I guess. The Italians had a mess in their caliber differences and so did the Japs, but the Germans had many versions of one caliber, all of course based on some particular military virtue which they thought deserved recognition. The ones given are all I know of, and I do not pretend that the list is complete, for the Nazis kept their development departments going right up to the finish and never ceased the production of new items until the factories were blasted apart or the war officially over, so anything is liable to turn up anytime. The cartridge dimensions are the same as given for the Britishmade ammunition of this caliber, although bullet weights and lengths vary a great deal through the different types. All cartridges are loaded to an overall length of 80.5mm, or 3.228 inches. The standard ball (lead filled) bullet has a gilding-metal-plated steel jacket and is approximately 197-grains in weight. It is long, boattailed and very well made. Velocity is variously reported as 2,400,

2,500, 2,575, 2,600 and 2,800 FPS, the original German pre-war loading giving the 2,575. The German service bullet is unmarked in any way, and the common primer or annulus coloring is green (some Afrika Korps ammunition had a green band at the cannelure, on the bullet at the mouth of the case). An “S” on the cartridge base denotes that the case composition is 72% copper and 28% zinc. In addition, the base bears the last two digits of the year of manufacture, a letter designation and a delivery number. The letter or letters are the mark of the manufacturing plant and the delivery number is just that, corresponding to our lot numbers. Two primer compositions were used, the No. 88, corrosive and I believe similar to our Frankfort Arsenal No. 70 compound; and later, from 1943 on, the No. 30, a modern non-corrosive mixture. There is no way to distinguish between the two primers on loose ammunition, other than to experiment. On case and packet labels full information is given, even to the size of individual grains of powder in the loading! The primers are identified as either “Zdh:88” or “Zdh:30,” Zdh, abbreviation for Zundhutchen, or primer capsule. Steel cases also came up. In 1942 their experiments were concluded and by the end of 1943 most of their ammunition was being made with steel cartridge cases. Every other country also played with steel in case manufacture—I have in my possession U. S. .30-06, .30 M1 (Carbine), .45 A.C.P., Italian 8mm rimless, Japanese 7.7mm rimless and German 7.9mm and 9mm Parabellum steel-cased cartridges. And practically every country used or tried out steel-jacketed small arms bullets, including us. If you are interested, barrel life with steeljacketed projectiles, copper or gildingmetal plated, runs approximately 60% of that when softer alloy jackets are used. Unplated steeljacketed bullets cut barrel life 50%. This when fired in standard barrels with Mauser or Enfield type sharp-land and sharp-groove rifling; with segmental rifling or with radius-groove type, barrel life can be prolonged perhaps 15% to 20%. The other German bullets are where the fancy variations come in. Tracers—the regular tracer bullet is boat-tailed, beautifully streamlined, chemically blackened at the tip for identification,

average weight, 156-grains. Color of the trace may be green, yellow, white, red, or a combination, green changing to red as the composition burns in flight. German tracers were the best put out by any country; ballistics were excellent and the white and yellow colors were perfectly visible in the bright desert sunshine against buffcolored sand dunes as a background. One explanation for the variety of tracer colors was that for night use it was possible to identify particular guns, and to signal with them and otherwise improvise special communications in the field according to locally prearranged plans. This was done quite a bit in Italy, German scouts pinpointing Allied points with long-range tracer crossfire from either rifle or machine gun. One special tracer, seldom seen, was the practice anti-aircraft cartridge, which had an aluminum core, a white trace compound and a narrow green band around the body of the case near the base. There were also similar ball and armor-piercing practice cartridges with the green-band marking. The tracer has the blackened bullet tip, the ball is plain; AP has red primer coloring in addition to the green band on case. I do not know the weights of these bullets. Jerry really spread himself on armor-piercers. He used iron, soft steel, hardened-steel, tungsten-carbide and combinations for cores. Commonest is the hardened-steel core type, with plated steel jacket, very long for a military bullet, weight 178-grains, velocity very stable and accurate at long ranges, identifiable by green band approximately 1/16″ wide, 1/2″ from the tip, and by red lacquer at the primer annulus. Most of the later AP used on the Continent appeared without the green band, with only the red coloring for identification. Their semi-armor-piercing bullet is practically identical, except that its core may be mild steel or a sort of malleable iron. The only identification to this load is the color at the primer, which is blue. The armorpiercing tracer cartridge has the black tip of the tracer and is only different in appearance in the color annulus; AP tracer is red; the plain tracer green; as are the unmarked-bullet ball cartridges. The super armor-piercer is the job with the all black bullet; this is a flatbased bullet with a tungsten-carbide core. Primer is ringed in red as are the other AP loadings.

One to watch out for is the AP incendiary, which has a plain bullet, but black annulus coloring and sometimes a red bar across the base of the case. The plain incendiary has a bullet the same length as the armor-piercer, with lead base showing; weight is only 156-grains and the bullet has a narrow green band on its midsection when loaded. Color at primer is green, as in ball. This is quite similar to the greenbanded AP cartridge, except for annulus color code. The last special bullet is the high-explosive incendiary. Easily identified, as the bullet is black except for the tip, which is gildingmetal untouched. The earliest loading, 1939 and previous to that year, had a plain bullet with chromium-plated tip. This type of cartridge was called the “observation bullet” by the Germans and has an explosive pellet in it which explodes on contact, or burns when exposed to the air (I cut a couple of these open to find out—from around the corner of a strong vise!). One ordnance publication declared this to have an explosive core, a fuse in the center, and a phosphorous base. All I ever saw had plain lead bases. The pellet sometimes rattles inside the tip of the bullet. Although safe in ordinary handling, when fired, the bullet will explode on any target, however frail. The Germans claimed this was solely an airplane observation load, for rangefinding, etc. It does give out with quite a flash and a good puff of smoke on exploding, also a fair report. However, I’ve seen plenty of them in rifle clips and in machine-gun belts. In fact, that is where I got all of mine; used to have fun shooting them out in the desert. That is about all I know about the German rifle cartridge, but we might as well talk about their two 7.9mm high-velocity anti-tank rifle cartridges, both of which Jerry lumped under the designation “Patronen (Cartridge) 318,” although they have entirely different cases. One, the original German type, is based on their heavy machine gun cartridge case, and looks somewhat like a gigantic .219 Zipper cartridge, or a .50 caliber machine gun case necked down to .30 caliber. The shoulder is quite long and not sharp, having considerable taper. Body is actually greater in diameter than our .50, measuring, in front of rim, 21mm or .825 inches; case length is 3.703 inches; loaded cartridge length is 4.625 inches. The bullet is heavy, flat based, and moves fast. Core may be either hardened-steel or

tungstencarbide, .236 inches in diameter, sheathed in lead and jacketed with steel. In the core are contained in a base cavity a tear gas charge and an incendiary-tracer pellet. Weight of bullet is 222grains. It is very heavy for its size. Velocity is given as 3,550 FPS. The British told me it would penetrate 14mm (approximately 9/16″) steel at 100 yards, so I did not get overly enthused about it. More about this later. This cartridge is listed as Patr. 318 S.m.K. and the other AP as Patr. 318 Polish, which is just what it is, the Model 35 Polish antitank rifle cartridge taken over and used by the Germans. I have seen this cartridge written several times as “7.8mm,” even in German manuals, but believe this to be in error. The regular Polish service cartridge was 7.92mm caliber, which they called 7.9mm, and all the anti-tank bullets were that caliber, as were the M35 rifles. The Germans of course loaded ammunition for these rifles, using the same bullets as for their own 318 cartridge. The Polish cartridge is a very long slim round, 5⅛″ overall, with a short neck and sharp shoulder. Case length is 47/32″, diameter at base, forward of extractor cut, 41/64″ and at shoulder, 33/64″, length from base to shoulder, 33/4″. Velocity is a little lower than in the German cartridge. The Italians received a number of these weapons from the Germans, but I do not believe they ever manufactured any ammunition in Italy for them. In pistol and machine carbine, or submachine gun, ammunition the Germans did not have too much variety in the field. Principal caliber was the 9mm and the M’08 or Parabellum cartridge outnumbered all the others combined. This is the .356 caliber rimless cartridge first used in the so-called “Luger” pistol. It is probably the most widelyused pistol caliber military cartridge in the world, and one of the most efficient. The Germans loaded only a few different types, although the materials in cases and bullets varied, according to scarcity of desirable metals. The true pistol cartridge has a brass case and gilding-metal, or gilding-metal-plated, bullet, with or without a black ring around bullet at mouth of case. Some excitement crops up every once in awhile when some boy reads a manual a little fast and puts out a warning against using the black or gray-colored steel-

cased, steel-jacketed, “machine pistol” ammunition in pistols. The truth is, Germany never made but one type and that for use in all 9mm caliber arms chambered for the M’08 case. Standard German ammunition is never unsafe to use in pistols, though the pistols may be unsafe for different reasons. The only dangerous load is the cartridge with tip of bullet and entire base of the case painted green: this is the factory “proof” load, used in testing guns. In the original boxes they are marked “Patr. ‘08 Beschuss.” These were never issued to German troops, but I understand American soldiers raided factories in Germany and that some cartridges of this type have appeared in this country. If there is anything wrong with a pistol, these cartridges will show it up, the hard way! That is what they were made for so watch out for them. The standard loading for the regular cartridge called for a 124grain bullet at approximately 1,050 FPS out of the short-barreled M’08 pistol. It is known throughout the world as the Parabellum cartridge. As the Germans became pressed for materials, they put out cases of brass, steel with a copper wash, and steel blackened with a protecting lacquer. Bullets were made with copper and nickel alloy jackets and with pure nickel jackets, and of course, with plated and colored steel jackets. Cartridge length is 111/64″, case, 3/4″. The German ‘08 alternate cartridge appeared in the field in 1941 in small quantities, but within two years was the only type in production. This is the “black” cartridge, officially the “M’08 mit Eisenkern,” or “with iron core.” The case is steel; bullet is steel-jacketed, with mild steel core; the jacket is plated with copper inside and out, and the entire bullet and case are blackened for identification and rustproofing. The bullet weighs only 98-grains and has a heavier propelling charge than the standard load, but contrary to previous reports, this cartridge is perfectly safe to use in any 9mm caliber ‘08 pistol in good condition. I have shot hundreds of them through Lugers and Walthers. Velocity is quite high—I do not know the exact figures, but breech pressures are no higher than in the standard loading, due to the light bullet. The cartridge was intended primarily for the machine pistols, or submachine guns and does not give particularly good results in handguns, but is not dangerous.

An odd one, perhaps an emergency development, was the graybullet load, with bullet made of pressed powdered iron, weighing 91grains. Velocity is supposed to be around 1,200 FPS, but lower than the regular 92-grain jacketed bullet. I have only read about this last number, so do not know too much about it. In addition to the M’08 there were two other German 9mm cartridges. One, the M/34 Austrian, for the Austrian M34 (and 1939) machine carbine is a 127-grain bullet in a longer case, with considerably more power. Overall it measures 1⅜″, case length is 25mm, or about 1/64″ under one inch; in effect, it is a high-powered version of the old 9mm Mauser pistol cartridge. It is not the 9mm Steyr cartridge, despite the fact that the weapon it is used in was made in the Steyr factory and known by that name. The 9mm Steyr cartridge, a rather powerful pistol cartridge, used a 115 or 116-grain bullet in a shorter case with a different head or base diameter. The second German 9mm was the 9mm Kurz, or short, which is the same as our .380 A.C.P. This was loaded in small quantities solely for the pistols of that caliber which the Germans took from the Czechs. A few European pistols were chambered for the 9mm Browning Long, though no ammunition was loaded in Germany especially for these guns. The 9mm Browning Long is a semirimmed cartridge, using a light (110-grain) round-nosed bullet, which is usually crimped in, although the bullets are jacketed. Velocity is listed as 1,150 FPS. This cartridge can be used in revolvers chambered for the .38 S & W cartridge, in an emergency. The cartridge is 33mm, or 119/64″ overall, with case length of 22.2mm or 7/ ″. 8 The 9mm M’08 Parabellum—we may as well call it 9mm Luger from now on—will also chamber quite nicely in .38 S & W caliber revolvers, but it is extremely unsmart to try and shoot them. In a Colt or S. & W. or British revolver, well made of the best steel, you may get away with it OK, but a large percentage of the revolvers made in this caliber are not nearly strong enough to hold some of the more powerful loadings of the Luger cartridge. Aside from the rimless angle, making extraction and headspace problems, you just have too much pressure to fool with. I have seen American and

Australianmade 9mm cartridges with the bases center-punched to spread them enough to hold the cartridge in the cylinders well enough to fire and possibly, extract, but the men using those guns had no alternative, for they could get no other ammunition and regarded their handguns as emergency life-savers. Winchester loaded some 9mm Luger ammunition during the war, using 115-grain bullets. This was the finest ammunition we could locate in early 1943, and the only kind equal to the older (prewar) German stuff.

X ITALIAN SMALL ARMS AMMUNITION The Italians went off the deep end on ordnance. Apparently anybody’s brother-in-law could sell his pet caliber or model or modification. And as previously stated, they never got rid of anything. It might die a natural death, but as long as it was not actually broken, it stayed in service even if it was the only one of its kind. Anything collected in a war was kept for use in that and all future wars, regardless of whether or not it was worth keeping, using or supplying. To create a basis for classifying the “Eytie” cartridges, we will call the 6.5mm the rifle cartridge and the 8mm the machine gun load. Only one type of 6.5mm (.256” caliber), essentially the 6.5mm Mannlicher cartridge, was furnished, and that ball type. The bullets were long round-nosed, flat-based, weight, from 160 to 162-grains. Velocity ranged from 1,920 FPS in the short-barreled weapons to 2,300 FPS in the old long rifles. Undoubtedly some of the confusion in velocity figures on Italian ammunition is due to their nonchalant use of any propellant handy at the time they were loading a batch. I broke down many cartridges, and sometimes found different components in the same rifle clip. They used a nitro-cellulose powder similar to duPont 4320, a very large-grain type of ungraphited nitrobase stuff, flake powder similar to the German type, and something which looked very much like chopped cordite. The size of the flash holes for the Berdan primers varied also, presumably to accommodate the different ignition conditions of the powders. I have read in a couple of books that they used ballistite for rifle powder (two “l’s”) and am afraid the writers were confused by

the Italian word “balestite” (one “1”) which just means “smokeless powder” to the Italians. Ballistite is a rather inconclusive term for a nitro-glycerin base powder, according to the dictionary. Perhaps the large-grained Italian powder which they used more than the other types in rifle cartridges comes under this heading. Primers are all corrosive. Bullet jackets were mainly cupro-nickel, though they were trying to use nothing but gilding-metal in wartime production. Most of the Italian small-arms ammunition was dated from 1935 to 1938, showing they had stocked up for something. No steel bullet jackets or cartridge cases were ever found in 6.5mm. Italy did not manufacture either tracers or armor-piercers in this caliber, but did quite a lot of experimenting up until the end of 1941, trying to pack more grief into that .25 caliber bullet. Ballistically it was OK; the long bullet had good range, was accurate enough, gave great penetration, but had failed to stop angry Africans. They tried pointed bullets at one time (prewar) without much success. Anyway, they came up with a couple of very dirty ideas, evidently for use in case the Rules of Land Warfare broke down, since there is no record of any casualties from these types, though a few cartridges were captured. One was a shrapnel bullet, consisting of a brass jacket, in the tip of which was seated a small jacketed bullet; the brass jacket was weakened by three equidistantly spaced cuts running lengthwise and starting about ⅛″ from end. Inside were five little lead cylindrical slugs, each split into two pieces, and the whole is backed by cotton packing. When the cartridge is fired, the bullet breaks up as it leaves the barrel. Counting the cap bullet, there are eleven pieces of metal to make unpleasant little holes in whoever happens to be in front. Of course this is a shortrange affair, and velocity is given in one source as 1,083 FPS. I always wonder what part they timed on the chronograph. The other bullet is still something of a mystery, regarding its definite classification. It has been called several names, none of which really apply as truthfully descriptive. It is composed of pressed porous granular lead, graphited, jacketed in a sort of brass foil, very thin. I never got hold of any myself, so I could not settle anything. The British claimed that this was impregnated with nitro-glycerin and

that when the cartridge was fired, the spin of the rifling created enough centrifugal force to draw the explosive to the outside surface of the bullet, under the thin brass jacket, forming an explosive bullet upon striking. Men told me of seeing and firing such cartridges, saying they exploded on contact with anything, once fired. Some Americans believe this was meant to be a germ carrier, although admitting that all they tested proved clean. The nitro story seems best. An auxiliary short-range practice cartridge was used, probably for indoor practice. It consisted of a steel sleeve for the chamber, around which a brass case was pressed. In appearance it is a 6.5mm cartridge with a brass body, a steel base, and a steel bullet. It is drilled straight through with about a .2” hole and accepts in the base a center fire blank cartridge, made of brass, about the length of a .22 long rifle case. The bullet is a swaged-lead .256 caliber, very short and light, with sort of a mushroom shape, as it has a stem for insertion into the mouth of the case. A press is necessary to assemble these cartridges, which when loaded can be worked through the magazines of the Italian weapons. The best Italian cartridge was—or is—the 8mm Breda rimless. This is a modern military loading, 80mm, or 35/32″ overall, case length of 58.4mm, or 219/64″. The ball bullet weighs 210-grains and is a short, fat boat-tail, with rather a rounded rear. Although it has a large bore-bearing surface, it should be one of the best bullets for its purpose, and that is only in the several models of Breda machine guns (the more bearing surface, the more quickly the barrel heats— not good). Velocity isn’t high owing to the weight of bullet, and runs between 2,200 and 2,350 FPS, depending on type. The armorpiercers are distinguished by white-painted bullet tips, tracers by red tips, armor-piercer tracers by green tip, incendiary by blue tips. All 8mm rimless bullets have steel jackets, but some of these are copper-plated. Steel cartridge cases were tried out but did not prove very successful in their guns. Apparently only one type of propellant was used as all breakdowns show a type of tubular-cut nitro-cellulose powder. All the above specifications except velocities perhaps can be applied to the 8mm rimless Fiat machine gun cartridge. This is a

duplicate of the Breda in chamber dimensions, although it is often listed as a separate cartridge. The two are supposed to be interchangeable, but it does not work out very well, and I think the whole difference is that the old Fiat gun was engineered for a lighter charge than the Breda and that the ammunition loaded specifically for the Fiat does not have quite enough pep to operate the stifferspringed Breda reliably. Breda ammunition will fire satisfactorily in the Fiat, but Fiat ammunition usually gives trouble in the Breda. The only manner of identifying is by checking labels on cartons of new ammunition. Both the 8mm rimless and the 6.5mm rimless Italian cartridges may be instantly identified by the deeply-indented ring around the primer in the base of the cartridge. All numbers and letters pertaining to manufacture are in this indentation, raised, instead of being impressed as on the majority of cartridges. Two different 8mm rimmed cartridges were loaded by Italy. One was the old 8mm Mannlicher, formerly the Austrian service cartridge, called by the Germans the 8mm Austrian M93 cartridge, Ogival; Italy collected quite a few Austrian rifles and machine guns as her part of the loot in the World War I settlement, and decided to use them till they fell apart. The cartridge approaches the Russian 7.62mm in general appearance, but performance is far different. The bullet, made in ball form only, weighs about 245-grains, is flat based, round nosed, and, according to the books, has a speed of 2,000 FPS. Sounds a little optimistic to me. Overall length of the loaded cartridge is 76.3mm, or 3″, case length, 50.4mm, or 2″. The case is bottle-necked, with a sloping, rounded shoulder, with flat base and manufacturer’s mark and date of loading stamped in customary style. Dating in Italian ammunition is usually written as the last three numbers of the year, thus, 1940 would be written 940. Bullets are all cupro-nickel or gilding-metal-jacketed, and no tracers or armor-piercers were found, the only special purpose bullet being a green-painted wooden affair used to launch rifle grenades. No steel cases or jackets were noted in this rimmed 8mm caliber. The second 8mm rimmed cartridge was inherited from the French when France fell and is none other than the old 8mm Lebel,

a widerimmed, sharply tapering curving case, with a longer neck than the Mannlicher cartridge, although lengths of cases are practically the same. It is loaded with a pointed, boat-tailed bullet, weighing 198grains, made with a plated steel jacket and lead core. Since it is not possible to interchange the cartridges in any way in weapons, maybe they did not have too much trouble keeping them separate. Neither will come within 1/2″ of chambering in the others’ barrels. In their aircraft the Italians used one or two models of a special Breda which took the 7.7mm rimmed cartridge, this being their listing for the standard .303 British case. The Eighth Army was always glad to get hold of either guns or ammunition the Italians left lying around. Which did happen. I believe all three types of ammunition loaded by Italy in this caliber took flat-based pointed bullets and used flake powder. The marking system was red tip for tracer, none for ball and blue for the combination AP-incendiary. The blue tips may be perforated. Ballistics are not known, but are believed inferior to the English “high-velocity Mk VIII.” The old-timer of the lot was the model 1870 10.35mm rifle cartridge (they had a 10.35 revolver cartridge, too, to help mix things up). The rifle load resembled nothing except our old sporting cartridge, the Winchester .45-75. Many of the native units from the Italian colonial possessions were armed with these ancient rifles. Most of the cartridges were of World War I vintage, with brassjacketed bullets and copper priming cups. Overall length is only 64mm, or 217/32″, and case length is 48.2mm or 129/32″. The rifles used usually have no throat and the bullets are skirted at mouth of case, making the bullet at that point the same diameter as the neck of the case. This would be important if the rifles had tubular magazines, to keep bullets from being pushed back in the cases, but the guns have box magazines. The bullets are brass-jacketed, weight 247-grains, secured in the case neck by three very deep indentations about 5/32″ from the mouth. I don’t know the ballistics. On the subject of the handgun, the Italian officer evidently was allowed his own choice. The official service pistol was the M34 Beretta, caliber 9mm Corto (.380 A.C.P.). The cartridge is a

satisfactory military load, though low-powered compared with most service cartridges. It employs a 93-grain bullet at 890 FPS. In addition to this 9mm, they loaded 6.35mm, (.25 A.C.P.-automatic Colt pistol), 7.65mm, (.32 A.C.P.); 9mm M910 (Luger case, but lower ballistics) and the 9mm M’08, full load. To make sure of balling things up their submachine gun cartridge is loaded in the 9mm Parabellum case, and it is really loaded! However, to do them justice, it is easily identified by the base marking which says “9-M38” meaning 9mm, M38 Beretta machine carbine. Factory initials and year of manufacture are also given, and the primer is covered with green lacquer or enamel. The bullet has a silvery appearance when new, and remains white regardless of age. It is an aluminum jacket, with lead core, weight 115-grains, and may have a green ring at mouth of case. This green lacquer on Italian ammunition is not for identification, but to seal the case and primer against dampness, as in U. S. ammunition. The M38 9mm cartridges are very highpressure loads and are capable of taking apart the Glisenti, or even Lugers not in the best of shape. I have shot them in Lugers and Walthers, but at that time I did not care too much whether or not they did hurt the gun or myself, either. They blew up more than one pistol thought OK. With the light bullet it should not be tough, but it is. The M910 9mm Glisenti pistol cartridges have 123 to 125-grain bullets loaded to about 800 FPS, and the Italian-loaded Luger ammunition should be around 1,000 FPS. It can be fired in the Glisenti and will operate a Luger, but was intended for some of the obsolescent submachine-guns the Italians had around. Bullets may be either the truncated-cone type or the usual ogivalnose, the 9mm Corto, or .380 have a round-nose bullet, very blunt in front, making for stopping qualities. No steel was used in Italian pistol ammunition, but occasionally a few black bullet loads turn up. This seems to be a chemical coloring signifying nothing. One of the oddest things they did was to make some brass-jacketed bullets for both 9mm short and long and then plate the bullets very thinly with nickel. To prevent verdigris? A 7.35mm cartridge is listed for pistols, in Italian documents, but no pistols of this caliber, or cartridges, were found, and no information is available. Some of the 6.35mm and 7.65mm bullets had chromium-plating. Last and least is

the old 10.35 (about .43 caliber) revolver cartridge, very lowpowered, with a skirted brass-jacketed bullet. If Cousin Luke pops up with an odd little bottlenecked cartridge with the case crimped shut where it should start to have a bullet, don’t say “rifle grenade blank” and dismiss him. You will be on the trail, but not close to the right answer. It is a blank, true, but used in the 45mm mortar, not in rifles. It starts off like a 6.5mm rifle cartridge, indented head and all, but is only 41.8mm (121/32″) overall and neck is 8.5mm in diameter. The body of the case is almost straight. A short version of the real 6.5mm rifle cartridge did exist, for use in the “Balilla” or youth organization rifle, for use in the Fascist training program. Italy fooled around with a new cartridge but no arms chambered for it ever showed up in the field. The caliber was 7.35mm, and the case was the same as the 6.5mm, being necked out for the larger bullet. Many weapons were found for the new cartridge in Italian arsenals. From Italian ammunition we can go to Italian weapons. Rifles: Lots of them, all different in some respect or other; to cover their endless modifications would take a bigger book than this can be and there are only about a dozen true models. The basic action is the Carcano. This mechanism is a hybrid, combining both Mauser and Mannlicher features, as modified by an Italian designer named Carcano. The forward part of the bolt has some Mauser symptoms, anyway; the rest of the gun is Mannlicher. The action is amply strong for the 6.5mm cartridges used in it and would probably hold 50,000 pounds breech pressure. The bolt handle may be either bent or straight: magazine takes the Mannlicher clip, holding six cartridges in single row formation, clip and all, and the follower moves up through the clip, forcing the cartridges up into line of feed, exactly as happens in the operation of our own M1 or Garand semiautomatic service rifle. However, the empty Italian clip falls out the bottom of the magazine by itself instead of being ejected from the top or pulled out; anyway, it is supposed to. Although not the equal of the Mauser type, the action is entirely satisfactory for the cartridges used and is light in weight. The Italians did some hand fitting of parts, so that interchangeability was affected.

The first rifles on these actions were the Model 1891. This is a conventional-appearing military arm and in accordance with European custom at the time, came in both rifle and carbine lengths. The old long model has a total length of 503/4″, with 303/4″ barrel, with gain-twist rifling. Weight is only 8.75 pounds even though stock and handguard are full length. Dimensions of buttstock are not bad, though proportions are not as good as in the Mauser or Springfield type C. The bayonet stud is below the barrel, quite similar in type, position and use to that on the Springfield. Originally the bolt handles were straight, projecting at right angles from right side of stock and turning 90 degrees to open, being exactly vertical when completely unlocked, but in later years bolts were modified to the bend or turned-down type and some of these newer bolts found their way into the old guns. Bolt removal on the Italian action is by holding the trigger back, as in our cheaper .22 bolt action rifles, but on the Italian arm the sear is not the bolt stop. Moving the trigger retracts a bolt stop in the right side of the receiver so that the right locking lug may pass by and allow removal of the bolt. It apparently became a field modification to cut off the handguard between the upper and lower bands. Swivels for their carrying sling are located in the lower band and the butt, on the bottom in usual positions; by usual I mean where anyone used to American rifles would expect to find it. The most common sight is a slide-tangent graduated 300 to 2,000 meters, or about 2,200 yards; no windage; front sight is inverted V, with rear notch always a V. For the benefit of those who might not know just what a slide-tangent sight is, I better explain now, for there will be constant reference to it. It is a rear sight only, usually with two bore-paralleling curved ramps, increasing in height toward the muzzle end, the curve being scientifically worked out in accordance with the ballistics of the cartridge to be used. A graduated sight bar is hinged between the ramps at the forward end and a spring installed between them to apply tension to the sight bar. At the rear of the bar is the rear sight proper, with notch or aperture, and on the bar a slide, usually with springloaded clips or plungers to engage in milled detents or cuts to hold in place along the side of the bar when the sight is set. As the slide is moved forward along the bar to the desired reading according to the graduations, the ramp

automatically raises the bar to the correct elevation for that range. That is all. It is very fast and reasonably accurate—until you change the ammunition, or the gun changes impact, or a lot of other things which can and do happen. The British developed this type sight to a high degree of efficiency prior to the first World War, but left it for close-to-the-eye aperture sights as exemplified by the Pattern ‘14, or the 1917 Enfield. The U. S. has not used it since the 1890’s. I do not consider this much of a rifle sight, but it is not too bad on machine guns. Come to think of it, they did use it until 1905 on the original 1903 Springfield. The short model of the Modella 1891 is short, having an overall length of 36.2″ (this is actually a carbine by any honest classification, but to avoid confusion with other short weapons it is designated the M1891 Short Rifle). The last modification to this particular number was evidently in 1924, as some of them are listed as Moschetto M91/24. The action is identical with that of the long rifle. Barrel length is 175/8″, with gain-twist rifling in original barrels. The tangent sight is graduated 500 to 1,500 meters, with battle sight at 400 meters. This model has full stock and handguard, and manages to weigh only 6.6 pounds. Both short and long models have cleaning rods in forestock under the barrel. Slight variations occur even among these two, in the matter of bayonets and bayonet studs, principally. My theory is that whenever an Italian officer reached his change of life and was in line for colonel, he had to invent a new bayonet or change an existing one; there must be some reason for so many long-handled can openers. The official M91 bayonet was a reasonably short knife type, but it had a lot of competition. One variation of the short gun was labelled the Moschetto Mod. 91TS (I don’t know what they meant by TS; no suggestions, please). The handguard was omitted, as was the lower band, and the rear sight was graduated 300 to 1,500 meters; otherwise it was identical with the M91/24. The Model 1938 short rifle, called Moschetto 38, is somewhat similar to the 1891 short rifle, but has a 4″ longer barrel. Two shortbladed knife bayonets are provided for it, one a folding clasp knife style and the other its corresponding double in fixed blade manufacture. Both fit conventional under-barrel studs. Front sight is

the same as on the other models, but rear is a fixed non-adjustable V notch battle sight for 200 meters. This M1938 rifle was originally intended for the 7.35mm caliber cartridge, and changed to 6.5mm because the war interfered with their projected change of caliber. The barrels have standard non-gain-twist rifling, the twist being approximately 7″. Weight of the M38 is 7.5 pounds. The M1891 carbine—Moschetto 91—with folding bayonet, was

A FEW HEAVY MACHINE GUN CARTRIDGES 1. Japanese 20mm (Aircraft) used in the Browning-Type Gun. 2. German 15mm (Aircraft) used in the Mauser Cannon. 3. Japanese 13.2mm (Ground) used in M93. 4. U. S. .50 Cal. Tracer Bullet shown. 5. Japanese 12.7mm (Aircraft) 6. Italian 12.7mm Ground. 7. German 12.7mm (Aircraft-Electrically ignited) used in the MG131 note “Belt.” 8. U. S. .30-06, for size contrast.

GERMAN AUTOLOADING RIFLES 1. Gewchr M41 2. Gewchr M41W 3. Gewchr M43 4. Gewchr M43 action

the immediate forerunner of the M1938. It was the same length as the 1891 short rifle in barrel and overall, but stock was 3/4 length, chopped off short and square at the rear band to allow the permanently attached triangular bayonet to fold back under the barrel. Weight is only 6.95 pounds. Two different rear sights are found, one a fixed 200-meter battle notch and the other 300 to 1,500 meters adjustable tangent curve. The buttplates usually have a trap over a recess to hold the cleaning equipment. Although this is light and easy to carry, their 6.5mm cartridge has an unholy amount of recoil and blast. Most of the Italian infantry in the desert were armed with this model. Most of these did not have gain-twist rifling, being made after Italy got over that idea.

Even in 1941 they were still modifying the same old gun, coming up with the Fucile 41, a 6.5mm rifle 46″ long with a 27.16″ barrel, weighing 8.2 pounds and sighted 300 to 1,000 meters. Few of these saw real service, however; but please don’t quote me. At this point I would like to interpolate my sentiment that anyone who makes positive statements about guns is wacky and anyone who attempts to tie down facts on European weapons should be regarded with suspicion. It is possible in some cases to make rather limited generalities but farther than that, trust nobody, including me. I try to check and double-check what I do know, but have become bitter because I find errors in everything the “experts” put out in the past, so I can not use them for references. One of them illustrates and describes a Mannlicher ‘95 as a Mannlicher-Carcano (two very dissimilar weapons). Anyway, that about takes care of the Italians’ MannlicherCarcano 6.5mm military arms, insofar as they can be separated into five or six models. Each of these has its own family of modified brothers, which are so similar to each other and the original that they are of little interest. One “rifle” which may be included in the 6.5mm class is the Moschetto Balilla, Mussolini’s youth organization training rifle, which used a short low-powered 6.5mm cartridge, semi-rimmed or rimmed, I believe. This little gun is an exact copy of the M91 carbine, folding bayonet, tangent-curve sight, Mannlicher action and all. Overall length was 29.55″, barrel, 14.55″, weight, 3.85 pounds. I have seen two additional smaller items of this type, both copies of the same gun. One was a .22 caliber, single-shot, though it had a phony Mannlicher magazine, and the other was even smaller, just a toy, not made to shoot anything. The Fascists believed in catching the kids young, all right. The most ridicule-arousing rifle to crop up was the 75-year-old Model 1870 Vetterli, also known as the Vetterli-Vitali. Show one of these to an old Wisconsin brush savage and he’ll gurgle “Gee, a .41 Swiss.” That’s what it is, the ancient Vetterli or Vetterlin action, though the Italian model used a one-piece stock. Rifle length, 54″; caliber, 10.35mm, about .41 caliber; center fire. Magazines are a box type rather than the Vetterlin tubular patent, but are not readily detachable. Capacity is five cartridges and the magazine protrudes

about 11/2″ below bottom of stock, in front of the trigger guard. The guard is not integral with the magazine as in the Mannlicher action, and has a rest for the second finger. This presumably does away with need for a pistol grip. The gun is sighted to 1,800 meters. Unlike the Swiss model, the Italian Vetterli has a safety, though it is simply a lever blocking the bolt, on the right hand side of the action, keeping the bolt one-quarter turn open, in which position the striker cannot fall. It has a wedge bolt stop, it being necessary to drive the wedge to the left while bolt is open in order to remove the bolt. To dismount the bolt, the knurled sleeve nut at rear of the bolt is merely unscrewed. As these old rifles became unserviceable, the Italians did not junk them, but rebuilt them into 6.5mm arms. In some cases the old barrels were bored out and 6.5mm liners installed; in others, new 6.5 barrels were put in the receivers, along with Mannlicher magazines, making it usable with their standard charger. The sight was changed to read to 2,000 meters. They had short models, with barrels about 22″ long, in both calibers in the old action. I have seen bayonets for the 1870 rifle with blades almost 30″ long. Half a dozen different lengths and styles of blades and handles were used. These old weapons were carried by native levies, that is, the colonial troops raised by Italy in her African colonies. They undoubtedly appreciated the bayonets. Italy collected much Austrian equipment as a result of being on the winning side in 1918, among which were evidently many Steyr M9 8mm rifles and carbines. The M95 is the unaltered Austrian service rifle of the first World War, the 1895 Steyr-Mannlicher straight-pull bolt action, meaning of course that the bolt is pulled straight to the rear in operation and not rotated and pulled as in the other bolt actions. Caliber is 8mm Mannlicher rimmed, or Austrian M1893. The rifle is long, barrel length being slightly over 30″, four groove, rifling one turn in 9.84″, weight 8.25 pounds. Rear sight is graduated from 400 to 2,600 meters and is of the folding leaf type. Front sight is the inverted V profile blade. Magazine is the Mannlicher type and takes the same general style of clip as the Italian action, but accepts only five cartridges. This particular rifle has a normal bayonet stud, and in addition a ball-ended stacking stud on

the upper band. To remove the bolt it is necessary to press the trigger forward. The safety is at the rear of the bolt, a sort of curved striker projection which cannot be missed, as it sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb. It can be operated only when the action is fully cocked. The M95 R is the same rifle with modified striker, cocking-piece, sights and stock. It has tangent curve rear sight reading to 2,400 meters and four sling swivels. In addition to the customary pair, another two are on the left hand side of the stock, one on forestock and the other on the side of the pistol-grip. The safety is a knurled button at bolt sleeve. These straight-pulls are very fast in operation when the ammunition is perfect, but have difficulty, as their extraction power is limited to the wrist power of the shooter. The original bayonet was a short bladed knife type. The carbine models of the M95 Mannlichers had barrels 19.7″ long and were about 39.5″ overall, usually sighted from 70 to 2,400 meters, with folding-leaf sight. On machine carbines, or sub-machine guns, the Italians really came to life in the 1930’s. Their Beretta M38 is one of the best ever built. Of 9mm Parabellum caliber, taking a powerfully-loaded Luger cartridge, simple blowback operated, it is hard to beat for performance. Overall length is 37.3″, with 12.55″ barrel. Weight was 8.7 pounds unloaded. A short model was used to some extent, being under 34″ overall, with correspondingly shorter barrel. Sights are adjustable 100 to 500 meters, with blade front. The gun has a 3/4 length stock, and barrel jacket, perforated with round cooling holes, and incorporating a built-in compensator to aid in control under automatic fire. Three magazines, of 10, 20 or 40-round capacity are available, and the weapon may be fired either full or semi-automatic. A dust cover on the mazagine port keeps out dirt when carrying unloaded. The magazine enters from the bottom, and ejection port is on the right hand side of the tubular receiver, just forward of the operating handle, which, incidentally, is free of the bolt and does not move with it in action, serving only to cock it, as in the case of our B.A.R. Fire is controlled by two triggers, front for semi-automatic fire, rear for full-machine action. A regular safety on the left hand side of the receiver locks both triggers, and in addition, there is a cross-bar

in the trigger guard which can be used to block the rear or fullautomatic trigger, keeping the weapon semi-automatic. This little gun is easily taken down for cleaning—just press in the “button” in the back end of the receiver, rotate the knurled sleeve which covers the back end until the arrow impressed thereon is in a vertical position and pull off the sleeve. A one-hand operation requiring about one-tenth of a second. The bolt with its selfcontained operating spring and its guide slides out, nothing being under tension. The ejector, fixed in the receiver, does double duty as the hammer in firing. The gun fires from an open bolt. The Beretta 38 is my favorite gun of its class, as it was of the Eighth Army. As easy to fire and control as a .22 sporting autoloader, it had terrific punch and range. The special 9mm cartridges loaded for it made it effective at 300 yards and dangerous up to 500 (when you consider that the .45 caliber Thompson is an even-money bet at 100 yards, you’ll understand why we liked the Beretta). It would operate well with German, British or American 9mm Luger ammunition, but not at all with the lightlyloaded Italian Glisenti pistol cartridges. They would not recoil the bolt far enough to engage the sear, causing full-automatic fire every time the trigger was touched, because they would throw the bolt back enough to pick up a fresh cartridge from the magazine, and chamber and fire it, repeating the cycle as long as ammunition remained in the magazine. The later model guns were equipped with bayonet studs, and with a fixed bayonet and a ten-round clip they were the answer to a soldier’s prayer for guard duty of any kind—prisoner chasing, or just keeping them out of the mood for argument. All the guns were really accurate and a pleasure to shoot. No one ever bothered with any other kind of submachine gun if he could get hold of a Beretta M38, and keep it. The New Zealand boys especially loved them. Even the Germans liked it, and they hated to admit anything was good except their own stuff. A full-length canvas case was provided for them and magazine-loading tools. Ammunition was furnished in 10-round Mauser style clips and by use of the loader could be stripped straight into the magazine the same way a Mauser type bolt action rifle is clip-loaded through the top of the receiver.

Mussolini’s boys had three other short range 9mm weapons, all obsolescent and out of manufacture before 1938, but, true to the tradition, still kicking up the dust here and there. One, quite a nice arm, was the Beretta Gardone M1930 self-loading carbine. This is a light-weight, short-barreled little semi-automatic weapon, using 10 and 20-round magazines, caliber 9mm M’08, 33″ overall, and could be fitted with a short folding bayonet, to remain on the barrel. This model had a full military style stock and handguard and is sighted to 500 meters. The safety is on the trigger guard and the magazine enters from the bottom. Ejection is top, not side, and the gun is cocked by a ring at the rear of the receiver. It is possible to do quite accurate shooting as this gun, though blowback operated and locked only by spring tension, fires from a closed bolt. Another machine carbine was the Villar Perosa. No, this is not the old twin-barreled World-War I freak which some people think was used in the last argument. This is another and equally freakish edition, 9mm M’08 caliber. It has no forend, but only a wooden buttstock or shoulder piece. The tubular steel receiver takes a curved top mounting vertical 20-round magazine, with sights offset to the left to bypass this magazine. The front sight is double, having two blades, one above the other, and rear is a fixed notch. Two ranges are therefore provided for. Like the Beretta M38 it has two triggers for controlling semi-automatic and full-automatic fire, and the safety is also in the guard. The most unusual feature of this model is the operating handle or actuator, which is a knurled or checked metal sleeve around the round receiver, which in turn slides to the rear to cock the action. It is necessary to press down slightly on the top of the sleeve to free it for rearward movement. In practice, this sleeve or slide is slapped with the palm of the hand in a downward and tothe-rear motion ending with a firm grip on it. Not a very good weapon and not used to any extent. The last of their machine carbines is the Pietro Beretta Brescia, an early model Beretta. It is 9mm, uses a 20-round vertical magazine and has fixed sights for 300 meters, offset to the right. It is fullautomatic only, blowback operated, and rate of fire is very high, sounding about 1,500 rounds per minute. On the model I shot it was impossible to distinguish the sound of shots when firing, it was just a

ripping roar. This gun also has a full military stock and handguard and looks like the Gardone to some extent. It can be instantly recognized by the trigger guard, for the arsenal evidently found some old parts and used them, as the guard on this gun is the same as on the old 1870 rifle, with its support for the middle finger of the right hand, schuetzen style. Ejection is out the bottom and keep your hands, wrists and sleeves clear, as they come out hot. The operating handle is on the right hand side of the receiver, with its knob colored red. This model has no safety and cannot be disassembled without extensive use of screwdrivers. On the matter of light machine guns, or automatic rifles, Italy was not so well off. The Breda Model 30 was the best they had and the most numerous. It was and probably still is made in 6.5mm caliber, is recoil operated, air cooled and has a cyclic rate of fire of approximately 400 rounds per minute. The weapon is 48” overall and weighs 25.5 pounds, has gain-twist rifling in early barrels, and can be fired only full-automatic. The horizontal magazine is permanently attached to the right hand side of the receiver, hinged to it and swinging forward to open, for loading with 20-round chargers. These chargers are normally of brass, but aluminum was sometimes used in wartime. It is shaped somewhat like a “U” with the 20 cartridges held in the open end and is used by grasping the closed end as a handle and ramming the works into the yawning magazine and then snatching it out again. The cartridges should remain in the gun’s magazine and the empty charger in your hand. The M30 is sighted to 1,500 meters, with a 350-meter battle sight. Although firing from a closed bolt it is not particularly accurate, due to the loose fit of the barrel. This is no doubt intentional, to create a larger cone of fire than the gun would normally have. The Breda Model 1930 has two good and two bad features: on the good side we have an instantly detachable and replaceable barrel and a simple and excellent method of adjustment for headspace and barrel-lug wear; against these we find the facts that it requires lubricated ammunition and supplies it by means of an oil reservoir in the cover of the gun, with arrangement to squirt a jet of oil on each cartridge as it is loaded into the chamber, and that it can be assembled with an important part omitted. This is the breech

locking stud, a small part in the receiver with projects a couple of small studs into the bolt runway. If missing when the gun is fired, the bolt will blow back, throwing brass to left rear of the ejection port. Usually it will miss the operator. Usually. Not a mortally dangerous feature, but no help to morale. Almost forgot to mention; it has a light bipod. The M30 was also intended for use in the 7.35mm caliber, and those models chambered for that cartridge were designated M38 7.35mm light machine guns, (there is another M38 Breda machine gun, in 8mm, a totally different weapon). Of course the obsolescent models were there too—the Breda M5c, a 6.5mm tripod gun, similar to the M30 bipod type which it preceded. This used a 30-round magazine and had spade grips rather than the usual pistol grip of the modern light machine gun. The Fiat M1926 occasionally showed up, but was unpopular with even the Italians. It was a recoil-operated 8mm rimless caliber, using a detachable box magazine. It was much heavier than the Bredas, had spade grips and lubricated the ammunition. The barrel system was similar, the barrel of the Fiat being instantly replaceable. This gun could be used with either bipod or tripod. The prize of the poor guns was an anonymous job, which the British calmly termed the “Spanish Light Machine Gun” since they did not want to insult either Germany or Italy by holding them responsible. After all, the Germans and Italians are good machinists. This cluck was a copy of the French Chauchat, the “Sho-Sho” of the 1918 war days, and we believed it to have been brought back from Spain by the Italian forces who went in there to help Franco. Quite a few came in to the shop at Dekheila and we must have had 40 or 50, all told. These were extremely crude in workmanship, appearing to be made mostly of thin sheet steel formed to shape. The receiver is a long tubular affair of thin metal. It takes a semi-circular or crescent single row magazine holding 20 cartridges, fitting on the bottom. The customary pistol grip is supplemented by a screwdriver-type handle just forward of the trigger guard and rear of magazine, evidently for holding the gun down while firing. It is bipod mounted. The gun is sighted to 2,000 meters, sights offset. The weapon is full recoiloperated and has no buffer, which means that the barrel and bolt

recoil together about 5″, not merely a short distance to unlock. The effect when firing is sort of like a repeating blackjack; it lands a onetwo punch on the firer for every cartridge fired. Very rough on operator. All the guns of this type which came into our hands were 7.9mm caliber, but the German cartridge seemed to be too hot for it. About one gun in five would hold it, the rest blew up or went bad in a few shots. The guns had absolutely no identifying mark, stamp, letters or numbers anywhere, and neither Italians, Germans nor us had any manuals mentioning it. You can probably understand. I’d hate to be held responsible for it myself; very crudely made.

XI ITALIAN MACHINE GUNS On the true machine guns the Italian did pretty well in comparison to his usual batting average. The Breda M38, called the AFV by the British, is my favorite machine gun, period. It is so simple it is foolish. The nickname indicates its use—in armored fighting vehicles. This is an 8mm rimless gas-operated heavy-barreled enclosed machine gun, using 24-round box magazines inserted at top. Cocking handle can be on either side. The gun is short, reliable and has very few moving parts. The only weak point is the magazine, limiting its firepower as compared with belt-fed weapons. This is one of the “paired” guns of the Italians, matching the Breda 13.2mm heavy machine gun. The two are made alike, part for part, except for size. A few Breda-Safat aircraft guns were around, 7.7mm or .303 caliber. They used disintegrating-link metallic belts and ran up to around 1,200 RPM cyclic. The British merely hung the guns on whatever mount they could rig up, strung in a regular British web belt of ammunition and were ready for business. The cloth belts worked fine. The best infantry medium machine gun Italy had was the Breda M37, an 8mm rimless gas-operated heavy-barreled tripod gun, feeding from the Hotchkiss tray system, using 20-round metal feed strips and politely replacing the empty cases in the strip after it fires the cartridge. Very slow, only 300 to 350 RPM, it is easy to control and operate. Its mechanism is much the same as on the AFV, all the Bredas above the M30 being essentially the same in design of mechanism. It is sighted to 3,000 meters, with a 200-meter battle sight. Except for the possibility of the loaded cartridge strips becoming damaged, it is hard to find much fault with this model. The

design is well worked out and so long as the amount of gas is reasonably regulated, the mechanism is dependable. The weapon itself is not too heavy and the slow rate of fire gives long barrel life. Of course, the great objection to this, as to all Hotchkiss-feed guns, is that it requires two men, one to fire and one to feed. Another bit of their Austrian loot was the Schwartzlose watercooled heavy machine gun. This is the old M1912 oil pumper, which shoots a jet of oil into the chamber between shots. The caliber is 8mm rimmed, the same as used in the M95 Mannlicher rifles, and belts are of web, holding either 100 or 250 rounds, coming in both sizes. Weight is 44 pounds without water. All parts are large and heavy, and the gun is really a delayed blowback in operation, there being no true locked position of the bolt. Sights are in two types of tangent curve rears, one, 200 to 2,400 meters, the other, 200 to 2,000 meters. Barrel is only 20.9″ long and velocity is low. A flashhider is provided. I have a reluctant affection for this old gun—it is quite reliable and nothing ever seems to wear out or break. With a fair amount of care and feeding the old cluck works forever. The Fiat M35 8mm rimless medium machine gun is a dog. I do not believe anyone will say more than two good words for it, including Ravelli, the guy that invented it. It is an air-cooled recoiloperated ground gun, uses 250-round non-disintegrating metal belts, has spade grips, a quick-detachable barrel with handle attached, is semi-automatic as well as full, has a good safety feature in that it cannot fire from open bolt and weighs about 40 pounds. Cyclic rate is about 600 RPM. The cocking handle is the rear end of the bolt which appears on top of the lower step of the receiver at the rear, the receiver or body having a two-story effect to allow this, and the handle is formed by “horns” or finger pieces extending on each side. When the gun is firing (seldom) this bolt is working back and forth in front of the operator’s nose and thumbs and is quite fascinating to watch. He keeps waiting for it to either stop or hit him. As the job fires from a closed bolt, it heats barrels very rapidly. The gun has more parts than any other three comparable machine guns combined, and is very particular about how they go together. In my bench notes, the sheet covering this Fiat lists 10 numbered, precise steps in disassembly and mentions that they must be

followed. Every part must be removed at just the right time and in the right direction. Jig-saw puzzle stuff. I just checked up, and find that the legitimate manuals list 24 steps, to my 10, so I am not exaggerating after all. The correct way to handle this item is to carefully disassemble it, throw all the parts on the floor and have the Wog sweeper take them out in the desert and lose them. Most of the Italian weapons were well made, some of the latest rifles, machine guns and pistols showing just about as high a quality machine work and finishing as can be expected of noncommercial arms. Ammunition was good—the British considered the Italian 20mm cannon ammo better than the German-loaded (both used the same size and chamber dimensions were identical). Even the Italian 20mm gun was an efficient design—just an overgrown gas-operated machine gun (paired with the M37 8mm). It was by far the simplest 20mm in use anywhere. The carriage had a little seat for the gunner, the gun had spade grips and a huge open V-notch tangent-curve rear sight on the barrel. I had fun testing these, laying explosive shells out in the Mediterranean and watching for the puff of smoke as they exploded under water. The guns were in great demand by English PT boats for use as anti-aircraft arms. Pilots did not consider it intelligent to drop down and strafe boats with a couple of working 20’s to face all the way. The Italian 20mm cartridge is much larger than the American 20. The Bredas are good weapons, the name coming from the Societa Italiana Ernesto Breda per Costrizioni Mecaniche, Milan, Italy, the makers, one of the Italian industrial combines that made all classes of arms and equipment. The basic idea of the action utilized in all but the M5c and the M30 light machine guns actually came from Czechoslovakia, and is the same as that found in the British Bren gun. The Germans gave Italy a lot of French equipment, including the M1924/29 light machine gun, or auto rifle, caliber 7.5mm; the St. Etienne M1907 caliber 8mm Lebel, a heavy (52.4 pounds) gasoperated air-cooled machine gun used on an even heavier tripod; and the Hotchkiss M1914 8mm machine gun, weighing 52.8 pounds. Both heavy guns have 31.5″ barrels and are third rate, though the St. Etienne is supposedly capable of altering its cyclic rate from 100 to

600 RPM, which could be a virtue at times. The Italians loaded some rather good 8mm Lebel ammunition for these two heavy guns, but never took the guns outside Italy.

XII GERMAN SMALL ARMS USED IN EGYPT The Germans had variety in their weapons also, but for a different reason than Italy: they were utilizing captured equipment. Everything that could be used by them or their allies which was worthwhile was used. Having Europe pretty well pocketed in 1941, the Nazis could afford to be choosy. After 1942 they could not be quite so hard to please. However, the Afrika Korps did have quite a collection of small arms, which we persuaded them to turn over to us, bit by bit, in the course of time. Being wise in matters of ordnance, Jerry did not devote much of his time to second-rate stuff, or items which were hard to supply. No French or Russian rifles ever came in, for instance. If such equipment was kept at all, it probably went to the German home guard, along with their own obsolete rifles and machine guns. Polish and Czech and Belgian Mausers were used, and it is easy to understand why, for these are all modernized 98 Mausers, 7.9mm caliber, very similar to their own service rifle. No problem of supply or maintenance. On automatic rifles, machine guns and larger equipment, it was their system to use them as long as suitable ammunition was available, then abandon, destroy or turn in the weapons, whichever was most convenient and efficient. The Mauser bolt action Model 1898 was the basic weapon of German infantry, the principal model being the Karabiner 98 Kurz, written as Kar 98 K, or even more simply, 98K. It is sometimes wrongly written M98 Kar. Three older types were auxiliary and supplementary, the Gew. 98, and the Kar. 98 and Kar. 98 B. The Gew. 98 (Gewehr 98, or 1898 Rifle) is the old four-foot World War I

gun; the Kar. 98 is the carbine model of that same Gew. 98; and the Kar. 98 B is a modification of that old carbine. The true rifle used by the Wehrmacht from the mid-1930’s until it went out of business was the Karabiner 98 Kurz, which is German for “short carbine 98.” The receivers of the rifles are marked “Mod. 98” on the left side, and the receiver ring has the serial number stamped on it also on the left side just above the stock. The top of the receiver ring bears the code identification of the manufacturing arsenal, usually just two or three letters stamped in the steel in lower-case script, and also the last two numbers of the year in which made. The eagle-and-swastika Nazi stamp will be al’ over everything. Most of the 7.9mm Mausers made outside Germany bear the numbers stamped into the top of the barrel, just ahead of the receiver in very small size, some being “7.9” some “7.92.” The 98K’s started out with stocks of good European walnut but ended up with anything handy to the sawmill. I have a new rifle, dated 1942, which has a stock of beech. One of my friends sent home a later rifle with a laminated, or plywood stock. The German rifle is practically a twin in dimensions to its cousin, the 1903 Springfield. The 98K barrel is 23.4″ against 23.79″ on our 1903. Bolt handle is turned down and in approximately the same position on both rifles. The Mauser has no magazine cutoff and the follower blocks the bolt when the magazine is empty and the bolt open, exactly as in the 1917 Enfield. In other words, you have to hold down the follower to close the bolt empty. On the old Gew. 98 the rear end of the follower is so machined that the bolt will cam it down allowing the bolt to be worked freely. Overall length of the 98K is 43.5″, and of the Springfield, 43.25″. Weights are approximate, since they vary with the wood in the stocks, but the Mauser is pretty close to nine pounds without its sling, generally speaking. The stock proportions are better than those of most military rifles, being topped only by the Norwegian stocks and the U. S. M1 autoloader and the Springfield type C stock. For some reason the Germans were addicted to installing a metal fitting in the buttstock, with a small hole passing completely through the stock. This aperture was originally invented for the purpose of providing a perfect fitting for passing a rod through to lock

in rifle racks at night. It can and has been used for many things, including that purpose, but also to receive organizational insignia; spring catches to hold the weapon tight in vehicle racks; to hold the point of the firing pin when taking apart the bolt mechanism; and to hang the damned gun on a nail when you have a wall with a nail in it. This aperture fitting does not weigh much or take much of a cut in the stock, but it cannot help but tend to weaken it a certain amount. The real weakening cut is the slot cut completely through the butt just back of the pistol grip, for receiving the end of their sling. Putting it ungrammatically, when their stocks broke, this was where. To reduce danger of splitting when they had to go to other woods than walnut, the Krauts adopted a cup-type buttplate, which fitted over the end of butt and did give a good bit more protection than the old type. The common German sling in the early years of the war was 7/8″ leather, a carrying type which could be arranged for loop use by disengaging the butt end, if you cared to go to the trouble. Later on they may have gone to web slings. We did. They are better, in my opinion, for military use than leather, though the best of all materials was the Japanese rubberized canvas. It won’t rot, mold, mildew, get slippery or stretch. Prewar Germany went in for shooting, everything from smallbore prone work to the schuetzen game, with emphasis on the military training angle of course. One of the training aids was a conversion unit for the Mauser military rifle and consisted of a complete .22 caliber long rifle bolt action and barrel which could be inserted into any 1898 Mauser. The barrel is necessarily a long, thin, rifled tube, but it is highly accurate. These conversion units came in both singleshot and repeating models, the repeating units having special floorplates to replace the standard 7.9mm ones, much as the old Springfield M1 .22’s were arranged. One of these units turned up at El Alamein, of all places. Most of these were made by Erma— the Erfurt arms center, which also made .22 conversion units for the Luger pistols. There were also many .22 training rifles, some repeaters, some singleshot, all bolt action and all very similar. Some had full-length military stocks and tangent-curve sights up to 250 meters, some had sporting style or target stocks and target sights could be had. Mauser and Walther were the principal suppliers of

such “Wehrsportgewehren,” though Germany had literally dozens of small arms plants that turned out all sorts of weapons. I did not see any of this last type of rifle until after the war. In addition to the regulation and semi-regulation military style .22 rifles, Germany had other small-bore equipment both for sporting and training purposes. Air rifles came in all prices and classes, most if not all being far above the American “BB gun” and capable of fair accuracy at short range. However, I doubt if the Germans equalled the British in precision pneumatic guns, either rifle or pistol type. A few military-stocked and sighted items were put out by Schmeisser and Haenel, presumably for junior training groups. The Schmeissers were bolt-action jobs, the air compression system being operated by a conventionally-placed bolt handle hinged at its base which when “opened” became a lever for operating the piston. I believe these arms were furnished in both 4mm and 6mm, known in this country as .17 or .177 caliber and .22 caliber, the projectiles being either round lead balls, darts, or spool-shaped pellets, generally known as pells, or skirted pellets, made of chilled lead. All barrels were rifled and at short distances indoors were capable of accuracy comparable to .22 firearms. However, the old-time European indoor favorite was the 4mm rim fire cartridge, which we would probably call a .17 caliber. There were several different cartridges in this class and innumerable rifles. The Bavarians or Southern Germans went in for extensive target shooting, using offhand or schuetzen rifles in a rimmed 8mm straighttapered case, lead-bullet caliber on the order of our old .3240 cartridge, and when a shooter’s pocketbook permitted, he would get a 4mm rifle made up to resemble his big rifle as much as possible. These rifles were always singleshot falling or drop-block actions, with set-triggers, fancy adjustable target sights, heavy barrels and schuetzen buttplates, deeply curved for holding on the upper arm rather than resting against the shoulder. Palm rests, for the left hand, were almost universal. The rifles were of the type familiar to us as “Swiss” although the German guns were usually not of as high quality as the true Swiss weapons. The receivers or frames were not required to stand high pressures and often they were of plain cast-iron. Most of them had some engraving of sorts for

decoration. Martini actions were used to some extent on the better grade of rifles. The 4mm rifles, popular when winter closed the outdoor rifle mountain shooting ranges, were short-range low-powered practice arms, seldom used over 50 meters. Their barrels were rather peculiar to our way of thinking, as the rifling was in only a short section of the barrel, usually a length of about 200mm—something around 7″, and the remainder of the barrel bored out to a diameter of perhaps 11 or 12mm so that the bullet did not touch on its way out. Some rifles were conventional breech-loaders, others had an action opening seven or eight inches from the muzzle where the cartridge was seated, firing being accomplished by means of a long firing pin reaching from the regular action through the long barrel. Few 4mm rifles had full-length rifled barrels. During the past two decades the small Mauser bolt action became popular for 4mm and .22 caliber target use. Naturally there were many variations, but these rifles were conventional types, not greatly different from U. S. bolt action .22’s. Weights ran from 71/2 to 10 pounds, and barrel lengths for target arms were around 26″. The 4mm barrels were usually free-bored from the muzzle to a depth of 425mm (a little over 17″) leaving a rifled portion at the breech of around 8.75″, chambered for the 4mm Long cartridge. Rifling was 12 groove, pitch, one turn in about 8″. Stocks were normal allround types, rather than the special-purpose schuetzen style, and some of the later ones were of plastic, made of fine and coarse woven cloths impregnated with phenolic resin and pressure-moulded to size and shape at an angle, which gave them an appearance of grained walnut. The 4mm ammunition was available in many types—rim fire, center fire rimless (bottlenecked case) light loads, full loads, short, long, et cetera. German gun cranks could purchase cases and bullets separately and assemble their own. Most of the cartridges used no propelling powder, utilizing only the primer to expel the bullet, as done in our original .22 Bullet Breech Caps. These priming charges could be obtained in differing strengths, the 4mm Short coming in light or medium (light in green-labeled packet, medium in white label) and the 4mm Long in medium power in white labeled

box and heavy loading in green box. Please note how they reversed their field in marking the Short and Long cartridges. The Short measured .2365″ overall and the Long .3346″. A 4mm pistol practice cartridge was used by the German army at one time, a barrel insert for the Luger pistol permitting use of regulation side arms. This was later superseded by the familiar ERMA .22 conversion unit for handling standard .22 Long Rifle ammunition in the pistol. Walther also furnished 4mm conversion units for use with their PP and PPK pocket pistols in .32 and .380 caliber. These employed supplemental cartridges (regular size steel case inserts chambered for the 4mm) and a barrel liner or extra 4mm barrel, but permitted use of the standard magazine. The 4mm pistol cartridge was a rimmed bottleneck case and the entire case head was filled with primer compound so that it would function as either a rim fire or center fire. These would chamber in standard .22 caliber arms, as body diameter of the case was approximately the diameter of a .22 rim fire and necked to 4mm (it would not be smart to try and shoot them in a .22 though). I believe all the 4mm firearms used round chilled-lead balls and due to the rugged individualism of German barrelmakers, were available in at least three diameters— 4.3mm (.169″), 4.35mm (.171″) and 4.4mm (.173″)—listed as Nos. 7, 8 and 9. Practically all of the later German sporting ammunition was non-corrosive, and the largest ammunition plant was the Rheinisch Westfalische Sprengstoff, A.G. who are better known by their initials, RWS. Several brands were put out by this concern. Their patented primer compound was known as Sinoxid. The 4mm class of arm was principally a sporting item and the .22 was the military training caliber. In the U. S. from 1840 to 1890 indoor rifles for very light percussion loads and .22 rim fire “caps” enjoyed a limited popularity as “parlor” or “salon” rifles, but such equipment never reached the use here that the “Kleinkaliberbuchsen” did in Europe. However, the British developed the .22 caliber thoroughly, bringing out all varieties of rim fires and even a center fire long rifle cartridge, of the same dimensions as the rim fire standard. Had a regular primer, Berdan type, not an inside cap.

When it comes to sniping, the Germans, British, Russians, Belgians and Norwegians were right on the ball with telescopicsighted rifles. In 1942 Germany had only a couple of sniper outfits and only one of these was regulation. This was very well planned, but I doubt it it worked out too well. One was a high-mounted nondetachable four-power scope, made I believe, by Hensoldt, mounting on the receivers by means of screws. The other is the one I am most familiar with, as it was used to some extent in Africa until the end of the war there. The scope was apparently issued to units and mounted by the immediate armorer or artificer. It went on any issue 98K without need for alteration save substituting the telescope mount base for the tangent ramp and rear sight slide and bar. The scope itself was instantly detachable and I am of the opinion that some sort of auxiliary rear sight was incorporated into the mount base. I only saw one of these outfits complete and did not get a chance to examine it closely. German soldiers usually hid the telescopes when facing capture, but always got rid of the bases for sure. We did get quite a few scopes but only a couple rifles with bases were ever located. The sight itself is an optical freak, and at its best only in a desert country with bright sunshine most of the time. Specifications are as follows: Length, 53/16″ without sunshades, 6⅛″ with sunshades in normal using position; power, approximately one and three-quarters (not over 2X), picket post and crosswire reticule, sunshades on each end, detachable and reversible, snapping into position with spring— both have small rectangular openings, which may be for admission of light to ocular or objectiver, since they may be rotated freely; luminosity, perhaps 35; weight of scope and mounting


THE GERMAN SNIPING SIGHT Shown with sunshades removed. Bottom: Cartridges and bullets, left to right: U. S. .30-06 service cartridge; German 7.9mm service cartridge; American Western Cartridge Company 180-grain .30 caliber Match bullet; German ball, tracer, armor-piercing and explosive bullets.

bracket, 15 ounces. The eye relief is what gives the shock: 16 to 18 inches, preferably, and the sight is usable anywhere between 10 and 20 inches from the eye. In other words, this is a long eye relief scope. Optically this sight is nothing to get excited about. It has a small field for its low power and the glass is nothing extraordinary, though good enough. The lenses are very small, as the tube diameter is only 9/16″ on body and 1/2″ in mounting-bracket cuts. As near as I can measure the objective diameter is 11mm or 7/16″; ocular, 14mm or 35/ ″. The enlarged objective cell (29/ ″ diameter) is misleading and 64 32 I do not know enough about telescope design to figure out why it was made so big and heavy for its small lens. Possibly it may hold the secret of the long eye relief. Adjustment is by rotation of a large knurled collar around the midsection of the tube, locked by a flat spring and detent system. It is graduated one through eight by number on detent cuts, with unnumbered halves also detented. This covers elevation in meters, up to 800 by 50-meter raises. Windage is left to the mount base, and I believe is not adjustable except with screwdriver. The telescope and mount bear no maker’s name, only serial and model numbers. The code letters “CXN” appear, and also the stamping “Z.F.41” which I consider the model number. I admit I am not sure, but I cannot find out anything further. The mount is just a quick-detachable bracket type, T-slotted for base, slides on rear to front, is held by a spring catch against back motion and two springloaded plungers against all free play. The mounting is on the left side, and the scope is brought low enough to permit fairly comfortable use of the service stock without any cheek pad and of course it is far ahead of the receiver, to allow clip loading if necessary. This is a very strong and quite rigid mount and the idea seemed to be to provide a serviceable front-line weapon, able to be used under nearly any weather conditions and to take the beating any military weapon must expect. It is strictly a scope rifle when the sight is mounted, although it is possible to see the front sight under the tube, if you have time and light to look for it. Snapshooting with it

in bad light would be strictly a point and pull proposition, for the sight is low enough to delay finding the iron-sight line. When not mounted the sight is carried in a formed and fitted dustproof metal container, with lens brush and a small chamois-like cloth. All metal parts of scope and case are of steel, no alloys whatever being used, consequently it is quite heavy despite its small size. The mounting bracket is very heavy also. This 1941 model sight was the only regulation German sniper outfit tried out in Africa. I did see one older 98K fitted with a Zeiss Zielvier in fixed mounts, but it was quite evidently a gunsmith job and not arsenal work. Later in the war the Germans went to great lengths to equip snipers with sights and used almost every kind of telescopic sight they could lay hands on. Some rifles have come back with huge prewar hunting sights, others with all sizes of Zeiss, Hensoldt and other commercial models, and later production-line square-sectioned and prismatic scopes for wholesale use on semi-automatic weapons. The standard iron or metallic sights for German weapons was an inverted V front blade and on rifles and submachine guns, Vnotch rears. The 98K rifle employed a tangent-curve adjustable rear without windage movement, graduated 100 to 2,000 meters by hundreds, but in steps of 50 meters, the slide having a spring to retain it at any position locked against accidental movement. The rifle’s front sight was the V blade dovetailed into its base and protected against damage by a removable hood, which could be left on while shooting to act as a sunshade. Aside from the Mauser, I know of only two other types of repeating bolt action rifles manufactured by the Nazis themselves, one being the G-98 Mannlicher, which shows every indication of being made in Germany, although the Germans have never used or manufactured Mannlicher arms themselves to previous knowledge. Maybe it was the foreign troops enrolled in the Wehrmacht who drew this rifle, but it sure has the chenuine Choiman eagle-and-swastika seal of approval all over it. I have seen one rifle, which was marked “7.91” on barrel over chamber, although its caliber was plain 7.9mm Mauser; known to the British as 7.92mm and to U. S. cartridge companies as 8mm Mauser. Receiver was marked on left wall “G-98,” in the same spot the Kar.

98K is marked “Mod. 98.” The action was Mannlicher, incorporating a Mauser-type magazine. The bolt itself was very similar to that of the commercial Mannlicher-Schoenauer sporter excepting that cocking piece had a curved finger projection for manual cocking. Safety was in same position and operated as in the Mauser, though a coil spring around its axis pin or shank inside the sleeve kept it under slight tension to the rear against bolt nut or cocking piece. As in other Mannlichers, the safety is held forward and the firing pin nut is unscrewed from the firing pin to dismount the bolt. The rear end of the firing pin, visible through the cocking piece or firing pin nut, is slotted, appearing to be a screw, but a screwdriver will do no good if used. No tools are necessary to disassemble the bolt. The bolt head, with extractor, removes on a quarter turn and frees the firing pin, allowing it to be taken from the front end of the bolt. Centrally located, the bolt handle was short, its shank turned in a curve, and the round knob was flat on its underside, this flat being sharply checkered. The firing mechanism cocks completely on the forward closing stroke of the bolt, as on the Lee-Enfield. Forward of the rear half of receiver, the receiver itself appears identical with the 98 Mauser in dimensions and shape. The rear half is entirely Mannlicher, the rear bridge or ring slotted through the middle of top—the bolt handle passes through the slot and turns down to seat forward of the receiver bridge, as in the Mannlichers used by other countries. Bolt stop is exactly as found on the Dutch Mannlicher, or Greek Mannlicher-Schoenauers, in which the stud on the stop is pressed to release the bolt rather than pulled out, as in the Mauser bolt stop. Cuts for holding Mauser-type rifle clips are in the top of receiver, one on each side of the bolt slot, and the left wall of receiver is cut low as in the Mauser 98, for receiving the thumb when stripping the five-round clips in loading the magazine. The magazine is Mauser type, follower and spring appearing identical with those of the Kar. 98K, but floorplate was a large flat formed metal type, and its catch or release a spring-lever type with button for operation projecting inside the finger loop of trigger guard as in the Japanese 6.5mm rifles. Last but by no means the least noticeable feature of these rifles were their two-piece stocks, after the fashion of the British Lee-Enfield! It is the only Mannlicher of this

construction I know of existing. Unlike the Lee, the visible metal section of the receiver separating buttstock and forestock is quite narrow— perhaps 1/2″—and a guard screw entering from the bottom in conventional position and manner joins trigger-guard and receiver. Workmanship was excellent, the finish being better than on most military Mausers. The rifles bore only German proofmarks and inspector’s stamps, receiver rings being bare of the customary code markings identifying factories or arsenals. A friend tells me he saw many of these guns in Normandy and that it was thought an Austrian rifle. Another man heard it called the Hungarian service weapon. I do not know, but believe that if it were not German-made, in Germany, it would carry identification. The Nazis seldom bothered altering or dropping the legends stamped on foreign weapons they adopted for their own use and had manufactured for them outside their own country. It is possible that they were made by Steyr, of Austria, under German rule, with the usual Steyr markings forbidden. There does, or did, exist a 98 or Model 1898 Mannlicher, used by Rumania in 6.5mm caliber and by odd lots of Balkan characters in 6.5mm and 8mm rimmed Mannlicher calibers, but these rifles have always been represented as straight-pull types, and I have seen Steyrmade straight-pull bolt action rifles and carbines which were represented to me as being the 98 Mannlicher. They were very similar in all respects to the Model 95 straight-pull action. Minor differences and modifications in the bolt itself were the only identifying points between the two. No similarity exists between either of these rifles and the “G-98.” General specifications of the G-98 sound like those of the Kar. 98K. Length, weight, sling fittings, bayonet stud, sights, stock—all are almost the same for both guns. Stocks have the slot cut for standard German Kar. 98K sling. The lower band with its side sling loop, is a fabricated part, a stamping, or rather, a section of tubing with loop welded to it. This band and the floorplate are, I believe, the only fabricated parts, everything else being forged and machined. The rifles were safe and strong, but the forward location of the bolt knob made operation slower than on Mauser type actions. The second bolt rifle used by the Germans was also a Mannlicher, and positively an Austrian Steyr product. It was known to

us simply as the Mannlicher-Steyr straight-pull. And do not confuse it with the Steyr-Mannlicher, which meant the M95 or M98 straightpulls! The names are the same, only different; so are the guns. This latest product was a modernized action; bolt did not turn, nor did it have any locking lugs—its bottom was flat and had a springtensioned locking block which seated in a recess in the receiver to the rear of the magazine well when the bolt was closed. Caliber was 7.9mm only, for the standard German service load. The magazine was single-row Mannlicher type, and the finger loop in the trigger guard was very large (it is easier to talk about this in the present tense, so let us act like the rifles are around, as some of them did come back as trophies). Some, if not all of the guards are of light alloy, chemically blackened. The rifle has about a 25″ barrel and is sighted to 1,200 meters in 200-meter steps, rather than in the ascending curve of the conventional slide tangent. Front sight is same as in Mauser, the rear notch a V also. The bolt stop is Mauser type, not Mannlicher. The bolt is polished, with a long narrow extractor, and bolt handle is longer than usually found on straight-pulls, with a very large knob. The bayonet stud is on the left-hand side of the muzzle, with a stacking stud below barrel. This weapon is very light in weight, running only a little over 7 pounds. Obviously the rifle is the result of the Germans’ taking over Austrian arsenals and bringing their service rifles up-to-date, possibly with an eye to a rifle especially suited to ski and mountain troops. The light weight and high rate of fire of the straight-pull action, to make up for the automatic weapons too difficult to handle in snow and bad terrain by fast-moving patrols, the oversized trigger loop and bolt handle, facilitating operation by gloved or even mittened hands —is a good idea, I think. These rifles were used on the Russian front to some extent, but there was never any plan of replacing Mausers with them. A third bolt action arm used was a light 7.9mm carbine, a good weapon. The Czechs modernized the old ‘98 Karbine, making it the “VZ 33” and so marking the receivers; Germany rechristened the gun the “G.33/40″ and issued it in limited numbers to armored-force men and air-borne troops. Barrel length was approximately 20″, sights

and stock were reasonably conventional in design, but principal differences from the Kar. 98K were in the action. In diameter the G.33/40 receiver ring was about 0.125″ less, and sides of receiver, below the stock line were lightened by long shallow slots milled in the steel. Bolt was same as Kar. 98K, but knob of handle was hollowed from underside (on the Czech Zbrojovkaetc. model, this knob was simply flat, and on the original versions of the 98 carbine the flat was checked). The loop of the trigger guard was smaller than that of the Kar. 98K and was fully machined, its outside shape closely following the inside and the front not coming up abruptly to guard as did the standard German type. All unnecessary metal was removed from the G.33/40 carbine, even the bridge being machined thinner back of the clip slots. Most were finished to a gray, semi-rough surface very similar to Parkerized arms in appearance, but some were blued or blackened. Buttplates were very unconventional on the last stocks made—were formed of thin drawn steel, a cup type enclosing the butt for about 4″ of its length and held by wood screws entering the sides of stock. European beech furnished most stock wood, although a few of walnut were found. A folding stock was tried experimentally, but I doubt if many of these saw field service. Quite a few stampings were used on this carbine, as would be expected, however, all the trigger guards seem to be forged and not the stamped and fabricated ones used on the last Kar. 98K’s made. Some of the earliest (World War I and shortly thereafter) 98 carbines with small-diameter receivers had stocks made of two or even three narrow strips of wood dovetailed and glued together to form the blank. Czechs, Belgians and Germans all used this method of economizing on wood at one time or another. I believe all the G.33/40 arms had one-piece stocks. Despite the decreased external dimensions the G.33/40 and ‘98 Karbines are quite as strong as the standard 98 receiver weapons for all normal base military or sporting cartridges as they utilize a smaller barrel shank (threaded butt end) and therefore retain a safe thickness of receiver-ring wall. Bolt lug recesses have sufficient metal for safety. Fourth and last of the “extra” Nazi bolt actions I know of was the VG I, or Volksturn Gewehr I. This was another last-gasp effort to

completely equip the home army. Fundamentally, the VG I is just a Kar. 98K made as cheaply and easily as possible, and specifications for the standard rifle cover it. Finish was awful. Stocks were made of any wood at hand, flatsided and clumsy because of omitted turning operations in manufacture. Barrels were very rough on the outside (everything was) while rifling was not too bad. Receivers were not forged, but crudely machined from steel bars, and bolts were of poor steel, case-hardened for wear. Some fabricated bolts were tried out — lugs and handles welded to round stock. Fit of all parts was very bad. Trigger guards and all other fittings were stampings. These are the only rifles of German manufacture I am inclined to view as unsafe and dangerous to use. Sauer & Sohn, of Suhl, were tooled to produce this VG I in great quantity at the end of the war and probably made the ones which did get into the field. The only German semi-automatic rifle to appear in any quantity in Egypt was the M41, their first effort. A 10-shot, 10-pound, gasoperated 7.9mm caliber autoloader, it was a very nice gun. The box magazines were detachable and also reloadable while in the rifle, as it has clip slots for the standard Mauser five-round clip, in the receiver. Two are stripped exactly as for a bolt action rifle, to load the M41. The rifle is sighted to 1,200 meters, with tangent-curve rear. Overall length was approximately 45″, with full type stock and conventional bayonet stud beneath barrel. The full hand guard was of black plastic. The operating handle was a stud projecting up and to the right from the right hand side of the bolt. The entire action was well enclosed and the gun a nice-looking arm, though it had a stamped trigger guard which detracted from its otherwise wellfinished appearance. Stock and sling arrangements were the same as on the 98K. The M41 was thought to be a Mauser product, though its locking system has been used before, principally by the Russian designer Degtyarof. It did not take its gas for operating from a port in the barrel as is the usual system but from the end of the barrel after the bullet left the muzzle. This necessitated a gas trap which was achieved by placing a tubular housing over the muzzle end of the rifle, with a cone-shaped tip. Pressure was transmitted to a long rod running back along the top of the barrel, under the plastic hand

guard. In the bolt, the locking lugs were separate parts, loose and free to move in and out of the locking recesses in the receiver, but were hooked up with the firing pin in such a way that they seated in full locking position when the bolt was closed and were withdrawn inside the bolt, unlocking the piece, when the firing pin was retracted. The operating rod running back from the muzzle contacted the bolt slide which in turn engaged a projection of the firing pin and provided the energy to unlock the rifle. The operating, or recoil, spring of course returns the bolt and locks the action. This rifle is therefore unlocked by gas-operation, but is not completely operated by the thrust of gas against a piston as in most gasoperation arms. The M41 was well-finished—too well—balance was good, operation reliable. The clip loading feature was good. The drawback to the arm was that it was slightly more complicated than our M1, had more parts and was undoubtedly difficult and expensive to manufacture. It was not a production-line weapon. I shot one of these a little, and liked it. Recoil was noticeably lighter than that of the 98K bolt action, proving that the muzzle apparatus for the gas cup and escape acted somewhat on the order of a compensator or muzzle brake. I saw both the 41W and 41M, but have no special information on the 41W, as I did not actually have them to play with personally. The 41W utilizes the same muzzle gas-catcher assembly idea as the M41, but the operating rod is below the barrel and of course has a different hookup. This gun had a straight bolt handle projecting to the right from the rear of the receiver, like a bolt-action rifle, for cocking the action. The bolt did not move except manually. Because of this bolt and the fact that the 41W has an almost standard Mauser stock, hand guard and bayonet-stud arrangement, the rifle has sometimes been mistaken for a bolt rifle, even though the 10-round magazine projects about 2″ below the bottom of the stock. The quick tipoff was of course the enlarged gas cylinder housing on the muzzle, with its built-in sight cover. The M41-W was the first of Germany’s production type semi-auto rifles and the finish is not nearly as high in standard as on the M41. These guns were just beginning to appear in numbers when the African campaign ended.

In addition to these two semi-automatic rifles, Jerry used captured Czech and Russian models. The Czech BRNO, 7.9mm, self-loading rifle was a fair gun, but heavy, weighing about 12 pounds. We were unable to find out the exact model number, but there seemed to be just the one type. It is naturally somewhat similar inside to its grandson, the far-famed British Bren. Loading is quite the same as the German M-41 system—10-round magazines, clip slots in receiver, etc. Probably where the Germans got the idea. It is gas-operated, with gas port in barrel, piston, cylinder and other parts as regularly used for gas-operation of larger guns. Tangent rear sight reads to 1,500 meters. Operating handle is on right sight of receiver, and the safety on the right side of the trigger guard. Not complicated, but with quite a few parts, the BRNO is plainly not a modern rifle compared with the German M-41, U. S. M1, or Russian M1941. The Czech arm has an aluminum alloy jacket or cooling piece, about 6″ long, joined to the short forend. About 10″ of the barrel is exposed, free of stock, cover, and jacket. This is a twopiece-stock gun, with separate butt and short forend. It has two regular sling swivels and in addition, one on the left hand side of the pistol grip, for taking a shoulder strap to support the gun for firing from the hip. The Russian M1941 we called it then, but now I see the boys term it the Tokarev 1940, though our measurements do not jibe in all particulars. The Russians are very closemouthed about their weapons of course and put out no information whatever at that time. The Germans would capture their equipment, bring it to Africa, where the British captured it from them; where I was waiting to check up on it. We learned a little. The weapons I learned in 1942 were the latest Tokarev modification of the Russian Model 1938 semi-automatic rifle, and were very fine weapons. Length is 48.22″ for the longest 1940 model, with the 1941 a few inches shorter. The rifles are light, running around 8.6 pounds. Caliber is of course 7.62mm, the weapon being designed for the rimmed Russian cartridge. Gasoperated, the gas port is in the top of the barrel, and bolt and operating handle on the right side of the receiver in same position it is on our M1 Garand. It has a hooded front sight, a tangent rear

sighted to 1,500 meters, and a normal bayonet stud and cleaning rod mounted beneath barrel. Stock is 3/4 length, with about a 6″ metal extension, perforated with round holes for cooling, which reaches to within about 6″ of total end of rifle. The muzzle has a very small diameter compensator and flashhider on it, which lengthens the rifle a few inches. The wooden portion of the hand guard has four elongated cooling holes or slots in each side. These rifles were all semi-automatic only, although it was rumored that the Russians did have some full-automatic models very similar, which used larger magazines. The Tokarev is a pretty good autoloader and as well adapted to production as our M1. The submachine gun appealed to the German mind as a fine weapon, though they fooled around and never put out any one model in any quantity excepting the Schmeisser Models 38 and 40. This is the familiar machine pistol, the all-metal and plastic “burp” gun with the folding stock and Buck Rogers styling. Originally intended as an in-between weapon, to replace pistols and rifles in the hands of special units such as paratroopers, motorcycle and bicycle troops, tank men and special guards, it became so popular that it seemed just about every fourth Kraut had one. The other three? One had a Mauser with a telescopic sight; one had a Spandau all to himself, with unlimited ammunition; and the fourth man had an 88. If you think I am exaggerating much, just ask the nearest guy who lived through Italy. Jerry really had firepower. The little squirt gun, which is the only German gun to our notion that deserves their name of machine pistol rather than be known as a machine carbine or submachine gun, has been ridiculed by a lot of people who should know better. Sure, it is no long-range gun and it shoots too fast and it looks funny, but it killed a lot of people just the same. There is nothing amusing about the way one sounds when the proprietor holds the trigger down a second or two. The 1938 model was de-improved slightly in 1940, which explains the two model numbers. The only differences are in manufacturing practices and all parts interchange between the two. In the 38 the pressed steel receiver is fluted for strength, the 40 round. The M40 was simply the 38 with all possible machining and manufacturing operations omitted or simplified. Late in 1942 an

improved type of bolt handle was brought out, allowing the bolt to be locked in the safety slot or notch at the rear position. In the previous bolts the handle was a plain curved finger piece riveted into the bolt and protruding through a slot on the left hand side of the receiver, the only safety being a cut in the receiver meeting this slot. The bolt was merely pulled back and turned upward until the handle was caught and held by the notch. This is of course a straight blowback weapon, firing from an open bolt. The Jerries had trouble; a lot of them managed to snag that handle on the back of the belt or the shirt or bandolier, with the result that it pulled out of the safety notch, the bolt flipped forward, scooped up a cartridge on the way and finished by shooting our superman in the leg or the seat of the pants, depending on how he had hung the gun on himself. It was even rumored that sometimes the bolt received a little unofficial help. In a lot of spots a nice clean 9mm hole through the calf of the leg or a gouge across the fanny can look like a damned good ticket out of a front line hole. I believe all the Schmeissers used were 9mm, even though an early experimental batch were made for a larger cartridge, called the 11.43mm or 11.45mm Schmeisser, which is generally believed to be none other than our .45 A.C.P. service cartridge, copied by the Germans. Some of these guns were reported used in Poland in 1939, but after that they disappeared and I have never even met or heard of anyone who has so much as seen a cartridge for those models. The machine pistol handled all loadings of 9mm M’08 Parabellum caliber. General opinion is that this “zipper gun” has a high cyclic rate, but it is really lower than the Thompson. Speed ranges from 450 to 600 RPM depending on both ammunition and tension of the recoil spring. The Italian M38 Beretta is rated at 550 RPM, the latest Thompsons we used at 700 to 800 (the Thompson M1 & M1A1) our M3 at 450. The Schmeissers used one type of magazine only, a 32-round bottom-entering double row type, which will interchange with one other submachine gun, the British Sten, which is a poor-relation copy of it, and which was made that way on purpose, so the British could use German clips; also the underground partisans in Europe to

whom the British guns were dropped from planes. The MP40, to give it the German designation, is 24.5″ long with shoulder stock folded, 33.5″ with it extended, weighs 8.25 pounds unloaded and has a 10” barrel. Front sight is an inverted V with fixed cover and rear sight is a fixed and folding-leaf combination with open V notches, the fixed leaf for 100 meters, the folding leaf for 200 meters. Effective range is about 50 meters, although the cartridge has excellent ballistics and the first shot can be dangerous at the full 200 meters if the operator could get it off clean. The moving bolt makes aimed fire impossible, however, more so than in the case of the other submachine guns. The Schmeisser could be fieldstripped, or dismantled for cleaning, without tools. Barrels could be removed, but required special spanner or combination wrenches. Replacement barrels were provided, and we had many captured parts for these weapons. The barrel catch is a bar of magnesium alloy along the bottom barrel, pinned at the front to the front sight base. The entire pistol grip and lower part of the trigger mechanism housing were covered with a thin plastic cover, usually a mottled brown in color. The front of this housing has horizontal grooves moulded in its sides and it is here that the left hand should hold the weapon when firing, and not touch the magazine. It is sometimes possible to use the magazine for a handle, but it may cause the gun to misfire if the housing is loose enough to allow your grip to shift the line of feed to the bolt. The gun fieldstrips easily, by pulling the knurled screw at bottom of forward end of trigger housing and turning it sufficiently to keep it from returning to its position (it is under spring tension) and then holding trigger back and turning the whole housing group a quarterturn to the left, which separates it from the tubular receiver and barrel assembly. The bolt and firing pin assembly are released at this time and slide out the back of the receiver. The operating spring is contained in a three-slide telescoping tube, with fixed firing pin attached to forward end. The bolt is machined to accept the firing pin, which therefore is under constant tension and protrudes constantly when the weapon is assembled. This little gun is not in the class of the Beretta M38 as a machine carbine, but it is short and handy and was a lot more successful than our attempted machine pistol—the M3—ever was.

The ease and cheapness of its manufacture kept the Germans from spending much time trying out better guns, especially after the war went into high gear in 1942. Hugo Schmeisser, the maker, was known before the war outside Germany principally as a manufacturer of small pistols, though, like most of the others, he made practically everything that would shoot, even double-barreled shotguns. In 1938 the company brought out a conventional machine carbine, it being designated the Schmeisser Machine Pistol 38 II to distinguish it from the MP38. This was a 9mm Parabellum submachine gun, weighing just under 9.5 pounds, overall length 33.25″, with a wooded 3/4 length stock and a perforated barrel jacket. It was sighted to 1,000 meters, was both semi and full-automatic and rated at the high cyclic rate of 800 RPM. A button in the trigger guard provided for change—pushed to left for full-automatic fire, to the right for singleshot or semi-auto. The safety is the slot in the receiver, as on the MP38 and 40, and the takedown was as simple: press the catch on rear of receiver and break receiver and barrel open like a single-barrel shotgun—they are hinged at tip of forend. Then shake and get the rest. This MP38 II also uses a 32-round double row magazine, entering the left-hand side of receiver and extending horizontally to the left, but it will not interchange with the MP38-40 magazines. Not so many of these turned up, and all were of prewar manufacture. The gun was primarily an export model, being used by Belgium. Under their listing it is the M1934 submachine gun, being based on the modified Schmeisser M1928 II. The MP38 II was the same model made a little lighter in weight and a little better in stock dimensions. Both models have tangent-curve rear sights from 100 to 1,000 meters. The Erma, an obsolete German submachine gun, is remarkable only for its rather crude workmanship. These guns were the product of the Erfurt Arsenal, which was a German manufacturing group who were a government outfit when they wanted to be and a civilian or commercial company the rest of the time. The real name is one of those compound German concoctions including everything but Hitler’s initials. They made all types of training equipment, rifles and Luger pistols, and accessories. Their submachine gun was sold abroad, and even used by France before the war! It was another

9mm Parabellum caliber semi and full-automatic weapon, with a slotin-receiver safety as on the Schmeisser and has a 3/4 length stock and slotted barrel jacket. Also sighted to 1,000 meters and used still another 32-round magazine, entering the left hand side of receiver. The ejection port is on the right, opposite the magazine opening. This is the only European submachine gun type weapon with a front hand grip, similar to our 1928 Thompson. On the Erma this foregrip is situated about six or seven inches in front of the trigger guard. The change lever, or fire control selector, was a lever on the right side of stock just above the trigger, but a man practiced in the use of the weapon need never use this; the automatic fire was controlled by a second trigger in the rear of the guard and semi-auto fire by the front trigger. When the front trigger was pulled—you didn’t squeeze ‘em off on this issue—you got a singleshot and if you kept pulling until the back of the trigger contacted the rear trigger, it went on full-automatic fire. The guns I fired were very easy to control for type of fire desired, but finish and general workmanship were far below the usual standard. The Erma is similar to the 1928 II Schmeisser in some respects and may have been copied from it. The French bought this model as the “Vollmer Erma.” When Hitler took Austria he also took over the M1939 SteyrSolothurn machine carbine, the S1-100 or S100 type, which was merely the 1934 or MP34 model brought up to date with practically no change. In fact, since he already had Austria in 1939, maybe his boys were responsible for the new model, but I hardly think so, as the caliber would have been changed to 9mm Parabellum in that case. The Austrian models, and all the guns of this type I ran into, were for the 9mm Mauser pistol cartridge, which used a case 25mm (about 63/64″) and the loaded cartridge was 1.375″ overall, against 1.172″ for the MP loading of the Parabellum, or M’08 Luger. This is the most powerful of the 9mm cartridges, approaching the .357 S. & W. Magnum cartridge in performance. It threw a 127-grain steeljacketed bullet at 1,500 FPS, according to the only European information I could get. I have read, and it is possible, that the Germans also used this model S100 chambered for the M’08 case. If so, it was not in Africa, at any rate.

The Steyr-Solothurn was very well made, with much more forging and milling apparent on its parts than any of the other machine carbines. Even the barrel jacket, perforated with round cooling holes, was a machined forging or steel casting, and not stamped of thin sheet steel as were all the rest. The weight was 9 pounds 7 ounces; length, 32.25″; stock, 3/4 length; sights, tangentcurve, 50 to 500 meters, with a blade front sight protected by ears or wings on the barrel jacket. Both semi and full-automatic fire are controlled by a lever regulator on the left hand side of the stock, sliding on a long metal bar inletted into the side of the stock above and forward of the trigger guard. The safety is a slide on the top of the receiver in front of the rear sight, exposing a “D” (Automatic) or an “E” (Semi) depending on which way you push it. The bolt handle or cocking lever is on the right hand side of receiver in the same position as on the Beretta M38. The rate of fire is quite high, being around 700 RPM. The 32-round magazine enters the receiver from the left hand side and projects horizontally, at right angles to barrel. The magazine housing or port extends out from the receiver a couple of inches and is so machined that the empty magazine may be held by a cut in the bottom while the top of the housing forms a loading guide, with clip slots to accept the Steyr or Mauser-type pistol clip, which is simply a long version of the five-round rifle clip or charger as is used in our bolt-action rifles. The ammunition is furnished in these 10-round clips and the operator merely strips three of them into his magazine and is set (these 32-round magazines were almost always used with 30 rounds, not 32; they work better that way). The Italians furnished their M38 9mm Parabellum ammunition in similar clips, but their loading device was separate and not incorporated into the gun. The Steyr-Solothurn was simple to take down, as the receiver has a cover its full length, hinged in front just to the rear of the magazine housing, on the same idea as the Browning machine guns. The catch or cover latch was a semi-circular slide at rear top of receiver. The only really odd feature about this gun is the fact that the recoil spring is in the buttstock and must be removed through a trap in the buttplate, unlocking from position on being given a half-

turn with a screwdriver. Sling swivels were provided, one on the butt and one underneath the muzzle, on the barrel jacket. The powerful cartridge made this, in my humble opinion, the most effective weapon in the world in the machine carbine class. The 126.5-grain bullets (my samples weigh that) move fast, which means more range. Of course, range is seldom important to a sub-gun, but it is nice to have sometimes. A guy I know ran into a couple of Japs on Luzon, while carrying a Thompson. They were 200 yards away and had rifles. The Japs got away and he got a bullet-hole through one of his best legs. He could shoot fair, too. But he did not have a gun to shoot 200 yards with, though he said he scared hell out of them. Steyrs would have been very popular had the ammunition been more plentiful, but apparently only the Austrian units received it in regular issue and it was far harder to obtain than the Luger cartridge. A few Model 1934 Bergmanns came in, both the short and long types. The original Bergmann was the first true machine carbine, appearing in the closing days of the first World War, and the later models were rather good. The Short Model was 33″, the Long Model 37″ overall, the difference being only in barrel and jacket length. Barrels were 7.75″ and 11.75″ respectively. All the Bergmanns we found were for the 9mm M’08 cartridge and used their own style of 32-round straight magazine, entering the right side of receiver. The action was very simple to operate, the cocking handle being in the form of a bolt handle similar to that of a bolt action rifle, located at the right rear side of the receiver and operated as in a rifle, being lifted to unlock and pulled back. It did not move during firing. A regular Mauser-type rifle bolt stop was provided on the left rear side of receiver. The jacket was slotted and extended beyond the end of barrel to form a compensator. The stock was 3/4 length, with fullbodied forend and full pistol grip. The usual tangent sight was graduated to 1,000 meters. Rated at 600 RPM, semi and fullautomatic, the Bergmann was the best of the German-made machine carbines, of the submachine gun class. The safety was on the left side of the receiver and, like the Erma, this was another number where one trigger controlled the fire. A light, quick pull gave singleshot fire, a harder pull all the way back contacted the full-

automatic control and gave machine fire. Weight was the main drawback, for the short model weighed 9.5 pounds and the long, 10.25 pounds, both weights unloaded, without magazine. As long as their supply of captured ammunition held out, the Afrika Korps used some Russian submachine guns. The one we tried out was a 1941 model, I believe a Federov design. It was not a modified Bergmann, as some writers have stated, nor was it the Russian copy of the Finnish Suomi, which was made by Russia as their M40, or 1940 model. They used the 7.63mm Mauser cartridge, a powerful .30 caliber bottleneck pistol cartridge, employing a light (approximately 86-grain) bullet at 1,400 FPS, in all their models of submachine guns, as well as their pistols. The M41 used a 71-round drum magazine and no other capacities were provided at that time, although I understand that in 1944 Russia brought out a 25-round straight magazine for this gun. Empty cartridges were ejected from the top of the receiver. The sight was adjustable and graduated in “paces,” up to 500 (the Russian pace was 28″, and they had sights for this particular weapon at least, in either pace or metric calibration). Overall length was 33″ with an 11″ barrel. Rate of fire was 600. According to German sources, the effective range was 300 meters as a singleshot, 200 meters in short bursts and 100 meters in long bursts. A change lever in the trigger guard, forward of the trigger, permitted choice of semi or full-auto fire. The bolt handle is fitted to bolt, located on right hand side of receiver and has a safety on its handle, to lock it in the open position, as the weapon of course fires from an open bolt. The wooden stock is short, stopping at magazine port. The receiver and barrel jacket are of one piece of formed sheet metal, the jacket being square, with rounded corners, in cross-section. At the muzzle the jacket is extended, forming a compensator and is not square on the end, but rather rakes downward with an overhanging effect. The rear of the receiver slopes back and down to meet the wood instead of the abrupt shoulder usually found on such arms. Takedown requires tools. In appearance this is one of the best, and the gun is not bad to handle, but what a loaded 71-round drum could do to it is not helpful. Weight unloaded is 8.6 pounds, loaded, 11 pounds, which is not too

bad. However, any arms man will rank this in the front row with the Beretta M38 and the Steyr-Solothurn. Germany brought out some mass-production automatic weapons in 1943, after I left that theatre, and in 1944 the boys ran into the MP43, or Machine Pistol Model 1943, which was a highpowered automatic carbine. The cartridge was the 7.9mm rifle case shortened to about the length of our M1 Carbine cartridge, and using a 125grain 7.9mm boat-tailed all steel bullet, plated with gildingmetal. The cartridge cases and primer cups were of steel, and velocities ran quite high. I have no reliable figures on the ballistics, but the most logical one is 2,300 FPS. The arm was truly a machine carbine and out of the submachine gun or machine pistol class, having an effective range of 500 meters as a semi-automatic, 250 meters as a machine gun. It was gas-operated and fired from a closed, locked breech, and had a gas port, cylinder, etc. as in conventional gas-operated weapons, but much easier to keep clean since the arm was of the quick-takedown type and all parts accessible with only the combination tool furnished with the gun and carried in the butt. Receiver, gas cylinder housing, pistol grip and the 30-round box magazine were all made of thin steel, stamped into shape and corrugated for strength. Because of the weak material, the guns were very frail and required careful handling. The least dent would make it tie up. A friend of mine who had several in his possession in Germany states that if the weapon merely fell over from a standing position, such as leaning against a wall, its own weight was sufficient to cause enough damage to put it out of operation in some cases. The front sight was high and blade was hooded, while the rear was of the slide tangent type. Stock was straight-line type, minimizing the tendency of the barrel to climb and a full pistol grip was provided, similar to their machine guns, or on the idea of the Thompson’s grip. The idea of the MP43 and the engineering or design was excellent, but the execution was terrible. With better material and less stamping it would be almost capable of replacing both rifles and automatic rifles, or light machine guns, as the bipod weapons are known in Europe.

In addition to the MP43, the Gewehr 43, or 1943 Rifle was produced, being the final model of the German 7.92mm semiautomatic rifle and using the same locking principle as the M41. The gas cylinder is omitted, and the operating rod is actuated by a short piston in the manner of our own .30 Carbine. Stock and hand guard do not reach to muzzle, but end at the three-quarter mark, leaving barrel free. The stock is almost identical in dimensions and fittings as the Mauser stock, having the same sling accommodations and cuptype buttplate. Stampings and steel castings were utilized as much as possible, and the Germans did achieve mass production of this type. The rifle is 43.9″ long, with 22″ barrel, weight 9 pounds. No provision is made for bayonet—one of the most sensible features— and sights are hooded front and tangent rear, adjustable 100 to 1,200 meters. Caliber is of course 7.9mm Mauser, and the magazine held 10 rounds as did the M41, and the rifle could be clip-loaded, having receiver slots as did the previous model. The really important feature is that the receiver is machined to take a production-line telescopic sight, so that every weapon was a potential sniper arm.

The German MG34, Caliber 7.9mm, without magazine or belt. The Solothurn

The German MG42, Caliber 7.9mm, without magazine or belt. The Spandau

Best of all shoulder arms was their Fallschermjaeger Gewehr 42 (Parachutist Rifle 42) a full-grown full-automatic 20-shot bipod rifle weighing 9.8 pounds. Using the 7.9mm rifle cartridge, it is stocked as are the German machine guns, on straight-line principle so that recoil will not make it climb. Pistol grip is also like that of the machine guns, and the muzzle is equipped with a compensator and—only foolish feature—a bayonet stud. Magazine enters from the left side, box type, straight. The gun is gas-operated, with gas port close to chamber. Barrel is 19″ long, overall length, 42″. The prize feature is its change lever, which allows it to fire from an open bolt automatically, but from a closed bolt semi-automatically, thus allowing far greater accuracy. Sights are high, but can be folded to take up little room. No wood is used, the arm being of pressed sheet steel and plastic for the most part.

XIII THE GERMAN LIGHT MACHINE GUNS Germany hit the jackpot on the light machine gun deal, bringing out a gun which had the firepower of a tripod gun and weighing only 26 pounds 2 ounces: complete with bipod, and capable of being handled by one man. This was the justly-famed MG34, the “Spandau” design which was credited to the Solothurn plant in Switzerland. Actually, details of the weapon were perfected by one Louis Stange in Sommerda, Germany, in 1928-29, for the Rheinische Metallwaaren und Maschinenfabrik, of Düsseldorf, Germany. Where the name “Spandau” came from, I don’t know, unless the type of bolt was taken from the old Spandau machine gun used by Germany on World War I aircraft. The same Louis Stange did most of the development work, even to the details of the buttstock assembly, according to patent reports available in this country. The MG34 was 7.9mm caliber, air-cooled, 48” long, could be fired either full or semi-automatically and was used on bipod, tripod, every type of vehicle mount, special AA mounts, and all other types of installation imaginable. It could be fired from the hip or from the shoulder, if you were strong enough to hold it up. It was designed to be, and was, the closest possible weapon to an all-round machine gun the world has seen yet. The Germans used it as an automatic rifle and as a heavy machine gun. While it could not equal a watercooled type in sustained fire, the quick-removable barrel did a lot toward keeping the firepower up. Beautifully designed for production manufacture, parts were interchangeable and numerous —each unit had its parts chest and it was seldom necessary to send

a gun to the shops for repair. Each gun had from one to three extra barrels, carried in formed metal cases. The speed of fire was its only weak point—according to British and American ideas it was too fast for a ground gun. The MG34 turned out from around 750 to 800 RPM, depending on condition of gun and type of mainspring. It used either non-disintegrating metal belts, or 75-round double-drum magazines, usually called the saddle bag magazine. A different cover, of stamped sheet steel, was used on the receiver for each type of feed. At the start of the war a 50round belt, fitted into a small drum, was used, with the belt feed cover, but these were of too small capacity for much good and therefore discontinued. In addition to the separate cover, a feed adaptor plate, of stamped metal, was fitted on the receiver locating on the cover pin. Belts came in 50 and 200-round capacity and belonged to the gun. Ammunition came in packages and the gun crew had to load their own. For this reason the 75-round double magazine was popular. It was easier to keep loaded than the belts and did not get beat up very often. It fed alternately from each side and the right follower assembly indicates the number of cartridges remaining in the drum, a nice bit of information at times. Barrel life was helped a little by the fact that it fired from an open bolt and therefore did not heat quite so rapidly as the closed bolt gun barrels. Empty cases were ejected from the bottom of the receiver, thrown forward. Barrel jacket was perforated with large holes and had quite a fitting at the muzzle end, including a short flashhider. The muzzle bearing acted as a gas cylinder and the rings machined on the end of the barrel acted as piston rings, for this design was recoiloperated, assisted by gas. The trigger contained the fire control as it had two finger places, the upper controlling a single shot sear for semi-auto fire and the lower moving the entire assembly for machine fire. This was the first of the straight-stocked or straight-line recoil stocked guns with high sights. The buttstocks and pistol grip stocks were of plastic and no wood appeared on any of these weapons. Since the thrust of recoil is straight back to the shoulder, the gun did not “climb” to any degree. In operation the barrel and bolt recoiled together about 1.5” before unlocking. The bolt had roller bearings to

decrease friction and speed the action. At least three types of mainspring were used, all of which seemed satisfactory. The gun may be disassembled almost completely without the use of tools, as it makes extensive use of spring catches and plungers and the interrupted screw system. The shoulder piece, or buttstock may be instantly removed by depressing its bottom-located catch and rotating a quarter turn; making the gun more suitable for mounted use. The original ground tripod provided was an elaborate job, with a recoil-operated ratchet mechanism which depressed and raised the rear end of the gun while firing, thus giving it a deeper cone of fire, or what is variously called searching, grazing or grasscutter fire. This mount also had optical sighting equipment and devices enabling it to be used for indirect fire (optical sights were not mounted on the gun itself at any time). With the type of bullet the Germans used, it was possible for them to lay down an effective machine-gun barrage between 2,000 and 3,500 meters. Maximum range of their cartridge was about 5,000 yards, out of their barrels, the rifle length being 23.4″, MG34, 23.5″. Elaborate machine work was lavished on the MG34’s—I found unnecessary knurling of sleeves and collars, chamfering and beveling of corners beyond reasonable manufacturing standards for such weapons. Blueing, or rather, blacking, was excellent, and most of the guns showed evidence of careful polishing and grinding. It was a beautiful job, but when the Allies started to shoot back, production was simplified and a model was put out as the MG34/41. The barrel was slightly shorter, the bolt was heavier and had more roller bearings and a somewhat different feed pawl and slide. The mainspring was made of two wires twisted together and then coiled, and the gun was fullautomatic only. The design was therefore shaded more to the machinegun side and away from the automatic rifle trend. Rate of fire was slightly slower than the 34, about 700 at best and usually around 600 to 650 RPM. The MG34/41 was better designed for defense than offense, which reflected the trend of the times. Several minor modifications were made to these two, but nothing of importance. I even found a barrel with a sleeved chamber, somewhat like our “floating chamber” .22 machine guns and pistols.

The Germans used these with regular 7.9mm ammunition, to lower the muzzle velocity by allowing part of the breech pressure to escape at the case mouth. I do not know why either. Unless maybe to allow indoor practice against backstops unable to stand full load power. In 1943 the Germans turned loose the MG42, the first real “punchpress” gun, with receiver, jacket, cover, and just about everything except barrel and bolt made of steel stampings. It followed the general idea of the MG34 in size, shape and purpose, but the details were entirely different. Weight complete was around 25 pounds. Magazine and belts are the same as used in the MG34, and it was operated by recoil and gas as was the 34, but with a slightly different principle. The bolt and barrel were locked together in a barrel extension by movable lugs on the head of the bolt, which were unlocked by short recoil action of the barrel and extension together, in a straight-line system. There was no turning locking collar or interrupted-screw arrangement as in the other German actions. The MG42 had the fastest barrel change of any machine gun in the world, accomplished by lowering the butt, snapping down the barrel catch at the right rear of the barrel jacket, which brought the rear end of the barrel out of the gun and gravity usually made it slide back and free of the weapon, untouched by human hands, which is good, because hot barrels are not pleasant to monkey with. The fresh barrel was pushed through the catch and up into the muzzle gland or bearing and the catch slammed shut, throwing the barrel into place. Barrel jackets were slotted down the right side for most of their length, to allow barrel removal and replacement. Headspace is conquered in this gun, and barrels are chambered short, allowing the barrel extension to govern headspace through locking action of the lugs. In a nutshell, the MG42 sets itself for minimum headspace according to each cartridge it chambers through regulation of the distance between shoulder in the chamber and face of the bolt by the tendency of the locking lugs or studs to turn as far as they can in their slots or recesses in the barrel extension. The barrel extension itself is a short rather heavy part firmly screwed on the breech end of the barrel, and not part of the gun mechanism as in most machine guns.

The MG42 could be used on all the mounts furnished for the MG34, with the exception of tank fittings, which of course must fit the barrel jackets. The MG34 jacket is round in cross-section, the 42 square, with rounded corners. When I first turned a 42 loose I was really surprised, for it sounded like a new zipper. Rate of fire was about 1,100 to 1,200 RPM and I believe a straight belt of armorpiercers might run 1,300. That is fast—too fast, by our ideas, but the Krauts evidently thought it OK. They always seemed to have plenty of ammunition too. All three of the German infantry guns, the MG34, MG34/41, and MG42 had essentially the same sighting equipment. Front sights were inverted-V blades mounted on folding posts, and rear sights, offset slightly to the left, were V-notch open types, with folding columns, reading from 200 to 2,000 meters. Large ring-type antiaircraft sights were provided for the guns, both front and rear types being extra equipment for the MG34 and MG34/41, and a built-in rear aperture on the base of the rear sight being available on the MG42. A few of the other machine guns are interesting to mention, such as the MG81, which was a type similar to the MG34, but smaller. The interesting part is that it was twins, composed of two separate guns hooked together with one sight, pistol grip and trigger. It was an airplane gun, but not of the type exemplified by our M2 Browning which could be mounted in a twin mount also. The MG81 was a twin gun unit and could not separate into two complete units. This job used two 500-round disintegrating-link metallic belts, and used them at the rate of 1,200 cartridges per gun per minute, upward, or a total of approximately 2,500 RPM on a smooth gun. Nobody would ever let me shoot this much because it burned up too much ammunition! A modification of this gun turned up with a rear-located ring and cable cocking arrangement instead of operating handles, and this gun would take either the disintegrating MG81 belts or the nondisintegrating MG34 belts. I witnessed the test on this. The MG81’s could really shell out bullets though, and I always thought they were probably the reason why it was a court-martial offense in Tripoli to be caught with a gun in German air raids at night (for shooting at the

planes). If the German gunners were irked at small arms fire they could really put the boys under cover by getting their pilot to make a low run over a camp and run a few belts through the guns. The MG15 was another high-speed gun, also an aircraft type, which was modified for ground use. It weighed just 15.75 pounds, was 42.5″ long overall and almost every part could be made by machinery of the turret lathe type. Rate of fire was up to 1,200 RPM, and the last made models use either type of belt and magazines. The earlier guns used only the 75-round magazines. As issued for ground use, it was equipped with magnesium adaptors to take the MG34 bipod and a straight metal tubing shoulder stock was attached to the rear of the receiver with a strap-wrench clamp. The barrel jacket was small in diameter and of thin metal, fitted to the receiver. The receiver was tubular and consisted of a couple of thicknesses of steel tubing covered with a plastic housing on its rear section. The bolt had its locking lugs at the rear end, equipped with roller bearings, and an aluminum handle fixed to it. The pistol grip usually had wooden stocks and always a catch to provide for holding the weapon from undesired movement when not in action (undoubtedly a holdover from its original function as an aircraft cockpit or turret gun). Takedown was simple—a movable ring around the receiver which acted as the safety by blocking the bolt from closing when set —and when set, a little spring catch could be pressed and the receiver rotated one-quarter turn to the left and separated at that point, the bolt and recoil spring remaining in the butt section, held by the safety and of course available at the movement of the safety. The barrel and its extension were removed from the front section or breech and barrel assembly. The barrel extension was part of the action and removed with the barrel as in the Browning. Barrels were therefore not quickremovable as in the other arms. The MG15 was also patented by Louis Stange, in 1930, and assigned to Rheinische Metallwaaren und Maschinenfabrik, in Düsseldorf. Mr. Stange was a busy and brilliant little boy, and you will note that these highly modern weapons were developed quite awhile before Hitler started “rearming” Germany. No secrets, either, for the development of all types of automatic arms was done openly and foreign patent rights secured.

The British liked to mount MG15’s on jeeps and trucks, and they were, I believe, the initial arm of that unorthodox Eighth Army organization which became famous in Italy as “Popski’s Private Army,” whose mission was to tour the rear areas—the enemy’s rear areas— and shoot up everything moving. They ended up with each jeep having a .50 and a .30 Browning and a gunner for each, besides the driver. Of conquered light machine guns, or automatic rifles as we would call them, Jerry used only two in Africa. The Czech BRNO and the Belgian Herstal, both 7.9mm caliber, were considered satisfactory. Both are gas-operated light bipod guns. The BRNO was the original Bren gun and similar to the British model, although much older. We did not know the model number and called it the BRNO (Bruno) after the manufacturing arsenal, the Ceskoslovenska Zbrojovka Akciova Spolecnost v Brno, at Brno or Brne, Czechoslovakia. We could pronounce Brno as “Bruno,” so that is the name. The gun itself was well-built and used a 30-round top magazine. About the only unusual feature was that it had a spring system under the buttplate to cut down recoil, and this worked fairly well. The Herstal was nothing but the Belgian version of our Browning Automatic Rifle, and indeed, a good many of the parts will interchange! We called it the Herstal, because it was made in the Fabrique Nationale plant, at the city of Herstal, Belgium and was so marked. It bore no model numbers, but definitely was not the F.N. Model 30 machine rifle used by the Belgians. Probably an export model. The principal differences between the Herstal and our BAR are in the mechanism controlling the speed of fire—where the BAR uses a spring and weight inertia delay system to slow the rate of automatic fire, the Belgian gun uses a ratchet and gear affair in the trigger group. The wheels and gears can be heard moving around when the gun is operated by hand without firing. Like the BAR, the Herstal is full-automatic only, its high rate about 800 and low cyclic, 400 RPM. Except for slight cooling flanges on the barrel of the latter, the outward appearance of the two is identical. Rommel’s outfits used a couple of smallbore anti-tank weapons on our vehicles with some success for a couple of years. These were

the German Pz.B (Panzarbuchse, or “armor gun”) M38 and M39, and the Polish M35. The German guns were quite similar despite the fact that the M38 was a self-ejecting singleshot with a spring-recoil mechanism and the M39 a manually-operated falling-block singleshot. Both used the same special 7.9mm large cartridge, the Patr. 318. The M38 weighed about 28 pounds, had a bipod, and approximately a 48″ barrel. Overall length of the rifle, with stock in firing position, was around 62″. The operating handle was on the righthand side of the receiver and when pulled operated the entire recoil system and dropped the breechblock. When fired, the breech remains open for loading by hand and is closed by touching a latch on the rear of the pistol grip, like a grip safety on a Colt .45, releasing the recoil spring and allowing the action to close. A shell deflector is hinged to the receiver and the stock is hinged to left side of the pressed-steel frame, allowing it to fold forward to shorten the unit. Ten-round cartridge boxes may be attached to the receiver for fast loading. Sights are fixed and non-adjustable, for 300 meters only (328 yards). In the spring of 1943 an officer approached me with the idea of finding out what this M38 could do, as he had a gun in perfect condition. I scratched my head, gymnasticated * the rifle, tried to look intelligent, and finally gave my opinion that it would penetrate 1/2″ armor at 100 yards, but not much more. He brought out a side plate from a Grant tank, which was a trifle over 3/4″ laminated armor plate. I thought we would only crater this, as it was considered extremely good plate. We headed out in the sand away from the camp in an Italian motor wagon (I would not compliment it by calling it a truck) and at a distance beyond the hearing of possibly disapproving colonels, we set up the plate, backed off 100 yards and I laid the rifle across a box and fired. The bullet went through the plate as though it was not there; its incendiary base flew away on the other side, but the core kept on traveling. One of the officers watching from an angle said he saw it strike the sand further out and that it appeared not to have altered its flight in any way. In other words, the 3/4″ armor did not even have much effect on the trajectory. I later learned this

outfit could penetrate 11/4″ (30mm) armor at 100 yards. Recoil was negligible, and less than from a regular military rifle. *(That word “gymnasticate” may have a few of you on the ropes, but is simply an ordnance term meaning the artificial operation of the recoil mechanism of a weapon. Usually it is applied only to artillery, but is perfectly proper for any weapon operated by or having a recoil system. When you push back on the barrel of an autoloading shotgun or a Colt .45 pistol, you are gymnasticating the arm.) The M39 rifle has much the same dimensions, but only the shoulder piece of the stock can be folded. It has no recoil system and is equipped with a muzzle brake to reduce recoil. Weight is 26 pounds. The Polish M35 Anti-tank rifle used the special long 7.9mm M35 ammunition, called by the Germans Patr. 318 Polish, and is only slightly less powerful than the German guns. This is just an overgrown Mauser bolt action repeater, having a five-shot magazine and normal bolt, extractor and bolt release. Safety is positive, as the cocking piece or firing pin is turned one-quarter turn by pulling and rotating the ring at rear of bolt. The barrel was long and slim, about 47.4″, with muzzle brake. Weight, 19.8 pounds; overall length, 70.1″. The magazines were detachable, being box type. Stock is 1/2, with bipod at tip of forend. Sights were fixed at 300 meters. In appearance it resembled a huge sporting rifle. Workmanship was excellent and the Germans seemed to like them as well as their own guns, even though they supplied most of them to the Italians. What really gave me trouble was the 20mm Solothurn Anti-tank rifles. I somehow got mixed up with a batch of these being test fired at the British base and I have not been the same since. The 20mm is too much cartridge to shoot from a shoulder gun. These big rifles are 120 pounds of semi-automatic bipod gun and very rough on the firer, in spite of the muzzle brake and spring and rubber shoulder piece. They had a good, but heavy, 2.75X telescopic sight. I should mention the Neuhausen machine carbine somewhere, which gun really deserves the name. An obsolescent type of German submachine gun, it had a barrel length of approximately 19″ and an overall length of 40″. Stock and hand guard extend to within about 4″

of end of barrel, and without its long 40-round bottom magazine it resembled at first glance one of the “short rifles” used in Europe, due to the full stock, and the four slanting finger-grooves in forend. It was just another 9mm blowback, with tangent sight to 1,000 meters and a cocking handle of same general size, shape and location as that on our M1 carbine or M1 rifle. The long barrel made this a much better balanced arm than the usual submachine gun and gave good ballistics, but unfortunately the guns were made in full-automatic style only, unable to be used for single shot work. I was told that some magazines were issued with cuts in the side which were contacted by a spring arm on the magazine housing which prevented bursts of more than 10 shots. In spite of the size, the long-barreled machine carbine weighed only 9.25 pounds, without magazine. Most of the guns were used in Germany by police and guard units, or so I was told by the British; I never actually handled the gun myself. I think the last German development was the Zf. Ger. 38, found in 1945. This was a pressed sheet-metal weapon, costing very little to produce, and was a 7.9mm blowback-operated fixed-position gun. A long tubular receiver held a strong spring and a round bolt with fixed firing pin. A trigger mechanism was mounted on top of the receiver, consisting of a springloaded sear to catch the bolt and a V camming block to move the sear. Pull arms were attached to this block or trigger, parallel to the barrel, and the weapon was fired by moving either arm, usually by pull or trip wires. The machine gun was used as either a booby-trap, a remotecontrolled machine gun, or a combination of the two. It had three stamped legs, of thin steel, with holes in their lower ends so that they could be staked, nailed or tied to whatever base was used. The bolt handle or cocking lever was as on the Schmeissers, working through a slot on the right side. Very crude sights, which also could be used as “pulleys” or eyelets for guiding the trigger wires, were the only aiming equipment. The cartridge used was the standard 7.9mm rifle cartridge, full load, but was usually oiled to help in feeding through the long 70round horizontal box magazine, inserted in the left side of the receiver. Height was only 10.5″, and although the overall length was 42.25″, the barrel was only about 7.5″ long. It was threaded on the

end for a flashhider. In use, the Zf. Ger. 38 was laid to cover a certain direction and wired so that it could be fired from a distance, possibly by troops approaching, by booby-trapping bushes, fences or doors. In any reference to foreign military weapons, muzzle brakes and flashhiders come into the conversation. Flashhiders are nearly always just an open-front metal cone attached to the muzzle of machine guns, and I could never see that they were ever very effective in confining the muzzle blast. Both Russians and Germans had very efficient combination flashhiders and smoke-dampers for use on sniping rifles, but these were large cylindrical attachments, not suitable for automatic arms. Muzzle brakes were designed to reduce recoil and take some of the load from the recoil mechanisms of artillery pieces. Who originated the large gun application I do not know, but the first real small arms brake * was the American “Cutts Compensator” designed by the U.S.M.C. officer Cutts. It has been used to a small extent on commercial rifles, to rather wide use at one time on Thompson submachine guns and today is literally a “must” on the twelve gauge autoloading shotguns favored in skeet shooting. In the latter application varying removable tubes are provided for use in the front of the compensator, which regulate the choke. Recoil is reduced as much as 40% in some cases. The model devised for the submachine gun was not so satisfactory. Theoretically its main purpose was to “hold the muzzle down,” but in reality it had little effect on controlling either recoil or climb, and was dropped from use early in the war. It helped some, but not much. The model designed for .30 caliber rifles was and is very effective, cutting the recoil as much as 50%, and two or three men who have used them on .30-06 rifles state they take even more, reducing recoil to almost nothing. Cost was low, and I have often wondered why the device did not become more popular for use on the heavy recoil hunting rifles. *Springfield Armory experimented with muzzle brakes before the 1st World War—but their first application of such attachment was on the Lewis Aircraft machine guns about the years 1917-1918. The Cutts rifle compensator achieves its braking action in a different manner than the usual European muzzle brake, in that it is

tapered to a smaller diameter at its front than at its center, and is slotted vertically for most of its length. The foreign small arms brake was usually a plain recoil-reducer, but some submachine gun models were also compensating types for aiding in overcoming the tendency of the muzzle of the weapon to climb, or rise during firing. Those used on anti-tank rifles were strictly brakes for counteracting the direct back thrust of the barrel under recoil force. Braking action was developed by force against a plate or series of plates at right angles to line of bore, and the attachment was largest at the forward extremity. The principle of a muzzle brake is simple, being to erect a partial barrier to the escaping gases while naturally permitting the bullet or projectile to pass. The gases forcing the bullet out of the barrel are of course expanding and moving at high velocity, coning out as they leave the bore; if a plate is placed a short distance from the muzzle, with an aperture for the bullet to pass through, a large portion of the moving gases will blast against it, forcing it forward, so if the plate or barrier is attached to the barrel, it has a strong pull forward on the gun. Since the force of recoil exists and is moving the gun to the rear at the same time, the opposing forces tend to neutralize each other, with the result that recoil can be reduced to a large degree. Muzzle rise can be reduced by setting the blast plate at an angle, as if it is over ninety degrees from line of bore (vertically, of course) above line and less than ninety below, the forward pull of the brake is also slightly downward. Usually the braking area is square to the bore and the gas escape ports are larger on the upper portion of the brake body, or sides, to serve the same purpose of keeping the muzzle down, by allowing the gas to escape easier at top than at bottom. For shoulder rifles a brake need not be very long or large in diameter, since the blast of gas does not cone out or spread too greatly immediately upon passing from the barrel, and its force is powerful enough to act upon even a small area effectively. I have not yet had an opportunity to experiment, but believe that an inside diameter of 1″ will handle even the .375 H. & H. Magnum cartridge very well. The sides, or body of the brake are very important, since they must control the final escape, release and dissipation of gas.

Narrow slots, wide slots, small holes, large holes, wide openings, large and small tolerances on the bullet port—all have different effects on recoil reduction. The simplest muzzle brake I ever saw was that used on the Solothurn 20mm AT rifle and consisted of just a block of steel threaded to the end of the barrel, bored straight through for passage of the shell, and having horizontal holes drilled straight through from side to side for gas escape. They came in three, four and five-hole sizes—the more holes the more brake effect, and no baffle or blast plate was used, the only thing to catch and divert muzzle gases being the holes at right angles to bore which received a portion of the expanding blast. The universal effect of all muzzle brakes is to increase the report and flash as they splash the noise and gas sideways, close to the shooter. Anyone who turns up at a rifle match with a muzzlebraked rifle will be highly unpopular with the men shooting beside him. I will guarantee that.

XIV THE GERMAN PISTOLS When we get around to pistols used by the armies I can keep things pretty well under control, but to include everything used in Europe, particularly in Germany itself, is impossible. The civil populations on the Continent had every type of pistol made since gunpowder was introduced, and the soldiers and guerrillas of course got hold of them and used them. In Africa, practically no one but the military had pistols to start with, so the official or regulation models were by far the most numerous. The official sidearm of the German Army—and of a few other armies, too—was the Model ‘08 Borchardt Parabellum Lueger Pistol, caliber 9mm, world-famous for two generations. The cartridge is known internationally as the 9mm Parabellum, and if you asked a German what the gun was, he’d say the “ ‘08 pistol,” or if he were up on his guns, he’d say “Parabellum pistol.” The name Lueger was no more familiar to the average German than the name Garand was to the average U. S. draftee. The basic invention, of the recoil-broken toggle-joint locking system, was by the American designer Borchardt, around 1890, whose weapon was redesigned and greatly improved by the German, Lueger, the man whose name, corrupted to Luger has come to be inseparably associated with the pistol. It was considered the first completely successful autoloading handgun, incidentally. The English-speaking world calls it the “Luger” and its cartridge the 9mm Luger. These Luger pistols have been made in calibers from .22 to .45, inclusive, but the only successful and popular ones have proven to be the 7.65mm and 9mm, and the first has fallen by the wayside years ago though ammunition is still loaded for the older guns. Approximately true .30 caliber, the 7.65mm bottlenecked case came

first and when more power was needed, the case was left straight, for the 9mm. The two pistols, 7.65mm and 9mm, were identical in every part except for barrels and recoil springs. Both cartridges are rimless type. Before 1910, when the U. S. was attempting to locate a good autoloader to replace the old .38 revolver of that time, for a service pistol, the Government ordered many test pistols from Germany, most of which were Lugers in 7.65mm, 9mm and .45 A.C.P. caliber, made by the Mauser factory. Trials proved it unsatisfactory compared with the Browning .45 design, which, made by Colt, Remington, and Ithaca, is still our principal military pistol. The 9mm Parabellum cartridge is sometimes written 9mmP or 9mm Par. to distinguish it from the ordinary 9mm M’08, which is the same cartridge with lower-pressure load and which is written as 9mm, without any other abbreviation or information of any kind. If, in reading European cartridge lists or catalogs, the caliber of a weapon is given as 9mm, that means the arm is for the Luger cartridge, and if it is given as 9mm Parabellum, it means that the arm will take the most powerful military loads, or in general, all high-pressure cartridges. “Parabellum” has come to mean “high-power” to Europeans. The true designation, “M’08,” serves only to identify the physical size of the cartridge and not what is in it. German military regulations called for only one model, the shortbarreled 9mm, with fixed sights. Overall length, 217 millimeters, or about 817/32″; barrel length, from rear or chamber face of barrel, 100 millimeters, or 315/16″; external barrel length, from receiver, 81.3mm, or 313/64″. I give these precise lengths because I am irritated by seeing the barrel length given in different manuals and publications as being everything from 31/16″ to 41/2″, some of the short lengths evidently being due to measurements taken from external barrel. For holster measurements, the gun has a 4″ barrel, all pistol barrels being rated by total length and not by length from receiver or frame edge or shoulder. The German regulation Luger weighed 32 ounces empty, 35.5 ounces loaded with normal M’o8 pistol cartridges. Magazine capacity, eight cartridges, and no special drums or large capacity

magazines were employed. The total number of parts in the weapon was 42. Sights, non-adjustable, the front an inverted V, a tapered blade approximately .040″ wide at top, made in three different heights, so if you knew the right German armorer you might be able to get your sights lined up somewhat, since windage could be zeroed, or horizontal alignment achieved by driving the front sight laterally in its dovetailed notch. The rear sight was just a V machined in the rear link of the bolt toggle. The jointed bolt mechanism was of course the means of locking and unlocking the weapon, since with the bolt closed, it was straight and back thrust of the cartridge stopped. When the weapon was fired, barrel, with receiver and bolt recoiled a short distance locked together, and when the round knobs on the bolt link contacted the angled sides or shoulders on the frame they were cammed upward, and the bolt being hinged, the straight-line lock was broken and the bolt free to recoil the full distance necessary to handle the cartridge. The recoil spring is in the butt, back of the magazine well, and connects to the toggle mechanism through two links. A hooked guide, or rather, strut, named the recoil spring lever bar, passes through the coil spring and hooks onto the lower link, pinned into the frame. The upper link is pinned into the rear link of toggle joint and engages the lower link when the gun is assembled properly. Tension of the recoil spring is therefore always pulling down, tending to straighten and close the bolt. Nomenclature is always slightly confusing on the Luger, as the word “receiver” applies to the part in which the barrel is screwed in permanent attachment, and is not interchangeable with the word “frame” as in usual practice. The frame of the Luger is the metal framework of the butt assembly. The Luger has a magazine release or catch in button form located just back of the trigger on the left hand side, in approximately the same position as found on the Colt service pistol. The sideplate of the Luger contains the lever connecting the trigger with the sear and is the key part of the arm, being retained by the little locking bolt with knurled head just forward of the trigger. To take the gun down for cleaning or disassembly, the bolt is opened (or the barrel and receiver pushed back in the recoiled position by hand) and the

locking bolt rotated downward, freeing the sideplate and permitting the barrel and bolt assembly to slide forward and free of the frame. The coupling links disconnect themselves from each other, so that the recoil spring is not affected in disassembly. The firing pin is straight-line type and is self-contained with its spring and guide, in the bolt, and is cammed to the rear by action of the forward link of the toggle. Its fall is quite short and fast. Because of having several connecting parts moving, trigger-pulls are usually bad—creepy and long. Once in awhile a gun appears with a fair pull. Newer type firing pins have three flutes in their forward shoulder, to allow gas to escape back around the pin in case of pierced primers. The safety on the military model M’o8 was just a thumb lever on the left hand side of the frame at the rear, which actuated a sliding bar in the frame to block the sear from moving out of engagement with the firing pin. The firing pin itself is not locked in any way. The pistols are top ejecting, and the extractor is pinned in the top of the bolt. When a cartridge is held by the extractor it is raised so that the word “geladen” (loaded) can be read, thereby indicating a cartridge in the chamber. With no cartridge under it, the extractor is down, its top flush with the bolt surface. All guns were made with the attaching spur for shoulder stock machined on the butt, though none of the old-style shoulderstockholsters were issued. I never saw a stock attachment for a Luger anywhere during the war nor did I ever find anyone who will swear he saw any in use by German forces anywhere. But the spur is on the guns. Holsters were all of very good quality black leather, of the box or case type completely enclosing the entire weapon, with an outside pocket for one extra clip or rather, magazine, and an inside pocket for the Luger combination tool, which is a magazine loading aid as well as a screwdriver to remove stock screws with. It is used to help depress the follower button. No tools whatever were required for fieldstripping for cleaning; however, cleaning rods themselves for the pistol were conspicuous by their absence, seldom being found even in armorer’s tool chests. The Mauser rifle rod was generally used. The only changes made in the pistols, aside from making some stocks of plastic and some of wood, concerned the magazines.

These were improved considerably in strength by being made of seamless steel tubing, machined on the outside and blued. Prior to this modification all magazines were of two pieces of thin steel, stamped to shape and into a unit by folded seams. They were usually bright in finish, either tin or nickel-plating and a few of stainless steel. The old models had “bottom pieces”—the plug with round buttons for holding between thumb and forefinger—or either wood or aluminum, pinned to rear section of magazine. The lower edge of the magazine itself was flush with the frame of the pistol when inserted. The newer magazines had bottom pieces of either aluminum or black plastic pinned straight through the middle of the round button. When inserted in the pistol, the forward edge of the magazine protrudes about 1/4″. Bottom pieces are not interchangeable between the two types. The machined one-piece magazine is much to be preferred, as it is far sturdier and much less liable to pick up dents which might cause feed trouble. I do not know just when this change in specifications was put through, but believe it was a wartime measure, since both types were found in 1942, the new model becoming numerous in 1943.

German Paratroop auto rifles or light machine guns. 1. 7.92mm FG42 Paratroop rifle. 2. 7.92mm FG42 modified Paratroop rifle.

German MP43, caliber 7.9mm (Short). A true machine carbine effective through 400 yards.

Serial numbers on Lugers were deliberately confusing, as the Germans did not like to have people adding up numbers and estimating production figures, so they organized a code-series system, which is no military secret now, but which I have never completely solved. In general, a letter, in script form, stamped on the front of the frame below the barrel designates the series, while a number, usually three digits, never over four, directly over the letter is the serial in the series. The barrel and receiver were stamped with the last three digits of this number, the remaining parts excepting breech bolt and toggle parts being stamped with the last two digits. The toggle and breech bolt assembly have their own number, presumably an assembly number; a great many guns have “12” for this number (an “assembly” to a soldier or armorer means two or more parts pinned, screwed or otherwise attached together which are not to be disassembled, but in case of trouble the entire unit or assembly is to be replaced). The year of manufacture is stamped on top of receiver ring over the chamber. So far this is fairly simple, but what I have not yet found out is the arsenal or factory marking system.

There were several different manufactories for these pistols, as for Mauser rifles. Erfurt was said to be one of the biggest and best plants. The heck of it is, we do not know when or how often they changed their codes. I found one Luger with a couple of letters stamped in the receiver and was happy, figuring I now had the system started to break, but they turned out to be the same as the letters which I had already decided identified the Carl Walther plant at Zella Mehlis, Germany, so I just gave up. I know Walther positively did not make Lugers, though they made just about everything else below the automatic-weapon class. Germany stopped making Lugers in 1943, and the last ones made were finished in gray, with poor polishing and not very careful workmanship. I have two M’08 pistols and like them very well, but I have no respect for them. A lot of people—who usually prove not to know much about pistols as a rule—think the “Looger” the only handgun in the world. They are greatly impressed by the “different” outline, its “pointability,” the balance in the hand and the knobs and ramps on the rear end. It is different! And it must be good or those smart Germans would not have used it so long! True, the gun does lie in the hand very well, the grip is excellent, it does not feel heavy and it is an easy gun to shoot. Despite the powerful cartridge, recoil is scarcely felt. In the last two points are the great military virtues of the Luger—the average soldier, or officer, who in the vast majority of cases never gets enough practice with his hand and shoulder weapons to become even semi-skilled with them can pick up this pistol and come much closer to hitting his mark with it than with any other major military autoloading pistol. A thousand times in the war I was asked “Which is better, a Luger or a Colt .45?” and I always answered that in my opinion it was a toss-up—with a Luger the average man is more likely to connect, but if he does not hit a vital spot he may not put the enemy down, and with a .45 he will put him down with a hit almost anywhere in the body or leg, but will probably miss completely if said enemy is over 10 feet away. I added that the Colt is more to be relied upon. There is absolutely no question whatever about the Luger being easier to handle—I proved that to my own satisfaction, deliberately

picking men who knew only the basic fundamentals of pistol shooting and having them fire both guns at different ranges. They got much better results with the German gun. The cartridge of course has some bearing on shooting beyond point-blank range, for the flatter trajectory of the 9mm allows a just average pistol shot like myself to become dangerous up to 200 yards, since it is not necessary to aim at the moon to get sufficient elevation, as with a .45 (I shot a match once in prewar years and became officially A Marksman, according to National Rifle Association rating; there is no lower rating). However, there are a couple of things wrong with the Luger: first, and not very important from a military point of view, it is difficult to put a good trigger-pull on it; and second, very important, they are all very fussy about ammunition, as manufactured for military consumption. Having weak extraction, the cartridge case must be pretty high-grade for the gun to function properly. The brass must be good, not hard and not soft. Lugers positively will not handle steelcased ammunition reliably and it was for this reason Germany made great efforts to produce substitute pistols, adopting the 1938 Walther, which will handle steel cases perfectly. I have tried the steel-cased ammunition, made expressly for the Luger pistol, in at least a halfdozen guns and it was rare that a gun would fire a complete magazine of eight cartridges without jamming, while brass cases gave no trouble unless dirty or out of shape. In tying up, or jamming, the extractor hook slips over the rim of the fired case and leaves it in the chamber; the bolt continues to the rear and picks up a fresh cartridge on its way forward again, pushing it halfway out of the magazine, and stops with the bullet against the head of the fired case, still in the chamber. So far as fast corrective action is concerned the operator is now up the creek and if the enemy is within range, the proper procedure is to throw the whole gun at his head and if possible leave the premises while he ducks. The magazine will not drop out, since the top cartridge is half in the receiver, so three hands are needed: one to hold the toggle back and keep the bolt open; one to hold the gun steady with; and one to reach in and push the half-loaded cartridge back in the magazine (this operation is usually easiest accomplished with the little finger, or pinky). Then the magazine release button is

pressed and the magazine falls into the dirt, or is caught with the third hand. It is now possible to let the bolt snap shut, again seating the extractor hook in the extracting groove of the recalcitrant, or uncooperative, case. By holding a thumb firmly down on the extractor to prevent it again slipping out of the groove, it is usually possible to extract the case by slowly opening the bolt with the other hand. In any case it is naturally easy to just push it out from the muzzle end with a short rod through the barrel. I have known of common pencils being used. With practice jams can be cleared with two hands. Naturally, this weakness made the supermen peevish and they tried to make the Walther the service weapon, but because of the long-established plentiful manufacturing facilities for the M’08 and the fact that Walther could not produce their model in sufficient quantity until 1943, the Luger was made in large numbers. The Luger can be classed as a “good” semi-automatic pistol, but there are several better ones. I would never trust my life to one, no matter how well it performs in practice, though the temptation is great, for the weapon is one of the most accurate types ever made. The M’08 pistol’s weakness regarding ammunition and the modern design of the Walther Army 9mm Model pistol resulted in the adoption of this as the new official sidearm for officers, the model being designated P.38, for “Pistole 38,” 1938 being the year of origin. The P.38 has received so much publicity that almost everyone interested at all in guns is familiar with it. It was the only successful heavy double-action, or self-cocking, autoloading pistol, none of the other weapons of this type to date being full-size military arms. To fire it was not necessary to thumb-cock the exposed hammer for the first shot, as in other outside hammer semi-automatics such as our .45. A pull of the trigger cocked and fired the weapon as in double action revolvers, and of course after the first shot the hammer remained cocked and the trigger-pull was correspondingly lighter. The grip was very well shaped to the hand, and the weight of pistol was to the rear as in the Luger. The safety was a firing-pin lock type, located on the left side of the slide convenient to the thumb. If the hammer was cocked and the safety applied, the hammer was tripped and fell, but it could not

discharge the weapon, as the safety engaged and locked the firing pin before the hammer contacted it. This was a positive and dependable manual safety when in normal condition, but it had a couple of deep machine cuts in it and could break off a segment, allowing the gun to be discharged if thrown when the hammer was back. Usually a broken safety will be inoperative and readily noticed, but a person unfamiliar with weapons might beat on it and end up by shooting holes in the house not on purpose. In addition to the thumb safety, a spring-loaded vertical plunger in the slide acted as a mechanical safety by keeping the firing pin locked to the rear, or against forward motion, except when the slide was completely forward and the gun in firing condition. This was depressed by movement of a floating part activated by the hammer coming to cock in conjunction with sear movement. Therefore the pistol could not be discharged accidentally should the hammer be struck while down and the safety off, or by being dropped and landing on the hammer. Firing pins were full length contact type, not the short inertia kind as in most Brownings. The Walther P.38 would swallow any type of 9mm M’08 ammunition regardless of case material or power, and was completely safe with even the most powerful cartridge. Anyway, all the P.38’s we used to have would and did, as we shot anything that would fit the chamber. Although it did not look particularly strong, the slide would take a lot of pressure. In addition to the double action mechanism, Walther incorporated another feature of their small world-famous PP and PPK model pistols—that of the cartridge indicator. This was nothing but a spring-loaded pin inside the slide extending from the face of the slide, or breech, to the rear end. Tension was to keep the pin forward therefore when a cartridge was chambered and the action closed, the pin was forced to the rear and protruded approximately 1/4″ just above the hammer when it was in the lowered position. At any time it was possible to tell by sight or feel whether or not a cartridge was in the chamber and the gun ready for action. I do not know why I should talk of P.38’s as if they were something strange in the obsolete gun line: thousands exist as useful pistols today and are the most modern military arms out.

P.38’s have slide locks or catches similar to our .45, on the left side of the receiver, and remain open on the last shot. Pressure on this catch by thumb allowed the slide to close, regardless of the magazine’s presence or absence, loaded or unloaded. The pistol could be fieldstripped without tools very easily. Magazines were of formed sheet steel, spotwelded into a tube, without any hold-down button for the follower, essentially similar to Colt magazines. The magazine catch was on bottom of butt and operated exactly as in our .22 semi-auto pistols, retaining the rear edge of magazine bottom under the lip of the catch. The Walther was a well-engineered arm and very reliable. It should not be, but it was. The reason I think it should not be reliable is the fact that it had more parts than two alarm clocks, and as a rule, the simpler a gun is, the better. Compared with the Luger, Colt .45 or the Beretta, it was a complicated weapon and must have been a headache to set up for manufacture in quantity. Someone will now rise to remark that there were a lot of stampings used. Sure, there were a few, but take a look at a gun and try to figure out the number of machine operations on it. They saved time on the stocks, making them all of plastic, either brown or black. The holsters were similar to the Luger in construction, providing for the inevitable extra magazine on the outside and stamped with the Wehrmacht eagle-and-swastika and “P.38” on the back. Specifications on the pistol are as follows: Recoil operation, barrel and slide locked at forward position by cam-actuated locking block pivoting in barrel assembly and normally retained in barrel assembly by the only flat spring in the weapon; barrel length, 125mm, or 459/64″; caliber, 9mm M’08 Parabellum, six-groove rifling, twist, right hand, one turn in 280mm (11″); length overall, 87/16″; sight radius, 71/16″; rear sight notch a deep U, 3/32″ wide; front sight a dovetailed blade on the same idea as the Luger, but 2mm or about 5/ ″ wide at top; weight 33.75 ounces, unloaded; 37.25 ounces 64 loaded with normal M’08 pistol ammunition; total number of parts, not including magazine, 58. The Walther P.38 was a very excellent military pistol, though it had a few slight faults; the main one of course being that it could be

assembled and fired without the locking block being in the gun. Anyone who is familiar with firearms will know there is something wrong if he examines or works the action by hand of a P.38 minus its marriage license, but someone who knows nothing of weapons might load and fire it without ever wondering why it felt so loose or what that big vacant space was for, if he should take it apart. The slide and receiver will hold even if the gun is fired unlocked, but the gun will be wrecked. It is a matter of record that these pistols seldom if ever hurt the shooter when they blowback, which is nice to know, but no recommendation for the gun. Because the majority of P.38’s were mass-produced, they vary a good deal, according to time and place of manufacture. Most were made with rather wide tolerances and the fit of parts is apt to be sloppy, making for inaccuracy since the slides are machined to accept both frame and barrel assemblies in the same slots, and all must move in those slots, touching each other. However, a large number of the pistols are fitted rather tightly and should be capable of highly accurate shooting. The angle of the stock was not as helpful in natural pointing of the arm as was that on the Luger, and in spite of its comfortable feel, it is difficult to do really good shooting with the P.38 unless you have a hand like a bunch of bananas. A couple of good civilian pistol shots experimented with my P.38 in 1943 and came to the conclusion that the butt is a little too wide— that is— the fore-and-aft dimension of the butt was too great for really good holding in the average hand, except for very deliberate slow-fire shooting. As with all hammer guns, it was possible to put excellent trigger-pulls on Walthers, touching up the notches as on a doubleaction revolver, though only an expert with a fine stone is qualified to work on the sear. Incidentally, two different styles of sears were encountered and I am not at all sure that they were interchangeable; at least one other organization besides the Carl Walther plant manufactured these pistols. All the guns made up until 1944 were fairly well machined and received some polishing before being blackened, or blued. After that they came with the quick chemical processes, giving a rust-resistant light finish, and let the toolmarks show. As a result, later pistols are liable to look gray, black, blue or green, with all shades in between!

Some of these gray guns had barrels finished in blue. Walther never stopped their development work and managed to bring out some modified P.38s in the closing months of the war, one model having the hammer enclosed in the slide instead of exposed, and another, standard type, with frame and slide of dural. Carl Walther, or rather the company operated by his sons George and Fritz, was about the most progressive outfit in Europe in the pistol line. Their .22 target model held the Olympic records and their little double-action arms were tops for pocket-size defense weapons. They made excellent shotguns, including a good autoloader, and bolt action and autoloading .22 rifles. I have a double-set trigger built into an unfinished trigger guard which appears to be the fastest and neatest three-lever trigger I have ever seen. It was picked up from the floor of the Walther factory after our troops took over that city.

XV “FOREIGN” GERMAN PISTOLS The first “foreign” pistol the Germans appropriated for their own use was the Polish service arm, the 9mm F. B. Radom Mod. 35. This they called the “P.35” and put the factory under new management. Not for the better, however, as the Poles did a much superior job of machining and finishing before the war. Under German pressure the arm became a little rough around the edges but for my money is still better than either Luger or Walther. The guns are marked on the left side of the receiver with the following legend: “F. B. Radom VIS Mod. 35. Pat. Nr. 15567.” This last number is not the serial number, which appears on the right side of the receiver above the trigger, and inside the slide. The stocks are of molded colored plastic—a good job, too—and the left one has the letters FB molded into it, while the right has VIS on it. Perhaps the Poles called this pistol the VIS, as some German publications list it as the “VIS Pistole, Mod. 35.” The former Polish arsenal was at the city of Radom, which explains the F. B. Radom, and the information other than the “VIS” is self-explanatory. The Mod. 35 or 1935 was developed in the early 1930’s at the Radom arsenal by the Browning organization, the Fabrique Nationale, or National Factory, of Belgium, who manufactured the Browningdesigned weapons. The gun is a sort of nephew to our 1911 service pistol, and is very similar in outward appearance though a considerable improvement over it. Think of the Colt .45 pistol simplified and modernized and you have a picture of the Mod. 35. The main differences are: the Polish gun has no barrel link, barrel bushing, recoil spring plug, or manual safety; the hammer has a round spur and not a tang as on the American gun. Instead of the link method of

unlocking, the barrel has an integral projecting nose or cam on its breech end which, on recoil, contacts the receiver and carries the rear of the barrel downward enough to unlock it from the slide. The Europeanstyle full-length recoil spring guide is employed instead of the short M1911 type. Apparently of one piece construction, the slide really has a machined sleeve inserted to act as a barrel bushing and bearing. This part is evidently a manufacturing aid, and is forced permanently into the slide. Some of the early Polish-made slides may be truly one-piece, however. The gun was designed for easy production, with as many manufacturing shortcuts as were efficiently possible, and the Germans of course tried to simplify it even more. A hammer release is positioned on the left side of the slide, in the position of and very like the Walther P.38 safety, but this is not a safety. As in the P.38 when the hammer is back and the release moved, the firing pin is cammed forward and the hammer falls. The sole function of this part is to drop the hammer from the cocked position without discharging the pistol or using the thumb. On the Polish-made pistols is a part which is practically identical in appearance and position with the manual or thumb safety on the Colt, but this part has only the job of holding back the slide when it is desired to disassemble the gun, and is not a safety in any way. The Germans eliminated this part entirely, and its notch in the slide, replacing it with a plain or hollow-ended pin. By doing so they made takedown a little difficult, as it is necessary to leave the empty magazine in the gun to hold back the slide in order to remove the slide lock, which, as in the Colt, is the key to disassembly. It usually has to be pulled out by main strength since it has the tension of the mainspring against it; nothing difficult, and really a very minor point. The only safeties on the gun are the grip safety and the halfcock or safety notch of the hammer. The firing pin is of the inertia type, short, as in the Colt and requires a full hammer-fall to develop enough force to fire a cartridge. Sights are fixed, similar in type, size, location and dimensions with the earlier Colt service pistols. The front sight is integral with the slide and the rib from which it is machined is not cut entirely flush with the top of the slide, but is left slightly raised and its top is finely checked, giving a narrow but

usable rib effect. The blade itself is low and narrow, only .050″ wide, and rear notch is a V, the rear sight being dovetailed into the slide. The general specifications are as follows: length overall, 81/16″; barrel length 117mm, or about 45/8″ (Colt .45 barrel is 47/8″)— measurements are taken including barrel body only, not the extensions; weight, 37 ounces unloaded, 40.5 ounces loaded; caliber, 9mm M’08 Parabellum. The Mod. 35 will hold even the heaviest loads safely. Total number of parts, 37 (Colt .45 has 49) the trigger assemblies being counted as only one part and magazines not included. Magazines are very similar, each having four parts, the Polish follower being best, as it is a hollow, formed metal type with good bearing surface on sides and ends, instead of the stamped platform affair of the Colt. However, the Colt follower may be readily removed for cleaning or repair of the magazine, while the other cannot, it being necessary to spread the lips of the magazine to release the follower from the tube. In the best circles people who fool with magazines in general and who touch the feed lips in particular are not considered quite bright. Whether made by Poles in prewar years or by slave labor under the Germans, the pistols are fairly accurate as they come, and on an asissued comparison, without adjustment or improvement, are much more accurate than the U. S. M1911 or M1911A1 pistols, .45 caliber. The Model 35s made by forced-labor are very rough in machine work and poorly finished, a point which cannot be held against the weapon itself. German inspectors stamped and proofed all the weapons made under their auspices, speeding production where they could. Hollowend rivet type pins came into use at the end, used to hold the grip safety, hammer and sear. If Colt would only build this model for either 9mm or their .38 Super Automatic cartridge, we would really have a modern highpowered autoloading handgun, and if it were put out as a target model in 9mm, the .38 caliber records might change in a year or so. The action of sear and disconnector is the same in the Polish gun as in the American, but some of the people here will wonder about the hammer release and the round hammer spur. As I got it, the story was that the prewar Polish army was extremely cavalryconscious and their small arms were all made with an end to use by

mounted troops, the pistol as a one-hand weapon. Since their country is in Northern Europe and winter temperatures drop quite low, they had to consider the presence of gloves and special mittens. A gloved and perhaps cold-numbed thumb might slip while lowering the hammer on a loaded chamber, while it could touch the springtensioned release in any way to accomplish the same end. The hammer was intended to be cocked by brushing the end of the pistol against the leg or hip and for this method the round spur is better than the extended tang. Cocking a pistol of this type in such a manner is really much easier than it sounds, but hard on the clothing! Unlike the Walther P.38, the hammer release of the Polish Mod. 35 cannot be disabled and allow accidental or unintentional fire by lowering the hammer on a live cartridge. The small projection on the catch which cams the firing pin forward just before it trips the hammer also serves to retain the firing pin in the slide, so if the camming projection is broken or missing, the firing pin will either be out of the gun or out of position so that it cannot deliver the proper blow to ignite a primer. Theoretically, the accident could occur by the catch being broken and the pin hanging at the right spot, but the odds are pretty high against that circumstance. The stock flares at the bottom, and the Poles must have big hands, for the gun takes a bigger hand than even the Colt to feel comfortable. The Radom VIS Mod. 35 was good, but when the Nazis took over Belgium they really got a military pistol. The Browning G.P. was, and is, a Grade A gun and makes a bid for that “best” rating among side-arms. It comes pretty close to getting my support for such a claim, too. I like it better than either the Polish pistol or the Colt .45 or super .38, all of whom are its relatives. The illustrations will emphasize the points of similarity and difference better than words. Said to have been brought out in 1935, the G.P. bears no model number or dating, and all official literature I have found refers to it simply as the Belgian G.P., the Germans themselves calling it “Pistole Browning (Colt) G.P., Belgien.” Civilian references have unofficially named it the “1935 Belgian Hipower,” which is descriptive at least. At any rate, in all German listings of guns or ammunition,

references to the P.35, Pistole 35, or Modell 35 pertain to the Polish F. B. Radom Mod. 35 and not to this Belgian arm. The greatest point of difference between the Browning and the other pistols is the magazine, for it has a partially-double row type holding thirteen cartridges in a shorter overall magazine length than either the seven-round Colt or eight-round Mod. 35 magazines. Caliber is 9mm M’08 Parabellum, and like the others, the pistol is amply strong for even the strongest or heaviest loads. As in the Polish modification, this Browning does away with the barrel link and substitutes a stud on the barrel in a camming block located in the receiver, just above the trigger. This block or bar in the receiver is not machined integral with the frame as in the Radom gun but is a separate piece inserted straight through the receiver in an aperture broached for it and apparently riveted or machined pressed at each end, making it for all purposes a permanent part of the receiver. This is undoubtedly a forging operation of some kind, for the block is of high-grade steel and carefully fitted. It might be possible to do the job cold. The front sight is riveted into the slide, as in the Colt in late production, but dovetailed originally. The magazine is a double-row width for most of its length, tapering to single row feed lips, with an aluminum or aluminum alloy follower machined somewhat like a Mauser-type rifle magazine follower. Formed of seamless steel tubing, the magazine is very sturdy and feeds very well. The bottom plate is removable, so that disassembly is easy. Unlike most of the other pistol magazines, this one is solid on its sides, without any holes or slots to observe the number of cartridges or any follower button to help in loading (or to pick up dirt). The only cut is that for the magazine catch, which is the same type and in the same location as found on the Colt, Radom, Luger, etc. The barrel is rifled with six grooves in the conventional European style—lands and grooves approximately equal in width. Twist is one turn in 290mm, or about 11.4″. The butt is narrower in its front to back dimension than either the 1911, 1911A1 Colts or the Radom and in spite of the thick magazine the Browning is exactly the same in thickness as the Polish Mod. 35 and less than 1/16″ thicker than the Colt, all the guns being measured at the greatest width of

butt. It has no grip safety and the back of the frame is curved to fit the hand, so that it is much more comfortable to hold than either of the other two. This is true even though the stocks are flat-surfaced; they are of European walnut and are diamond-checked, with shallow lines. My only criticism of the Browning is either the lack of sufficient tang at top of grip or the over-sufficient bottom portion of the spurtype hammer, because anyone with a full-grown hand will get slapped in the web of the hand by the hammer as the slide cocks it, as used to sometimes happen in the old days before the grip safety on the Colt was lengthened a little. I think it may be possible to grind away the bottom of the pierced Browning hammer tang, or spur, reshaping it to something approximating the shape of the Colt hammer, which will give the shooting hand complete protection. I intend to do this on my own gun, but have not yet, so please accept this as an idea, not a recommended modification. Hammer tension and weight are both greater than on the Polish pistol, so satisfactory ignition should not be affected by the removal of the metal as mentioned above, since the Mod. 35 is entirely reliable as it is issued in this respect. The ejection port is on the right side of the slide, cutting down much lower than the top-and-side location of the Colt and Radom openings. Probably because of the thick magazine, the Browning designers went to a new system of sear and trigger connection. The old stirrup trigger of the 1911 and the Polish Model was eliminated entirely. The sear itself is completely new and is located in the top of the receiver and the hammer notches move up to a horizontal position in top of the frame as they engage the rear end of the sear. The ejector and the sear are retained in the receiver by the same pin and both may be readily removed, though the hammer pin, which is composed of the extension of the manual safety in the same fashion that the corresponding safety on the Colt forms the pin for the grip safety on that gun, is also used to lock the ejector in position. The Browning sear receives its tension from a long flat spring which reaches the depth of the butt and the width of the magazine well for its bottom half, thus not only performing spring duty but acting as a slideway for the magazine and protecting the mainspring

which is located in the back of the butt behind it. This spring also gives just enough bearing against the back of the magazine tube to keep the magazine from falling clear of the butt when the magazine catch is pressed. Pressure on the catch merely allows the magazine to slide downward about ⅛″, from which position it is pulled with very little effort from the pistol. Personally, I like this, as I am sick of having Colt and Luger magazines bouncing off my toes into the sand or mud when I touch the catch button. You cannot always catch them. The mainspring and its full guide or strut are treated somewhat out of the ordinary also. The strut is pinned to the hammer, as in the Colt, but the spring tension is applied as in the recoil spring of the Luger—the strut extends through the mainspring and has a nut threaded on its lower end greater than spring diameter, while at the top of the spring the frame is machined to pass only the strut. As a result, cocking the hammer results in shortening the mainspring from the bottom, instead of compressing it from its top. The Browning hammer is not forced forward by the strut in the act of falling, but is really pulled against the firing pin. Hammer tension is greater than in either of the other two comparable arms. The manual, or thumb safety does not lock the hammer, but merely the sear, and can be applied only when the hammer is in the safety notch or at full cock. The safety notch on the hammer is very strong and the pistol cannot be cocked when the safety is applied with the hammer in the safe or half-cock notch. There is no hammer release as on the Polish model. The firing pin is of the inertia type, depending upon a hammer blow violent enough to move it forward, to develop of its own inertia sufficient force to discharge the primer. This is always considered something of an inherent safety feature, as the fall of a partially accidentally-moved hammer will not develop the energy to activate the firing pin. The trigger is located well forward in the trigger guard loop and is of the pivoting rather than sliding type. It resembles the triggers of the double-action autoloaders in appearance, and though not functioning in that direction, is quite a part indeed; it contains two springs, both wire, one coil and one helical torsion type, and three or four other small parts, one of which is the sear arm which moves

straight upward in a machined runway in the frame when the trigger is pulled for firing. Another, part in Belgian-made and the first series of German-supervised guns, is a spring-loaded plunger in the rear of the trigger reaching back into the magazine well and also affecting the sear arm by moving it under spring tension only to the rear of its runway when depressed. The sear lever itself, which contacts and forces the sear out of engagement with the hammer, is just a floating lever (not under tension) pinned in the bottom of the slide just below the extractor in the right hand side. Because of the action of the sear arm forward and back under the tension above mentioned, the weapon cannot be fired unless the magazine is present in the gun as the length of the sear lever is regulated so that the sear arm will not contact it unless it is in the rear of the runway. In the last series produced, the plunger was omitted and those pistols can be snapped or fired without the magazine. These same parts perform disconnector duty to prevent Maximing (or firing full-automatic) since with the trigger held back the sear arm is raised to its firing position and after pushing the sear lever upward to fire the first shot, remains raised while the sear lever, being in the slide, is carried to the rear out of contact, and on its return, the square end of the lever pushes the upraised tip of the sear arm forward, there being no camming action to force the sear lever to again depress the sear and fire the gun a second time. The sear arm must be lowered by releasing the trigger, so that its spring tension will carry it to the rear of its slot in position to contact the bottom of the sear lever when the trigger is pulled again and raises the arm. All in all, the system is as good as any—the older system of disconnector as used in the Colt and Radom was simpler in concept but no more effective. It is very seldom that any Browning type pistol “runs away” though I have seen some beat-down .45’s with worn disconnectors which might give more than one shot per pull. The slide on the Browning is similar to that of the Radom, there being no barrel bushing or plug. Extractor, firing pin, and firing pin retainer (or “stop”) are of the same type as the other guns. A recoil plate, or firing-pin bushing, is inserted into the slide, as in the M1911A1 Colt. The 1911 Colt and the Polish Mod. 35 do not have this part. A rather intricate part, whose main job is to provide a pin for

the sear lever, is inserted into the right side of the slide, base being rectangular with rounded ends inset at an angle in the holding grooves milled into the slide. Except for the barrel opening, the front of slide is solid, as a short recoil spring guide is used, and the slide itself machined to receive the forward section of the recoil spring, doing away with need for a full-length guide. The guide is machined to allow the slide lock pin to pass through it, and a spring and plunger are contained in the guide, the plunger appearing in the aperture to engage a cut on the pin and act as a cam to give it tension. The rear edge of the loop on the guide is machined to fit a corresponding groove on the front edge of the large bottom barrel lug or stud. When the barrel is in its locked position in the slide, everything is fine; the recoil spring holds the slide forward and by forcing the front of the barrel stud forward into contact with the curved portion of the guide, the barrel is given a little tension to hold it in its position. When the pistol is fired and the barrel is cammed down out of its locking recesses in the slide by the action of the cam slot in the barrel stud contacting the bar across the receiver, the bottom of the barrel is lowered toward the recoil spring guide, which of course cannot move, being held by the slide lock and the barrel moves back out of engagement, and when the barrel returns forward, the groove in the lug or stud returning to the guide assists the locking of the barrel to some extent as the curved surfaces try to match themselves up. If the guide were not necessarily pinned to the frame but were free to support and force the barrel tight into the slide they would really have something, for of course the principal cause of inaccuracy in this type of construction is sloppy barrel fit in the firing position. As it is, the groove and lug fit of guide and barrel merely keeps the barrel lined up, preventing sideward movement within the frame. On specifications the Browning 9mm G.P. is in line with the Colt .45 and Polish Mod. 35, overall length being 725/32″; barrel length, 443/64″; thickness, 15/16″. Lightest of the three, it weighs only two pounds even—32ounces—unloaded, and 37.7 ounces with 13 standard 9mm cartridges. Therefore it is, with all that ammunition, only .7 ounces heavier than an unloaded Radom, or 1.3 ounces

lighter than an unloaded .45. The Luger and P.38 Walther are lighter in loaded weights, carrying eight cartridges each. For firepower, the Browning puts ‘em in the shade, though. Make a fine gun for motorcycle or squad car police, I should think; if it were only doubleaction.... Under Belgian manufacture, this model pistol was equipped with an excellent set of sights and was practically a target pistol. The front was a square-backed flat top blade 3/32″ thick, with an adjustable rear with elevation from 50 to 500 meters. This rear had no windage movement and was of the slide tangent type, the base being machined in the top of the slide. In addition, the butts were machined to take a fitting attached to the bottoms of their holsters which were lengthened and strengthened for use as shoulder stocks, as were the old-style wooden Luger and Mauser pistol holsters. Some of the holsters had removable shoulder pieces of thin wood, the leather holster itself not being used except to carry both pistol and stock. So far as I know, all the guns were made in the one plant, the Fabrique Nationale D’Armes de Guerre, Herstal, Belgique, as all the pistols which have turned up bear this information on the left side of the slide, and in addition the words “Browning’s Patent Depose.” Workmanship was very good and the guns were well blued. When the Germans took over, all they changed were the sights, having learned that adjustable sights on military pistols were an unnecessary luxury during a war, and the shoulder-stock provision, omitting it. They lowered and rounded the front sight blade and eliminated the adjustable rear, machining the top of the slide round and cutting a dovetail for a simple wedge rear sight, with a deep U notch. To all purposes the sights on the Brownings made under German rule are duplicates of those on our late .45 service pistols, with the only difference being a sight radius approximately ⅛″ shorter. The gun I have before me as I write is one of these Nazi jobs with German inspector’s stamps and army marks, but finish and work in general is as good as on all but the earliest German guns. It could have been polished a little more before being blued, but is by no means as rough as the corresponding Polish model made under the Germans, or any of the later German weapons. The arm bears

the same serial number on barrel, slide and receiver, all three numbers being on the right hand side of the gun and readable at a glance, since the barrel number is visible through the ejection port when the slide is forward, and the slide and receiver numbers are in line below it. Takedown is easier than either Colt or German-made Radom, as the forward notch in the bottom of the slide visible on the left hand side just above the lined thumbpiece of the slide lock is solely for helping disassembly. With the magazine removed or lowered in its well, the slide is drawn back until the safety can be moved up to engage the forward notch on the slide, and the slide lock may be lifted out of the frame, or pushed out since the end of its pin protrudes about ⅛″ on the opposite side of the frame. Removal of the slide assembly with barrel and recoil spring and guide is accomplished by holding slide in one hand and grasping the butt with the other and throwing safety out of the takedown notch. The slide must be held as it is under tension of the recoil spring and will take off for the far corner of the room if allowed to release itself from the frame without restriction. There are no riveted pins as in the German-built or supervised Mod. 35 and the Browning can be entirely disassembled without great effort. In the simplified war model only 47 parts are found, with the magazine adding four for a total of 51. Such parts as the recoil plate and the locking bar in the receiver are counted. The adjustable sight of the original Belgian model would add four or five parts to the figure. Another point: it is the only military pistol I have run into which does not have a lanyard loop on it anywhere. It is of course shortrecoil operation, and the slide recoils 1/4″ before slide and barrel are completely unlocked. The Polish pistol travels 9/32″ before its barrel is free of the locking recesses in the slide, and the Colt is less than either in travel, recoiling only 7/32″ before unlocking. The 1935 Browning design is a very nice pistol and I hope someday to get a new one. In spite of all the parts moving around inside the gun, the trigger-pull is good, having a takeup and final stage as in military rifles. Mine has little creep, which is surprising as trigger pressure has to be transmitted through four parts to release

the hammer. Not a great number of these pistols were made in comparison with other types in use, and good ones are scarce. The story is that the Belgians did not co-operate with the Nazis very well and the Germans did not get very many out of them. The gun is very good and that fact has been recognized by England at least. Some of their generals were trying to have it adopted as the official service pistol at one time. A rough version was made in Canada for the Chinese government, but a lot of the guns ended up with special British units in the latter days of the war.

A GERMAN TRAINING AID The ERMA .22 caliber conversion unit allowing use of standard M98 7.9mm rifles with .22 ammunition. Mauser Kar. 98K rifle without bolt shown below. Above it, the .22 bolt, tubular receiver and barrel assembly which is inserted in the 7.9mm rifle, and at top, left to right, the pin used to tighten the locking collar on the receiver and clamp the unit in the rifle receiver; the five-round magazine and the special floor plate used. Extreme right, a .22 caliber muzzle and front sight protector for the rifle barrel, with cap raised.

GERMAN .22 CAL. TRAINING RIFLES Top: Mauser Karbiner 98K 7.9mm rifle fitted with ERMA .22 conversion unit. Bottom: Gustloffwerke “Wehrsportgewehr” .22 Caliber singleshot bolt-action rifle. Note the similarity of its stock to that of the standard military rifle above it. (Note: American target telescope bases have been mounted on both barrels and are visible just forward of the receiver rings and rear sight bases.)

XVI THE EUROPEAN POCKET PISTOLS The Luger M’08, the P.38 Walther, the P.35 and the Browning G.P. were the only 9mm Parabellum caliber pistols officially supplied and maintained by the Wehrmacht. The old Mauser Military Pistols, or even the 1930 model, were not made, but a few of them in 7.63mm caliber were evidently in existence somewhere in the German organization, for the ammunition was made. Perhaps they captured enough Russian submachine guns and pistols to warrant making the ammunition for regular issue, but that is doubtful. The German Volksturm, or home guard, used everything they could find, make or steal from occupied countries including: Brownings in all models and ages, even the large 9mm Browning Long blowback hammerless weapon, which looks like a huge Colt .32, and the little 1910 Brownings in 7.65mm, or .32 caliber, which were nicknamed the “water pistol” for their appearance; (a few of the large guns were chambered for the .380 A.C.P. cartridge, but none for the 9mm Luger); Spanish models, mostly Astras, or Star Brand, in all varieties of 9mm—Parabellum, Bayard, Steyr, .38 AP (same as Colt .38 automatic cartridge) and Browning Long. One model was even made in 11.43mm, or .45 A.C.P. The 9mm Steyr and 9mm Bayard are powerful cartridges very similar to the .38 Super Automatic Colt cartridge in dimensions. In fact, one of their pistols (Star) was said to handle all three interchangeably, although there are slight differences in both case lengths and extracting rim diameters. I believe the Danish service pistol was chambered for the Bayard cartridge, but I have no information on the pistol used. Differences in ammunition naturally made the German army stay away from all

those not chambered for 9mm M’08, 9mm Kurz (.380) or 7.65mm (.32). These calibers were supplied to the Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe, and probably any special units who required them. Europe was full of small pistol manufacturers, half of whom copied Browning patent guns, in all calibers below 9mm M’08. One exsoldier, an armorer who knows a good deal about pistols, swears to me that he saw two or three German-made copies of our 1911 .45 caliber service pistol, made in 9mm, and that they were not the Spanish-made models, some of which are dead-ringers for Colts. Some German pocket-size automatics—I mean semiautomatics, of course—such as the Mauser and the Walther PP continued to be manufactured during the war, in 7.65mm, or .32 caliber. These were carried by high-ranking officers and the Luftwaffe air crews. The British advised me that German flyers were allowed to choose their own sidearm and that most of them preferred small pistols, easy to carry. I saw a collection of these weapons taken from captured Luftwaffe men and recognized, among other things, a .32 Savage and a .380 Remington pistol, both American-made but out of production for many years. All varieties of small autoloading pistols were there, nearly all in 7.65mm or .32 automatic caliber. A few 6.35mm (.25 A.C.P.) and some 9mm Short (.380) guns showed up, but the .32 was by far the most numerous. The Germans manufactured .380 ammunition for use in the P.22, P.24 and P.30, all of which were Ceskoslovenska Zbrojovka pistols, the last a 10-shot double-action type. A few Frommers and Steyrs came in, the Steyrs being mostly the 1916, but a copy or two of the old 1905 came to light. These undoubtedly came from Austrians. The Frommer was an odd but fairly reliable design, having its recoil spring housed in a smalldiameter housing atop the barrel, and operates with a bolt instead of a slide. It has an exposed hammer and is recoil-operated, the breech being locked by turning bolt head. Really the Hungarian service pistol, it was used extensively in Austria and throughout the Balkans. The Steyr was at one time the Austrian service pistol and its 9mm cartridge is very efficient, having more power and velocity than the 9mm M’08, driving a light (116-grain) bullet at close to 1,200 FPS. The cartridge itself is almost a duplicate of our .38 Colt A.P.

about the only physical difference being a slightly smaller extracting rim. The Steyr pistols have self-contained magazines, like bolt action rifles, and are loaded the same way, with a Mausertype clip charger seating in slots in the frame. The ammunition usually comes in clips of eight-rounds and may be steel or nickelalloy jacketed. There has been quite a bit of confusion among arms writers about this cartridge, and the Steyr pistol. A couple of them seem to think the 9mm Mauser pistol cartridge is the Steyr 9mm pistol load, evidently being misled by the fact that several military manuals have asserted the M34 Steyr-Solothurn submachine gun to be in 9mm Parabellum caliber, consequently, when they meet up with a nice long 9mm Mauser cartridge, they accept it as for the Steyr pistol. The M34 Steyr submachine gun uses the 9mm Mauser pistol cartridge and not the 9mm Steyr pistol cartridge; the 9mm Mauser pistol cartridge is not used in any modern or World War II pistol, and the 9mm Steyr cartridge fits nothing except the Steyr pistols, officially. Anyway, I could never fire anything except M34 (Ö) * 9mm ammunition in the Steyr-Solothurn machine carbines, which ammunition mikes, measures and is the same as the old Mauser pistol load, and could never fire Steyr pistols at all because all we had was M34 (Ö) 9mm and 9mm M’08 ammunition, which did not fit. The Steyr cartridge is 1.250″ overall, the Mauser 1.375″, with about 1/ ″ difference in case length. 16 *Ö for Österreichisch or Austrian. As a pistol, the Steyr is interesting in that it is the only successful torque-lock military hand arm. That is, the pistol is recoiloperated with a turn-barrel cam mechanism keeping barrel, receiver and slide locked together by the torque exerted by the barrel developed by the bullet’s engagement of the rifling while passing through the bore, against spring tension. After the bullet clears the muzzle, the torque naturally ceases to exist and recoil carries both slide and barrel to the rear, the receiver camming the barrel through an arc sufficient to release it from its engagement with the slide at the proper point, freeing the slide for full extracting, ejecting and loading functions. Germany concentrated on a few 7.65mm small size pistols using principally the models made by Mauser, Walther, Bohmische,

J. P. Sauer & Sohn, Stock and probably a few others. Standard civilian or commercial types were produced, usually bearing complete information as to the maker and model. No special model numbers or pistol numbers were given to German weapons of this class. Before the end of the war both Mauser and Sauer made fair quantities of self-cocking or double-action .32 caliber pistols, similar to, and in my opinion at least, inferior to the Walther PP. The eight-shot Mauser H Sc was in development for several years, the basic patents on it being authorized in 1935. In its final form it was a rough-finished but very well-shaped little gun with a streamlined profile and well-shaped wooden grips. Stampings are used for many parts, and only a tiny spur of the hammer projects from the rear of the slide, to avoid snagging. Made in peacetime, it could have been a beautiful little weapon. Its overall length was 6.5″; weight 20.5 ounces. The Sauer was a conventional-appearing .32, with several features copied from the Walther double action pistols, such as the system of barrel mounting, removal of slide from receiver, hammerreleasesafety, etc. All of these features are naturally somewhat changed, and in some cases, improved over those of the Walther. Finish of the Sauers (Model number or name is just the factory one of “M38”) was as a rule better than that of the Mausers. Upon examination of a new pistol, it would seem very good, the selfcocking action is quite smooth and easy and the grip is fairly well proportioned. A thumb lever on left-hand side of butt can cock or lower the hammer. However, the Sauer M38 is not as good as it appears, for it breaks parts constantly, the sears, firing pins, and mainsprings always giving trouble. Overall length is 6.25″; barrel, 3.35″; weight, about 20 ounces. The best of the double-action pistols is still the Walther PP, for me, at least. Sauers are “hammerless”— i.e. with hammers concealed in frame under slide, while Walthers have exposed hammers. The Walther PP (police pistol) and PPK (police pistol “kriminal”-“detective”) are familiar on the American prewar scene through the Stoeger Arms Corporation’s catalog. They were the first of the double-action self-loaders to get over here and whether prewar or war production, are well-made, accurate pistols. The PPK

is a smaller, lighter model of the PP, and both commercial models were available in .22 long rifle, .32 automatic, and .380 automatic calibers. During the war only the .32 caliber was manufactured. All the weapons of the latter type I have seen had the regular factory legends stamped on the slide, the only official mark being the eagleand-swastika the German Army put on everything. The PP was 65/8″ overall, the PPK 63/16″. I know the catalog does not agree, but I just measured these guns with a vernier caliperl The PP magazine holds eight-rounds, the PPK seven. The PP has a solid frame, with two regular plastic stocks, the PPK a one-piece plastic stock enclosing a skeleton buttframe. The PPK one-piece job is reinforced with a steel strengthener molded into the lower portion of the grip. Both have matted tops, sights being milled from the slide on the PPK, but the PP has a standard dovetailed rear. Both have V notch rears, though commercial guns sometimes had U’s. Actions are identical, except that this war version of the PPK does not have the cartridge indicator pin through the slide, as described for the P.38, and the PP does have it, while both have the combination safety-hammer release on the slide, allowing the cocked hammer to fall without contacting the firing pin. The hammer release on the PP and PPK is different than on the P.38 in that the hammer actually strikes the release itself when it falls. I believe the system used on these small pistols is better than that of the larger gun. Magazine releases are button type, in the receiver, similar to Luger or .45 or the Polish gun. Both models have slide stops and remain open on the last shot, closing automatically upon insertion of a loaded magazine. Due to its rigidly-mounted barrel (pressed and pinned into the receiver) the Walther is capable of high accuracy. Takedown is faster than on any other pistol that I have come to yet—just hold down the front end of the trigger guard and pull the slide back and up, and it is off. The trigger guard is hinged at its lower end and under spring tension, as the block on its forward and upper end enters the receiver to stop ordinary rear movement of the slide. In .380 caliber the PP is for my money the best small-size selfdefense arm ever made. The PPK is equally as good and even smaller, but butt is undersized for any hand over size seven.

The P.27, which I call the Bohmische, account of the top is stamped “Bohmische Waffenfabrik A.G. in Prag,” has the best grip of any of the small autoloaders. This was one of the late pre-war Czech designs, with a snag-proof outside hammer, one-piece plastic stock shaped perfectly to the hand and a beautiful finish. The top of the slide was left unpolished along the middle and has the above legend stamped in large letters, creating a non-reflecting sighting plane. The safety has a quick-release button identical with that on the original (1910) Mauser pocket pistols, and the firing pin is the short, inertia type, as used in Browning pistols, as is the firing-pin stop. Magazines are exactly the same as those of the older model Mauser .32, so evidently the makers were picking up whatever ideas were laying around, regardless of origin! Barrels are removable, as in the Browning large caliber blowbacks, though the locking system for retaining the barrel is different. The hammer is light and very fast in falling, and has no safety notch. The system of sear connection is rather unusual and could almost be changed into a self-cocking type without much change of machine operation set-up at the factory. Some features of the gun are similar to the Czech service pistol, the newest model of which was a self-cocking .380, with a locked breech. The P.27—left side of slide is stamped “Pistole Modell 27 Kal. 7.65” and holster marked P.Mod.27—is strictly an unlocked blowback operated arm, as are all the other .32’s mentioned. Aside from its perfect stock and the general excellence of workmanship and material, the Bohmische has no great virtues. During 1944 and 1945 the P.27 deteriorated steadily in finish, at least, and most of the last group made were rough, with non-reflecting rustresistant black or gray finish, and were marked only “P.27,” without the identifying legend. They were of course made in Czechoslovakia.

XVII THE ITALIAN PISTOLS Italy’s regulation pistol was the Beretta M34 in 9mm Corto, or .380 A.C.P. caliber, although many other pistols turned up in her army, as to be expected. I have seen Berettas in 6.35mm, 7.65mm and 9mm M’08, this last gun being I believe the smallest pistol made for that cartridge. It had a semi-successful buffer mechanism built into it to help handle the power of the cartridge, for it was an unlocked blowback, as are all Beretta models. The M34, or 1934, was the official pistol and I do not believe Italy built any other gun during the War years, the odd jobs being hold-overs of individual officers or personal property brought into the army. Old 1910 Glisentis, for the 9mm cartridge, loaded to not over minimum pressure for M’08 specifications, were occasionally found. These had a few good features, such as straight-line firing pins or strikers, a grip safety and a bolt rather than a slide. However, a highpowered 9mm Parabellum cartridge, or a Beretta M38 submachine gun cartridge, might damage the gun if fired in it. A cross-key, Steyrstyle, held the bolt in the receiver, and too much pressure might crack the receiver walls at the key apertures. Triggerpulls were so heavy they made accurate shooting difficult. In the construction of this pistol the method of transmitting trigger pressure to the firing pin entails actually camming the firing pin back against its heavy spring about 1/16″ before the contact is broken and the firing pin freed to drive forward to fire the cartridge. A sear “dog” or trip is involved in the mechanism as well. I tried for three days once to figure out how to put a decent pull on one of these pistols and finally decided the pivot point of the trigger needed moving. The Glisenti had its barrel threaded into a sleeve or receiver, in the same manner as the Luger, but the bolt is square in crosssection

and recoils straight-back inside this receiver. The lock is a pivoting, spring-loaded block behind the magazine and contacting a notch in the bolt through an opening in the bottom of the receiver to lock them together at the time of firing. Recoiloperated, the barrel assembly and bolt move back about 5/16″ to unlock. Overall length was 208mm or approximately 8⅛″, barrel length, 95mm, or 33/4″, and weight, 980 g, or about 34 ounces. It was rather a “high” pistol, the distance from bottom of butt to top of rear sight being just under 6″. Sights are fixed, the front a tapered blade and rear a V notch milled in top of receiver. The magazine catch is on the side of the butt, at the lower left rear corner, and the safety is on the bolt, being a lever on the rear of the cocking-piece (rear section of bolt) which revolves through a very short arc to lock the firing pin. What may be mistaken for a thumb safety in pictures—the checked button at the top rear corner of the left stock—was really a manually-operated slide-lock. The magazine follower kept the bolt open after the last shot, but the bolt closed upon withdrawal of the magazine. By holding the bolt open and pressing this side button, the ejector is raised into the path of the bolt and holds it open. The movement is against light spring tension and it is only necessary to pull the bolt back slightly and the ejector drops back down into the frame automatically and the bolt is free to close. The stocks were hard-rubber composition, with checked surface and the Italian coat of arms, removable without screwdrivers, as there were no screws. The right stock was held to the frame by a movable lever engaging the frame and the left stock was retained by the sideplate. A sideplate extended along the left side of the frame, holding the receiver to the frame. This plate hooked into the frame at the rear and a stud on its front was moved into a recess in the frame at that point by a thumbscrew, located under the barrel. To remove the receiver, barrel and bolt from the frame, it is necessary to move the lock out of engagement with its flat spring, whereupon the receiver assembly may be simply lifted up and to the right, separate from the frame. It is not slid forward or back, since with the sideplate removed, only one groove of the receiver is connected to the frame. Magazines are well-made, with both sides milled out so that the sides of the follower may be grasped by thumb and forefinger and

held down to aid in loading. Capacity is seven-rounds, although I believe eight may be forced in. The butt was angled to the barrel similar to the Luger’s. Bolts and magazines were nickel-plated. Workmanship was very good—the inside of the sideplate and frame were engine-turned to a high polish, and the fit of small parts was very close. What might have been a fine design was messed up by apparently lack of interest in the actual shooting quality of the gun, although as a safe military weapon of its time, the Glisenti was OK. For my own rating this 1910 pistol is remarkable only for the apparent influence it had on the Japanese Nambu pistol. Among the rare prizes we picked up were the old Mod. 89 10.35mm revolvers, a real cast-iron special relegated to the African colonial troops Mussolini mistakenly thought might be useful (he forgot that the British Army has specialized for decades in working over such forces). So the English collected all sorts of junk from the Italian colored troops in Eritrea and Somaliland. There are two or three varieties of this same old revolver, but all are lumped together under the Model 1889 tag, (or 90/89 for ammunition classification). Some had trigger guards but most had folding triggers. From the strictly military viewpoint the gun was intelligently designed and has features not ordinarily found in revolvers. It is the only one that I know of which can be disassembled without tools, for instance. On the left side of the frame at the top of the grip is a small lever, really a finger-handle for the single screw holding the sideplate on. The loading-gate on the right side swings straight down and back, at the same time disconnecting the hammer from the trigger so that each pull of the trigger now brings a chamber of the cylinder in line with the ejection rod, without moving the hammer from its down position. The housing carrying the springless ejecting rod is a sleeve pivoting on the barrel, both sleeve and barrel being octagon, and the front sight a heavy block soldered to the barrel. The chambers have no shoulder or throat, but are tapered from case to bullet-skirt diameter at front ends, yet the old gun has the “modern” recessed head or counterbored chamber, and the cylinder is locked very tight at moment of firing. Unfortunately, most guns are out of line—that is, cylinder and barrel will not get together at the right time—so they spray pieces of the brass bullet jacket out the sides and promote

flinching among the operators and spectators. Accuracy is not; this might be due to the fact that the bullets are barely on touching terms with the rifling. It is a good guess that the Italians brought this out for lead bullets and when the rules were revised outlawing lead on humans, they did not want to strain the old girl with metal-cased slugs so devised this undersize brass job with the same slight skirt as the 10.35mm rifle cartridge. Why worry about the specifications on either pistol or cartridge? The Beretta autoloading pistols were the best Italian arms, all being safe and well-made, even the 9mm model which had been discontinued as an unsatisfactory design. The Pietro Beretta outfit is one of the old arms-makers of Italy and worked their way up to some nice equipment. In peacetime they made several models of shotguns and small rifles, as well as pistols. I do not believe they ever made any modern large-caliber rifles, excepting a few 6.5mm MannlicherCarcanos, for experimental use by Japan. Beretta single barrel hammerless shotguns were numerous throughout the Italian colonies, mostly in 16 and 28 gauge. A smaller caliber, possibly a 32-bore, seemed also to be popular. I am not too familiar with odd shotguns and therefore cannot state positively what it was. Some of the smoothbores ran as small as .410 gauge and 9mm caliber. A few double-barreled 16s were around the base, but the single barrel under-lever Beretta was the most numerous. These were very nicely finished, as were all Beretta products. Evidently some member of the firm has for the past 20 years or so really been working at the gun business. The M38 machine carbine and the later model pistols, such as the M34, are beautifully designed, from the manufacturing, military, and using points of view. Materials are of the best and machine work and finish are excellent. Of all the Italian weapons, only the Berettas approach complete interchangeability of all parts. I do not believe I have ever seen a flat spring in any of their guns. All models are very simple and easy to strip for cleaning. This last is a high military virtue, since if a weapon is hard to “get at,” it does not receive the care it should. Our BAR is a good example of this—after a few days’ battle duty it becomes a singleshot only, or a full (fast rate) automatic

only, for a short time, because the soldier cannot keep the gas cylinder body or the fire control mechanism in the butt clean. The 6.35mm, or .25 caliber, Beretta has a good many of the Browning .25 pistol features and could be considered a Browning copy, or imitation, though in no way inferior to the original. It has a spring-loaded straight-line striker instead of a hammer and a large semi-circular grip safety at the rear of the frame. I saw several of these tiny pistols in regular European covered military holsters, with pocket for extra clip. Two models of the 7.65mm, or .32 caliber, both out of manufacture, existed. They were similar to the M34, but with slightly different slides and hammers, the best being the Model 1929. I believe that the M34 was made commercially in both 7.65mm and 9mm Corto, but never did see one of them in .32 caliber. However, in the Italian Army, the Model 34 9mm Corto, or .380, outnumbered all other pistols combined. At least it did outside of Italy—what the home guard units might have had, I do not know. The Italian Navy used the M34 in 7.65mm. The M34 Beretta, caliber .380 A.C.P. is a compact little gun weighing 23.5 ounces unloaded; 25.8 ounces loaded. Length overall is 515/16″; barrel, 313/32″. Sights are fixed and not adjustable. Front blade is flat-topped, rear sight is a dovetailed wedge type, with a rather deep U notch. The magazine holds seven cartridges and is very well made. I have never been able to cause a malfunction of one without actually bending the metal. The pistol is an exposed-hammer type, with a half-cock or safety notch in the hammer. The manual thumb safety, on left hand side of frame above trigger, does quadruple duty: it holds the pistol together, by locking the barrel into the frame; it acts as a stop for and receives its tension from the recoil spring guide; it acts as a slide lock to hold the pistol open for inspection or takedown; and last, acts as a manual safety by blocking the trigger when in the safe position. If the slide is pulled to the rear when the safety is in the “on” position, it is caught and locked open. The hammer may be manually cocked at any time and it is theoretically possible for a Beretta to discharge accidentally with the safety on, in spite of the fact it uses the short inertia type firing pin requiring a full blow. Such an accident would

only be possible through the complete disintegration or breaking away of the sear notch in the hammer, freeing it from dependence on the sear. The angle at which sear and hammer notch meet, and the depth of the notch make this a million-to-one bet against accidents. The disconnector is effective in preventing premature firing—trigger cannot move sear until slide is closed. The Italians believed in safe trigger-pulls; safe meaning heavy. It is very simple to lighten the pull on a Beretta by removing the hammer and walking slowly toward a grinding wheel, and if any accidents are reported in future years with this pistol, I am going to wonder if someone did not cut too much away or change the angle of the hammer notch. A careful gunsmith can do a safe job without a bit of trouble. I have worked Berettas down to scant fourpound creepless pulls and retained a completely safe depth of engagement. Berettas were at once the bane and joy of my Egyptian service. The joy because they are so simple and the bane because there were so many guys who needed a fixin’ job on theirs. It must have been S.O.P. (“Standard Operating Procedure”—army lingo for following universal instructions) in the Italian forces for Beretta-toters when in danger of capture to take out the safety and drop it in the sand or otherwise dispose of it. From the preceding information it is obvious that a missing safety is rather important, and that it has quite a few cuts and cams machined on it. People were always bringing me Berettas with holes in the middle and asking me to make the part. Or the recoil spring and its guide were missing. I discovered that the inner operating spring from a .50 caliber machine gun was the right diameter and would work OK and that the guide could be made from a .50 MG operating spring guide. I even got to be quite fast at making safeties, especially after I figured out how to make them of two pieces instead of filing the whole thing out of one piece of steel. What hurt was that ammunition was very scarce and usually the soldier or officer did not have any, so I would have to use a few of my own precious rounds to testfire the repaired gun. I hate above all things to give out a gun without testing it. Too many perfect jobs turn out not to function properly when tested on the firing range.

The Beretta M34 is very sturdy—I do not think I ever saw but one broken part from one, and that a hammer from a gun which had been dropped on concrete, landing on the hammer spur. Stocks have steel backing plates, so if the composition stocks are cracked or damaged, the weapon is not disabled in any way. According to theory of design, the gun should not be at all accurate, but it is not bad at all. The barrel is keyed more-or-less loosely in the frame, so it should throw a pattern rather than a group, but apparently the pressure of the slide against the chamber end is sufficient to maintain a uniform position. Two of the guns have tested out at 20 yards at better than 5″ groups, fired in normal pistol fashion, offhand, which is an indication of fair accuracy, allowing for the human error. The Patridge type sights help, the front blade measuring .065″ in width, the rear notch the same, (which is too narrow for anything except deliberate outdoor use in good light). The magazine is seamless steel construction, with wide slots on each side; capacity, seven-rounds, with a hollow type follower with ample guiding surface on the sides, slotted at top rear to protect the ejector when it rises after the last cartridge has been fired to block the slide and hold it open. The slide closes when the magazine is withdrawn. The correct procedure is, when the slide remains open, to throw the safety on, retract the slide manually the additional fraction of an inch for the safety to catch the slide and hold it open. The magazine can then be removed, reloaded and replaced without struggling against any slide tension. When the safety is released to the firing position, the slide closes, loading the top round and the pistol is ready to resume fire. A large magazine catch is located at the bottom of the butt, catching the rear edge of the magazine, as in the case of the P.38. The most unusual feature of the M34 is the extension bottom plate on the magazine, making a small pistol butt fill a large hand. That little spur, or tang, extending forward and downward to catch the little finger, makes this .380 caliber much more pleasant to shoot than most of the .32’s of equal size. The stock feels comfortable in any size of hand and recoil seems to almost vanish from the picture. I have a big hand—the heel of it lops over the bottom of a .45 Colt stock about 1/2″—but the Beretta does not feel at all too small to me.

A total of only 36 parts go into this little gun, none of them frail or liable to easy breakage. The recoil spring tension forces the slide to take up any wear on the barrel stud or its seat in the receiver allowed by the safety, keeping the pistol tightly and closely breeched up. The Beretta Model 1934 is one of the sturdiest and most reliable semiautomatic pistols ever made. As long as you have most of the parts and some ammunition, it will shoot. In settling on a small weapon for a small cartridge, my own idea is that the Italian Army, or Beretta, whichever was responsible, showed good enough sense. For a couple of the war years it was the fashion to deride the Beretta, along with all other handguns weighing less than two and one-half pounds and less than .45 caliber, some of the deriders being quasi-military experts who could not hit the ground twice in succession with a .45 and who got their dope from the ballistics section of ammunition company catalogs. Then somebody discovered that the British service pistol cartridge since 1933 has been the .38 S. & W. cartridge, to replace the .455 caliber, and since the British are very realistic in their attitude regarding the lethal qualities of their equipment, a few minds began to wonder. The final blow to the heavy handgun partisans came when Uncle Sam quietly began issuing plain ordinary Colt .380s—standard commercial autoloaders. True, they went to high officers, but that did not alter the fact that they were officially qualified as a last-ditch, close-range, self-defense weapon, which is exactly the status of any military pistol, regardless of size, shape, weight, origin, or trainingcamp sales talks. The average military man cannot hit much with any pistol, and as a rule, the bigger the gun the less he hits. That is why Uncle called for the M1 carbine in the first place. In the hands of gunmasters such as Charles Askins, Jr. or Al Hemming or Harry Reeves the handgun is more deadly than the rifle is with the average soldier behind it. However, men like that are so scarce they cannot be counted in an army. The old claim of “the .45 knocks ‘em down if it hits ‘em in the arm or leg” carries no weight with anyone who has actually seen any bullet work on humans. Sometimes a .45 bullet may flatten a man with a minor wound, but I have known of Jap soldiers who absorbed a burst in the body from a Thompson and

went down fighting. The .45 carries a lot of shocking power, it is true, but the point nearly every pistol argument misses is that a hit with any bullet above a .22 rim fire will slow a man enough from whatever he is doing—running away, running toward you, or shooting at you— to give you time to put in a fatal hit or hits. And I do not think anyone will argue that the smaller calibers are not easier for the unpracticed man to handle. A hit with a 9mm or .38 is 100% more effective than a miss with a .45, regardless of the wound it causes. The Beretta is by no means a target pistol, or an “easy” pistol to shoot, but it points fairly well and at close range would be quite effective. The .380 cartridge as loaded by Winchester lists a 95-grain bullet at 890 FPS, developing 168 pounds of muzzle energy. The .38 S. & W. “manstopping” 200-grain bullet load develops 160 pounds of energy. Weight of bullet is of course an important factor, but the figures prove the .380 out of the pop-gun class. As the Italians loaded the cartridge, with a slightly lighter bullet of 93-grains, the energy is probably very slightly lower. Not very much power, is it? Not compared with the 9mm Parabellum or the .45 A.C.P. or the high-velocity .38 special loads. So the bullet is light—well, sink two or three extra ones in; you can do so with very little effort in very little time. I like the Beretta, and regard it as by far the best standard autoloading pocket pistol, or small size arm, in the world. The Walther PP is unbeatable because of its double-action, but the rugged Beretta’s toughness keeps it in the running when pistol comparisons start.

XVIII BRITISH SMALL ARMS In February, 1943, a great many Egyptian mechanics and laborers were hired by the U. S. and assigned to all the shops. We drew 40 or 50 for the small arms work, one of whom was a skilled gunsmith who had operated his own business before the war, and during it had worked for the British as a foreman and instructor over their native helpers, in their own ordnance shops. The rest were of all types—unskilled laborers, mechanics of some experience, college or university students. A few spoke English to some extent, but it was necessary for us to use Arabic, consequently most of us did learn a little of the language. These helpers were taught to clean and do minor repair work on British rifles, some of them taking over the cleaning and stock repair jobs which had taken so much of our time. Due to the great shortage of manufactured parts, we had to repair nearly every damaged weapon, rather than just replace a few parts. Most of the parts we did have came from damaged guns we scrapped for that purpose, but some few forestocks did come in new. A forestock, or full length forend on a Lee-Enfield must be fitted; you do not just screw the gun together. The English barrel is so thin that it will bend if the stock or inner band bears against an unsupported portion, therefore we had to carefully inlet every one—a job taking from one to four hours depending on the individual wood. On all pre-war guns the British desired hand-fitting of parts to make close-tolerance units. On the Vickers machine gun for instance, every moving part should be a push fit, rather than a loose fit as on the Browning. And while the British armorers were the highest-trained of any army, their weapons were put together as if they were never to be disassembled. Screws

were staked and peened in place, heads filed off, pins riveted, etc. Very unpleasant to run into, when trying to work fast. When the pressure went on, the later weapons were made with ready-fitting interchangeable parts, but that did not help the gun monkeys overhauling the old stuff. We had to learn to check straightness of barrels at a glance, which is harder than it sounds. Luckily, the sun always shines on the desert, and we had a steel electric-line pole set off about 200 yards from the shop, which formed our shadow line through the barrels. Also, I learned to straighten bent barrels by a makeshift method which produced excellent results. This was simply bouncing the barrel against a hardwood block, approximately 4″ thick and 6″ high, set on edge on a solid bench or table, its top edge gently rounded. The barrel was held by the muzzle in one hand, raised and allowed to fall against the block, the outer curve of the bent section contacting the wood. Usually no force was required, the weight of the barrel itself and the receiver being sufficient to spring the curve out. This was of course only effective on “No. 3” or Pattern ‘14 Enfields (same as our 1917 construction) or “No. 1” rifles (Lee-Enfields) whose barrels were bent not closer than 10″ from the muzzle. Barrels bent at the muzzle from bayonet use were either scrapped for parts or segregated for drill or training use only. The Lee-Enfield rifle requires much more skilled work in maintenance than Enfield, Mauser, Springfield, or the Mannlicher types. Due to the two-piece stock it is a frailer weapon, but is by no means so weak as to be classed inferior. The Pattern ‘14 .303 rifle— same as the U. S. Rifle Cal..30 M1917, called the Enfield by most of us— is by far the most rugged military rifle. It can take more abuse, neglect and general kicking-around and still be shootable than any of the others. Next in ruggedness comes the military Mauser—all variations on the M98 type action, the Mannlicher-Schoenauers, the Mannlichers, the Springfield, the Lee-Enfield, the Mannlicher straightpulls, and further down, the Russian Nagant and French rifles. The M1903 Springfield’s great weakness was the sights, both front and rear being so unprotected and so easily damaged that they were bent, broken or otherwise out of whack 12 minutes after the

rifle left the ordnance shop. With a set of sights like the 1917 the ‘03 would push the Mauser for second place, held back only by the tendency to break strikers and ejectors, and the inferior bolt sleeve. On minor adjustments the Lee-Enfield is not difficult to work on. Due to the removable bolt head (and the rimmed cartridge) headspace is easy to control. Magazines are of course interchangeable and sights easy to work on. The slide tangent rear sight of most of the


Bottom: The P.38 Walther, shown with extra barrel and locking block to illustrate the latter and its recess or seat in barrel. (This is the part which may be omitted in assembling the arm.) Top: the M’08 Parabellum Pistol—the Luger. Shown with 9mm M’08 cartridge and combination tool. Note: Stocks of this pictured pistol are not original. German stocks were diamond-checked.

THE POCKET WALTHERS Top: Model PP, Bottom: Model PPK. These are both 7.65mm (.32 caliber), used as supplemental arms by Germany. The PPK has no cartridge indicator, but a lanyard loop was provided on bottom of butt, back of magazine, of thin, stamped metal.

rifles turned up in a dozen different little modifications. Some had click windage adjustment, and some had no adjustment at all. Some had screw-controlled elevation slides, with V notches for regular sights, but little aperture discs hinged on the back of the slide which could be pushed into position if desired. A few of the Pattern ‘14 rifles had finely-adjustable rear sights also, for sniper use, though most of the sniper rifles had telescopic sights. A great many of these latter rifles had auxiliary long-range sights on the left side of the rifle. The rear aperture used with this sight was an arm perhaps 11/2″ long, the bottom of which was the bolt-stop spring rest—the “button”—on the rear left side of the Enfield receiver. This had slots at right angles for the spring and could be revolved to bring the eyepiece down out of the way when not in use. The front was a pivoting arm on a steel plate set into the left hand side of the forend just behind the lower band. The plate had range graduations on it for controlling the arm and therefore the relative heights of the sights. The idea was that the enemy would be located, the range determined and a barrage laid down. Where the target area was not in direct view, an aiming stake was used, as in artillery fire control or gun laying. This system was widely used before 1914, and to some extent in the First World War, before machine guns became numerous. Do not laugh at anything the British do or did concerning military rifles since the Boer War; because they very carefully studied and experimented and trained harder with rifles than any other nation in the world. The American revolution proved the value of accurate rifle fire in war, and the 1815 New Orleans defeat of the British confirmed it, but the lesson did not sink in on either the English or ourselves, both nations hanging on to clumsy muskets for many years after, though riflemen in both countries were howling about it. When the Boer argument came up, England still considered a rifle a bayonet handle and mass fire the reason for the infantry soldier. The South Africans refused to fight like European cannonfodder and proceeded to slaughter the Tommies with accurate longrange rifle work, since they were on the average highlyskilled marksmen and expert hunters. This was essentially a rifle and pistol war and though England won by weight of numbers and

strangling the Boers economically and politically, the comparison between the casualty lists caused a revolution in England training methods. By 1914 the regular British infantry were the hottest riflemen in any army, constantly practicing and competing. The regulation course of rapid fire called for 15 shots per minute on a camouflaged target, but the higher ranking shots qualified at 25 shots a minute and could keep most of them where they aimed them. That is bolt handling. What the British regular army did to the Kaiser’s boys in World War I is history. The Germans tried to go through the “Contemptibles” just once, and then reported to headquarters that every Englishman had a machine gun. Before that war England went accuracy-happy and designed their 1914 rifle, a true Mauser type, for a magnum 7mm or .276 caliber, to reach the then-high velocity of 2,900 FPS, evidently being influenced by the success of the .280 Ross cartridge which held all long-range records of the time. The war started while the new rifle was under field test, and of course they did not want to change calibers with the pressure of a war on, and the rifles were made in both England and the U. S. in .303 caliber Mk VII, and later, for the U. S. in .30-06, as our Model 1917. The development of the machine gun for infantry firepower in France reduced the rifle to a less important role, and the fast 10-shot Lee-Enfield was found completely adequate for trench warfare so the .276 caliber was shelved permanently and no more Pattern ‘14 rifles made after 1918 in either England or the U. S. The Lee action was invented by James Lee, of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, who sold the patent to England after being discouraged by the U. S. Its principle is a bolt with locking lugs to the rear of its center, with a freely-turning threaded bolt head containing the extractor and its spring. Cocking is accomplished on the closing thrust of the bolt. The bolt cannot be disassembled without use of tools; both a screwdriver and a special wrench are required to remove the striker, although the bolt head removes without mechanical aid. The bolts are short and the bolt throw, or forward and rearward limit of movement, is short, and it is possible to achieve very rapid movement of the bolt handle.

Easy bolt manipulation and light weight of the action are to my mind the only good features of the Lee. Accuracy is definitely inferior to that of Mauser or Mauser-type bolt arms, since the rear location of the locking surfaces permits—I quote a British manual— “a state of compressibility when the shot is fired.” According to them the drawback is compensated for by the easy bolt action, its ability to function well in dusty, sandy or muddy conditions, and the ease of cleaning due to lack of locking lug recesses in the receiver ring. Actually the rifle is not much superior to Mauser-types in the last two points, but is superior in firepower, because of its 10-shot magazine and fast bolt. The magazines can be loaded either out of the rifle, or by five-round clips through the top of the receiver, as in the Mauser system. Some models, or rather, modifications, had magazine cut-offs, which were simply sheet-metal strips sliding laterally in a slot cut in the lower right side of the receiver which could be forced inward to block cartridges from rising into the bolt runway. The magazine followers are shaped so that they depress when the bolt is moved forward, hence the bolts may be operated on empty magazines. The safety is a pivoting lever on the left side of the receiver, a projection of which protrudes into the bolt runway to contact the cocking piece and lock it. However, it operates on a fast-pitch thread which carries an additional small part in and out of the bolt runway to keep the bolt locked closed when thrown in the safe position. This applies whether or not the bolt mechanism is cocked. Unfortunately for the record, the system of angles and pressure was not quite balanced, so that if the safety is at all worn—even a trifle—it is possible to knock it out of the safe position by a blow on the back of the cocking piece. The magazines are quite uniform and did not give much trouble. The magazine catch is a simple lever type projecting into the trigger guard and receiving its tension from the sear spring which is a V or U type of flat spring. The trigger is a free part hinged in the trigger guard and under no spring tension. The sear is completely different than the Mauser type, but is quite efficient. A two-stage military pull is provided by two separate contact points on the upper arm of the trigger, which merely contact the trigger arm of the sear in turn as the trigger is rotated on its pin by a

pull of the finger arm. Using a buttstock and separate forend was probably necessitated by the existence of Mauser and Mannlicher patents at the time of design. The butt fits into a socket in the rear of the receiver, held by a heavy bolt through it from rear to front. The inner end of this screw is squared, and a metal fitting on the rear face of the forend has a notch to fit it, an ingenious arrangement for preventing the screw from working itself loose. Accuracy of the rifle is dependent to a large degree upon the bedding of the barrel in the forend and hand guard, to prevent any bending of the barrel, or interference with its “whip” or movement during firing caused by the passage of the bullet through the rifling. I have seen numerous Lees where some British rifleman had worked them over to the best of his knowledge, lining both hand guard and forestock with sheets of pressed cork or asbestos, or cutting away wood at various points. Australian-made models had slightly longer and heavier barrels and omitted the inner barrel band, which is a band about the barrel with a threaded socket by means of which the barrel is firmly anchored to the forend at a certain point. The barrels are freed to allow vertical play or flip at the muzzle cap, or upper band, but they are bedded tight at top, with the spring down, instead of being bedded on the stock with a slight spring upward allowable, as in the Springfield, reverse to our system. I hate to pick on the Lee, because I like the action pretty well, but it cannot be honestly rated equal to the Mauser-class bolt rifles. The rifles make up into excellent sporting rifles, however, with the addition of sporting buttstocks the only absolutely necessary alteration (besides cutting off the forend at the most convenient length). The less said of the British military buttstocks, the better. They are horrible, being a direct holdover from the bayonet days and magnificently suited to bayonet drill, but not to shooting. The comb is about 11/2″ too low. In 1930 the No. 4 rifle was put out in small numbers and the design made regulation. This was a modified Lee, simplified for mass production, with an improved aperture rear sight and a magazine cutoff. The sight was similar to that of the ‘14 (our Enfield) adjustable 200 to 1,300 yards. When the war finally broke, they simplified the design even more, omitting the adjustable rear sight

and substituting an L-shaped two-aperture type, with no windage correction possible. The cutoff was eliminated, front sight ears changed, and the short spike-type bayonet provided. The rear sight was termed the 300-600 yard type, and the soldiers were instructed as follows: for ranges up to 300 yards, hold low, not over 8″ at any range; at 300 yards use the 300 yard aperture with bayonet fixed; at 400, use the 300 yard aperture without bayonet on the rifle; and at 600, the other aperture, without bayonet. For other ranges over 400 he had to hold low with the 600 yard aperture. In addition to the other modifications, the bolt retainer was eliminated and a cut made in the receiver to allow removal of the bolt head from its guiding groove and permit removal of the bolt from the receiver. In the older models, this bolt retainer is simply a flat spring with a shoulder on its upper end, which is the final section of the bolt head groove and which must be forced slightly inward to permit disengagement of the bolt head. The Stevens Arms Company made many of these No. 4 rifles for England, apparently on lend lease, for I saw one which had the letters “Property of U. S.” stamped into the left side of the receiver. Specifications on the rifles were not too different: The No. 1, or older model, was 44.5″ overall, the No. 4, 44.75″, both with normal butts (the British furnished three lengths of butt stock, to accommodate different-sized men—a very fine idea). Weight of the No. 1 was 8 pounds, 11 ounces; of the No. 4, 9 pounds, 3 ounces. The older guns were tangent sighted 200 to 2,000 yards, with U notch and narrow blade front. The older guns are marked on the right side of the receiver below the bolt handle, with the Crown, the name of the manufacturing arsenal—usually Enfield—the full year of manufacture, and below that, the letters “ShtLE” (standing for Short Lee-Enfield) and beneath them, the model number in Roman numerals, usually III, with or without a following small mark which looks like an asterisk but which is intended to be and is called a “star.” This signifies whether or not it has a cutoff—the Mk III has it, the Mk III Star, no. The receiver ring bears the serial number, which is also stamped on the bolt. In addition, the entire rifle including the base of the barrel, is liable to be covered with individual stamps of arrows,

letters, lines, etc. indicating past armorer’s work on the gun and his classification of it. Buttplates were of brass, with trap, for carrying a very good brass oil-can. These cans did not leak; later they were made of black plastic, which were liable to leak. A brass disc was inletted into the side of the stock held by a screw through its center. The serial number of the rifle was usually stamped on this also though some were blank. Originally this was for organizational insignia or identification disc. Prewar British sniping equipment consisted of Pattern ‘14 rifles equipped with either of two telescopic sights. The P’18 scope was internal adjusting, 3X, or three power, with a 7.5 degree field. The scope is readily detachable and mounts rather high but centrally, over the bore line. In appearance the telescope resembles the old Zeiss Zielsechs. Elevation adjustment is by a drum or dial on top of the tube, a little forward of center, and windage or lateral adjustment by means of removing the front sleeve or shade, loosening the three screws holding the prism cell and rotating the prism or lense to the right or left to obtain the correct adjustment. Focusing is adjusted by a small screw on the underside of the tube and cannot be moved without removing the scope from the rifle and turning it upside down. This is a rather poor sight, but it must be considered that it was a 1918 product and was good for that era. The second telescopic sight used on the P’14 rifles was the Aldis model, permanently attached to the rifles. These were slightly offset to the left of bore and windage adjustment is in the mount base, the scope itself having elevation and focusing system similar to the P’18 sight. The final outfit really filled the ticket—a No. 4 Mk. I Lee-Enfield, with a low-mounted modern telescope. The rear sight of the rifle is removed, to allow as low as possible positioning of the tube. As for the telescope itself, designated the No. 32, it is completely internal adjusting, with knobs on the tube as on the Lyman Alaskan, though not protected as well. It is universal focus, three power, with a 9degree field of view and has the same reticule as all the British sights— crosshair and picket post. Mounting is on left side of receiver, by means of two separate bases screwed to receiver and attaching the sight bracket with two thumbscrews. The sight has

sunshades at each end. This outfit was carried, or issued anyway, in a small case complete with all necessary accessories, the rifle and telescope carrying each other’s serial numbers, as they were paired up or semi-sighted-in when the arsenal made up the unit. All three rifles were equipped with wooden cheek-rests screwed to the stock and with American leather loop-slings and their snipers were instructed in the use of the latter as were our own soldiers before the adoption of the web type. Although all types of pistols were acquired by England previous to our entry into the war, only four types were found in the army. All revolvers, they were the old Webley .455 service revolver; its two offspring the .380 caliber Enfield revolvers known as the Pistol No. 2 Mk. I, and Pistol No. 2 Mk. I Star; and the .380 Smith & Wesson revolver. I understand the British Navy had some Colts and S. & W. revolvers in .455 caliber and also some .455 caliber M1911 pistols. These last were identical with our service pistols except for caliber, and the cartridges are so similar that .45 A.C.P. ammunition may be fired in the .455 arms. I never ran into any of these weapons. The old British service sidearm was the .455 Webley Mk. VI, the Mk. VI signifying only barrel length, which was 6″. Target models were made commercially with 71/2″ barrels and adjustable sights, but the service model had fixed Patridge type blade and U rear notch. Overall length was 111/4″, weight 38 ounces unloaded. It is a doubleaction six-shooter with a very heavy hammer and an oddlyshaped but reasonably comfortable butt, of the breakopen type. The service cartridge was the Mk. VI, a nickel-jacketed 260-grain bullet at low velocity, while the practice cartridge was the Mk. II, a plain lubricated lead bullet. These old revolvers were well made and very hard to put out of commission; parts were all heavy and made to take a lot of punishment, so the guns lasted pretty well. The official present nomenclature for it is “Pistol No. 1.” Early in the ‘30’s England went to the “.380” cartridge, which creates some confusion. I do not know why people hate to give anyone else credit by adopting their nomenclature for ammunition and so invent another name for an existing cartridge. In this case the British are guilty, but the same applies even more heartily to our own commercial concerns. The British “.380” cartridge is the plain,

ordinary, original .38 Smith & Wesson Caliber. In England the civilian name is .38 Webley & Scott. Colt calls it the .38 New Police. Idiotic, I think. The two .380 revolvers are .38 S. & W. breakopens, essentially the same as the Webley Mk. VI in design, which is to say that the mainspring, hand and trigger system are of the present Colt principle. The Mk. I is a regular hammer type and can be fired as any common revolver, by double or single-action. The Mk. I Star has the hammer tang and sear notch omitted so that it will fire only doubleaction. Two styles of black plastic stocks are issued, the Mark I and the Mark II, the first being standard and the Mark II being larger with upper portion grooved at top for thumb and trigger-finger. This is a good grip and, since the action is quite smooth, reasonably accurate double-action shooting can be expected after a little practice. These pistols have the best sights of any military handgun made; high, easy-to-see Patridge type blade front and square notch rear. The front blade is removable and two heights of blades furnished, for in peacetime the practice cartridge was the 200-grain lead bullet type of load while the military loading calls for a 178-grain metaljacketed bullet. Naturally points of impact differ and the simplest way to compensate is to change the front sight. Rear sight is of course a non-adjustable square notch, of decent proportions. Why such good sights have to be more or less wasted on these short-range emergency double-action guns, while the other weapons in the war got along with piddling V fronts and low, narrow V notch rear sights is one of the mysteries of the military mind. These slabsided revolvers are strong enough to take rough handling and the British claim they are the most reliable of all pistols and intend to stick by them (in British terminology all handguns are “pistols” regardless of type of constructions; revolvers are included). The revolvers are 101/16″ overall, with 5″ barrels. Weight is 28.5 ounces unloaded, 32 ounces loaded. The barrel of the one checked has seven narrow, shallow lands, bore diameter measuring .355″, grooves .357″. This is in contrast to Smith & Wesson’s much more tolerant dimensions of .3525″ for bore, .3615″ for groove, although S. & W.’s five wide lands allow much more land surface. I took all measurements 1″ from the muzzles. The British model Smith &

Wesson was of course made in this country, but is their Military & Police Model frame with 4″ barrel chambered for their .38 cartridge instead of the .38 Special as in their pre-war commercial arms. The British liked the Smith & Wessons so well they intended to make it their standard service pistol before the war, according to some of their training manuals of that time. Possibly they have dropped the idea since they have so many of their own No. 2 pistols made during wartime. The S. & W. is more adaptable, or rather, a little easier to handle, for double-action shooting than the Colt, which was undoubtedly the reason for the English preference since they trained their men to shoot this way. The British-used S. & W. is 93/16″ overall, with 4″ barrel, and weighs 29 ounces. A few with 6″ barrels were in use, but they were from an early batch, ordered for field trial and found too long. The guns I saw seemed to be the same quality and finish as commercial weapons but I find that later lots were made with nonreflecting rust-resistant finishes and unchecked grips. All the British pistols —I mean revolvers—were Parkerized, and while the earlier Mk. I (hammer) models had the Enfield stamp on the right side of the frame, the later hammerless guns bore no marks except the broad arrow signifying government ownership and the stamping “38 Cal” on the top of the barrel. We handled all types of British equipment—Bren guns came in by hundreds, but they were easy to work on. They were the British answer to the Spandau MG34; though classed as light machine guns they were usable as automatic rifles and handier than the German gun, but inferior in firepower. Brens did not take to the sand very well, but then nothing else did either, so we could not hold that against them too much. The soldiers liked them though they preferred to use wornout barrels to get dispersion in full automatic fire. Their common complaint was that it was too accurate! Sounds silly, but it is true that a fully-automatic weapon must have a fairly wide cone of fire to be effective. That is, since the first shot of a burst is the only one truly aimed, the gun should actually fire a group or pattern with each initial sighting, with the bullets fairly evenly dispersed.

Our BAR and Thompsons do not have satisfactory cones of fire when fired from the shoulder or bipod, since they tend to climb and throw shots ever farther from the original point of aim. The Brens were excellent modern weapons, however, reliable, sturdy and easy to maintain. Design of course was the Czech Brno arsenal originally, improved and modified by the British, although use of the rimmed .303 cartridge was no improvement. I must say that the magazines fed well enough and did not give any more trouble than for rimless cases. Brens were the first light automatic arm the British army had ever had in any numbers, and the average English soldier thought they were wonderful. Realizing the need for small-arms firepower, the British endeavored to put them out in great numbers, the eventual goal being one Bren gun to each four soldiers. I do not know how close they ever came to this mark, but if they ever make it, we can quit being so stuck-up about the firepower of the M1 or Garand rifle. The Bren is too heavy to ever compete with any standard rifle as an infantryman’s personal weapon, but it is hard to face. The weight is the only thing I have against it—23 pounds unloaded— about 10 pounds too much to my notion. The corresponding BAR runs 19.4 pounds. By removing the bipod and excess butt hardware from the BAR the weight drops to around 17 pounds but it is not any bargain then. Older types of light machine guns, such as Lewis, VickersBerthiers, and even a few Hotchkiss Mk. II’s could be found, though not in regular use by 1943. The Brens took over the job of both auto rifles and infantry machine guns, a tripod being provided for use as a medium machine gun, or for anti-aircraft fire. For the latter duty the 30-round box magazine was replaced by a 100-round drum type. The Bren is 45.5″ overall; gas-operated; has a cyclic rate of from 450 to 550 RPM (can be regulated to some extent by choice of size of gas ports on cylinder); either full or semi-automatic fire; has aperture rear sight with windage adjustment, adjustable for elevation from 200 to 2,000 yards by 50 yard jumps, with clicks; has quickdetachable barrels with flashhiders attached; and an adjustable bipod attached to the gas cylinder assembly. A straight pistol stock or grip is provided at the trigger, as in the Thompson, and a butt handle

underneath the butt, to hold the weapon down on the shoulder while firing (the buttplate has a top leaf to go over the shoulder and help support the weight of the arm). It fires from an open bolt and handles all loadings of .303 cartridges. The magazine is a curved type, inserted in the top of the receiver, forcing the sights to be offset to the left side, and the cocking handle is on the right side of the receiver, operating as does that of the BAR, except that on Mk. I Brens the cocking handle can be folded out of the way. They are excellent guns, but as said before, heavy. A few Vickers water-cooled medium machine guns were in use in Africa—very few. They did not like sand. The action of this gun is the Maxim type, invented by Sir Hiram Maxim, who worked his way up to the “Sir” by inventing a lot of things, the most publicized of which was probably the Maxim silencer, usable on low-velocity sealedbreech firearms. Like the Luger pistol, the Vickers machine gun action is locked by a toggle-joint, unlocked by recoil “breaking” the toggle. This is the oldest type of action still used and was the main type of the 1914 German and British forces. The guns I worked on were carefully-made prewar products and were quite reliable so long as they were kept clean and lubricated. In the desert they did not do good. Between the Vickers and the water-cooled 1917 Browning there is little to choose in the way of outstanding points of difference. Outside of the fact that the Vickers weighs 30 pounds without water to the Browning’s 33 pounds and they feed from opposite sides, in actual effectiveness the guns are about equal. I don’t like either one, but believe the water jacket of the Vickers a little stronger than that of the Browning. The actual breech mechanism is entirely different, and I prefer the Browning action. The Vickers has an aperture rear sight adjustable to 4,000 yards. Different scales are furnished for the standard .303 Mk. VII and the high-velocity Mk. VIII cartridges, as we provided for the M1906 cartridge and the M1 cartridge on the Browning rear sights. The meanest thing I ran into was the Boys Anti-Tank Rifle, the “A.T. Rifle R.B. Mk. I.” This is—or was—a .55 caliber five-round magazine bolt action rifle, using a belted cartridge similar to our .50 caliber MG case. These guns weighed over 35 pounds and

employed a monopod, for mounting on a vehicle or any solid base available. Overall length was 63″, barrel 36″, and rear sights were two aperture types, fixed at 300 and 500 yards. Recoil was so bad that they were never fired as a free weapon except in emergencies, having no recoil mechanism other than a sponge-rubber pad on the buttplate. A muzzle brake, or recoil reducer was used, but was poorly designed and of not much use. The bolt mechanism was very similar to that of the M1903 Springfield rifle, except that the cocking piece had a ring to enable easy manual cocking, and a safety located in the receiver rather than the sleeve. All the screws in this weapon were of soft steel, with narrow slots, and set in extremely tight. It was necessary to disassemble the entire gun to get at any one part, it seemed, and I have battled those screws for hours. They were very sad jobs and were discontinued early in the war, not being effective on anything except very light armor at close range. A .50 caliber Bren type gun was experimented with, but the Browning heavy machine gun was available and a proven success, so the Bren never got very far. Vickers put out some .50 caliber arms also but I believe all these were used by naval forces. I never saw any except pictures in armorers’ manuals. Besas were numerous and easy to handle. This gun is made of cast steel for the most part, with not a great deal of machine work necessary on it. Appearance is rather startling at first, as it is predominantly a “square” gun—the parts all slide together in keyways rather than turn and lock in the various adaptation of the round-part and interrupted-screw lock or hinge and pin method used on other guns. The Besa is another Czech model and both British and Germans used the same basic gun in 7.92mm caliber. In fact, the British once captured a ship at Bardia with 2,000 Besa barrels and proceeded to use them in their own guns, only a very minor modification being necessary. The guns are very heavy gasoperated machine guns, with the same type of breech mechanism as found in the Bren or Breda, but with a different method of unlocking. They were used only in tanks and other armored vehicles, both German and British, although the Germans were using more and more of their own type fast-firing guns as time went on. The Besa had a 500 RPM cyclic rate which could be stepped up to around 800

on some of the earlier guns by means of an accelerator. Barrels were easily changed, but not of the quick-detachable type. The trigger was contained in a regular trigger guard and pistol grip unit underneath the receiver of the gun at the back end, and the grip was used as a cocking handle, the entire unit being grasped and moved back and forth to retract the breech parts. The weapon fired from an open bolt, using metallic belts of nondisintegrating type, handling all German 7.9mm ammunition as well as British 7.92mm. A heavier model Besa, in 15mm caliber was used in tanks for awhile but was replaced by the .50 Browning. This Besa was very powerful but also very big and bulky.

XIX A DETAIL WITH QM During the winter of 1942-43 we all worked hard and long, but in the spring things eased off, as the combat areas got further away and other units farther up the line took in equipment. The native helpers were laid off, only the one armorer and a few laborers being retained. The Egyptian gunsmith who had served as foreman over the helpers and adviser to us on British stuff remained, principally, to fool around with the odd guns and souvenirs which came in. He set up a blueing business and was busy from then on. Did a very good job, too, using a four-day cold solution. The rest of the outfit fooled around making picture frames out of 20mm or .50 caliber cartridges or cigarette lighters out of anything handy. It was quite a break after the months when everything went at top speed, the tech sergeant never leaving the inspection bench and raving about the production schedule, and the master sergeant testfiring machine guns day after day. In that outfit stripes meant just more pay, not less work. We did not even mind the periodic inspections when some brassbound jerk would come around with one star or a pair of eagles and go through the base seeing everything and understanding nothing. There were more useless high-ranking officers in Egypt than in England, I think. Lt. Colonels outnumbered second lieutenants, and had no more authority, as a rule, unless they commanded a unit. When we were working, we had to clean up the shop and get everything in order for one of these fast-walk inspections, taking at least two hours’ time and knocking about a half day’s work out of production. We really hated that, and for a couple of days after one of those exhibitions no one felt like working, feeling that there was really no point in extending ourselves if the officers could waste our time.

The shop being slack, another man from my company and I went on special duty with the QM. By now the camp was full-grown and so far from the active theatre it was of little use as a repair base. About a third of the outfit (my battalion) went up to Tripoli and cleaned up the mess there, organizing into a temporary base group with some small maintenance units. Half my company was driving trucks on convoys across the desert—around 1,400 hundred miles one way. It was not a bad trip, if you did not run into a minefield, for the Germans were not sending any planes except on port raids. A Teller mine will sure ruin a jeep, though, including driver. My QM job on the base turned out to be a gravy train; I rode the fruit truck, with a driver and a helper, and every morning except Sunday would go to the British QM close to Cairo to pick up the camp’s ration of fruit. By this time we were drawing a good bit of fresh rations from the British. It might be anything—Palestine or Jaffa or Egyptian oranges or grapefruit, or perhaps bananas or melons, whatever was available. The hospitals got the best, which was not too fancy, but anything was welcome to us. Egyptian laborers loaded the truck at the pickup point, then we returned to camp and distributed it to the various mess halls according to the number of men fed at each. We had from 20 to 30 stops, depending on the units coming through. Since the requisition called for a slight coverage, and the hospital only took its quota about half the time (they had a private purchasing fund and agent to take care of them and frequently did not care for our stuff) I usually had a good extra supply, which of course became the highest grade of trading stock. I was the mess sergeant’s friend, “The Man With The Stuff.” Steaks, pies, etc., came my way as long as I had a couple of extra crates of oranges to put out to whatever cook or mess sergeant was in line for promotion or just wanted to take good care of his boys. By skillfully alternating my largess and spreading out the surpluses everyone was happy and convinced he was doing better than the next outfit, so I did OK. Even after I lost the job I was welcome at most of the mess halls at any time, which is a record of some kind, mess sergeants being notoriously unfriendly to everybody below the rank of full colonel between meals.

Sundays were free now, so we began to see more of Cairo and the surrounding sights. The ration truck helped, of course, slight detours not hurting the job. One Sunday morning we took the truck to go deliver some meat to a service club in town (we did not work Sundays but it so happened that Sir Henry Maitland-Wilson was decorating the post commander, for getting rid of the flies that morning or something equally pointless, and every soldier was supposed to be in review formation to see it). We did not have any meat, and the truck picked up 160 miles before we got back, so we did get about. The ration distribution shed we worked out of was of the same sand-brick as the rest of the camp, but the walls did not reach to the roof, leaving an opening for coolness. There were two or three wide doorways for trucks to be backed in to pick up canned and bulk rations. This was the “breakdown” point where a complete representative stock was maintained and each organization allotted its 10-day amount, which was picked up by each outfit right there if they had a truck, or delivered by a QM truck if they had no transportation. The QM trucks were the same old beat-up Canadian Fords —“30 Hundredweight” capacity, and frequently loaded to five tons with canned goods. The great ration dumps were inside the camp, a half-mile or so away. At this time we had around 800 Sudanese on the post, working all over, including at the ration warehouse with us. These were slim, sinewy blacks from the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, south of Egypt. At first, nearly all were ex-soldiers who had served their time in the colonial troops and been discharged (England did not require them to enlist for the duration or to actually fight against the Germans). Later arrivals were civilians who had never seen service, but the exsoldiers taught them to march. Americans hate drill and marching but we admired the way those boys could swing along with perfect timing in the British manual; they loved it. They were hired under contract by the U. S. and were equipped, quartered and fed the same as American soldiers, except, being Mohammedans, they took no pork products but received extra mutton instead. All had tribal scars on their faces, each clan having a little different arrangement or location, and few

could speak anything except Arabic and Sudanese dialects. We used to enjoy seeing newly arrived soldiers or officers run into one of them on guard somewhere and get a British-style salute and no response to questions in English. They received the same clothes as we had, excepting blouses, and their caps had no braid. Otherwise, overlooking their thin lips and scarred cheeks they could be mistaken for American Negroes. Sudanese are rated higher than the paler Arabic Egyptian by the Europeans in the Near East, and they are popular as waiters and general servants. As a people they are much cleaner and less diseased, and are a prouder race. Some have become wealthy business men in the cities. They are by no means jungle savages. The British respect them highly and rate them almost on a par with the Ghurka as fighting men. As Kipling wrote of “Fuzzy-Wuzzy,” he was the only man who ever “broke a British Square.” His hair is not so kinky and he does not wear it in the fuzzy-head fashion any more. The English have educated them as best they could and all except the back-country boys could read and write Arabic. One young fellow came up to me with an English-language newspaper once to ask the meaning of the word “counter-attack”—he was reading the news to the rest of his gang. Turned out he could read, write and speak Arabic, French and English, but had trouble with the English. I do not know if their national sport is still killing lions with spears but they know how to handle rifles. Both the Arabs and the Sudanese seemed to understand weapons very well. We used to call one of them over every once in awhile and give him a gun of some sort to look over while we looked him over. I remember once an M1 rifle came through somehow and we let some of the natives see it. One of them snapped back the operating handle, looked in the chamber and receiver, worked the safety a couple of times, asked what the gas cylinder was and handed it back. He knew how it worked, that was all. No awe, no surprise, no nothin’, except he would like it a little lighter; so would I. When a batch of American Negro soldiers came through I brought several down to the warehouse to pick up their rations and witness their reaction to the Sudanese and vice versa. The Americans went pop-eyed at the rather sinister-looking boys and

definitely disclaimed all relationship on their part. As one of them put it, “They may belong to mah race, but thazzall! I ain’t like them!” One of the Sudanese came to me and asked howcome. I told him in Arabic that they were Americans whose ancestors had been Africans. He said “Why?” That being involved, I forcefully requested him to start throwing the Spam on the truck. It was while the ration job lasted that our existence became positively idyllic—we had an icebox. I got the guys still in the shop to solder together two bomb case liners—long tin boxes—making a long tank about a foot deep. This we parked in a large rifle crate and packed the side spaces with palm fiber. The case had held 30 rifles, not 10, so it was fair sized. When my truck passed by one of the native ice houses on the edge of Heliopolis on the way back to camp with the day’s load, I would buy a couple of pieces of ice, which came in long narrow blocks. Two of these would last about 36 hours in the box. Naturally it was kept packed with all the fruit, canned juices, and water canteens it would hold. Everyone had ice water when he came back from the shop which was wonderful in the hot weather. It was possible to buy limes, lemons, American gin, charged water and other hot weather beverage ingredients in the big city. I had a lovely spring, what with the afternoons off and being my own boss.

XX RIFLE PRACTICE IN EGYPT During this time a few of the younger officers got together and discovered they liked to shoot so a rifle team was organized. The adjutant of my battalion, a Captain Bethel, was one of the moving spirits, I think, abetted by Lieutenant Dunlap, also of my outfit, but not related to me. A range was under construction on the post, but for the first few weeks we practiced at the ranges in Abassyia, the great base on the edge of Cairo under British command. A call was broadcast for all interested shooters to show up and we did. Three hundred meter matches were lined up, so we practiced at 300 yards on standard British short range targets most of the time. The scoring rings are fairly close to those of our “A” target, but that is all. This is the camouflage target—top half a dull blue, bottom sand color; top half of bull is black, bottom, gray. It symbolizes a man looking over a skyline; the black is his head, in helmet, the gray his face, the blue the sky, the sand or buff color the earth. You go gradually blind looking at it; or rather, for the bull. I have to admit it is a more practical paper mark than our black and white job, but it is not nearly as much fun to shoot at! That little half-moon of black is hard to see even in bright light. Paradoxically, twice at Abassyia we had to hold up shooting until a dense fog cleared. Everything happens in Egypt. Once we shot on 300-meter targets, at 300 meters, and on one string of six shots I set myself a high score of 56 out of 60. This is impossible, as the gun, ammunition and holding were not that good. One of those freak groups which pop up every once in awhile. Four consecutive strings like that would break the world record by 14 points, or maybe it is 17. The Swiss Rifle Club of Cairo was in the “league” and some of them touted our officers on a bit of equipment unfamiliar to American

rifle ranges, though known in our arsenals and arms factories. This

THE BIG BROWNINGS Top: U. S. Pistol, Caliber .45, M1911, Colt. Center: VIS Mod.35, Caliber 9mm Parabellum, F. B. Radom, (Poland); Bottom: Belgian G.P. Caliber 9mm Parabellum (Fabrique Nationale, Herstal, Belgium). All hammers completely forward. Cartridges shown.

THE BROWNINGS FIELDSTRIPPED Left to right: The U. S. M1911 Colt; the Mod.35 VIS Polish Radom, and the Belgian G.P. Hammers of all resting in the safety, or half-cock, notch. Note the magazines, shown so as to demonstrate thicknesses. The Belgian magazine holds 13 cartridges, the Polish, 8.

was the barrel cooler, used to keep rifle barrels from getting too hot and changing point of impact. I made several for those who desired them, getting some 24″ lengths of heavy copper electrical cable, or rod, which luckily happened to be close to bore diameter for the .3006 rifles, and riveting one end to a thin circular disc of copper. The idea is, you put the rod of the cooler down the barrel between strings or stages of the match, letting the disc or flange contact the muzzle; heat is supposed to run down the rod and be dissipated from the flange. All we had were issue 1903 rifles mostly of Remington manufacture and all the ammunition was M2. I worked over my rifle, found a Type C pistol grip stock and put it on, with the best bedding job I could do. By a mere coincidence (if you believe that, you’re crazy) I happened to have an old Marine Corps front sight cover and an O’Hare sight micrometer in my bag. The Marine Corps front sight cover was an old experiment of the days at Perry, and is merely a large hood which can be left on while firing, to provide a fine sunshade, its size being such that its ring is not noticeable through a

No. 6 Springfield drift slide aperture. My front sight was also a few thousandths wider than the issue version. I needed all the help I could find or make. The officers promptly borrowed the sight mike and took it down to the toolmakers, ordering a dozen made. This naturally was quite a project, but the boys did turn out workable micrometers, though they were not uniform among themselves. As long as the same one was used with a particular rifle, there was no “defugalty.” I still have one of them myself. I also shudder to think of what they cost in man and machine hours of work, though. Lieutenant Dunlap acquired one of the then-new Remington M1903-A3 rifles with a rude aperture sight on the receiver bridge. I had to operate on it and by the time we were through with it the windage knob had 16 clicks per revolution instead of four and instead of a spring to hold the elevation slide, we put in a screw. The rifle was rebedded and shot very well. We had an M1 around, but kept it for the visitors to play with since it was not accurate enough for target work. Naturally the rifle squad collected all the shooters who could make themselves available. You could sit down and talk guns with anyone who showed up and he would understand. A couple of regular army men who had fired on prewar service teams here and there were always on hand and a lot of ex-smallbore shooters came around. A couple of the officers had been to Camp Perry and others had shot on college teams. There was not a “bigname” shot on the team, but we enjoyed ourselves and won more than we lost. During the spring I lost my fine position with the QM, due to the arrival of some quartermaster troops to take over the QM duties. In case I have not mentioned it before, all the QM jobs, supplies, depots, dumps, etc., had been run for the preceding year by ordnance men or aviation mechanics. Things had worked out OK, too. Anyway, the idea of going back to the shop and trying to look busy during working hours did not sit well with me and when I had an opportunity to get a guard duty job I took it. It was another racket, as far as effort on my part equalling the benefits derived therefrom were concerned. It amounted to about every third night on a guard job somewhere. Until this time every outfit had more-or-less guarded its

own area and shops, not against the Axis, but against the Arabs. At that they did dismantle and steal a disabled Grant tank once. A Wog could and would steal anything he could lift or get a camel to carry. Tires and food were worth their weight in money in the Egyptian markets, so they were constantly watched. Shooting did not bother the skulking prowlers at all, unless the bullet connected. The guard duty was highly informal, being a practical form of nightwatching, so I did not mind much. Most of the time I would just go over in a stripeless shirt and report as a private of the guard, do my four or six-hour watch and go back to my own bed, all done, with the next day or two days off, all for my own. However, the acting sergeant of the guard was one of the guys from the rifle squad and sometimes he would get me a motor patrol post, driving a reconnaissance car or command car around for a couple of hours, on the first shift; when this happened, I would be through with the nights’ work at 10 P.M. This was indeed the life; he double-crossed me once, though, and I found myself away out in the sand as “corporal of the guard” at a hush-hush radio station. This was the oddest post I ever ran into—each guard took its orders from the preceding one and no one had authority over the station except a certain Signal Corps Colonel. Even the officers of the guard could not come in the area! Guards had orders to shoot on suspicion— anyone within rifle range of the place should not be. I had to spend a 24 hour stretch there with nine men. On the days off, all time was my own, and as a truck-bus system to Cairo had been inaugurated, I spent the early summer days seeing the city, or going to the various units returning from the front, trying to pick up information and pistols. The New Zealand Division located their rest camp at Maadi, south of Cairo, easily reached by train and bus, and I spent many days out there. I was well acquainted with the Maori battalion, who had the reputation of great fighters—and irrepressible looters. They had vast amounts of enemy equipment and of course as time passed they wanted to sell it. I bought many pistols and a few Beretta submachine guns and Schmeisser machine pistols, for officers back in the base who liked to play with them. When the Kiwis rested, they rested. There was no training schedule as in the American rear area rest camps. The New

Zealand pay rate is quite high, but only a small portion is actually received directly by the men, most of it going into allotments, etc. Consequently they were always digging up something for me to peddle. We got along very well together. Their officers were very lenient about their possessing such items—unusual in British forces. The battalion armorer sergeant was a white New Zealander, who later became a warrant officer and head of their little training shop. He and I became good friends and exchanged a lot of equipment for mutual benefit. His tanks were equipped with .50 Browning machine guns, but he could never get any Browning parts or manuals or gages, and I used to supply them, by now having a very wide acquaintanceship among supply and warehouse sergeants and officers on our post. I never worked through official channels in my life, but depended on the “hand-requisition” (old army slang for “hand-shaking” or getting stuff through friends). The New Zealand division was just about the best infantry outfit in the Eighth Army and was used all the way from Alamein to Tripoli. Although ranked as infantry, they were motorized and equipped with some Sherman tanks by the end of the campaign. The Maoris, or native New Zealanders formed one large battalion of the Division. They are a Polynesian race, similar to our Hawaiians, and are accepted as complete equals by the New Zealanders of English origin. There is absolutely no color bar whatsoever, and intermarriage is very common between the races. Education is compulsory, therefore all get the same start in life on that score. The Maoris, generally pronounced “Mowries” are as direct and open as Americans in their dealings. They come all sizes and cannot be typed. Some are tall, aquiline-featured, others squat, oriental-faced. Some are almost black, others almost white. The stories of the wars in the early days between English colonists and Maori warriors read like tales of the days of chivalry. Once a British commander retreated from a battlefield rather than continue fighting and destroy a Maori force who had only hand weapons but who formally invited the English to fight it out. In New Zealand for once England came up with the unbeatable colonization formula—get ‘em to join you. So now if a Maori does not like his taxes, he is stuck; the tax collector is probably a Maori too.

XXI WITH THE RIFLE RANGE DETAIL In July the rifle range on the post was finished, and Lieutenant Dunlap managed to get the job of range officer and got me the job of range sergeant. We were in like burglars; I do not yet understand the full details, but I think he managed to get Cairo GHQ, by now the Delta Service Command, to think we were under the post command, and the post commander to think we were under direct orders of the Delta Service Command. As a result we both went on detached service, while continuing to live in our own organizations, responsible to only ourselves and the range schedule, for the most part. This was lovely, as everyone was afraid to cross us, fearing we would bring pressure to bear from uncontrollable forces. The Dunlap name served to further confuse the issue, since either of us would back the other up and signatures had a habit of becoming rather undecipherable on the “Sgt.” or “Lt.” parts, in case of possible future questions. The range itself had firing points up to 600 yards, but was limited to 10 targets. The butts were elevated, that is, every part of the target mechanism was above the level of the desert, with a stone wall and a great sand bank built about 12 feet up, for protection of the pit crew. Frames were all of wood and ran on rope, which was always breaking and holding up the proceedings. Everything used on the range was home-made. A small corrugated steel shack held our extra targets and range supplies. Targets were made of light brown wrapping paper, in two halves, it being necessary to line up the rings when pasting them on the frames. Target cloth was canvas from old tents. Pasters were strips of wrapping paper, black ones painted on

one side, as were the targets. Spotters were made of cardboard and painted black on one side, white on the other. For a backstop we had a range of great sand dunes, rising perhaps 300 feet, just back of the butts. The range was about three miles from the camp proper and of course transportation was necessary at all times, and four-wheel drive at that, for most of the area was loose sand. I had access to the magazines and dumps for ammunition and supplies. We usually moved a couple of dozen cases or so at a time to a little dump far out in the desert, where a small amount of enemy munitions and demolition materials were stored. Here we had German, Italian and British small arms ammunition, a lot of grenades and booby traps, aerial bombs, etc. I spent a lot of odd minutes playing with incendiary pencils and capsules and such toys. Did not learn much from the chemical stuff. From association with a couple of explosive experts I had learned a little about delousing dangerous items but I was always careful not to do any wild experimenting with unfamiliar numbers. I want to watch somebody else tear them down first. Hands and eyes are not interchangeable accessories. A 24hour guard was kept on this dump but my main worry was keeping the guards scared enough so they would leave the stuff alone. So help me, though, a guy stole a 14-pound Teller mine once, and we never did find it, even though we broadcast promises not to do anything to him if he would only return it. It was set for around 500 pounds pressure, so he probably could not hurt himself without a lot of effort, but some of the stuff we had I was afraid to even lift myself, to move it out of the way. Things like booby trap incendiary preparations which would ignite at body temperature, and had to be kept underground packed against the heat of the sun. All men on the base and all who passed through had to go through a course of fire on the range, usually a 45-round familiarization routine. We found we could not get the planned 200, 300 and 500 yard stages in one day for the number of men we had to handle and cut it down to 200 and 300 yards only. When possible we reserved Sunday mornings for the rifle team to practice. We had one match there before I left, which we won by beating the Swiss and South African teams out at 500 yards. They always beat us at short range though. They practiced only on British targets which

made our “A” target a set-up for them, even at 300 yards, where I was happy to settle for a 47 or better, slow fire, prone, as all our shooting was done. I tried to work up some interest in an offhand match, but did not get much attention from anyone except a couple of the Swiss civilians. One of them was high man in the team match, and I am still unhappy over being beat by a guy who did not even use a sling, or a windage sight. He used a British No. 4 rifle and shot from the high prone position, left hand just forward of the trigger guard. The wind was blowing, but he could read it and hold off well enough to keep them in the black. Due to the small number of targets and the large number of men we had to handle, the range had to be in use every minute of daylight, which made it hard on the range officer and sergeant, as one of us had to be there at all times. We would plow out there at dawn in whatever vehicle we could get hold of with a sufficient supply of ammunition to start the day’s firing. We either had to take a case in with us at night for the morrow’s use, leave it in the range shack back of the butts, or detour by our dump and pick it up in the morning. Occasionally we would leave it in the shack, and an Arab with a camel cleaned us out one night. The shack was of corrugated galvanized steel, door and all, the steel running up to within about a foot of the edges of the roof on the sides, about eight feet from the sand, but our robber went in the opening and removed two cases of loaded ammunition and a case or so of empties. He did not bother the padlocked door though a good kick would open it from either side. To get a better picture of his feat, go through a transom, get a 1,500-round case of .30-06 ammunition and put it through the transom and climb back, not standing on anything except the edges of the door panels while lifting and lowering the box. The job had its compensations as we managed to work out a system giving us a little freedom. The firing schedule, arranged by the camp headquarters, was marked “Secret,” because it listed the strength of every American unit and its equipment as well. Even the copies on the various organization public bulletin boards were marked “Secret,” in large red letters! We managed to get each unit to furnish sufficient officers to act as assistant range officers and naturally let them run the firing line, while the Lieutenant and I

worked along the line helping men who had trouble. I kept an armorer’s kit and could repair rear sights, replace worn cocking pieces, etc. (all units were armed with M1903 rifles). Every other minute some guy would howl that his gun would not shoot straight and one of us would go check the sights. If OK, we would then fire a couple of shots, give the man our own sight setting and leave him happy with a white spotter in the bull. Odd things popped up. A couple of times each week we would get men who would swear they could not see the sights with their right eye and insist on putting their heads over the stock and sighting with the left eye, shooting from the right shoulder. We would try to straighten them out as best we could—most were very right-handed and could not handle the gun at all from the left shoulder. Others could not see the sights right; either they could not close one eye at a time, or they could not see right with both eyes open. The outfits were supposed to put in a few days’ odd time on dry runs, practicing positions, and such points, but a lot of men naturally missed this and turned up with only a foggy idea of what was going on. Every American seems to think he has three natural gifts as a birthright: He can play poker; he can carry his liquor; and he can shoot. And it takes sad experience to convince him that practice plays quite a part in handling all three. Guns too showed individualities—occasionally the slide on a Springfield would have to be shoved up to 600 or 700 yards to sight in at 200. I examined some of these and could find nothing out of the usual order on most of them. Barrels were straight, stocks not warped enough to cause the trouble, front sight the correct height. We kept homemade carbide lamps for sight blackening and nearly every man was glad to take advantage of it. Any reflection in that incandescent sunlight would really show up. Aside from the usual firing-line discipline—keeping bolts open, rifles aimed down range, etc., we did not insist on strict target or training camp procedure. If the soldier did not want to use his sling, we did not insist. This was familiarization firing, to get the men used to their weapons. At the time when a lot of these organizations came overseas, basic training was very sketchy about the firearms training, especially with any units not actually infantry and expected to go into battle. I have

talked with dozens of men who had never fired their rifles before they came on that range in Egypt, and since they were scheduled for Sicily and Italy, they appreciated all we could do for them. As the summer went on, I continued to enjoy life, in a passive sort of fashion. When the time came for my own battalion to fire the course, the colonel, who was an old army rifleman himself, put up a prize of five pounds (about $21.00) and my own company put up either two or three pounds, to go to the high man. I bought a beautiful silver cigarette case, made in Persia and fully engraved, with the money. It was not any pickup, either, for there were a few good shots in the bunch. The Lieutenant and I took turns being among the missing; whenever one of us decided he needed a day or afternoon off, the other took over alone. He developed a bum leg for almost three weeks and I really had to work during that time, but usually I would get over to the New Zealanders’ camp about once a week and see what the boys had. Picked up a dozen Mausers once and passed them out to the boys who wanted them. Removed the barrel from one and threw the action into my bag, for future reference. We could not send them home at that time. The Lieutenant and I usually had Lugers stuck in our back pockets, and always went armed after we ran into a pair of horned vipers at the butts. The day that happened I sent the medic in to the hospital for a snake-bite kit and instructions, etc. (we always had an ambulance and a couple of Medical Corps men in it, as part of the range equipment, just in case). He came back and said nobody knew nothin’. However, our report of the vipers stirred up some action and we did get quite a lot of dope on snakes in a day or two, as well as medicine, etc. These vipers are a short heavy snake, with horns and extremely potent venom. They can move under loose sand, and one of the first two I saw popped its head up out of the desert, like a turtle’s head in the water when he’s trying to get a good look around. No one ever got bitten, but I don’t know why, for there were plenty of the snakes around. It turned out that Egypt has quite a few dangerous reptiles, though I am still amused over finding out about Cleopatra’s asp. You know the cute little critter she is always holding

in the pictures? Forget it; the Egyptian asp is a six-foot water-snake, living around canals and rivers. The viper is the bad little one. Snakes and lizards were the only wild life out by our range and we polished off quite a few via Luger and Springfield. The lizards were very repulsive, but harmless characters looking more like a longlegged miniature alligator rather than the usual little chameleontype sleek reptiles. These could sit up like a woodchuck and run a lot faster. Only grew to about 30 inches long and most were shorter than that. Little desert mice finally came to the target shack to live on the flour paste, I guess. They are comical little nocturnal animals, sandcolored and pop-eyed, with large round ears and fairly long tails. They were not often seen, but I did catch one at my feet one night in my gloved hands while out on a working party in the winter. He squeaked and chattered and I turned him loose. He dived into the darkness, but was back in a few minutes, attracted by our lights— and the biscuit crumbs we dropped. Stayed a couple of hours and proved an occupational hazard by forcing everyone to keep on the lookout to prevent stepping on him. British soldiers used to try to tame them and keep them around their tents, saying they ate all the fleas and bugs. Whenever the schedule slipped and we happened to be on the range by ourselves, or at night after the customers left if there was any light, we would shoot a little for our own amusement. A fivegallon gasoline tin at the base of the butts was our 200 yard pistol target, giving a satisfactory “plang” when a bullet connected. A similar can on the side of a dune 750 meters away was our rifle mark. Anyway, we figured it was 750 meters because that setting on our German and Italian weapons was just about right. We could push tracers and explosive bullets at it without worrying about damaging a target or frame (on occasion we would toss a .30 caliber tracer through a target to wake up a slow pit man!; usually worked, too). Trying to find good ammunition for the match shooting, I shot groups with every variety of .30-06 ammo I could locate, even going so far as to break down aircraft belts to get choice armor-piercers. All shot lousy, except for one lot of Denver make. This was good

enough to stay in a six-inch group at 200 yards, with most of them in four inches. Ordinarily I shot 15-shot groups in testing, shooting prone with sandbag forearm rest. We used the Denver stuff thereafter in competition. On a return match with the South Africans at their Helwan base, up the Nile perhaps 50 or 60 miles from Cairo, we took a licking. The team score was close—849 to 851, I believe. Used their British style target of course, and we lost the match at 300 yards. I lost eight points in ten shots there, and I finished in third place in the individual standing, to give an idea of how scores dropped there. Lieutenant Dunlap was high man, three points ahead of me, with a South African sergeant in second place. In the 500 yard stage we almost pulled up with them, but could not quite make it. The wind was blowing and our adjustable windage sights gave us the edge here, while the other team had to hold off. They could shoot though. One turned in a possible at 300 yards. I think he was the Major who held the world’s military rifle record at 300 meters. He got lost at 500, though. The sergeant who came in second was my shooting partner and we both shot 37’s at 500, dropping three points apiece. On the British target, the bull is four points, the next ring, three, next, two, and remainder of target, one, therefore a possible, or perfect score, is 40 points and not 50, as on American military targets. Their range pointed directly at the morning sun and they used a great, stony hill for a background, making the shadowed bullseye a job to locate on that hard-to-see paper. At 200 the flat bottom of the half-bull sits on top of your sight in good order, but farther back it is just an irregular dot, changing its size, shape and position from the mirage, or heat waves. After the match the South Africans gave us a cheer; we gave them a cheer, and settled down to the usual bull session and trying out each other’s guns. I had brought our M1 along and a couple of bandoliers of loaded clips for it, for them to shoot, and they really had a time. I sighted it in for the range and wind and let them make their own final adjustments. One officer got off eight shots in six seconds, and got four bulls; we had to pry him loose from the gun by main strength, and promised to give it to him if we ever found another one. The South Africans were always anxious to get hold of

.45 Colt automatics, too; possibly from their big-game heritage they liked .45 caliber handguns and being armed extensively with Thompson submachine guns, always had an ample supply of ammunition. I got a kick out of their scorecards—printed in English on one side, Afrikaans on the other. South Africa is bi-lingual, and both languages are used officially. Most of the people know one perfectly and have working knowledge of the other. They fixed us up with a very good dinner—steak, eggs, etc. All ranks ate together and relaxed over the table, with shooting and hunting stories. A couple of the men had been big game hunters and guides before the war, and one officer had made a living as a museum supplier of skins and such items. All were prewar riflemen, with civilian shooting experience. Some had acted as snipers at the front. In their target work some used loop slings, and their positions are practically identical with ours. In matches, no holds were barred, within reason, on equipment, and every man turned up with the best rifle he could get, but as a rule each team would use its own service rifle fixed up as best the individual could do. Some of the South Africans had put peep discs in the apertures of No. 4 Lee Enfields, to give smaller peep holes for better definitions. One had worked out an adjustable windage disc, by filing the original aperture into a horizontal slot and putting a locking nut on the end of his homemade disc shank. Some of these No. 4 rifles were American made, so maybe Stevens did OK on the barrels. I do not know whether those guns were of the two-groove rifling or not. Some used No. 3’s and sniper models of the Pattern ‘14, and some the standard short model Lee-Enfield. Most of them liked to use their high-velocity ammunition for long range, in spite of the heavier recoil. The regular .303 Mk. VII cartridge has a milder recoil than the .30-06 or 7.9mm rifle cartridges. The afternoon of the same day was spent looking over the South African camp. I learned a lot of things, one of which was that Italy and Germany had standardized gas mask canisters and some other chemical equipment in 1934, which was quite awhile before the “Axis” was officially running through Rome and Berlin. Interchangeability was carried to the point of making screw-type fittings even though the clamp type is tighter and more efficient, as

well as cheaper in manufacture. I remember sniffing a sample of German nitrogen-mustard gas, the most dreaded of all, and noting the similarity of the odor to that of cod-liver oil. That stuff can blind a man in 30 seconds, according to the best authorities. The camp also had an excellent small arms museum, or collection, with the finest collection of military ammunition I have ever seen, and I’ve seen Aberdeen’s display. Maybe the latter is better and larger now. We also saw a demonstration of the then-new British bakelite grenades, two of which looked alike, but acted differently. One was just a blast type, which could be thrown and disregarded if over a few yards away, and the other a vicious fragmentation type which could ruin any herrenvolk for about a 30-yard radius. They looked alike, so if an enemy saw one coming he had to take cover, while the thrower knew what he had and could throw a blast type and run up on the enemy position while the Kraut had his head down. No explanation should be required for further details.

XXII OUR INTERNATIONAL RIFLE MATCHES A couple of weeks later we went to Cairo to fire on the 300meter range of the Swiss Rifle Club. During the preceding week we had acquired an M1 carbine and by going through the magazine with a flashlight and a lot of patience, I located about 150 cartridges for it. We played with it, lightened the pull a little, lined up the sights and took it along to show to the Swiss. It so happens that the most illustrious member of the club was King Farouk of Egypt, who is a devoted rifleman and hunter. Well, the king glommed onto the carbine, it being new to him, and he proceeded to shoot it at 300 meters, offhand, which is straining a carbine no end. Did not accomplish much, but he had fun. The king is a very large man, over six feet and 200 pounds, and at that time sported a stylized Arabic or Egyptian beard and mustache. He had managed to accumulate about every type of rifle and submachine gun available, and we (the Americans) had gone so far as to give him a 4 x 4 (Jeep) with a mounted .50 caliber machine gun. This was before the days of the standard machine-gun mount for the vehicle and we designed and built that one in our shop. The match was team and individual, four strings of six shots each, military rifle, no set-triggers or telescopic sights, but free conditions, with two sighting shots for each string if desired, or a total of eight allowable any time except during a record stage. The free condition meant any position without artificial support and no time limit. Once a string of six shots is begun for record, no sighting or test shots may be fired until the sixth shot is recorded. I was told this was the military 300-meter course. Target was the standard 300-

meter international type, with scoring rings from one to 10 in value, the rings from five to 10 being in the black. The one-ring, or entire scoring area, is one meter, or 39.37″ in diameter, half the target being the bull; the black is half that, or 19.68″. The distance between each ring is five centimeters, or approximately 1.969″, with the 10 ring 10 centimeters, or 3.937″. You shoot at this from 300 meters, which is about 327 yards, with a military rifle, military sights. The bull is nice and big, but you have to stay around the middle to get a score. None of our rifles and ammunition were good enough to stay in the nine ring, even eliminating the human error, so you had to hold the best you could and pray that the flyers would zig when you zagged. The Swiss had only three firing points but their range was very well handled. Target frames and pits were somewhat similar to ours, but both slides and carriers were used; when a shot was fired on one target, it went down as a fresh target came up on the same frame, and the shot was scored or marked on the new target, the one with the actual bullet-hole being in the pit and under patching at the moment. The marking disc or scoring signal is a paddle white on one side, black on the other, and the value of the shot is indicated by the position of the paddle and its handling. A 10 is indicated by the white side of the paddle disc held motionless in the center of the bullseye; a nine by the white disc being moved in a circular motion around the center of the black, and the remaining values by the black side of the disc held motionless at the edge of the target paper, at each corner and in the center of each edge. The top edge from left to right read six, seven and eight, the bottom edge one, two and three; 9 o’clock, a five, and the 3 o’clock position a four. White spotters are used in practice and sighting, but not for record shooting and no position of shot is indicated by the paddle. The firing points were European style platforms, about 15″ or 18″ high at front and slanting down to within 6″ of the ground or floor at the rear, and a roof was provided over these for shade. It was not required to use these, and some members of each team elected to fire from the ground beside the platforms, on which mattresses were laid to protect the shooters from the hot sand. The range was located

on the southern edge of Cairo, faced east and was sand floored and walled in. I fired one string of six shots—got a 48 or 49 or something close, neither very good nor very poor—and decided I would rest. A three or four-cornered conversation took my attention for a couple of hours, as we exchanged shooting dope from Switzerland, Camp Perry, Tanganyika, Bisley or the Stockholm Olympics, depending on where we had been, and all of a sudden it was time for me to get going. The match was about over and I still had 18 very painful shots to get off. We were all shooting prone of course and I was using the mattress on the ground. This was comfortable but slippery. I tried a pair of sighters and got an eight and a nine, which was par for the course, as far as I was concerned, so I turned to the scorer and said “For record—par application,” and went on the road. That string scored 52, which is good, so I stated my wish to continue for record and kept going for the remaining 12 shots. I dropped quite a few points on the last string from firing too fast, I think, but ended with the high score for the day, gaining a silver medal, kisses on both ends of my mustache (Yeah, the Swiss do it too, French fashion) and a round of polite congratulations from the congregation, including the King. I also got the King’s rifle to tune up. I have always been quite pleased with myself that day, for I finished firing around 11:30 and at noon the temperature hit 150 degrees Fahrenheit. My firing point was unshaded and looking down the range was like staring into a welding booth. The glare was unbelievable. The psychology of the situation was not too conducive to the peace of mind of a mere sergeant, either. The Swiss scoring tables behind each of the firing points had seats for the scorer who kept the cards, pressing a buzzer button each time a shot was fired, as a formal signal to the pit to pull the target. Each target had its own signal circuit, and telephone as well. The plural of the “seats” comes in by having room for a witness, who in my case was a Major from my own battalion, a non-shooter, however. Besides him, we had the Egyptian Chief of Staff; an aid to the King of fairly high rank, and a couple of high-grade Britishers. All of whom were staring hard over my shoulder, figuratively speaking, as I shot, for there was a little prestige at stake. If I had lost I do not think I would have been very

popular in our own official circles for awhile. That angle had little importance to me, but pressure is pressure during a match, and every little bit hurts and is hard to control. The Swiss liked our Springfields, particularly the ones with pistolgrip stocks, but did not think much of our sights (1903 type) although admitting that windage adjustment was desirable. Their objection was that the front blade was too narrow and the rear aperture too far from the eye. Heck, that was our own objection to them! Their own military rifle has no movable windage feature. Because of the war they were unable to procure enough ammunition to fire their own service rifles. They did bring out a couple of rifles and a little ammunition to show us what they had; worth showing, too. The issue Swiss military rifle, known to us as the Schmidt-Rubin straight-pull, is as well finished as the average Winchester supergrade class of weapon, or comparative premium-finished items. That sounds strong but it is true. The breechbolts on the two rifles I examined were engine-turned, the stock inletting and finishing was comparable to the best quality work in this country and the metal finish was like that of an expensive custom rifle or shotgun. Their present model is about an inch longer than a Springfield, and weight is about eight pounds. The older model is longer-barreled, but mechanism is identical. On the present gun the inserts on the bolt handle are of aluminum, the older rifle has these of red fibre. Rear sight is an open type, elevating by tangent-curve, and front sight is a blade type, with its dovetail base allowing zeroing for lateral adjustment as it is a drive fit in a cut machined on an angle to the line of bore, instead of at right angles, or straight across the base. This slanting dovetail groove allows considerable leeway in adjusting the front sight, without having the base of the sight projecting out one side of the groove. The cartridge is their own design, a sharp-shouldered modern case containing 48 grains of flake nitro-cellulose powder and a 174.5-grain boat-tailed alloy steel-jacketed bullet, which measures .3075″ in diameter and which I wish I had a lot of. They look good, and the Swiss claimed they were very accurate at all ranges. The case is larger in diameter than the Mauser series and it is therefore

impossible to make it from any American case. Although truly rimless, it has a very strong extracting rim and appears to be made of good brass. As can be realized from the bullet measurements, this is practically a .30 caliber. The true designation has been kicked around a little by American writers, but the Swiss stencil on their packets in large red letters the legend “7.56mm,” which should be right. After the match with the Swiss I worked over King Farouk’s Springfield, or rather his Remington 1903-A3. I located a Type C stock which bedded correctly and gave it to our Egyptian cabinetmakers, several of whom were still employed on the post, probably to make furniture for the officers, explaining that the bundukieh was that of el malik, in other words, the King’s gun. In about 10 hours they had the stock French-polished until an ant would slip on the surface. I found some good hardware—bands, swivels, buttplate, trigger guard, etc., and blued them to replace the original stamped parts. Eventually we had a sharp-looking rifle. I worked over the sights and pull and bolt until it worked fairly smoothly, but I did not stay long enough to see the King shoot it. Hope he liked the shiny stock. As originally put out, these rifles were very rough, with horrible trigger-pulls. When some general learned that the King was interested in guns, he just ordered one of them for presentation and an issue rifle went out. Unfortunately, the King did not want to stand it in a cabinet in a collection. He wanted to shoot it. Just a few days after this Swiss match I went in from the range one morning to eat—I ate at odd hours, having to be on the job before the regular breakfast was served, to get things started for the day—and was told the post commander wanted to see me at 1 o’clock. I tried to think of anything I had done lately which could be proved and decided things were OK—whatever the charge, I could prove a good alibi. At the headquarters I found half a dozen other soldiers and the score: this was the priority board for OCS! In the spring one of our armorers had passed the OCS examining board and had been sent back to the U. S. for Officer Candidate School. Naturally there was a rush for applications and I was in it. Everyone had visions of getting out of Africa and going home for awhile at least. The officer angle

was distinctly secondary. I had gone before a board in June or July, been asked one question—which I answered wrong—and forgotten the whole matter, taking for granted I had failed completely. Turned out that the examination was about two-thirds phony—my records were what counted. This latest get-together was a screening board to pick out the first men to go, as only about half a dozen were allowed as the quota for that entire war theatre, and hundreds were eligible. After the interview I went back out to the range, figuring I still had not made or lost anything, since I was the oldest man in the lot, the only one with no college education at all and the only one with just one army specialty—I knew nothing except small arms. So I was chosen immediately, along with a couple of other unpolished G.I.’s. The colonels on the board seemed to be more impressed with our general records of accomplishment than in our “military” appearance, bearing, or line of thought. We had our choice of transport; we could go by air or by ship. So of course we had to wait a few days for the ATC to find room for us on a plane. In the interim my New Zealand friend showed up on a motorcycle one afternoon, with a handful of Luger parts and two 9mm headspace gages for a going-away present. I was having a time with my baggage, as we were allowed to carry a field bag (musette bag) and 40 pounds of additional weight. Of course I was carrying considerable hardware which was not exactly on the specified list of equipment for returning personnel. Relying on my knowledge that personal searches were practically unheard-of, I wore my British battle-dress jacket. This model had large inside pockets, for installation of an armor-plate on each side of the chest. Yes, Junior, built-in shoulder holsters. So what? We all had permits to carry pistols, or some pistols, anyhow.

ITALIAN AND CZECHOSLOVAKIAN PISTOLS Top: The Italian service pistol; Beretta Model 1934, Caliber 9mm Corto (.380 ACP), with cartridge and 7-round packet of ammunition. Bottom: The Bohmische Pistol—P.27, Caliber 7.65mm (.32 ACP) with cartridge. Used by Germany.


XXIII STATESIDE BOUND At last we got the fated call and a truck ride to Kilo 8, the British fighter airport which the U. S. had taken over and built up to handle large planes; it later became Payne Field. At that time it was known as Kilo 8, as it was supposed to be eight kilometers from Heliopolis, the nearest town. Our plane was an old DC 3 and was loaded like a six-by-six truck coming from a ration dump. There were 26 passengers and so many mail bags piled down the middle of the ship I could not see over them. We took off in the early afternoon in the style of an interceptor plane on a rush call. I will swear that old cargo carrier climbed at a 45 degree angle for three minutes. The fact that we made a climbing turn did not help my morale much, but I forgot the antics of the pilot as he flew over Cairo before swinging south for Khartoum. We were flying the southern route home, and the first leg was to the Sudan, over the unbelievably desolate southern or “Upper” Egyptian desert country. It was late before we reached the Khartoum field, so we landed in the dark; a bounce or two, but the plane was not hurt. We removed all baggage, as we had to change to a different ship in the morning. No flying was done at night as there were no lighted fields anywhere along the route. That night was spent in an ancient thick-walled barracks in Khartoum and was the hottest I ever experienced in Africa. I remember buying a paper from a coal-black boy; the name was the “Sudan Star” and it was full of the Italian surrender. In the morning we started across Africa in another DC 3. Every few hours we would dip down to some little air field, held by an RAF detachment and a few American air corps men, there to service the aircraft passing through. These men were really sweating out the war, thousands of miles from the fighting fronts. They would never

get any battle stars or medals but the war needed them, for in the planes they kept moving came the high personnel, the mail, the instruments, the special parts which sustained the bombers and fighters, as well as thousands of the planes themselves, on the oneway ferry trip. All their supplies came by air, even the gasoline they supplied to passing planes. The fields were overrun by hordes of natives, whom the soldiers employed and trained to do all sorts of jobs. At one spot the blacks gassed-up the planes, did everything necessary, while a single technician stood by as overseer. One of Africa’s surprises is that a name on a map does not necessarily mean a town or civilization. Places like El Fasher or Maiduguri are shown on the maps, but do not ever plan on stopping at either for over an hour; that is long enough. We spent our second night enroute at Kano, Nigeria. Kano is a great native city and one of the few remaining walled ones of the world. The population is said to be around 100,000. I did not have a chance to go into the city itself, but it has electricity and a few modern features, as I drank a couple of bottles of soft drinks locally made. It is in game country, and there were quite a few leopard and snake skins for sale in the little P-X at the field. Also, that part of the world has more bugs and insect life in general than any other place on the planet. We slept under mosquito bars for the first time and I thought the net would break under the weight of the inquisitive night visitors who landed on it; one type of critter was very numerous and could only be shooed away, as it had a very obnoxious odor when liquidated. Swatting was taboo. Except for our using Arabic words by force of habit we got along OK with the native help along the way. They did not understand it and we were so used to Egypt that we used some common words by reflex action on all the dark-skinned waiters and porters we saw. From Kano we dropped down to Lagoes and then over to Accra, both cities of prominence, the former having about 170,000 people, which is plenty for a jungle country. The British have colonized the Gold Coast and the surrounding country and even have a race track at Lagoes. They have educated the natives to some extent and the signs on streets and roads bear African names in our alphabet, the pronunciation being completely impossible from our standpoint, if

phonetics are to be considered. Most of the natives wear shorts, white shirts and cloth caps, like our old-fashioned visored variety. I suppose if a Haussa acquired one of those large golfing styles he would really be a fashionplate. At Accra we were amazed to find a huge American base— trucks running in all directions, roads building, frame buildings going up, etc. There were thousands of men here. (Why?) They had a magnificently stocked P-X. I bought a cigarette lighter and was happy for three days. We had not seen most of the items in stock for over a year. A Coca-Cola bottling plant had even been set up. Beer was sold every day. All kinds of stuff around. We wanted to stay awhile. None of the luxuries here had ever gone up our way. We lived in tents a day or so over our schedule, until a trans-Atlantic flight had room for our group. Besides we four NCO’s booked for Aberdeen and Ordnance OCS, we had a bomber pilot going home for a rest and checkup. He carried his own parachute wherever he went. Only ‘chute I ever saw, by the way. A couple of wounded men and a few officers completed the party. The plane we finally took off in proved to be a model of the B24 equipped with stretcher fittings for use as a hospital plane. There were no seats of any kind, but a sling arrangement made by looping blankets around the pipe fittings along the fuselage. We could not smoke on this ship, which was a blow indeed, as we were all equipped with a stock of American cigarettes for a change. Ascension Island was the only stop and at that time took all prizes for being the most unprepossessing army post or area. Believe everything bad you have ever heard about it. The runway was OK, but not too long. I was not quite sure whether we would make it or not—there were plenty of accidents there—but we did OK. A B24 lands and taxis about as fast as it flies! Ascension was of course barren and ugly and the engineers had had to literally move mountains to cut the landing strip. A snowwhite medium bomber standing in a revetment made us wonder and ask why. It belonged to an Alaskan outfit—got here by mistake. Those things do happen in an army. A snowplow came in at Suez once. I often wonder how it was explained to the Arabs.

The stop at Ascension lasted less than three-quarters of an hour. After a quick lunch for both plane and people we were on our way. Just at sunset we reached the great American airport at Natal, Brazil, leased to the U. S. and flying the Brazilian flag, not ours. We stayed there two or three days, not allowed to explore the nearby towns, and enjoyed the camp. Here again we found luxurious P-X’s and fine food. The boys at least lived good having a lot of good local pineapple and other fresh fruit. Leathergoods of fine quality and low price were sold, and we all bought mosquito boots, which can be easiest described as low-heeled “Russian” style dress footwear, with about 8″ tops. They are popular in mosquito belts and were even issued to some American forces in African malarial areas around Tripoli. About sundown the trousers were tucked inside the tops to protect the ankles against insects. When we did catch a plane north it turned out to be a C46, a fact not aiding our morale much. These bi-motored cargo ships had very bad reputations. The ship was larger than most four-motored bombers and could not fly except with both engines in operation. We could not smoke in it either. The first hop was short, to Belem, where we spent the night and where I bought a bottle of Chanel No. 5 for my sister. From there we made a very early start and hit a field in British Guiana for refueling, then jumped to Puerto Rico, and the final flight, to Miami. We came over Miami after the sun had set and the sight of a city with lights was quite a thrill. We hit about 9 P.M. and had no difficulty with the customs check, so by 10 o’clock we had our stuff in the hotel and were sitting in the nearest suitable emporium soaking up Cuba libres and such thirst quenchers while the steaks broiled. We were home. We began to realize it the next morning, when, on a short walk in downtown Miami, the MPs heckled us a little. It seems we were not presentable enough. The sight of the four of us wandering around with hands in our pockets, sleeves rolled to the elbows or with British jackets on, no ties, all with different shades of brown and tan boots on, was painful to the boys. By nightfall we were on the train for Aberdeen, where we were promptly equipped with all the “eyewash” clothes of the American garrison soldier, and given our furloughs.

XXIV ORDNANCE SCHOOL AND MISSISSIPPI The Officer Candidate School at Aberdeen Proving Ground was quite an experience. In operation it was like Mark Twain’s weather — everyone talked about it but no one did anything. It was operated principally by old officers unfit for field duty, most of whom were strictly theorists and who had apparently never even seen a newsreel about the war. I took a quick survey and decided that a commission not only meant grief, but was likely to mean at least one additional year in the army, which was not an encouraging prospect. So I openly avowed my intention of learning all I could and not wasting any time “making friends and influencing people.” I succeeded well enough—lasted the entire academical or actual period of teaching, before getting thrown out. A lot of overseas men were lost—we were not civilized enough, or polite enough to second lieutenants, or something. I learned plenty in the two and a half months I was there, little of which was of importance. I am still pleased about the whole thing —the guys who told me I was nuts for not making the most of the great opportunity are not only still in the army; most of them are still overseas, where they did not want to go! In fact, one of them went over the month I came back to be discharged. Most of the instructors were OCS graduates themselves and some were very capable but the apple-polishing necessary for promotion kept most of them under wraps. Their higher-ups were keeping up a desperate pretense that there was not really a war on, that after all, the main thing was really to cultivate the state of mind that the commissioned man is really a better man than the enlisted

one; and above all, the “army way” was the reason for existence, not the war, that there is plenty of time, etc. This went over with the ROTC kids and some of the domestic drill corporals, but did not sit too well with the sergeants back from the shops and trucks of the overseas theatres. We knew just how lousy and useless most of the officers turned out under that system were. When our classes were flatly told that the officer needs no technical knowledge whatever, that all he is required to do is to provide a guiding administrative hand, I decided I positively enjoyed being a sergeant. I was poor on the drill field anyway, so did not have to actually goof off. They considered performance at drilling more valuable than any experience or training, or academical achievement. A loud, clear voice was 70% of the qualifications for an officer, the drill field counting that much in total grades. The physical training course was very fine and the officer in charge was an expert. He could both do it and teach it. He was rough and he made us like it, producing more results in a shorter time than I believed possible. His exercises were scientific and beneficial not just tiring motions. Naturally they were not G.I. but his own adaptation of gymnastics adapted to mass ground performance. I came through the course with difficulty but in good physical condition—a triumph for the teacher. My lifelong conviction is that the best training routine is chewing a steak and cutting another piece of pie, my athletic life being confined to dealing stud poker. The field training—what there was of it—was artificial and of little value. I am afraid my opinion was apparent, too. I paid attention to the map and compass work, and the paper routines in depot and supply courses and to the military law lectures. With the life I led there was no telling when I might need any or all of that information! A little training in firearms was given and a 200-yard qualification course was fired with some very beat-up M1 rifles at the Aberdeen range. We just went out, picked up the guns, then fired the course. My particular rifle would group about 12″ or 14″ at 200 yards, shooting prone with sling, on the A target. I managed to make expert without difficulty, but was sad about the low score—I dropped about 20 points and anyone who knows how to point a rifle should not lose over five. It was impossible to call a shot with the inaccurate rifles.

The bullet of a loaded cartridge could be inserted in the muzzle as far as the case would allow, the rifling having been worn completely away for the first 1″ or 11/2″ at the muzzle. For myself it did not matter but I was irritated that men who knew little of shooting should be given such faulty tools for their training. Some were bound to be discouraged. When I was formally thrown out I tried to get overseas shipment at once, having good rumors about Italy (I had concluded that while I hated the army, I didn’t mind the war so much as long as I was not being shot at). No good. Every officer with an organization was trying to get men with overseas service to take jobs with him, as pressure was on for the men who had been on the easy jobs in the states to get overseas. Most of the cadre and overhead non-coms in the country were scheduled for foreign duty and consequently, replacements for them who were not subject to shipment were in demand. Having been over, I was not required to return, and they were trying to keep me here. Some of the other men who had been busted out of OCS with me took these jobs, but threw them up shortly, in spite of promised promotions, etc.; too much phony prestige and red tape to maintain. I would not take a job with any training outfit so was shipped down to Mississippi as an exiled casual, a soldier without a home. I hate Mississippi. The camp was about 30 miles from the state capital — Jackson—the nearest town of any size and it was not much. Bus fare was 40¢ to civilians, 50¢ to soldiers. The state was determined to get rich on the war one way or another. Rents were run up on soldier’s families, etc. The winter is really a rainy season, and if you ever go through such a season there, you have nothing to fear regarding the New Guinea rain-forests, or the wet months in the Philippines. Take it from one who has been there. Being a sergeant, I did not have to do anything special while a casual. So far as army life in the U. S. goes, the privates do the work, the corporals do the worrying and the sergeants have the fun. They also have to know how to do everything. I was very careful to salute all officers and not take any chances on losing the stripes, for they are very beneficial on this side. Overseas, in a service outfit,

rank does not mean much except pay. In a line outfit it means responsibility. After a few weeks of loafing I was assigned as excess cadre to a new ordnance outfit being activated. A complete extra set of noncoms with overseas and field experience was put in to help train the new crew. Theoretically, we were to give them the benefit of our experience and practical knowledge. Actually, we were not allowed to mention anything not in the training manuals, most of which had been written in the 1920’s. Except for the impromptu bull-sessions, the rookies got the same old marching-pup-tent-pack-rolling schedule the army had been putting on for years. This was late in the winter of 1944, February and March. Some attempts were made to modernize the training, but the rub was that most of the officers still believed that there was “nothing like drill to make a soldier.” None of them realized that this war did not need “soldiers”—it needed fighting and working specialists. “Training” this outfit simply meant we were to go through basic training with it. Basic training is merely a lot of very boring effort to anyone who has already experienced it. For about three weeks I managed to put my time on with a rifle-instruction squad, in preliminary practice—dry firing, etc. We did go out and fire on another 200-yard range, this time with Remington M1903-A3 rifles, in fair condition. I messed up my kneeling-rapid-fire score, but otherwise enjoyed myself. From an old soldier, a master sergeant who was the best army man I ever knew, in all respects, I learned a little about hand-to-hand combat, judo bayonet and knife work, etc. He was an expert and had instructed at many army schools. We used to laugh at the oldfashioned bayonet drill some of the new organizations went in for. It was not really funny—it was the futility that amused us. We could kill the best army-trained bayonet fencer who ever lived, without extending ourselves to any effort to speak of, in practically no time. That judo bayonet system was really sudden death at close range. The sergeant knew the Japanese bayonet technique and taught us accordingly, among other things. His method of knife-fighting was different, and in my opinion, better than either the marine or Commando styles.

Every few mornings we would have to run a short easy obstacle course, called the steeplechase, which ended in a low tower with landing nets down the back. Another sergeant and I took off at a run, leading squads and racing between ourselves. When I got up the tower my usual descent was to simply step off the back, turning in the air and catching the landing net on the way down to break the drop. One morning I missed the catch and landed horizontally, with my most prominent part across the edge of a half-buried two-by-four which some thoughtful soul had placed there. I limped over to the hospital and got a heat lamp treatment, then returned to the company area. The bulletin board informed me that I would take a squad on a 10-mile forced march the next morning. Since I could barely move by this time, I decided I would have to make sick call the next day and get out of the walk. So about nine the next morning I was over at the dispensary trying to get a ticket for another heat treatment. The medical officer looked me over, poked a finger at my jowls and sent me over to the hospital for further examination. I did not find out what the score was until I was in a private room in the isolation ward. Officially, I had the mumps. Three days later they admitted it was a mistake, but I had to stay anyway, since I was in the ward. So I spent four weeks in quarantine, with nothing wrong with me. That is, after the sore back and fanny got well. By the time I got out the basic training of the organization I had been attached to was finished and the excess cadre was back in the casual company; except me. The outfit wanted me to transfer into it; offered more stripes, etc., but I howled to get out (I didn’t believe them anyway). It was too much of an Aberdeen outfit: nothing had to be good—it just had to look good. So I got back to the casual crew and loafed a couple of weeks, trying to pull a few strings here and there to get on orders. Finally a master sergeant who was a friend of mine and who worked in headquarters as sort of assistant post sergeant major got me on an overseas shipment. I wanted to go to Italy, but something slipped and I was suddenly in New Guinea.

XXV TO THE PHILIPPINES AND THE 1ST CAVALRY DIVISION In lieu of a furlough I received a delay en route to California and spent two weeks at home. While there I managed to get in a rifle match at Fort Sheridan. Even collected a second-place medal with a borrowed Type T Springfield in a bullgun match, which is par for not having shot one for three years, so was happy again. Going to the coast via day-coach was tiring and on arrival I was very disgusted to find that the camp there was overcrowded and in a mess as regards records, so that I could have been a week overdue and made all concerned pleased, especially me. Nothing much happened except issuing of clothes, etc. needed and a physical examination which seemed to be a fast walk through a frame shack. If you passed through it on your own power, you passed, period. The trip over was uneventful and uncomfortable. The food was very poor. We went unescorted, as usual, directly to New Guinea, putting in at Milne Bay for orders, then proceeding up the coast to Oro Bay, a few miles from Buna. It was about a three-hour passage to enter Milne Bay itself, but a year before a Jap cruiser had gone in, shot up about 15 vessels and turned around and gone out again, unscathed. At the time we were there it was entirely a Navy installation. Oro Bay was the designation for the area immediately inland from the bay in which there was quite a concentration of American troops. This was an advanced jungle training spot and the location of the replacement depot for the Southwest Pacific. We went to the depot and proceeded to settle down for another few weeks of “acclimatization,” punctuated by hitch-hike trips to Buna or other

battlefields close by. The jungle was awesome in spots and to this day I regard the Buna district as the worst fighting terrain in the world. At this time there were no organized Japs left around this region. It was further up the coast in the country beyond Hollandia in Dutch New Guinea that the great enemy force was being kept immobilized. Every once in awhile we would have an odd straggler reported around our section, and it was not intelligent to go too far out in the weeds alone or unarmed. New Guinea is very rough country and we were constantly warned of the diseases we could catch from various insects in the kunai grass if we did not keep our leggings on at all times and keep dosed with insect repellents, etc. We religiously obeyed all instructions, not being idiots, but a few months later I was prowling through all kinds of tropical brush with my sleeves rolled up, my pants ending halfway between knee and ankle, my feet in jungle boots cut off at the ankle and no sign of socks, leggings, insect repellent, head nets or other “necessary equipment.” I was not only wide open to any insect onslaught, but I did not give a damn, any more. In New Guinea I made a big deal for myself, however; hating leggings, I found an amphibious Engineer outfit and bought a pair of paratrooper boots from one of them for five pounds Australian ($16.00); they were issued to them. Of all the mountains I have seen, the Owen Stanley range is the most fear-inspiring. They look as though they were designed expressly as a man-trap. For some reason I felt uncomfortable every time I looked at them. I have no desire whatever to see any part of New Guinea again. I was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division, then in the Admiralty Islands, for the Philippine invasion. My trip up to Los Negros was a taste of the future—I went in an LCI—Landing Craft, Infantry. I did not know it, but I was through with ships for a long time. My Pacific jaunts were henceforth to be in the various landing craft, which actually are better than the usual transport in wartime. The 1st Cavalry Division later achieved considerable publicity by its exploits but at this time was finishing up a rest period following its successful Admiralties campaign. The Admiralty Islands lie very close to the Equator, above New Guinea. Manus, the largest, was of

considerable importance as an air and naval base, the anchorage being one of the best in the area. Los Negros, a smaller and almost adjoining island, had a fine airfield and provided low but suitable ground for a semi-permanent camp. These airstrips were the bases for the air attacks on Truk which was about 800 miles northeast. The islands are mostly coral, not volcanic ash as is a large portion of New Guinea, and they are close to the picture-card idea of a south sea isle. Of course, in the interior you can find sections of jungle and highlands and swamps as bad as anything the Solomons had to offer. The taking of these islands was strictly a Cavalry job. No other troops or Marines assisted although naturally the Navy and Air Corps were in on the deal. As usual, there was a slight error; the Japanese were thought to have about 500 men at one point, so one squadron (battalion) of the 5th Cavalry went in on the beachhead, as a “reconnaissance in force” to take over. There were 4,000 Japs, a lot of them Imperial Marines (tough) and the troopers almost got pushed back into the sea before the rest of the division could get in. Very annoying; anyway, the Admiralties campaign was hard and short, and the islands were cleared of Jap units in approximately three weeks. The dismounted cavalrymen had now been through the mill and the division performance had impressed the high command sufficiently to gain it the doubtful honor of spearheading the Philippine invasion. This is where I came in. A regular army division, the 1st Cavalry had and has great prestige. It is the only U. S. cavalry division; it is the only U. S. square division left—four regiments and support instead of three; it is the only division with brigades, the 5th and 12th regiments forming the 1st Brigade; the 7th and 8th regiments the 2nd Brigade. The 7th Cavalry is General Custer’s old command and any old trooper of the outfit is always anxious to bring up that point. Personally, I do not think this much to brag on; after all, an Indian named Gall made a mess out of the 7th at the Little Big Horn, even though his boss, Sitting Bull, got the credit or blame, depending on the viewpoint (I guess the Cavalry got even, though, for a lot of the guys in the 7th were Indians, in this war). Some of the other regiments go pretty far back in our military history and have their own traditions. General

Robert E. Lee resigned his post as commanding officer of the 5th Cavalry to take over the Confederate armies in 1860, or thereabouts, but met the boys again at Appomattox, where they guarded the area of the surrender. Morale was very high, compared with most of the divisions in the Pacific, and the high percentage of regular army men made it well disciplined, in the sense of the word as applied in its proper meaning. The regular is almost always a pretty quiet, cooperative character. To an inexperienced onlooker, the Cavalry might have seemed to get things bolixed up and trip over its own feet, in a lot of little things, but compared with the rest of the divisions out there it did not vibrate any more than a new electric refrigerator. The division commander, Major General Verne D. Mudge, was liked and highly respected. He was one of the very, very few “hard” or strict, garrison officers who was a good fighting leader. Ordinarily the detested inspection-crazed, salute-silly ranker proves a total washout in battle. He cannot relax and adapt himself to the conditions where results mean more than military routine and where Louie, the private who always needed a shave, turns out to be a better man than the deepvoiced sergeant who wore his uniform so well and stood so straight back in the States. General Mudge was liked, not only for his good strategy and the fact that he made the plans but for the reason that he usually went up the line to help carry them out. He wore his stars in sight of the Japs more than once. Perhaps from the coldblooded general-staff view it was not intelligent for a valuable leader to risk his neck, but the Cavalry was always proud that its general was no swivel-chair boss back in the rear who sent men out to fight while keeping his hide safe. My own feeling is that the General was right in sticking his neck out once in awhile, for he not only learned what the foxhole private knew but his appearance up where the bullets popped when they passed raised the morale and respect of the whole division enough to write off the risk as paid in full. I was not assigned to any specific organization within the division and soon learned why. A few days before leaving the Admiralties and embarking for the Philippines, General Mudge himself came out and gave us a speech; “us” was the 200 or 300

unassigned men. We were to act as an emergency shore or landing party, to support the line troops by unloading and forwarding supplies for a couple of days until the regular port battalions got in; then we were to go into the line as casualty replacements. The more I learned the less I liked the prospective position. I should have realized that major generals do not usually come around to welcome replacements, even on special missions. I do not think he expected to see us any more, as the immediate beach strip on Jap-held island installations was not exactly the safest place to spend the first few days and nights during an attack. When I did get on the LSM (Landing Ship, Medium) for the trip up I realized I was in a spot. The armored rowboat was loaded with tanks and tankdozers, which were Sherman tanks with seven-ton bulldozer blades on them. That meant we were going on the beach early in the program. I had no officer, but did have 54 men. Technically the non-com in charge was a first sergeant of MPs, sent overseas as a replacement, and totally ignorant of anything except desk work in an orderly room. We did have two or three PFCs out of the cavalry, loaned for training as squad leaders, but I was the guy with the headache. The cavalrymen had been through the fighting in the Admiralties and were expected to keep their heads and their squads. Outside of them, all the rest were totally inexperienced in the field, some had just a few days overseas before sailing. They were of all ages and of all branches. I had cavalry replacements, infantrymen, quartermaster laundry technicians, tank drivers, MPs, ordnancemen and a few engineers. Naturally I spent half my time worrying and the other half keeping them from worrying as best I could. After the briefing talks began and it was evident we would go in as assault troops, they calmed down and began looking over their weapons. We had a couple of M1s and a lot of beat-up Springfields, mostly low-number jobs. A few carbines were procured the night we sailed. I traded off my new M1 I’d been issued in New Guinea for a fair Springfield with a pistol-grip stock and rebedded and tuned up the ‘03 during the voyage. Also made a canvas case for it, which proved invaluable, after we landed.

We fixed up the battered rifles, tearing down a few extra ones for parts. The cavalry had supplied us with a batch of guns, off records, as the Division had been equipped with M1 rifles and carbines and the bolt-actions were not watched or wanted. One soldier of my lot had a very bad barrel on his rifle and when I got him a new carbine he practically kissed me, then begged for permission —“I been wanting to do this ever since I got in the army, Sarge, how about it, please?”—; so I let him throw the rifle overboard, piece by piece. I could see him mentally reviewing the basic brow-beatings he had received concerning the holiness of the rifle, the inspections he had gone through and the pain he had undergone caring for a gun he had not been allowed to shoot, back in the training camps. Well, now the guy was up to the last chapter in the book and it was up to him to keep his weapons working right instead of just looking pretty and clean on the outside. We could not save the old rifle so let him enjoy himself. If he is alive today he has a pleasant memory of the time, anyway. When the orders were final, the men began to listen to advice and remembering what training they did get. A lot of these poor guys had not received much. Some had done all their drilling with 1917 Enfields and did not understand anything about M1’s or ‘03’s. I made them learn more than they ever thought they could about the rifles, in short order. They were willing, too. Many times I used to think about the tales I had heard and the stories I had read about World War I rookies arriving in the trenches without knowing how to load their rifles and how “That could never happen again.” It did, brother, it did. And all the fancy equipment we had now. Yes; a hell of a lot of the stuff we had was older than we were, and the date was October, 1944. Anyway, I fed the boys their atabrine and did what I could. They respected me a little and expected me to take care of them, and I think most of them liked me. At least, whenever I ran into any of them in later days they seemed glad to see me. The sense of responsibility kept me pretty sober. I was learning the line non-com’s job and didn’t enjoy it. Any mistake I made was liable to kill somebody so my judgment had better be good.

The officers in charge of the armor detachment gave us the dope on the landing and briefed us on what was going to happen, we hoped. We were to go in at “Red” beach close to Tacloban, Leyte, in the sixth wave—30 minutes after the Attack Hour (actually we went in on the third wave, as the beach was clear of underwater obstacles). The cavalry was taking the north end of the island, excepting the 8th regimental team which was landing on Samar to take that lightlydefended island. The 5th and 12th were to handle Leyte, with the 7th acting as a reserve and moving wherever reinforcements were needed on the first day. To the south, the 24th Infantry division was to handle things, and the southern landings (about a hundred miles away) were to be made by the 7th and 96th Divisions. The Navy was to have a minimum of 2,000 carrier planes over us on the landing. The trip up was good. The weather was mild and we had no storms or rough water. We ate with the Navy, so were happy—the Navy always eats much better than the Army—since we were used to corned beef and dehydrated potatoes. The Naval vessels can carry a lot of fresh food the land forces cannot take care of, I guess. The soldiers stocked up on bread and butter and fresh potatoes and meat, for there would not be anything like that for us after we landed. The LSM had sleeping space for less than half the men aboard so a lot of us had to park on deck. I spent all my nights on a large hawser coiled along the rail up in the bow. It seldom rained more than a few drops, but the spray was bad sometimes so I had to keep a poncho over me. We were traveling light, carrying only weapons, belt and canteen, poncho and extra socks. The cavalry veterans had jungle packs but the rest of us had either nothing or the old-fashioned and rather useless infantry packs. Gas masks had been discarded, but some of us had saved the canvas bags from them and used them for holding our belongings. Each man took what he wanted, but we were advised in the Admiralties to take as little as possible, even to throw away messkits. I held to mine and advised the men to do the same, and I also had extra footwear—a pair of jungle boots I had collected. These were a calf-high green canvas and black rubber outfit designed for sneaking up on the Nip. They could not be kept on for any length of time

without causing foot trouble, as feet perspired profusely in them. Hardly anyone liked them as issued, though they were popular for relief wear when cut to ankle height. I liked them for wear around water, where any shoe or boot would get wet anyway, and they were ideal for shipboard use, the non-slip soles working swell on smooth plates and ladders. A few men had extra canteens, which was a good idea, as known healthy drinking water would be scarce until the engineers got ashore and set up water points. Ammunition was scarce for the carbines, but plentiful for the M1’s and Springfields, except that we had hardly any clips for the ‘03’s. I went ashore myself with two loaded clips and a pocketful of loose ammunition. We had at the last been issued jungle first-aid packets, and these were one of the items which showed some intelligence on the part of the QM equipment inventors. They had the usual bandage, a few band-aids, or adhesive tape and gauze combinations, sulfa tablets and waterproof containers of atabrine, halazone tablets (for water purification), iodine and a bottle of a solution for treating athlete’s foot and rashes in general. A bottle of insect repellent was also included. Clothing was a suit of fatigues previously dipped in a solution of the insect repellent and water, helmets and whatever footwear we had, with leggings if necessary. A few men had boots of various kinds. Most of us also had fatigue caps or hats, for wear when the helmets were unnecessary, which was most of the time.

TWO GERMAN .32 PISTOLS Top: Mauser H Sc double action. Bottom: Sauer Pocket Model. (Not the Double Action M38)

PISTOL MAGAZINES 1. Japanese M14 2. German M’08 (Luger) old style 3. German M’08 (Luger) improved 4. U. S. M1911 (Colt) 5. German P.38 (Walther) 6. Japanese M94 7. German, Walther PPK, Cal. 7.65mm 8. German, Walther PP, Cal. 7.65mm

9. Czech (Bohmische) P.27, Cal. 7.65mm 10. German Mauser, Cal. 7.65mm 11. Italian M34 (.380 ACP) 12. Polish M35 (Radom)

XXVI BEACHHEAD LANDING ON LEYTE The morning of October 20th, 1944, was bright and clear and quite peaceful, as our fleet moved in on Leyte. A short prayer service was held for the religious-minded. All hands were above decks and waiting for the big moment. Things moved leisurely, it seemed. Over to our left a battleship and a cruiser were shelling the shoreline, but there was no thunderous naval barrage. That had been over for hours, already. A single Japanese twin-engine bomber flew over us, ignoring the massed anti-aircraft fire of the fleet. He made a half circle and dropped two medium bombs alongside a destroyer far off to our left, then flew back inland. I began looking for that cloud of carrier planes to cover the landing. Nothing stirring, but later—a couple of hours after the first landing—one Navy dive-bomber appeared and flew up and down the beach a few times. Of course, it turned out that the Japanese navy was on its way and our warships and carriers had to go out to sea to meet it. The great break for us was that the Japs were asleep at the switch and did not get any of their planes over us in force until 24 hours or more after we were ashore. At 10 o’clock the landing craft began to move toward the beach according to prearranged plans as to spacing. We expected a jolt as our LSM plowed in (“beachings” are always made at a good speed in order to get as close inshore as possible) but it was rather gentle. The beach here was ideal for such operations—that was why it was chosen—and we scarcely had to wet our knees going ashore. The tanks and vehicles on our particular craft had no difficulty, but some of the other sections had water too deep for jeeps and

weaponscarriers, even though the engines were shielded and waterproofed for surf travel. When my crew landed, all was apparently peaceful in our immediate vicinity. The “Front,” or our first line of advance, was over 100 yards inland and encountering almost no resistance. The Japs had no real organization defending the beach there. I think the few enemy soldiers encountered alive in that area were more for observation than for combat. The naval shelling had knocked out the few pillboxes and light weapon emplacements. Quite a few dead Japanese and pieces of Jap were laying around. Did not annoy us, as they were still fresh. The shore had taken only a light pounding compared with some Pacific beachheads, and the coconut trees were not so dilapidated as some in other places I saw later. I found a piece of shell from a 16-inch gun, so maybe the beach had been unhealthy a few hours previously. We scattered a little and sprawled on the ground, while a runner took off to locate the beach commander and get orders. The beach commander had not reached the beach yet, so we could do nothing except lay around the shore and watch the activities. And hope the Nips did not have any mortars or artillery lined up for our benefit. I had been so worried about keeping my gang together and in control that I had not had time to be scared. The worst was over, I figured, after we had got ashore unopposed and had a chance to relax without dodging the expected mortar barrage, since we had enough confidence over the easy landing that even if things got hotter no one would get excited about it. After all, we had thought we would wade in on machine guns, and whatever happened now would be sort of anticlimactic. I relaxed and devoted a few minutes to locating and cutting open green coconuts for drinking purposes. There were enough knockeddown trees to make this easy, and I like coconut milk to drink, as I can get away with it. Most men get a physic effect if they take much of it. The rule was to drink the milk of green coconuts and eat the meat of ripe ones, but my constitution permitted me to make up my own rules. I had bought a sheath knife from one of the sailors on the way up, and it was to be my constant companion for the rest of my days in the Pacific. A short-bladed affair, of poor steel (I used a

file to sharpen it), it had a handle so heavy it was a fair weapon should I ever get that close. Made a wonderful throwing knife. I could throw fairly straight and always used all my strength, in order to be sure of results. I never bothered about it landing point-on—the way I threw, it was effective no matter how it connected. In fact, I preferred it to land butt first in practice, as when I sank the blade three inches or so into a tree it was a lot of work to get it out. A couple of the men had trench-knives and two had machetes. All of us were supposed to have these but we did not get them until we later found stocks on the beach and equipped ourselves. Machetes were the most important tool we could get hold of, as with them we could cut bamboo and wood for shelters and shoring up holes. Since none of us had intrenching tools, we had begged 10 or 12 regular fullsized shovels from the armored outfit and the crew of the LSM, for digging-in purposes. Bill Mauldin could undoubtedly have done justice to the picture of some of my characters coming through the water with a rifle in one hand and a full-grown engineer’s shovel in the other. It wasn’t funny then, though, and every guy that came past eyed those tools enviously. We guarded them. Digging tools meant life, more than once. Nothing interfered with the landing and the main body of the supporting fighting troops began to come in by landing barge from the transports. They would charge off the ramps in the best newsreel manner and find us in front of them, taking life easy on the sand. We would point the right way and tell them the line was over there, three or four minutes’ fast walk, if they wanted to walk fast, and that things were going smooth as silk, etc. My crew envied them and they envied my crew—my gang wanted to get away from the exposed beach and the troopers did not want to move inland against Jap ambushes. Within two hours we went to work, the crew on a food handling job and I with the beach headquarters. I was annexed by the beach commander as a messenger, helper and conversationalist. Things went pretty well and by nightfall the shore was so crowded with men, trucks and dumps that it was impossible to walk more than six feet in a straight line. It was decided not to work with lights, as we were enough of a set-up for either artillery or air attack, without increasing

the risk. I ended up without even a slit trench to park in, so wound a poncho around myself and parked beside a fallen tree. Sure enough, just after dark they started in—weeooweeooweeoo-PLOCK! But the foolish Nips threw everything over the shoreline into the bay, trying to hit the ships anchored there. Duds would have caused casualties on the shore, the way we were piled up. Everything went over, but most of that night I kept waiting for them to shorten the range. Got disgusted about midnight and went to sleep anyway. At intervals a shell would land close enough to the shore to wake us up, but, so far as I know, that first night’s shelling did not damage a thing except maybe the sailors’ morale. Late in the afternoon of the first day signal men began stringing temporary telephone wire along the beach, connecting the control points, climbing about 20 feet up the boles of coconut palms to attach them. A Japanese in a tree killed two of them before he was located and liquidated. He had been there all day, looking down our necks. I believe he was a lookout, rather than a sniper, for he had chances to shoot at all ranks of officers during the day. I think he was just waiting for nightfall to try to get away and was panicked by the sight of the telephone men climbing the trees. There had been a number of these tree posts, but we thought we had destroyed them all. The Japs had set up housekeeping in some of the palm tops. Everything imaginable came down when we got bulldozers to bump the trees a few times. Beer bottles, clothes, food, burlap for padding and camouflage, boards for platforms, rope, letters, books, personal junk and other odds and ends were lying around on the ground afterward. At daybreak everyone was up and trying to find something to eat besides the K-rations he had been issued on the ship. I annexed a strange soldier who had a 10-in-1 ration and we split the can of bacon that morning, for a good breakfast. By keeping at the coconuts I had managed to save my water, so the day had a successful start, at least from the eating angle. The second day was spent working on every job that came up. The beach was getting cut up from traffic and bulldozers were building sand ramps and roads for vehicles to come in from the big LSTs which were unloading. Great numbers of anti-aircraft guns of all types from .50 caliber to

90mm were moving around trying to set up some sort of defense for the harbor or bay, because the air raids were overdue already. Early in the morning of this second day in the Philippines, Colonel Drake, C.O. of the 5th Cavalry, was killed. Only nine other Americans were lost in this neck of the woods, though about 300 Japs were killed by the time Tacloban was taken. Tacloban is the capital city of Leyte and was only about five or six miles from our landing point. The airfield was captured the first day, but proved to be a disappointment. The Japanese had not been using it and had not improved it for use of heavy planes. A lot of work would have to be done before our aircraft could operate effectively from it. After the first two days, however, the navy was forced to use it for some of their carrier planes, the carriers not being in such good shape at the moment. And some of the boys did not make the field—several rice paddies provided final resting places for belly-landed Grummans. The 7th Cavalry took the capital against only delaying resistance forces and promptly moved on up the Leyte Valley according to plan. They were ahead of schedule and stayed ahead for a few days, never giving the Japs time to get set for one of their last-ditch defenses. In direct contrast, the 24th Division which had landed on the left flank, went inland a few hundred yards the first day, then dug in early in the afternoon. The Japs ahead of them promptly brought up equipment and proceeded to give them a nasty argument, causing a lot of mortar casualties, according to the local dope at that time. The 24th did not do so well and suffered from poor leadership at all levels. Traditional cavalry tactics call for movement of course, and the fact that they were dismounted did not deter the troopers in their actions here. They ranged far and fast compared with any previous Pacific operation. The terrain around Tacloban was not too well suited for such movement, but the soldiers were so glad to be out of the heavy jungle and see an occasional stone-surfaced road they moved ahead as fast as they could, clearing the Jap nests out as they advanced. Gains were made in miles, where usually tropical warfare was measured in yards. But I was still on the beach. The second night one of my squad leaders and I decided it might rain and that we would put our ponchos together and form a little tent. We had already eaten and

darkness was just closing down when we finally got everything organized. A good many holes were dug (I was always advising people to dig in, but never got around to getting myself a hole!) and I was examining my water-soaked feet in the last light when the earth stood on end and exploded. One second all was peaceful and the next was one great concussion; we were ringed with 90mm AA guns and they had decided there was a Jap plane overhead and fired simultaneously. Four men dived into a one-man slit-trench and they all fitted. Since all holes were full, I put out the little fire we had had warming cans of water and went into the “tent” to lie down. The guns settled down after a few rounds, but we were on edge for hours. I worried a little about the flak, however, since we were constantly under coconut trees and in danger of falling nuts as well as falling shrapnel, there was not much point to my fears. It was even; shrapnel is sharper but the nuts were heavier. No one parked under a coconut tree if possible but we could not get away from them at times. The third day we had to handle a lot of ammunition and set up a little dump on the beach. Small arms stuff was the worst of all to handle. In the afternoon things eased up a little and we moved a half mile or so east to a better spot for bivouacking. I got a machete that day and also found one of the Australian-made hunting knives issued to the troops. There was some air activity on the part of the Japs and everyone was wondering when our army planes would get in. Things were bound to get hot soon, as the enemy had had time to plan out a defense system.

XXVII EARLY OPERATIONS ON LEYTE The next day about 50 of the men on the beach job and I were transferred into the division’s MP troop and went over to the headquarters CP on the edge of Tacloban. Half an hour after we got there two of my original detachment went up on a nearby hill to look over the Jap diggings and hunt for souvenirs. They found the souvenirs and killed two Nips at the same time. The Japs cut down on them with a light machine gun but missed. Each American soldier had a Springfield and got one apiece. There was a third Jap who got up and ran when the other two died, but a young Filipino with the boys took care of him. The soldiers were taking careful aim when the Filipino asked them not to shoot and took off after the Nip. He caught up with him within 100 yards and made one pass with his bolo. Headless Jap. The Leyte bolo, called a sundang, is a short, bladeheavy weapon, balanced for chopping and edged on one side only. The cutting edge is beveled on one side, that is, one side of the blade is perfectly flat and all the bezel or bevel on the other, like our wood chisels in cross-section. The blade is slightly curved or straight on top edge, with cutting edge deeply curved and handle at a downward angle to top of blade. They come in all sizes, but the average working size is a 12″ to 15″ blade. Handles are of orange root or carabao horn and the wooden scabbards are often highly decorated and skillfully made. This type of instrument is peculiar to the island of Leyte alone and is startlingly similar to the famed Ghurka kukri, though lighter. The Ghurka fighting knives are often very heavy.

The souvenir episode killed a couple of hours—they did find hundreds of Japanese pictures, letters, etc. One found a fine harikari knife, the only one we ever saw. We were finally assigned places to park and proceeded to fix up places to sleep. I went out with a jeepload of men to guard the Japanese beer dump. We arrived too late—the Filipinos and the army had located it first and it was practically gone. So we went back to the CP and waited for the air raids. These days became famous as the “raid an hour” period. At first we would start for cover, but the urge to look was too great and always most men were exposing themselves to see what was going on. We were away from the beach and the airfield and felt comparatively safe from intentional raiding unless the Nips learned of the headquarters’ presence. I found a very fine little dugout just a few feet from my makeshift shelter (a Japanese hole and therefore much deeper and better than American!) and always stayed close to it when things looked doubtful. Experience had previously taught me how to figure a plane’s direction when it peels off to dive bomb from fairly low altitudes, so I stayed outside when most of the lads were worrying about strafing. A few mornings later I saw one of the great running fights. A navy fighter shot down four enemy two-motored bombers in about three minutes and then was shot down himself by our own antiaircraft fire. This was during one of the few mass raids. I do not know how many enemy planes started out, but when I saw them about 10 were left, with American naval planes attacking them. Only two or three reached their objective—the anchored ships offshore— and I believe only one of them lived long enough to complete its suicide dive. It destroyed either a Liberty ship or an LST, I am not sure which, off Red beach. The Japanese made no evasive action but flew in ruler-straight lines for their targets. Our ackack was so bad it was ruining our morale and becoming a source of jokes. We never saw it bring down anything except our own ships, which trustingly flew low and slow over our own territory. One week after the landing this particular beach and airstrip had the greatest concentration of anti-aircraft guns ever assembled in the Pacific. The Japanese were totally unimpressed and continued to fly

wherever and whenever they wanted to. There were few suicide raids, however. The majority of alerts were caused by single planes or a few scattered over a several mile sector coming in at the same time. We threw up millions of rounds of .50 caliber, 20mm, 40mm and 90mm, to practically no effect that I could see. Beautiful fireworks effect at night, I should say; red, white and green. I became used to the sound of their motors—they really did have a washingmachine sound, too. They would bomb the beach and inshore dumps and whatever else looked good. Dropped a number of antipersonnel and phosphorus bombs a couple nights, but not on my outfit. The planes all looked alike—I mean the single motored ones. I was at one spot, busy at something under a tent fly, when I heard some racket and asked one of the boys to take a look. He did and turned back saying that it was a Grumman “Hellcat.” About six seconds later the “Hellcat” came down and strafed hell out of things. Our things. From then on I did my own looking, even if I did not know the aircraft. I knew British and German ships well, and American bombers, but could not remember much about Jap or U. S. small planes. The beach had a couple of lovely fires, the best of which concerned 3,400 drums of fuel, mostly aviation and truck gasoline. The Nips got the credit for destroying it, though the inside story was that an enthusiastic 20mm gunner on one of the ships in the bay had followed a Zero down the shore line too far and plowed a few shells into the dump. Four of the men who had come ashore with me were burned to death in this particular fire. A couple of others on the beach were tagged by .50 caliber machine gun bullets from the antiaircraft guns ranging too low, also. Later, the alibi of the shore flak guns was that they were being manually directed, that they were aimed by the crew, by hand and eye. Seems all the fire control equipment had suffered from dampness or corrosion on the way to Leyte or during the landing and drying it out was not easy or quick. The big directors and other electronic units were much less subject to error than the mere humans pushing in the ammunition. Still, the Navy’s radar and directors were supposed to be OK and they did not get much for their shooting that season around that end of Leyte. To

be fair, however, not many of the vessels had five-inch guns. Most had smaller weapons, mainly 40mm Bofors, which are customarily hand directed. Camouflage played a queer part in the Pacific war. Queer is the word, because the Japanese used it so much and were so good at it and because we used it so little and were so poor at it, anyway. The Americans totally ignored the whole problem of fooling the enemy observers. I never saw a sign of camouflage attempted anywhere on Leyte, or later, on Luzon. Blackouts during air raids were the only precautions taken against attack. Raids on the beach were almost a continuous performance, so business was good. The quadruple-mounted .50 caliber machine guns had a field day till somebody with sense made them stop shooting at everything going over. Do not know if they ever hit anything, but one outfit on the beach finished a raid one night by violating the blackout. All four barrels glowed dully. At that moment I was happy not to be in ordnance. At the HQ camp I had little to do except try to find enough men for all the posts the officers could dream up. Usually I had trouble. The army was rushing ashore and out on the roads, to be away from Tacloban and the raid area, and the Cavalry MP’s had to direct the traffic, guard everything of consequence, check prisoners, etc. A hospital had been set up in a schoolhouse 200 yards away from our own camp and there were a few wounded Japs brought in—I don’t know by whom—so we had to have a man there all the time. And a few men had to be at the air field. The Japs strafed the field a time or two and one fellow caught a 20mm explosive shell in the shoulder. He lived and I believe the arm was saved. Ordinarily a 20mm anywhere in the body is finis. It was not one of my guys so I did not get final particulars. One of the first jobs I had in that outfit was moving a Jap flagpole, imbedded in a block of concrete, from in front of the provincial capitol building in Tacloban. Rush job, early one morning. We shoved it over to one side of the parking area with a truck. I did not know it but General MacArthur was to make a radio address from the building a couple of hours later.

About 40 prisoners were taken in and about the city, all labor troops, mostly Formosans or Koreans. Most had surrendered to the guerrillas as soon as the invasion began. Real Japanese (live) were few and far between, except the wounded ones and the ones taken for information. One of the wounded prisoners in the hospital was a Jap Naval pilot, a warrant officer in rating. He was a pocket Hercules and looked like an ad for a physical culture magazine. Only 21, he had been flying fighter planes for a year and a half, and had started his training at 16. He told us that the Japanese army air force was only spending four months in pilot training, and that the men were no good (the Jap army and navy did not get along very well together). This bird had been around too long and was too smart to act like most of the Japs. Being captured did not bother him at all and he was actually anxious for us to win the war so he could go home. He did not believe much of the propaganda, either Japanese or American, so he did not give us any trouble. The suicide type was either the ignorant soldier or the newer recruits. The smart Nips did not go for it, though they were often forced to go along with their orders. When a prisoner did show up outside the hospital, we had to protect them as well as watch them. All Filipinos and half the G.I.’s were anxious to knock them off. I remember one morning a tall slant who kept grinning idiotically and tapping himself on the chest as he repeated “Taiwan, Taiwan,” meaning he was a Formosan. He even pretended not to understand Japanese. Probably was a Jap peasant who fancied himself a bright boy and did not want to die for the Emperor. Two or three native boys, Filipinos about 14 or 15 years old, were standing watching and carrying on a very polite conversation with me. Finally one asked “Please, sir, you give him to us? We kill.” As if he were asking for a match. I explained that I had signed a receipt for this particular specimen, but that I would be pleased to try and save an odd one for them if he turned up off records. Both Formosans and Koreans were as bad as the Japanese in ill-treatment of native populations and prisoners of war. Some Filipinos went so far as to say that the Japs were easier to get along with, and the Koreans the worst of all. Which is why a lot of ex-

soldiers and ex-prisoners of war will refuse to get worked up about the delay of independence for the noble and oppressed Koreans. Those “forced labor battalions” showed a hell of a lot of fight when the Japs were still riding high. In the Admiralties and New Guinea they made banzai charges, sometimes with bayonets tied to poles, spear fashion, when they did not have rifles for all. The air raids finally caused us to spread out and the division moved its HQ north of Tacloban 12 or 15 miles, so we had to set up a little camp in the tall grass, among a few coconut trees a mile or two from the San Juanico straits. The rains were coming on and we were pretty wet for a few days. It was while I was here that the first typhoon hit. I had managed to build myself a sort of pup tent, and it stayed up for the first half of the big wind, while regular tents were blowing down. No one had bothered to remember that the blamed wind blew one direction for a few hours, then calmed down awhile and finished by blowing the opposite way. My open-ended shelter lasted about two minutes of the second half. Everything was down in the morning and between the rain, mud, and wind the war was stalled for everything except the foot soldiers out ahead. The storm and the day or two of inaction it caused for the air forces gave the Japs a chance to rush in reinforcements on the western shore of Leyte, at Ormoc. It was just a short run from the other Visayan islands still held by the Japanese. The stand they made in the hills over Ormoc prolonged the campaign at least six weeks and made necessary the incredibly difficult mountain front. At about the time of the typhoon, a couple of days either way, the first American army planes appeared—Lockheed P-38 “Lightnings.” We were childishly pleased to see them and expected great things. I think there were eight planes at first, but am not sure; more came in almost daily as the engineers ironed out the airstrips. By this time we held two fields, the one at Tacloban and the one at Dulag. I saw a few dog-fights, but never saw a P-38 knocked down. They always flew in pairs, in the system originated by Chennault, one plane always protecting the other which did the actual fighting, or at least made the initial pass or attack. It was our firm belief that only the P-38s were allowed in the Philippines because they were the only American plane that the anti-aircraft gunners could

positively recognize as not being Japanese and therefore not shoot them down accidentally on purpose. I don’t know how much truth there was to the rumor, but we never saw a single-engined fighter such as the P-51 or P-47 until the Jap air force was almost driven out of the southern Philippines, and either of the ships was better at dog-fighting than the Lockheed. The Nips took to coming over at night and set up an early morning run in particular, although the off-beat pound of their motors could be heard at almost any hour. Unfortunately, our camp was on their course for the Tacloban docks, by now the number one target. We never knew when we might get the benefit of a hit-andrun attack. One Jap evidently had a bomb left over one night and decided to lay the egg on us, or maybe he was just jettisoning it. There was no reason to waste a valuable bit of explosive on us, for we could not have looked important. It landed harmlessly in a soft mud hollow 100 or 150 yards from my shelter. This was just before dawn and I bounced straight up and hung quivering in a horizontal position several inches above the ground while I woke up. Mud pattered down on the poncho while I crawled out to find out if anyone was hurt. I remember one of the boys was irritated and expressing his feelings at the top of his lungs. The last and only printable words were “Maytag maniac.” No one was hurt, or even worried by then, as out there bombs were scarce and rated like lightning—not likely to ever hit the same place twice.

XXVIII “FIGHTIN’ IN THEM HILLS” The cavalry was way out ahead of us, heading across Leyte through the Leyte Valley, an area of rice paddies, small fields and coconut groves, lying between low mountain ranges. Only one road suitable for any wheeled vehicle crosses the island and it more or less divides the valley as it meanders from Tacloban to Carigara and along the coast from there to Ormoc. The line troops of the 7th Cavalry were progressing up the road, not meeting much opposition. The Japs were fleeing for Ormoc, where they now had a reinforced garrison and a great deal of equipment and supplies. The 24th Division was also working up the valley and having more trouble with the mud than with the enemy; which was to be true for the rest of the campaign. Anyway, our CP had to move up, so we traveled many miles to a coconut grove on a hill, low, but covering two or three acres in area (the hill, I mean, not the grove) about half a mile from the barrio, or village of San Miguel. Only the major who pulled the move neglected to check a map and the site proved to be about half or three-quarters of a mile in front of the combat troops’ furthest perimeter! This was strictly unorthodox, even for the Pacific, where Division CP’s were as close to the action as battalion CP’s in Europe. Command Posts, especially Division Command Posts, should be safe in the back areas; they are definitely rear echelon. Nobody worried, much. After all, this would be in the rear when the line passed us up and moved on a few miles. In the meantime we sat up nights with machine guns and had guards covering every dark spot. Luckily, there was a full moon and the fact that we had open spaces on three sides of the hill gave us fair visibility. I usually took a machine gun for four hours early in the morning, after midnight. What made the job interesting

was a cut-off column of Japs, reputed all numbers from 100 to 300 strong, in the jungle close by. They were expected to break out any time. I remember listening to one skirmish for about half an hour one night about 10 o’clock—a Jap woodpecker (light tripod 6.5mm machine gun) would fire a short burst, then an American .50 would answer. This kept up for quite awhile. I never did find out what was going on. Did not try to. A Filipino farmer proudly brought in a Jap one morning, except that he did not bring all the Nip. Just the head. We had to get him to take it out and bury it somewhere without being too rough on his feelings. He was so happy. Combat MP’s ran into the screwiest situations at times. Three prisoners were brought in and I took them to the Corps HQ for further questioning. They were laborers, and one was a boy only 14 years old; all were very low class, the kid being the smartest. While here a second typhoon hit and bothered us a little. It was not as violent as the first. That same night we had to go get a Jap, as the 12th Cavalry broke their unsullied record and reported a live Nip. A couple of the boys went back—yes, back—to get him and the three of them returned in time to spend the night holding the orderly room tent down. In the morning we tried to find some clothes for the Jap and a small lieutenant donated a suit of khakis. The Jap had really been captured by some Filipinos and turned in to the cavalry, stripped of everything but a breechcloth. This was our first true Jap as such and we looked him over well. He was valuable—had been a top non-com and in charge of all their vehicles at Tacloban. He was a smart city boy and totally unafraid of us, seeming to know he would not be hurt. Most of the better-class Japanese knew some English but this one had only a few words. We kept him all day and after he was questioned, kept him busy ditching our tents, for by now we lived in them. That same afternoon we got orders to take the Jap to Corps HQ and to move a detachment to Carigara, it having been “taken” that noon. So two jeeploads of us, with a couple of officers and the prisoner sitting on the hood of one car, made a fast survey of northern Leyte, trying to find (a) Corps HQ, and (b) the way to Carigara. Yes, I said there was only one road, so how do we get lost? We don’t—the Japanese had very sensibly knocked the

bridges from over a few small but adequate rivers. Hence we were looking for detours. We finally made one by water, riding some of the amphtracs to Barugo from which town we could reach Carigara by a coastal road. Those amphibious tracked jobs were called a lot of names— Buffaloes, Alligators, Amphibious Tanks, and a few other things. The men who ran them usually referred to them as amphibious tractors. They were primarily cargo carriers, although sometimes used for reconnaissance duty through swamps or wet country. A jeep was the largest vehicle they could carry, meaning the only one. The town of Barugo is rememberable only as the place where the Filipinos did very complete bolo jobs on three Japs they caught. Took them on the beach and blinded them, then amputated everything possible, the heads last. The kids were kicking the heads around in the streets, an unsanitary practice, as they were barefooted. There was also a very good blacksmith at Barugo. He later made a lot of souvenir bolos for soldiers which were works of art. Arriving in Carigara just at dusk, we parked in a deserted store on the outskirts while a couple of lieutenants decided to explore the mud road toward the mountains, taking a couple of men. I sat around with the rest of the men until dark, when the officers returned, minus the two men. They had been put on “posts” somewhere down the road, guarding nothing in particular. The poor guys were there about 20 hours, not knowing what the score was until our vehicles began to move past them and I could get relief men out. It was Jap territory so far as that first night was concerned. To be parked alone, all night and half the next day, a mile or two miles in front of your own perimeters was a very uncomfortable feeling. The Nips had a habit of moving around at night, remember? These soldiers were limited service boys who had not been healthy enough for combat, so had been put into the soft MP berths.... The next day the main road was opened, meaning pontoon bridges were set up, and trucks began to move up for the beginning of the fight in the hills. To the cavalry, Ormoc will never be a great decisive mountain campaign but was simply the “fightin’ in the hills.”

Ormoc is a town, a little valley, a hill area, a harbor, across the northwestern peninsula of Leyte from Carigara. From the main highway—the stone surfaced road from Tacloban over which all supplies must come—a mud branch road cuts south, called the Sugud road, though it does not reach to the southern town of Sugud. It was never intended for motor travel in wet weather and did not last over a very few days from the time we started to pour supplies in, trying to beat the heavy rains. I had 24 men and a useless lieutenant. He was not a bad guy; he just did not know anything. In unguarded moments he would even admit it. Had been a lawyer, so when his draft board started looking at him longingly he asked for a commission in the JAG (Judge Advocate General Dep’t.—Army for legal branch) and got it, with a desk which he polished until some unkind son shanghaied him to the South Pacific and eventually he ended in the MP’s because he knew nothing about soldiering whatever. He was a gentle soul and positively no help to me. I had a corporal, one of the regular MPs, who was OK. Except in air raids. A red alert would drive him into a hole and keep him there, scared as he could be. I never knew a man so allergic to Jap airplanes. Since he was completely unashamed of his fear, no one said or thought anything of it. Had he pretended otherwise, he would have lost all respect from the men. I worked out a six-hour shift on the road posts, which required us to make only one relief trip a day. In the morning the first men out would go with the first vehicle over the road and come in with the relief truck at noon, while the men who went on at noon came in with the last returning vehicles at night. The road was being used only over a stretch three and one-half miles long, and as it was in most spots only wide enough for one vehicle, men had to take over wide stretches and regulate traffic, holding all trucks going in one direction until the opposite traffic had cleared the pass. This was a hell of a job most of the time, entailing a lot of wading around in the mud, shouting instructions to drivers 100 or 200 yards away, respectfully telling officers they were no better than anyone else, getting clearances for the ambulances and engineer trucks over other traffic, etc. Road control had to be pretty good as it was impossible to

operate at night and the pressure was really on during the daylight hours. The men got a break after all, for I swindled enough extra hands so that every third day they were free all day. The main road was opened through Carigara for several miles and we had to have a “traffic cop” at the crossing all day. Such a job calls for quite a bit on the ball—men must be alert and keep their heads and two hours is a long stretch standing in the middle of a muddy road surrounded by trucks. These men had to be able to think on their feet literally, for they had to run an imformation service. I picked out six of the sharpest men and told them it was their baby —it was a 24-hour post, and in addition to the traffic, two of them were drivers and one man had to be around for emergencies at all times. They did not have it too easy even with only four hours on the crossing, but compared with the past weeks it was nothing. Everyone asks the MP for information, and we had to compile quite a list. A man from the Corps HQ came around and gave us a lot of information on territory outside our beat and we had to figure out every outfit we knew of and how far it was to them from us and their nearest town, etc. In a few days we had every outfit listed by branch of service, distance from all towns on maps, and complete traffic information on northern Leyte. When a driver would stop in the road and ask where the 7th Division was, the man on duty would call to one of us to check and we would tell him where both of them were —the 7th Japanese Division and the 7th American Division. Things were fine till a G2 man came around and said we should not have so much information—a Nip might get to see it. So we had to give up our maps and our detailed lists and go on our memories thereafter. Technically, I suppose he was right (personally, my idea was that he was jealous, account of our having more dope than he had). After about a week the rains had reduced the road to a muddy ruin and nothing could move over it except tracked vehicles, which meant that all supplies had to be carried either by the amphibious tractors or by trailers towed by the caterpillars of the artillery units. The rainy season really set in and soon a cat could only take one trailer per trip, and make two trips a day (total mileage, 14). It was rough, because the tractors were going haywire from the beating they were taking. The Eighth Engineer Squadron—the engineer

outfit of the 1st Cavalry—worked like dogs on the roads and the little bridges and corduroy stretches which had to be maintained. The Sugud Road became just a medium-high spot in an ocean of rice paddies and most of their materials had to be hauled a couple of miles at the minimum. The “highway” fell apart under our heavy equipment and it began to require constant maintenance. The officer and I had to operate a motor patrol and keep speeds down in order to save it a little, either one or the other of us in a jeep with a driver and another MP. The third man was the “ticket”—if I decided to give some driver an arrest—he would climb on the vehicle and deliver the offender to a major at a Brigade CP who was officially in charge of the Division’s traffic area and who would either bawl the offender out or maybe fine him $5.00 on a summary court right there. As far as I was concerned, a reckless driver was practically a traitor. By now we had fleets of trucks moving supplies all along the road, some dumps being past us on the other side of Carigara. Luckily, the Division’s artillery had been able to get into the mountains a few miles before the mud got too deep, and the guns could really support the line. Trucks would bring ammunition and supplies up to little dumps close to the road junction and then the tractors would take it from there. One of my worries was keeping the road open and traffic moving, and the fact that most of the turn-offs were capable


THE ITALIAN 1910 GLISENTI PISTOL Note similarities of Japanese and Italian locking systems.

of miring a six-by-six and jamming a whole convoy made life interesting. There were no detours possible for 20 miles back, so if the road was blocked, the war was blocked too. The highway for several miles back was lined with coconut palms and the ground not too muddy, if you could get away from the road and on it.

Some QM trucking companies began to bring loads up from Tacloban. I think all of them were colored units, and practically all the drivers were bad, a menace to the road and everything on it. We began to have a lot of wrecks as the result of speeding, sideswiping, meetings at one-way bridges, etc. About half the bridges on the main road were not wide enough to permit two vehicles to pass on them, and men had to be maintained on each side of each bridge to regulate traffic, stopping one vehicle should two from opposite directions reach a crossing simultaneously. These guards usually came from the unit nearest the point to be guarded and were not always so good. Trucks moved along the road during the night and while there was little traffic trouble then, the constant air raids and consequent blackouts slowed things too much. General Mudge finally got disgusted and ordered that the roads be kept moving, that trucks could keep their lights on and move during the blackouts. The boys along the road did not like this, as they imagined every Jap plane they heard was looking for them personally. The white drivers did not care much—unless a guard stopped them on the road and ordered their lights out they usually did not ever know when raids began and ended anyway. A couple of them reported that bridge guards fired on them when they rolled past refusing to turn off their lights, so I hit the road in the jeep and gave my driver a liberal education in language— bad—every time I came to a guard. By threatening to put a man with a Thompson on every truck with orders to shoot back I convinced the trigger-happy boys it would be safer to ignore their personal blackout ideas than to argue. I was mad. There was practically no danger as the planes were after the bases at Tacloban and the ships there. Even the Japs were not so stupid as to bother bombing a road and they had got over their habit of strafing. They knew we could repair any slight damage they could cause in a few hours and that their bombs were much more troublesome at the other end of our supply line, where one might ruin a whole dump. Only one bomb was ever dropped at Carigara, and that on a road along the beach, about 400 yards from our road junction. It was aimed at a bridge crossing a wide tidal creek. Missed by a few yards and hit a native home, killing two Americans and four

Filipinos. When it was dropped it sounded as though it were aimed directly at us, though it landed far enough away so that the explosion was not even very loud. No screamers on it, but it made a very frightening “whoosh”! I think it was about a 250 Kg (500 pound class) and was the largest one that missed me. On the roads we tried to help the engineers all we could. I stopped a brigadier general once for hitting it up a little too much, but the engineer and artillery trucks had my blessing. Those boys were doing a job.

XXIX THE FILIPINOS The Filipinos of course must be described—they were definitely on our side, even though the inevitable few sold out to the Japs. The guerrilla movement was well organized on Leyte and Samar at the time of our landing and most of the guerrillas we worked with in Leyte were fighters. On Samar they practically liberated the island by themselves, though the 8th Cavalry was the strong force over there. Some of them were very hard little characters indeed. The U. S. had equipped the recognized organizations with small arms before we landed, by submarine, and evidently brought in some clothing, as their standard uniform was a U. S. fatigue cap, a pair of shorts, weapons and, in some cases, fatigue jackets. They loved fire-power. I have seen a Visayan who would not weigh 120 pounds wringing wet (and he was) plodding through calf-deep mud carrying a BAR, a loaded 10-magazine belt, a half-dozen bandoleers of .30-06 rifle ammunition for reloading, and a Jap knapsack full of grenades and loose cartridges, grinning happily as he headed for the line to unload. Some were useful soldiers and some were not. The good ones were very good, however, having been members of the Philippine prewar forces, or trained by some member for years, most of whom were veterans of the Jap invasion and knew what the war meant. Such men and units could fight either as guerrillas or combat troops —there is a great difference—while the other native forces were mainly effective only as irregulars and not particularly useful in a prolonged battle. A lot of American soldiers in the Philippines saw only the second-rate Filipino forces, who were sort of home guard units, spending their time guarding bridges and street corners and

lying about the Japs they had killed, and whose organizations were more officer-heavy than anything else. Had more officers than men. Well, the boys who met us on those first days of invasion and moved along with the advance, either on Leyte or Luzon, were of a different stripe. They did not do much bragging about Jap-killing, but most of them had Japanese army equipment on hand. Thousands of Filipinos were attached to the 1st Cavalry Division in Luzon and did all right for themselves in a lot of action. In the savage Antipolo fight cavalry casualties were replaced by guerrillas and by the end of the campaign some of the troops (companies) had a considerable proportion of their strength in Filipino soldiers. They later became the Saber Guerrilla Force. Behind the fighting all the natives elected themselves to the guerrilla forces and practically every Filipino between the ages of 15 and 50 claimed he had been a member from the start. If he had been to high school he elected himself to be a lieutenant and if he had gone to the university, he was at least a lieutenant colonel. Most of the real fighters came from the country, rather than urban districts, and most of the spirit of resistance was from the outlying regions. The Filipinos who hated the Japs most and who worked and fought against them were as a rule the poor farmers out on the edge of the mountains and jungles who suffered less from the Japanese than the townspeople who were impoverished by the occupation. The ragged farmer who owned a couple of acres of rice land and a water-buffalo if he was well off, and only a bolo and a nipa shack if he was not, was the guy who defied the Imperial Nipponese Army. Traitors or pro-Japanese Filipinos were, I think, non-existent in Leyte, but there were plenty in Luzon who collaborated for one reason or another, usually for money or privilege or in fear. The area in Tayabas Province around the city of Lucena was left untouched by the Japanese as a collaborationist favor, though there was not really much pro-Jap feeling or assistance there (I know—if there had been, the guerrillas would have moved in and burned the city). Genuine makapilis (pronounced mockapeelees) were hated and hunted down like animals when they could be identified. Sometimes they were just shot, but often they were tortured to death. They had been the ones

who had sold out to the Japanese and betrayed guerrillas and their families, or reported violations of Japanese laws. Because of the American treatment of the Philippines and the schools throughout the islands, the people were intelligent and educated enough to realize that the Japs had nothing to offer them even if they did carry out the ideas of their Greater East Asia CoProsperity Sphere, promising freedom from white domination, etc. The Filipinos knew they were doing all right as it was and did not feel very oppressed anyway. Jap propaganda fell very flat. Do not make any mistake—both the Japanese and the Nazis had some very good ideas in their plans for Asia and Europe, ideas with plenty of merit if honestly administered and carried out as on paper. Naturally, they were bait for winning over conquered populations. A lot of trouble is due the world from those plans, too. Witness Indonesia now. The Japs did not give the Dutch colonies anything themselves and treated the people worse than the Dutch ever had, but they promised plenty and the people are now wondering why they cannot promote the better way of life on their own hook. Poland seems to have adopted a lot of Hitler ideas, most of which are not so good. Under the Japanese occupation the Philippines went to sleep commercially, and we found all the roads, towns and public buildings gone to seed. Electric power plants were shut down, vehicles went out of commission, telephone lines were cut down. When anything broke on a machine, there was no replacement. Scarcely any cloth had come in to Leyte and the people were reduced to making palm cloth and wearing old burlap sacks. Women used all their drapes and curtains for dresses and tried to get mattress covers and sheets from us for material. They would even cut the bottoms out of barracks bags and make skirts out of them! Men went in rags, where in peacetime they wore neat shorts or dressed in lightweight sports clothing as we do in warm weather. Practically all went barefoot, which is a normal state of affairs in the rural districts except on special occasions. Straw and bamboo hats of all sizes and shapes were worn, some of them being very large, to act as umbrellas during rains.

In the towns most buildings are built with stone or concrete foundations and are not too unusual. Many are fairly modern brick or cement structures and older ones of the Spanish stone architecture. Most of the homes are built up on piles, so that the floor is anywhere from three to 10 feet above the ground. The ground space is left open for storage of tools, working or keeping the pig. In Leyte everything except the piles were of bamboo and nipa—palm— thatch. In Luzon only the farm huts were made this crudely, most of the towns and villages having frame houses with metal roofing, often being two-story apartment types. When I was in Leyte at the Sugud Road Junction I lived in a fairsized house, very well built, but slightly ventilated by machine gun fire and shrapnel. It was a frame building with a metal roof, about one story off the ground and of about five or six rooms. The wood used was almost entirely red mahogany. The owner was a civil engineer and his wife had been a school teacher, hence both spoke very good English. From these people we did get a good picture of the Japanese in Leyte. The man had been one of the higher-ranking intelligence workers for the guerrilla movement, and was very levelheaded. His wife and child had once been held hostage by the Japs until he came in and gave himself up—then escaped to the mountains after they were safe. Despite this, he told me once that all Japanese should not be considered bad, but as a race they were always unsure of themselves and that in his opinion most of their direct cruelty stemmed from that fact. They never knew how to do anything diplomatically and were always worrying about how their actions were being received, as a prelude to running amuck to justify themselves in their own minds that the populace was against them and needed to be made afraid. In Tacloban early in the occupation some of them had been a little bayonet-conscious, but in Leyte there were few “atrocities.” Leyte just stagnated, waiting for the Americans to return. The Filipinos were not much disturbed about the Japs killing a few of them, saying they had killed more Japs than the Japs had Filipinos, keeping the score more than even. The people had advanced and inflated ideas about values, from dealing in the almost worthless Japanese occupation money, and the

shortages immediately gave us a fine example of inflation. In Leyte the people were able to raise food, as the whole island is largely agricultural, but they had no clothes, canned goods, or manufactured items. A farm woman would ask as high as 10 pesos ($5.00) for a chicken which in normal times would cost less than a peso, but she would much rather have an undershirt or a pair of shorts, for her husband to wear. In Luzon the people had clothing, but were low on food, although I doubt if any starved (most of the pictures taken of “starving” natives are of ones afflicted with beriberi, which makes them look like living skeletons no matter how well they are eating). A thriving black market sprang up as soon as Army supplies began coming in—I remember one of our truck drivers saying he had been offered 75 pesos ($37.50) a case for canned milk and 150 pesos ($75.00) for a case of canned meat. Evidently he did not sell any or he would not have been talking. The money in use was not any European issue, or allied invasion currency, but was U. S. cash, of set value, not an inflated special series. The bills were the regular pre-war peso bills—ones, twos, fives, tens, twenties and fifties, with the word “Victory” imprinted on the back, and silver 10, 20 and 50 centavo coins. Prewar currency without the Victory stamping is of equal value. In Luzon the people had plenty of money and wanted to buy and sell things, but in Leyte they were not so concerned with cash, preferring to barter. Most would refuse to sell their produce, holding out for a trade of some kind. The Philippine government had promulgated a price policy and broadcast it within a couple of weeks after the Leyte landing, setting price ceilings on all foods and such items as bolos, tobacco and labor, basing prices and wages on the prewar scale. The people blandly ignored the law and as a rule sold nothing to conform to the price ceilings. Only in the official stores set up by the Philippine Civil Affairs Unit (abbreviated PCAU and called “Peecow”) were the prices observed. They sold scarce food and clothing on a ration basis, their purpose being to aid the civil population in the fighting or devastated areas where crops might be damaged or work prevented, and they were to last only until the section got back on its feet a little. Most of the soldiers of the American-organized and trained 1st Filipino Division eventually ended up as PCAU men.

These country people were good enough in their way and very honest. I do not know of anything being stolen from any soldier while we were in Leyte. Small boys were of course all over the camps and one I remember in particular; a very small soul about two or three years old and about two feet high. I had been test firing and was cleaning some guns on the rack beside our test range when one of the section men called “Who’s your friend?” I looked around and down to this very serious-faced boy. He was dressed in the usual short shirt and an overseas cap someone had given him. He watched every move I made for half an hour, and would not say a word or laugh, just kept a deadpan expression with his hands clasped behind his back. Finally a welder offered more interest than I and he wandered over to see the sparks fly. He came around every day for a week or so and finally a few of the men temporarily adopted him and named him “Charley.” He learned a little English and had the run of the camp. We got his history from older people— both his father and mother had been killed by Japs as they retreated along the road past his home. The boy’s true name was Sergio, and he roamed the neighborhood, every woman knowing him and taking care of him for the day or two he would stay with her. No one attempted to keep him, but accepted him as a member of the community, free to come and go as he pleased. I asked a reasonably well-to-do farmer what would become of him and got a surprised look. He said the kid would just grow up, welcome in all the homes, and when he was through school he could take his father’s place and start farming it. The women would see that he was fed and had clothing enough. I guess Leyte does not know about orphan asylums, and I think that kid will be all right without one. As the Leyte campaign drew to a close, things eased up and we even set up a movie screen and had shows about three times a week. Usually there were two or three air alerts and the picture might be cut off for half an hour at a time, but no one minded much, including the Filipinos who came miles to see the movies. Before the war there had been a few theatres on Leyte and the people were well up on popular American songs. The Visayans, or Leytans, did not have many weapons aside from their sundangs and bolos (to them a bolo meant generally any

long knife, but specifically, the name was applied to a pointless chopping tool, halfway between a cleaver and a knife). So they made a good many crude shotguns for use on Nips, proving again that a scattergun has a place in warfare, even if it is not legal. Some of the guns were not so crude, either. Many were well-proportioned, with good stocks of mahogany or what they called “Komagoon” wood, a type of ebony running from dark brown to jet black in color. Other lighter woods were also used. Because of the stocks and the pipe barrels, most guns were heavy, weights ranging from nine to eleven pounds. All were singleshots; some had hammers, some had concealed spring-loaded firing pins, looking like our hammerless shotguns. The operation of the Leyte type might be called a reverse bolt-action; the breech remained constant and the barrel was rotated and slid forward to open. The receiver was a tubular piece of steel or iron, or even brass, with a large cut in the top at the rear at the breech plug for loading and a narrow slot running forward from the left side of the opening at its front, paralleling the barrel. The slot would extend perhaps 4″ then make a right angle quarter-turn and then turn again and parallel the barrel until the slot reached the end of the receiver. The barrel would be a chambered or unchambered piece of iron or steel pipe with a little lug on it close to the rear, sometimes just the stud of a screw into the chamber section. The lug could slide through the slots, making the various turns and eventually be locked fairly tight on its final move to the right, inside the front edge of the receiver or loading opening. To operate these Leyte shotguns it was merely necessary to rotate the barrel until the locking lug lined up with the forward slot and slide it forward until the lug contacted the first right angle turn. This distance was figured so the empty shell could be ejected without being blocked by the barrel. The extractor was a fixed flat spring type firmly attached to the breech and the ejector usually a flat spring fastened to the bottom of the breech tube or receiver, lying in a groove when the barrel was to the rear. The loaded shell was inserted in the barrel and the barrel pulled back in firing position and locked, the extractor hook passing over the rim of the shell to hold it and the ejector under the barrel. After firing the barrel would be pulled forward, the extractor would hold the shell so that the barrel

would be pulled free of it and when the rear end of the barrel cleared the end of the ejector, the ejector could fly up and knock the shell away and out of the gun. Nearly all guns had regular hammers and triggers in trigger guards. The stocks were usually 3/4 length, similar to those on sporting rifles, with butt and forend in one piece. The above description is of the most common type, but others may show up in this country as souvenirs from time to time. Actually, all were different, as all were handmade of whatever materials the individual could get together. I saw a few where the barrels had been drawn-filed in an effort to lighten them, and one soldier told me he ran across one with a choke forged into the muzzle. Contrary to general belief, these home-made “guerrilla guns” were not a wartime resistance-inspired weapon, but were the standard Filipino arm, many made years ago. They were just the Leyte Filipino’s shotgun. Factory-made guns were too expensive for him, even if they were available, so he bought a couple of boxes of shells and made his own gun. Ammunition was sold in the larger towns in peacetime. Some guns were ingeniously worked out and had safety notches in the hammers. I never saw a muzzle-loader of any kind in the islands. Not so numerous were the handmade pistols, which were usually singleshot breakopens, either .32 or .38 caliber. I did see one double-action revolver which had been built in the Philippines. It was of course crude, but it worked. None of these ever had rifling, and most were oversized in bore, the bore being the diameter of the case. This probably was what kept them from blowing up, as some of the frames and barrels were of brass and not too heavy walled. These pistols were strictly emergency weapons for very close quarters and were never fired except as such. I would not shoot one on a bet, and I do not think the Filipinos cared much about using the pistols themselves. A good bolo was always handy. I never saw a barong, but heard about them. A Filipino blacksmith told me he saw one once which had a blade 4″ wide and 30″ long, double edged and straight. I myself saw a farmer cutting sugar cane with a Luzon blade which he called a “badang,” the blade being pointed, narrow and as long as any Jap sword. In the South, the Moros had their wavy-bladed kris (pronounced “krees”) which was strictly a fighting instrument.

In the jungle a determined Filipino could be a very unpleasant foe, as the Japs found out (so did we, a long time ago!). This time they were for us, not against us.

XXX AN ORDNANCE DUMP IN THE HILLS After spending about three weeks on the road control job I started agitating to get into ordnance again—I had previously tried to transfer to the 27th Ordnance Company, the medium maintenance outfit which is the 1st Cavalry’s ordnance organization. About a week later I made it and was transferred, though I lost my sergeant’s rating in the deal. I had received promises that I would keep it, etc., but did not care too much, except from the pay angle. One of the first things a soldier learns in the army is that there is nothing quite so worthless as an official promise, anyway. This service company was pretty good so far as the enlisted men were concerned, but had a few very poor officers, as was to be expected. If they had been good they would have been in the line outfits where good men were needed. They probably thought of that too. Most of them did not give us hard times, but they just did not help things much. Fortunately, for the company, the first sergeant and the master sergeant (shop head) and most of the section chiefs (tech and staff sergeants) were very capable and ran the works. The division ordnance office and a bomb disposal officer and squad lived and worked as part of the company nearly all the time. As were most of the organizations the 27th was greatly overstrength at this time. The small arms section had double its ordinary number of men. Extra equipment as well as personnel was on hand, from trucks to generators. We eventually gave up some of the transportation, but kept the more useful items. One of the officers was a good trader and had done some advantageous business with navy and CB forces in the Admiralties.

A jeep had turned into a huge generator, much larger than our regular authorized one, and another jeep into —prize beyond words —an ice machine. It only made slush ice (a snow-like product), but we had cold stuff. It required water constantly running through it to cool the machinery, so it was never used at all while we were in Leyte. Long before, the boys had picked up a refrigerating unit and built a water cooler, running cooling pipes through a tank set on a small trailer. Two G.I. cans set on top were filled and the power turned on. When the tank cooled off, ice-cold drinking water was available at both a faucet and a homemade fountain spout. In the tropics this was beyond price. The trailer was easy to set up and could be in operation within a few hours after stopping. A large oven had been accumulated along the line somewhere and as the company had a good baker we had more than the usual run of bread, pie and cake. I appreciated these things, having been on C, K and 10-in-1 rations for the past five or six weeks, most of the time. At this time the company was parked a mile or so east of Tunga, the first town east of Carigara and was completely embedded in mud —only ankle deep in the tents, but knee-depth to an averagesized man in the rest of the area. We had tents to slow down the rain considerably, if not completely stop it, and folding canvas cots to sleep on. I had been sleeping on the ground most of the time I was in the MPs, though at one time I had been lucky enough to get a mahogany door from an abandoned home and slept on it a few days, lifting it out of the mud and water by setting it on up-ended tin cans. Now, with a cot to sleep on, the nights were a pleasure. For a week or so I was around the company tramping about in the mud—the day we finally got a load of sand and gravel to put in our tent, two of the boys and I got on a contact, or rather, a repair party to go up in the hills and work for the 12th Cavalry. It was almost impossible to get damaged weapons back to us at the company, or good ones from us to the hills without damaging them. It was a two day trip to the “front” or about eight or nine miles as the planes flew. That gives an idea of travel troubles. The terrain on Leyte over this distance was said to be the worst to traverse in the Pacific by a couple of correspondents, but my personal opinion is that the BunaSananda section of New Guinea and maybe Cape Gloucester, on

New Britain, were worse. Some of the inland parts of Guadalcanal were bad, also. There were very bad spots all over the Pacific of course, but for campaign areas, not just battle areas, the abovementioned will be remembered as very unpleasant parts of the world by the survivors. In Leyte it was possible to at least use caterpillar tractors part of the way. We three traveled by weaponscarrier to the Sugud Road Junction where I had so lately worried over the traffic, then by amphtrac to the base of the mountains. By this time the road was impassable even to tractors and all supplies were being moved by the amphibs. There were about four in constant use, two trips a day each. They ran through the liquid mud of the rice paddies and did not attempt to follow the road. Each could carry about half a truckload of supplies, or maybe, a full load, depending on the bulk more than the weight. At the foot of the mountains a small dump was set up, a couple of tents for men and a tent where we found three or four troop armorers—the small-arms maintenance men of the cavalry troops— working away cleaning up the few guns which came down the hill. We stayed overnight then went up the next day by caterpillar. The cats were now running a shuttle service up as far as they could get, taking the loads from the amphibs to the artillery and to the supply CP of the 12th, where we were to set up in business. The drivers worked as best they could, though a trip and a half a day was about the best they could do. Of 22 tractors, only four or five were still in operating condition that week; the rest needed repairs or new parts which were unavailable or could not be put in. Cats never went up alone, as it was usually necessary for them to help each other at various points. Some of the climbs were almost 45 degrees and they had to use the winches, or perhaps one would make it and give the following ones a tow. The forested Leyte mountains are of grass-covered clay, and slippery. The tractors had to wind around and take the path of least resistance to get up, but as each route became chewed up with a very few days’ travel, they had to constantly look for new detours which would bring them to the same destination. The drivers would sometimes go down at night, if a load was vitally needed early the next day, but it was not good sense to

try to come up as even in the daytime the trailers were always skidding around and on the verge of turning over. The hills were a series of ever-rising little ranges, cut up by small canyons and shallow, rocky mountain streams, lined and bordered with stones of all sizes, from pebbles to jeep-size. The drivers had to maneuver through these natural tank-traps each trip. A guard rode each trailer or tractor, acting also as assistant to the operator in loading and hooking up, handling the winch cables and doing every job that would help move the load along. Jap stragglers were all through the area covered, and he had to try and protect the driver and tractor from them, which was a tough assignment since the noise of the motor would drown out the sound of Jap rifle fired at even close range. The Japs might easily get more than one shot at the men before they would even know they were in danger. I know, because one took a shot at me when I was going up and I still do not know in what direction he was, although I heard both the bullet and, faintly, the report of the rifle. This equipment—the few artillery caterpillars and the amphibious tractors—formed the supply line of the principal and only active American land front in the Philippines. That is all; all our men and ships and trucks and supplies could not beat the mud to get at the enemy. Only those few men pulling and pushing levers on the jolting, sliding tractors kept the ammunition and food moving up. They sure did not keep any union hours, either. I often wondered what the people at home would feel if they knew just how thin the string was that held us together. The day we went up we were lucky, for a load of fresh meat was going in—the first on Leyte—and we were able to ride with it, since it was not as heavy as ammunition. Halfway up the mountain we came to the CP and to the artillery points, set in lovely mountain meadows. The men were straining all they could to get the guns further up, for Ormoc itself was now less than three miles beyond the range of our largest gun. Hours later and a couple of miles further in and up we jolted along the last ridge to the end of the line, the supply CP. Here we were also lucky; the commanding officer had been notified by radio that we were coming and he had found a pyramidal tent and had it set up for us. We unrolled our own little two-man shelter and

put it on the mud to sleep on. Quite a few tents were up, since they could be dropped from planes without damage. We were carrying our tool chests and an extra one filled with spare parts, all very heavy, and blankets, extra clothes and a poncho apiece. While we were carrying our belongings into the tent, three or four soldiers came down the trail and passed us, heading back, all leading huge dogs. I asked a trooper standing by what the idea was and he said “Oh, those are the war dogs—they’re takin’ ‘em back because the country’s too rough for ‘em.” Nice place we had come to. In the morning we scouted up enough ammunition boxes and crates for makeshift benches and collected the beat-up guns from the hospital tents and the supply sergeant’s dump. This little camp deserves description. It was as far forward as it was possible to go with a caterpillar tractor, and pretty high up. The weather was noticeably better than in the valley below. While it rained some almost every day, there was not the waterfall effect we were used to. The air was fresher and a little spring there gave us the best drinking water I ever found in the Pacific. We were perhaps three miles from the nearest Japanese installations and the position was possible only because we had knocked out their few artillery pieces early in the game. Filipino farmers had been using the little strips of land in the ravines and on the gentle slopes, and a lot of them were still around. A hospital had been set up, with three or four tents and cots for maybe 50 men, and a kitchen was running, serving hot food to everyone around. This kitchen was important. When a man had been up in the line too many days on cold rations and got sick or just played out, he would be sent back here to “guard rations” one, two or three days. Actually, it was a chance to relax and sleep in a straight line and get a few hot meals. The men would get some of their strength back then we would see them going back up one morning with the ration pack train. The rations went from here on the backs of Filipino carriers because only men could navigate the trails from here on. They worked in pairs either carrying their load on a pole sling or one walking empty-handed until his partner got tired. Some were young boys, some almost old men. Every age and class of person was represented. They were hired, or perhaps rounded up is a better

expression, by the guerrillas, who usually acted as guards along the trails. It was terrible labor to handle some of the items, such as Cration cases or cases of pistol ammunition, and often some of the men would want to quit. The guerrillas did not let them. Remember, some of the paths went almost straight up and down and it was necessary to use ropes and vines to assist ascent and descent and always the footing was slippery clay or mud. The trip up and back required about nine or ten hours, allowing for a short rest at the front end. A lot of rations were flown in to us a week or so later when transport planes reached the island. Delivery was fast—a crew member just kicked the boxes out the open door of the airplane as it flew over, 200 or 300 feet up. Cargo parachutes were tried a few times on medical equipment, but did not do so well. Chutes tore, or did not open, so they just went back to throwing stuff out and hoping it would hit a bush or small tree to break the fall. Attempts were made to drop rations right at the line, but the Japs got half of them and the men up there could not hunt through the brush for the boxes. Also, a couple of guys got hurt by boxes landing on them, so it was decided to keep up the packtrains, which had to handle the ammunition anyway. A few vehicles had managed to get up here before the mud got too deep—one hospital six-by-six, one half-track radio car and two or three ambulances. Every few days one of the ambulances would go down out of the hills with a load of wounded, taking plenty of time and aided by tractors when necessary. The ambulance is for my money the best army wheeled vehicle for going places. I have seen them go through mud and rough country that jeeps, weaponscarriers and six-by-sixes could not pass. The whole area of the camp—a little shelf or secondary ridge, it might be called—was covered with small one and two-man shelters, roofed with ponchos, where lived the cooks, the medics, the men who ran the pack trains and the guys who just came back to rest awhile. The Filipinos had several of the large squad or “hospital” tents, and their own cooking arrangements, rice and corned beef being their staple food. Guerrillas rated as soldiers and most of them ate at the same kitchen we did. The unusual point or feature about

this camp was that there was absolutely no guard system. Each man was his own perimeter, so to speak, and kept his rifle or carbine within reach at all times. You ate with your gun across your lap. The only time we kept an all-night guard was once when a Filipino reported he had seen several Japs dressed as Filipinos prowling around about a half mile away. That night the Filipinos were warned not to move at all after dark and we decided to shoot completely on suspicion. Ordinarily the army has guards covering everything every night, even in back areas. There were only a very few officers here and they were busy radioing the rear what was needed, checking supplies, etc. About 200 yards away and a couple of hundred feet below us ran a fine little river, or big creek, to be more exact. To a Filipino even a tiny brook is a “river,” and I am afraid we took to calling all streams rivers also. The banks and bed of this one were composed entirely of smooth boulders and the water was clear, clean and cold, perfect for bathing. Soldiers in the Pacific were always looking for decent places for a bath. A lot of water was bad—carrying infections and diseases. The sole objection to this stream was that a would-be Jap sniper liked to haunt it. He would take a shot at somebody every afternoon. He did not hit anybody while I was there, but it was annoying. We kept on using the same spots, for after all, it was a swell place for a bath. It was not possible to figure out the direction, and the Nip never would fire but one shot, as after that every rock had a naked soldier with a carbine on it or behind it and one of them would be bound to spot a second shot. The Japanese had by now officially decided that sacrificial suicide tactics in the field were inefficient in the long run and orders were that they should last as long as possible. As wounded men came down and turned in their weapons and others moved up, we did a rapid turnover in guns. Sometimes the line would ask for certain equipment to be sent up, and then we would work over the beat-up BARs and machineguns and bazookas and

ITALIAN M1889 REVOLVER Caliber 10.35mm. Shown with cartridge. Note the lever on frame at top of stock: This is not a safety, but the head of the takedown screw.

THE BRITISH .38 PISTOLS Bottom: Smith & Wesson M. & P. Model, caliber .38 S & W. Top: Enfield No. 2 Mk I* (Star) with Mk II stocks. Caliber .380 British. (Same as 38 S & W). Commercial cartridge shown.

send them up by the next pack train. We worked from dawn till dusk the first week, after which we had enough guns in good shape to keep ahead of the demand and we could then slack off a little. As we were up in the mountains, we called for the troop armorers down at the base and had them come up. From then on we ordnancemen did not have too much to do, as we made them do most of the work! The troop armorers as a rule were not much good at anything except cleaning guns and replacing broken parts which were obviously out

of kilter, but a few of them became expert by their own interest and study of weapons. These men we had with us had served as line soldiers for over a month of the Leyte battle, before the condition of equipment got so bad that they had to be placed on repair jobs. The cavalrymen did not have time to keep training fresh replacements as they went along so all the veterans were needed in the line. Most of the men from the foxholes stopped in at our tent on their way to or from the line. They really appreciated our being up there and we appreciated their appreciating us, if you get what I mean. We did no sloppy jobs, for our hearts were really in our work. When a man asked for a carbine or an M1, we would go over all we had and give him our best, with whatever we had in the way of patches, oil, extra magazines or other helps. The M1’s were going to ruin for lack of cleaning in the holes up front—the poor guys did not have anything to take care of them with, and often were not in a position to shoot them often enough to keep the barrels clear of corrosion (grass won’t grow on a busy street—regardless of the corroding primer compound, if a .30-06 barrel gets a bullet through it every six or eight hours it will stay in pretty good shape). As a result of the fouling of gas cylinders and pistons, a large percentage of our semiautomatics were becoming singleshots. By raising hell over the radio and sending a man down to the RSO (Regimental Supply Office) we got all the small cans of oil and spare cleaning rods they —or the 27th —had, or could find, brought up to us and we would give a rod and a brass brush or two to whatever soldiers could take them up. A lot of stories came to us from the men who used to come in and watch us work. One, who turned out later to be a first lieutenant, spent an afternoon talking about hunting deer in Colorado and Japs in the Admiralties and Leyte. He was heartbroken for a moment when I took his M1 away from him—it had a bulged barrel and the gas cylinder could not be removed for cleaning. He had taken very good care of it and it would operate OK but I did not trust it and decided to junk the barrel and receiver. We happened to have an almost new rifle to give him, so after he changed the rear sights he felt all right. He had filed the top of his original aperture out into a large open V and wanted to keep it. Said he had killed eight

Japanese all within 50 feet, in bad light, and did not need or want an aperture rear sight. He would not use anything except the rifle, as he considered the extra penetration he could get compensated for the weight. Most men wanted carbines as they could be carried so much easier than the M1, but the boys who really wanted to kill Nips liked the rifles. “Kill ‘em through trees,” was their story. The Thompsons were only popular in the jungle, where a fast spray-effect was desired. Much of the Philippine fighting was in comparatively open country or rough mountain terrain where the submachine gun was heavy to carry and not too effective. Some time after we managed to get things organized and keep the guns going we heard that mail was coming in down below and as we needed parts, the youngest of the trio was elected by a voice vote of two to one to make the journey to the company. About the third day after leaving he showed up well equipped with parts, mail, candy and information. Up where we were we did not even get good rumors. Some news came over the radio. However, separating the truth from the propaganda was tiresome. We loved to hear about the great battle of Leyte, of which we happened to be one of the main parts at the time. In fact we knew half the people in it by name personally. The 12th Cavalry Regiment bore the brunt of the mountain fighting, with one of the flank sectors held by part of the 5th. So far, the plan had been to hem in the Japanese and let the artillery tear them up. While we were succeeding to a great extent, the Japs did not cooperate too well, as they had more men and more supplies in the mountains than we had and they held every point till the ground was shot from under them. It was not exactly one of their cave campaigns but a sort of mountain trench warfare, if such a description can stand up, with constant small scale attacks and counterattacks. Our forces now held all the airfields on the island and we had plenty of planes. A great force of bombers raided Ormoc, but the enemy in the hills was almost indestructible from the air. What got them was artillery. The little spotter planes—our mighty cavalry air force, the “PC70’s” (Piper Cub, 70 miles per hour)—were in the air almost every hour of daylight, picking up bullet-holes from Jap

ground machine guns and rifle fire every day, dodging the Zeros from Negros island by flying at treetop height and maneuvering so close to the ground they got muddy. The flight officers and lieutenants who flew them, without parachutes, armed only with a pistol or a carbine, really rated respect from both the foot soldiers and the Air Corps. Every time they saw more than two Nips close together they called for a 105 to drop a shell there. It paid off, I guess. As it was a few guys from the 12th lived through the war. If they had had to go after all the Nips by hand more would have died. By the end of the Leyte battles at least two of the troops (companies) of the 12th had less than 30 men left. I do not mean 30 of the original men, I mean 30 men, period. Not many replacements went into action in the cavalry after the first week of the invasion, and as the weeks passed men fell out not only due to battle casualties but also to diseases, other injuries and such strength-reducing causes. The camp was isolated in a way because of the terrain. A lot of useful items could not get up and a lot of wounded could not get down. From the combat zone about two to three miles away to our small hospital facilities was a three-hour trip for an able-bodied man, unburdened. A stretcher required not less than 10 men to handle it and a day for the trip. It had to be raised and lowered and handed along the steep and rough spots over the trails and only emergency cases were brought out. Most of the wounded stayed up where they were until they could move out under their own power and with the help of a couple of Filipinos, or soldiers. Very few dead were carried back. I remember seeing only one blanket-wrapped bundle coming down, tied to a pole. One man came down on a stretcher for an emergency operation. A Mexican-American, he was one of the division’s famous fighters and had been shot in the stomach. The division surgeon came up that night riding a cat and operated, but the boy died four days later. A lot of men suffered and died because they did not or could not receive prompt attention. The Brigade Commander, General Chase, came up and made two trips to the line. It was a hard pull for him and he was really bushed when he would get back at night to the radio car and relay

back his instructions. That trip up was hard on a young man and the general was not so young any more. General Mudge was up several times and went on personal “hunting trips,” along with the colonel of the 12th. The war correspondents never came up that far, which was intelligent of them, from our viewpoint. When a soldier has been shot at a few times and gone without hot meals a few days, he becomes a realist and blames no man for not sticking his neck out. After about three weeks’ work, it was decided that the troop armorers could handle the gun maintenance, as we had a large number of repaired guns on hand and a batch of parts for them to take over. The three of us from ordnance were to return to our company, which fact did not make us too happy. We felt better up on the heights and of course were our own bosses, so the rainy lowlands did not have much appeal. I went over a couple of ridges and found enough forked saplings and poles to make good gunracks for the stuff we left. We gathered up what loot we had acquired—bolos traded from the Filipinos, a Jap rifle or two, a couple of knee mortars and bayonets. The Jap stuff came from souvenirs sent back from the line troops for safekeeping. We would keep it and take care of it, and when an owner was reported killed, we would take the item over ourselves rather than destroy it. Nothing could be sent home, so all anyone could do with it was play with it personally or maybe find a sailor or marine to trade it to, if he ever got to the beach. The naval forces could get things home we could not. I had a good 1917 Enfield rifle, taken from the Japanese—their 16th Division was armed with as much American equipment as their own. They had taken the Enfields from the Filipino forces after the Philippine surrender and had armed their own troops with them. The 16th Division was supposed to be one which had officiated at the Bataan “death march.” It died. As the trailers went down empty most of the time, we could take all the junk we wanted to, and we piled one full of the BARs, machine guns and rifles we had not been able to repair and yet thought too good to destroy. Back at the company we could repair stocks and replace barrels and other major parts. We took the

trooper’s “souvenirs” back also and gave them to their regimental supply office to hold, all of them tagged with official forms. The war in Leyte was entering its final phase—the 32nd Division had relieved the 24th and the 77th moved up the west coast and made a landing behind the Jap forces at Ormoc, pushing them into our artillery. Just as the final mopping up was begun, the 32nd’s famous Captain Herman Boettcher was killed. He was the German professional soldier who had risen from the ranks as the hero of Buna. Japanese planes made fewer and fewer daylight flights, and those only in fast planes for observation only. One day I saw two single motor fighters make monkeys out of a pair of P-38’s. The Japs would flip around in a tight turn and the Lockheeds would swing out two miles. Neither set could harm the other and finally the Nips decoyed the P-38’s into a diving turn, cut back past them and streaked for their home base somewhere northwest. By the time our planes got straightened out, the Japs were long gone. This was late in December, 1944, over Tunga, in the northwestern section of Leyte.

XXXI OUT OF THE HILLS On our return to the 27th, we found the company moved west a few miles to a coconut grove on higher ground. It was a fine area and mud was kept at a minimum by keeping vehicles from plowing up the ground around the living and shop quarters as much as possible. A gang of Filipinos had been hired to work around the place and they built bamboo walks, tables to eat from, etc. The local population practically lived with us and the women made the rounds of the tents every morning and evening asking for clothes to wash. It was probably the only time these Filipino farm women ever had a chance to make a little money. The laundry was a big help to both soldiers and the “lavenderas.” They would wash everything from socks to blankets in the little brooks and creeks, beating the clothes on the stones with both their hands and wooden paddles. Somehow they were able to get them clean without wearing them out; I never did understand how. Drying the wet wash in the moist, rainy climate was a problem they solved by shaking the clothes in the air and then folding them and sleeping on them overnight. It worked. We had to supply the soap, otherwise they used their own rather rank coconutoil types which left an unpleasant odor requiring two or three days airing and sunning to dispose of. The company was feeding all the men employed to work on our area, but I think we had as many ringers as legitimate workmen in their chowline. The Filipinos loved our food, especially the bread and meats we had, as their main diet had been rice, fruit and vegetables. We were completely fed up on corned beef and dehydrated stuff and did not even eat half our share of it so there was plenty for the Flips. For canned meat and clothes the people would trade eggs, chickens, bananas, even their cherished bolos.

With the conclusion of the Samar campaign the men who had been with the 8th Cavalry over there returned, bringing with them a new and strange member of the family. Pete, the “section” monkey. Several men and officers had taken the small Philippine monkeys as pets. I heard one man state that they were a variety of spider monkey, so-called because they eat spiders and other insects. These are longtailed little apes who use their tails only for balancing and bracing themselves, as they cannot hang by them or hold anything with them. Most of them never grow much bigger than a housecat, though one variety does get big enough to be beyond the small-pet limitation. Intelligence is probably not too high, compared with chimpanzees or other higher primates, but they are harmless, peaceful little creatures and beautifully adapted to a soldier’s life. Pete became more of a friend than a pet. He was the most sensible monkey we had in the company and accompanied us wherever we went, soon becoming a devoted clock-watcher, or rather—in the army —a whistle-listener. The quitting whistle would bring him to life from a sound sleep anytime. We had to keep a strong string tied around his waist to keep him out of mischief, for he loved to tear things up. He insisted on peeling everything he could, even the individual peas and beans we fed him, and his greatest pleasure was to get into a package of cigarettes and carefully open every one. We could not teach him anything, because the little devil was a rugged individualist and did whatever he wanted to, even when he knew he should not. Always betrayed himself, however, by a guilty conscience, and we could tell at a glance whether he had been off the reservation; he would try to hide and show his teeth in fear of punishment. These monkeys eat about everything humans do, excepting meat, but Pete would eat ham, probably because it was salty. He loved cheese, onions and apples above all else, though he never got apples except when we were at sea, living off the Navy. And he was a lush. He drank anything with alcohol in it. When the beer was issued he had a great day. Since he was only one size bigger than a squirrel, two or three spoonfuls made a fine binge for him. He could get high, sleepy, pass out, sleep it off and wake up with a hangover, all in about half an hour, and resembled human behavior at all

stages. When it got cool at night he would have to sleep against somebody’s feet to keep warm, so the non-ticklish men were elected. He believed in staying in the same position all night, and when the sleeper tried to turn over or move his feet, Pete would wake up very indignant, grab the moving foot or leg and wrestle it back where it was originally. In the shop trucks where we usually kept him while we were working he became one of the occupational hazards. We would be throwing a gun together and all of a sudden be shy a part or two. We would look at Pete and Pete would look at the ceiling, very innocent and disinterested. Usually a bulge in his cheek would give him away —he had pouches in his jowls like a chipmunk and loved to keep some small object in them. By giving him a .45 cartridge to chew on we could keep him in line, as he seemed to like their flavor. “Taking Pete out to look for bugs” was recognized as a perfectly legitimate occupation during slack working hours, but the movies required serious discussion, before we would take him. Musicals and color pictures he liked, otherwise, no. For some reason the monkeys all disliked the Filipinos and would attack them every chance they got. Their mouths are so small they cannot do much damage unless they can get a loose fold of skin or flesh but the little creatures have unlimited courage and do not hesitate to attack anyone they get angry at. And it was easy to “sic” them on any particular person. Just a little moral backing and one of those six or eight pound monks would tackle a tank. Pete was a destructive pest when he could get loose in a tent, but he was a lot of company. He had a whole vocabulary of chirps, squeaks, chuckles and assorted other vocal sounds, and we learned to understand his language pretty well, enough to tell when he was happy, hungry, tired, sleepy, curious or mad. When all was well with the world and he wanted to show how much he liked us, he would go through the hair on our arms or legs or chests, in the familiar monkey-picking-fleas system. Only these never have fleas or lice, they look for the tiny skin scales at the root of each hair, which apparently has a kind of salty taste they like. When they find one they just touch the tip of their tongue to it. Pete would grasp each hair tightly between his thumb and forefinger and pull it, letting it

slide through as he moved his hand out. This was a very serious and business-like operation understand, done as much for your benefit as for his, he wanted you to know! He did not care to touch the hair on the head—maybe he was afraid of dandruff. But by the time I came home he had pulled half the hair on my chest out. Sometimes when he was in the mood and could not get the right cooperation, he would pull on someone’s trouser leg until they would take it out of the boot or pull it up until he could get to work. He could untie a bowknot, but no others, and would not try to break or bite his cord unless he got too tangled up. Usually he could untangle himself, if he found he could not get anyone to do it for him. Pete could do a lot of things with his tiny black hands. He was what people call an unforgettable character.

XXXII FIELD REPAIRS AND REPLACEMENTS In January, 1945, we had to go through the division on inspection, fast, checking every weapon. We had few new guns on hand, but a lot of repaired and used ones which had to do for reissues. It was sad, some of the rifles and carbines we had to pass, for we knew the troopers had to make another invasion and it was hard to face some of the men with poor equipment and tell them they had to keep it; that we did not have anything better for them. We used the bore gages, but our real standard was the plain understanding among ourselves that “If you would not take it yourself, throw it out.” As usual we issued our own guns along the way—most of the section men had two weapons, usually carbines, one the best we could get and the other a poor-condition pickup from day to day or week to week from the repair racks, for carrying around or making trips or guard duty in the rain. The troopers knew we were doing the best we could and we always got fine cooperation from every outfit on these inspections. Ordnance always got along with the rest of the army, I guess. Small arms men contacted all outfits on such inspection tours and were possibly the only service troops that all the men in the army came in touch with personally at some time or other. In prewar peacetime service, the small arms inspection crews wielded a lot of power by their paper work. An unfavorable report on a units’ maintenance standards or general condition of equipment was a bad blot on the records of both officers and non-coms. Every gun was checked by serial number, etc., all records had better be straight. In

wartime the records did not matter and the paper work was nothing but a list of the number of guns of each type checked and repaired. We did a lot of light repair work on these trips—repaired sights, replaced swivels and stocks and adjusted the machine guns for timing. Work we could not do on the spot was sent back to the company for future reference. One of the big shop trucks, with its stock of tools and parts and benches and vises would go to the area of the unit being inspected and park in as central a location as possible. Inspection teams of two or three men would fan out, going to the individual companies or troops of the organization, and a few men would stay at the truck for repair, doing such jobs as the inspectors sent back. Inspection was brief—a look through the barrel; a measurement of the bore if it looked badly worn; a quick check of the entire gun for cracked stock or handguards and missing or broken screws or parts; and working the action to see how it functioned. On M1 rifles we removed the stocks and inspected the parts. All bad BARs had to be sent back to the company (our 27th Ord. Co.) as it was necessary to test fire each one every time anything was done to it. We had the most beat-down batch of BARs in the army. All had been issued to the division years before the war. Some had all blueing completely worn off the receivers (we replaced barrels and stocks so often they were OK,—outside). Some guns were just about worn out. A few were the original 1918 models, the semi-automatic and full-automatic type, though most were the later full-auto only type. The BAR was best in its original form, according to those who ought to know. The cavalrymen stripped them, removing the useless bipods and flashhiders and buttrests. After a few days in combat the guns were usually singleshots, because the gas mechanism would get gummed up for lack of cleaning. Or, if the guy did have a chance to clean it, he would do so with the butt on the ground, and fill the firecontrol mechanism in the buttstock with water or bore cleaner, and any interference with the delicate actuator spring put the “slow” rate of fire out of business. So most soldiers did not ever bother with anything but the full-automatic setting, or fast rate of fire. When the gun got to the point where it would not work at all, we got it back again. Most would work with a good cleaning, but there were always

worn parts to replace or repair. The gas pistons gave trouble. When they were not cleaned they rusted and when the rust was removed they were undersize and gas leaked. The trouble came in when we could not get replacements and had to weld up old ones and machine them to fit. We did not have much equipment for such work as we were a maintenance outfit, not a base or shop organization. We lived in trucks and were supposed to do only minor repairs, but there was not any other outfit to take care of the division, so we had to make the best we could out of the situation (our base organization was just moving in from Australia). A lot of good work was done, too. I saw one man in the section repair a .45 pistol which had been hit with a rifle bullet. He welded up the holes and gouges with brass and welding rod and hammered the slide and frame back into shape. The gun did not look pretty, but it would work when he was through. I do not suppose it would stand much service, but it made the owner feel better. Pistols were in great demand—any kind of handgun went at premium prices. Men would pay $100.00 for almost any sort of revolver and a few cartridges. The worst kind of cast-iron relic was regarded by the owner with pride and by the rest of the men with envy. Issue .45’s were the dream of all who did not have one. Not all officers had them, and only machine-gunners among the enlisted men were issued pistols. The odd ones were guarded jealously. I do not think there was ever any real effort to take away the unauthorized ones as long as the war lasted, at any rate. A few American revolvers and Belgian and Spanish automatics were taken from Japanese, although most Japs had their own official pistol. These sold as high as $200.00 in the souvenir market in Leyte— what there was of it—but a lot of men kept them as weapons rather than sell them. I had little sympathy and no interest in the pistol rackets floating around in the Pacific. I like handguns, but they have to be fairly good handguns, which were very scarce out there. Submachine guns were a drug on our market: no one wanted them now, as they were too heavy to lug around. The TO&Es (Tables of Organization and Equipment, listing specific weapons for each and every man) had not been enforced, probably because it was realized that men were better off with the arm they wanted, if for no

other reason than that they would neglect or possibly damage a weapon they were forced to take against their will, in order to get something else. We had a lot of excess Thompsons floating around, most of them in poor condition. Nothing much can hurt one of them, though, and it always pained me to put a new barrel on one of them, as I could not see why they needed rifling at all! The machine guns were a little better than the rest of the stuff, as we had a lot of fair to new 1919A4 aircooled machine guns in the division. They were easy to work with and we almost always had plenty of barrels and parts. The heavy .30 caliber guns, the 1917 watercooled model, were a different proposition. I hated them. The gun is OK but the blasted water jacket is always leaking somewhere, meaning a messy soldering job, requiring a minimum of two blowtorches at work and did you ever try to make two blow-torches work properly at the same time? The old-timers in the cavalry liked them, though, evidently living in hope of catching a nice banzai charge some time with a watercooled gun and getting in some really long bursts. The .50 caliber Brownings did not see much service in Leyte, because of the difficulty of carrying them anywhere. Besides, it is primarily an anti-equipment weapon rather than anti-personnel, and the Japs did not have any trucks or planes where we could use the ground .50’s on them. Fine for road blocks, but when we held all the roads and vehicles they were not so necessary. The big machine guns and their tripods suffered much more from handling than from use. We did not find many actually in need of service, but they were always needing sights fixed or bent or broken covers or missing leg guide screws. Once in a great while one would show up with a cover bent up in the middle and we would have to beat on it in a few places to get it apart and eventually put on new parts. When a cartridge pops in a machine gun before it gets to the chamber, that is a mess! Most machine gun trouble was timing. A Browning must trip its firing pin at just the right point in bolt movement. Firing too soon or too late gives trouble, sometimes ruptured cartridges, sometimes too high a rate of fire, sometimes malfunctions (a polite word for not working at all). Actually the gun fires before the barrel and bolt are completely forward in receiver, although the bolt must be completely

forward in its runway and the cartridge completely seated in the chamber. Headspace is very important on the guns—if excess, the gun ruptures cartridges and goes out of commission until a new barrel is installed, for it practically always leaves the front section of the case in the chamber; if insufficient, the gun will not fire, unless the timing is off, and in any event, you got trouble. There is enough leeway in adjustment, however, for an experienced man to set both headspace and check timing, without gages. For some reason the M3 submachine gun, the “grease-gun,” was not at all popular with the cavalry. The 33rd Infantry division liked them, I am told. I did not care for the little gun, even though it was easy to carry and shoot. The weak point of the gun was the piano-wire helical spring actuating the retracting pawl of the cocking mechanism. When it broke or slipped out of place the weapon could not be cocked and was useless; no parts were ever issued for these machine pistols. I made a few springs, but hated to trust them, for the design of the gun was bad. The guns sort of died out in 1944 and I do not believe many were made. I never saw any of the 9mm conversion units which were made for them—a magazine adapter, barrel and bolt. If Uncle wanted to copy the Schmeisser, he should have copied it and not tried to “invent” a similar one. These could have been good guns.

XXXIII THE LANDING AND FIGHTING ON LUZON Finally we received orders to move and headed back to Tacloban. The whole distance was through army installations for Leyte was now a great base and vast quantities of supplies were being brought in. The Navy had a lot of yard and service areas set up. There were even WAC’s in the city. The ones I saw looked tougher than the cavalry replacements. As usual, we did not have time to more than look at “civilization,” but rolled into an LST for the Luzon show. We went into Lingayen Gulf and landed without incident, after the initial beachhead attack—the division did not have to go in on that landing. Now the division was to roll fast for Manila, and we did. The sight of a paved highway and a railroad track lifted the spirits of every man, as did the general scenery, it having much less of the tropical jungle influence we were so used to, and so sick of. We moved through big towns, with good buildings, seeing occasional familiar signs on the streets, advertising American products. Three times we had to stop and wait until the line troops could move out ahead to knock out Jap roadblocks. The division’s attached tanks met little effective opposition on the highways, and for the first time the Japanese met modern mechanized war. The troopers moved by trucks and covered miles, ranging over the roads and dropping off to destroy any opposition encountered. We wanted the communications—if the Japs wanted to run back to the mountains, let them. They could be taken care of later, after we had the cities and highways for our supply bases and routes. Until now, all the Pacific fighting had been of the opposite type—the terrain had

been of no importance; the only objective had been to destroy the enemy personnel and equipment. We had not wanted the jungles and islands—we just had not wanted the enemy to have them. Now a broader strategy was apparent. Our whole division was moving, service units and all, though the non-combat arms had to keep a day or two back of the attack forces. At Guimba the famed flying column was organized and took off under General Chase for Manila. This special force was composed of the second squadrons (battalions) of the 5th and 8th Cavalry Regiments, and spearheaded by tanks of the 44th Tank Battalion. Its purpose was to penetrate the Japanese defense of the city and if possible take the position before the enemy could organize a fullscale street defense. All personnel was motorized of course, and the column met and passed the 37th Division about 20 miles north of Manila and detoured, leaving the main highway route to the 37th. The 37th Division (the Ohio National Guard organization and one of the best infantry divisions in the Pacific) had made the first landing and driven south. Now the cavalry was passing them and rolling on, leaving them the unpleasant job of rooting out the odd Jap stragglers and little defense units along the roads. The 37th was always peevish because the 1st Cavalry beat them into Manila. As the Japs were blowing most of the bridges it was necessary to ford many of the rivers, which was possible as it was the dry season and they were very shallow (Luzon’s dry season almost coincides with Leyte’s rainy one—January and February are very dry months in northern Luzon). General Chase and his gang reached the city February 3rd less than four days on the road from Guimba, around 150 miles away, and managed to liberate the 3,700 civilian internees at Santo Tomas university, by making a deal with the Jap commander. In return for safe conduct out of the city toward the Japanese lines, the Japanese commander pulled his garrison out and left the buildings and interned Americans unharmed. This was an unheard-of thing to do for a Jap, and can only be explained by the suddenness of the American attack. The cavalry also captured the Malacanon Palace that night, concluding the spectacular entrance.

We had an ordnance contact party with the column—I was not on it, thanks—they took the wrong turn somewhere in the brawl and found themselves arguing with a lot of Jap power. They were pinned down at one spot for several hours and accounted for over 100 Nips with machine gun fire. Finally a tank came looking for them and got them out of trouble, but it was really an engagement. The lieutenant in charge took a walk when the shooting started, and a part-Indian staff sergeant took over and ran the bunch. He got a Silver Star and a commission out of it and a couple of other NCOs collected Bronze Stars. I think the G.I. who ran the .50-caliber on the weaponscarrier and did most of the damage got something out of it a few months later. Nothing was ever done to the lieutenant other than to give him a five or six weeks’ vacation in a “rest camp” and a transfer. An enlisted man would have drawn 15 years for running away, if he was not shot by the rest of the gang. That officer was kept away from the company, just in case. In the meantime the rest of the division was working around the northern and eastern sections of the city, and a special force opened up a prisoner of war camp and saved about 400 POWs. The ordnance company finally moved over a network of secondary roads and arrived at Grace Park on the northern edge of Manila. In clearing these roads, the cavalry for the first time used flame-throwers to good advantage, as the climate was more favorable to their use. Half the dead Japanese along the roads had been killed by flames. On our trip in we rode with every weapon ready, for not all of the roads had been liberated. Every bit of cover around a river crossing had to be checked for an ambush, which kept us nervous. Once I looked down at a grinning Filipino standing beside a dead Jap as we passed and did not realize for a minute or two that the Nip was still bleeding. I was riding on top of one of the shop trucks. Very exposed. I do not know why, but every time I got within spitting distance of the war I was always there with my head up, like a clay duck in a shooting gallery. Every time we got word to pull in the perimeters—Nips in the neighborhood—I happened to be sleeping outside the guns. Whenever we had word to keep away from a certain spot because of snipers, it was always the place I had just been prowling over,

looking for chickens or some such article. I was lucky. Something tells me I lived through the war in spite of myself. A couple of the boys, and Pete, the monkey, were oblivious to it all, by way of a couple of quarts of nipa gin. The day we got to Manila was a blank so far as they were concerned. Why I mention them is, they were on top of the truck too, sleeping on mattresses stolen from the Navy. I not only had to worry about Japs, I had to keep them from sliding off the vehicle. The monkey finally woke up and tugged at my canteen until I gave him enough water to help his headache, but the soldiers remained in a coma. When we did find a camping spot in a prewar army workshop or salvage area in Grace Park, the food had to last a couple of days extra, for the Japs closed the road behind us a couple of hours after we passed. Just to enliven the evening, they laid a couple of 75mm shells in our vicinity, but some of the boys downtown knocked out their guns before they hurt anybody. The buildings were long cementfloored shelters, roofed with metal. The floors were a joy indeed, for the two or three weeks we had them—first ones since we left the U. S. I saw Manila burn for 10 or 12 days more, the days a spectacle of incredible black smoke clouds, the nights blazing with light. This area was not closer than two and one-half miles from the flames, but at night the light was comparable to very bright moonlight at that distance. The Japanese had elected to fight in the city and they had held the business and waterfront districts, with the strongly built modern structures. The cavalry cleared the city slowly, and the 37th Division bore the brunt of the fight in the intramuros, or ancient Walled City, an old section within the city itself and fortified hundreds of years ago. Part of the 8th Cavalry also fought in this section. Fighting went on day and night, flares and starshells illuminating the combat areas to destroy the darkness which was more the ally of the Japanese than of ourselves. Our artillery moved in close and shelled with direct aimed fire the buildings held by the enemy. Fleets of planes appeared and bombed the great public structures into piles of ruined concrete. What the Japanese could not burn, they holed up in, so we blasted them out. Buildings lost either way—either the Japs fired or demolished them or we blew them apart dislodging Nips. A

lot of naval depth charges were used for both demolition and antitank mines, and what happens to a Sherman tank when it runs up against that much TNT in one package is a caution. When the fighting was over, the city was a wreck. The modern business district was gone, and most of the big buildings near the waterfront. We did not stay long at Manila, for the cavalry moved on to the Antipolo battle, in the mountain area east of the city. Two of my old squad in the MP’s were killed in the city, and several other MP’s as well. They were practically a reconnaissance outfit by now, under a new officer who wanted to see the war first-hand at all times (he eventually went home with a hole in him, and the boys went back to regular schedule, on which they had a better than 50-50 chance of finishing the war). I did not have much to do, as of course things were not well enough organized yet for much repair work to be coming through—the division was so spread out it was hard to keep in contact with all units, and besides, the weather had been good enough to keep the weapons in fair shape. A couple of thousands of rounds of 7.9mm ammunition were brought in by the division ordnance boys—out of a former American fort, used during the war by the Japs. A very screwy collection of Mauser ammunition, too, for it had every year almost from 1918 to 1939, and I found cases of British, German, Belgian and Japanese origin, with some I cannot identify to this day. I still have a couple of cases marked in Arabic, and dated 1928 in the Arabic calendar. One German case has a swastika on it, and the date is 1924, so Hitler was not the only one who used that insignia at that time. Most of the bullets were good boattail designs, some steel jackets, some nonrusting alloy steel types and a few hundred good gilding-metal, or copper-alloy, ones. I pulled over 1,000 of the best and sent them home for future use in my German rifle. All of the ammunition was military, some obviously loaded for the Chinese forces, but where the Japanese collected so many different cartridges of the same caliber and put them into one case, and why, none of us could explain. Our next spot was a pair of wrecked airplane hangars at Camp Murphy, an airport and training center in prewar days for the Philippine Army. It was just across the valley from the site of the battle and we had a perfect grandstand seat for the bombing of the

Jap positions which took place for a week or so, interposed with artillery barrages from the guns parked around us. Four 90mm antiaircraft guns were being used as field artillery with the rest, among other things, located about one-half mile away. A few American planes used the field. Most of them went further back, to fields with better roads for supply trucks. An undesirable feature of the location was that it was within artillery range of the Japanese, and they still had some artillery in those mountains called the Antipolo area. I feel us rear-echelon men should be better taken care of. Rifle bullets I can take or leave, if necessary; bombs don’t bother me too much; planes I did not worry about; but artillery is unpopular. The sound of a single shell inspires me to go elsewhere. I am not at all brave when the iron starts coming over. They did not shoot at us much, if at all, as nothing landed within 300 yards of our little cluster of tents (carefully crowded between the two hangars, so one shell could get a real bag if it landed there). A few went over us, and one night they did knock out two of the 90mm guns. Our trouble started when some dim-witted Air Corps colonel parked his personal B-25 (not a bomber, but an aerial limousine) right in front of us, not 50 yards from my tent. It was mirror-shiny and could be seen 30 miles, let alone three. Naturally the Nips could not pass it up, so they threw three or four shells at it about 10 o’clock that night. Luckily, all went over both the plane and us. A bulldozer driver had mounted his chariot and gouged us out a wide trench a few yards from the tents, for some protection. It was not as good as individual foxholes, but also did not require much effort. The Japs had to be careful about firing, so usually they just fired a couple of rounds. Nearly all their guns were in caves for protection,

Italian Mannlicher-Carcanos; top to bottom: M91 Rifle 6.5mm. M91 Short rifle 6.5mm. M38 Short rifle or carbine. Bottom: M38 Rifle.

Top: French M1916 Lebel carbine, caliber 8mm Lebel. Bottom: German (Austrian) Mannlicher-Steyr Straight-pull rifle, caliber 7.9mm.

and depended upon camouflage. We often saw them flash when they fired in our direction, but in the darkness it was impossible to locate them perfectly on just a few shots. They of course fired different guns and probably had powder bags also ignited at various spots to mislead our artillery spotters. I think they used black powder mixed with nitro-cellulose for this, as an explosives man told me once they ran across bags of the mixture apparently for burning in mortars to stimulate artillery muzzle-flashes. The field and hangars were full of wrecked Jap planes which our air forces had ruined prior to the invasion. The flyers did a real job too, for I never saw a Japanese plane in the air, or heard one at

night, in Luzon after we landed. They made some raids on shipping at Lingayen, but not while we were there. The U. S. had absolute air control over Luzon from the start of that campaign (by “we” in the preceding sentences, I mean the 1st Cavalry Division, not necessarily the American forces). By using bulldozers we cleared areas enough to work in and did do a little at this place before the artillery made us move, after about two weeks, to a little town called Alabang, south of Manila, on the great lake called Laguna de Bay. I remember this move as one of the fastest I was ever in. Within six hours we moved all we had, including all vehicles except tractors and bulldozers, set up all tents —shop and living—the ice machine, the water trailer, and showers, besides running some 1″ pipes for washing water out among the tents! Every place we had been we had picked up something—a tank of a Jap water truck for a community reservoir, a lot of assorted pipe, lumber, etc. Now we were going to settle down, we hoped. It was a satisfactory area, as long as it did not rain, for the ground was not so good from the drainage angle—low and flat. I believe the spot was a retired rice paddy, seeded to grass for pasture perhaps. New Bilibid Prison was only three or four miles away and I went over to see it once. This had also been used as an internment camp, where allied civilians had been held (old Bilibid, in Manila, has received practically all the publicity, as it held prisoners of war as well as internees). New Bilibid had been much more humanely operated, the Jap commander having allowed the people to cultivate large gardens and have enough intercourse with the Filipinos outside to get along fairly well, as well as preventing most of the ill-treatment prevalent in their prisons (did not do the Nip much good—a cavalry detachment overran the Prison one morning and killed all the Japanese within a few minutes before anyone learned that maybe the officer should have been left alive). The division was still fighting at Antipolo and finally took the city of that name. It was a different sort of mountain fighting than on Leyte, for here the season was dry, supplies were more easily delivered and there was ample air and artillery support from the start. Also more and better-prepared Japs, dug in like woodchucks. Their caves held artillery and rockets. I heard of one cave being sealed—

blown in—13 times, and opened each night by the Japs inside, to resume fighting. They were fighting desperately, in deep and longprepared defenses. It was to enable this defense to be organized that the Japs in Manila had held out till the end. More men could be employed here than in Leyte and the battle did not last as long, but even after the cavalry had gone through, a few Nips dug themselves out and set up again, to surprise the following-up 43rd Infantry Division. This was days after the district had been cleared of all organized units, even the smallest. General Chase had been given command of the 38th Infantry Division and was taking Bataan back, and General Mudge, commanding the cavalry, wanted to play soldier the hard way one day and went out in the bondoks leading a patrol and looking for trouble. He found it and was carried in with some scrapiron in his body, from a grenade, so we lost him. He was wounded badly but lived. The stories were that he refused to be evacuated from the dressing station until the other injured men there could be taken back, awaiting his turn. The men in the division hated to see him leave, for he had been not only a brave and skillful officer, but a spectacular leader and a magnificent example to all under him. I, and most of the rest of the bunch, respected very few officers of any rank, but Generals Mudge and Chase topped that select list. After Antipolo the cavalry rested a few days, while we checked their weapons again and while over 1,000 replacements went into the line troops. The next drive was to the south, working on the Japs left below Manila, while the 37th and other divisions worked on the larger and still organized Jap armies to the north and east of Lingayen Gulf, changing Yamashita from “The Tiger of Malaya” to “The Gopher of Luzon.” Our own program as a division was more-orless a “mopping-up” operation, on a large scale. This is not much worse than mass or large-scale battle—the cavalry had more casualties in the end from it than it had in the savage Antipolo campaign. Japs were scattered around in groups of all sizes, from three men to 4,000. It was almost entirely a small-arms war, and was really a great man-hunt.

XXXIV MOPPING-UP ON LUZON When my company left Alabang and headed south to keep in touch with the troops we began to see for the first time towns destroyed by the war. I say the war, and exclude Manila because these towns and small cities had been burned before our invasion, and not specifically because of it. Southern Luzon is covered with these ruins, as about nine out of 10 towns are gone. Nearly all had been burned because of the guerrilla movement. If the town was big enough to be strategically important, the Japs put a garrison in it and the Filipino guerrillas destroyed it to get rid of the Japs; if the town was small, the guerrillas moved in and the Japs burned it to get them out. The community lost either way. These were not jungle villages, but semimodern cities up to 40,000 in prewar population. Luzon had a good paved road system and some railroads, consequently the country was built up to some extent. Besides the inevitable ancient church or cathedral, they had fine large government buildings and the wealthier people had beautiful homes. Instead of the universal thatched roof of Leyte, most town structures had metal roofing and every town had electricity and running water. We saw American signs on the stores, and American-style clothing on the townpeople. Even in the few undamaged villages, the power plants were out of operation, and the people poor. On the move I went with the advance party to find, clear, and guard a suitable camp area. We ended up in the grounds of a great ruined church in the provincial capital city, Tanuan. This small municipality had been the home of José Laurel, the Jap’s puppet president of the Philippines, and the people had believed that because of this, the town would be spared by the Japanese. It was not only burned, but the Japs killed several hundred of the Filipinos

there a short time before we arrived. The official total was 863, but I personally believe it was much less. Give a Filipino a number and he will increase it every time he remembers it or mentions it. If nearly 900 people had been shot and burned to death in that church we would not have been able to use it, for it could not have been cleaned up by the time we arrived. There were a small number of burned and dried-up bodies of men and women still lying around both inside and outside the walls. Part of the 7th Cavalry had taken the town a couple of hours before we got there. There had only been two or three Jap machine gun nests in the whole place, and the remaining Japanese were dispersing into the hills. This was high ground, but with a lot of trees and tropical vegetation. Tanuan had the best bananas I ever found anywhere. I went out and raided the nearest little “groves” and collected four or five bunches. As long as I was at this point the monkey and I lived high. Each day three or four bananas would ripen for us; if no one beat us to them. The first night was spent behind trip-wires (on booby traps), grenade traps and flares, with machine guns at the front and back doors of a small brick and stucco house next to the church, where we bedded down. The cavalry had moved down the road, leaving us — 10 or 12 assorted ordnance men—in possession of a ghost town, with stray Jap detachments prowling around in all directions. We had a moon, though, so were not too worried about infiltration. The house was strong enough to give protection against small arms fire and we did not anticipate anything heavier coming up. Nothing happened, and the next morning I took off through the bamboo thickets along the river, hunting stray chickens from the abandoned farms. Or Japs. Got three chickens with head shots, and no one shot me, so I had a good day. The local population had deserted when the Japs destroyed the town, and the few that had returned and had been around when the cavalry and Japs skirmished in the preceding days had gone to earth. They were in camouflaged caves and hideouts in the hills, or in distant villages. We did not see any of them for about three days, when they started to show up in numbers. The boys made quite a haul in loot, in an indirect way, here. There were many diamonds in the ruins of the church, from the rings

and earrings of the murdered Filipino women, and by going through the ashes in one of the rooms it was possible to find them. Unfortunately for me, I did not find out about it until it was cleaned out. After the company moved up, it was a common pastime to go through the ashes of some of the destroyed homes and find coins. Evidently there had been forgotten hoards in a lot of houses, for the boys found Spanish coins dating as far back as the 17th century. I was not here too long, for the division was organizing another flying column to go down the southern section of Luzon and meet the 158th Regimental Combat team which had taken the city of Legaspi. The contact party included me this time and we took off loaded with equipment and food, the memory of the Manila fight in mind influencing our choice of weapons: we took plenty. As the trip proved highly uneventful, a detailed account would be boring. The Filipinos were glad to see us and demonstrated by throwing fruit to us as we passed. Did you ever try to catch a heavy pineapple coming through the air while standing on the canvas top of a weaponscarrier moving about 30MPH down a very rough road? We crossed some fair-sized mountains, went through one goodsized town which had been completely deserted three years before, and not damaged, and through a score of ruined villages and towns, entering jungle country below the “neck” of Luzon. The railroad which had connected Legaspi and Manila had gone out of use when the Japs conquered the islands, and the roads had fallen into bad shape, as nearly all vehicles were out of running order and they were not kept up at all. The enemy had burned and blown most of the road bridges over the small rivers and canyons, but had forgotten about the railroad which roughly paralleled the road, or highway, and usually was not too far away. So, when a bridge was impassable, we would usually look for the railroad and drive over its bridge for that particular stream, then cut back to the road, which, below the upper portion of Luzon was little more than a one-way trail with a few stones on it for surfacing. Through the mountain area it had been cement pavement for the most part, as good as any road in the U. S. Far down in the jungle we camped one night and heard of the death of President Roosevelt, over the radio. None of us had ever

thought of that happening, and we wondered what it would mean in the long run. I felt progressively worse as we went south and in about 10 days I came back part the way, to a hospital. Had yellow jaundice, a rather prevalent disease at that time. The hospital was set up in a little village on the eastern shore of Luzon, in a district school. Supplies were low, as transportation was again a problem, we being on the end of a long line, a two-day trip from Manila by truck, at the very best. Communications were OK, due to radio. The place was full of patients, but hardly any were battle casualties. Men were in for recurrent malaria, or jungle rot, or jaundice, or injuries of some sort. One guy had been shot three times in the right arm with his own BAR, by his buddy; accidentally, not on purpose; things like that. We were just a forgotten bunch of wrecks. By now the 37th Division and its support had come up against the main Jap resistance forces in the north and supplies were not coming in our direction any more than absolutely necessary. For jaundice the proper treatment was intravenous feeding and a very special diet, but the medics here did not have any such stuff. In fact, about all they had was aspirin and vitamin pills. The chance to sleep on a cot and rest up was as good as anything, however, and I was in pretty good shape in a couple of weeks. Lost a lot of weight, which did not hurt me any. So I went back to the company, who had moved a couple of times since I left, and was now a few miles from Lucena, east of Batangas, in the southern part of Luzon proper. Actually, we were on the edge of a town or village called Saraiya, which had been damaged to some extent. Lucena was untouched, as it had had some collaborationists who had saved it from the Japs. Here was our best area and our final one in the islands; we were to stay for months, until the war was over. The place we occupied was a former government experimental station or factory for coconut products, and had four or more huge wood and sheet-metal buildings, a half-dozen smaller ones, as well as a good house for the manager. The officers took over the house and the company moved into the buildings, both living and working on the cement floors, under rainproof roofs. Another rainy season was about to start, so we were greatly pleased at our luck in finding such a location. When

the rains did come, they proved to be not nearly so constant as on Leyte. Often we had days when only a few showers came, and there were several dry spells of a week or more during the wet season. This was the best field shop deal I ever saw in the Pacific—some of the base or harbor units could build up good living and working structures, but we were only a step or two better off than the boys in the foxholes as a usual thing, so far as facilities were involved. The ice machine went into constant service and the boys were really fixed when the beer started to come in. The neighboring outfits were always borrowing some, too. An “officer’s club” was set up in the village, and the company set up an NCO club, for drinking purposes, some 200 yards from the company area (some time during the later years of the war a liquor ration was allowed noncoms—not issued, but sold through military channels when available). Later our club was moved into a shack of galvanized metal inside the company area. The “NCO” didn’t mean anything, as it was open to everyone in the company regardless of stripes. The army had put into operation some of the distilleries in Manila and units could purchase gin, whisky or rum, made there. This was an unpublicized and intelligent move on the part of the high command, for it kept a lot of men from going off the reservation on some of the native bootlegged stuff which was often bad. A score or more of men had died from poison liquor in Manila, none from my company (how could they—we never got to Manila except when the war was on!). By putting the liquor on a military basis and making the technical sergeants—and the top sergeants—act as bartenders everything was kept under a fairly sensible schedule. Prices were lower than in the native joints, we had ice, electric lights, and it was not necessary to worry about the next day, for individual capacities were known and watched. All this of course did not come into being until the campaign was just about over. The cavalry slowly came back from the hills, to tent and bamboo camps built up for them in advance by Filipino workmen. We kept up with our work easily, as they came back a few troops at a time, and eventually the great day came—we were to get Sunday off! We did get a couple of them free and then went back to the seven-day routine for a long time. Life was pretty good though, for the

electrician had a lot of wire and bulbs and wired the whole installation, so we had lights to read by at night, or to write letters by. We never had blackouts on Luzon, except for the times we were under Jap observation at Antipolo, because they never sent any planes over us. Some of the men had taken radios out of junked cars at Manila and fixed them up, so we always had news, even some was in Japanese. Fresh meat became common after the Manila docks were cleared enough for coldstorage units to be established. With the end of the war in Europe came new equipment for us, and a change in small arms. The division was to be greatly strengthened and we knew why—Japan was to be invaded, and we were to be in on the initial effort. Okinawa had been a foretaste of what it would be like and we did not think too much of our future. Our tanks came back to us again, after a three-month job elsewhere, and a heavy artillery unit was attached. They had been on Okinawa and told us the story. Our little 37mm guns were replaced with 57mms. The 75s were exchanged for 105s, and one batch of 105s were traded in on some 155mm howitzers. For the first time I saw tank destroyers in the Pacific. Of the cavalrymen’s tools, 6,000 carbines were to be replaced with M1 rifles and a lot of machine guns were turned in for BARs. The troopers were practicing landings. New trucks were available at Manila and the Division QM had plenty of combat boots. The war was picking up, even though the replacements got younger and dumber. Right up to the last our private battlefield was the division rest camp. No one in the 1st Cavalry will ever forget the Santo Tomas Rest Camp. This was a fine large villa which the Division got hold of shortly after Antipolo, and close to the city of Santo Tomas, 50 or 60 miles southeast of Manila. It was a fine spot for a vacation, so whenever any line trooper showed signs of playing out he could go there for a week to lay around, read, swim, etc., and a quota of men from service organizations could go there each week. Regular furlough business in the midst of a protracted mopping-up campaign. But somebody forgot to mop-up the rest camp area! There were hundreds of Japs around the place, still full of fight, and the troopers would come back from their patrol work for a “rest” and have to fight pitched battles for the summer resort every night. It was well fortified,

so we did not lose many men while dozens of Japs were killed there. One of our welders went over for a stay, got put on guard with a machine gun one night and got five or six about dawn, when they tried to charge into the main entrance. During the daytime everything was usually pretty peaceful, so the men could lay around and rest according to schedule, but the nights were strictly front-line.

XXXV LOADING UP FOR JAPAN The end of the war in Germany had caused no excitement and little comment beyond the opinion that now we would really get supplies and equipment. Just at the end of the Leyte campaign the new C rations had appeared, much to our delight. Their variety and excellence really were a break for the times when we had to go on field rations and actually were to be preferred over a lot of the stuff coming out of the kitchens when in a camp. Of the old type C’s the “Meat & Beans” was the best of the bad three. Now, the G.I.’s were always conniving to get a case or two of the new cans for snack purposes. We could always find a tin can and a little gasoline to heat it up with and if fires were not in order, the various mixtures were reasonably palatable cold. There were quite a few of the small gas stoves around, the little single-burners that fitted into a cylindrical can case. These were very handy for the tent cookery—we being always hungry as a matter of principle—we were always chiseling cocoa and coffee or tea and once in awhile we got the good bacon out of the 10-in-1 rations. Whenever chickens and eggs could be obtained, the obtainers had a feed at night. During the rains we would make cocoa sometime during the evening before going to sleep. The little stoves, once going, threw little light and inside a tent or shelter we figured we were safe from airplane spotting during blackouts. About the same time, in mid-December of 1944, the combat boots came in. These would have been a godsend for the men when they were in the jungles, but as it was they got into service for just the last week or two of the mountain fighting, in very limited numbers. The line outfits got them first and it was four or five months later before all the service units in the division were equipped. I

never got a pair until June or July of 1945, after my paratrooper boots were worn out and the division decided everyone should have one pair anyway. We heard about all sorts of new items—the recoil-less artillery models, the good new cold-weather clothing, other new weapons and vehicles. The division rated new prime movers for the artillery, getting high-speed tractors to replace the old cats. Some of the lousy little “Weasels” were thrown at us—these little track jobs were practically useless. We had some experience with them in Leyte, where they had proved a disappointment—the track would fall off every time it hit anything harder or bigger than an empty K-ration carton. They were unable to navigate on either rough ground or deep mud (I recently read a couple of highly flattering magazine articles on this bit of equipment—how it can travel over any terrain, etc.; take it from the Philippines, it sure will not move over rocks or through mud, anyway). We got a new large bulldozer for ourselves, as well as a number of new trucks and jeeps, and a new 10-ton wrecker. The heavy wrecking truck was the handiest thing imaginable to have around. We used it to load all our heavy equipment and supplies on the regular trucks on every move we made, and for general hoisting duty (I think the company was set up or parked at 12 different locations in the Luzon campaigns and all moves were fast). The full-automatic M1 carbines began to appear in very limited numbers. We heard that there was a large capacity magazine made for them, but never saw any. One of the armorers had a friend in a base unit in Manila who got him one (how we learned about things!). A few weeks later I was checking a pile of turned-in carbines and found a slightly-disabled one. The full-auto parts were OK so I switched them to my regular carbine and was really set to spray bullets around the Japan coast. Only it jumped and recoiled so as to ruin accurate fire and I built a compensating muzzle brake for it. Just a cone of soft sheet steel, cut from the top of a gas drum and welded together and to a carbine front sight; it was perhaps 11/2″ in diameter at the front end—as big as I could make it and not come into the line of sights. The front plate had about a 7/16″ hole for bullet escape and six or eight smaller holes drilled in the top half of the cone. It worked

fine and I could get out a burst of eight or 10 shots and keep them in a six-inch group at about 25 yards. By welding magazines together I made 30-round magazines. The M1 carbine in full-automatic fire has a high cyclic rate—my guess was 900RPM. It is much faster than the late Thompsons. I think these guns would have been a great deal better than the standard type, in combat, but we never did get a chance to kill anybody with them for test. The end of the war, that is, Japan’s surrender, hung fire so long that when it did come we did not feel much emotion about it. It meant that we would get home from six months to a year sooner and that we would not get killed, but joy was rather confined. We worked in the morning of the day the word came through—“V-J Day” I guess — and took the afternoon off. A few men went over to the village and scouted up a little native liquor and brought it back, but mostly we lay around and played cards, slept or wrote letters. For a couple of hours I polished up a rifle action I was killing time with by remodeling and doing everything I could think of to it, then got into a poker game. Everything was quiet. No one thought of celebrating much because we knew it would be months before we would get home and to us getting home and out of the army meant the real end of the war. In a few days we got word that the division was elected to garrison Tokyo and guard the entry of General MacArthur. The cavalry threw everything at us they could, to get rid of it. The 5th Cavalry RSO turned in 86 surplus air-cooled machine guns. The regimental supply sergeant had been holding them out and switching them on us in inspections so that he always had a reserve of perhaps 75 guns in case of emergencies. All off records, of course. The old goat was taking care of his boys, but so far as we were concerned he was a doublecrosser. In addition to 5,000 carbines we were suddenly presented with a truckload of machine guns we not only did not want but did not know existed. We checked them, fixed them and sent them to Manila. They will undoubtedly be issued during the next war. Convoys of worn-out trucks went to the salvage bases—I drove a couple of vehicles down myself—and we got rid of all the excess baggage in the way of heavy equipment and weapons. The artillery

section had been assembling and cleaning up the new 57mm antitank guns and had the bad judgment to let one stay in the company area after peace was declared, waiting for the crew to come for it. If anyone cares to go to Tokyo to check up, he will find it still in the possession of the 27th Ordnance Company! We made our last inspection of the cavalry. The pressure was off now, and the men did not care so much about their weapons. It was a different division from what it had been a year previous. The westerners were largely gone. The men we had known, the Indians and the Mexican-Americans, the horsemen of the old cavalry, the old army regulars were no longer to be seen. In some companies— “troops,” they really were—it was hard to find a familiar face, where once we had known many men. The old-timers were gone, some home, some in the hospitals, some to the cemeteries close to each of the major campaign areas. One Indian liked to carry an air-cooled light machine gun in his arms, using it instead of rifle or carbine. He wrapped a towel around the jacket to protect his left hand as he shot it from the hip. Had a record of killing over 30 Nips, so far. I had seen him before the last drive of the 8th Cavalry, and joked with him about his 30pound pistol. He was not around any more. I had intended to slip him one of the M6’s—the light machine gun with a shoulder stock, lighter barrel and bipod, and carrying handle—which came in later, after the campaign. Replacements were young and not too well trained. Most of them were glad to get into the cavalry, as it had a great reputation in the Philippines and was so well known. Some of them of course would have liked to get into second-line divisions as far as the Japanese invasion plans lasted, but after the war was over there was no greater danger in one unit than in another. A large proportion of the junior officers had come from the ranks by way of field commissions during the island campaigns, so they were capable, proven leaders, well able to train new men. An officer came around to lecture on and exhibit the army’s fancy winter clothing and footwear. That is all we ever saw of it, too. The point system was in full swing and a third of the “old men” were gone by the middle of August. I was shy two points, so had to stay. The cavalry was throwing Purple Hearts and Bronze Stars around

promiscuously, to give most of their combat men a chance to get enough points to get home before the division left the Philippines. I was now sorry I had not collected a Bronze Star on that last flying column deal. That southern Luzon trip was a sore point with those of us who had been on the contact party with the expedition, for every man who went on it—except us—got the award. Even the guy who brought our mail up to us after we had been on the road a week got one! Of course we did not do anything to deserve any kind of medal, but neither did anybody else on that excursion. Five points was five points. Bronze Stars meant less and less as the war went on, and by the end they had far less value among the soldiers than the Combat Infantryman badge. Company clerks got them for keeping the typewriters clean; or getting fresh eggs for the captain. All officers gave them to themselves; every officer I knew of had one. That is no exaggeration. Eventually a large “advance party” was picked, to go in with the first troops to reach Japan and locate suitable quarters for the company. The rest of the outfit, including me, expected to remain in Luzon for a couple of months, so we got the next Sunday off to relax. Until 8 A.M. when orders came to move out. At dawn the next day we were waiting at the Limery beach, west of Batangas, on the southwestern tip of the island, to load on the LSM’s. According to army custom, it was a hurry-up-and-wait deal, for we just sailed up to Manila Bay and lay there for several days. Finally we pulled out and joined a fair-sized convoy on the road to Japan. Had rough seas most of the time and most of the men were seasick. Also Pete, the monkey. We had tried to make him go back to the jungle, but he refused to leave us so we took him. Otherwise some Filipino would have killed and eaten him, because he was not afraid of any human enough to run for safety. From the ocean I gave him a last long look at the coconut palms through my binoculars, which he seemed to enjoy. He had an unhappy voyage. Monkeys get just as seasick as some people, and in the same way. When the water smoothed out a little Pete could recover faster than the soldiers, however. I was not subject to seasickness so was OK. Could not afford to be, what with all the good food the Navy was putting out to us. I took no chances on sleeping below, but set up my

cot on top of a truck and slept there. Fresh air has a lot to do with keeping stomachs in order, I found. The food was wonderful—fresh eggs, real, undehydrated potatoes, even fresh butter and bread every day. They also had dry cereal, the first I had seen since I had left California and all of us loved it. Canned milk could be cut with water for it, or the Navy’s dried milk reconstituted (better). I had been keeping some odd items around, and had thrown a long 6.5mm Jap rifle in perfect condition, with all accessories, in one shop truck. Traded it to one of the LSM’s cooks for a case of assorted bran flakes, grape-nuts, etc. a deal which greatly pleased both parties.

XXXVI JAPAN Yokohama. Tokyo Bay. Tokyo. We had been talking about them for years, but when we saw them we were not greatly impressed with the historical moment. Everyone was mainly interested in seeing the damage done by our bombers. The islands and coast we saw on the way in appeared almost untouched, but in the bay itself some of the concrete-covered naval installations were rather ragged. The shore was lined with the skeletons of burned-out buildings. When we landed the effect was of a long-unused and ruined community, peopled only by caretakers or watchmen. Much of the Yokohama base was destroyed, but American units were setting up headquarters and living quarters in the usable buildings. The Tokyo docks—that is, those on the Tokyo side of Yokohama—were in fair shape and our landing craft were able to make debarking easy. Yokohama is really just a sort of port suburb of Tokyo, with 18 miles ostensibly between them, but no actual visible border exists. The entire area is built up; I mean was built up. There were few people about save a few policemen on duty at the waterfront roads. The division was to camp in Meiji Shrine Park, a large open area not far from the downtown district, although more like our own forest preserves than parks. As the trucks lined up along the road outside the landing area we were giving Japan a good look through the glasses. A few Nips were walking along the street, looking at us curiously. We were on guard against any attempted sniping or guerrilla ideas they might have, for that immediate neighbourhood was a beautiful spot for street fighting. Sort of a half-wrecked warehouse area. Pete lost the honor of biting the first Jap to Minnie, his monkey girl friend, belonging to an artillery mechanic. She got loose and nipped a Nip within half an hour after getting ashore.

The ride through the Japanese capital was both interesting and instructive—our fire bombs had burned three-quarters of the city. In fact, just about everything inflammable was destroyed. Very little high explosive had been dropped on the city itself, so all the roads and bridges were in use, most of them completely undamaged. Although many of the power houses were out of operation, the Japanese had managed with great effort to keep their electric railway and streetcar systems in use. Long stretches of new ties in the roadbeds showed where incendiaries had hit them. Power lines were down in some sections, eliminating electricity for most residential districts. Through the small-plant manufacturing districts nothing was above the level of fallen roofing metal and the few brick and cement foundations except the innumerable safes and machine tools. Ruined lathes and other machines stood deserted, evidence of the effectiveness of strategic bombing. Every shop seemed to have had its own safe, now wrecked by heat and pried open. These were not the “home workshops” of Japan, but regular small businesses, probably not employing over a dozen men. The homes were gone also, but most of them had no ruins except the roofing metal. The B-29s won the surrender all right, if not the war. The people surprised us—all the men seemed bowlegged. We had never seen enough vertical Japs before to notice. The women all wore their pajama-style slacks, called mompei. The men and boys all wore uniforms of some sort, or achieved the effect by wearing wrapped leggings and the inevitable Jap-army type caps. And they all carried sachels hung around their necks like our old schoolboy book carriers. Not so many had the horn-rimmed spectacles of the propaganda boys and the cartoonists, but some did. A few looked more Caucasian than Oriental, and I saw quite a few with rosy complexions, with no sign of yellow. The “yellow” business is overworked of course. A proportion of Chinese and Japanese have yellowish coloring, but most are just brown. We got a kick out of the color scheme, for we, the whites, were darker than the Japs and a lot of us had atabrine tans making us as yellow as the yellowest! All of us were very dark from the sun on the voyage up.

We passed through a few streets the planes had missed, and got a look at some of the undamaged architecture. It was a cross between the expected Oriental type and European building. Very few windows had clear glass, since they prefer translucent types. Every indication was of extreme poverty and hardship—clothes not so bad, but buildings unpainted, the wrecks of automobiles in the streets, the tiny gardens so carefully cared for, the great wooden water tanks at each block for firefighting, the hungry look of the people. No gasoline had been available for non-military use and what autos and trucks had operated had done so on the charcoal gas burners. When tires or other parts gave out, the car usually just remained where it happened to stop, for if it did not block traffic too badly, no one went to the trouble to tow it away. Most passenger cars were of American make, the trucks of Japanese design. Some very tiny trucks— smaller than our jeeps—were in use and a few motorcycle trucks were seen. The civilians were interested and awed by our heavy and powerful vehicles. The convoys were impressive, I suppose, for we moved faster than they were used to seeing any trucks go, and the size and weight of the wreckers, special purpose shop trucks, bulldozers and the engineers’ great earth-moving road machinery was a shock to a people who still dug by manpower. They did not appear to exhibit much emotion, having been ordered by their government to show neither enmity nor friendship nor to interfere with the occupation. The kids were just kids. They enjoyed the parade and laughed and waved. After awhile some of the men began to wave back. Regardless of color or race, kids have the same ideas and do not have any “nationality” politically. You cannot get mad at a grinning sprout who thinks soldiers are swell and candy even better, even if you have been trying to catch his big brother or his old man in the sights of a gun for a couple of years. They could not understand why their folks did not want them around us, feeling pretty sure we would not hurt them. We did not get friendly with even the Japanese girls while I was there but the replacements seem to have adopted the place, judging from the newspapers. The combat soldiers, the men who had seen action, never did any fraternizing.

The park was just a flat field with a few trees along one side adjoining the walled area of the Meiji Shrine, which was itself heavily wooded. We set up in tents and stayed a week or so—until a typhoon made tent life rather difficult. Luckily we were able to move almost at once to a Japanese army base on the outskirts of the city, 14 miles from the park. Originally it had been the Japs’ “West Point” and during the war it had been a great training center and camp—I later did find out that the right name of the town was Asaka. It covered miles, with narrow stone roads connecting all sizes of shop, school and barracks buildings. The barracks were full of lice and fleas and we had to burn all the Jap blankets and mattresses. I picked up a batch of bugs and spent three days getting rid of them with aerosol bombs. The monkey laughed at me, I think. He could pick them off as fast as they could find him and evidenced anger and disgust when he did find one—he would slap one loose and jump away. I had a bit more trouble.

Italian Beretta M38. One of the best machine carbines or submachine guns made. It has two triggers, one controlling semi-automatic fire, the other automatic fire. 9mm M38 caliber, identical with 9mm Parabellum in case dimensions.

Austrian Steyr M34, called the Steyr-Solothurn. Caliber 9mm Mauser Pistol; also reputed to have been produced in 9mm Parabellum in slightly modified M34s— the S-100 model.

German Schmeisser MP38. 9mm Parabellum caliber.


Top to bottom: Carrying case for German telescopic sight. The German sniper telescopic sight. German cleaning brush, a brass section between two bristle sections. German metal-link pull-through, aluminum and steel Japanese plastic muzzle protector for rifles. (Closed bore against rain, mud etc.) Japanese cleaning rod extension, revolving jag tip and chamber brush. Japanese cleaning guide, inserted in receiver in place of bolt to aid cleaning from breech.

The buildings were full of Jap army equipment, consequently everyone was looking for souvenirs the first few days. There were quite a few tools there, in our shop building, and the officer in charge of the first bunch to move in—silly boy—put me to guard them. At that, I did not take much, because all the decent micrometer sets and gages were in the metric system and not too useful (I was being militarily honest—I never stole anything I could not use). One building was full of bayonets, leather goods, binoculars, cleaning equipment, etc. A lot of them had guns of all kinds for training, cutaway rifles, etc. One was full of 6.5mm blowback automatic rifles, with a couple of shelves of knee-mortars. The shed we decided to use for our automotive section was loaded with motors of all kinds— airplane, truck, motorcycle, all sorts of training charts, etc. In a few days I had a half-dozen packages boxed up ready to ship home when and if they would be permitted to go. Word came through that men with as low as 70 points would go home soon—I had 93. We rushed around getting junk boxed up, as the APO was just holding up shipping till it got set up a little better. General Chase decided that since the men who had seen action against the Japs were going home soon, we should have souvenirs, so we, as the ordnance outfit, got loaded up with Jap equipment for distribution to the cavalry. We had, as I remember, to start with, around 1,000 Jap pistols (new); perhaps 500 pistols not made in Japan, and a lot of swords and sabers. Rifles were of course available if wanted, although we did not bother with them ourselves. Other stuff came in as we put out what we had. Eventually all 4,500 men of the 1st Cavalry division who came back from Tokyo on the first shipment had something. Most of us had more than a single item, but officially we were issued just one. Pistols were the most

popular souvenir. Men had their choice of whatever items we had available. All this came from Japanese arsenals and army stores— practically everything was new and unused. Samurai style swords were in fair demand, although not as popular as pistols. We had only a few good ones (older blades, property of private officers, probably), most being army issue type, with metal handles. I had taken the blade and metal fittings off one of these in Luzon (removed from a Jap noncom knocked off on the road to Manila) but burned somewhat. I had repaired it, shined it up, and sold it for $120 to some guy in Manila a few months later. Legitimate old swords have long handles, about 12″, and the scabbard will always be of wood, covered with leather. The handles, whether decorated or not, have wooden bases, formed of two pieces, inletted to accept the tang of the blade and held on with just a wooden peg or pin. Usually the name of the sword maker, date, name of owner, etc. is written on a piece of paper under one of these wooden handle halves. Not always, but it was the old custom to do so. The blades of swords were of course beautiful. I wish I could have seen some of the grinding and polishing equipment used on them. I had a good time when the pistols came in, for the Japs had been picking up all sorts of handguns. Two or three sizes of Lugers; a lot of Mausers, both pocket and military type; dozens of Spanish Stars, or Astras; all types of Colt pistols and S. & W. revolvers; half a dozen 1898 Simplex autoloaders, one of the early European pistols; a new 1905 model .45 Colt pistol; some S. & W. Russian revolvers; a few Nagants; a hundred or so new Browning M1910 .32 caliber pistols; trays of general “dresser-drawer guns”—cheap revolvers and foreign automatics; cap-and-ball and pinfire and even a couple of ancient flintlock pistols; we even got four of the 7mm Japanese Nambus, about which nothing much was previously known. We checked over the guns, sorted out the unsuitable ones, and issued them to the boys, taking care of ourselves as a matter of course. I was not so interested in the souvenir angle—did not see much future use for a Jap pistol or sword—so I took a German DWM Naval style Luger, with grip safety and adjustable rear sight (rear

sight on rear joint of toggle, not on the barrel as on the oldstyle guns). A day later I went to work on a special job for the General—a Japanese experiment had been found, consisting of a sword blade and scabbard, with the tang of the blade machined to slide into a dovetail groove in the side of a special model Nambu pistol, the right stock of which was steel and machined to take and retain the blade, employing a spring catch. The model had never been completed or assembled, and it was necessary to do a lot of hand-fitting of parts, and altering of standard Nambu or Model 14 pistol parts to finish the assembly. I did get it done, making a new wooden stock for the left side of butt, and fitting the sword-blade to its scabbard, which also had not been done by the Nips. Only one part was missing, and it was one that I could not make in a hurry. It prevented perfect feeding from the magazine, so that if the pistol were to be used, it must be as a singleshot. Anyway, I warned that the gun was strictly an experimental model, and that there was no need of shooting it, so not to take chances. The general was supposed to pick it up in person and thank me formally, etc. but he was too busy and I left in just a few days. The division ordnance officer was pleased enough to give me a couple of the nonissued pistols for the job, so I took one of the Simplexes and a little .22 Smith & Wesson, dated April 1867, with a batch of Jap characters stamped on the side of the barrel. September 23rd came on a Sunday, and in the afternoon a load of us were allowed to go into Tokyo and look the town over. Minus arms; no guns. I remember the day perfectly—it was my 31st birthday, my fourth in the army, my third overseas. Egypt, New Guinea, Japan—I at least kept the places apart. For the first time we were able to give the Ginza a gander, as the Brooklyn boys put it. The Ginza was the famed “main drag” of the prewar city, but now it was not in very good shape. Some busses were running, but there was not much other traffic. In the city a few streetcar lines and the suburban electric railways, elevated in some spots, still made all their stops. The subway was not in operation. Most of the big buildings had been damaged by bombs and practically all of the smaller structures were burned-out shells, or

collapsed. A few explosive bombs had been used against the modern buildings, without too much success. Tokyo’s recent buildings were of the earthquake-resistant architecture and therefore could take a beating. Of course, many had had fires in them. Most of the moving picture houses were patched up enough to keep out the rain and were showing Japanese movies. The streets were crowded with people, but there were enough Americans around to give us moral courage—some of the men, including me, had not been happy about not having carbines, just in case. However, the people paid little attention to us other than to look us over occasionally. Some were disposed to be friendly and none showed hostility. Every now and then a few Americans would appear with a Japanese who admitted he could speak English and had promptly been impressed as a guide. The boys who wanted horizontal refreshments disappeared into the geisha houses; 50 yen short time; long time stay 100 yen (three hours, with dinner). That is service. There is a peculiar distinction on the geisha business—a geisha girl may be only an entertainer in the singing and dancing line, but a geisha house has come to mean a house of prostitution, the real original name of which was Juri or Jori, for brothel. The geisha girl may not necessarily come from a geisha house, as I understood the system. The prevalence of disease was enough to keep most of us on the straight and narrow. The black market was just beginning to work up into a good thing when I left—some of the boys worked out a rate of exchange with the geishas. They would hand over three packages of cigarettes, stay all afternoon and get 40 yen change when they left. A pretty good deal, as the yen was valued at 62/3¢— 15 to the dollar. I saw sailors doing a brisk business in cigarettes and candy, at terrific prices. The Japs had had no place to spend their money and were crazy to get sweets or good tobacco, or food. During the war their civilian ration of sugar had been about one tablespoon per month. Despite their low pay rates, they were paying as high as 30 yen ($2.00) for a pack of cigarettes and about the same for chocolate bars. The sailors had a good stock and cleaned up. My gang would probably have done the same thing except that we had

not seen any candy or excess cigarettes for months. We would have bought from the sailors ourselves if we had had enough money to compete with the Japs! Later, on the trip home, one of the sailors on the APA told me that some of the crew had made as much as 5,000 yen selling rations. No wonder they could pay us our prices for souvenirs. In Tokyo at that time there was little to buy as the city had not recovered sufficiently from the raids. Sailors were buying dolls and a few gimcracks, but about all the soldiers managed were a few paper and bamboo fans. The dolls and their glass cases were impossible for us to take care of and carry home, or take a chance on shipping. Late in the afternoon it started to rain and everyone ran for cover. I became separated from the bunch and started for the point where the truck was to pick us up when the rain let up; it started again. I had a raincoat, but I got soaked anyway; even the pockets were full of water before long. The truck and I never did get together that day and in about half an hour I was stranded in Tokyo, wandering around while it got darker. Away from the downtown district there were few Americans, but the Japanese paid little attention to me wherever I went. I passed the Imperial Palace in its beautiful grounds. The palace itself is on a raised or hill situation, averaging perhaps 100 feet higher than the surrounding city, and bordered by a moat part of its circumference. This moat is walled on both shores and width varies from 50 to 100 yards. The hill raises at a sharp angle— about 60 degrees—and a wall at the top perhaps 15 feet high surrounds the palace grounds. This wall has watch towers at intervals and if it were not for the trees covering the grounds the appearance would be like that of a prison. Adjoining lands and parks are open to the public and I believe some of them had been turned into gardens. Bordering the palace and its grounds were fine modern office buildings and apartments which were being taken over for our military government. Our Air Force had been careful not to bomb the palace or its neighboring streets. Japanese police guarded the palace and directed traffic on most busy corners. All wore blue uniforms and carried their little dress swords, symbols of their authority to the Japanese. The swords were

a straight, unsharpened ceremonial type, with knuckle-guards like a saber, comparable to our “lodge” swords, though smaller. In no case did they have the old short fighting sword, which resembles the twohanded samurai long weapons (I recently saw some paintings done by an American officer who was “there,” showing Japanese police wearing such swords and also caps like those of American policemen!). Some had pistol holsters, but I did not bother lifting the flaps to see if the guns were there. They usually wear black leather belts, and the traffic men had puttees on. All wore small caps, similar to those of the Japanese soldier. I met some of the 8th Engineer men and was able to get them to take me back to my outfit. I knew the route of course, but not the name of the place, or the name of the suburb it was next to! It is very difficult to ask directions to a place you cannot name. Directions were somewhat balled up, because we so seldom saw the sun or stars. The Japanese must have been sarcastic when they named Nippon the land of the Rising Sun. If the sun shone 40 consecutive minutes in any one day, it would be a new record. The climate in the fall at least is damp, and it is either raining or looking like it will rain all the time. Mostly it is a dull, cheerless, gray atmosphere. I of course was only around the Tokyo part of the country. After spending only about three weeks in Japan I came back to the U. S. for discharge; had a rough trip, as the ship was empty except for soldiers—no cargo. Food was much better than on any other transport I had ridden, and the trip would have been OK except that we came by the great circle or northern route, and it was very cold until we reached San Francisco, since none of us had woolen clothing, although we did get field jackets for the trip. No one checked our bags or other luggage, and all the receiving officers and men at Camp Stoneman, the same port I had sailed from on the outward trip, were very cooperative, doing everything they could to help us (if I had known no one would check us, I would have really loaded down with some useful items such as more Springfield actions, etc., which Uncle will not use anyway!). I was routed to Fort Sheridan, Illinois, and received my discharge a half-mile from the 1,000-yard firing point on the rifle range where I had really learned to shoot. A month after leaving

Tokyo I was a civilian. It had been a good war and I really enjoyed it —but I hope they have a different kind of an American Army for the next one!

XXXVII JAPANESE SMALL ARMS More misinformation has been broadcast about Japanese weapons during the past few years than all the other varieties put together. It was the fashion to call them junk, potmetal, copies of somebody else’s stuff. The newspapers have been responsible to a great extent, although there are some mitigating circumstances, as in most cases they received their initial information from higher military sources, which always deride the equipment of other nations, apparently on the basis that it would be unpatriotic to admit that anyone else has anything good. Only the Germans approached the equipment angle from the viewpoint of pure efficiency, caring nothing for the civilian views of their voters, politics, or the origin of a desirable item. (I have a manual by a British Brigadier in which he maintains that the bolt-action rifles, particularly those which cock on the closing movement of the bolt, are to be preferred to any semiautomatic rifle, because when the rifleman closes the bolt he recovers from the recoil and brings the rifle back in line with the target, whereas in a semi-auto he is not required to move a bolt, and therefore must make a conscious effort to again align his piece. (It is my earnest hope that this British general did not survive the war. Officers like that should be killed. Some of our own geniuses were, in 1942, after Pearl Harbor and while Bataan was falling, maintaining that the Japs’ little “.25 caliber” rifle was really a playgun, not really dangerous to full-grown men, suited only to a race of pygmies. Funny, because Italy, Norway, Greece, Holland, and a few other countries used the same caliber, and they were not considered so silly.)

The same experts probably did not even know that there is very little that is new in the way of ordnance. We got our own bolt rifle from the same source the Japanese did, and our artillery was taken from the French. The simple truth is there are very few conventional weapons that embody a single invention or consist of one original design. The portable rocket launcher, called the “Bazooka” was the only original American contribution to the weapons used in the war. The Japanese grenade discharger, called the Knee Mortar, was the only wholly-Jap design. I saw nothing the Italians had original except the Glisenti pistol and perhaps the little Beretta-Brixia assault mortar. The Germans, like the Japanese, were great copiers and improvers but actual attempts to trace equipment directly to German drawing boards do not produce a great deal. Rockets? The British were using rockets of great size and power before Napoleon’s era, so there is nothing very new about the German rockets. Germany did evolve a successful jet plane before anyone else did, but that is a little out of the personnel weapon class, and belongs with the scientific levels of the fancy fuses and radar equipment. The small German recoil-less artillery was unsuccessful, though our government copied and improved the idea to a highlysuccessful conclusion. There were a few new ideas to come to the fore, but in the main, the pistols, rifles and machine guns were the result of modification and improvement of previous designs. The 1930’s were a period of great research in small arms all over the world, resulting in the U. S. of the adoption of the M1 or Garand rifle; in Germany of the Walther development of the double-action pistol and of the Spandau or rollerbearing machine gun bolt locking by the rotating collar systems; in Italy of the Breda machine guns and Beretta pistols; in England of the Mk. IV or No. 4 rifle and the Bren gun; and in Japan of their gasoperated machine weapons and their 7.7mm rifles. Other countries also moved up, even the French, whose stubborn refusal to accept German, American or Czech designs had kept their country with inferior small armament for 70 years and in the end lost them their standing as a Nation. No, the Japs did not have anything startling in the light and hand weapon department, but a lot of their equipment was equal or superior to our own in the field in which they chose to employ it, and

where we had to meet them. Where they cut their own throats on small arms was when they allowed their national poverty to influence them. They would make good ammunition, and pack it in flimsy crates, which dissolved under rough transportation and bad weather. They made fair ammunition, but tried to avoid waterproofing it, so a lot of it went bad in the jungle, as happened often with grenades and mortar shells. The brass in their small-arms ammunition was poor, and in my opinion is the reason why they had a different case for machine guns than for rifles. The Japanese Arisaka, Ariska, Arisakawa (take your choice—I find all three used) rifle, caliber 6.5mm, Model 38 (1905) was made in three sub-models: rifle, short rifle, and carbine. A fourth gun, a carbine, Model 44 (1911) had a heavy muzzle band and mechanism employing a permanently attached folding triangular section bayonet. The standard carbine is just a shortened Model 38 and is simply known as the Model 38 Carbine. Both carbines have swivels on the left-hand side of stock and forend; the rifle and short rifle have conventional swivels on the bottom of buttstock and lower band. The short rifle was apparently an abortive attempt to modernize the dimensions of the M38 rifle, making it comparable to the modern military rifles in length. It was identical with the long rifle except for length, being 44.25″ overall, with a 25.25″ barrel. Weight was listed at 8.5 pounds without sling. I saw two or three of these guns in Luzon, but believe they were not a standard issue, but merely fill-in weapons for base personnel. Possibly the Japanese intended this type to be their standard infantry weapon until the war in China convinced them that it would be necessary to go to a larger caliber, resulting in the adoption of the Model 99 (1939) 7.7mm rifle, almost identical in measurements with the Model 38 short rifle. No unit was ever found armed entirely or even with any sizeable percentage of the 6.5mm short rifles. The name Arisaka comes from the Japanese colonel who headed a commission in the 1890’s to develop a suitable modern military rifle. The gun was “invented” by the Jap designer Murata, who endeavored to combine the best features of the Mausers and Mannlichers of that time. The first Arisaka was the Model 30, or 1897, which was very similar to the later Model 38. It did not employ

a bolt cover, and the firing pin and bolt mechanism resembled that of the Mannlicher-Steyrs a little. The cocking piece had an unhandy projecting finger-hook safety which had to be pulled and turned to lock. I saw some of these rifles at Tokyo in their school of small arms. After the rifle saw action against Russia in 1904, it was improved around the bolt, to the M38 system, and the sliding cover was added. Evidently they had trouble with snow and mud getting into the bolt and cocking piece. The caliber was the same in both models, although the M30 bullet weighed 162grains and was roundnosed, against the M38 pointed 137-grain bullet. The Model 30 was identical with the Model 38 in length, weight, magazine and general characteristics, although I believe the buttstock was a little longer and the barrel a corresponding distance shorter. It was less than 1/2″. The actions of the three M38’s and the M44 are identical—a modified Mauser-type with their own striker mechanism—and the only feature not immediately familiar to the eye is the bolt cover, a sliding sheet steel cover moving in machined grooves in either side of the receiver, and actuated by the bolt handle. It moves to the rear every time the bolt is opened and slides forward to completely cover the bolt and receiver well of the action when the bolt is closed. These covers were purely a maintenance accessory, serving the same function as a sight protector or muzzle cover, or canvas action cover such as the U. S. once furnished for Krags and Springfields. They kept sand and mud and rain out of the action, which was a good idea. As they rattled when the bolt was operated, it was customary to remove them when going into an action zone. In the combat areas it was hard to find more than one rifle out of 20 with a cover on, although the rifles would of course operate perfectly with them in place. Rifles made in prewar days were nicely finished and machine work was excellent. On the 6.5mm arms no attempt was made to make parts readily interchangeable, and bolts will seldom fit any action properly other than their original one, so it is not smart to trade bolts around if you intend to ever fire the gun. Receivers and bolts are numbered alike serially, so there is no excuse for getting them mixed up, if you can read. The hand fitting of parts was of course a

headache to the maintenance men who had to replace worn or broken ones, but it made for a much smoother mechanism than our rough-surfaced interchangeable-part guns, with their greater tolerance. I never picked up a Japanese rifle with a bad trigger-pull, for instance. Most of them had let-offs like a worked-over military target rifle. Sights were always tight and well adjusted, and almost never damaged. So much for the armory; we may as well list the good and bad points of the Arisaka action, for it is good enough for a description. On paper it sounds better than it is! My personal dislike of it is based on the blasted bolt-handle, which is the straight type, coming up vertical when open. A good welding job can fix it up, naturally, but I will not worry about remodeling any Jap stuff as long as I have Springfield, Enfield and Mauser actions around. As a Mauser military bolt-action, the Japanese Model 38 modification is one of the very best. The Nips improved a good many features of the original German bolt system, incorporating some ideas not found in any other arm. The bolt stop, for instance, does not contact and batter the rear of the left locking lug, as in other Mausers, including Springfields and Enfields. A second small lug is located directly behind the locking lug (11/16″ between rear surfaces) and this contacts the bolt stop. This lug appears on top of the bolt when the bolt is closed, just behind the edge of the receiver ring. Regardless of how hard the bolt is yanked open, the locking lugs cannot be damaged. This is a good feature—I have seen Springfields with the left locking lug battered and burred, with the portion contacting the bolt stop beaten forward as much as 1/16″, all from manual of arms practice and inspections. The ejector cut in the Arisaka’s left locking lug is angled so that it does not touch the rear surface therefore the full area of the lug remains unmarred, making for theoretically better locking and wear, since there are no grooves or burrs to carry grit or dirt into the locking recesses and cause undue wear. Actually I doubt if this is much of an advantage. The ejector itself is attached to the bolt stop and is cammed out into ejecting position as the bolt reaches its rearward limit of travel. The Springfield M1903 ejector operates on the same principle.

The Arisaka locking lugs are set back from the face of the bolt and rounded on their leading edges. As in the Mauser 98 bolt, this location is a claimed advantage in that the lugs being well back from the bolt face, they are less liable to break or crack diagonally from the face of bolt to rear of lugs. They are very slightly shallower than the lugs of the 1917 Enfield bolt and quite a bit shallower than those of either the Mauser 98K or M1903 Springfield. The action should handle escaping gas from punctured primers or a ruptured cartridge case better than any other bolt-action, from the point of protecting the shooter’s face. The bolt has a large oblong port on the bottom, Mauser style, and the receiver has two escape ports in the top of the front receiver ring, leading from the lockinglug recesses. These are the two holes just forward of the bolt cover (with bolt closed) and just in the rear of the circular insignia stamped into the metal. This sunflower-like mark is the imperial seal of the chrysanthemum and not any sort of rising sun as some soldiers thought. To the rear of the gas ports are the identifying characters or ideographs, meaning “38 Model Infantry Rifle” (Pronounced “Sampachi Shiki Hoheiju,” if you are interested). The design of bolt mechanism prevents rearward escape of gas, giving almost positive safety to the eyes and face. The back end is closed, so gas cannot leak around any striker or cocking piece to get at the eye or cheek. All Jap rifles cock on the closing movement of the bolt. The bolt has the fastest and easiest takedown of any rifle yet encountered. Just press in on the safety knob and give it a quarter turn to the right. This part, the safety knob, is really a bolt plug or bolt head, but we cannot call it a bolt head because of the universal custom of terming the forward movable part of Mannlicher and Lee bolts by that name. When it is rotated and its retaining lug freed from the bolt, the firing pin and mainspring are freed also and slide out of the bolt. Firing pin, striker and cocking piece are combined in one part, hollowed to receive the mainspring inside it. This principle is familiar in machine guns and other automatic weapons, but not seen in bolt rifles very often. The bolt plug has a central spindle with a small lug on it, and enters the rear of the firing pin, compressing the mainspring and the lug engages a recess in the firing pin. This recess is a groove or slot allowing the firing pin to move forward and

back yet not disengage from the bolt plug unless the latter is rotated to its disassembly notch. When the action is to be put on safety, the bolt plug is pressed and turned to the right, and the firing pin is rotated approximately one-eighth turn clockwise, completely out of engagement with the sear. All tension is furnished by the mainspring and the bolt plug does not hold the firing pin except during the operation of rotating the firing pin either on or out of safe. When on safety, the firing pin is held by the sear face of the cocking piece (integral with the rear of the pin) resting against a shoulder in the receiver, therefore the safety is positive and the firing pin cannot go forward even should any part of the sleeve itself break or slip. Unless the rifle is rusted or otherwise out of good condition, it is possible to set and unset the safety by a simple rotating motion of the ball of the right thumb, and it can be operated in complete silence. I am inclined to give the Japs the blue ribbon on this feature, feeling it is the best safety of any military rifle in accessibility, reliability and ease of operation. The firing pin fall is one-half inch plus, but quite fast as the pin is light in spite of its appearance and the spring is strong enough to give it a little speed. Since there is no guide or pin to pass through the spring, and it is limited only in outside diameter, it is possible to install stronger springs should they be desired, by using heavier wire (the guide on the bolt plug is full-diameter, and does not enter the spring, but compresses it from the rear). The base of the bolt handle becomes the safety lug when the bolt is closed, and in addition, gives the action its primary extraction as it moves up its receiver slot on opening, as the slot is so designed to cam it to the rear as it opens. Including the extractor and its collar, there are only six parts to the complete Japanese bolt, making a new low. The Mauser has 10, the Springfield 14, the Enfield seven, and the Lee-Enfield, eight. In overall length, the bolt of the Arisaka is 7⅜″; the Mauser, 7⅜″; the Springfield, 723/32″ with headed cocking piece, 71/16″ with headless; the Enfield, 79/16″, and the Lee-Enfield, 7″. As for diameter, using new bolts, I find less than .005″ difference between Arisaka, Mauser, Springfield and 1917 Enfield. The above lengths are taken from assembled bolts, with firing-pins forward.

The length of the Japanese bolt does not vary with cocking, as none of the moving parts protrude to the rear. The bolt plug does not move in firing. It does have a small lug on the bottom of its outer circumference which must be in line with the sear well in the receiver to allow free movement of the firing pin. This lug also has its own recess in the receiver for engagement when the safety is applied, and serves to lock the plug in the safe position until it is pressed inward against the mainspring tension and turned left to release. The sear is of the same type as that of the U. S. M1917 rifle (Enfield) having a fixed pin or safety stud at its forward end and a corresponding opening in the bottom of the receiver so that the sear could not be depressed with the bolt partially open. When the bolt is fully closed, a depression cut in the bolt body lines up with the hole and permits the safety stud of the sear to move upward as the sear is pivoted on its pin in releasing the firing pin. This is merely a mechanical safety feature to prevent the gun being fired when bolt is not fully locked. When we come to the receiver and trigger guard we run into a few unusual features, some familiar in European weapons, but not common in military rifles. The first is of course the publicized easy and quick releasing floor plate, its catch being located in the trigger guard similar to that of Mauser sporting rifles. The floor plate is not hinged, but falls free of the rifle when released. The trigger guard has a rear tang about 2″ long, which is a separate piece keying into it just behind the finger loop of the guard. A similar separate tang piece is provided on the bottom of the receiver, also fitting a machined recess for good engagement. The Japanese action has three guard screws, one joining the ends of the two action tangs as well as the two situated as in other Mauser-type actions. The magazine box is separate from the guard, as is that of the Enfield. The guards, floor plates magazine followers and tang pieces of the 6.5mm actions were machined of forgings or solid stock; no stampings were used. The receiver is heavy and well made, its diameter being slightly greater than that of the Springfield, slightly smaller than the Mauser 98K, and because of its tangs, longer than either. The short cartridge used permitted a shorter receiver well, or loading opening, and the bolt throw, or rearward movement is correspondingly shorter than

that of the other actions. The bottom of the receiver is round and it has no recoil shoulder or lug, but only a small round socket for receiving the front guard screw. However, a small metal fitting is inserted into the stock which receives this socket, the fitting having a flat face on its rear exposure, making it a recoil shoulder once removed, or by proxy, or something. The 6.5mm cartridge had little recoil and probably the designer did not know or care too much about the effect of the recoil shoulder upon accuracy. No stock bolts were used on the 6.5mm rifles. The long rifle—and I mean long—measures 50.39″, is not too heavy for its size, weighing from nine to nine and a quarter pounds without sling or bayonet, and has a 31.5″ barrel. The slings used were of two types and of two materials, leather and rubberized canvas, the latter being best but heaviest. All Japanese rifles were made with the two-piece buttstock, using a narrow blank pieced out to obtain full width of, or depth of butt. Length of butt, center of buttplate to center of trigger, is 13″,—same as our 1903. The added lower piece was dovetailed longitudinally into place and the whole stock turned as one piece. This was done primarily to save wood, as the Japs had quite a time getting suitable stock blanks, not having native growths of walnut handy. The wood used in prewar days, or rather, prior to 1939, was a reasonably good substitute for walnut, being a medium hard wood of similar weight and grain. I do not know its botanical name and cannot give any exact data. One book on wood lists the wood used in Japanese rifle stocks as “Narra” or “Nahru,” but I can positively state that it is not the Philippine wood of that name. I sent home some pieces of Nahru from Leyte to use for pistol stocks. The Philippine wood is very hard, dense and heavy, not at all similar to that of the Japanese stocks. As with the rest of the world, Japan found it harder and harder to get good stock wood so turned to softer and poorer types. In the Tokyo school I saw some stocks which were apparently European walnut, but these were on old experimental guns such as Italian-made and Mannlicher type 6.5mm long rifles, some with bolts similar to the Steyrs, though none were straightpulls. There were a few Mannlicher-Carcano rifles with Arisaka magazines, chambered for the Jap cartridge and apparently made to the overall

specifications of the Model 38 rifle. The inletting on the earlier 6.5mm issued M38’s was pretty good—equal to that on German or American rifles. The Japs put a cleaning rod in each forend, though it required an extension to be long enough to use. The extension was carried in a little cloth or canvas case about 10″ long closed, and the whole cleaning kit was composed of the extension section, a bristle brush for cleaning the chamber, and a wooden rod guide consisting of a tube to fit the bolt runway in the receiver and a freely-revolving stamped metal “lug” to set in the bolt handle recess and hold it in the gun while the rod was used. Similar devices are sold in this country to target shooters who desire to protect their receivers and chambers from possible burring by cleaning rods, when cleaning from the breech end of barrel. These Japanese cleaning guides were unfinished wood (their best stock material) and some were lined with brass tubing. Their patches were squares of thin cotton cloth, about the size of our own. Regarding the cleaning kit, it is entirely possible that only the corporal or squad leader carried them, for I never saw any in Leyte or Luzon, and saw only one rod extension, which I removed from the barrel of a souvenir rifle in the mountains of Leyte for a soldier. Most soldiers on our side never saw any and one of the popular mysteries was how the Japs cleaned their rifles with their short rods. The same rod extensions and cleaning guides are usable in all Japanese rifles. Revolving jag tips and strong one-piece rods were issued for cleaning machine guns, and the tips would fit the rifle rod extensions. The Nips ran their handguard only as far forward as the lower, or sling swivel, band on the long rifles, but to the upper or muzzle band on carbines. Their old regulation leather sling was approximately 1⅛″ wide and used only for carrying. It was quite light and could be adjusted for length to some degree. When the Pacific jungle fighting proved that leather was poor stuff, they were ready with a really good substitute, rubberized canvas. Not only rifle and light machine gun slings were made of this material, but also belts, cartridge pouches, bayonet scabbard frogs and at the last, pistol holsters. Water, mold, mildew, bugs—nothing bothered the stuff.

In color it was usually a milk-chocolate brown, or even lighter, though of course it could be colored any way, and can be closest compared with an auto tire, in which rubber is vulcanized over a cotton fabric base. The Japs simply impregnated the coated canvas with live rubber. Their rifle sights were all of the folding leaf type, similar in that respect to those of the 1903 model Springfields, but without windage adjustments. Practically all of them read from 400 to 2,400 meters on the leaf, with the battle sight, or sight with leaf folded, at 300 meters. Early rifles had V notches, but later ones have large apertures. I have a rifle on which the notch when folded is for 300 meters, the notch on the base of the leaf when raised is 400 meters and the notch on the slide in its lowest position is for 500 meters. It is necessary to raise the slide and sight under it for 400 meter shots. Front sights also show slight experimentation, but almost all have an inverted-V dovetailed blade. Some have protecting wings or ears, others none. The caliber of all the 6.5mm weapons was the same, bore measurements being .256″, groove diameter, .266″, twist of rifling, one turn in 8.9″. The rifles had four-land radius-groove rifling, and rifling appeared to be fairly good. However, the throating and general chambering was not always so good. Some seemed to be of the freebored persuasion, although I doubt if the Japs intended them to be officially. For some reason the carbines seemed to have better chambers and barrels than the long rifles, even though they might come from the same source. The carbines were much shorter and are a very handy little gun. A lot of soldiers had ideas about making deer guns out of them after the war, but the odd cartridge will probably block the plans of most. The M38 carbine is approximately 38″ long, with a barrel about 19″. Weight is about 7.8 pounds without sling. I have no carbine to check, so must accept the measurements of manuals. Folding-leaf sights are graduated from 300 to 2,000 meters. These guns are light and easy to handle, balancing very well. The foldingbayonet M44 cavalry carbine is about 1/4″ longer and almost a pound heavier than the above Model 38 carbine. It has the same sights.

The 6.5mm Japanese cartridge was strictly their own idea, not taken from anybody. Their rifle bores miked .256″, standard for the 6.5mm bullet, but the cartridge itself is similar to no other. Semirimmed, it has enough taper to build up a bit of bolt thrust or back pressure, and is of such dimensions that it would be difficult

Japanese Paratroop Sub-Machine Gun 8mm, model unknown (Showa 17).

JAPANESE RIFLE EXAMPLES Top: Model 99, 7.7mm caliber. Note bolt cover is shorter than others. Center: Model 38, 6.5mm caliber. Bottom: The Cast action Model,—Note wood screws for tangs.

to duplicate by altering standard American cartridges. A skillful handloader could make cases from .303 British or .30-40 Krag cases, by careful use of a lathe on the base and extracting rim after sizing down, but the job is not to be recommended at all to the average shooter.

The famous Japanese no-smoke, no-flash sniper cartridge was their ordinary 6.5mm reduced charge, consisting of a pointed 137grain cupro-nickel or gilding-metal jacketed bullet, pushed by a scant 30.0 grains of flake nitro-cellulose powder, which appears and acts very similar to that used in the German service cartridge. The individual flakes of propellant are a little lighter in color and cut more irregularly than the German stuff, but it is of the same type. This reduced load 6.5mm cartridge was produced for the light machine guns but was popular with riflemen. According to arsenal specifications, the reduced load has 2 grams of powder (30.8648grains) against 2.15 grams (33.1796-grains) for the standard Model 38 rifle cartridges. Bullets were not uniform and not very well made. Tracers were supposed to exist in 6.5mm, but I never found any nor saw anyone who did. Rifle grenade cartridges evidently gave them more trouble from dampness than other types, for they worked up from the wooden-bullet type used on Guadalcanal through a couple of paper-bullet issues to a final type consisting of a tiny jacketed-bullet, almost flat ended and seated so that only about 1/16″ projected from the case, which was loaded with just a pinch of black powder, held at the primer by cotton stuffed loosely into the case. In the ordinary cartridge, either reduced or full load, the flash was practically eliminated by the long barrels which completely burned the powder of the charge. I know from experience that it was just about impossible to spot any smoke from a shot, even in pretty good light. The flake type of powder is a little less inclined to smoke than our own tubular-grain types, but most of the “smoke” from a modern rifle is really vapor caused from the meeting of the gases with colder air. In warm air, or especially in warm dry air, the smoke of any firearm is decreased appreciably. Ballistics of the Japanese cartridges are not bad, but the figures have been so kicked around by different references that they are pretty well mixed up. The “reduced load” undoubtedly has caused some of the errors. I can find no figures I will believe absolutely. One gives 2,700 FPS for the full load 6.5mm, 2,400 FPS for the reduced load, both in the long rifle. Nobody says anything about carbine velocities except that they are lower than in the long barrel, which is

no help. I believe that both the above figures are highly complimentary and that a good chronograph would knock about 300 FPS off. Even chronograph tests will give rather un-uniform figures, unless all the ammunition tested is from the same factory lot. I weighed the charges of four reduced-load 6.5mm cartridges and got powder weights of 29.5, 29.6, 30.1 and 30.5-grains, so I put the scale away. All I proved was that they were sloppy in loading, but apparently careful to stay under the 30.86 grain specification for the machine gun loading. The “rifle” cartridges run the same way, varying from 32.0 to 33.5 grains, running a little over the rifle load limit in a few cases. On the guns, I would say accuracy was up to military standards for most nations, fair in both lengths of barrel. Up to and including 200 yards the Japanese 6.5mm service cartridge will shoot as well as our own wartime or service issue military rifles and ammunition, which is no particular compliment. I met more than one soldier who swore the Arisakas were “naildrivers,” but I am inclined to feel they were being influenced by the good trigger-pulls and light recoil of the guns, which appealed to the average G.I. as being highly desirable. Their “tests” were strictly informal and usually at very short range, as were my own, and the tendency to disregard the close ones and remember the pinwheels is great under such circumstances. For about a year I tried to find a spot where I could group-shoot Japanese rifles at 200 and 300 yards at least, but never made it. When the ground was available, I was busy, or it was too muddy, or something came up to queer the deal. I do want to make it clear that the Japanese rifles and carbines were definitely not the inaccurate clucks our wishful-writing war correspondents enjoyed talking about. They were not so good, but they were not so bad, either. A sniper model of the standard rifle was developed, designated the Model 97 (1937) using a 2.5X telescope of more-or-less conventional design with internal adjusting elevation. Windage or lateral correction was a different matter and on the two scopes I saw adjustment was by screwdriver or finagling with the mounting bracket. A rotating sleeve on the tube controlled elevation. The base was firmly attached to the left side of the receiver, although the mounting bracket had set-screws to hold it in place, as the telescope

was removable. The scope was a heavy steel-tube affair with a rubber eyecup. Although less than 9″ long, it weighed about 18 ounces. Eye relief is very short and the scope was set far back. The eyecup touched the face when aiming. The light recoil of the 6.5mm cartridge allowed such a sight, but later models of optical sights had longer eye relief and at least two prismatic models were made, after the 7.7mm rifle came into general use and great numbers had been made (same scopes were used on some of the light machine guns in some cases). As designed, the sniper rifle had a folding monopod attached to the lower band, exactly as was furnished on the 7.7mm rifle. This was omitted on a lot of weapons. Evidently standard Model 38 long rifles were converted by addition of the mount base and installing a modified bolt. The telescope was offset to the left, but it was necessary to bend the bolt handles down in order to clear the tube. Specifications for the true sniper M97 called for a slightly longer bolt handle, but I saw standard M38 bolts which had the handles turned down for use with the optical sight, which was mounted fairly high.

CAST STEEL JAPANESE RIFLE ACTIONS This I had to come home to see. Never knew any such monstrosity existed until P. O. Ackley mentioned in correspondence blowing up a few in tests, and I had to have Mr. Ackley send me one of them for examination. I know absolutely nothing of the origin of these cast actions and know of none ever being found in the field in the Pacific areas I inhabited at times. No such items were ever reported by Ordnance Intelligence in any of the bulletins or manuals issued for the instruction of American troops regarding enemy equipment during the war. The following is a description of one of the actions only, which I am told is typical of the cast version of the 6.5mm weapons. The receivers, trigger guards and floor plates are steel castings, apparently a regular sand-mold foundry job. For the 6.5mm cartridge, they are easily identified as NOT being the Arisaka M38— they just are not marked as such. The receiver ring is totally blank, not even bearing the imperial seal. No serial number is stamped on the left side of receiver, as on other Japanese rifles. The only number is a light hand-stamp effort on the bottom of the receiver at front, and this number is carried through on other parts, even the trigger and firing pin being marked. The rear tangs of both receiver and trigger guard are cast integral and are not separate as in the M38 or M44 models. Instead of a machine screw joining the rear ends of tangs, wood screws hold them to the buttstock. Casting marks are plainly visible on the underside of the receiver and guard. Floor plate is very thick and heavy, and is hinged at its front end, although the catch at rear is in the front of finger loop, identical with the M38. The trigger itself is entirely different from either of the other Jap rifle types which are essentially standard Mauser types as used in the U. S. 1917, or “Enfield” rifle. In the cast Japanese action, the trigger (so help me, it looks like a casting too!) is slotted at its top and straddles the sear, camming against the receiver on each side of the sear. The illustrations reveal the details fairly well so that no one

should mistake a cast action for one of the regular forged and machined ones. Bolts and bolt mechanisms are practically the same in all the 6.5mm and 7.7mm rifles, although the cast receivers are nonstandard in diameter and the sliding bolt covers are not interchangeable. Neither are the bolts, for the most part, and minor differences show up as manufacturing variations, but design or at least intent of design is meant to be the same. On the assembly of the cast action I looked over, the tip of the firing pin was very large and its hole in face of bolt correspondingly large, the diameter being approximately twice that of the 7.7mm bolt in my possession. Naturally, the cast construction makes for little tensile strength and the actions should under no circumstances be used for any purpose except “souvenir” or decoration of the saloon window around Armistice Day. I do not think them suitable for even firing reduced-load Japanese ammunition, should anyone have such a rifle and acquire Jap ammunition. My recommendation for Nip rifles with cast steel receivers is to have the nearest plumber fill the chamber three-quarters full of solder or babbitt so that no cartridge of any kind can be put into the weapon in position to fire. The Japanese M38 Arisaka is well made of good steel and will hold very high pressures, but the cast 6.5mm action will hold practically none. All parts except the firing pin and bolt itself appear very weak, and experiments have proven the actions quite dangerous to use in any form as firearms.

XXXVIII THE 7.7MM JAP RIFLE The Model 99, or 1939 7.7mm rifle was the Japanese effort to produce an infantry arm comparable in power to those in use by the principal nations of the world. The caliber is .303, the bore measuring .303″ in diameter, the groove diameter .315″. Twist of rifling is one turn in 9.5″, and is of the radius-groove type, without corners to the grooves, similar to the 6.5mm barrels. The basic Model 38 action was modified slightly for the cartridge; the cartridge well in the receiver is approximately 5/32″ longer than in the 6.5mm action, most of the increase being at the forward end, shortening slightly the front receiver ring. The receivers themselves are intended to be the same length and what slight variations are found will be due to manufacturing methods and workmanship. Below decks, the lads made a couple of changes—a Mauser-type recoil shoulder is incorporated into the receiver at the regular forward guard screw location, and back of this shoulder or lug a shallow slot or groove was machined across the round bottom of the receiver. This cut is flat-bottomed and square across its rear face. Through the stock at this point is a heavy stock bolt and inside the receiver cut in the stock an inletted steel block is in a position to abut the recoil shoulder and engage the recess machined behind the recoil shoulder. Therefore when the receiver is assembled into the stock it is prevented from movement either forward or back, held rigidly by not only the three guard screws, but the recoil block in conjunction with the stock bolt which holds it. The sear of the 7.7mm rifle is about 3/16″ shorter than the 6.5mm model, but of the same type, and the details of the rear tang and its seat are somewhat different. All three guard screws enter from the bottom on the 7.7mm

rifle, while the tang screw of the 6.5mm models enters from the top of the stock. Only one gas-escape port is located in the ring of the Model 99 receiver, against the two of the Model 38 6.5mm rifles, although the hole is very slightly greater in diameter. It is located a trifle further to the rear than those of the 6.5mm receivers and necessitates a slightly shorter bolt cover in order not to cover the hole when the bolt is closed when the sliding cover is in place. This would indicate that in some cases the covers would be kept in position while the rifle was in use. Covers for the 6.5mm receiver measure 155 millimeters, for the 7.7mm, 150mm—a difference of approximately 3/16″; actually, the covers interchange readily. The design of the bolt remained unchanged: the 6.5mm bolts were usually polished steel, carefully made, while the 7.7mm bolts were made while the country was at war and are quite rough and all are blackened. The ejector cut is completely through the left locking lug, and the ejector is springloaded, always under tension, completely different from the Model 38 type. Bolt stops remain the same, though that on the 7.7mm is cut back slightly to afford a longer bolt travel. The rear section of the Model 38 Arisaka is similar to the Mannlicher in that the receiver wall is carried completely to the rear end of the receiver body so that the bolt handle must engage a slot running forward through the top of the receiver then turning right and down, stopping at the stock level when closed. This bolt groove leaves quite a large segment of the receiver sort of hanging on at the right side back of the bolt handle, to act as a safety lug. On the Model 99 action this segment or section of the receiver wall is cut away, with only a bottom portion left for a safety lug feature, the new bolt notch being approximately 3/16″ deep. The trigger guard is entirely different from that of any other military rifle. The floor plate is hinged at its forward end and the catch is located inside the finger loop of the guard. It is a simple sliding catch, under spring tension of course, operating in a slot in the stamped base of the guard and is pulled to the rear to release the plate. The magazine follower is 3/32″ longer than the M38 follower

and the magazine boxes themselves have the same difference—the 6.5mm box being 3⅛″ inside length, the 7.7mm 37/32″. A great many stampings are used on this rifle and they begin here. The magazine follower, floor plate, the complete guard assembly, tangs, all are punch press products (the Japs did a better stamping job than we did on the wartime M1903 modifications!). The lower tang and finger loop of the guard are formed together in this model, and are spotwelded to the heavier stamped base of the guard. The lower tang runs back completely around the pistol grip of the butt, and the correspondingly longer upper tang is also a stamping, but with a little machining visible, to give it a fit to the bottom of the receiver, for it is still a separate piece. Generally speaking, the stock of the Japanese Model 99 rifle is a pretty cheesy bit of swamp spruce, or what passes for it over there. The wood is light in weight and color. Since you cannot get strength and hardness without weight, the first point is no help, and they usually finished the bayonet handles with a slightly orange-tinted varnish, as the natural color was too light. The buttplate is a cuptype stamping similar to the latest German type, instead of the machined solid one of the 6.5mm rifles and carbines. The length of buttstock from centers of trigger and buttplate is the shortest of any standard full-sized rifle and is only 121/2″. This should fit the average Jap much better than the longer Model 38 stock. Length overall of the rifle is 44″; barrel, 25.5″. Outside dimensions of the barrel, excepting length, are identical with those of the 6.5mm Arisaka, including the chamber section. Weight of the original Model 99 rifle is approximately 8.25 pounds, the lightness of the stock wood helping bring the total poundage down. The remaining features of the 7.7mm rifle will vary between individual guns according to origin of weapon and the time it was produced. Many manufacturing short cuts were introduced and the guns therefore modified slightly several times. The best rifles were produced at the Tokyo Arsenal or Armory and these have better finishes as well as more careful machining than the guns turned out by the other armories, or very probably, made by private or civilian firms under contract. The latter were very rough weapons and materials were of low quality. Some were steel castings, of little

strength, with receiver tang cast integral, and marks of casting visible on bottom of receivers. As designed, the Model 99 had a folding leaf rear sight, graduated from 200 to 1,500 meters, with both battle sight and slide utilizing apertures instead of notches. A choice is allowed for close range, in that the base of the leaf has a U notch available at approximately the same elevation as the 200 meter battle aperture. It is necessary to raise the slide to reveal this open sight. As in all Japanese sights, the slide must be all the way down to permit proper folding of the leaf. Anti-aircraft lead bars or sights are provided, hinged to the slide. A single notch midway on the bottom edge of each is the only sighting regulator. This was presumably hung over the front sight and a lead figured out for firing at strafing airplanes. A “2” was stamped over the notch, and a “3” at the end of the bar, evidently having something to do with measurements of planes or distances, assuming “1” to be the side of the sight, or inner end of the bar. The slide has spring catches on each side, making quite a piece of machinery out of the whole rear sight—in all, a total of 13 parts in it alone. Even then, the sight has no windage adjustment. All these parts and their attendant machine operations in production caused, first, the omission of the anti-aircraft feature, and, second, the complete omission of the adjustable rear sight. Instead, a stamped aperture was rigidly welded to the rear sight base which was simply a sleeve over the barrel. I believe this fixed rear to be for approximately 200 meter elevation, but am not positive. Its height corresponds to about that of the 200 meter aperture on the adjustable sight, but of course close range adjustments are so minute that it might be anything from 150 to 300 meters, as sloppy as the Japs became at the last. The folding monopod attached to the lower band was dropped shortly after it proved useless in the field, in 1942, although the cast band with its fitting for the monopod was unchanged and continued to be used on the rifles put out at Tokyo. Other makers modified the band by removing the solid bottom portion which formed the hinge or pivot point of the monopod. Workmanship became steadily poorer toward the end of the war. The bolt plugs were left unknurled by some plant or plants, which led to difficulties in applying and

releasing the safety, as the rough machine work made the parts bind and the safety hard to operate. The bolt was naturally the most difficult part to make as it required machining from a forging, and the handle interfered with automatic machine set-ups. Efforts were made to produce bolts and handles separately and weld them together, but I doubt if any such assemblies reached the field. The bolt handle was completely detachable in the case of the Model 99 takedown rifle. I have seen one bolt which appears to be a casting; very rough indeed. This takedown 7.7mm rifle was the Japanese paratrooper arm and was a standard length Model 99 with monopod, adjustable rear sight and all, but barrel and forend removed through an interruptedscrew system, from the receiver. The front receiver ring was longer than standard, to provide the necessary support to the takedown assembly. The bolt handle was threaded and I guess the Jap soldier was supposed to carry it in his pocket and screw it in when he assembled the gun after hitting the ground. He would be in a hell of a fix if he lost it. These takedown rifles were made of good steel and had more careful workmanship than the mine-run 7.7mm’s. The interrupted-screw principle required rather close attention to tolerances and by 1942 the Nips had a different takedown system perfected and designated the rifle Model 1. It was of course similar to the Model 99, but without the monopod. The design of the locking system for joining receiver and barrel is good; a heavy tapered locking bar or key is located in the receiver, below the barrel shank opening and the barrel has a heavy lug on its breech end. To assemble the rifle, the key is drawn to the right as far as it will come (it does not leave the receiver) and the barrel shoved straight back into the receiver, the key is pushed back into position, now in front of the barrel lug and the ring on the head of the key turned—this is the gimmick—a screw pulls the key in and tightens up everything. It works. I fired one of these, taking the gun apart and putting it together between shots and had absolutely no headspace trouble, judging from observation of the fired cases, compared with unfired cartridges. A fairly high quality of skill was evident on these Model 1 rifles and I am sorry I didn’t get hold of one to keep. They were scarce and

about the only ones we came across were those carried by the few parachutists who raided the airstrip at Dulag, on Leyte. By now somebody is wondering about the “Model 1” business— it means 1941; 1940 was the year of the Zero, remember? They count up to a hundred and start over, or rather, they count according to the age of their empire but use only the last or last two digits as model numbers. Thus 1940 was their year 2600; 1939 was 2599 by their calendar, and so on; only they used a couple of other systems too, in previous years. The Model 38 (1905) rifle was so designated because it was adopted in the 38th year of the reign of the Emperor Meiji. And some guns are marked with the year of the reign of either Hirohito or his predecessor who held the throne from 1912 to 1925, when Hirohito took over. Before getting completely away from the 7.7mm rifles, the long model should be mentioned, for one was produced, being a little shorter than the long 6.5mm, but with a barrel almost as long, using the same sights as the regular Model 99. It also had a monopod and its swivels were located on the bottom of the stock instead of on the left side as on the regular rifle. Very few of these arms were made. The side-located swivels of the Model 99 and Model 1 are very large, wide enough to accept a sling 11/2″ wide, and some of the rubberized canvas slings were almost that wide, as well as being 1/4″ thick. One I measured was 17/16″ wide, with a steel buckle for adjusting length. Widths varied, however, as did lengths—each of the three most numerous guns, the 6.5mm long rifle, the 6.5mm carbine and the 7.7mm M99 requiring different lengths. The Japanese 7.7mm rifles were not as well made, designed or of as good materials as the 6.5mm Arisakas. They were light, rugged, bolt-action military rifles, well suited to field use and abuse. The 7.7mm cartridges are full-sized modern military small arms cartridges, ranking with the .30-06, the 7.9mm, the 8mm rimless, the French 7.5mm and the Swiss 7.56mm cases. The Model 99 cartridge, for the model 99 rifle, is a rimless cartridge very similar to the German 7.9mm in general dimensions. These were said to have been loaded in ball, AP and incendiary types, but I believe only the ball received any distribution. None of the other types turned up in

the wake of the Philippine campaigns. Two weights of flat-based bullets were reported, one at 181, the other at 189-grains. All I have personally checked vary from 181 to 182-grains—quite uniform for military ammunition. Propellant was approximately 42.0 grains of flake powder. Weights of charges vary, but there is much less variation within lots than in the 6.5mm caliber. Velocity out of the 251/2″ barrel is given as 2,390 FPS. The rimless rifle cartridges are used in all models of the 7.7mm rifles and in the Model 99 Bren-type light machine guns. They can be fired in the mounted medium or heavy type 7.7mm machine guns, but are not reliable in such weapons and were never factory loaded into the feed-strips provided for these guns. The Model 92 semi-rimless 7.7mm cartridge, identical in body, shoulder and neck dimensions with the M99 rimless case, used a long and good boat-tailed bullet, averaging 204.5-grains, pushed by a load of (average) 43.5 grains of a nitro-cellulose tubular cut powder, grain size of approximately that of duPont 4320 powder. Velocity was rated 2,400 FPS out of the 291/2″ machine gun barrel. The bullets were quite uniform, running .3105″ in diameter with little variation. I pulled and sent home about 2,000—who knows, I might get a good .303 British rifle sometime. I have a new, unfired Jap 7.7mm M99, but cannot see much fun in shooting it. The Japanese did not mark the bases of cartridges in 6.5mm, 7.7mm or 7.9mm, but did stamp the bases of their 7.7mm rimmed cases with the numbers “7.7.” They did not color the annulus of small caliber ammunition as a rule, but did crimp primers with three small indents, or stake marks. In their color code, identification was based on the color of the band around the bullet at mouth of case. A pink band marked ball bullets; black on armor piercers; green on tracers; a reddish-purple on incendiaries; indelible purple on the explosive type; and brown on the semi-armor piercers, or mild steel core bullets. The last three types mentioned are aircraft ammunition, while tracers were of course used in ground guns along with ball and armor piercing. In most cases, identification of the different types is easy—the AP has a hard brass jacket on the bullet, while all the ball ammunition, both rimless and semi-rimless, has gilding-metal or copperalloy jacket material, with lead cores. The tracers, in addition

to the green band, had a bright nickel bullet jacket. Explosive bullets had their tips slightly flat. The semi-armor piercing has a gildingmetal jacket and could easily be mistaken for a ball cartridge, since the brown band is not too different from the pink or red band on the regular bullet. I believe that these semi-AP’s were the ball ammunition of the aircraft machine guns and were never issued to ground forces. My only cartridges of this type are 7.9mm caliber, not 7.7mm. All of these special purpose bullets are propelled by either the same type nitro-cellulose tubular powder as found in the 7.7mm semirimmed ball cartridge, or a type of chopped cordite, (used in aircraft stuff). On their version of the .303 British—they called and marked it 7.7mm rimmed (some cartridges were unmarked)—the Japs used a larger grain size of powder, the individual grains being the same size as those of duPont No. 4064. Their ball bullet for this case was copied without change from the British Mk VII in size or weight, and was a regular 174-grain flat base bullet, backed by about 38.0 grains of powder. The tracer was very light in this caliber, weighing only 147grains, flat based, and driven by 37.5 grains of powder. I found two types of Japanese-made 7.9mm ball bullets, made at different periods, I believe. One was apparently many years old, a steel-jacketed 165-grain bullet, and the other, their war-time or modern load, a 164-grain gilding-metal jacketed bullet, flat based also, but shorter than its predecessor. I was unable to save the powder charges of these two cartridges and do not know the weights. The older cartridge had flake powder, the second their nitrocellulose as found in 7.7mm semi-rimless. All the Japanese small caliber ammunition I found had Berdantype primers, with two flashholes. It was supposed to, anyway (I nearly blew the end of a finger off popping a primer in an emptied steel rimless case I wanted to save and ship back, once; the little brothers had neglected to put but one flashhole in it, so when I hit the primer with a long punch it blew out, and dived into the tip of a finger). We located a few cases of steel-cased 7.7mm rimless Model 99 ammunition on Luzon, but I never saw any Japanese steeljacketed bullets, excepting the one 7.9mm mentioned above. Poor brass in the cartridge cases caused a great deal of trouble, for it

corroded very easily for some reason—more so than our ammunition. In addition to their own rifles, the Japanese used captured ones, arming garrison units with them. Their troops on Leyte had hundreds of 1917 Enfields, and I have captured Jap pictures showing them checking or repairing these weapons, Japanese men and officers standing beside long tables covered with them. A few .303 British Lee Enfields were in evidence in the islands, probably brought from Malaya or Hong Kong by Jap officers. Some Springfields and Browning machine guns were used against us in Leyte, and even in Luzon a recaptured .30 watercooled gun was turned in to us. I remember that we found one or two new parts in it—made after 1942 —and wondered where they came from. The men who took the gun claimed they never touched it before giving it to us. Apparently we had a good supply of .30-06 ammunition on Bataan and Corregidor, for the Nips did not load any of their own for these captured weapons. The only way to get M1 bullets in .30 caliber cartridges, or the old “hot” armor piercers was to get them off a Jap. Germany gave Japan a small supply of 7.9mm Mauser rifles captured from Czechoslovakia early in the war. These have turned up as souvenirs, usually picked up at Jap Naval bases, for they were issued to a few units of the Japanese Imperial Marines. I do not know of any being used in actual warfare in the Pacific, however. The rifles themselves were 1924 Mausers and the few I have seen were identified on the left receiver wall by the legend “Ceskoslovenska Zbrojvka V Brno” and “VZ24.” Receiver ring was marked only with last two digits of year of manufacture, and most seem to be of “37” or 1937 date. Bolt handles were straight, as on the Japanese rifles and were not turned down or bent as on the German rifle or the 1903 Springfield. Four sling swivels were provided—a left-side pair and a conventionally-located bottom set. Sights were open V-notch and blade, the rear having slide tangent elevation to 2,000 meters in 100 meter jumps and the front being unprotected, without hood or integral “ears” to shield it. Dimensions and weight were about the same as the Kar. 98K—43” overall, 23.2” barrel, weight 8.6 pounds. German rifle parts will readily interchange in most Czech Mausers, whether the Model 24 or otherwise.

XXXIX THE JAP PISTOLS For military pistols the Japs stayed pretty well by their own models, the original or basic type being the Nambu, designed by or at least named for a Colonel Kejiro Nambu. The locking system is obviously similar to that of the Italian M1910 Glisenti, but the Japanese are usually given credit for inventing their own pistol. They should, as it was about 95% better than the Italian job. There is no question but what the designer was influenced by both the Glisenti and the Luger. The general outlines, balance, magazine systems, etc. are similar. I do not know when the Nambu pistol was produced — have heard it was 1914, but have no definite proof. It bore no date or model number, but merely characters which translate to Nambu Shiki, meaning Nambu Pistol, which leaves us where we were two sentences ago. The original pistol was not made in great numbers, as it was superseded by a modified gun in 1925, called the Model 14, as it was the 14th year of Taisho Era, according to Japanese counting (I make it only 13, but the Nips figured their own way; they even count themselves a year old at birth—maybe that is included in the gun!). The first model, or true Nambu, is a bolt-action, recoil operated eight-shot autoloader, using an 8mm bottlenecked semi-rimless cartridge. The wooden stocks are checked, with butt at approximately the same angle as that of the Luger. Magazine release and magazine bottoms are similar to those of the Luger also. A small grip safety is located in the front of the grip, just under the trigger guard, and this is the only safety on the pistol, though it is just a trigger blocking type. The base of the back of the butt has a long Tslot, for mounting into a shoulder stock, as the original holsters for this model were of wood and formed a detachable stock as with the

Mausers and Lugers of the World-War I era. The rear sight was adjustable for range from 100 to 500 meters, being a leaf type with a slide elevating on the tangent principle. Both front and rear sights were V style, notch and blade. The action of the weapon was well worked out, as a completely enclosed firing pin acted as its own striker, and the locking system is considered very good. The barrel is quite a piece of machine work on this and on the Model 14 pistol, for it continues the entire length of the receiver to the rear, forming its own “extension” or bolt housing. The bolt, carrying the firing pin and extractor, is fitted to travel inside this rear section. In operation, only the bolt moves all the way back, the barrel moving just far enough under recoil to cam down the locking block out of engagement with the bolt. The recoil spring is the outstanding feature of the gun, though, for apparently Colonel Nambu could not find a place for it inside the frame and had to build a housing for it on the left hand side, paralleling the barrel for the length of the receiver. The cocking piece, on the rear of the bolt, outside the frame necessarily has to be wide enough to reach over to the left enough to take care of the recoil spring guide. The slender 41/2″ barrel gives the gun a muzzle-light appearance, but it balances in the hand fairly well and is quite accurate. Weight is 31 ounces empty. The loaded cartridge weights 176-grains, eight of them approximate 3.2 ounces, so figure the loaded weight yourself. Both Nambu and Model 14 pistols are top-ejecting and will not fire without a magazine in the gun, thereby ruining alibis for “unloaded” gun accidents when the magazine is out. And the magazine follower holds the bolt open when the gun is empty, or cocked when empty. This makes magazine removal rather difficult and the large knurled or checked aluminum bottom pieces are there to give a good hold on it. In my opinion, difficulty of empty magazine removal is about the only real drawback to the Japanese Nambu and M14 pistols as military weapons. The bullet is small of course, actual diameter being .320”, and weight 100-grains, with a credited speed of 950 FPS. All the Japanese regulation pistols used the same 8mm cartridge, the proper name of which is 8mm Nambu Pistol cartridge. They were issued in different-sized small boxes, or packets, of 12, 16 and 25, to my knowledge. Bases are unmarked, extracting rims are very thin,

and bullets were either nickel or copper alloy jacketed, appearing in both white and gilding-metal types. No steel jackets were reported. The most popular and best Japanese service handgun was the Model 14, or 1925, which was a simplified and more practical type of Nambu. It is marked on the receiver, “14th Year Model,” usually on the left side. In this revised gun the single offset recoil spring of the Nambu was eliminated and two smaller recoil springs incorporated into the barrel extension, the bolt being machined on each side to provide room, and the receiver opening at the back end providing stops for them. The cocking piece is of course smaller and the firing pin spring guide head protrudes to the rear at all times through its center. The firing pin itself is inside the bolt and could work up a pretty fast ignition if its spring were not rather weak. The grip safety is omitted and a manual safety installed on the left hand side of the receiver just above the trigger. In operation it merely blocks the sear, which bypasses the magazine on the left side, fitting into a slot milled in the receiver. Also, it locks the barrel forward and the bolt either cocked or uncocked, whichever it happens to be. With the safety on the only thing that should be movable is the magazine. I do not know whether this is good or not. At any rate, the safety is not infallible, as the long (almost 4″) sear might become bent or the sear face of the firing pin worn enough to slip under the slight movement of the sear possible by trigger pressure even with the safety in position. There is no visible means of determining whether the gun is unloaded or loaded, or ready to fire or not (cocked) from looking at it from either side or the top. Even the extractor, visible through the ejection port, does not seem to change its position appreciably when a cartridge is in the chamber. Like the German P.38, the Nambu and Model 14 Japanese pistols can be assembled and fired without their lock in place. The Jap locking block hinges on the bottom of the barrel extension and a small coil spring in the receiver applies tension to it when it is in the locking position. On the Nambu a small cut in the back of the receiver at the top of the grip enters the unlocking recess of the block; a spring contacting this locking block indicates its position through a small checked rectangular button which fills the cut or opening. Therefore the presence or absence of the lock is indicated

to the web of the pistol hand. On the M14 pistols, this latter safety feature is omitted and it is necessary to turn the pistol so that it is possible to look into the opening and by eye check the presence of the locking block. The sights are somewhat unusual on the M14—the front is a flattopped V blade, dovetailed into the base provided on the end of the barrel, and the rear notch is a flat-bottomed inverted V type, wider at bottom than at top, thus allowing the tapering front to be outlined by the sides. It is machined into the receiver, or frame, making the sight system strictly non-adjustable. I do not have the faintest idea what distance the sights were supposed to be correct for. The Model 14 has been praised by some authorities as the easiest to make of any military semi-automatic pistol, as standard boring and milling machines can make most of the parts. The bore measures approximately .315″, grooves .325″, having six standardtype lands and grooves, the radius groove not being used. Pistols are easy to fieldstrip without tools and easy to handle in firing. The long butt is set about right for quick offhand shooting, by which I mean if you had to take a fast shot at somebody without raising the gun much above the hip or waist you would stand a good chance of hitting him rather than his feet, as is likely to happen with a lot of automatics, including the P.38 and the Colt. Recoil is mild as the pistol weighs 32 ounces empty and the light bullet does not kick the gun around much. The loaded pistol runs slightly over 35 ounces but the “feel” is that of a lighter gun, due to concentration of weight in the hand, or rear of the gun. To take the gun down the firing pin spring guide is pressed in on the cocking piece, and the cocking piece unscrewed and removed, along with the guide and spring, with the firing pin remaining in the bolt for the moment. With the magazine removed, the magazine catch is pressed in and the trigger guard assembly slid down a short distance while the barrel is forced to the rear, in its bolt-unlocking position. With the trigger guard lowered slightly it is possible to slide the barrel, bolt and the lock forward and out of the receiver. The guard assembly and the magazine catch retain each other in the receiver, although the left stock will usually hold the catch in its seat

if the trigger guard is slid down its T-slot and completely removed. The trigger is quite a part in itself, being the housing for the sear connector and its spring. Being springloaded, the connector snaps out of engagement when the gun self-loads while the trigger is held back, thus functioning as a disconnector at that moment. Assembly is of course done in reverse to the above system. Unfortunately, nothing disconnects the sear and firing pin and the firing pin can fall with the bolt anywhere between closed and halfopen positions, while the bolt is locked only when fully closed. As the firing pin spring is weak, perhaps a full fall with the bolt closed is necessary to fire a cartridge, but the fact that the pin can strike a cartridge as the bolt is closing and before it locks is a weakness. I have never heard of any of these guns giving any trouble at all, but none was ever really tested, since ammunition was so scarce it was kept for use against live Nips. Magazines of both Nambu and Model 14 are similar to those of the Luger, and to each other. The spring used is of the round coil type, and they have a follower button on the right side, for help in loading. Model 14 holsters were similar to the

JAPANESE RIFLE RECEIVER AND PART DETAIL Showing undersides of receivers, guards and bolt covers Top: Model 99, 7.7mm caliber. Note recoil shoulder or lug. Center: Model 38, 6.5mm caliber. Note steel support brazed and riveted to inside of bolt cover, machined appearance of all parts, and floor plate not hinged. Bottom: The cast action. Note grained appearance of metal, hinge on floor plate and crude trigger and sear mechanism.

JAPANESE RIFLE RECEIVER AND TRIGGER GUARDS Top: Model 99, 7.7mm caliber. Note detachable receiver tang. Center: Model 38, 6.5mm caliber. Note both tangs are detachable, two gas ports in top of receiver ring. Bottom: The cast action. Note both tangs are integral with action parts, single gas port and no inscription on receiver ring.

German style, having covering flaps which completely protected the butts. Extra magazine pocket was provided on the outside of the box-type holsters, which were of both leather and rubberized canvas. A lanyard loop was welded into the frame of the pistol just under the

cocking piece, and a lanyard was actually used, consisting of an endless loop of woven cord which was worn over the shoulder, attaching the pistol to the wearer for better or for worse. The special models produced for use in cold climates were identical with the standard Model 14’s except for the finger loop of the trigger guard being enlarged and a supplementary magazine retaining spring being installed in the front of the butt at bottom. Both were provisions for using the weapon while wearing gloves; the large trigger guard to admit a gloved finger and the spring to make loaded magazines remain in the pistol even though the magazine catch button might be touched accidentally with a gloved thumb. The spring does not lock the magazine in any way, but merely presses against it. Magazines must be pulled out by main strength. Stocks of the Model 14 were not checked, but were of soft wood, with horizontal grooves, very shallow. All of the Nambus and most of the Model 14 pistols show excellent workmanship. The machining and finish are at least the equal of comparable service pistols, and better than some. High standards were maintained on this weapon until the last year of the war, when slight changes were made, the most evident a switch from the polished and blued finish to a non-reflecting black. These later guns were quite well-made, however, and are not to be compared with the roughfinished surfaces evident on war-time European arms. A few minor machine operations were modified, such as omitting the lightening grooves around the cocking piece and the grooves on the wooden stocks, but the guns cannot be considered poor at all. They are reliable, accurate handguns, safe enough in proper operation, with their own ammunition, and are far from being in the “junk” category. The system of barrel and bolt construction is theoretically the best existent for producing accuracy, as there can be little variation between shots for the moving parts cannot change their positions much. If the rear sight were on the barrel extension, so that both sights and the barrel were for all purposes integral, then the gun should be capable of higher accuracy than is possible with any repeating pistol. Now for the Model 94 (1934) pistol! Here the Japs got even for their good work on the preceding handguns; this is the only thing the

Japs made that is as bad as the backslapping saps in this country said everything Japanese was. It does not have a single redeeming feature and is a good example of how a pistol should not be made. The gun is a recoil-operating 8mm, using the Nambu cartridge, 71/2″ overall, with a 325/32″ barrel. Weight is 27.5 ounces unloaded, 29.9 ounces loaded, the magazine holding six-rounds. A rather peculiar locking system is employed; a tilting or rocking block in the receiver engages the barrel, while its sides project far enough and high enough to meet notches machined in the bottom edge of the slide on each side. When the gun is fired, the slide and barrel recoil, locked together, until the rearward movement of the slide is sufficient to pivot the lock far enough back and down to disengage from the slide notches and allow the slide to continue to travel to the rear, ejecting spent cartridge, etc. The principle is that barrel and slide must move together before they can separate. They are not locked with the frame or receiver at any time, however, as are most recoil-operated pistols. To be absolutely correct, the Model 94 is a locked-breech blowback, or delayed blowback, or recoil-controlled blowback action —take your choice, all are descriptive. I cannot seem to find the right words, for they seem to contradict themselves; forget it—nothing about this gun is important, anyway. The slide is composed of two parts, a thin, feather-light outer shell and an inner bolt containing the firing pin, extractor, etc. which are held together by a transverse key passing through both, above the firing pin. The gun has a hammer inside the frame, said hammer having a roller in its nose to cut down friction of the slide’s passage over it (I will not admit it, but this could be considered a good idea in some quarters). This model will also theoretically fire before it is entirely closed, but the presence of the hammer cuts down the danger, a hammer requiring a full fall to deliver sufficient force to the firing pin, aside from the matter of requiring an unimpeded path to the firing pin, which is not provided until the slide is completely forward. The sear is fully exposed on the left side of the frame, pivoting horizontally in a slot above the trigger and running back almost to the end of the pistol. These pistols may be fired by pressing against the front of the sear, without ever touching the trigger. The safety is just a crude lever which in the safe position

covers the rear end of the sear and discourages it from moving outward and out of engagement with the innards. Sometimes, when the trigger is held back after a shot, the hammer will not remain back but will follow the slide down, so that the gun must be operated by hand. I understand this pistol was designed by the Japanese for export and only manufactured for their own use as a war emergency. The first models found were reasonably well finished, with fair blueing jobs and moulded black composition stocks, but the great majority are extremely rough, obviously produced by unskilled labor. To simplify machining, the seat for the breech lock was cut straight across the frame and then thin plates were welded to the outside edges to fill up the gaping opening. Also, the bolt is crudely welded shut at the back end. Chisel and grinding marks are apparent and finish seems to be a sort of heat discoloration, or else a very fast chemical job. The butt of the gun is very short and small, with stocks just plain flat pieces of wood. The six-round magazine is the best made part of the gun, rough as it is. This Model 94 pistol is so bad I hate to talk about it. The little-known Japanese officer’s pistol, the 7mm Nambu, was a beautifully made junior-size true Nambu, with grip safety, the one off-set recoil spring, and the same locking system. The 7mm was originally intended to be an officer’s weapon, and the 8mm to be the enlisted men’s sidearm. This idea was too silly to last long even among the medieval-minded samurai worshippers, so did not get far. A small number of the 7mm pistols were made and I doubt if many ever saw active service. All the guns of this type we found in the Japanese bases—four that I know of—were new and unused. They had been made and stored away among the off-standard and unused pistols. All were beautiful little guns, probably hand-fitted and carefully finished, the polishing and machine work equalling the best of our commercial arms. Stocks were of checked walnut, and the butt fitted the hand perfectly, in spite of being small. Sights were similar to those of the Model 14, except that the rear notch was a normal V. The grip safety was the only safety on the gun, and as in the Nambu 8mm, locked, or rather, blocked only the trigger. In the illustration a

small button will be noticed on the left side of the receiver; this has a checked surface and an arrow cut in it, the point of the arrow on the frame of the pistol, the rear section on the button, so that it does not make sense except in one position. However, this is not a safety, but is merely the head of the sear pin. It cannot be turned or moved except when the pistol is disassembled and the barrel free of the receiver. Like the 8mm Nambu, this little gun can be assembled minus its lock, and in fact, the lock can be inserted into place in conjunction with the barrel yet be dropped out of place and out of the gun through the magazine well in the butt, while lining up the other parts! The gun should be assembled upside down, and in any event, the frame has the inspection “window” of the Model 14 to allow visual check. Overall length of the 7mm Nambu was 613/16″; barrel length, 39/32″; height, 41/2″; weight unloaded, 20.5 ounces; magazine capacity, six cartridges. The barrel was taper-bored, and rifled on the radius-groove system, as were the rifles. Bore diameter was .2705″ at the muzzle, and groove diameter .275″ at muzzle. Both measurements increased approximately .005″ as they neared the chamber. Lands were quite narrow, and six in number. The weapon contained only 32 parts, exclusive of the magazine. The 7mm cartridge itself was a rather radical innovation; centerfire, Berdan-type primed, a semi-rimless bottlenecked case holding a white alloy (nickel) jacketed bullet with a lead core, the bullet weight only 56-grains, the lightest of any military cartridge I have ever heard of. Propelled by three grains of a fine-cut powder, it should have had high muzzle velocity. Pressures would undoubtedly go up some, too, for the bullets measured .2795″, which meant they would have to swage themselves down a little to get out of the barrel. The cartridge itself was 1.062″ overall, loaded, and the case alone was .782″. Diameter of extracting rim was .360″, while diameter of the case body at its base was .350″. It was probably scaled down from the 8mm Nambu, which was an orphan cartridge itself. I found two different types of 7mm cartridges, one a little shorter in the body than the above case, but believe it was the experimental version of the experimental version, in a way, for no weapon was ever found to chamber it.

The 7mm was a joke as a military pistol of course, but as a pistol by itself, it was a nice little gun, a beautiful souvenir. So far as shooting it—cases would have to be hand-made and hand-loaded, none of our cartridges being adaptable to altering for it. The 8mm cartridge is rather a weak sister compared with the 9mm M’08 loads, but if a man was determined, he could make suitable cartridge cases from those of the .38 ACP cartridge without too much trouble. The 7mm pistol had three Japanese characters on the right side of the receiver at the rear, but I was not able to get them translated while I had a pistol on hand. Took it to four Japanese-Americans, but they could not read it.

XL JAP MACHINE GUNS Almost as rare as 7mm pistols were the Japanese submachine guns. I only know of three guns being found, though quite a few must have existed. Of the three, one was found on Manus, in the Admiralty Islands; the second on Tarakhan, off Borneo, by the Australians; and we picked up one at Tokyo. I wish now I had taken accurate measurements and tried to get a picture, for I realize it was a real oddity. The weapon was 8mm Nambu caliber, and had a curved bottom magazine holding, I think, 30 cartridges. The total length was about 28″ or 30″, and the straight stock was full-length, having a sort of bull-pup effect to it, as there was a large hole in the wood at the pistol grip for the thumb to go through. The receiver was machined and blued, with an adjustable rear sight, slide tangent type, 50 to 500 meters. The barrel was short and was completely covered its full length by a slide similar to that on Browning automatic pistols though longer, possibly 12″ overall. The slide had oblong slots to aid in cooling, and the recoil spring was around the barrel as in some pistols, such as the old Savage, the 1910 Browning, the Walther PPK and PP and the Japanese M94. The front sight was machined in the top of the slide and had protecting wings also integral with the slide. Although the stock was of poor wood, the metal parts of the gun I examined were very well made comparable only to those of the Nambu and early Model 14 pistols in finish. Evidently it had been well polished before the blacking process was applied, for it was really a beautiful little gun. A change lever was provided giving a choice of full-automatic or singleshot fire, and a safety was in the trigger guard, locking only the trigger itself, I think. All the men who handled it approved it highly, and I think it would be a very fine little

machine pistol, or submachine gun, except that the cartridge was too light for effectiveness in such a weapon. No Steyr or Bergmann-type submachine guns were ever found in Japanese hands, despite early reports that such arms were in use. Where this report started, no one seems to know, but possibly it came through China. Above the rifles and pistols the Japanese had a wide choice of machine guns, ranging from the Model 11 6.5mm light machine gun to the huge and heavy 13mm Model 93 anti-aircraft guns, or even higher if we want to count the 20mm anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns or the 25mm anti-everything cannon. The Model 11 (1922) was called the Nambu, even by the Japs. It was the weird hopper-feed auto rifle we saw pictures of at the start of the war. Few of these were used, as it was not only an obsolescent model, but required the reduced-load cartridge, a little below the power of the standard Arisaka rifle loading. Consequently, when these guns were issued to a unit, the rifle troops of that outfit got reduced-load ammunition also. In order to protect these guns, whenever any Model 11s were in the T/O it was necessary to supply all 6.5mm weapons with the weaker load, to keep the ammunition straight. As a result, most of the 6.5mm ammunition I ran across was the reduced load, even though we saw only two or three of the auto rifles which caused it. The gun was no bargain, for it weighed 22.5 pounds. It was a bipod weapon, and its most notable feature was the hopper feed. The gun was fed by laying loaded five-round rifle clips in the squarish box located on the left hand side of the receiver. The cover of the hopper had a strong spring and when released forced the cartridges down, holding them firmly while a ratchet mechanism stripped the bottom clip and pulled the cartridges to the right, into the bolt runway. Gasoperated, with a maximum cyclic rate of 500 RPM, the speed of fire can be regulated somewhat by the gas cylinder, from about 375 to 500. All these guns were made prior to 1936 and were of fair material and finish. The basic idea of the action came from the old French Hotchkiss, though Hotchkiss would never have recognized it. In addition, the Japanese at some time or other made a 6.5mm full blowback automatic rifle, having a medium heavy barrel and a

very light bipod. Its receiver was of steel tubing and the bolt had nothing to hold it except a not-very-strong spring. A 20-round box magazine entered the left side of the receiver, and ejection port was on the right side. A crude wooden stock was fitted, of conventional pattern. Weight was approximately 15 pounds. Only one turned up in the Philippines, taken by a sergeant of an experimental turn of mind—he knew me and brought the gun to me, asking what was what, as he knew enough to realize that a 6.5mm weapon should not be blowback. I gave him some reduced-load Model 11 ammunition and he fired just one (via string). It wrecked the receiver and magazine as well, so evidently a very weak special loading was used for such arms. While exploring the Jap bases about Tokyo, I ran across a small warehouse with a few hundred of these guns standing in racks. They showed signs of use and of reconditioning, but we never found but the one mentioned above out in the field. As I remember it, the guns had Thompson-style pistol grips and trigger guard units, and were full-auto only. They were fairly short, about 45″ overall, and had no bayonet stud. Probably another idea which did not work. In 1936 the Nips produced the Model 96 (1936) light machine gun, which retained some features of the Model 11, but was essentially a modification of the Czech Zbrojovka, or Brno, or Bren design, to get pronounceable. Fundamentally similar to the British and Czech models, it had Japanese characteristics—cooling flanges the length of the barrel and a stud for the Model 30 bayonet. Barrels were quickdetachable, with fixed handles as in the Brens. Sights were the Czech type, a drum-base rear with peep aperture and windage, offset to left to clear the top-mounting 30-round magazine, and moving in clicks or jumps of 100 meters from 200 to 1,500 meters. Barrel length was only 21.65″, and velocity of the reducedload Model 11 6.5mm cartridge is listed as 2,410 FPS. Cyclic rate was 550 RPM. The weight was 20 pounds. A 2.5X prismatic telescopic sight was issued with these guns, but seldom used in the Pacific fighting. This was a satisfactory arm, well-enough engineered, if we forget the bayonet stud, but hamstrung by the weak cartridge.

When the Model 99 7.7mm rifle became official, the light machine gun was also modified for the larger cartridge, and the Model 99 light machine guns appeared. It was simply a later and improved Model 96, and was very similar in general appearance. About the only real differences between the two patterns of gun were a new type of barrel release and a system of adjusting barrels for headspace on individual guns by means of the barrel lock or release, and a monopod on the buttplate. The bipod was long-legged, and the bayonet stud was still around. Barrels were identical in length, and weight was the same, 20 pounds. Flashhiders were universal on the 7.7mm barrels, but seldom seen on the 6.5mm. I did not pay too much attention to the interchangeability of parts, but believe a lot of them are the same on both guns. I saw and fired both types, and found recoil was light in both calibers, but that the guns seemed to jump more than the British Bren. The Model 99 used the Model 99 rimless 7.7mm cartridge only. On heavy or medium mounted machine guns, the Japs did the same thing as they did on the light guns—they built a 6.5mm and then changed it to 7.7mm. That is not quite correct, for they did not discontinue the 6.5mm models entirely, but were really trying to modify it into a more portable or flexible weapon at the end of the war. However both the original models were called by the name of Juki, from the Jap word Jukikanju, meaning “heavy gun” or “heavy machine gun,” and the 6.5mm was the model which earned the original nickname “the woodpecker,” finally given by later arrivals in the Pacific to every automatic weapon the Japs had under 20mm. The 6.5mm had a cyclic rate of about 350 RPM and bursts did sound from a good distance like a woodpecker looking for lunch. The 7.7mm had a faster rate and at times its heavier beat was hard to distinguish from that of the aircooled .30 Browning. These heavy Jukis had two drawbacks—they were really heavy, and they fired from the Hotchkiss strip, a type of feed inferior to both belt and magazine systems. Ammunition came ready loaded in either brass or steel strips, 30-rounds in each; ball, tracer and armor piercing types provided, of the Model 92 7.7mm semi-rimless type case. This cartridge is identical in chamber dimension with the M99 7.7mm rimless rifle cartridge, but whereas the rifle case is truly

rimless, the machine gun case had a semi-rim, probably to enable the arm to function with poor grades of brass by giving the extractors of the Jukis something to hold on to (Jap brass was universally thin and soft). The machine guns would work fairly well in an emergency if rimless rifle ammunition were handloaded into empty strips, although of course being very liable to jam in case of a cartridge sticking in the chamber, allowing the extractors to slip over the smaller rim. It was and is impossible to fire the M92 ammunition in the rifle without great effort, as the face of the bolt is machined to accept only the smaller diameter base of the rimless case. I know of a couple of cases where men forced the bolts closed on semi-rimless cartridges by exerting a lot of strength, but as a rule the cartridges could not be used without filing or cutting down by other means the diameter of the extracting rim a little. The machine gun cartridge also develops higher pressures than the rifle ammunition, due to its heavier bullet. Armor piercers have hard brass bullet jackets, and although lighter in weight than ball bullets, raise pressures to some extent (my personal view is that a M99 rifle in good condition would be strong enough to hold either of these loads, without danger to the shooter). The Japanese strip-fed guns did not replace their empties in the strips as did the Italian Breda M37, but instead threw them far, wide and hard; and kept them hot. I often thought that perhaps they were trying to protect the guns from a right flanking attack, the way the hot brass covered that sector. Unimpeded cases would travel 20 yards, on a low trajectory. While termed heavy machine guns they were actually of the true “medium machine gun” class, a distinction of no real importance to us, as it is based on the European nomenclature method of classing bipod shoulder weapons as light machine guns; small caliber tripod or mounted arms as medium machine guns; and large caliber (above .45) weapons as heavy machine guns. The U. S. has termed the Browning “BAR” as an “automatic rifle,” aircooled small caliber machine guns, either tripod or bipod type as light machine guns, and small caliber watercooled and the .50 caliber as heavy machine guns.

Evidently the Japanese were proud of these ground machine guns, for even through the war years they maintained very high standards of inspection and assembly, the finished weapons being beautiful jobs, with smooth and very durable blacking, similar to that on early German products. Workmanship was top-drawer quality, better than that of our own machine guns even in pre-war years. Dimensions and tolerances were not up to our standards, as they did not work to interchangeability of all parts. Most replacement parts required hand fitting to some degree at least. Each gun had its own supply chest, German fashion, with a stock of spare parts most likely to be needed, as well as cleaning rods, oil, jag tips, etc. Presumably each parts kit would stay with each gun and the gunners could check and see that the parts would go in the gun, having them fitted if necessary. In spite of our officers who thought that the parts business was highly important, the Jap machine guns gave no more trouble from the maintenance angle than our own. If a machine gun on either side broke down during an attack, that was just too bad. I knew too many of our machine gunners who had a tough time changing barrels, let alone maintaining a gun in the field with spare parts. Besides, if all our American guns had such nice, ready-fitting pieces in them, why were we armorers supplied with so many files and stones? Jap gas-operated strip-feed guns were definitely cousins of the Italian Breda, though not as good. It is or has been the custom to dismiss any strip-fed weapon with the tag “Hotchkiss type,” the Hotchkiss being an early type of automatic utilizing the metal tray or strip for loading. However the original principle of the design was worked over and improved so much (in Czechoslovakia during the 1920’s) that for all purposes the Bredas and Jukis may be considered present-day guns, or modern designs. As in the Bredas, the Jap MG barrels are heavy, with wide cooling rings or flanges over them at the breech and machined on them for their length beyond the gas port and its housing. The guns use the same heavy tripod (both calibers) which gives a good mounting and traverse, employing a supplementary column to raise the gun to chest-height for high elevation and full traverse against aircraft.

Several types of sights were supplied; the fixed front V blade may be supplemented by a fabricated-wire ring type for AA fire and the ordinary rear sight, adjustable from 300 to 2,700 meters, may be replaced with a special anti-aircraft aperture, or any of three telescopic sights, all prismatic types, may be used. These came in 4, 5 and 6 power. Barrel length was 29.5″, giving excellent ballistics to the cartridge, and overall length of the 7.7mm model was 45.5″. It was rated at 450 RPM cyclic (slightly variable by gas adjustment) and was a very good weapon for static defense, such as in bunkers, fortified buildings, trench emplacements, etc., where good ballistics and steady operation are valuable. In such a position it had fair firepower, as the loaded strips’ insertion aided in cooling the gun by requiring a couple of seconds’ time between long bursts. In addition, the barrels are readily removable and cool ones could be slipped in with the loss of only a few seconds, where the gun crew is protected. Dispersion was satisfactory. The guns had an oil brush and tank in the cover and each cartridge was oiled as it was loaded, for aid in functioning. Since the guns were well enclosed, dirt and sand was not too great a danger to them, in the course of ordinary events. For practical field use in close-up infantry fighting such as went on in the jungles and mountains of the Pacific war where both sides could not park very long at any one spot because of mortar use, the Japanese machine gun was not so good. The gun itself weighed 61 pounds and the tripod 61 more—a total of 122 pounds which is about 90 too much, and is undoubtedly the reason the Japs liked to get our 1919A4 Brownings, weighing only 30 pounds and which one man could carry over his shoulder like a rifle. Their tripod feet had sockets and carrying handles were inserted for moving the gun and tripod together all set up. The guy on the back end had a handlebar arrangement and supported half the weight of the outfit all by his lonesome, two men sharing the front end. And they did not have any spare hands for ammunition, either. You can imagine transporting this outfit up and down steep mountain trails and through jungle tangles and streams where the going was tough for a man carrying nothing but a carbine. The weight of the gun and the fact that it needed two men at all times for operation—one gunner and one

loader to feed in ammunition strips from the side—made it a poor gun for field use. Toward the end of the war the Nips perfected a light 6.5mm tripod gun which could be handled and transported easily, but it still used the strip feed. Aside from that it was a practical infantry arm. I never saw one of these later guns personally, and believe few ever reached the field, even on Okinawa. Odd models popped up here and there—in Luzon I saw at least five German MG 15’s, identical with the German models except for Japanese ideographs on the receivers. These were 7.9mm caliber and apparently were made in Germany for the Jap air force, for we found only improvised mounts for them, indicating they were taken from disabled planes for ground fighting. Old Lewis aircooled guns were always turning up, of both Japanese and British manufacture, all of .303 caliber. I never found any of the old U. S. Navy Lewis guns. A British Bren gun turned up at Manila, and at Tanuan we found several new breech blocks and barrels for .303 Vickers machine guns, but not the guns. In the real heavy machine-gun category the Nips had just one ground model, their 1933 or M93 anti-tank and anti-aircraft 13mm gun which existed as a single gun and as a twin-mounted AA gun using an elaborate and very heavy tripod, with chair for the gunner and traversing and elevating mechanism like an artillery piece. Total weight was about 350 pounds. Each gun alone weighed 88 pounds. Like the M92 7.7mm guns, these were heavy barrelled gas-operated jobs, very similar to the Italian heavy Breda. Though called the 13mm, the cartridge was actually a 13.2mm and practically identical with our .50 Browning cartridge except for its slightly greater bullet diameter. Americans called it the .51 caliber and it was an accepted fact that the Jap guns could use our .50 caliber ammunition. I never tried any, and believe that they would malfunction after a shot or two, because of differing gas pressures, if the U. S. case was used. The cases are similar enough so that headspace would not be a problem. I was always going to clean up a 13mm and try it with our ammunition, but never got around to it. We had plenty of the guns on hand at various times.

The M93 was very clumsy and bulky, and of little use except in road blocks, and road blocks were not so important in the Pacific, since they could be outflanked so easily. Because of their weight they did not begin to compare with our .50 caliber Browning as an effective anti-vehicle arm, since they could not be readily moved about. Primarily anti-aircraft machine guns, they did not have enough power to do much damage. The barrels were almost five feet long, with flashhiders to lengthen even that, and aircraft sights were entirely on the mounts, quite an elaborate computing type of metallic aiming equipment, requiring the services of a third man besides the gunner and traverser. An open V slide tangent type is mounted on the rear end of the receivers for ground use. Sometimes only one gun would have this open sight. Ammunition was marked by a color ring about the primer, white for armor-piercing, black for ball, and red for tracer. Not much of a gun—too big for handling, or for its relative effectiveness. In contrast, their aircraft heavy machine guns, and their 20mm and 25mm weapons were rather good. The Browning design was copied in both 20mm and 12.7mm, both models being used in later models of aircraft as wing guns, and the 12.7mm as a flexible turret gun. The 12.7mm heavy machine gun cartridge was identical in all measurements with the Italian cartridge of the same caliber. I say it was the Italian cartridge, because they brought out the gun first. I have samples of both cases, and as shown they are too similar to have been developed separately by each country. The Jap “Brownings” were unmistakably copied from our own type, but the little brothers managed to improve them a little, by simplifying the back plate and recoil or driving spring. Their back plate was hinged to the receiver at the bottom and pinned in place at the top, while ours slides vertically in machined slots in the walls of the receiver. A not very important point, but it eliminated our catch and spring parts. Their models were slightly heavier in 12.7mm than our corresponding .50 caliber aircraft models, but their 20mm machine gun was far lighter than any other 20mm developed by anyone during the war, and was a distinct shock to some of our own firearms men who had for years been claiming that the Browning system could not be utilized for anything larger than .50 caliber, despite the

existence of the Browning-invented 37mm anti-aircraft cannon, which was a lousy gun but at least was a recoil-operated automatic. The Nipponese 20mm cartridge as used in their Browning-type machine gun probably did not achieve as high a velocity as could be desired. Our own 20mm guns were no world-beaters as far as ballistics go, but reached within 200 FPS of the German shell in velocity. Perhaps the most powerful of all 20s was the Japanese Model 98 (1938) cannon shell, which used a cartridge 8.187″ overall, and 1.31″ in diameter at the base, tapering to 1.22″ at shoulder, with only a short neck. This almost-straight case had great powder capacity. The gun it was used in was a large carriage-mounted dual purpose type fairly effective against low-flying planes. It was gas-operated semi or full-automatic, used 20-round box magazines and had a vertical range of 12,000 feet, according to my dope. Velocity ranged from 2,720 FPS for high-explosive shells to 3,000 FPS for tracers, so maybe they did not use all the powder space they could have. Another large bottlenecked 20mm cartridge was their Model 97, or 1937, anti-tank rifle, obviously the Jap idea of a copy of the Solothurn 20mm AT gun. It was gas-operated and full-automatic, as opposed to the Solothurn’s recoil and semi-auto power. They were not used to any extent and I saw only one in Luzon. The loaded cartridge for it is 7.75″ long and 1.125″ in diameter at base—a smaller scale model of the M38 case, sharp-shouldered, shortnecked and straight. Maybe the gun should be described a little more in detail— it weighed 140 pounds and was 82.5″ overall, having about a 49″ barrel, of which 2″ was muzzle brake. It used a 7round box magazine, mounting from the top, and had a pair of coil springs in the shoulder piece or buttstock, to absorb recoil, which must have been considerable. A small shield, 5/16″ steel plate, was provided for the gunner, hanging on the barrel housing above the bipod. This was sufficient to protect the operator from .30 and .45 caliber bullets. A set of metallic sights were provided, offset to the left side and on the receiver of the gun, the front a V blade, the rear an adjustable aperture type, with windage, reading to 1,000 meters. Three legs adjustable for height were permanently attached to support the gun and a stamped steel cheek-rest finished the issued

comforts. From there on the gunner was on his own. I will bet no Jap ever kept his eyes open while shooting that contraption! Getting back to the aircraft 20mm Japanese weapons, I cannot tell much except that they had at least four different sizes and types of cartridge cases. I saw three myself among the wreckage of their planes, and a friend just turned up with still another case. I think maybe the Nips field tested experimental equipment, instead of laboratory testing, as we did. In 1942, in this country, I saw a machine gun from one of the planes shot down at Pearl Harbor; it was a Maxim, highly refined, but still a Maxim action, and was of a strange caliber, the cartridge being evidently an almost straight cased type, of about .37 or .38 caliber, the case itself not being oversize, but no longer than a .30-06. Never saw a cartridge. The gun was small and fairly light, comparable in size to our 1919A4 Browning, though the jacket was greater in diameter. I have never heard or read a word about such a gun and never saw any anywhere in the Pacific, or during the war. They did use some 7.7mm guns in pursuit planes, somewhat similar to that gun. I never got a good look at one of the propeller-hub cannons of the Zero, so do not even know what size shell case they used, except that it was enough to carry power. Besides the Browning action, they used the HispanoSuiza and the Oerlikon to at least experimental extent. One of their stunts was to use American-type central hole firing primers in both the Model 97 and Model 98 cases, although all their other 20’s I saw were of the Berdan-type. During the war the Japanese developed several nice items in the weapon line but did not get production on any of them to amount to anything. By the time they were able to build first-class equipment the B-29’s were over Japan and they could not even protect their factories. By the time they were able to build good enough antiaircraft guns and fighter planes to combat the bombers, there was not much left to protect or build them with. They never really learned how to use what they had anyway.

XLI U. S. WEAPONS American small arms were quite satisfactory during the war, we having fewer bad items in this class than in other items, such as panzer equipment. I do not like the M1 rifle and never have, but it proved a much better weapon than I thought it would. Any gasoperated arm must be kept reasonably clean to reliably operate and the majority of malfunctions in the field proved due to either worn gas cylinders or worn (undersize) pistons on the end of the operating rods. The cylinders are rust-proof, but the pistons rusted if not cleaned daily, wearing undersize rapidly and allowing gas to leak so that the operating rod would not move far enough to the rear to correctly function the action. Barrels did not last long. Noncorrosive ammunition would have been a godsend in the Pacific war. I never saw an M1 barrel shot out but saw thousands rusted out. The Garand has two faults, to my mind—it is too heavy and it must be loaded with the eight-round charger clip. The latter means you either load it with a full eight-round clip or you have one of the clumsiest singleshot arms since muzzleloading days. I admit that with the complete dropping of our bolt-action rifles using the fiveround Mauser clip and the issue of all U. S. rifle ammunition in the M1 clip this objection is practically nullified, but the fact remains that it is very difficult to keep the M1 rifle fully loaded when firing sporadically. If, say five cartridges of a clip are fired, three remain in the gun, and the five expended ones are well-nigh impossible to replace in the rifle. Perhaps only one cartridge remains to fire; the rifle is a singleshot until that cartridge is fired and a full clip loaded to replace it. In action, soldiers simply released and ejected partiallyemptied clips and reloaded with full ones in an attempt to keep full effectiveness as long as they could. In some outfits it was customary

to empty the rifle—blazing away the remaining cartridges—after the sixth round was fired. It is of course easier and faster to empty the rifle by firing than by stopping to use two hands to hold the bolt back and press the clip release. Infantry fighting is not always correctly pictured, and a lot of people have very little understanding of some phases. Often it was almost man-to-man scale on a life and death basis game of hide-and-seek. In jungle warfare visibility usually was limited and sound played an important part. Japs on Guadalcanal learned that the “ping” of an ejecting M1 clip meant a momentarilyempty rifle and American infantrymen died because of it. Aberdeen was in a slight furor for awhile, trying to silence the noise, make plastic clips, etc. Probably in Europe such ammunition and loading troubles were not so important, for conditions were different and supplies more plentiful and accessible. The boys could burn out a clip whenever they saw something move, and have another always handy. In the Pacific a lot of the island fighting was in patrol activity where combat conditions could be likened to nothing except big-game hunting— with the game liable to shoot first. Engagements were often short skirmishes or ambushes—exchanges of a few shots, where rifles were used to back up automatic weapons, reversing the usual roles of the weapons. Against a number of scattered, camouflaged targets the Thompsons and BARs were uneconomical, but they could drive the enemy to cover or make him reveal himself getting cover, to be eliminated by riflemen. Where automatic arms in numbers existed, it was of course possible to simply spray the landscape with bullets and relegate the rifle to mopping up on running Nips, or distant shots. The weight of the blasted rifle got me down—10 pounds is about two and a half too much for an army rifle if the soldier is to carry it under his own power. Gun writers are always harping on the subject of keeping hunting rifles light in weight, but nobody ever seems to worry about the infantry rifle avoirdupois. The average deer hunter lives a life of ease compared to a combat soldier, yet he wants seven-pound rifles and would be aghast at the thought of going out wearing heavy boots, a three-pound hat, a belt loaded with assorted pouches and 8o-rounds of ammunition, and probably a 30-pound

pack. But, if an army rifle is not really a hunting rifle, what is it? Yes, I know it has to be made very strong and rugged—how well I know it —but it also has to be carried. Once in a U. S. training camp I made a short hike of about eight miles in hilly country, though along roads, carrying between 70 and 80 pounds of equipment and a 1917 Enfield rifle, which weighs about the same as the M1 with sling— pretty close to 101/2 pounds. I damn near died. It was tougher than anything I ever had to go through in the war (of course, if overseas I would have thrown away about 60 pounds of the pack). That rifle became very, very heavy before I could put it down. I think the Russians were exceedingly smart to bring out a short and light model of their Tokarev autoloader. The Garand’s sights and stock are in my opinion better than those on any other standard military rifle in existence. One of its best points is that it is very easy to teach a man to shoot with; far easier than with the 1903 Springfield. “Bolt manipulation” is quite a problem for a man who never handled a bolt-action rifle and suddenly has to learn fast. The M1’s sights are practically foolproof in use and adjustment, and the rifle may be loaded and fired almost as easily by left-handed persons as right-handed. I was surprised to find that most of them required little more babying regarding oil and dirt than did the bolt rifles. The early guns—made up to 1940—had to be kept clean and well-lubricated at all times, but by 1943 M1s would work satisfactorily with a minimum of oil, and I handled plenty that were anything but clean, yet they operated (by “clean” I mean free of sand, dirt or other foreign matter inside the receiver and among the working parts). Most repair jobs on the M1 concerned the front end—they would fire only singleshot because of insufficient gas to fully recoil the bolt, due to worn cylinders. The only real cure was a new gas cylinder, plus operating rod in some cases, but when we had none of them we usually got the rifles to work by amputating up to 2″ of the operating spring so that it did not offer so much resistance to the backward movement of the piston (on tip of operating rod) and allowing operation by less gas than normally required. Also numerous were rear-sight repair jobs, entailing replacement of missing parts usually. This was the fault of individual soldiers—they would loosen or

remove the windage knob lock to ease adjustment, and the sight would work itself apart, with or without help. And because most soldiers threw away the combination tools which came in the butts of the rifles they could not put the sight back together on the early model (they could not take it apart so easily, either, so maybe came out even). Later sights used a longer pinion, or elevating gearpin, which allowed a rectangular bar lock nut to screw on outside the windage knob, after which the end of the pinion was centerpunched to spread it and discourage complete removal of the lock nut. It had sufficient lee-way to allow loosening so that the sight could be adjusted, the idea being that the soldier could adjust and then lock his sight setting against accidental change. When this lock was removed or loose enough to move freely off the pinion it usually did so, with the result that ordnance would get the rifle with only the base and cover of the rear sight remaining; not good. Garands did not like the desert, but no other arms did either. Mausers and Lee-Enfields were the best rifles in Africa, and even the Italian Mannlichers seldom gave trouble. Most of the American fighting in North Africa was done in Algeria and Tunisia, large portions of which are not desert country comparable to the Western Desert of Egypt, or Libya or Tripolitania. In the Pacific islands it was naturally necessary to keep the sand out of M1’s around the beaches, but inshore in the jungles and mountains they did OK. I think I learned most of the tricks of the rifle—besides being able to repair them and shoot, I can load partial clips, make them fire fullautomatically (for awhile) and could at one time shoot them so fast they sounded like a BAR. It is a good gun, but I still think it is too heavy. The weight of the M1 was to a great extent responsible for the popularity of the .30 carbine. Everyone who had to carry a rifle longed for the six-pound boy-size semi-automatic, and the combat soldiers came to prefer them in many cases because they and their ammunition were easy to carry. The carbines’ best feature was their non-corrosive ammunition. Because of it the barrels and gas pistons and cylinders could take a lot of neglect and still keep the arm operating perfectly. M1 rifle barrels were always pitted, but the carbines usually looked good inside.

Insects ruined more carbine barrels than rust or lack of cleaning did together. It is a fact! In the Pacific land areas lives a kind of wasp we called mud-daubers, and they love to set up an apartment in a .30 caliber barrel—they will take a .45 or .50, but prefer .30’s. By carrying in mud and secreting some sort of liquid they plug a barrel and if that plug is not discovered and removed within 12 hours, a ring starts to eat into the barrel steel at its top; in 36 hours it will be the depth of a land, cutting both lands and grooves equally, which meant classification as unserviceable by ordnance when inspected or reported. Oil in the barrel made no difference. If the plug was not discovered and the rifle or carbine fired, the barrel usually bulged and was unserviceable anyway. It was seldom that the barrels split, however, and my personal theory was that the air in the barrels ahead of the bullet, behind the plugs, would compress and force the soft, dry earth out ahead of the bullet, leaving only the hardened portion at the ring to obstruct the bullet’s passage. That is the only way I could explain to myself why so few barrels split and so many bulged, comparatively speaking. I have seen many split barrels, but almost always the damage was due to a solid obstruction in the bore. Rifle barrels often split at the muzzle because of firing after the barrel had been rammed into clay or harder mud. I have seen barrels with half a dozen muddauber rings in them at various spots. Most of these marks were smooth enough cuts, but it was our practice to throw out the gun if they went all the way around the bore, or, in M1 rifle barrels, if the bore was finely pitted all over, so as to be rough. Our reasoning was that such a barrel would pick up metal fouling very rapidly and since the men were unable to remove such, the gun would go out of service anyway, so we might as well replace the gun whenever we found it. In the Pacific the carbines were more reliable and gave less trouble than the M1’s, although in North Africa and in Italy they were not rated so highly. As a weapon, the carbine definitely lacks stopping power, and I think the weight and size of the bullet has a great deal to do with it. The troopers often complained that it took all 15 shots to down a Jap, but I suspect that this was usually because they always shot the Nip 15 times anyway, whether he went down on the first or last round. The non-expanding bullet would not do much

damage unless it hit a vital spot, which was not always easy. Heck, you can kill a man with a .22 Short if you can shoot him in the brain, heart or spine. The Nazis issued little revolvers, cheaply made, to some of the fanatical “Youth” organization members, chambered for the 6.35mm or .25 caliber ACP or semi-automatic pistol cartridge, which has a slight rim and permits use as a rimmed cartridge, if you are not too fussy. This cartridge has less energy and velocity than the .22 Long Rifle cartridge, but it will kill a man at close range, fired into a vulnerable spot. A military load should render a man hors de combat with almost any hit. Anything except the most minor flesh wound should put a man out of the action fast, and in the bullet line not all of them produce such results. If our carbine cartridge had been the .38 Super Automatic Colt pistol case, using a .35 or rather, .36 caliber 125grain bullet at about 1,500 FPS—the soldier would have been a lot better off in battle. Such a bullet would carry a great deal more shocking power than the 1,975 FPS 110-grain .30 caliber carbine bullet. Killing the enemy is not always as desirable as merely making a casualty out of him. Even the Japs realized this, if a special military report I read is true. According to it, a non-com or two from a 24th Division unit on Leyte stated his outfit suffered many casualties at one location, encountering Japanese riflemen who shot them up. Most of the Americans were shot in the hip or upper leg with 6.5mm bullets, not a fatal wound but one which called for a minimum of two persons to evacuate, besides getting the shot-up soldier out of the battle for months, if not permanently. The opinion was that the enemy was deliberately attempting to cause such serious wounds in order to tie up the additional personnel necessary to care for the men, thereby delaying our advance. Each such hit removed from three to five men from the immediate opposing force, while a man killed was just one less. The U. S. carbine is now a fully automatic arm as well as an autoloader, and equipped with a bayonet stud. The trench knife is fitted for use as a bayonet for it. Why? Our officials scoffed for years at the Italians and Japs for putting bayonets on everything and claimed everyone else’s automatic

weapons had too high a rate of fire (our carbine now can empty itself at about 850 to 900 RPM—is definitely much faster than the Thompson, comparing cyclic rates). The bayonet business is silly, except for guarding prisoners, for which a repeating shotgun with 00 Buckshot loads is better, and the regular military shotguns have bayonet studs themselves for full-size prodders. So far as the automatic feature is concerned, I am for it. We really have something, but I am not sure what. The guns were a lot of fun to shoot and came out just a little too late for real use in combat. The full-automatic feature did not affect the ballistics of the cartridge any but did increase the effectiveness of the arm by allowing it to deliver three or four bullets close together on one squeeze of the trigger, rather than one. I think these models would have been ideal for jungle fighting, where the heavier Thompsons were popular. The cartridge remains a full-jacketed, fairly high-velocity .32-20, which has not been considered a suitable deer cartridge for years. I consider a man in the class of a white-tailed deer as a meat target, taking about the same amount of energy to stop. Except that deer usually get shot with expanding bullets which mess up more flesh. A man is tougher game physically than he thinks. I am no big-game hunter so maybe I will get a lot of argument. As in killing deer, men seldom suffer identical wounds and results always vary somewhat. I have two friends who received Jap bullets in their chests on Luzon; one recovered and went back to his outfit in a very few weeks and the other was discharged after spending about eight months as a sick boy. Just 1″ or 2″ or a change of angle made the difference, though both were uncomplicated lung punctures so far as simple description goes. The Thompson .45 ACP cartridge submachine gun underwent three or four changes during the war, in the interests of production manufacture and simplification, but essentially the gun performed the same. Rates of fire varied from 600 to 800 RPM; some of the parts were changed, still the Thompson was the Thompson and looked it. Like the M1, it was a weapon I did not like but ended up respecting. Here again, weight was the drawback—the original M1928 model went 10.8 pounds without magazine and the simplified M1 and M1A1

models ran 10 pounds even, without clips (the M1A1 was the same as the M1 except that it had its firing pin machined on the face of the bolt, integral with it, while the M1 had the older style movable firing pin and “hammer”). The stocks of all three had too much drop, which made accurate automatic fire from the shoulder almost impossible, since the guns could climb up and off the mark easily. An attempt was made to eliminate this drawback, in the M2 submachine gun, which was a Thompson, or Auto Ordnance Company design I think, but different from all others. It had a straight wooden stock, 3/4 length style, with a handguard, band and spring like that of the carbine. Trigger assembly, pistol grip and magazines were very similar to that of the regular Thompsons (magazines the same) but the receiver was tubular instead of square and the bolt handle was on the right side, in shape and location similar to that of the carbine. Since the stock was straight, with no drop at heel whatever, the sights were quite high and the front sight of the M2 looked something like a twostory carbine sight. I saw these guns in the Small Arms testing house at Aberdeen Proving Ground early in 1942, and they are listed in some ordnance catalogs, though apparently they never went into quantity production, being superseded by the cheaper M3, which was suggested by the German Schmeisser machine pistol. I think these M2s would have been very good guns so far as control of the arm in shooting was concerned. As it was, the 1928 and the modified versions, M1 and M1A1, were strictly spray guns. I was a small arms man and of course tested thousands of guns, about 200 of which at least were Thompsons and eventually I became expert with them, being able to fire quite long bursts and keep them in a reasonable group. Much of this shooting was from an under-arm position, with the stock clamped tightly against my right side with my arm. Effective range of these guns was about 75 yards in the hands of the average soldier. This because the trigger-pull on the gun was 14 pounds maximum, 10 pounds minimum, and it fires from an open bolt, making accurate semi-auto fire very difficult. The .45 cartridge is no slouch—it is rated at 920 FPS out of the Thompson 10.52″ barrel, but the guns could not do it justice. I will say that they are rugged—they seem to last

forever and give little complaint. Most of our work on them was tightening loose and replacing broken or cracked stocks and forends, or putting in new barrels. Submachine guns did a lot of work in the jungles where often only the approximate direction of an enemy would be known and it was desirable to rake an area with bullets. For investigating the tops of coconut palms it was a highly useful tool, and good for hosing dugouts or clearing bunkers at times, but grenades were smarter and safer for the latter jobs. Our Thompsons were rugged and dependable submachine guns, but the Ford Model T was a rugged and dependable automobile too. Both have had their day. The Thompson was originated in 1921 and compares with a Beretta M38 the same way a 1921 car does with a 1938 model. One is good, but the other is better. The “grease-gun,” or M3, was a flash in the pan, to the army. Maybe it was more useful in Europe, where it was presumably dropped to underground forces. I have no kick about the cheap appearance of this plumber’s delight, or any such criticism, but I do not see that we gained anything by making it, when we could have copied the Schmeisser and had a better machine pistol, if that was its purpose. Weight unloaded was 8.9 pounds; overall length, stock closed, 22.8″; and stock extended, 29.8″. The basic principle of such a weapon is simplicity, yet in this M3 were incorporated an elaborate cocking mechanism and a cover over the ejection port, acting as a safety also, the excuse being that these points would allow the gun to be kept clean—no dirt would get into the bolt runway. The little guns fired full-auto only, from 350 to 450 RPM. Sights were fixed, as on the Thompson M1, and consisted of spot-welded stamped aperture rear and blade front, I believe for 100 yard setting. A 30-round straight magazine was used, not interchangeable with the Thompson. These were strictly point-andhope guns and were not at all liked in the 1st Cavalry. I thought them unreliable as the cocking mechanism was liable to go out of whack at any time, due to some poor engineering concerning the pawl springs. On the M3 the bolt has no handle, but is cocked by a springreturned lever or pawl inside the stamped receiver, actuated by a crank on the right side of the gun, forward of the trigger. The arm of

course is a blowback and fires from an open bolt, and its saftey is a stamping riveted to the ejection port cover which prevents the bolt from moving forward when the cover is down. Cover must be opened manually before firing. I will not say much about bolt action rifles, for there is nothing particularly new to report. The 1917 Enfields, furnished to prewar Philippine forces, cropped up as guerrilla guns, most of them having been buried to escape Jap searches. In the average Filipino shack there was no hiding place, so the guns were concealed outside. As a rule they were badly rusted, with worm-eaten stocks. I saw two or three replacement stocks, made of beautiful and heavy red mahogany. The Filipinos had faithfully copied the old English-type 1917 stock in every detail. Most rifles had the spring part of the ejector broken off and replaced with a bit of rubber inserted under the bolt stop spring (it worked). Springfields did not wear quite so well as Enfields, although a few of them saw service through the years as native rifles. I do not know of American troops using 1917 rifles in combat anywhere. Most of the early American forces to see action saw it through Springfield sights, however, and did as well as could be expected. The U. S. M1903 is a proven Mauser military rifle and its only weak point is its sights. Parts most likely to break otherwise were ejectors and strikers; those most likely to suffer excess wear, thereby requiring repair or replacement, floor plates, cutoffs and safeties. The commercially-built 1903, 1903A3 and 1903A4 rifles were and are very sad specimens and are not to be compared with Rock Island Arsenal or high-numbered Springfield Armory products. Some of these had the two-land barrels, the rifles including a slip of paper assuring the soldier that that was all there was, there was not any more on purpose, and that the rifle was just as good anyway. Despite this sales talk, the soldiers claimed the guns would not shoot twice close to the same place in the same week. Workmanship grew steadily poorer on the ‘03 rifles, until I became ashamed of insulting the Japs for their machining on the M99. The replacement of machined and forged parts with stampings affected nothing but appearance, really, and in fact I came to consider the stamped magazine follower better than the machined

one it replaced, due to its rounded edges being less liable to catch on the bottom edges of the receiver where they joined the magazine box (I have had plenty of Springfields turned in to me with a slip of paper saying they jammed on the fourth round, indicating this follower trouble). The receiver-type A3 sight was a good idea, and the sights are satisfactorily mounted. Windage adjustment is OK, but elevation is not so good, for the spring seems to weaken and allow the aperture slide to slip down. Barrels did not look so bad and some of them may shoot all right. Some of the first rifles made by Remington were almost as good as the government models. Bedding usually was very bad and few rifles were bedded correctly unless they belonged to armorers or ex-civilian shooters who knew what it meant in accuracy. I never considered the Remington-made 1903A4 sniper rifles very accurate, although I must confess I did not get a chance to shoot them with good ammunition. Most of these rifles were equipped with Weaver 330 scopes, in Redfield Jr. mounts, a poor choice for the Pacific, as the Weaver just was not designed for that kind of a beating. When they came in to our instrument repair men, water could actually be poured out of many of them. They just were not weatherproof enough (please do not consider this a criticism of the Weaver as a telescopic sight, but only as a military accessory; I own three Weavers and am quite pleased with them). We never had any of these rifles equipped with Lyman Alaskan sights, although they are pictured in army manuals, using the same type of Redfield mount as the Weaver. The “sniper rifles” were makeshifts, anyway, whether or not it will ever be admitted, and the real man-killer would have been the M1C, an M1 rifle with a special telescope and mount, the scope mounting offset to the left of vertical of bore. The mount was a modified Griffen & Howe type, lever clamping, and the sight appeared to be a special version of the Lyman Alaskan All-Weather. It had a steel tube, with covered adjusting dials, and a sliding sunshade on the front section, and lenses were coated. This sight was quick detachable without tools and had individual carrying cases. They were beautiful outfits and I would have given anything to

have had one during the war, but they arrived in the Philippines just before the Japanese surrendered. The rifles were selected, the bestfinished and tightest M1’s I ever saw, and of course sights and rifle came together as a unit. I doubt if it would have been a really longrange job, considering the limited accuracy of the rifle, which is not up to that of a good, well-bedded Springfield, but up through 400 yards it would be poison. Beyond 450 or 500 yards effective rifle shooting at humans is at the very least half luck, and do not believe anything else. Slight mistakes in range calculation mean considerable variation in points of impact. If the guy is moving at all, he can move enough to make you miss him during the time the bullet is in the air! I know all about leading a running mark, etc.; what if he stops running the instant the gun goes off? The Springfield was considered the most accurate rifle we had, even though the average service rifle was no bargain as issued. Using M2 ball ammunition I was never able to make a Garand shoot better than 8″ groups at 200 yards, and, frankly, two-thirds of the Springfields would not do much better. I do believe, however, that if I had at least 10 new M1s to cross-check against each other, and switch parts here and there to change tolerances, it might be possible to get groups close to 4″, or two minutes of angle, although it might be necessary to experiment with handloaded ammunition or M1 ball service or National Match government loadings. M1s made in 1944 and 1945 had very tight fitting stocks, which should improve accuracy to some extent. They all change their points of impact fast, as the thin barrel heats up, and the fact that the handguards and gas cylinder assembly are fastened to it and interfere with its vibration or whip, does not make for high accuracy. Despite all Uncle’s claims to its excellence, the M2 151-grain flat-based bullet will not do so well, or at least it would not in most loadings. A friend and I did considerable experimenting with the M2 even before we went to war, he using a National Match Springfield and I a National Match Springfield action fitted with a Niedner target barrel and a target stock. We used target sights and did all our shooting at 200 yards from both bench rest and prone rest positions, and never did get satisfactory results with the M2 bullet, either in arsenal-loaded ammunition or handloads. We tried all suitable rifle

powders and loaded for velocities ranging from 2,000 to 3,000 FPS in each, with both government and commercial primers. In no cases were we able to get reliable groups less than 5″ in diameter, while I was able to shoot groups less than half that size using non-cannellured boat-tail 172-grain bullets at around 2,500 FPS. Most of our M2 groups ran 6″ and 8″ in diameter. Our interest of course was in finding out what the bullet and cartridge would do in rifles on the range as a practical test. What the factories and laboratories report from their Mann barrels does not always correspond to what the firing line gets with the same ammunition. For absolute comparison of bullet performance tests should be conducted at 300 yards and at 600 yards with each loading, but we were not able to find such facilities. Uniformity of bullets and cases during the war was pretty good and I was pleasantly surprised that just about all of our brass was excellent. British, German and U. S. brass cartridge cases were very good throughout, the best-looking or most accurately made seeming to me to be the English-manufactured (Kynoch) 7.92mm Besa machine gun cartridges. German and U. S. were both very good and the Italian brass nearly as high in quality. Eventually the Germans ran out of stock and went to steel cases, but while it lasted their brass was right. Russian was about equal to the Italian, their rimmed-case construction allowing slightly softer alloys. The poorest was the Japanese and it was really poor, low-grade metal, soft and impure. Winchester sure made a lot of BARs in 1919. If it had been in 1939, the boys would have been better off, for in the original form the Browning Automatic Rifle was a pretty good infantry weapon and until the modification hounds loused it up with so-called improvements it was portable and practical. As things were, they had time to mess things up and it took a couple of years to show it up, the hard way. As designed, the BAR weighed less than 16 pounds and was semias well as full-automatic, in the 1918 model. When World War II broke, the gun weighed 19.4 pounds, was full-automatic only, and called the M1918A2 (between the two were three or four experiments in remodeling, including the 1922 machine rifle, one of

the worse abortions). The one great fault of American ordnance is that it can never let well enough alone on any item. Rather than redesigning or adopting a new type, the original model is “modified” time and again. With each improvement the BAR got heavier and harder to handle, until even the boys up high began to blush (they got the weight below 20 pounds for the books by forgetting to count the adjustable butt rest, or monopod, a holdover from the machinerifle job, and used for holding the guns nice and pretty for field inspections). The bazooka is a fine example of the Ordnance procedure. In its original form it was light, cheap and simple. If it worked, fine. If it did not, you threw it away and forgot it. Then the modifications began; a tube let go somewhere so henceforth they were wire-wrapped for strength. I don’t think that would help much if a rocket did pop in the barrel, but the ammunition was bettered also, and they seldom did. That was not very bad, for an alteration (wire-wrapping, I mean!). Then the battery holes in the wooden stocks had to be drilled out for standard size flashlight batteries rather than make the boys carry smaller ones as originally specified. So after that batteries were always stuck in the wood. Then a plastic optical sight was put on, it becoming opaque in three days. Extra guards were put on the front to keep some of the rocket trail from the operator and several types of front sights appeared. Then it was redesigned completely, into a two-piece type, coupling in the middle and with a magnetoprinciple trigger mechanism doing away with batteries. And a strapiron shoulder piece. By now it was so heavy and cumbersome no soldier could carry the damn thing more than 50 yards on level ground. The last I heard was that they were trying to make it out of aluminum in order to get the weight down to a reasonable one-man load again. The intervening one-piece jobs were useful though, and the cavalry appreciated them. When they short-circuited and became helpless, they still served until repaired; being just the right length for corner poles on pyramidal tents. Back to the BAR; as I was saying before I sidetracked myself, the guns were most useful in their intended form, and most of them soon lost their bipods and flashhiders, getting the weight down to about 161/2 pounds. A few of the old 1918 sears were still in use,

allowing semi-automatic fire, and even a few unaltered 1918 rifles found their way to the war. In the 1918A2, a slowdown mechanism was incorporated in the butt to change the rate of fire so that instead of firing semi-automatically on the original change-lever setting, it fired full-automatic at from 300 to 350 RPM, while the regular automatic rate of fire was 500 to 600 RPM. Whoever dreamed up that idea should have been hanged. Shooting is too good for him. In the slowing-down process, the slide inside the receiver, which holds the hammer, is caught by the sear and held to the rear when it recoils from a shot, while a weight (actuator) is moved back through a tube in the buttstock against a weak coil spring through force of the recoiling parts tapping it and creating enough momentum to make it compress the spring; the spring finally reaches the limit of its endurance and shoots the weight back where it came from, to activate a floating part through the buffer which trips the sear allowing the gun to fire and start all over again. Rube Goldberg should sue the perpetrators. This slow-automatic apparatus, with nothing sensible to justify its existence, was responsible for a large percentage of the breakdowns in BARs. Probably the only excuse—I cannot call it “reason”— for bringing it out was that prevailing American opinion has been that ground automatic weapons should have slow rates of fire, and rather than go to the trouble and expense of bringing out a new model arm or major parts for the 1918 to lower its cyclic rate, they sacrificed the very valuable singleshot feature for the compromise two-speed system. One reason malfunctions are caused by the slow-rate parts is that more gas is necessary to operate the arm at slow-automatic than at fast, or regular rate, therefore often a gun which fires perfectly at the fast rate will fire only singleshots or malfunction when switched to the slow-rate, which is not handy. As the guns carbon up fast, there is no telling when they will quit on you. A second and equally important reason why the slow-rate parts contribute to trouble is that the actuator and its spring are a delicately-balanced pair when at work and any interference with the movement of either puts them out of operation at once. So, whenever the auto-rifleman got around to cleaning his weapon, he

would plant the butt on the ground and start pumping away on a cleaning rod from the muzzle end, using plenty of bore cleaner or water, a quantity of which promptly ran into the butt recesses and the actuator tube. Or, if he did not have to shoot it, and required no cleaning fluid, he oiled it to prevent rust and ended with the same result, a messed-up tube. When the gun was needed, it fired fastautomatic only, for a short time, then stopped and was routed to the ordnance outfit. Often all that was necessary was a good cleaning job. The butt mechanism was strictly not for the line troops and sometimes was very difficult to get at with the special tools provided ordnance small arms sections. So far I have seemed to pan the BAR and infer that it is not much good, which is not my intention at all. The Browning is a good gun but it requires too much shop maintenance for use as a field weapon in all military branches. On a pro-rata basis, far more repair jobs were done on these automatic rifles than on any other weapon the U. S. forces used, with the possible exception of rocket launchers (bazookas). The BAR carbons up fast and the gas cylinder “body” or plug, which has the three differing-sized gas ports for regulating the amount passed into the cylinder quickly sets and very often is impossible to remove without equipment. When they cannot be cleaned often they rust and when they rust they wear oversize and when they wear oversize they leak gas around the piston; the gun goes “bang,” period, the next time it is tried. Back to the shop again, where the cylinder could be carefully clamped in a vise and a pipewrench applied to the plug. I preferred to heat-expand the cylinder at the threads with a fast welding-torch treatment and unscrew them hot without marring the soft steel. The troopers usually could not remove them for cleaning every day the gun was used and a lot of them never seemed to learn that it was more important to clean the gas handling parts than the barrel. A bullet could get through a pitted barrel on a working BAR, but not through a clean one if the action did not operate. I put on a one-man campaign to try to teach the boys to hold the butt higher than the muzzle while cleaning, but only the old-timers who had guns fail in the field would take it seriously.

The BAR should not be considered a light machine gun, such as the Bren or the Breda 30 or the Degtyarov, but rather an automatic shoulder weapon, a flexible infantry arm only a half-step above the M1. I believe Browning intended it to be this kind of arm. In such a class it has a definite value, where as a machine gun it cannot compete against the more modern bipod infantry support weapons with their quick-change barrels and pistol grip handles and greater magazine capacity, as a rule. I do not consider the fixed barrel of the BAR a defect, for the guns should never be called upon for sustained fire of the sort which requires fresh cool barrels constantly. Think of and use it as a rifle, not a machine gun, and there will be few complaints, as long as it can be kept reasonably clean. Let the barrel go, if necessary, for it is usually only a five-minute job to install a new one at the shop truck. If it has to be used as a light machine gun to back an attack it can do a fair job, but only that. It fires from an open bolt and its strong spring jolts the gun enough to make accuracy rather a matter of hope than holding. Beyond 200 yards the BAR is mainly valuable as a harassing weapon; up to 200 it can really mow things down, in the hands of a good man. That is important, too; I think it takes longer to make a good BARman than a good rifleman. He needs plenty of practice with live ammunition. One thing sure, if a man has any tendency to flinch, a Browning will intensify it. It took me two years to get used to shooting BARs, but I finally was able to master them, being able to completely control them. Fired from the shoulder, the rifle tends to climb toward 1 o’clock and is only conquered by strongarming the forend. From the hip or waist, the gun can be turned on its side and controlled perfectly, even on 10 or 12-round bursts. A few specifications might be in order: the BAR is 47.8″ overall (including flashhider), with a 24.07″ barrel; sight radius, 31.1″; trigger-pull, six to 10 pounds, and the sights are square top blade front and aperture rear, the latter being the folding-leaf type, two or three different modifications being used, but graduations the same— up to 1,600 yards, with an open-notch battle sight when folded down; windage adjustment is by click knob. Ordnance men had a habit of slipping on 1919A4 machine-gun sight parts when short of BAR leaves, etc. so many a gun now is incorrectly sighted.

The only real weapons of comparable class with the Browning Automatic Rifle, enemy or allied, were the German Paratrooper Rifle 42 and the Johnson Light Machine Gun, both of which are better on paper than the BAR. I have no personal experience with either. A machine gun of ours which should have been pretty good did not get to the 1st Cavalry until 1945 and only a couple were in use during the Luzon campaign. I never did get any information about their performance. These two were Browning M1919A6 guns, a belated U. S. attempt to bring out a gun comparable with the German MG34. It is essentially the 1919A4 aircooled recoil-operated Browning, with a lighter barrel and a bipod, shoulder stock and carrying handle. Weight was 32.5 pounds, including the steel stock, and overall length, 53″. The 24″ barrel weighed 4.65 pounds, against the 7.35 pounds of the 1919A4. The bipod was fixed to the muzzle end of the jacket, and it is possible to remove the barrel from the front, through the jacket, but this cannot be done easily and the gun is not of the quick-change type. While clumsy and heavy to move about in the field, the A6 is better in that respect than the A4 and has almost the same firepower. It of course uses the same belt-feed of the other .30 caliber Brownings and its cyclic rate was about 550 RPM. The 1919A4 Browning was the Army’s all-round .30 caliber machine gun. Aircooled, heavy-barreled (took longer to heat up) and light enough to be moved and carried by one man, it was used as a co-axial arm in tanks (lined up with the cannon and using the same sighting system) also in all sorts of vehicle mountings and its most important job, infantry machine gun. It was light enough to move up with any size unit and well enough engineered to serve as a medium machine gun if desired. In the latter reference, it almost replaced the watercooled “heavy” .30 machine gun, since it was a lot less bother and more dependable, even though it did not have the ability to sustain long bursts or stay in fire as long. Cyclic rate of the guns averaged close to 500 RPM, although they could be boosted to 700 with a little judicious tinkering here and there. Weight of the complete gun, without pintle (mounting bracket pivot) is approximately 31 pounds; length, 41.11″ and barrel, 24″. Ammunition is furnished in 250-round fabric belts, loaded into metal

readyboxes. Some mounts have brackets to hold these ammo boxes up to the left side of the gun for convenient and foolproof feeding. Sights are mounted on the receiver, a square blade front and aperture rear, V-notch battle sight, with short sight radius of 13.94″. The guns were fairly easy to work with and perhaps the strongest complaint I have is about the back plate. This part slides in grooves in the receiver walls, which is OK, but the catch at top is a very poor system—either the cover latch (rear end of which holds the back plate down) is so tight it can hardly be moved to release the cover, or the back plate has up-and-down play, which is bad since it limits the movement of the trigger and therefore affects the timing of the machine gun, vital to successful operation in Brownings. The two conditions can exist in the same gun; cover too tight, back plate too loose. My system was to have the top of the back plate built up by adding metal, via welding torch, then file to fit tightly. I think we would be wise to hinge the back plate to the receiver at the top, something on the order of the Jap system on their copies of Browning system guns for aircraft use. That way the trigger notch in the bottom of the plate would remain quite constant as the hinge pin would not wear very rapidly. Behind the 1919A4 was the 1917 watercooled machine gun, called the heavy gun, although its weight without water is really just 32.6 pounds, (with eight pints of water, weight is about 41 pounds). It is a true medium machine gun, capable of sustaining fire better than the aircooled models. The barrel is light, weighing only three pounds, consequently the rate of fire goes up to 600 RPM cyclic. I have tested some guns which sounded as though they were doing about 750 or 800 RPM, but only a few. With the exception of the barrel and the rear sight, the working parts of the gun are identical with those of the aircooled A4 or A6. The rear sight is an elaborate folding leaf type, with calibrations for both M1 and M2 ammunition, or rather, 1906 and M1 ammunition. M1 has an extreme range of about 5,500 yards; M2 has about 3,500. The sight slide has apertures for both battle sight and raised leaf, usable as anti-aircraft sights (intended) and the slide is screw-elevating, with spring lock on the side. Windage adjustment is provided. The front sight is a small, hooded blade fixed to front of water jacket. The water jacket is the source of

much 1917 trouble, although of course these guns have the same back plate weakness of the others. The standard tripod furnished for the 1919A4 was a light, tubular steel fabricated one which folded into a compact bundle and did not weigh much (14 pounds complete) but the old 1917A1 tripod was a load by itself and often required as much time to repair as a damaged machine gun. Its weight complete was 53.2 pounds. It held the gun about twice as high as the light mount and was designed for the machine gun warfare of 1918 where the guns were established in elaborate positions and protected; they were often used for indirect long range fire which required a solid mounting. There were times when the height of the mount was important to us, too, when we needed to command a stretch of open terrain, but on the whole, the 1917 mount was a pain in the neck to both combat and ordnance men. Too, there were times in the early Pacific warfare when watercooled .30s paid dividends, but after the Nips woke up to the fact that nine out of 10 of their banzai charges ended with them running out of soldiers, business was not so booming. Water for the jacket was not difficult to obtain, as a rule, even in the mountain fighting for with numerous streams to carry it from or rainwater to catch in ponchos, the gun could be kept filled. Momote Airstrip, in the Admiralties, was one of the spots where the 5th Cavalry gunners had their great night battle, piling up enemy dead until the guns had to be moved to get clear fields of fire. One of the guns which held the airdrome was left in its position, as a monument. The .50 Brownings existed in many models, but the aircraft M2 and the heavy-barreled M2 were the common guns. The Navy used some of the watercooled guns, although only a few were in the Army. I never saw any after 1943 with army units, and then only with combat engineers and such troops, for use as anti-aircraft arms. These big weapons weighed 100 pounds, without water, 121 with water; barrels were 45″ long, but not the heavy type, weighing only 15.2 pounds; rate of fire was 500 to 650 RPM. The tripod for the watercooled job weighed 375 pounds complete, and the cradle which held the gun was a rather complicated assembly itself.

The aircraft model weighed 61 pounds, aircooled, of course, with a 36″ barrel. All .50 barrels are rifled with eight grooves, right hand twist, one turn in 15 inches. These light guns normally fired from 750 to 850 RPM but they could be improved a little by work on individual guns. During the later part of the war a mechanical or electrical “forced feed” was brought out, and the cyclic rate raised to over 1,000 RPM. Experimental types have of course done much better. Stellite chamber and barrel liners were tried in an effort to get barrels to stand long bursts at very high cyclic rates, but these were also experimental types. Also, a .60 caliber gun was developed. For aircraft use, the faster a gun fires, the better. In mechanism the .50 is naturally similar to the .30 caliber Browning, but details are different. All .50’s can be switched to accept feed belts from either side while only the obsolete aircraft .30 could be changed to right hand feed in the small caliber. The ground .50 or “M2 Heavy Barrel Flexible” is like the watercooled in mechanism and very like the other heavy aircooled .50’s

THE JAPANESE SERVICE PISTOLS Top: Model 14 (1925) Caliber 8mm Nambu, with cartridge. This was their standard arm. Bottom: Japanese auxiliary arm, the wartime manufactured Model 94 (1934) Caliber 8mm Nambu, with combination cleaning rod-screwdriver

THE 7MM OFFICER’S NAMBU AND MODEL 14 PISTOLS Shown with right side exposed, bolts open, with cartridges and bullets. Sixinch steel scale for size contrast. The locking notch in bottoms of bolts is plainly visible.

used in turrets and vehicle mounts. Weight is 84 pounds; length overall, 65″; barrel length 45″; weight of barrel 27 pounds. Rate of fire was around 500 RPM, the official rating being “450 to 575”—I have fired plenty that were around 450 but none up to 575. Barrels had heavy wire handles with a ratchet catch for unscrewing the

barrel as much as for carrying it, as the heavy barrels had to be removed from the front, instead of being taken back through the receiver, still screwed into the barrel extension (called lock frame in the .30), as done with the aircraft and watercooled .50s. The heavybarreled Browning .50 had no barrel jacket of any kind beyond the short one incorporating a bearing surface which was firmly screwed into the receiver. Aircraft guns had thin stamped jackets of steel tubing, similar to the aircooled ground .30 caliber guns. All .50 Brownings fed from disintegrating-link steel belts and are very reliable arms, easy to work on and keep in operation. For ground use, ammunition was furnished in 105-round belts loaded into metal readyboxes, and for aircraft use, in 250-round belts which could of course be linked together or otherwise changed to suit each gun’s capacity. Because of the weight and size of the guns, they were difficult to transport and when moved constantly in and out of vehicles, sights and tripods got beat up and small parts broke. I believe the .50’s have fewer breakdowns than the .30 caliber guns and that about 75% of the repair jobs I did were due to rough handling or carelessness on the part of the gun crew. An ingenious (and useless) oil buffer mechanism was worked out for the guns in prewar years, having a slight slowing effect on the rate of fire and supposedly indispensable to long life of the weapon, but this was modified in the middle of 1943—from then on we just left out the oil, letting the plain buffer system do the work. I liked the big machine guns, even though they always bit me when I worked on them— somehow I always managed to cut, scratch or pinch my hands when I handled them. For destroying thin-skins (unarmored vehicles) it was really the ticket, and often the boys used them on Nips in fairly open country, spraying tracers and the explosive incendiaries over the landscape at a great rate. Machine gunners told me that they could do phenomenal shooting at great ranges, using optical sights or firing indirectly, as do artillery pieces, but I do not know of any place in the Pacific where such use was made of these guns. Europe was much better suited to that sort of gun work, for I cannot think of a better way to screw up a road junction than to work a .50 up to within a couple or three miles, set it in a hollow, camouflaged, and every so

often throw a few armor piercers or incendiaries over to the crossing. The blue-tipped incendiaries explode on contact, with flash, report and puff of smoke. All ground guns could fire singleshots at choice and very accurate fire was possible. Even full auto-fire was not hard to control. I used to fire .50s from the little .30 1919A4 tripod more than from the 44 pound M3 mounts furnished for them. It would bounce around a little, but I would sit on the ground, plant a foot on each of the rear tripod legs and hold on to the spade grips. The .50 caliber cartridge is an approximate 5/3 model of the .3006. Diameter of extracting rim and body at extracting rim is .800″; diameter of bullet, .510″; overall length of cartridge, 5.42″; case, 3.90″; bullet, 2.28″; weight of the armor piercing bullet (no “Ball” bullet used since 1941) 710-grain, with the M2 Alternative averaging just under 700-grain; average powder charge 235.0 grains of a largegrained tubular nitro-cellulose propellant; muzzle velocity from the 45″ barrel is listed as 2,935 FPS, from the 36″ aircraft barrels, 2,845 FPS; maximum range, (ground gun, 45″ barrel) is 7,600 yards; normal chamber pressure around 53,000 pounds per square inch. Our small arms did well enough—I think maybe I had rather have the German MG34 than the 1919A4 Browning, but do not know of any heavy gun that stacks up to the .50 Browning in its class. That Japanese 20mm “Browning” aircraft gun looks about the best in aircraft 20s. If it is not, it could be made so without much change, unless the cyclic rate is low and cannot be boosted high enough. I never got a chance to try the Johnson Light Machine Gun; its weight is OK, design modern. I like recoil-operation and the firingfromclosed bolt on semi-automatic fire is very desirable, but I cannot say what it can do. Somebody in the Marines who used the gun should write it up. The same goes for the Reising submachine gun. That German 1942 Paratrooper rifle was a pretty fancy job on paper also, but if the Russians have, as reported, altered the Tokarev 40 to fire full as well as semi-automatically and equipped it with 25-round magazine, then they have a better auto rifle than either BAR, Johnson, or 42 Fallschermjaeger Gewehr in their present form, because of lightness. I think the Johnson is mis-named and should be termed “Automatic Rifle” rather than Light Machine Gun even if the latter is more correct according to European usage. “Light

Machine Gun” infers a gun of the limited-portability and wide coneof-fire type, while “automatic rifle” indicates a rifle which happens to be automatic. Regarding rifles, in bolt-actions the Mauser Kar. 98K was about the best, even though the 1914 or 1917 Enfields would take rougher treatment. On the autoloaders, it is a heads-or-tails choice between the U. S. M1 (Garand) and the Tokarev 40 Russian rifle, and I never had enough field experience with the latter to know how well it stands up, and not enough about the German Gewehr 43 autoloader to even mention it as a comparable gun. Each rifle has good points the others have not; I think the sights and stock of the M1 are tops, while I like the magazine system of the Russian and German rifles. The gas system of the Tokarev should be pretty good too. That carbine model of the Tokarev 40 looks very good and I would like to use one to see what it really acts like. As in the case of the Johnson, on paper it looks good to me, but I personally actually know nothing about its performance. I still think the Italian Beretta M38 the best machine carbine or submachine gun made, followed by the Steyr-Solothurn. On pistols, our 1911 and 1911A1 .45 caliber guns were satisfactory, since in our army, as in the Russian, there was little emphasis or need of pistol work due to the presence of carbine and submachine guns in vast numbers. I have always found the Colt .45 a reliable arm and have not had half-a-dozen jams in the hundreds of guns I have handled. Come to think of it, though, most of those guns were checked over and cleaned up, if not repaired, before firing. Disconnectors wear rapidly of course, and slides loosen up with use, but with even a minimum of cleaning and oiling the pistols would operate. In the Pacific pistols were chiefly valuable against infiltrating Japs sneaking into our areas at night, and in foxholes or closequarter fights handguns were easy to point and shoot in a hurry. I saw dozens of .45’s carried loaded and at full cock at all times in front areas of the 1st Cavalry Division, with the thumb safety in place. The men claimed that in a pinch it took too long to cock the hammer. It is a fact that the Colt type .45 is not too handy to cock with the thumb of the gun hand. For that reason I believe that the

German P.38 was a desirable military arm because of its doubleaction feature. My greatest objections to the U. S. .45 pistol were that it was both hard to shoot and inaccurate. For some reason—size of butt, psychology—I don’t know exactly what, it is much harder for the average man to hit a mark with a .45 autoloader than with almost any other handgun. He may take a .45 revolver and do fairly well, but give him the pistol and he is a lost ball in high weeds. With only a little practice (and some intelligent instruction) the pistol can be mastered well enough to be an effective short-range weapon, but as a rule, the soldier does not get practice. Shooting in the army is discouraged. Too much bother handling the range; use too much expensive ammunition; dangerous anyhow—may shoot somebody. A lot of people will be insulted by my stating the gun is inaccurate. Most of them will probably be either target shots or exsoldiers who had experience with good pistols. I am talking about service pistols, the kind of production-line tool issued to the military personnel, not a Colt commercial arm or a gunsmithed prewar Colt Army gun. The average issue .45 pistol will shoot about 20″ groups at 50 yards, and that is not good enough for me. Include the human error in the deal and the result is even worse. None of the military pistols is perfect. The Polish Mod. 35 is probably the most rugged gun; the Luger the most accurate; the P.38 Walther the fastest to get into action; the Belgian GP the best-fitting and most effective for battle use because of its 13-round magazine; and the U. S. M1911 & 1911A1 the largest caliber, if you consider that an asset. I do not—I think .36 caliber big enough, which is a personal opinion only. The Polish pistol should have a slightly smaller butt; the Luger is unreliable and the weakest of the 9mm high powered pistols; the P.38 has its butt proportions not so perfect, and its safety-hammer release is liable to breakage; the grip tang on the Browning is not large enough to protect large hands; the Colt has too many parts in the recoil system—link, floating guide, etc. For every good point on a pistol, a bad one can be found. Make the 13-shot Browning double-action on the first shot, modify either the hammer tang or grip tang, and I would say that is about as good as we can get. And leave the caliber 9mm M’08, for the .38 ACP

cartridge is a little too rough on the average shooter. Excessive recoil is one of the drawbacks of the .45. The army grants pensions after 30 years’ faithful service, so the Browning 1911 design is eligible. But, as I said, pistols in the army are more to be worn than used, so accuracy or efficiency of modern types cannot outweigh the importance of the fact that huge numbers of pistols exist and cannot be “wasted,” by being replaced with better ones.

XLII MISCELLANEOUS EUROPEAN SMALL ARMS The following information is for the most part taken from a German ordnance catalog listing military equipment for identification and use by German soldiers. I include it in order to perhaps aid someone to identify souvenir items, rather than attempt to fully discuss each of the weapons. Arms previously covered are not included. Equipment is listed by name of the using country.

BELGIUM Belgium used several rifles, all Mauser-type bolt-actions, and her regulation caliber was 7.65mm, the bore being practically .30 caliber. Due to the great export business carried on by the Fabrique Nationale d’Armes de Guerre, at Herstal, many Belgian-made military Mausers turn up in 7mm and 7.9mm as well. The following items were used by the Belgians to some extent or other at least: Mauser M1924: very similar to the Kar. 98K, except with bottom swivels; overall length, 43.06″; barrel, 23.2″; weight, 8.5 pounds; tangent sighted 200 to 2,000 meters, no windage adjustment; made in 7mm, 7.65mm and 7.9mm; marked “F.N.”; an export model; turneddown bolt. Mauser M24 Carbine: short model of the 1924; overall length, 37″; barrel, 16″; weight 7.2 pounds; made principally in 7mm for export. Mauser 98 Karbine: identical with German M98 except that bolt handles may be turned down and receiver ring may bear a crown and lion; usually marked “Liége” rather than “Herstal”; caliber 7.65mm; length, 43.35″; barrel, 23.6″; weight 8.4 pounds; sighted 100 to 1,500 meters; tangent ramp. Mauser M35: standard Belgian infantry rifle at start of World War II; a modernized 98, very similar to the German Karbiner 98K; caliber, 7.65mm; overall length, 43.6″; barrel, 23.55″; weight 8.65 pounds; sighted 200 to 1,900 meters; tangent ramp. A sniper model was used, being a standard rifle with a very high-mounted internal adjusting telescopic sight in tunnel mounts; a cheek rest was attached to the comb of the stock to aid in sighting and in position looked like a handle, as it had separate metal legs holding it above the stock. Mauser M1889: an old, obsolete long 7.65mm rifle, on the 1889 action which employed a single-column magazine of the Mannlicher appearance, protruding below the bottom of the stock; it had a full length stock, no handguard at all, no pistol grip of any type; length,

48.3″; barrel, 30.7″; weight, 9 pounds; sighted 100 to 2,000 meters on a step-ramp type of tangent elevation; straight bolt handle. Mauser 1889 “Carabine”: a carbine model of the above, 41.1″ long; barrel 21.65″; weight 7.9 pounds; caliber 7.65mm; same sights as the rifle; bottom swivels. Mauser Carabine 1916: another carbine model of the 1889 action, same specifications as the 1889 carabine the only difference being in stock and sights; sight is from 100 to 1,800 meters and the stock has its lower band moved further up toward the muzzle and a metal fitting inletted into the left side of the buttstock, a slot affair, the purpose of which I am not sure, as the stock has a set of swivels in conventional location on the bottom of the rifle, for sling use. Mauser, Fusil 36: a 1936 modernization of the 1889 for limited use; stocks were shortened but not altered otherwise; handguards were added, extending from the rear sight to the lower band; caliber 7.65mm; overall length, 43.1″; barrel, 23.6″; weight 8.7 pounds; sights were changed to their modern tangent curve, reading 100 to 1,900 meters. “Enfields”: the Belgians manufactured for export the British Pattern 1914 Enfield rifle, which we know as our U. S. 1917 Rifle, making the weapon exactly according to British specifications, excepting caliber. Appearance is exactly the same as our 1917s and weights and dimensions are unchanged. The sights are graduated in yards instead of meters. Even the British five-land left-hand rifling was used, though the rifles were apparently made only in 7.9mm Mauser caliber, possibly for sale to the Chinese (that is just a guess on my part—I do not know who else would buy them in that caliber). These rifles were marked “Liége” and “S & G” on either the receiver ring or left side of receiver, and “Cal. 7.92 Mauser” on, I believe, the base of barrel at top just in front of the receiver (I get a little tangled up trying to translate exactly some of the German words). The only Belgian submachine gun I have any dope on is the M34 Schmeisser-Bayard, developed from the German Schmeisser II 1928 model. Caliber was 9mm M’08; length overall, 31.85″; barrel, 7.9″; weight, 9 pounds; it used a 32-round magazine; conventional 3/ length machine carbine wood stock; thin metal perforated barrel 4 jacket. Sights were tangent-type adjustable for elevation only, up 100

to 1,000 meters. Safety was typically Schmeisser, by locking the bolt handle in a notch in the tubular receiver when it was at the open position. They had and used several autoloading pistols, all Brownings, although the 13-shot GP model developed about 1935 was the regulation sidearm at the time the war began. This arm was described in detail under German weapons. I find listed Browning Model 1900 pistols in 7.65mm (.32 caliber); M1910’s in 7.65mm also; the slightly longer-barreled M1922s in both 7.65 and 9mm Short (.380 caliber); and the export Browning Military or Police pistol in 9mm Long Browning caliber. Even some exact duplicates of the modern .32 Colt pistol (1903) turned up. Undoubtedly other makes of handguns were used unofficially but only the Brownings received recognition as military arms by the Germans. I have no information on Belgian machine guns other than that they used two or three models of the Browning automatic rifle action as light machine guns, in 7.65mm and made them for export in 7.9mm (incidentally, no Belgian-made Browning Auto Rifles were ever found in the hands of Japanese troops, despite unofficial gossip to the contrary; I checked up on that at Asaka). In connection with the Belgian official gun, the Model 30 machine rifle, they had an odd accessory—a bayonet scabbard with a fork on its closed end. In use, one soldier planted the butt of his rifle on the ground, holding it muzzle up, with the bayonet fixed. The scabbard support was put on the blade, bringing the forked end up so that the auto rifle could be rested in it for anti-aircraft fire or plain longdistance shooting where it was necessary to raise the arm to approximately shoulder height. The gun itself was similar to our BAR but had a pistol grip handle for the right hand and cooling flanges on the barrel.

FRANCE Compared with most countries, the French had a large amount of junk rifles and machine guns in the war, even their latest efforts not being so good, though the cartridge and sights are first rate. Military historians tend to explain their weakness by their traditional preference for light artillery, in which they did excel for a long time. The French infantryman was considered a bayonet specialist rather than a rifleman and as such was equipped with long bayonets and lousy guns. Present official rifle is the 1936 Rifle, marked MAS Mle 1936, Caliber 7.5mm, a rimless modern cartridge; overall length, 40.15″; barrel, 22.9″; weight, 8.2 pounds; it has a receiver sight, mounted at the rear in the same position as the sight on the 1917 Enfield, a leaf type with aperture, adjustable 200 to 1,200 meters. A couple of types of front sights were used, one a wide flat-top blade. The front sight is mounted on the upper band, several inches back from the muzzle of the rifle. Stock and handguard reach to within about 6″ of end of barrel and stock has a satisfactory butt with fair comb and semipistol grip. The bayonet is the spike or skewer type, carried in the forend under the barrel, point in. It must be pulled out and reversed to fix in place. This rifle may be instantly recognized by its bolt handle, which slants forward to its knob. No other rifle has such an angle to its handle. Magazine holds five-rounds. Like all French rifles, the rifling is similar to the German type, but left-hand twist. The immediately preceding French effort was not so good; it was the 1934 modification of the Lebel, official title Model 07-15M34. It also used the M1929 7.5mm cartridge, which was about the only good point it had. Overall length was 42.5″; barrel, 22.9″; weight 8 pounds; rear sight was on barrel forward of receiver, in usual European location, tangent curve type graduated 200 to 900 meters; its forward sling swivel was a round ring. Back of the two 7.5mm rifles they had hundreds of thousands of old guns, mostly Lebels, but a few Gras singleshot rifles.

The 1874 Gras 11mm was one of the earliest bolt-action rifles. Singleshot, it was 51.3″ long; barrel 32″; and weighed close to 10 pounds. After the 11mm came the M1886 rifles, and the 86/93, which held eight 8mm cartridges in a tubular magazine. Thus the 8mm Lebel rimmed cartridge appeared. This arm had a two piece stock and looks somewhat like the old Swiss Vetterlin, although the action is not the same. Overall length was 51.5″; barrel, 30.75″; and weight, around 9.5 pounds. It was sighted from 250 to 2,400 meters. A carbine model, called Mle. 1886R35, held only three rounds of ammunition. Its length was 36.5″; barrel, 17.7″ and weight 7.8 pounds. It also had a ring for a swivel loop. After the 1886 came the Lebels, all 8mm bolt actions, looking slightly pregnant because of the bulging stock below the receiver. Although apparently invented in 1890, the 1907 model seems to be the most common member of the family. The original 1907 was 51.5″ long, with a 30.75″ barrel, and weighed about nine pounds. It had a magazine capacity of three cartridges and could be clip loaded. Sights were the same as the 1886—250 to 2,400 meters. This model was used many years ago by Belgium, Jugoslavia, Rumania, Poland, Turkey and Greece, but all these countries were smart enough to go to other types. The Lebel was one of the better-known bayonet handles of its day. Bolt handles turned down far enough to be handy, but the rifles had no safety. Two carbine models existed, the 1890 and the 1892, identical except for bayonet and forend details. The overall length was 37.2″; barrel, 17.7″ and weight, 7.9 pounds. Both were three-shot repeaters. The 1916 models of both rifles and carbines are the same guns fitted with five-round magazines, which project from the bottom of the stock in front of the trigger guard. There were modifications of stocks and sights on all, and at least some carbines had an unusual front sight, which was a double blade affair, with open center—the mark was caught between the blades rather than over a single sighting point. It simplified holding over on stationary targets, but I do not think it would be much good on moving ones, or in bad light.

Above the bolt rifles, France had a semi-automatic rifle left over from World War I, the M1918, which I suspect would have caused a furor in infantry tactics had they perfected it a year or so earlier and if they had had the sense to use it as a rifle rather than a supporting weapon. For 1918 it was good; for 1940, not so good. It was a gasoperated five-shot autoloader, caliber 8mm Lebel. Appearance was that of a conventional rifle, but with two-piece stock. A previous model, the 1917, was not successful. Its barrel was 4″ longer than the 1918 which was 43.7″ overall, with 23.65″ barrel. Weight was 10.3 pounds. I do not believe either was ever made in numbers, and they were dropped after World War I because they were too expensive! The French have always been “thrifty” folk. On submachine guns the French were hopeless. Know what their best regulation prewar gun of this type was? The Vollmer-Erma made by their good neighbor, Germany, in Erfurt. This is the same Erma described under German weapons. Caliber was 9mm M’08. They did work up a couple of machine pistols of their own, called the Type E.T.V.S. and the Type SE-MASS1935F. These are actually oversized fully automatic pistols, the first a folding-stock number with its stock hinged to receiver and swinging forward to rest beside it. The stock shape is fairly conventional and so is the rifletype trigger guard. Overall length was approximately 26.5″ with stock open; folded, length of the gun was only 16.5″; barrel 8.25″; and weight was just under six pounds. The second model was the 1935F, with a fixed straight stock and pistol grip and trigger guard. Overall length was 24.85″; barrel, 8.7″; and weight, 6.4 pounds. Both guns were .32 caliber, using a special long 7.65mm cartridge and both use 32-round magazines entering the receiver from the bottom forward of the trigger guard. The first model had aperture sights for either 100 or 200 meters, the second has folding leaf open rear, usable for 100 and 200 meters. These guns were largely if not wholly designed by Charles Gabriel Petter who was responsible for the Model 1935A pistol, also in the same special 7.65mm caliber. The M1935A is a good-looking gun from the drawings and pictures, but I do not know enough about it to give an opinion, never

having handled one. It is vaguely similar to the Browning 1911 (Colt) in outline, but has a better shaped though smaller butt. Mechanism is a modified Browning type, the barrel locking in slide as in the other large Browning recoil-operated pistols. A different hammer and trigger system is used, the principle of action being similar to the Belgian G.P. as the hammer is pulled forward rather than forced forward. The back of the frame is arched to fit the hand and the black plastic stocks are excellent. The hammer is set high and forward and there is no danger of its round spur touching the hand while firing. The safety is a firing-pin block, pivoting in the slide, located as in the German P.38. Magazine release and slide lock are situated as in the U. S. .45 pistol. Overall length of the gun is 7.65″; barrel length, 4.4″; weight, about 25.5 ounces. Rifling is right-hand twist, four groove. The magazine holds eight-rounds. Takedown is quite simple. I do not know the velocity, but do not consider a .30 caliber bullet big enough for a military arm. Before the Petter gun was designed France imported most of her military pistols from Spain. Three Astras, or Star Brand, models were used. One was an odd-looking 7.65mm (standard .32 ACP) hammer pistol with a short stock at almost right angle to the barrel, which reputedly loaded from the top, Steyr fashion. The gun was 7.5″ long, with a 4.75″ barrel, carried seven cartridges in its magazine and its barrel had seven grooves, which is unusual, if unimportant. Same model was made with removable magazines and with short barrels. The other Astras were full-grown powerful arms, one being well known as the Model 1921. The French used it in caliber 9mm Bayard. The only unconventional feature was the forward part of its long slide, which was tubular rather than flat as are most pistols. It was a hammerless (concealed hammer type) blowback 8.7″ overall, with a barrel almost 6″—5.95″ to be exact—weight 37 ounces, (A. F. Stoeger, Inc., listed this gun in prewar days in .38 ACP caliber). The third Astra was an exact copy of a Colt Super .38, even to the caliber which was listed as .38, rather than 9mm. The frame is of course the same as the 1911 Browning for .45. Length was 8.5″; barrel, 5″; weight 39.5 ounces.

Just one “French” semi-automatic was used, called the Ruby. It was 7.65mm (.32 ACP) a concealed hammer type which looked exactly like one of the old $7.00 mail-order Spanish guns. Just a cheap pocket-sized blowback-operated .32 pistol; though claimed by France it was also made in Spain. Three Spanish and one French revolver completed their list of handguns. The old French Model 1892 8mm revolver was a doubleaction six-shot swing-cylinder type with a very oddlymachined cylinder, its outer surface being covered with notches. The cylinder lock recesses or notches are machined forward of the center of the cylinder, between V-shaped flutes. The cylinder swings out to the right of the frame instead of the left as in Colts and S & W guns. The butt is almost round in cross-section and not very large. Its cartridge was weak, using approximately a 100-grain bullet at 650 FPS. The length of the pistol was 9.25″; barrel, 4.6″; and weight 28 ounces. The ancestors of this 1892 revolver were the 1873 and 1874 11mm revolvers, old “cast-iron wonders.” About the only difference between these two was in the weights, the 1873 weighing 42 ounces, the 1874, 38 ounces. Both were 9.25″ long with 4.45″ barrels. Of the three Spanish revolvers used, two were Smith & Wesson copies and one a Colt imitation. All were for the same 1892 rimmed 8mm cartridge, generally called the 8mm Lebel revolver cartridge. One of the S. & W. copies was made by Orbea, of Eibar, Spain, and at a glance it looks like a 4″ barrel S. & W. Military & Police Model. Its overall length was 9.45″; barrel, 4.3″, weight 31.6 ounces. The other two Spanish guns are not marked with maker’s names. The second S. & W. copy is very similar to the first, but dimensions are as follows: Overall, 9.25″; barrel, 4.15″; weight 31.3 ounces. Both have right hand twist of rifling, the first, four lands and the second, six. The imitation Colt is not very similar in appearance to the original and could not be mistaken for a Colt product. The butt does not have the flare of the American gun and from a side view the stock profile is narrow. Hammer is rather heavy and clumsy in appearance. Overall length is 9.45″; barrel, 5.1″; weight 31.3 ounces. It has six lands, with left-hand twist.

I am wondering if it is possible to get a .32-20 cartridge into one of these and if so, how long it will be before someone does and reports the gun blew up on him.... The only French weapon the Germans considered worth using in the small arms class was the Mod. 1924/29 7.5mm light machine gun. The double number means the gun was originated in 1924, but the cartridge used did not appear until 1929; like our 1903 rifle for the 1906 cartridge. The French LMG weighs 19.65 pounds; overall length 39.5″; barrel length 19.75″. It is a gas-operated bipod gun with a pistol grip and guard on the order of a Thompson grip and two triggers for control of fire, semi and full-automatic. Feed is by 25round vertical detachable box magazine. A large and deep block of wood is situated forward of the trigger guard on the bottom of the receiver to serve the purpose of a forend when the gun is used and gets heated up. Rate of fire is from 450 to 600 RPM, depending on gas adjustment and condition of springs. The rear sight is an aperture type, adjustable from 200 to 2,000 meters. Italy got some of these through Germany. French machine guns were quite sad. The short paragraph at the end of the dope on Italian arms will give enough information. If they have not dropped them for better guns, they should.

HOLLAND The Dutch used several different rifles, but kept them all in the Mannlicher family. The basic model was the Model 95, a regular turn-bolt action, not the M95 Steyr-Mannlicher straight-pull. In both rifle and carbine styles they had 5.5mm (.22 caliber) training rifles, almost identical in all measurements with the service models. The cartridge was not a standard .22 but some sort of a steelsupplemental chamber arrangement. This is an old military custom, which even the U. S. has tried in a couple of versions, the idea being to incorporate loading and bolt movements as with the large service cartridge, but actually shoot a .22 bullet of some kind. The regular old M95 rifle was similar to others of its type such as the Italian 1891. The Dutch caliber is 6.5mm, but is a different cartridge than any other 6.5 in use. It corresponds to neither the Mauser nor Mannlicher commercial case. None of their rifles or carbines has pistol grips of any sort. Bolt handles are straight, and all the guns including the .22’s, have tangent curve sights. The Model 95 rifle is 50.8″ long; barrel, 31.15″; weight 9.7 pounds and is sighted 300 to 2,000 meters. Its companion .22 training rifle, the 5.5mm, is 50.7″ long; barrel, 31.15″; weight 10.4 pounds. Barrel has eight-groove rifling and sight is graduated from 25 to 250 meters. Holland had four models of 6.5mm carbines, all much more modern than the M95, although the actions are basically the same. The No. 1 O.M. had a sporter-style stock, without handguard, and sling swivel loops located on left side of butt and forend, and a wooden cover carefully fitted over the projecting Mannlicher magazine joining the stock to make one unit in appearance. The bayonet for this particular arm resembles those of musket days, as it is an offset spike type with its attaching fitting just a sleeve to go around the barrel and lock behind the front sight base. It has no handle. The dimensions of the No. 1 O.M. are 37.4″ overall; barrel 17.7″; weight, 7.2 pounds.

Their No. 1, No. 3 and No. 4 carbines had military full length stocks with handguards and conventional bayonet studs. Nos. 3 and 4 are identical except for handguards, swivels and the wooden magazine covering; No. 3 has conventional bottom swivels fastened to buttstock and upper band, and exposed magazine, and its handguard extends beyond end of forend, reaching almost to the front sight. Many receivers are stamped “HEMBRUG” and some “STEYR.” The No. 4 has a normal handguard, covered magazine, and sidelocated sling loops. Both are 37.7″ overall; barrels, 17.7″; and weight of No. 3, 7.4 pounds and of No. 4, 7.5 pounds. Their No. 1 rifle is similar to the No. 3 with a 1/2″ shorter buttstock. The 5.5mm training carbine (.22) has stock, swivels and overhanging handguard like the No. 3 and length is the same, 37.7″; but barrel is a little shorter, measuring 17.55″; weight is 8.9 pounds. Holland was hard up for handguns—their own M1912 revolver looks like an 1880 model, having a round handle and the kind of hammer which went out of date with muzzle-loading shotguns. It is 9.4mm (about a true .38 caliber) double-action type, with an unfluted cylinder and hexagon barrel. Length, 11.25″; barrel length, 6.6″; weight, 46 ounces. About the heaviest gun in use, though now obsolete or at best, obsolescent. Their regulation pistol, M.25 No. 1, was the Browning 1910. 7.65mm (.32 caliber Browning, same as our .32 automtic). This is the little seven-shot “hammerless” gun nicknamed by American soldiers the “waterpistol.” Length overall, 5.85″; barrel, 3.4″; weight, 20 ounces. The guns had a grip safety like the Colt .32 pistol, but the mechanism is quite dissimilar, though both are unlocked blowbacktype. The 1910 Browning had its recoil spring around the barrel, and a knurled ring at the muzzle was the barrel bushing, turning to remove and allow takedown. Regulation pistol M.25 No. 2, was the Browning 1922 in 9mm short, or .380 caliber. This model is a concealed-hammer-type similar to a Colt .32 from the trigger guard back, but instantly recognizable because of the two-piece slide. The front end is round in cross-section and a section about 1″ long is locked in position with

the slide proper by a small spring catch. In disassembly this part is unscrewed, freeing the recoil spring and allowing removal of the barrel. Length over all is just over 7″; barrel 4.45″; weight, 25 ounces. A large round ring is placed on the left rear corner of the butt for a lanyard loop. I have no information regarding Holland’s automatic weapons, beyond the fact that they used the Danish Madsen light machine gun to some extent.

JUGOSLAVIA The Jugoslavs did not have manufacturing facilities of their own so they bought their arms from other countries. They spread the business around too, for the length of their list is impressive. The following rifles were found in use: Italian M91 Mannlicher-Carcano 6.5mm rifles and carbines. French Lebels, 8mm, both 1907 and 1916 models, rifles and carbines. French Gras 1874 and 1886 rifles, 11mm and 8mm. Russian M91 Moisin-Nagant rifles, 7.62mm. Moisin-Nagant rifles in 8mm Mannlicher caliber. Austrian M95 8mm Steyr-Mannlicher straight-pulls, rifles and carbines. (Some of the same, chambered for the 7.9mm Mauser cartridge) Mausers; Model 1888 in 7.9mm caliber. Model 1896 in 7.9mm. Model 1898 in 7.9mm. Model 1899 in 7mm and 7.9mm. Model 1908 in 7mm. Model 1912 in 7.9mm. Model 1924 in 7.9mm. Model 1929 in 7.9mm. In most cases the model (spelled “Modell” if written out) number will be found stamped on either the receiver ring or the left side of receiver back of the ring. The old guns are not important, but we might as well try to straighten out the mess of Mausers. The old 88 Model is wellenough known in this country to not need describing in detail, except that whereas most of this type sold in the U. S. were carbines, the Jugoslavs had a number of the original long rifles, almost 49″ long with 29.2″ barrels. These had Mannlicher-style magazines. Chamber and bore dimensions of the original 1888 7.9mm were slightly different than the standard German cartridge as of 1905 forward, and I do not know whether the Jugoslav guns were modernized or not. The M96T (Jugoslav Puska 7.9mm M90T) was an early Mauser with some similarity to the 1888 in appearance in that it had a Mannlicher-like magazine hanging out the bottom, in the trigger guard. This protruding magazine raked up and back on its lower front

end, giving it a bull-dog-jaw profile. It was tangent sighted 200 to 2,000 meters and had a straight grip stock and straight bolt handle. Overall length was 42.75″; barrel, 23.2″; weight, 9 pounds. The German reference called it a “Turkish Gun,” so maybe it is the old Turkish model. The M1908, called the M8c by the Jugoslavs, is on the short or 7mm Mauser action, for that caliber. I have information only on the carbine and wish I had the carbine. It is a very nice looking little gun with a decent stock, although pistol grip is rudimentary. The stock is what has become known to us as the Mannlicher-Schoenauer-type, from the commercial sporters of that name, which is to say that the forestock extends to the end of the barrel, ending flush with the muzzle. The caliber is the standard 7mm Mauser cartridge. Overall length is 37.4″; barrel 17.7″; weight, 7 pounds. The stock has finger grooves in forearm and sling swivels on the left side. The bolt handle is bent down, as on the latest models. A very nice little hunting rifle just as it comes—even the sights are usable. The rear is a leaf type with an open V notch, adjustable from 300 to 1,500 meters, and front is a wide V blade. Might have to stretch the barrel a little, to get it to 18”, but the gun sure looks nice. The remaining Mausers are all modified versions of the 1898 German rifle, the action not being altered at all; even the bolt handles of the newer rifles being left straight and not bent or turned down as in the improved German and Belgian 98’s. The 1899 does not appear to be any improvement. In 7mm caliber it is a long model, 50.6″ overall, with straight stock, but in later form, in 7.9mm caliber, it is termed the 99C and made 43.06″ overall, with 23.2″ barrel and regular German-style stocks, with their rounded pistol grips. Two M98 carbines were used, identical except for forend detail. One, called Sokol-Puska, had a conventional lower band, about 3″ in back of the upper, or muzzle band. The other, named Komitern Puska, had no lower band, the muzzle band being the only support to handguard and carrying the swivel for sling. On both guns swivel loops are at bottom, not side. Stocks have rounded combs and pistol grips. Overall length, 37.2″; barrels, 17.7″; weight, 7.9 pounds. Tangent sights are graduated 200 to 1,000 meters.

The M1924 Mauser exists in three or four very similar modifications, all apparently based on the Modell B 1912, which is in turn just a shortened M98. The same is true of the 1910 Mausers. All are 7.9mm; overall length of the basic 1924 43.3″; barrel, 23.25″; weight, 9 pounds. It is a conventionally stocked Mauser, with pistol grip stock and grooved forestock. A metal identification disc is inletted into the right side of butt stock and the gun has double sling swivels, both bottom and side sets being mounted on the same rifle. The left wall of the receiver is marked either “VZ 24” or “WZ 24.” The other M24’s are very similar, though with bottom swivels only. Lengths of M24B, M10C, M99C, M9T and M99T are the same, 43.06″; barrels 23.2″; weights, approximately 9 pounds. All have tangent curve rear sights 200 to 2,000 meters. Evidently every time they changed the position of swivel bases they gave the guns new model numbers. The 1924’s were mostly made in Germany, though some may have been Belgian or Polish in origin. The Model 29, 7.9mm, marked on the left receiver wall either “K29” or “Wz 29” was the 1929 Polish modification of the 98 and is quite similar to the German Kar. 98K except that bolt handles were not turned down. It has protecting ears on the front sight and the right side of the stock is hollowed beneath the bolt handle, as were the German stocks for turned-down bolt handles. Sling swivels were at bottom of the stock, rather than on the side as in the Kar. 98K. The butts have the metal aperture fitting found in German stocks also. Length overall 43.3″; barrel, 23.6″; weight, 9 pounds; tangent sighted 300 to 2,000 meters. No windage, as apparently no European country except England ever considered windage adjustment important on rifles. Although these rifles were apparently made in Poland and bear the same model number, I do not know whether or not the receiver rings bear the “Radom” of the Polish regular rifles, made for themselves. The same dimension and sight data of the K29 goes for the M98 Karbine (Kar. 98) 7.9mm, which is apparently a late model in spite of the designation. The outstanding characteristic of the M98 is its stacking hook, on the bottom of the forend under the muzzle. This is simply a metal projection beginning about 3″ from the upper band and paralleling the bottom of the forend to its end. This rifle has a

front side swivel loop, but rear end of sling engages a cut in butt as in the German Karabiner 98K. It also has the same metal aperture through the butt. The lower (swivel) band is located further back from the muzzle than on the German rifle. These were made in Germany and are stamped “Kar. 98” on receivers. So, we end up almost where we started—with the M98 Mauser. The

THE JAPANESE 7MM OFFICER’S NAMBU PISTOL An experimental arm, never used to any great extent in the field. Note the grip safety below trigger guard, and the excellent checkering of the stocks.

THE 7MM NAMBU PISTOL FIELDSTRIPPED As done without tools. Part showing the serial No. 1614 is the lock. (Gun can be assembled without this essential part.) Bullets and cartridges are, left to right: 7mm Nambu bullet; 8mm Nambu bullet; 7mm Nambu cartridge, .32 ACP cartridge, 8mm Nambu cartridge and .45 ACP.

THE JAPANESE 7MM PISTOL Top View, Bolt Open Note the recoil-spring guide on left side of frame and the sear-lug of the firing pin on left side of bolt.

Jugoslavs even had some of the old long 1898 rifles in 7.9mm; overall length, 49.2″; barrels, 29.8″; weight 9.25 pounds.

The 1895 Mannlichers are known to us as Steyr-Mannlichers, after the Austrian plant in which they were made. They are distinguishable by the straight-pull bolt-action and the rather roundbottom effect of their magazine which of course is integral with the trigger guard and projects out the bottom as in all Mannlichers except the Schoenauer type. The carbines are fair guns, 39.2″ long; barrels 19.7″; weight 6.8 pounds. They may be sighted from 70 to 2,400 paces, although most are from 200 to 2,000 meters. They have stacking hooks on the left side of the upper, or muzzle band. I have no definite information as to their sidearms, although the Germans list the “1914” (we know it as the 1922) Browning in 9mm short (.380) caliber, same as used by the Dutch, nor do I have any information regarding specific machine guns used in Jugoslavia. Probably anything that would shoot. I do know that the British flew in some small arms, notably captured Italian equipment, and probably some Schmeisser machine pistols and Sten guns, with probably a few Thompsons to complete the ammunition problem.

NORWAY The Norwegians had three different actions, two being obsolete, although some weapons still remained for emergency use. The old ones were the Lund carbine and the Jarrmann rifle. The “Lund” turns out to be nothing other than an 8mm sporter-stocked Americanmade Remington-Rider rolling block action singleshot; overall length, 39.2″; barrel, 24.5″; weight, 8.6 pounds. The Jarrmann M1887 was a 10.15mm 8-round repeating bolt-action with a tubular magazine. It had a full stock, but no handguard. Length overall, 53.1″; barrel, 32.1″; weight, 10 pounds. Rifling was eight-groove type, left-hand twist. Norway’s modern service rifle is the 1894 Krag-Jorgensen and its modifications. This action is of course very similar to the old U. S. Krag, being a bolt type with side box magazine, loading with loose ammunition. The cartridge is their own 6.5mm case and of course different from all the other 6.5mm’s. The long model has, or had, a full stock and half handguard; overall length 47.85″; barrel 30″; weight, 8.8 pounds; sighted by tangent curve rear 100 to 2,200 meters. A sniper model was made, using a detachable externaladjusting telescopic sight. When mounted, the sight was low and offset to the left of the bore, rather than above it. Several short models were in use—the Cavalry Carbine of 1894 had a full-length stock with muzzle band almost at end of barrel. The Engineer Carbine of 1904 had the same specifications, but a conventional muzzle band with normal bayonet stud. Both had slings on left sides of stock and measured 40″ overall; barrels 20.5″; weights 7.7 pounds. An Artillery Carbine, Model 1907, is practically a duplicate of the Engineer model in appearance, but weighs 1/2 pound more. All had tangent curve sights, 100 to 2,200 meters, without windage adjustment. In 1895 they brought out their Model 95 Cavalry Carbine, which had the same dimensions of the M94 but only a 3/4 stock. It looks exactly like one of our Krags with the stock cut off 6″ in front of the lower band. Swivels were on left side also. Sights were the same.

The 1912 Carbine was very similar to the 1895, except that it was slightly longer and had bottom swivels. Its length was 43.6″; barrel 24.15″; weight, 8.8 pounds; sighted, 100 to 2,000 meters. Both the 1912 and 1895 models are very well-built guns, with excellent stocks. The Norwegians are riflemen and know what stocks should be like for accurate shooting. All their rifles excepting the old Remington “Lund” have full pistol grips and high-comb buttstocks. The payoff comes on the 1930 Model, probably the highest development in European military bolt-action rifles. It corresponds to our old DCM Springfield Sporter, though longer and undoubtedly a target model. This rifle was made for accurate shooting, with its semi-heavy barrel and aperture sights. The stock was true sporter length, with short forend, but it did have finger grooves. A full pistol grip buttstock with scant drop made for ease of sighting and American-type loop slings were used. The rear sight was a receiver aperture type, appearing very like our target sights, and very close to the eye. Elevation was from 100 to 1,100 meters, and provision was made for windage adjustment. Overall length of this 6.5mm deluxe job was 47.5″; barrel 30″; weight 11 pounds. No mention was made of its use with telescopic sights. This was the only metallic-sighted rifle the Germans rated effective at 600 meters. They considered 400 meters the effective range of all other rifles used against them (including our Springfields), rating the telescopic-sighted sniper rifles good to 600 meters. Norway had only two handguns in the regulations. First, their old Nagant 7.5mm M93 revolver—a brother to the Russian Nagant. These had octagon barrels, 5.7″ long and overall length of the gun was 9.45″; weight, 27.2 ounces. Cylinders had peculiar flutes, being machined recesses in the outer surface, not reaching the front end of the cylinder. Ejection was by rod. This had the fore-and-aft movement of cylinder, to seat nose of cartridge in barrel before firing, as did the other Nagants. However, the old gun was not in much use, for their real sidearm was the M1914 Browning, marked “11.25mm Aut. Pistol M1914.” With the exception of the shape of the slide release thumbpiece, (a better one!) this pistol is a duplicate of our 1911 .45. I do not know

exactly how the cartridge compares with the .45 ACP (in the metric system our .45 is listed as the 11.43mm Colt). Anyway, the Norwegians were not so bad off in the rifle and pistol line. I do not know much about what they used for machine guns and can give no data.

POLAND Poland used the M29 (“Wz 29”) Mauser; the 98 Mauser; the Karbine 98 (marked “K98”); and the Moisin-Nagant, all in 7.9mm caliber. The latter was similar to the Russian Dragoon model, even to the apertures in the stock for the sling, and the model number was 91/98/25, covering the original model and two modifications. Overall length was 43.3″; barrel, 23.7″; weight 8.25 pounds. These 7.9mm Nagants used a slightly less powerful loading than the standard 7.9mm Mauser cartridge, and the Germans advised against use of their own ammunition in captured rifles, to the extent as defining the Polish 7.9mm cartridge as being the only one suitable for this rifle, while in other Polish rifles, any 7.9mm Mauser cartridge was permissible. The K29 Mauser was the regulation rifle in manufacture in Poland at the outbreak of the war. As described under the Jugoslav weapons, it was merely a modernized 98 with overall length of 43.3″; barrel 23.6″; weight, 9 pounds. The sling swivels are on the bottom and most of the guns have the marking “Wz 29” on left receiver wall and the name Radom on the forward receiver ring. F. B. Radom was the Polish national arsenal at the city of Radom, Poland. Bolt handles were not turned down. Polish-made rifles were very well finished and the workmanship on the M29 is superior to the Germanmade military Mausers. The other rifles mentioned are exactly as described under the Jugoslav headings, for the 98 Mauser and the K98, although the latter was made in Poland as well as Germany. For handguns, the Poles had the old 7.62mm (.30 caliber) Russian Nagant revolvers and the new (1935) “VIS” Mod. 35 9mm M’08 pistols made at Radom and described under German weapons. Polish pistols were well machined and polished and beautifully blued, and their appearance was far better than that of the similar weapons made under German rule. I do not know much about Polish machine guns, except that they used some old types of Maxims for ground use. Their M35 anti-

tank rifle has already been described, as the Germans considered it good enough to add to their list of equipment.

GREECE In Greece, as in Jugoslavia, all types of rifles were to be found since they had purchased or conquered a variety of weapons. The Greeks’ own regulation rifle was the Mannlicher-Schoenauer M1903 which action employs a modified Mannlicher bolt with the Schoenauer rotary magazine feed (made in Austria by Steyr). In the U. S. a similar feed system is found on the Savage M99 lever action rifles; it is considered reliable, but too elaborate for a military arm. The Greek caliber is 6.5mm and the cartridge is very similar to the Italian case. Rifle stocks are typical old European military style, with small low combs and little pistol grips. The long Model 03 had a full-length handguard and a straight bolt-handle. Overall length was 48.3″; barrel, 28.6″; weight, 9 pounds; sighted with tangent curve rear, 200 to 2,000 meters. The bolt mechanism used in these rifles is different from that of the other Mannlicher military rifles previously mentioned and it is practically identical with that of the Austrian-made sporting Mannlicher-Schoenauer rifles imported into this country in fair numbers before the war. The bolt handle is located about onequarter of the way forward on the bolt proper, and on the completely assembled bolt appears about in the middle. Its handle is short. The locking lugs are at the front of the bolt, but set back from the face, and the section of the bolt forward of the lugs is separate and is called the bolt head. It is locked in the same plane as the rear section (not the bolt proper) by the firing pin and turns whenever the rear section does. Therefore, when the bolt is lifted to unlock the locking lugs the bolt face does not turn, since the cocking piece and firing pin cannot, but holds its position on the cartridge. The extractor is a short part fitted into this bolt head and does not attach to the body of the bolt as does the Mauser-type. Safety is located as on the Mauser or Springfield and operates in the same manner. Disassembly of the bolt is not at all difficult, but if the “combination” is not known, a person may spend a lot of minutes wondering how it

comes apart. Marking is “Modell 1903” on top of receiver ring and “Steyr” on left receiver wall. The M1903/14 was the same rifle, except that bolt handles slant down, although they are not bent, or turned as in other types. Receivers were marked with model numbers. Two carbines are in existence, the “Modell 1903” and Modell 1903/14. They are practically the same. Swivels are on left hand side of stock; overall length, 39.75″; barrels, 19.7″; weight, 8.4 pounds. Sights are tangent type, V notch and blade, 200 to 1,800 meters. Greece took a few M95 8mm straight-pull Steyr-Mannlichers from the invading Italians, and acquired some of the M95/34 Steyrs from Jugoslavia in 7.9mm caliber. These short models were 43.3″ overall; barrels 23.5″. Some French Lebels and captured Italian Mannlicher-Carcanos were also in Greek hands. Prior to the Italian invasion Greece evidently attempted to bring in some more modern rifles and purchased a quantity of 7.9mm Mauser M1930’s from the Fabrique Nationale, of Belgium. Four revolvers are listed, two Nagants—one the old Russian Model 1895 7.62mm, the other the 1912 six-shot 7.62mm model, which was a slightly more modern arm, approximately 9″ long with a 3.95″ barrel, weighing 28 ounces. These may have been made in the U. S. for their marking is “Nagant Kal. 7.62 Mod. Amerika 1912.” I never heard of them, though. The other two revolvers were American-made, one the Smith & Wesson Military & Police Model with 4″ barrel, .38 caliber, (presumably the same as furnished to England) and the other the Colt Official Police model with 4.5″ barrel; weight, 31.5 ounces; .38 Caliber, probably for the .38 S. & W. cartridge, as the .38 Special was not well known abroad.

RUSSIA In the rifle line, the U.S.S.R. used Moisin-Nagants, and M95 Winchesters in 7.62mm (.30 caliber); Pattern ‘14 Enfields and 1905 Ross rifles in .303 British caliber, and Mauser 98’s and M29’s in 7.9mm. The English arms were taken from Latvia in 1939 (England had given them to Latvia in 1918) and the Mausers were captured when Russia and Germany split Poland in 1939. The Winchester 95’s and a large percentage of the Moisin-Nagants were made in the U. S. during World War I. The Winchester is, I believe, the only leveraction rifle used in either War I or II as a military arm by any of the belligerents. Their own old rifle was the 1891 bolt-action devised by a Czarist officer named Moisin, and the Nagant came from the Belgian inventor whose feed and clip-loading system was utilized. He apparently swiped parts of his idea from the American designer James Lee, who fathered the U. S. Navy 6mm Lee straight-pull rifle and the British Lee-Enfield, and from Mannlicher. The magazine looks like a Mannlicher and acts like a Lee. The Moisin-Nagant is distinctly third-rate—meaning not as good as the Mauser or Mannlicher systems, but it was apparently a cheap weapon to make, for Europe was flooded with them; also parts of Wisconsin. The caliber was 7.62mm, bore diameter being .300 inches —same as our .30 calibers—but the case was a shorter rimmed-type and in the pressure class of the Krag .30 caliber, even though the Russians brought out a high-pressure loading in 1930, which has about the ballistics of our old .30-06 M1 cartridge. Technically, the original designation of the caliber was “Three-Ligne”; apparently a Russian “ligne” was 1/10 of an English inch, for it turned out to be .30 caliber, which the Europeans promptly changed to 7.62mm. The action is not considered particularly good: the bolt stop is the sear, and the bolt is removed by pulling the trigger ‘way back, as in low-priced .22 rifles. The original model was 51.1″ long, with a 31″ barrel, and weighed 9 pounds. It was sighted 400 to 3,200 paces.

Back in the old days in Russia, the peasant conscripts were usually completely illiterate and ignorant of the metric system, so their weapons were sighted on the old Russian system based on paces. Since the U.S.S.R. has worked up a fair education program in the past 25 years, they began marking their gun sights in the more efficient meters. I believe that all the Simonev and Tokarev arms are sighted in metric distances and most of the submachine guns are the same, though some of the latter were found with the old style of marking. Since they were late guns, it was surmised that the Russians had some old-style sights made up for the benefit of their back-area troops as some of the Siberian tribes undoubtedly have not been brought up-to-date. To explain, the Old Russian distance measuring method is based on the “arshin” (meaning “pace,” or step, equalling 28″ or .71 meters). Three arshins make one “sazhen” and 500 sazhens equal one “verst”; now you know what a verst is. To get on with the guns—the Dragoon Model 91 is the best known rifle, probably because it has an unusual set of sling fittings. These are metal-lined slits through both stock and forend. All the guns had full-length military stocks and handguards. The Dragoon model was 48.5″ long; barrel 28.7″; weight 9 pounds. Originally they were sighted in paces as were the old long rifles, but in 1930 many were changed to tangent curve rear sights reading from 100 to 2,000 meters, and employing a large aperture front sight. Many were fitted with 4X telescopic sights, large internal-adjusting bracket-mounting types having large objectives and ocular lenses, with short eye-relief —about 3″, usable to perhaps 41/2″. The original mount was on top of the receiver and converted the rifle into a telescopic-sight arm only, but a later mount fitted on the left side of the receiver at the rear, and set high. The metallic sights could be used by looking under the telescope tube. As in Japanese rifles, the bolt handles were bent down to accommodate the sight. During the war the Russians came out with a 3.5X short scope, a straight-type model with internal adjustments, but a production job. The mount was a stamping and can be likened to the American Weaver T-type. It held the sight high, holding at the forward end only. Eye relief was short on these also. Many of them were installed on Tokarev 40 semiautomatic rifles.

The Moisin-Nagant Carbine model was similar to the Dragoon, having the metal-lined slits for attaching the sling. Length was 43.3″; barrel 20″; weight, only 7.3 pounds; sights were same as the rifle. An even shorter carbine was the M1924/27, 40″ overall; 17.2″ barrel; sighted from 100 to 1,000 meters, open V notch sights and V front. The Winchester M95’s were full-length, with full military style forends, and tangent sighted from 400 to 3,200 paces. Fitted originally with long, sharp-pointed, four-sided Russian bayonets, carried on rifle always. Some Japanese weapons were in use by home guard units, captured from the Nips in the 1930s when they were raiding each other around the Manchurian border. The Russians really concentrated on the autoloaders and they had some good ones—the Simonev 36 using the curved 15-round magazine, and the Tokarev 38 and 40 models, 10-shot repeaters. A carbine version of the 1940 Tokarev came out during the last year or so of the war. The standard M40 length was 46.3″; barrel 24.6″; unloaded weight 8.6 pounds and the carbine length was 39.9″; barrel 16.6″; weight only 7 pounds. Both were equipped with compensators and sighted 100 to 1,500 meters. That carbine is really an infantry weapon—only seven pounds. These guns of course use box magazines and can be clip-loaded as can Mauser and Lee-type rifles. They are gas-operated, as explained in the section of German semi-automatic rifles. The “Tokarev 40 ZF” is the M40 equipped with the 3.5X telescopic sight, which mounts lower than on the bolt action rifles and makes the arm much more effective. All these semi-automatic arms are for the 7.62mm rimmed cartridge. Several submachine guns, including .45 caliber lend-leased U. S. Reisings were used, the best being the M41 described under German guns. The Models 34 and 38 (Federofs) were simple blowback types, using 25-round straight magazines, and all were for the 7.63mm Russian pistol cartridge which is approximately the same as the Mauser 7.63 pistol cartridge in dimensions and ballistics. A couple of .22 training rifles were widely used by the Russians, these being the “TOS” No. 8 and No. 9. No. 8 is a singleshot; No. 9 a

five-round repeater. Both are bolt-action, sporter stocked rifles, with open sights, the rear a tangent curve graduated from 25 to 250 meters. Specifications are the same for both models, overall length being 43.65″; barrel 25.6″; weight, 7 pounds. All Russian small arms, including the pistol and revolver and submachine guns, are listed as having four-groove barrels, righthand twist of rifling. Russia’s handguns were scrambled by loot and lend-lease, they acquiring everything from Smith & Wessons to P.38’s, but the only “Russian” guns are the old obsolescent 1895 Nagant (invented in 1886!) and the newer pistol. The Nagant 7.62mm revolver was sevenshot, and used a cartridge case longer than the cylinder, with the bullet seated below the mouth of the case. When the cylinder revolved it moved back and then forward, placing the protruding end of the cartridge case in the rear of the barrel, the idea being to keep gas from escaping. The gun was smallbore and not very effective, but fairly reliable, and, as previously indicated, popular enough to be used by several other nations. The revolver cartridge is entirely different from the 7.63mm Russian pistol cartridge, although bore diameters are practically identical. The revolvers were 9.25″ long; barrels 4.5″; weight 26 ounces. Variations exist, as evidently different countries made the same type and Russia bought many abroad in the old days. Their regulation sidearm was the Tokarev M1930, a modern arm, though not a top-notcher. It is a Browning copy and is a production arm, simplified somewhat for ease of manufacturing. The hammer is the round-spur type, almost concealed in the slide somewhat like the Czech P.2 7 Bohmische, and the hammer and its spring are part of an assembly easily removed from the gun without major disassembly, the spring actually being enclosed in the hammer. The butt is straight. Slide lock, magazine release, locking system, etc. are similar to those of our Colt .45. The caliber is 7.63mm Mauser, which is a very high velocity pistol cartridge, with great range and penetration. Personally, I think the diameter too small, though, of course, I would hate to be shot with a .30 caliber pistol. Finish of the gun is rather rough. Overall length is 7.7″; barrel 4.7″; weight, 29 ounces. The stocks are stamped “CCGP” in the star

in the center of the stock, where the single screw has its escutcheon. These are the Russian initials for Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, in Russian. Russia had quite a few anti-tank arms, the first of which were old long bolt-action rifles, patterned after the 13mm Mauser singleshot of 1918. Two 12.7mm (.50 caliber) models existed, one a singleshot, the other a five-round repeater. The singleshot had a barrel one meter long, or 39.37″; 70.7″ overall; weight 38.7 pounds; sighted (open tangent type) 100 to 500 meters. The repeater had a 44.1″ barrel; 75.4″ overall; weight 43 pounds; sighted 200 to 600 meters, tangent curve. Both had muzzle brakes, bipods, short forends ending in the bipod base, and pistol grips somewhat like those of the Thompson submachine gun, for the right hand. Padded buttplates were the only recoil absorbers, besides the firer’s shoulder. Two 14.5mm AT guns were in use, one the Degtyarof or Degtyarov, M41 singleshot bolt-action, the other the Simonev M41, a five-shot gas-operated semi-automatic. The Degtyarov was 79.5″ long; barrel 53.1″; weight 34.6 pounds. It had fixed open sight for 400 meters. The Simonev repeater is 83.9″ overall; same barrel length as the other, 53.1″; weight 44 pounds; tangent sight reads from 100 to 1,500 meters. The front is an aperture-type. Both guns have carrying handles on the barrel at the balance, have bipods, muzzle brakes, padded shoulder plates and pistol grip handles. The Simonev’s gas cylinder is located on top of the barrel and reaches about two-thirds of the length of the barrel, the gas port being approximately half-way between muzzle and bipod. Magazine is located on the left side of the receiver. The 14.5mm AP bullet will penetrate 30mm armor at up to 60 degree angle impact at 100 meters, according to the Germans, and up to 25mm at 500 meters, —depending on angles—which was good. Another anti-tank weapon of interest was the Djakanov 30, which was a Moisin-Nagant rifle converted to handle large armor piercing grenades. A metal pipe replaced the barrel, although I believe the chamber section was retained, and on this pipe an adjustable stand was fixed, close to the muzzle, consisting of a tubular metal upright ending in a Y-fork. A detachable grenade sight

was mounted on the left side of the stock about 8″ in front of the trigger, having a circular base which remained on the rifle. The toe of the buttstock was cut away, to allow a better contact with the ground, as this weapon was always fired from a set position, never from the shoulder. It used stick type grenades, the stick going down the “barrel” and receiving its force from a blank rifle cartridge. In machine guns, about the only two Russian models which have received much publicity in the past are the Degtyarof, Degtyarov, or Dektyarov light machine gun and the old heavy Maxims. The first (choose your spelling—everyone else does) came out in 1928 and saw extensive service in the Spanish Civil War, which field-tested a lot of stuff. The locking action of this gun is similar to that of the German semi-automatic M41 rifle, which was probably copied from it, and the essence of which is that its locking lugs are retracted inside the bolt by impulse from the gas-operated mechanism. Degtyarovs have wooden buttstocks only, of birch, and these have peculiar shapes, appearing to have a huge cheek-piece located far back on the left-hand side of the butt, making it very thick (about 4″) at the bottom. They are bipod guns, with flashhiders and normal rifle-type trigger guard and pistol grip on the stock. Weight is 18.5 pounds unloaded, and the 47-round flat pan magazine (round shape) weighs 6 pounds loaded. Cyclic rate was about 600 RPM and caliber was the standard 7.62mm Russian rimmed cartridge as for the rifles. Tank model Degtyarovs were used, these having adjustable metal stocks, modified barrel housings and 60-round drums. The greatest asset of the Degtyarov is its ability to operate with an absolute minimum of lubrication, an important point in a cold country, and a point which caused the Germans to send quite a few of the guns to Africa in an effort to test them in desert conditions, where oil meant picking up sand and grit and dry guns were desirable. I do not know what their verdict was, and never had any 7.62mm ammunition to try the guns myself. The Maxim Model 1910 heavy machine guns, 7.62mm, were watercooled old guns which were used in numbers on wheeled carts and all sorts of fixed mounts, for anti-aircraft fire. With the common mount the gun weighed over 130 pounds. The guns had small

shields on them, like 37mm or 57mm cannon carriages, and were mainly effective for long range harassing fire. With the 1930 cartridge they were good up to 2,600 meters. The action of the gun and its dimensions were quite similar to those of the British Vickers, although the shield made the Maxim’s weight 40 pounds against the Vickers’ 30. Several sights were used, the last being a good optical type, and special AA sights were used for planes. Their real ground machine gun is the M1940 Degtyarof 7.62mm aircooled gas-operated gun with flanged barrel, aperture front sight and a variable rate of fire. It is rather heavy, weighing with its tripod 72 pounds, also having the shield to run up the weight. The barrels taper sharply to the muzzle and have flashhiders. The rear sight is a folding-leaf aperture-type and is graduated from 100 to 1,200 meters. Either cloth or metal ammunition belts can be used, entering from the right side of the gun. Normal rate of fire is around 550 RPM. I do not know exactly how they worked this, but believe it is probably similar to the principle used on the Czech Besa, to change its cyclic rate. The 1943 Gorunov 7.62mm heavy ground machine gun is similar to the 1940 Degtyarov in appearance and mechanism, which is all the information I can find on it. Both were undoubtedly developed from the M1938 12.7mm Degtyarof (.50 caliber) which is an excellent heavy machine gun so far as performance goes, though gas-operated and very heavy. It was used as a ground gun, in tanks and as an anti-aircraft weapon. Both carts and special tripods were provided, as well as sights for special purposes and the ground leaf sight was graduated from 200 to 3,500 meters. The gun uses a large muzzle-brake and feeds from 50-round metallic belts, non-disintegrating. The ground mount has a large steel shield to protect the gunner, and gun and mount weigh 338 pounds together. Rate of fire is normally from 550 to 600 RPM, but can be raised to 1,000 for anti-aircraft defense.

XLIII MISCELLANEOUS MUSINGS ON MEN, OFFICERS, WAR Someone a long time ago said that no nation or race had a sole claim to courage, or words to that effect, and how right he was. As to soldiering, the Germans are probably the best, because they seem to enjoy the regimentation and cooperation necessary in most military endeavors. A German soldier remembered his training and used it, while most others kept their thoughts on home or the past until they were in the mill. They were inclined to pretend all military operations were on a high military plane, professionally, you know, and as a rule treated prisoners well enough. Many a wounded Allied soldier received the finest medical care from them. British Eighth Army men told of German medical corps men working side by side with their own during and after battles. There was a little cruelty in German POW camps. Also, more than one British soldier, wounded badly, was booby-trapped by Afrika Korps men. American and British prisoners were sometimes shot (few soldiers feel angry about this— Americans probably killed more prisoners than all the rest of the others combined). Most of the atrocity stuff was confined to civilians and done more by the Nazi political SS units than regular army men. But do not fall for that “Good German—Bad Nazi” line—they were all for Hitler and his plans, whether they belonged to the Nazi party or not. SS men did not fly the bombers over Rotterdam or Coventry. The German leaders were not all screwballs, as our propagandists painted them. Goering was one of the most intelligent organizers and leaders they had, even if he acted like a clown and was not always backed up by the ground forces. Rommel was a topnotch field commander, and Guderian just about as good. Von

Rundstedt has been called the ablest army commander in the war by nonpartisan observers. A Britisher once told me that they considered the Scots regiments the best fighting men in the world, because they were not only courageous, intelligent and cold-blooded fighters, but also because they seemed to actually enjoy combat. Next to them he rated the Ghurkas, saying they openly enjoyed fighting but were not as coldly calculating as the Scots. And he thought as a nation, the Germans produced the best armies. I will go along with him, for with two wars to judge by, even I can see that it has been necessary to outnumber them and outweigh their equipment three to one, giving us the best of it. If they did not mix their military genius with a good percentage of stupidity, we would probably be speaking German now. They win the battles and lose the wars, always failing to see when they could win. Bad sense of timing, I guess. Their equipment and development work was of course very good, and production methods as good as ours in most cases. Item for item, their artillery was the best in use —but they did not have enough of it. Their tanks were better than ours in most respects. Their aircraft were good, but they did not have enough. Spread out and outnumbered in Russia, they lost millions of men, yet it was still a battle to take Germany. I can respect the German Army, but I do not like any part of it. It came so close to winning I hate to think about it. As for the Japanese, he had just one strong point—he was not afraid to die. He was also patient and had plenty of physical endurance for his size. Many Nips were intelligent, but most were rather backward when it came to heads-up fighting. On a man-toman basis in jungle work they were pretty good, but when equipment and large-scale teamwork entered the picture they did not have much or know what to do. They considered themselves better handto-hand fighters than Americans, which was the motivation behind most of their banzai charges (given up as a basic tactic about the middle of 1944). I will compliment them by saying I think they were about the ablest of all night prowlers, although they did not know enough about efficient exploitation of their training and ability. They seemed to think they could win the war if they could only scare us a little and a good deal of their effort went to that end rather than to

real fighting. They were hard up for a lot of equipment. Good as they were at infiltration, they seldom had knives to fight with at night! What jobs of that kind turned up they had to use their long bayonets on. How they cut the grass and vegetation for their ever-present camouflage is beyond me. Once in awhile we would find one with a pocketknife. I saw one hara-kiri knife and one knife so oddly shaped it may have been a special equipment tool of some kind, and that is all the Jap cutting equipment I did see in a year in the Pacific fighting areas, excepting swords. Even in Japan in their army storehouses I found nothing at all in the way of machetes or sheath knives. The Japanese lived with the thought of death of course, and their philosophy and indoctrination was such as to tend to eliminate their fear of dying. At that, a lot of their last-stand habits were due to our inclination to destroy them mercilessly. When they began their aggression against the U. S. they mistakenly tried frightfulness as a war tactic, on the childish assumption they could “dishearten” American soldiers. The result was for us to declare them out of bounds as humans and our combat soldiers destroyed Japs as they would vicious animals, exterminating divisions. In addition to hurting the Jap pride (he wanted to be considered a great, brave, honorable, feared warrior) our attitude made dying for the Emperor practically obligatory, in addition to being an honor. American firepower and savage attack made them sometimes hysterical with frustration to the point of suicide, and many did hold grenades against head or chest. However, often the “selfdestruction” of the news stories was not always their own idea. The average Jap soldier was not particularly strong and his throwing arm not too good. To toss a grenade effectively he had to rear back and put a little body English on the pitch. About the time he popped up with his arm back, some soldier would pop a couple of bullets into him, so he would fall, the grenade dropping beside him scrambled his skull so that the next day some war correspondent would walk past, see the wreckage—“Ah, he committed suicide with a grenade!” The only time they committed seppuku was when they were convinced that they were going to die and that they could not inflict damage on the Americans. Submitting to slaughter under the

circumstances was dishonorable and knocking themselves off voluntarily was honorable. It was not until Luzon that American forces began attempting to persuade Japanese to surrender in numbers, by propaganda, messengers, radio, etc. Before that some prisoners were always taken if possible, for information. Japs always talked, once they were resigned to capture, for in their army, no man was ever supposed to be captured or surrender, hence no instructions regarding security of information could be issued. Our Counter-Intelligence Corps men, the Japanese-Americans, could find out everything the Nips knew— even to persuading them to draw maps for us! Incidentally, those men did a job, and no white American soldier ever said anything against them, or against the magnificent 100th Infantry, who made such a great record against the Germans in Italy, all members of that unit being of Japanese ancestry. The Japanese mentality, moulded by centuries of their own screwy philosophy, was responsible for many of the actions Americans held against them. They treated prisoners of war very badly, yet, according to their lights, they were being very civilized and modern. In the Jap mind, any soldier who did not die for his country in any way when he had the opportunity, who permitted himself to be surrendered or who allowed himself to be captured was a despicable coward, lower than any criminal. Anything that could happen was too good for him! In the old days they would have executed all prisoners, if any. Their treatment of whites other than soldiers could be understood by a little effort, I think. Japanese soldiers seldom if ever bothered white women in any way. I believe that all the U. S. Army nurses on Bataan and Corregidor came through alive and unhurt, receiving comparatively excellent treatment (the reason Japs did not make passes at white women often was that they considered most of them very repulsive!). Interned civilians received rather a negativelycruel routine; the Japanese did not do much to them—they just did not do anything for them. Whites were not beat up or tortured, but they did not get enough food, or medicine when they were ill. People were not killed, but they were allowed to die.

An idiotic aspect of Japs and Germans was their attitude toward the Allies—a great many Germans had admiration and respect for the British, even while they wrote on walls “Gott Strafe England,” and the Nips entertained similar feelings toward America and things American while U. S. soldiers and airmen were being starved and killed in their camps. Baseball is still the principal Japanese game, and the people are evidencing no resentment whatever over being defeated and their country occupied. They love the U. S. now. Sure, they are a hypocritical batch of little monkeys and can bow without straining their honor, but I do not believe they are being so insincere. After all, we went into Tokyo wide open for anything, and met not even mental resistance. The Emperor was head man and his wish was law but even his personal instructions could not have restrained every single individual Japanese who had suffered at our hands had they been disposed to start trouble. Hundreds of thousands of the people of Tokyo had died under our fire bombs—probably the majority of those still alive had lost relatives and friends. In spite of this, they seemed to wash out their feelings and start clean. They wanted our sympathy for damage done to them by ourselves, but leaned over backward assuring us that they did not really blame us and held no hard feelings about it! They could not lick us so they want to join us, and want very much to have the U. S. on their side, in any role we want to play. I think General MacArthur has been a wonderful administrator for Japan and that he has left little to be desired as a governor. His very name symbolizes American power and determination to the Japs and his aloof, impersonal decisions are just the thing for the Japanese mind to accept. So far as Japan is concerned, he is Mr. United States, in person. Compared with the German government by the Allied commissions, our Japanese set-up has been 99.44% perfect. Of course, the Nips are easier to deal with—their basic government was not changed—they do as they are told, etc. Ito would like to be honorary American, please. No ordinary military organization, whether regular unit or of conscript personnel, can stand against one of the special units of anywhere near equal strength. Among the special forces themselves, I doubt if any is much better than any other. Germany

had Storm Troops or shock troops, England had her Commandos and the U. S. had the Rangers, and Marine Raiders. All had paratroopers. The universal characteristics of these organizations are the physical and mental conditions of the men. Almost all members were young and very good physical specimens. Practically all were volunteer units, appealing to the athletic and adventurous personality. They received incredibly strenuous and dangerous training, learning far more about warfare and weapons than the average combat soldiers. Because they were picked men, knowing they were good, their spirits were always higher than those of comparable ordinary forces. Intensely practical specialized courses of combat training toughened them before they even went into action, so that for all purposes, they were veterans before they started. Had casualties, too—of 500 Commandos who went through a special training range at Benghazi, 17 were killed in that training. Some of the records these selected-man outfits set in the war are almost unbelievable. A German unit, on foot, in the invasion of Poland in 1939 averaged 40 kilometers (about 25 miles) advance per day for 12 days, with full equipment. I cannot locate the number of the outfit, but remember they were know as the “Foot Panzers” afterward because of that march. In North Africa the U. S. 1st Rangers covered 16 miles in two hours and ten minutes, (including a tenminute break) with full field equipment, on foot. Parachutists in training were never allowed to walk, even for a few steps between buildings in camps. Had to run. One of the characteristics of these special units was their ability to fight an action and suffer far fewer casualties than an ordinary unit in similar circumstances. The men were just more alert and better

THE JAPANESE M14 PISTOL Cut-Away for Study Note the lock, in locked position, at the rear of the gun, engaged in the notch in bottom of the bolt.

trained, I guess, as well as being better physically. They were tough. The German paratroopers who defended Cassino made a stand that stopped the Allies cold. American bombs knocked the town down; the British could not take what was left, even with Ghurka and American help; The New Zealand Division could not take it; and finally, when it was completely surrounded and cut off, fanatical Poles overwhelmed the survivors. The fighting lasted months. Nobody can tell me that a German regular army unit would not have surrendered early, when the situation became hopeless, but Goering’s boys were ordered to hold up the advance and they held it up. The four U. S. Ranger Battalions were the equivalent of a regular division in infantry power. Even the Italian selected units, such as the Folgore Parachutist Division, were good soldiers. The rank and file of the Italian army were poor fighters, but it is hard to actually say how poor, because the majority of the men thought they were on the wrong side and did not try very hard! Most of them favored England and America more than Germany, so they did not work hard at the war, even when their

side was apparently winning. Some of the Fascist units, hopped up politically, did fair fighting, comparable with good average work anywhere. The closest thing Italy had to special units comparable with other nations’ were the San Marco Marines, a semi-naval force, somewhat like our own Marines. My opinion of our U.S.M.C. is not very flattering. The prewar permanent Marine was a lot different from the war type, who was essentially only a better physical class of army man. He received somewhat better training as a fighting man, but the best thing about the Marine Corps is its spirit. The men have much higher morale and regard for their organization than either Army or Navy. Their fighting tactics stink. The usual Marine landing operation was a Purple Heart expedition from start to finish. They did not seem to use good sense. Naturally, I was not along on any of their beachheads, but I am satisfied that my information is straight. It comes from individual Marines, sailors and official pictures. If a cavalryman had acted like they did on an invasion, his own pal would have shot him as being too damn dangerous to have around. Marines went in standing up; they bunched on beaches; charged machine guns; ran up on caves with flame-throwers; threw grenades like rocks; and in general acted like characters in a movie rather than trained soldiers who might do better if they lived longer. I saw countless true combat moving pictures where Marines got themselves knocked off needlessly (I can tell the difference between phony and real “action” pictures pretty well—I was a “German” in a phony war news-reel once in Africa). To anyone who was ever mixed up in the Pacific war, the Marine casualty lists are understandable. The guys were always getting medals for having both hands blown off while saving the general’s lunch or something else just about as sensible. Marines were mixed up in a lot of screwy operations, too. Betio, called “Tarawa” after the atoll it is a part of, was a fine example. To a lot of people besides myself that scrap looked as though the Nips built up a strong point and dared the Marine Corps to try and take it, and the Marines could not take the dare. Just what the hell the importance of taking Tarawa was, no one can really find out. It was not worth a hoot to either the Japs or ourselves for either defense or offense on anything except the smallest possible scale. In the whole

Gilbert Islands the only one of importance to us was Makin, the northern key of the chain, which was taken without too much trouble. As an outer-perimeter Japanese seaplane base, Tarawa could have been easily neutralized from Makin by air. According to the Navy grapevine, General MacArthur was against the operation, but as it was a Navy show and they insisted, he could not stop it. The U. S. forces as a whole received poor training and bad indoctrination (Indoctrination being a 15¢ word meaning patriotism combined with intelligent approval of the principles we were supposed to be fighting for). As the country with probably the best and smoothest advertising brains in the world, the U. S. Army developed the world’s worst psychology in dealing with itself. At all levels. Americans put their good sense in cold storage when they don uniforms. I remember when going through basic training my company was called out on a surprise training hike after supper one night. A one-blanket pack affair, about 10 miles, with rifles, nothing hard about it, but the lieutenant who was in charge led it fairly fast. He wore no pack, carried no rifle, or anything else. And kept heckling all who did not stride along happily. You can imagine the effect of the show on the men who had been in the army about three weeks. That jerk should have been broken to a private for going out of his way to alienate his men. If he was too lazy to carry weight he could have put three rolls of toilet paper in the pack and worn an empty pistol holster. He would have fooled most of the men at least. In the army in the United States, “fooling the men” is the first principle of life. The official stand is that all enlisted men are morons and must be treated at that level of intelligence, therefore all officers and a lot of non-coms will tell any soldier anything at all, regardless of truth. Consciences are parked with the intelligence. Training for the past war was as a rule conducted on the basis of peacetime training in past decades. A man could not be a good truck driver if he could not march well. He could not hold a rating as a tank mechanic if he did not know his military courtesy. He could not be a platoon sergeant in the line if he was not a whiz on the drill field. The old officers training the armies still believed there was “Nothing like drill to make a soldier.” The snappy, salute-happy lads, commissioned or enlisted, were not much good either in the line or in the shop, until

they learned their job on non-union hours, which was often quite late in their lives. In war, only the results pay off, but they were of the tradition which dictated that not the result, but the way it was obtained was of greatest importance. Toward the end of the war the infantry troops were given more sensible training which gave them a better shake for their money, but did not bring back the guys who died in Tunisia and Sicily and Italy, and the Islands. Even service troops got some realistic night training, mostly useless. I went through a few infiltration courses, crawling under machine gun fire, etc. when I came back from Africa. What irritated me was that our brass-hats were determined not to learn except the hard way—the British made every error we did, two years before, but after Dunkirk they realized it and reorganized. They had written a lot of books and manuals about modern warfare, but none of our brass read them. Africa was a fine example; what Rommel’s boys did to Patton and his Fort Knox tank tactics was pitiful. For exact details, find a member of the original 1st Armored Division, if any are still alive. General Patton made a great name in Europe, with the Air Corps to knock out German armor ahead of him, but he was sure a chump in Tunisia. The colonels who led his columns learned how through their own experience, and a lot of guys died before they got experience. In spite of our propagandists, the Germans were the best tank engineers. We had better armor steel, and our turret mechanism on the later models was very good. The stabilizer was ahead of enemy equipment, but the tanks were heavy, high, noisy and did not last long. The Grant tank was a stop gap of course, and a lot of British soldiers died because we did not know any better than to make it. I do not believe any of these were used by American forces, and that the Sherman was the first to be in use by ourselves, as it was to become the mainstay of British and American forces. It was much better as an anti-tank weapon, or tank destroyer, than as a tank in its own right. You could hear a Sherman two miles on a clear night, but a Mark IV could sneak up on you, making less noise than a GMC truck. The Germans had a little the edge in the main tank gun and armor piercing ammunition, but not enough in 75mm to make much difference. Of course in heavy tanks they were ahead of us, although

we copied their model and got it out a little late for real use. It is a good thing we had airplanes. It only took us three years to wake up. There was no excuse for the U. S. and England not being up on panzer stuff. Both countries were rather unsmart about the whole thing. Early in 1943 I read an English news article about their forces, bitterly condemning some of their army practices and bringing out one point worth remembering: The first time in the world that armored vehicles were used in numbers strategically and as a new weapon of war was in Spain, at the battle of the Ebro, during their Civil War. All the nations should have been watching and maybe were, but only the Germans saw anything. The Spanish Republican chief of armor at that battle, who was the first man to comprehend and use tanks for full effectiveness was a Scottish independent soldier named Malcolm Dunbar. His were the tank tactics which made Guderian and Rommel world famous in later years. In 1943 Malcolm Dunbar was in the British tank troops, in England. He was a corporal. In our army some units were better than others and the reason was not always leadership or training. Morale meant a lot. I do not mean the condition of the men’s minds regarding the home front or the political aspects of victory, but the mental attitude of the unit concerning combat. If an outfit got through its first engagement successfully, defeating the enemy and not suffering many casualties, that outfit was pretty good from then on. When the boys have been shot at and missed, they begin to realize what the score can be if they do not watch their signals in the next period of the game, and the brain cells start working. So help me, I have known dopes who came out of a campaign with higher I.Q.’s than they started with! Above all, combat soldiers get quiet and thoughtful. They get considerate and understanding, sharing whatever they get with each other and helping each other out all they can as a rule. You can never tell who will turn out to be good and who will not. I remember one of the replacements I took on the beach at Leyte—a little Jewish boy, strictly the bookworm type, who went directly into the cavalry. Two battle stars later he was a sergeant, recognized as an able field leader and decorated. Somehow he had been able to adapt himself

rapidly and do the right thing at the right time. A more unlikely trooper was never shipped overseas. I do not like the use of that word “boy” in all places, either, for there is nothing very boyish about a war soldier regardless of his age. It used to gripe us to read blurbs about “our boys.” A soldier can call other soldiers boys, the same way a man refers to his lodge poker gang that way, even though there is not a lad under 60 in the bunch, but it irritated us to be called that in print and by civilians, the way it irritated us to be called “Joe” or “Buddy” by outsiders. I always wanted to hit civilians who called me that. No real soldier ever called another “Buddy” anyway. Besides, in the Pacific, only the Filipinos used “Joe” as a name. Privates were sometimes referred to objectively and collectively as “joes” but only replacements thought it a name. Soldiers called other strange ones “Mac” (or in our outfit, “Mate” was popular—the guys had been on ships so often they used sailor lingo). “Doughfoot” and “Doughboy” are more civilian terms. In the army if a soldier belonged to the cavalry he was a trooper, and if to the infantry, an infantryman. He was called foot soldier, or line man, if belonging to a combat unit. Courage is strange. A guy can be brave one day and a coward the next, and no soldier ever blamed another man for being afraid. Fear itself cannot be cataloged. I knew one man who was afraid of heights —could not climb a ladder in a training camp tower—but he held a Silver Star for bravery. There are some men to whom fear becomes exhilarating excitement, sharpening their wits and speeding their reflexes. I define courage as mental strength, applicable to either mental or physical danger, strain or injury. If a man did not know he was in danger he could not be afraid. Even when the same man was threatened at different times, he might react differently. It probably depended upon how he felt at the moment, whether or not he had enough sleep and food and what his philosophy was that day. A platoon sergeant I knew went through three campaigns in the Pacific with the cavalry and about a month before the end of the Luzon fight turned in his stripes and transferred to a service outfit as a private. His record was very fine, but he claimed he was now afraid to go into the jungle any more.

Even I, who was seldom under pressure, acted screwy at times. A Nip artillery shell passed me once and I lost no time at all leaving the locality for a safer one, plenty worried. The very next night another special delivery came in and while intelligent people ran for cover, my first and only thought was to raid the supplies for a box of prunes to eat while on guard later. Safety was secondary. I have no business talking about psychology. Most soldiers paid little attention to the “moral values” of the war, losing themselves in the anonymity of the uniform so far as political views were concerned. Democracy was just a word, and the enlisted man was either oversold on how noble we were or was doublecrossed enough one way or another until he believed nothing in the way of official instruction or information. He came to live only for the day he would be free and in the meantime hated the Army about as much as the enemy. The enemy of course came in for all kinds of grading; some of our men hated all Germans and Japanese personally; some felt they were only other soldiers, being pushed around, but that their leaders were to blame (front line troops did not like the enemy a lot, but some of the states units and rear echelon outfits had men who inclined to the easier view). No one ever defended a Jap, the only thing I remember a cavalryman saying in that vein was that we should not squawk about how the Japs treated prisoners, since nothing they did was as bad as the things we did to them. I think he was one of a crew which overran and wiped out a Jap hospital and then used it as an ambush to catch wounded Nips, for a day or so. Americans readily accepted the no-quarter idea of the Japanese, with improved variations, much to the pained surprise of the enemy. Men in the Pacific who went out early hated General MacArthur, as a rule, because they felt he doublecrossed them on the rotation plan, keeping them from going home when they were theoretically entitled to do so. Naturally, he did not want to lose veterans and so reduce the effectiveness of the good divisions and consequently practically no one in the Pacific theatre in good health went home until the war was over. The gag about the young soldier with the line of overseas bars saying he was in born in New York and raised in New Guinea was not stretching the truth much.

Men were always asking me which was worse—European or Pacific theatres. I usually gave a diplomatic answer to the tune that the Germans were better soldiers than Japs but that the country in the Pacific was harder to fight and live in. Which was about the truth. No part of the war was pleasant, but while you stood a better chance of getting killed on the German side, you were sure to suffer some sickness or disease in the South and Southwest Pacific. Heat was not particularly troublesome in the tropics. Men claimed that the constant warm climate got them down, but their weariness was reflected in the faces of the men in Italy and France. Lack of transport and facilities made life harder in the islands than in Europe. The men facing Germans ran into equipment as good as our own, and the men facing Japs ran into them in their own foxholes at night. The Italian front had trench-foot and the Pacific had jungle-rot. Malaria was more predominant in the islands than in Europe, though there was a lot in Sicily and Italy. So far as relaxation and comforts are concerned, the Pacific had practically none. Until Manila was reached, the word “city” was not in use. Things out there were not civilized. A year in the Southwest Pacific equalled two most anywhere else. I have tossed a few sharp remarks at officers, but I have no desire to be tagged as one of the ex-soldiers griping over grievances real or imagined. What complaints I make are based more against the system than against the men. When practically the entire young and able-bodied male population is slapped into uniform, the heels go along with the regular people. Many a man personally a louse is an able character otherwise and naturally gets advancement and authority, whether as an enlisted man or officer. The catch is, when he becomes an officer he has such a beautiful chance to bother other people. If a bully or dictator type earns a few stripes and begins to abuse them and the men under him, there are enough decent NCO’s of equal or superior rank around to notice and beat his head off if he does not smarten up fast. At the very least they tell him off pointedly, personally and profanely, not being required to act dignified in their relations with each other. But no officer ever criticized another officer in any way—that was against the fraternity rules—so the poor guys under bad officers

just suffered until they could transfer or possibly help the objectionables die for their country. Of course, in the line troops, everyone wanted to be “one of the boys—call me by my first name,” etc. Line officers had hard jobs in any case and those who wanted to live till their number came up without help had to stop and take stock of themselves every once in awhile. As long as a man was just, the men under him went along, but if he pulled a fast one or two, or was a hypocrite, his men hated him. Service units developed more blisters in brass than other branches, though most of the “working” officers were OK. The chair polishers were the punks. A lot has been written by better men than myself about the “outmoded caste system” in the U. S. Army and I noticed a few editorial rebuttals here and there, stressing the point that it would be impossible to have an efficient army if the “barriers were lowered,” cut discipline and bring all members closer together, men would not respect officers, etc. Whoever backs that line misses the boat completely; no one wants to cut authority at all—when a soldier gets an order, that order is to be carried out, period, whether it comes from a corporal or a colonel. And more men are doing terms at hard labor now for doubting corporals than colonels, too. Even privileges are not to be too much criticized—when an officer pays for his chow he is entitled to sit at a table and have room for his elbows. I am strongly in favor of NCO clubs and privileges for non-coms; the higher the rank, the more breaks. In the British army noncommissioned rank meant perhaps too much at times, but NCOs were respected a great deal more than in our army and to me seemed more capable as a class. They had to work at it and every stripe was a step toward better living as well as more pay and well worth having. The rank classifications were usually carried to unpleasant extremes outside the army during the war. Many hotels in the U. S. never had rooms available when an enlisted man needed one, but could always find a spare for an officer. Overseas, American officers happily adopted the British custom of setting aside all the best restaurants, hotels and bars for officers only. In Egypt every first and

second-rate establishment had a sign “Officers Only,” a point which irritated English soldiers as much as American. In the American forces there was practically no respect for anyone unless he earned it personally, and the word as applied to all officers became a joke. Personally I think the word itself should not be used as it is; that no man should be asked to consider a whole class of men deserving of respect simply because they are of higher rank in an artificial autocratic system. The official pretense is of course that it is really the uniform, not the man in it which is due honor, etc. By this device officers pass the buck—any protest against inequality or un-American subservience is answered “Don’t you honor and respect your country—the uniform represents it.” They are the sole interpreters of their rules, and if they said it did, it did. You accepted it or else. Only, to about nine out of ten loyal soldiers, the uniform of their country signified nothing but bondage and called for anything but respect. The salute rates the same. It has no place in modern military life, between individuals as such. Said to have originated in the Middle Ages when men in full armor opened the visors of their helmets when meeting, to identify themselves, it is now explained as “Greeting between military men.” The insistence upon its use when every man in a uniform meets another man in uniform, of higher rank, is exceedingly stupid. Most officers will agree—they have to wave their arms more than enlisted men. For my money, the salute should be retained for the flag, for use when bodies of men are formally reported, such as guard mounts, and when men report to any superior personally on specific business, and dropped completely in its present character, where enlisted men have to salute generals’ cars even when they are empty and parked, etc. The greatest gripe against the military standards of the U. S. Army concern the powers of officers concerning military regulations and laws. If a PFC gets liquored up and cuts a few capers in town, staying out a day or two without leave, he is very lucky to get less than six months at hard labor and loss of two-thirds pay, and he may be sentenced to years in the jug.

If a captain does the same thing, he will get a letter of reprimand from the higher echelons (maybe) or if he was especially obstreperous and damaged a dive or two, the general may fine him half of one month’s pay and confine him to the limits of the post for a weekend. A soldier may work for years to get a respectable rank and be broken to a private at any moment if he incurs the enmity of his officer. The charge would be “Inefficiency” and the sole judge of the man’s efficiency is the officer who desires to reduce him. So a man can lose not only rank but a large part of his income without recourse, simply because another man dislikes him or wants to punish him for some misdemeanor, justified or not. I know of soldiers who got dirty deals in that way—one was a master sergeant who ran up against a lieutenant who had disliked him when the said lieutenant had been a rookie corporal; the master sergeant was reduced to a private, on the grounds that he was inefficient—“Incapable of performing the duties of a master sergeant.” From about $150.00 per month his pay dropped to about $55.00 which is quite a cut. The payoff is, the sergeant was in a casual company and as an unassigned non-com had absolutely no duties whatever, so how could he be inefficient? He was not doing anything. The guy held a regular or permanent warrant as a staff sergeant and was able to get reinstated in that grade in about three months through appeal to a colonel whom he happened to know well enough to get a string pulled, but he was still a loser through no fault of his own. Officers can appoint and reduce NCOs on their own hook, without reference to the man’s qualifications or giving any competitive examination. Battalion or regimental commanders always accepted the recommendations of company officers without question. Seniority was often the sole qualification during the war for a higher rank, whether or not the man was the best available. Favoritism was the usual system, the toady getting the breaks. Once a man was rated, reduction was constantly held over his head as a threat to keep him agreeable to the officers. So men with stripes spent much of their time keeping their noses clean, if they wanted to keep the stripes. The eventual result—countless captured German,

and Japanese too, intelligence reports and instruction manuals for the guidance of enemy combat officers and men stated that: “The U. S. Army has very little initiative on the lower levels; gains and advances are almost never exploited immediately, and our forces may counter-attack with good effect in a majority of cases. The enemy (us) is very unimaginative, depends upon weight of equipment for advance and seldom makes any move except as a result of higher order.” (Quotation from German field order.) Officers themselves are not much better off, requiring the approval of all their superiors in their organization for promotion. That leads to buying a lot of drinks and yessing a lot of chair warmers. I have not much of an idea of how to cure this evil, but for both officers and men it should be possible to work out a system of advancement through merit and intelligence. Experience should carry some weight, but seniority by itself absolutely none. If a yap stays in the army 28 years he does not necessarily know enough to be put ahead of every man with less service. Intelligence tests should carry more importance than anything else, for from here on in, wars are going to depend a lot more on brain than on brawn. The “Muddling-Through” system is through. Let men be graded or classified according to their intelligence level, limiting their promotions beyond ranks suited to their reasoning power. And, because if all men are not created equal in that respect, they should at least have an equal chance at the things which make life worthwhile; let pay and even some privileges be based on service as much as on rank. As a class, American officers are above criticism. It is never admitted that they can make mistakes. All blunders are whitewashed. Generals can do no wrong. We always win, etc. A few of the slips are showing up and people are waking up to the facts of the Kasserine debacle and the Italian miscues and the Ardennes scrap. Getting hurt through enemy power is painful enough and when our own mistakes contribute to their successes and then are covered up or denied, it “ain’t” good. The only place men could talk about anything without putting the rosy-glow frosting on it was in the cartoons and columns and letter

sections of the various service publications—“Yank,” “Pacifican,” “Stars & Stripes,” and others, which were nominally not under censorship. At the moment of present writing, concerted attempts are being made by all army or overseas theatre commanders to rigorously regulate all military publications, so that any man who dares to complain can be checked upon. During the war of course all letters of enlisted men were censored by their officers and naturally men could not do much griping, whether they had anything to gripe about or not. No military person may write to any newspaper or for publication without permission and submission of the communication for approval to the various army agencies, first of whom is the Public Relations Officer. Any criticism by an enlisted man of anything at all, particularly during wartime, can be interpreted as grounds for a court-martial. Courts are of course conducted solely by officers and the procedure is such that in 99 out of every 100 trials, the verdict is “guilty.” When officers were tried in court, it was a very quiet session, unpublicized —“Bad for discipline” for enlisted men to learn officers could go wrong. This of course created the impression that officers got away with everything and never were court-martialled. Sentences are always reviewed by higher authority and very often lightened, but the whole system should be completely worked over. It would be the easiest thing in the world to set up a streamlined trial-by-jury setup with the jury made up equally of privates, noncoms and officers, with a high officer as judge, who would hold no other duty than to be a legal specialist. However, it is not really the court which needs revising, but instead the Army Regulations and Articles of War. The first need going over because they are not well adapted to the present Army and the second because they are not suited to modern civilization. Above all things some way should be found to free enlisted men of fear of their officers and to give them the right to speak, when justified, and not be punished. One outfit I belonged to had a lovely situation, to wit: the Company Fund. In the army each company or corresponding organization is allowed to have a fund, built up by various ways, belonging only to the enlisted men of that organization and expendable only for their benefit not in line of duty, or in other words,

for recreational purposes. Prewar, each unit had a ration allowance figured in money, and smart mess sergeants always saw to it that a little went into the company fund each month, so that eventually the boys could buy anything from a beer party to a pool table or a piano for the day room. The company commander was the custodian and it was really quite a sacred trust—poison to monkey with, for an elaborate accounting system checked up on him from time to time. When a war is in progress, the money is not allowed to leave the U. S. but is sort of put in escrow for the time being. The unit I mention went overseas and apparently everything was OK, until about a year later, when the company clerk happened to mention that he did not remember seeing the records of the fund around anywhere (he had nothing to do with keeping the record, but the books usually were kept with Company property in the office). He was promptly and forcefully informed that he could forget all about it; everything was taken care of and if he ever mentioned it again, to anybody, he would go into the foxhole nearest the enemy lines so fast he would get blisters moving. He kept his mouth shut, being about 40 years old and knowing he could not take a rough campaign in the line. About $1,200.00 got lost in that shuffle somewhere; it and its records simply ceased to exist. Who could do anything? All the men went home as individuals, as did the officers, the replacements knew nothing about it, and the entire personnel of the unit changed within a year, overseas. If the clerk had caused a row, he would have caused himself most of the trouble; he could not tell the rest of the men and get them to do anything—any joint action is mutiny. The only recourse in such a case is to assassinate the guilty party, and usually it was hard to get a chance at a rear area rat, without risking your own neck, which is too valuable to trade for his. Most officers were all right, as most enlisted men were all right, as men, to men. The one or two percent who were selfish, dishonest, sadistic or otherwise obnoxious are the ones who have caused the widespread ill-feeling against officers. The system is really the offender, in allowing such men to stay for years in positions of authority unchecked, and in particular the perverted noblesse-oblige

theory that one officer should never say anything against another, on the grounds that is is not good for discipline. In the Russian Army, and many others, if an officer slips up he can be reduced to any lower grade, down to private, as punishment, but in the U. S. Army the most awful fate faced by an erring officer is being asked to resign “For the good of the Service.” Unless he is guilty of murder or such a civil crime. Theoretically an American officer is always accountable for all his actions and the property he is termed responsible for, and he is subject to practically all the rules and regulations the enlisted man is, but actually has no need to govern himself by them. Why should he? Does a policeman have to worry about speed laws? The boys on the traffic detail will not give him a ticket. It’s a mess and it will stay one. The officers run the army and they sure will not change their own status to one where they can be regulated. One of the principal evils is that we have at a conservative estimate, twice as many commissioned men as are needed. There is no necessity for having officers for jobs corporals can handle equally well, as is the American custom. The average in our army is about one officer to every dozen enlisted men, which is carrying comicopera army rank too far for humor. As things are, one officer gives an order or makes a decision, and anywhere from three to a hundred merely parrot it as they pass it down the line to the enlisted personnel who put it into effect. All wars are wasteful and all armies inefficient, but do they have to stay that way after the war?

XLIV RECONVERSION Like soldiers, a lot of military equipment can be converted to peacetime use with a minimum of effort. Unfortunately, small arms cannot be included, for there is usually a good deal of labor before a presentable civilian rifle can be made of a military weapon. Notice I said “presentable,” not “practical,” which would intimate that it is a big job to turn an army rifle into a usable hunting or target gun. You get out of a rifle what you put in it. Some men will cut the forend short on a Springfield or Mauser and that is their remodeling. The best thing to do with any of the rifles is to replace the military stock with a sporting type, either from a stockmaker or one of the commercial gun houses, or, cheapest of all, get one of the semiinletted semi-finished stock blanks from one of the concerns that advertise in the outdoor magazines, and finish it at home. This last course will perhaps often result in the worst stock, but pride of ownership and workmanship will be usually high enough to compensate for the inevitable insulting comments from “the boys” you consider your friends. Military sights are seldom suitable for either hunting or target use (or military use either, in some cases!) and replacing them with commercial sighting equipment, either metallic or telescopic, is a job for a competent gunsmith. Most military rifle receivers are very tough steel and the process of drilling and tapping holes in precisely the right locations is not easy. To transform a military weapon into a top grade arm for postwar pleasure it is necessary to go to the custom gunsmith, or at least to a gun shop equipped to do alterations to both actions and barrels and refinish them to commercial standards. The military barrels can be retained in a few weapons, the suitable ones being the U. S. M1903, all types; the U. S. M1917

(Enfield); the British .303 Lee-Enfield, all Marks (models); Russian and Polish Nagants in 7.62mm only; French Lebels in 8mm; and Mausers in 7mm and 7.9mm, whether German, Czechoslovakian, Polish or Belgian in origin. The 7.9mm Mauser cartridge, when naturalized, becomes the “8mm” to American dealers. Since the retention of barrels is determined by the availability of factory ammunition, both 7.62mm Moisin-Nagant and 8mm Lebel rifles may be utilized, unless our domestic ammunition companies drop these two calibers from their lines in the future. Both were made after World War I up until the advent of World War II, as many rifles for them were in use in this country during that period. Neither rifle is to be recommended as better than third-rate. Many of the foreign rifles which may now be found in this country —sent back by servicemen—are fine, safe weapons, but of calibers for which American cartridges have never been made and never will be, by our large ammunition makers. In practically all cases if a man is determined enough he can procure ammunition for his odd-caliber rifle either from one of the custom handloaders who specialize in “wildcat” or altered commercial cartridge loading, or if he is careful and intelligent, load his own. The difficulty of course lies in finding the closest American cartridge case and swaging and expanding it to the chamber dimensions of the foreign caliber, reloading with suitable bullets. Practically all foreign bullet sizes themselves are available in the U. S.—6.5mm, 7mm, 7.9mm or 8mm —while some of our own bullets translate into familiar metric sizes —.303 into 7.7mm, .30 into 7.62mm, .32 Special into 8mm, et cetera. Handloading is expensive under these circumstances, where cartridge cases have to be altered, entailing special dies and hand work, but in some cases it may mean saving a valuable European sporter and preserving the gun in its original form (this last point not so desirable to American riflemen who know much about guns)! The Mauser action is the standard of comparison for all boltactions as regards operation. Most of the large bolt-actions are copied from it directly or indirectly. The British Pattern 1914 Enfield Arsenal Rifle, almost identical with our M1917 or “Enfield,” is a copy. The 1903 Springfield, the Japanese Arisaka, Remington’s former 30S and 720 Express rifles, the Winchester M70, and a lot of others

are modified Mausers. No matter who makes it or what he does to it, if it has locking lugs on the forward end of a one-piece bolt and the bolt turns at least forty-five degrees to unlock, it is going to be called a Mauser type, or somehow Mauser will get the credit for the general design, since Paul Mauser was the first to develop the bolt-action for high-powered smallbore ammunition. The rifles suitable for remodeling, for use either in the original calibers or rebarrelled for American cartridges of comparable pressures, which I feel willing to recommend as safe and of suitable steels, in order of preference are as follows: U. S. M1903 Rifles (Springfield and Rock Island Arsenal Manufacture) U. S. M1917 Rifles (Enfields: Remington, Winchester & Eddystone make) Mausers: Polish (Radom) Czechoslovakian, Belgian or German, excepting the German VG I 1944 rifle. U. S. M1903 Rifles (Remington and L. C. Smith World War II manufacture). Greek M1903 & 1903/14 Mannlicher-Schoenauers. German G-98 Mannlichers (7.9mm, with Mauser magazine system) Japanese M38 Arisakas (6.5mm) Japanese M44 Arisakas (6.5mm) Japanese M99 (7.7mm) British Lee-Enfields. Norwegian and Danish Krag rifles. Mannlicher M95 models (Steyr-Mannlicher straight-pull type). Moisin-Nagant rifles, in 7.62mm Russian caliber only. Dutch Mannlichers. Italian Mannlicher-Carcanos. The last four mentioned are not top-notch guns, but neither are they junk. The Moisin-Nagant action will not safely stand the 50,000pound pressures of some of our later commercial or special cartridges, but is safe enough with the original 7.62mm Russian caliber. The remaining three are for odd cartridges and are scarcely worth rebarrelling. In my opinion only the straight-pull SteyrMannlicher is worth reloading for, and that only because of the fast

action which may appeal to some people. It has weak extraction and may jam after a few quick shots from the heat produced. Not recommended for use as anything except souvenirs to hang on the wall are the following, and all the older guns mentioned among foreign arms elsewhere: Japanese 6.5mm rifles, with cast-steel receivers. Moisin-Nagant 7.9mm rifles. French Lebel, all types, 8mm. French MAS, 7.5mm rifles. Cartridge cases for foreign chambers can be worked out of existing

JAPANESE TRAINING AIDS Cutaway models of the Arisaka M38 (6.5mm) Rifle Action and the Model 14 Pistol. Mechanisms function, illustrating movement of each part.

The British Bren Gun MKII, Caliber .303.

The BAR-U. S. Browning Automatic Rifle M1918A2, Caliber .30-06.

American-made ones as a rule. The following few and the case which is suitable for alteration to it are examples. 6.5mm Italian—.276 Pedersen U. S. (Not made at present, but stocks of U. S. cases exist in this country in hands of many individuals.) 6.5mm Japanese—.30 U. S. (30-40 Krag). Require lathe work. 7 x 64mm German Sporting Cartridge—.270 Winchester or .30-06 cases UNNECKED before alteration. 8mm Mannlicher (Osterreich M’93) for M’95 rifles. Cases can be made without dies—trim (shorten) 7.62mm case necks and expand for 8mm bullet. 7mm and 7.9mm (8 x 57mm) cartridges are factory loaded in this country. 9.3mm German Sporting Cartridge—from unnecked .30-06 cases.

I am definitely not advising anyone to start loading for his souvenir rifle as a general practice, but just want to mention the possibilities. The sensible thing to do if the action is good is to have it rebarrelled for an American cartridge. Not many Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, or British rifles will turn up as war trophies, but there will be a few, and fine hunting arms can be made of them if equipped with barrels for rimmed domestic ammunition. German sporting arms in odd calibers have appeared in numbers, however, and I see inquiries every month in magazines where some hopeful soul has come into possession of a 7x64mm Mauser or a combination shotgun and rifle for a metric caliber rimmed cartridge and wonders where he can get ammunition for it. Most double and three-barrel guns of the continental combination type are fairly highquality arms, if not made too long ago. Such types commanded high prices and there was not much of a market for junk in that class of equipment. Rimmed cartridges for many of the combination guns can be made from our rimmed cases such as the .405 Winchester or .30 US (Krag 30-40), although a few doublebarreled rifles may be for longer rimmed cases and cannot be accommodated. Some of our custom loaders are already advertising rimmed 8mm cartridges. An occasional three-barrel will be found with its rifle barrel chambered for the .25-35 Winchester, which enjoyed fair popularity among the Europeans as a medium-power .25 caliber. Bolt-action rifles are quite common in the rimless 7x64mm Mauser caliber (an excellent cartridge) which has a case very, very similar to the .270 Winchester. However, headspace distance on the 7x64 is considerably greater than either .270 or .3006 (same on both cartridges) and consequently 7x64 cases should only be made from unnecked, or straight American cases, in order to have the shoulder at the correct point. A lot of foreign shotguns will be found with short chambers, for loads below American pressure standards, and usually not suited to rechambering for U. S. shot shells. Not safe. Light European shotguns chambered for American shell sizes should be used only with skeet and brush loads. The guy who wants to use Super-X duck loads had best buy an American-made gun, or go shopping for an artificial left hand, assuming he holds the forend with that one. He is

liable to lose the original any shot. Some very fine English shotguns have come back and of course they are not only as good as the best American types, but can be better! The Walther factory, in Germany, made a very good autoloading shotgun as well as two or three different grades of double-barrel types, and they can be classed as top-grade, but most of the French, Belgian and small-shop German stuff should be regarded with suspicion until carefully tested. German double shotguns and drillings (as they term their threebarrel guns) made for sale and use on the Continent, are chambered for use with standard German shotshells. Those made for sale in America are chambered for the American ammunition. While the gauges and chambers are the same, there is a slight difference in the rim thickness of the two makes of ammunition, the German shotshells having a much thinner rim than the American. German shotguns, chambered to use this thin-rim ammunition, have the rim counterbores more shallow than is found in standard American shotguns. Consequently, the majority of these Continental shotguns will not close easily, if at all, on our thicker rimmed American cartridges; the shells fit and chamber readily enough but the gun just will not shut tight or lock properly. Hence, it may be necessary to have a good gunsmith deepen slightly the rim counterbores on the German shotgun. Any rifle with engraving should also be thoroughly checked, as well as any which have been equipped at any time with European telescopic sight mounts or bases, as the engravers had a habit of getting unheat-treated actions, or annealing finished actions to soften them. Almost always they neglected to toughen them up when they were through, with the result that your engraved action is liable to push itself out of shape with much firing. I positively recommend that any such rifles be Brinnell or Rockwell tested for hardness of receivers, and feel that Parker O. Ackley, of the P. O. Ackley & Company, has had sufficient experience in his testing of military rifle actions to be able to determine whether or not the state of steel in actions warrants usage or treatment. Getting back to the rifles, the easiest of all to turn into sporters are the Springfields and Kar. 98K or other short-barrelled Mausers. Remember though, that the barrel has to be 18″ long to be legal

under Federal law, and quite a few European military carbines had barrels only 450mm long, that being only 17.7″. I don’t know for sure, but maybe the F.B.I. would let such barrels by if a short sleeve were attached to the muzzle permanently by soldering or even welding. These carbines usually are for undesirable calibers, but a few 7mm arms, such as the Yugoslav Modell 1908 (formerly the Serbian model) can be used with over-the-counter ammunition. The 1903 Springfields, and Rock Islands too, are usually well enough made so that about all that is necessary around the action is a light polishing and buffing job before reblueing. Their barrels are always rough and need either turning or draw-filing (filing lengthwise) to remove the marks left by the original machining. Springfield actions below 800,000 in serial number are of plain carbon steel, semi-casehardened and somewhat brittle. I saw hundreds of these in the war, used with all types of issue ammunition including armor piercers with rather high chamber pressures. These low number actions are safe with practically all government and commercial ammunition in .30-06 caliber, with the possible exception of the very high-pressured target loads or heavy-bullet hunting cartridges. They are not desirable, but are usable within any reasonable limit. Handloaders who like to experiment with necked-down cartridges, et cetera, have no business with them. Serial numbers of Springfields between 800,000 and 1,275,767 indicate the double-heat-treated carbon steel actions which are very much stronger than the older ones, and entirely suitable for the highest-pressured custom cartridges. However, they are, of course, safe enough for all commercial and government loaded .30-06 cartridges and can be rebarreled for standard cases such as the .270 or .257. These actions are the smoothest-working of all ‘03s and the shooter need have no fears regarding its strength. A shooter who intends to do competitive target shooting involving a good bit of rapid fire will be about as well off with a double-heat-treated Springfield as he can desire. Rock Island Arsenal M1903s numbered to 285,507 are of the same type. Do not confuse these actions with re-heat-treated 1903 actions, which are simply annealed low-number jobs, done by gun dealers, not by the government. I do not consider these at all desirable and

personally would much prefer a plain low-number action, untouched, as then I would know what I had and how far to trust it. I know of no gunsmith in the country who can satisfactorily heat treat rifle actions at this time in his own shop. If I have to have such work done, I think I will have the steel analysed, then turn the action and report over to one of the large heat-treating concerns who specialize in such work in industrial applications, telling them exactly what the action should be like afterward, and let them worry about it. Micro-analysis after treatment should tell what happened and if it is OK. Many such jobs leave the surface of the steel with a batch of microscopic cracks and need studying. Another safe series of the 1903s are the high-number nickelsteel receivers and bolts, Springfield serial numbers above 1,275,767 and Rock Island over 285,507. These are suitable for any conversion acceptable to a reputable riflesmith and will stand the heaviest handloads listed for use in the calibers concerned. Most desirable are the former National Match Springfields, with polished bolts and receiver runways, for easy operation. Remington-made 1903, 1903A3 and 1903A4 rifles and L. C. Smith 1903A3 rifles are to be considered about as safe as the highnumber Springfields, but steel in them may vary between different rifles. These were of course made during the war and there was a slight joker in the specifications on material—“War Emergency Steel” was permissible, this being any of several alloys or types, whatever was available at the moment. All were of course strong modern types and capable of standing very high pressures. Remingtons and L. C. Smiths are numbered above 3,000,000, some in 4,000,000. To my knowledge, no 1903 rifles of any origin were ever numbered in the two-million series. Most of the Mark I Springfields were in the 1,100,000 numbers. These were the rifles manufactured during World War I for use with the Pedersen Device, converting it to a semi-automatic. They had an oblong aperture milled through the left receiver wall and used a slightly different sear and cutoff. None of the devices has ever been sold by the government but these Mark 1 rifles are now considered the same as any other 1903 rifle and you may run across one.

All Mausers are usable to some extent, but the 1898 and later actions are best. Least desirable are the old “Spanish” 7mm actions made by Loewe, of Berlin, about 1893. Few of these are in use anywhere today. The Mexican 7mm Mauser action is a slightly smaller version of the 1898—I am not sure if it is the M1908 or not. Mexican actions may be of either German or Belgian origin, although the rifles were assembled in Mexico. Quite a few of these rifles are in the U. S. The modern European type Mauser is a modified 1898 rifle and is very suitable to remodeling, but the actions of most wartime production rifles are rough and extensive use of abrasive cloths and careful work with fine-cutting files is necessary to get rid of all tool marks. Polish (Radom Arsenal) rifles have better finishes than most of the others made in late years. Their bolt handles are straight. German and Belgian rifles had turned-down bolt handles and are suitable as is for use with metallic sights, as are 1903’s, 1917’s and the 1903 Mannlicher-Schoenaur. Czech rifles were well finished, but bolt handles were straight. The small German gun manufacturers had a habit of marking bore diameters on their commercial items, and apparently when they had to go to war production they kept on marking barrels—many Kar. 98K’s will be stamped, just ahead of the receiver, 7.9, 7.91, or 7.92. Does not mean much on such arms, but on their commercial stuff they sometimes cause head-scratching. For instance, they stamp 9.1 on the side of a hunting rifle—there is no such cartridge—the gun is chambered for the 9.3mm. Once in awhile they marked a rifle 7.7mm, though the true caliber was 7.9, or 8x57mm Mauser. All rifles mentioned except the 1917 Enfield, Lee-Enfield and the M95 Steyr-Mannlicher straight-pull must have their bolt handles altered if the receivers are to be equipped with low-placed telescopic sights. Both Springfields and Mausers require careful work, along with the others. Welding is involved, and a good job is well worth the dollars a capable gunsmith will charge. A poor weld may look OK outside, but there is the chance of having the bolt-handle break completely off sometime, a rather embarrassing circumstance for the wielder! Welding on guns is not to be undertaken by the average welding shop unless the welder happens to be very skilful and understands the kinds of steel he is working with and what forces are

involved. Softening of locking lugs must be avoided and usually it is advisable to artificially cool the front end of the bolt while working on the back section by running water or wet asbestos packing. In any case, the final shaping of the handle should be done by a skilled, experienced gunsmith. I regard the high-numbered 1903 Springfield rifle as best for remodeling, although feeling that it is inferior as both rifle and action to either Mauser or Enfield for military use. Springfield Armory and Rock Island Arsenal worked to closer tolerances than the various plants which turned out military Mausers. To be fair to the latter, its tolerances were purposely greater, the European idea being that it would be less likely to give trouble under field conditions. Because of this, some hand-fitting, or rather, matching of working parts took place on foreign rifles. Bolts were nearly always numbered same as receivers as a safety measure against accidental interchange of parts. As an armorer, my experience was that nine out of ten Springfields and Rock Islands could interchange bolts and headspace satisfactorily. Mausers, when made by the same firm or national arsenals could do the same on perhaps three out of four rifles, and Enfields ran about the same as Mausers. The fit of bolts in the runways is much closer on Springfields than on comparable arms and the bolts operate easier than other Mausers or Mausertype rifles. It is far easier to “cramp” a Mauser bolt than either a Springfield or Enfield because of their looseness, which is slightly emphasized when the bolts and runways are polished for appearance in refinishing (“cramping” a bolt is applying force to it in manipulation in such a way that it binds against the receiver so that it will not work freely; in other words, if in operating the bolt, pressure on the handle is in any direction except straight back-and-forth while moving the bolt, it has a tendency to stick). The M1903 rifles cock a little easier than foreign arms, excepting the Krag types, but the smoothing-up during refinishing usually helps any action a good bit. It has probably been noticed that I have specifically mentioned the manufacturing plants of Springfield and Rock Island so far concerning M1903 rifles. I have done so with reason, for the World War II ‘03’s made by Remington and L. C.

Smith are thoroughly safe weapons for use, but machine work on them is so rough they cannot be considered in the same class with the older government-made actions. Inside and out they are as a rule on a par with the sloppiest wartime Mausers and Jap M99’s in workmanship and consequently remodeling one of these into a good sporter requires the same work as a Mauser and the deep polishing necessary to eliminate the evidences of crude factory work will leave the bolt loose and handling no differently than on the European rifles. If a man is willing to spend time and labor, or money to pay a gunsmith for them, he can make a better rifle from a 1917 Enfield than from either 1903 or Mauser. By altering the bolt notch to fully retrace and cock the cocking piece on the uplift or opening movement of the bolt, and incorporating Remington 30S cocking piece, firing pin and mainspring, the action becomes quite similar to that of the Springfield in handling and operation. The light-weight Remington commercial firing pin and stronger mainspring are not absolutely necessary, but they give the action faster lock-time, a desirable factor in accurate shooting. Many men complain that the alteration makes the gun “cock harder” but if the bolt notch is cut correctly and the proper metal welded in, the action becomes as easy as the smoothest Springfield. The Enfield bolt is a fairly soft nickel-steel and welding on it is very easy and quite safe, compared with others. Heat-changing it is literally impossible for the average shop to do in trying to harden or strengthen it, so the bolt head and lugs should never be heated. The front end is a little tougher than the rest of it, so keep the torch away from it. The bolts are not hard and they stay that way, but do not encourage them to get any softer. Welding up the cocking notch with a nickel-steel similar to the bolt-steel is easy but not at all satisfactory; the correct procedure is to weld up most of the original notch with nickel-steel and finish with either a very hard steel or one which can be hardened after shaping. The customary way has been to cyanide or case-harden the surface of the finished cut, a system which has caused too much trouble later on—the cam surface does not hold up. The new notch will be the same general shape as that on the Springfield bolt and like it, is subjected to great pressure in cocking. It is necessary that the notch have a wear-resisting very smooth surface on the cam side. In the

above method it is possible to get perfect joining of steels and yet have a surface for the nose of the cocking piece to ride against which will not wear easily and therefore will remain smooth and not present a binding action against it. The shape and depth of the notch is important and should be regulated at its end by the shape of the nose of the cocking piece. This cocking notch must absolutely not be oversize at its forward tip. It should be just large enough to accommodate the nose of the cocking piece, with a slight tolerance on all sides. As in the 1903, this opening-stroke cocking notch becomes the only safety feature to prevent the firing of a cartridge before the bolt is completely closed and turned to the locked position. To be effective, the notch dimensions must be such that the nose of the cocking piece will not have a free path forward until the bolt is completely closed, so that if the bolt is partially open, the camming edge of the cocking piece will contact the camming side of the bolt notch and expend the force of the mainspring in closing the bolt, before progressing enough to protrude the firing pin against the cartridge primer. Unless length of firing pin is excessive, there is not much danger of firing a cartridge under such conditions. The narrower the cocking notch, the safer the action in this respect,—and the harder the action is to cock. Cutting the notch on a wider angle or on a slight curve allows easier bolt handling in cocking, but very slightly decreases the safety factor. All this is not as bad as it sounds —an oversize notch does not have to mean an unsafe gun or any such thing, but if a bolt is to be altered it should be done right. Both 1903 and 1917 rifles are completely locked and headspacing correctly before bolt handles are completely down against the receivers, and I do not know of anyone ever having an accident with either action because of firing prematurely. Once is too often, though. The original safety feature of the Enfield, to prevent firing before close of bolt, was the safety stud on front end of the sear which passed through a hole in the receiver to enter the bolt runway and contact the bolt at all times except when latter is fully closed, when a notch allowed upward movement, as the sear was rotated on its pin

by trigger leverage. The sear was locked in the up position, to block the cocking piece, except when bolt was locked. Firing-pin protrusion should be regulated by the forward face of the cocking piece resting against the inside of the bolt sleeve and not by the nose of the cocking piece contacting the end of the cocking notch in the bolt. If the notch is not carefully relieved so that the tip of cocking piece does strike the bolt when the rifle is snapped or dryfired, the punch of the mainspring may break the firing pin where it keys into the cocking piece. On the 1917 rifle the bolt sleeve is also called the bolt plug. The 1917 bolt handle is not very attractive to the eye and some people, like me, prefer to do or have something done about it. The easiest remedy is to get an unserviceable Springfield bolt, cut the handle off close to the roots, doing the same to the Enfield, and welding the ‘03 handle to the ‘17 bolt. Welding is easy and not at all dangerous to the arm, since the welding does not affect the base of the original handle. It should not, at any rate. Almost as easy is turning up a new bolt handle on a lathe, shaping the knob to individual taste. It can even be knurled! Because the base of the Enfield bolt handle will not interfere with a low-mounted telescope it should not be built up, and the fancy of the owner can rule how he likes the rest of it—shank and shape of knob. My preference is for a slightly raked-back effect on the idea of the Winchester Model 70. The receiver of the 1917 is easy to work on, being a 3.5% nickelsteel and cutting easily. The rear sight base and protecting wings should be cut off and the top of the receiver at this point can be suited to whatever sights the owner intends to use. I usually profile it to fit telescope mount bases, but the best all around shape is that of the Remington 30S, which was the civilian brother of the Enfield. The rear receiver ring is simply ground to the same diameter as the front ring, by surface grinder if possible, and a flat about onehalf inch wide cut across the top and matted. The flat can be omitted if not wanted. With the receiver dimensions approximately those of the commercial Remington rifle, naturally the sights available for that particular arm can be used without alteration. I much prefer 1917 military rifles made by the Remington firm originally, as the top of their receiver was left solid under the rear sight spring of the military

sight, while all receivers made by Winchester and nearly all by Eddystone have a deep oblong recess milled in the receiver at this point which of course shows up prominently when the remodeling begins. The finger loop of the trigger guard is large and can be reduced by cutting out about 3/16″ and welding. It can be satisfactorily shaped for most tastes by simply walloping the front end with a mallet, cold, and for set triggers it can be drawn out long enough to accommodate the mechanism without too much crowding of the two triggers. It is necessary to go to a good bit of bother to remodel an Enfield —the issue stock is unusable—in addition to the other undesirable military features, but when $30.00 or $40.00 worth of work has been done on one, the result is a Grade A sporter. The barrels were smooth finished and blued well enough so that many can be used without even refinishing. Being 26″ long, 2″ may be deducted to eliminate the awkward sight and keyway, and commercial sights to fit the barrel when cut to 24″ are available, the Redfield ramp type leaving little to be desired, to name one of the best. Replacement barrels made for the 1917s were two-groove jobs, having only two wide lands in place of the original five-land British type. I have had no experience whatever with these as to shooting qualities and have formed no opinion as to their accuracy as yet. These barrels are semi-rough turned and Parkerized (or a similar rust-resisting surfacing) on the outside and in remodeling will require polishing. My reason for going into detail on the 1917 rifle is the existence of hundreds of thousands in this country, which are available to civilians through the office of the Director of Civilian Marksmanship. Membership in the National Rifle Association is necessary. Also, too many people who should know better look upon “Enfields” as sort of step-children, not really in the family. I know they are very good rifles and want to see them get their due place up with the Springfield and Mauser. One of the reasons why many shooters do not care for them as .30-06 rifles is due to a rumor that many barrels are slightly oversize in bore compared with Springfield specifications, the story being that the original .303 British specifications were followed even after the factories changed the caliber from .303 to .30-06 during the

1st World War. Accuracy of the 1917 rifles is not always up to that of the Springfield, but it is certainly higher than that of the lever, pump and autoloading types of hunting rifles of which a great many are sold at stiff prices. Actually there is nothing to this, as these barrels were bored to a .300” basic dimension with grooves of a depth found to give best results with our bullet size of .3086″. All actions, when they are to be rebarrelled, should have their locking lugs and locking lug recesses polished up, even though the rest of the action needs no work. This will help in operation in the future. Notice I said “polish” which means to just smooth up without removing any appreciable amount of metal. A few passes with a strip of slightly-used abrasive cloth of grit No. 320 or finer, followed by crocus cloth, both wrapped around a bar of metal with sharp corners to force the cloth into corners, are sufficient. Any filing must be done cautiously. Firing pins are sometimes guilty of causing minor accidents through piercing primers occasionally, due usually to a combination of rough or sharp tip and extra protrusion. I used to consider a full protrusion about .060″ of a perfectly-rounded hemispherical polished tip as being best on large caliber rifles, but after seeing foreign types and doing a little thinking, I do not know for sure. The Berdan-type primers used outside the United States can accommodate longer firing pins safely than American-made ammunition, but shape of tip does not necessarily have to be different. The Italians favor a tip almost flat, with edges rounded enough to prevent cutting into the primer cup metal. Germany made her rifle and pistol firing pins with tips rounded, but on a greater radius than ours, so that they appear as a compromise. England and Japan used rounded tips, much like our own. I think that maybe I will try a tip flattened somewhat and see if it makes any difference that I can see. Theoretically it should help by presenting a little more area to contact the primer. Might help ignition a very little. For a rule-of-thumb on protrusion, for bolt rifles keep it under one-sixteenth of an inch a few thousandths, and you will not have much trouble. Many foreign rifles will have long firing pins which may pierce an American center flashhole primer once in awhile. On Berdan primer cases the primer anvil is formed integral with the case head and the

firing pin forces the primer cup and compound against it, the point of the pin attempting to meet the point of the fixed anvil. The primer cup is pinned between the two. On “central-fire” American primers, the case has a single large flash-hole in the center of the primer pocket and the primer has a tiny spider or tripod of pressed metal in it which is the anvil. It is possible for a long firing pin to push far enough to displace this anvil and puncture the primer cup, allowing gas to escape. Mausers should be checked before firing with Americanmade ammunition, although the later guns are not bad offenders. British weapons are OK, especially Lee-Enfields, because they employ short firing pins. As I remember it, maximum protrusion on the Lee-Enfield is .005″ less than minimum on their Pattern ‘14 rifle, though both are for the same .303 cartridge. This because the more open action of the Lee made punctured primers a more serious happening than on the Mauser type action, practically all of which handle gas quite well. Springfield receivers should all be drilled on the left side, to permit escape of free gas, as done to the late manufacture of these rifles. The firing pin hole in the face of the bolt should always be a close fit for the pin in its forward or firing position. An enlarged hole will permit the metal of the primer cup to flow back into it under the pressure of firing and often contribute to leaky primers. Bushing, to reduce size of the hole, is another job for a Grade-A gunsmith. No careless welding job can be undertaken so close to the locking lugs. A simple way to get bolt and firing pin to cooperate is to enlarge the pin to fit the hole! This by building up the tip then turning, grinding or just filing to correct size. A little larger tip than has been considered “right” not only does not hurt anything, but a few of our American experimenters are of the opinion it is actually an improvement. This idea has to be followed within reason of course, and is meant only for modern rifles where hole is enlarged only slightly, and not for obsolete arms being altered to special cartridges. Some of these had firing pins as large in tip diameter as a small size rifle primer. Foreign military rifles usually have their serial number on bolts and other parts as well as the receiver. U. S. weapons are never marked this way, with the exception of the former National Match Springfields and the .22 U. S. M1922 types. Due to the universal

military habit of sabotaging rifles by throwing the bolt aside when capture was imminent, a great many war trophy weapons picked up on battlefields will be found with non-corresponding bolt and receiver serial numbers. When the action only is to be used this is of no importance as long as the parts operate correctly, as the barrelmaker of course chambers and fits the rear of barrel to correct headspace during his fitting. If the rifle is to be used as was, in the original caliber and with the original barrel, it is very important that the headspace be checked before firing. Not many gunsmiths have headspace gages in foreign calibers, but a practical test can be made with live ammunition. At least 10 clean loaded, unmutilated cartridges, preferably military cartridges of the same type and origin should be used. The bolt must be stripped of all parts except the extractor collar, which should never be removed, and the magazine spring and follower removed. The chamber should be polished clean with cloth and if any trace of rust is observed, clean it out with steel wool or even crocus cloth. Chamber, bolt head and lugs and the locking lug recesses in the receiver must be absolutely clean and dry, without any oil whatever. Any burrs on the bolt face around ejector cut or firing pin hole should be removed. With the bolt and receiver ready, the cartridges are placed in the chamber one at a time and the bolt closed very gently, the knob of the handle held loosely between thumb and forefinger. Half the cartridges should offer no resistance to the bolt’s complete closing, and two or three cause slight effort to seat fully. If the bolt flops shut on all the cartridges available, or will not close at all on any, do not attempt to use the rifle but send it to a responsible gunsmith for thorough check with legitimate gages. Consider whatever the charge is in the light of an insurance premium. If the bolt is “felt” to close on at least one out of every five cartridges tried, the headspace may be considered safe enough for test fire at least. Some idea of the headspace distance range may be gained by using the cartridge on which the bolt closes easiest and placing as many .001″ shims as possible between bolt face and cartridge base. If the tolerance is over .008″, “ ‘tain’t” so good—get it checked with gages. To test fire any doubtful gun or cartridge, the old tree and string system remains the cheapest and easiest. The idea is to tie the gun

to the tree, the string to the trigger and get on the opposite side of the tree before pulling said string. Safety rule: have tree equal to or larger in diameter than test firer! People in cities or desert country may have trouble finding suitable shrubbery. The principle is to find an object on or to which the firearm can be temporarily attached and a protecting barrier from behind which it may be fired. Barrelmakers and many other gunsmiths usually use a large box made of hardwood planks reinforced with steel straps, in which guns are placed for testing. A hole in one end allows the muzzle clearance to discharge the bullet into a backstop, while the planks can be counted upon to stop pieces of rifle flying around, in case of any “defugalty” in action or cartridge. Often a rifle with excess headspace will not always be obviously dangerous to fire, because a tight or under-diameter chamber can hold rimless cases by the slight taper of both chamber and cartridge, well enough for ignition. In a few cases, rifles are found with tight throating at chamber mouth which contact normally seated bullets, to offer resistance to closing of the bolt on the proper ammunition, and possibly on incorrect shorter cartridges. In such cases where the case is supported in the chamber well enough so that the base of the cartridge case does not leave the bolt face when firing and the case therefore acts somewhat normally as a gas seal, its shoulder will “blow out,” which term here means that it expands forward to fill the chamber. The base will usually be bulged, sometimes cracked. Occasionally a case will separate or break in two, leaving the forward section in the chamber. A fired case from almost any rifle in good condition is quite evidently different from an unfired cartridge in dimensions, and the naked eye of any sensible person will discern enough change in dimensions and general appearances of cases fired in rifles of improper headspace to cause him to stop and check up carefully before doing any extensive shooting. During the war I ran into a little extra-curricular headspace information, most of which I am hoping to forget in the near future. An example is that of the Filipino guerrilla who was using a fine doubleset trigger Mauser 7mm sporter, with Japanese 6.5mm ammunition. The Jap ammo was semi-rimmed, so he got away with it. Said he did not get very good accuracy, though.

Insufficient headspace does not get the publicity that excess does, as it is found less frequently and can be considered a less dangerous condition because in most cases the weapon cannot be fired due to inability to close the bolt or action on a cartridge. In boltaction rifles the remedy is very simple: the backs of the locking lugs are stoned or filed until the bolt closes properly on the proper headspace gage. Such a job is strictly for a man who knows what he is doing. Both lugs must be shortened the same exact amount and lug recesses in the receiver polished. Backs of lugs must not be rounded off, as the new surfaces must be full bearing. The rifle should be test fired with proof loads four or five times when minimum headspace is attained, for measurement of initial setback so that the eventual permanent fitting will be correct. Headspace on rimless cartridges is figured from the face of the bolt to the upper corner of the shoulder. On the .30-06 it is 1.940″ minimum and 1.946″ maximum for issue. Anything found which will accept a 1.950″ gage is considered ready for immediate overhaul. In my opinion, a headspace of about 1.942″ is best. On the 7.9mm Mauser caliber, the headspace is 47.22mm minimum and 47.42mm maximum. In inches these limitation measurements are 1.8590” and 1.8669”. Headspace on rimmed cartridges is measured from the face of bolt to rear face of the barrel. On the .303 British cartridge for instance the minimum is 0.064” and maximum, 0.074”. The

Method by which standard micrometer calipers can be used in manufacture of headspace gages. Lathe with taper-cutting attachment required. 1. Steel blank, body of which is turned to approximate length of cartridge case from base to junction of neck and shoulder (measurement “A”). 2. Flat filed or milled at one end, to achieve the known headspace distance “B.” This is measurable by the standard caliper with capacity up to 2” or 3”, depending on cartridge involved. 3. End view, showing area of flat in relation to blank. 4. The blank with extraction cut made (not absolutely necessary, as plug-type gages are even easier to use) and cut to correct diameter at shoulder for the cartridge concerned—measurement “C”—in accordance with known or proper case body taper. “D” is correct base diameter. 5. Shoulder taper turned, in accordance with known or desired angle, to meet edge of flat, thus giving correct headspace length. 6. Corner of shoulder relieved in order to accommodate the radius of corner of shoulder in chamber, gage proper cut free of turning shanks and finished.

“belted” cartridges such as the .300 and .375 Holland & Holland Magnums headspace from the face of the bolt to the shoulder in the rear of the chamber against which the belt rests when a cartridge is chambered. The shoulder dimension of the chamber is therefore not considered quite so important as on rimless cases, since it in theory has nothing to do with headspace. Actually, on belted cases, the chamber should be very carefully cut, because the belt is very little greater in diameter than case body and these belts get beat up and pushed around in resizing and alterations in handloading, so that they do not offer much of a basis for determining headspace. Headspace gages in all calibers are not available commercially and indeed, few barrelmakers have them for all the rimless cartridges they chamber for. Gages are hard to make—much harder than chambering reamers themselves, but I think I have figured out how to make fairly suitable ones using only a lathe. It is necessary only to know the correct headspace and the angle of the shoulder for the cartridge involved. My idea is to make a simple plug gage of unhardened tool steel, as follows:

Turn the gage to head size and taper for the caliber—take from cartridges or chamber cast if necessary (extractor cut can be eliminated, to even further simplify the work). Gage may be undercut between shoulder and base, as per sketch. Then, file or mill from the front a flat, parallel to base, at desired headspace distance—easily measured with standard micrometers, to profile as shown on opposite page. Last, set the taper-turning attachment on the lathe at the proper shoulder angle and cut gage back from the front until the outer edge of the cut or cone at front reaches the edge of the flat, regulating headspace distance. Gages receiving a great deal of use should be hardened and ground to size, but untreated steel will last almost indefinitely in the average gun shop. Exact measurements of most standard cartridges can be found in some of the technical books on guns and gunsmithing. I believe any of our factories will be willing to give out with such information on the cartridges they manufacture. Cartridge cases for rimless military calibers such as 7.9mm or 7.7mm M99 (Japanese) can easily be made by forcing empty .30-06 cases into the proper sizing die to move the shoulder back, and then expanding the neck to the proper diameters for the larger bullets. In such operations in the “manufacture” of cases great care must be exercised not to shorten the body of the case too much, as a short case is equivalent to excess headspace and the results are the same—a blown-up gun with possible injury to the shooter and at best, ruptured and ruined cartridge cases and difficult, dangerous operation of the rifle. I am a little worried about unknowing persons getting hold of German 7.9mm ammunition and Japanese 7.7mm rifles and trying out the team. The greater diameter of the German case neck should prevent its entering the Jap rifle chamber enough to make closing the bolt for firing very difficult, but what of the rusted Jap guns which may be cleaned up and the chambers roughly polished oversize? It can happen. Eventually I will read of someone blowing his head or hand off. The men who know anything about guns will be aware of the danger of such tactics, but there are thousands of ex-soldiers from the Pacific who have never seen 7.9mm ammunition and

thousands of men from the European theatre who are unfamiliar with the Jap rifles. Nine out of every ten soldiers and ex-soldiers are very ignorant concerning guns anyway. The guys who will get in trouble are the saloon-keepers who in 1955 suddenly organize a deer-hunt, grab the souvenir off the wall over the back bar, ask some Legionnaire for a few of those big cartridges he saw in their window last year and head for the woods and a bad time. A lot of .30-06 rifles were blown up after the last war by firing German 7.9mm cartridges in them, and probably some will be damaged during the years to come. I know of one character who was so confident of the strength of his 1917 Enfield years ago that he deliberately shot a 7.9mm Mauser cartridge in it on the range one day, and got away with it. Low number Springfields, and the others, as far as I know, will not come through such a test in one piece. The Enfield is not as strong as it looks, either. The screwball mentioned above proved nothing much by his act except that what most guns can’t handle, another may. Removing unwanted barrels from military actions is often a chore for a small shop or individual (who usually should not be doing such work anyway). The barrelmakers and riflesmiths have special receiver wrenches and clamp vises for this kind of job, but for one reason or another it may not be desirable to have a barrel removed by one of them. Barrel removal should be done cold, without heat, if at all possible. When a barrel refuses to unwind without danger of breaking or otherwise damaging the receiver, heat may be applied by playing the flame of an acetylene welding torch on the outer surface of the forward section of the receiver ring, over the threaded portion. The purpose is to heat-expand the receiver sufficiently to allow unscrewing

U. S. Thompson M1928. Shown with twenty-round magazine in gun. The fiftyround drum magazine has not been used by U. S. forces for several years. .45 Colt Automatic caliber.

U. S. M3 submachine gun, called the “Grease Gun.” Calibers .45 ACP and 9mm Parabellum.

THE PRINCIPAL MILITARY RIFLE BOLT ACTIONS Shown without bolts Top to bottom: British Lee-Enfield Mk III*. Japanese Arisaka M38 (6.5mm). U. S. M1903 Springfield. German Kar. 98K Mauser. (Receiver has been polished and a notch cut in it for bottom of bolt—the unaltered action had no notch, being similar to the Springfield at this point.)

of the barrel shank, and the whole job must be done fast— application of heat all around the receiver front and effort to unscrew

the receiver from the barrel (the barrel should always be held and the receiver moved in separation). If the barrel is allowed to heat up, it will naturally expand also so that the tight fit is maintained, so speed is very necessary and for that reason, only the welding torch should be used in heating since it allows concentration of intense heat on a small area. Care must be exercised in order not to heat enough to affect the heat-treatment of the receiver metal, and usually only a little is needed, not enough to begin to change the color of the steel. I have used the torch method to loosen both Mauser and Enfield barrels, but do not approve of it too much. Every effort should be made to do barrel changing without recourse to heat, before lighting up a torch. The only reason I go to the length I have is that I recently read somewhere of advice that a blow-torch could be used in barrel removal, which advice I do not consider good at all, for a blow-torch does not develop enough heat to expand a receiver ring quickly and the probable result of trying it would be slowly cooking the action till it was too tender to be safe. The Japanese M38 Arisaka and M44 6.5mm rifles and carbines have strong, safe actions and can safely be rebarrelled for the highestpressure .22 centerfires. The straight bolt handle will demand an expert alteration job, however, if the action is to be mounted with a telescope. For a low mounting I do not mean it will just have to be turned down—the base of the bolt handle, where it joins the bolt, will have to be moved, for a first-class finished product. Outside of the bolt handle and possible bushing of an enlarged firing pin hole, the Jap 6.5mm’s require little work to refinish. Even the trigger-pull is usually good as it comes. Japanese 7.7mm Model 99 rifles are also strong enough for safe use and even some conversions, although finish is usually rough enough to require a lot of work to smooth up. It must be remembered that the magazine box of all Japanese rifles is short, and even the 7.7mm will not handle cartridges whose loaded length is over 3⅛″. Nearly all the top ranking actions—Springfields, Enfields, Mausers and Mannlichers—will stand quite high pressures, as we have previously classed action strength. However, a great many handloaders work with pressures far above ordinary commercial

ones and some of the commercial cartridges develop pressures above what they are commonly thought to. The custom of looking at the fired primers and judging by flatness, setback of firing pin imprint, et cetera, is rather dangerous. For one thing, the condition of the primer as depicted on the base of one cartridge may mean a pressure entirely different than that “shown” by the primer of another of identical loading, fired in a different rifle. Also, the average shooter-handloader underestimates, as a rule. What he thinks is a maximum 55,000 pounds is liable to be closer to 65,000 pounds chamber pressure. The metal of primer cups varies, too, and in even a mild load, should a grain of gunpowder be in a flashhole or crushed inside a primer pocket under the primer, visible pressure indications will be considerably higher than they should be. However, chamber pressure or primer pressure is not always an indication of dangerous power; a rifle barrel is made strong enough at the breech end so that its walls will withstand far greater pressures than they are ever liable to encounter. When a gun “blows up” the bolt and receiver are failing to hold their relative positions in the complete firing assembly of bolt, receiver and barrel. The receiver simply serves to hold the bolt up to the breech of the barrel, so a test of barrel strength cannot be used to measure the safe strength of the complete rifle. The head of the bolt, consisting of the bolt face and body through to the rear of the locking lugs, the locking lugs themselves, and the entire forward receiver ring are the parts which take the punishment. For all practical purposes, the strength of Mauser-type bolt-actions is located in the receiver ring. The lugs and the parts of the receiver to which they transmit the back force of the firing cartridge are therefore the parts which fail and the actual chamber pressure registered against the walls of the chamber does not always— if ever—correspond to that sustained by the bolt face, at the rear of the chamber. Shape of the cartridge case and chamber affect pressures, a sharply-tapered case acting as a funnel in reverse, to increase back pressure, or as it is known, bolt thrust. A straight-walled chamber accepts the pressure more equally at all points of its surface, reducing the bolt thrust. Nearly all American manufacturing gunsmiths, custom gunmakers, barrelmakers and riflesmiths who specialize in fitting and

chambering barrels know enough about foreign actions to do good enough work on them and will not knowingly turn out a job they are not sure is safe. There are always a few men who will do anything for a dollar, and who may do poor work. Reputation does not always mean what it should—there are a couple of nationally-famous outfits whom I would not allow to grease a wheelbarrow for me, and one famed stockmaker who does not always do his best. On the whole, most of the men and organizations catering to the gun business are trustworthy, in business for their own pleasure as much as making a living. I do not know of any gunsmith who ever got rich at it. The foreign-made shooting equipment is a source of pleasure, for most of the rifles and pistols can be used. The majority of the autoloading pistols are of popular calibers and ammunition is normally manufactured in the U. S. With the exception of the .22 target pistols and a few revolvers, our country has been in a sad state concerning handgun advances for the past quarter-century at least, and some of the European arms are definitely a welcome addition to the scene. So far as the rifles go, excepting the very scarce shortactions and Magnum Mauser actions, none is as desirable as a Winchester Model 70 or the Remington 720, but they are a a lot more numerous and provide low-cost bases for experimental or custom firearms, to say nothing of allowing the exsoldier to make a rifle to be proud of from the gun he “liberated” himself.

XLV THE STRENGTH AND SUITABILITY OF MILITARY RIFLE ACTIONS During the writing of this book I learned that Mr. P. O. Ackley, the well-known rifle maker, was purposely blowing up as many representative rifles and rifle actions as he could procure, with progressively overloaded cartridges, in an attempt to determine the strength and suitability of each type of action. I horned in on the deal, since I thoroughly approved the idea, and contributed a couple of actions for test as well as being able to aid Mr. Ackley in procuring a couple of others. Mr. Thomas G. Samworth, the publisher, was already collaborating with Mr. Ackley in the same way. At that time there was no thought of incorporating the results in this book—we were all simply interested in the matter personally. The information resulting is of such importance, however, that we feel it is a very valuable addition to any publication. The report, which follows, was not received until several months after my writing was finished, therefore I was not able to take advantage of the test data throughout my text. Therefore please be guided by these Ackley tests rather than by my opinions, regarding rifle action strength, should there be any conflict of conclusion. I feel that Mr. Ackley has done the shooting public a valuable service and that his recommendations should carry weight with any gunsmith or advanced rifleman. He began his tests entirely on his own and they represent quite a large investment in his valuable time as well as the actual cost of rifles, actions, barrel steel, assembling and such. He has proved what many men—including me—have

thought for a long time concerning the various 1903 Springfield actions, and discredited the super-strength reputation of the 1917 Enfield. Practically everyone—also including me—considered Enfields stronger than any other action, excepting only the Magnum Mauser. Until P. O. Ackley decided to find out the hard way, no one really knew much about relative action strength. The standard method of laboratory test in this country is a “pressure test,” sometimes called the crusher system, in a special pressure gun, this being either a standard or special heavy barrel with a small hole drilled into the chamber to accept a plug of soft metal, which is clamped externally so that it cannot leave the barrel during firing. When the arm is fired, the cartridge case of course blows out into the hole, compressing or crushing the plug, which is then measured and the “pressure” computed mathematically. Such figures are not only entirely artificial, serving merely as comparison data on various cartridges, but represent the pressure on the walls of the chamber, not the head of the bolt. Naturally it is possible to make barrels extremely strong. Mr. Ackley feels that such tests cannot give a true indication of action strength, which is necessarily based on the bolt staying put in the receiver. It is the push against the face of the bolt—bolt thrust—which takes rifles apart, and the shape of the cartridge case has more than a little to do with this. A large, comparatively straight-sided bottleneck case will have less bolt thrust than a smaller, sharper-tapered case, although chamber pressure may be much higher. Also, the matter of gas reception and deflection is of utmost importance when a primer or case head blows out. That Japanese M38 (and M44) Arisaka action is apparently the only one which can take more than any normal rifle barrel will stand. As for Mausers, for full and exact information it would be necessary to test dozens—one of each year from 1939 through 1944 in military types alone—of each company or arsenal in each country using or manufacturing them. This being manifestly impossible, only representative types were checked to date. Mr. Ackley is one of America’s foremost riflesmiths and is at present one of our largest custom barrelmakers. He has had a great deal of experience in gun work, both military and commercial, and I consider him qualified to speak with authority upon the now

important matter of converting military weapons to safe peacetime use. His firm, P. O. Ackley & Company, of Trinidad, Colorado, has handled and is handling hundreds of rifles of all types, so that he is thoroughly familiar with the actions of all, in quantity. The recommendations made consequently are not merely opinions, but are founded upon experience and actual tests. I am very pleased to be able to have his report follow in this volume. R. F. Dunlap

THE STRENGTH OF MILITARY RIFLE ACTIONS by Parker O. Ackley After reading several articles in the various sporting magazines and after receiving hundreds of inquiries and comments from gun experts concerning these articles, which had to do with the strength of various types of military actions being brought into this country by our G.I.s returning from overseas, it was decided to make actual tests of the actions in question, in comparison with some of our own well-known military actions, to find out exactly what the facts are. The conclusion reached by many shooters who are interested in building rifles on these actions is that almost any action brought in from some foreign source is a booby-trap. Now, it is not reasonable to think that any nation is going to equip its troops with rifles which are dangerous. There is no reason to ridicule our enemies’ weapons. In fact, some foreign developments are such that we should have a very healthy respect for them, regardless of the fact that they were developed by our foes. Any rifle can be dangerous when improperly handled. Statements have been made that certain foreign military rifles are unsafe with ammunition of calibers other than what they were made for. This is obvious. Any rifle is dangerous when the correct ammunition is not used. For instance there is no worse boobytrap than our own 1903 or 1917 rifle with the 8mm German military cartridge loaded into its chamber. This in no way reflects on our own actions or any other action which might be so used. Through long years of experience we have found that many things have been written about firearms which are based largely on personal prejudice or lack of the actual facts. It was decided to use the .270 Ackley Magnum cartridge as the basis for our tests. This caliber was selected as one being rather hard on an action yet one for which the loading components are readily available. These experiments are still not completed. There

are a number of actions yet to be tested. We are trying to work with a reasonable number of each type in order to get a representative idea of exactly what can be expected from the various ones. The .270 Magnum case and the 140-grain Barnes bullet has been used as far as possible. When a certain action could not be blown up using this bullet, it was necessary to go on to the heavier ones in order to build up pressures sufficient to wreck the action. The actions tested to date are as follows:

4. Mauser, standard Military 8mm with standard receiver ring, 1944 issue. 5. Mauser, marked ST MG, engraved, with large dovetail cut in top of receiver ring for German telescope mount. 6. Eddystone-Enfield Number 952302 7. Remington-Enfield Number 673777 8. Springfield, low number, re-heat treated to Rockwell c 40 9. Sedgeley-Krag Number 254212, re-heat treated by Sedgeley. 10. Krag Number 383206, re-heat treated. Heat treater unknown 11. Spandau Mauser, year 1916, Number 5120 12. Nickel Steel Springfield, Number 1484928 13. British Lee-Enfield, Mark III caliber .303, Number 41469 14. Jap 7.7 action, Number 43486, Model 99 15. Jap cast action, caliber 6.5, Number 151 16. Jap cast action, caliber 6.5, fitted with 7.7 bolt, Number D-26 17. Krag action as issued, year 1899, Number 228577; safety lug .003 clearance 18. Krag action, year 1899, Number 254405; safety lug .003 clearance

ACTUAL TESTS Jap 6.5mm action, Number 459, Arisaka Model 38, rebarreled with high tensile strength barrel, heat treated to about Rockwell c 35, chambered for the .270 Ackley Magnum. Action in very good condition.

************ Jap 6.5mm action, Number 14316. Action in good condition

************ Jap 6.5mm action, Number 11313; Action in very poor condition. Firing pin, .067; firing pin hole in bolt, .120. High tensile strength (chrome-moly) barrel, Rockwell c 35.

Eddystone-Enfield, No. 952302, fitted with Graphitic tool steel barrel, caliber .270, Magnum, Rockwell 47 c

************ Remington-Enfield Number 637777 fitted with high tensile strength (chromemoly) barrel, chambered for .270 Magnum, Rockwell 38 c

************ Mauser, Standard military 8mm with standard receiver ring, 1944 issue.

Sedgeley-Krag Number 254212, Model 98, re-heat treated by Sedgeley. Original Krag barrel rechambered for Improved 30-40 cartridge.

************ Nickel-steel Springfield action, Number 1484928. Brand new; had never been fitted to a barrel, as issued. Fitted with high tensile strength .270 Magnum barrel.

Mauser, marked ST MG, engraved. Receiver apparently annealed for engraving purposes. Extremely soft inside and out. Top of receiver ring cut away for German dovetail telescope mount base. Dovetail extended all the way through receiver ring. Fitted with high tensile strength (chrome-moly) barrel; Rockwell c 35.

************ British Enfield action, Number 41469, rechambered for the Improved 30-40.

************ Jap 7.7 action, Number 43486, rebarreled with Graphitic tool steel barrel, chambered for .270 Magnum.

Spandau Mauser action, year 1916, number of receiver 5120 and bolt number 2634, rebarreled with high tensile strength .270 Magnum. Action unaltered.

************ Krag action, Number 254405, fitted with high tensile strength barrel, chambered for Improved Zipper, Action as issued, unaltered. Safety lug .003 clearance.

************ Jap cast action, caliber 6.5 Number 151 barreled with .270 Magnum Graphitic tool steel barrel.

Krag Number 383206, fitted with high tensile strength (chromemoly) barrel, Rockwell c 35 chambered for Improved Zipper. Both safety lug and front locking lug contacting. Action re-heat treated, but soft.

************ Krag action, Number 228577 rebarreled with high tensile strength barrel and chambered for Improved 30-40 Krag.

Springfield, low number, re-heat treated to Rockwell c 40, fitted with high tensile strength (chrome-moly) barrel; Rockwell c 35

************ Jap cast action, caliber 6.5 fitted with 7.7 bolt, Number D-26; barreled with .270 Magnum Graphitic tool steel barrel.

************ The above tests are not conclusive because of the lack of numbers of the various types of actions. The Japanese Model 38 6.5 action test is fairly accurate, however, because three actions were used and this would be enough to give a reasonable indication of their strength; especially considering that one of them was in very bad condition mechanically, as well as being very badly rusted. The Jap 6.5 action was the big surprise of the tests. The indications are that this action is the strongest one that will be tested, regardless of origin or make. In fact, the three actions used could not be blown up with any load that the barrels would stand. The barrels used throughout the tests were of very much higher tensile strength than any normal factory barrel available, or any military barrel regularly used. They were also of larger diameter, being at least 13/16″ at the breech. In every case the Jap actions, after the barrels had been ruptured or blown completely free from the action, were still serviceable and showed no apparent weakness with the one exception when the bolt plug or safety was blown out of the bolt. This was directly due to the fact that the firing pin hole in the bolt was very badly oversized and this always results in a dangerous condition regardless of make or design of the action. After the firing pin hole was bushed so as to make a tight fit for the firing pin, no more trouble was experienced. However, such a condition should be rectified in any action regardless of caliber or make because it can easily result in a very serious accident. With actions such as the Springfield which utilize the two-piece firing pin, such a condition is especially bad because the cocking piece can be blown out directly into the shooter’s face. It also allows escaping gas to rush back through the action, striking the shooter in the face or eyes and very often resulting in serious injury. The Jap action itself is probably more gas-proof than any other bolt action in the world but even so, this bad firing pin condition could result in a serious injury by blowing the bolt plug or safety out. The Jap action showed only a fraction of the number of blown or pierced primers that the other actions did.

This is due to the fact that the firing pin is considerably smaller than other makes. The Enfield action proved somewhat of a disappointment in these tests. It was expected that it would be the strongest one, and further tests will be run with this particular action to see whether the two used were representative. However, the two which have been tested so far are widely different in physical characteristics. That is, the heat treatment given the two actions varied a great deal. One action was extremely hard and blew up rather easily. When the blowup occurred, the action was nearly disintegrated and is one of the few blow-ups which would have perhaps proven fatal to the shooter. The other Enfield action was extremely soft. It was practically impossible to break the action but after the loads reached a high pressure level, excessive setback was indicated on each successive shot, resulting in a dangerous headspace condition. From previous experience, the late Springfields of the nickelsteel type with numbers over 1,275,767 are probably as strong as any other American action. The double heat treated type with numbers between 800,000 and 1,275,767 are reasonably strong,* but should not be used for Magnum calibers. Rock Island actions with a number over 285,507 are nickel-steel and equal to the nickelsteel Springfield or the very latest 1903 A3 actions as manufactured by the Remington Arms Company during World War II. *(Ordnance records and tests to which Mr. Ackley did not have access show that these 800,000 to 1,275,767 rifles have the strongest actions of any of the Springfield series. Publisher.) The re-heat treated action used in the test which was re-heat treated to a Rockwell c 40 showed reasonable strength. Such actions are definitely not suitable for the Magnum loads or some of the Super .22 Wildcats. Neither should such actions ever be used for any high powered caliber until a Rockwell or Brinell test has been made on them, because so many of them have been ruined in the re-heat treating process. In other words, unless a re-heat treated low number Springfield has been properly processed they should be let alone. The suitability of such actions can easily be ascertained by having a Rockwell or Brinell test made.

There is another type of Springfield action which has been sold to the American shooting public which should be used with extreme care and that is the type of rifle which has been made by using a Springfield receiver and an Enfield bolt. The rechambered Russian rifles are also in this category. A number of Russian rifles have been rechambered for the .30-06 cartridge and such rifles are to be definitely classed as dangerous. This is probably not due to an inherent weakness in this particular action but due to the poor conversion work. Shooters should not be misled by trick phrases applying to these old actions. Very seldom is re-heat treatment advisable for low carbon steel actions and usually they are much safer and stronger in their original form. The two Krags tested were also a surprise. The two regular issue Krags will be tested without re-heat treatment but the two we tested showed very good strength. The one chambered for the Improved .30-40 cartridge was especially good. The Improved .30-40 cartridge, although developing high pressures, is exceptionally easy on the action due to the lack of back-thrust, but in any event the action took a tremendous amount of pressure before it gave way. In fact it apparently took as much as some of the more modern actions. This is indicated by the chamber swelling in the high tensile strength barrel. This action was in exceptionally good condition. The second Krag was a much poorer action. It was fitted with an Improved Zipper barrel because there has been some question as to whether the Krag action is equal to a Super .22 of this type. As will be noted in the table, this action stood almost anything that could be put in the case, with the exception of #2400 powder. It gave no trouble even with powders as hot as #4198 in quantities sufficient to require compression to get it in the case. Such loads blew the primers but did not hurt the action. We are safe in concluding that the Krag action is sufficiently strong for calibers such as the Improved Zipper. We find that there are three conditions of hardness which have a direct bearing on the safety of actions. The most danger seems to come from the one that is too hard, such as the one Enfield which practically flew to pieces and the low number Springfield which has a tendency to do the same thing. The Mausers which are, many times, too soft and the Enfield action which proved to be too soft, will not

blow up readily but the lugs will set back rapidly with heavy loads, thus increasing the headspace to a dangerous degree. This does not mean actually that the action will blow up but it does mean that cases will rupture and escaping gas is apt to cause injury. It will be noted from studying the test tables that the Jap cast actions which apparently were made during the last days of the war are absolutely worthless. They are exceedingly soft, showing no heat treatment at all. It was found that an oversized barrel thread would easily expand the receiver ring. A tapered thread was tried and the receiver did expand like a piece of lead pipe. The locking recesses in these receivers are very shallow, allowing very little surface for the lugs to contact. They are also very thin where they have been cut out where the extractor enters the receiver at the right side. Even normal loads in these large cases such as the .270 Magnum will blow the action up after one or two shots. It could only be concluded that they could not be used for anything, no matter how low the pressure might be. These cast Jap actions can readily be distinguished by the fact that the tangs of the action are cast integral with the receiver. They are very crude and when removed from the stock, the lower side looks like any ordinary casting. The only other comment to be made is that some tests have been made in the United States on the various types of Jap actions by using the 7.7 bolt in the 6.5 action and it should be pointed out here that there is approximately ⅛″ difference in the length of these two bolts. In order to headspace a 7.7 bolt in the 6.5 action, it is necessary to cut off the recess at the rear end of the action which receives the bolt handle when it is turned down in locking position. If this is not done, the main locking lugs at the forward end of the bolt will not contact within ⅛ of an inch, so that the entire pressure of the load is taken by the bolt handle itself. This readily shows that the bolts cannot be interchanged with safety. This applies to other actions, but especially to the Jap action, since there is no real similarity between the 7.7 and the 6.5 designs except in appearance. The 7.7 Jap action proved to be somewhat of a surprise. In general, they are not as well made as the 6.5. The design is not as good but the only one so far tested showed great strength and

judging by this one individual action, we will have to place it Number Two on the list—the Jap 6.5 being Number One. We also might mention the fact that this 7.7 bolt, receiver, and various parts gave way at the same time, indicating that a balance in strength has been struck between the parts. That is, the receiver is just about as strong as the bolt, both giving way about the same time. On most of the other actions tested, either the bolt would give way before the receiver or the receiver would give way before the bolt. The one outstanding exception to this seems to be the issue Krags, both of which went all at once, wrecking the bolts and receivers at the same time. The British Enfield gave us an example of the rear locking lug system. The strength of this action seemed to be good; probably a little better than the Krag. However, the locking lugs are over four inches back from the face of the bolt. When this action gave way, the receiver itself bent down at the rear, allowing the front end of the bolt to come up out of the receiver ring, thus allowing the bolt to be bent and be broken. The locking lugs themselves did not give way. The whole action appeared to have plenty of strength except for this one characteristic, which allows too much spring in the bolt and receiver. This action is not of prime consideration, however, because it does not have the appearance or other features which make it desirable for sporting use. It also must be noted that regular .30 caliber bullets were used in this rifle instead of the oversized .303 British bullet. This, doubtless, gave slightly lower pressure than the standard bullet would have given. Due to the scarcity of high number Springfield actions, we have been able to obtain only one. This was a brand new action which had never had a barrel fitted. It was one of the last actions made at Springfield arsenal. This is the only action tested, besides the Jap action, which had the oversized firing pin that would have injured the shooter’s face. This particular Springfield action might have proven fatal had it been fired from the shoulder because of the fact that the cocking piece came flying back with a tremendous force. The bolt and receiver did not blow out but stretched sufficiently to cause ruptured cases every shot. It will be noted that this action did not stand as much as some of the other actions tested. However, it

would have been perfectly safe with any standard or reasonable load that a handloader would consider firing. The greatest weakness of the Springfield action seems to be in the firing pin itself, due to the three-piece construction. When the parts of the firing pin separate, there is nothing to prevent the cocking piece and cocking rod from coming to the rear. Other actions have provisions to prevent the firing pin from being blown out, even though the primer may be badly blown. The Spandau Mauser action, which is probably typical of the World War I military models, stood about the same loads as our regular military actions, such as the Enfield or Springfield. The material is not as good as used in our own actions, but the design being better makes for better safety features. They have better gas protection than other actions, with the exception of the Japanese Arisaka. It can be concluded that the Model 98 Mauser action, the Spring-field, Enfield, and Jap 6.5 are all suitable for high pressure Wildcat calibers when good judgment is used in handloading. They are all perfectly safe for any of our standard American calibers which can be adapted to them without excessive alteration. It would be best not to consider the shorter actions, such as the Model 98, for the excessively long cartridges such as the H & H Magnums, etc. Such long cartridges require too much alteration of the action, which results in weakening the lower locking recess, thus cutting down the margin of safety. For the H & H calibers the 1917 Enfield is the best action to consider, because it is the longest of the more common military actions. Any of these better actions are suitable for the Wildcat Magnum calibers which utilize the H & H brass in shortened form, which does away with the necessity of altering the action, with the exception of the bolt face, and extractor. In addition to the actions listed in the tests, we ran an extra low number Springfield in the original form. This took approximately the same loads as the re-heat treated Springfield. There is very little difference. It must be concluded that re-heat treatment is of no great value as indicated both by the Krags and Springfields. We also found that re-heat treatment is apt to result in cracks which are not visible and which might lead to serious accidents. These flaws resulting

from re-heat treating the actions were discovered when analysis tests were made so that it would appear that the best thing that could be done with the low number Springfield action is to fit a new nickelsteel bolt in place of the original. This doesn’t mean that the original bolt is especially dangerous or weak, but there seems to be a lot of variation in the old bolts and some of them had a tendency to upset and increase the headspace. By fitting one of the new nickelsteel bolts, these things can be eliminated. It can be safely said that these old hard actions, fitted with a new bolt, are perfectly safe with standard cartridges such as the .30-06 factory loads. It might also be observed that the old hard Springfield actions approached the strength of the new actions more closely than had been supposed. The main difference being that when they do let go, they are more apt to blow apart completely, while the nickel-steel action has more of a tendency to stretch than to crack. The Krag actions tested showed surprising strength. This was probably due more to the design of the cartridge used, however, than to an inherent strength of the action. The Krag action is popularly supposed to handle pressures not over 41,000 pounds per square inch. We have no reason to disbelieve this, when the standard cartridge design is used. The Improved Krag is radically changed as compared with the standard version and this is what might be termed a redistribution of pressures. It materially reduces the thrust on the bolt and probably transfers the pressures to the sides of the chambers, as indicated by the fact that the issue Krag barrels will develop expanded chambers long before any detrimental effects to the action are observed. Here it must be stated that under no circumstances do we recommend the Krag action for pressures over those heretofore recommended. Neither does it go to say that the Krag action should be changed to accept the improved version of the .30-40 cartridge. The observation that can be made from the test, however, is the fact that the re-heat treated Krag did not show any added strength over the regular issue and also that the Krag is perfectly safe for the Improved Zipper cartridge, which is one of our most popular Super .22s. It can safely be said that the regular issue Krag action, when in good condition, is perfectly safe with normal loads for the Improved

Zipper and that ballistically it is comparable to the popular .22-250 cartridge. In fact, the Improved Zipper develops ballistics very closely approaching those of the .220 Swift. This definitely gets the Krag into a class with other good varmint rifles and it must be admitted that the old Krag action is probably the smoothest working military action that was ever produced in this or any other country. It can also be observed that in all of the actions, the single locking lug allowed the bolt to spring upwards, breaking the receiver ring at the top and breaking the bolt somewhere along about midway. It would probably be impossible to blow the bolt out of a Krag because of the strong safety lug and the fact that the bolt handle also acts as a safety lug. Further comments of the Improved .30-40 cartridge might be in order so that it will be understood what the difference is between the Improved and the Standard version. The Improved .30-40 cartridge has a forty-degree shoulder and a very straight body. That is, the body taper amounts to not over .010 of an inch for the entire length of the case as compared with about five or six times that for the factory version. The cases are fire-formed by firing the factory loads in the Improved chamber. Very few ruptured cases occur and when the case is properly fire-formed, the capacity is greatly increased. The Improved case holds approximately 60 grains of Hi-Vel #2. It will be noted by studying the loads used in these tests that a tremendously increased load can be used in the Improved case without detrimental effects on the action. The resulting ballistics also show a tremendous increase over the factory figures. The various .30 caliber bullets can be driven at considerably higher speeds than the .300 H & H shows. This design is applied to other Standard factory cartridges such as the .257 Roberts, the .30/06, etc. with varying degrees of increase in ballistics. Again, however, it must be pointed out that such a practice cannot be recommended for the Krag action and that the above comments are only made to show the difference between the Improved and Standard design of cartridge cases. The strength of the military actions has been fairly well covered except for the types of material used in the various actions as furnished to the armed forces of the respective nations. While we were conducting the strength tests, we also had each action

analyzed and tested for hardness. We felt that this was necessary in order to give a clear understanding of what is necessary for the production of a good strong action for sporting or for military use. It was easy to determine which type of action would stand the heaviest loads, but it was more interesting to find that the strongest actions were not necessarily made of the best material, indicating that perhaps design is as important in the long run as a good grade material. As an example, the 6.5 Japanese Arisaka action was not made of as good material as our own Model 1903 action. However, it shows much greater ability to take whatever can be put in the cartridge case, probably due to the fact that the distribution of the material is such that the critical parts are strengthened. The hardness tests also gave us an idea of the extent that the various nations go to to protect their men, even though they may be limited as to the quality of material. A report from one of our leading heat treating experts showed the following results in hardness tests run on one of the better 6.5 Japanese Arisaka actions:

All of the analysis tests and the hardness were as much of a surprise to us, in the case of the Arisaka, 6.5 Japanese action, as the strength tests. It is apparent that the Japs went to a great deal of trouble to properly heat treat their actions. This may not and probably does not apply to the later actions manufactured in Japan or by Japan during the last part of the war. The early actions which we tested and analyzed showed a very elaborate heat treatment. Quoting from the letter which accompanies the hardness report:

“From the above it is obvious that at least this receiver was not only carefully, but even elaborately heat treated. To make such heat treatment and results possible the materials must be good enough. Thus the steel must be at least of medium carbon variety, if not alloyed with nickel, chrome or molybdenum. “Differential hardening, such as used on the bolt and firing pin, is actually unnecessary, as the firing pin, for example, can just as well have uniform hardness all over, as well as the bolt. “The design of the receiver appears to be in some respects superior to the Springfield and Mauser, from the standpoint of simplicity of machining and inletting. “The bolt design is extremely simple for dismounting. The only piece that is hard to machine is the firing pin and body piece, but it could be simplified by using steel tubing for the body and brazing the firing pin into it, and heat treating after that. The thickness of the firing pin is unusually heavy, which is good, as it will prevent breakage. It should be made lighter for faster action. “Actuation of the safety is remarkably simple with or without gloves. It permits low telescope mounting. “The bolt guard (stop), taken from English designs, is ingenious, in that the camming action on the ejector lever is absolutely positive, although it requires an extra lug on the bolt body. This in turn requires a little extra machining on the bolt and receiver. “On the whole, after brief inspection, and suspecting good materials, the action should be comparatively very strong and has features that could well be used in new designs. Its heat treatment appears to be superior to the average Mauser, Springfield, and Enfield. The Mausers are usually dead soft, while the nickel-steel Springfields show unreasonable variations in hardness. “Among the poor features observed, after this very brief study, are the following: 1. Cocking action on the forward stroke; 2. Can’t close the bolt with depressed trigger so as to let down the firing-pin; 3. Long travel of firing pin (about 1/2″ or more), which, combined with weak spring, and fairly good weight of the pin, would make for slow action time;

4. Left locking lug on the bolt is slit for the passage of the ejector —a solid lug and the slit in the bolt body like the Winchester Model 70 would be better; 5. Bolt handle sticks out, and should be bent down and back; 6. No recoil shoulder at front guard screw, (which is OK for the light recoil Arisaka .256 cal. cartridge).” From the above quotation, it will be easily seen that this particular heat treating expert and engineer has a rather good opinion of the general design and heat treatment of this particular action. The above Rockwell ratings can be checked against the other Japanese actions tested, in the table which accompanies this report. It may be observed while considering the 1917 Enfield action that there can be variations in the hardness found in these receivers. Due to the scarcity of these actions for testing purposes, not as many actions were tested as were Japanese actions. This also applies to the Springfield 1903. It will be noted that the Rockwell hardness of the various parts of the Remington 952302 were from 87 B to 42 C. The report states that the Eddystone and Remington actions show considerable variation in hardness. However, it must be considered that these two actions did not react in the same manner when subjected to extreme pressures; the Eddystone action blew up into fragments when subjected to only a comparatively heavy load. The Remington Enfield action had a tendency to stretch on the same loads, but could not be blown into fragments. It simply continued to stretch, until it became impossible to fire the cartridge due to the excessive headspace. It finally became completely deformed from this stretching action. Both Enfield actions showed a similar analysis. The Remington also showed stretching at a Rockwell hardness of 38 c—the Jap receiver showing the same hardness would not show the same stretching of the action. A comparison of the two materials shows a great difference and it may be that the difference in stretching between the two actions was due to material, since both actions showed approximately the same Rockwell hardness. In any event, it may be that the receiver which blew into fragments at a Rockwell hardness of 54 c was probably too hard for the particular material, which happened to be SAW 2340 while the same material

at a Rockwell of 38 c is probably too soft, as indicated by the excessive stretching. It was found that the Mauser actions had a low carbon steel, and were heat treated by a carburizing process. This process is known to the layman as case-hardening. Apparently the critical areas of the Mauser action were case-hardened to a greater extent than the remaining parts of the action. Sometimes these critical points show a case depth of 1/64″ which means that the surface is almost glass hard, while the core part remains soft. The materials used in the various Mauser receivers are similar to SAE steels 1020 to 1035. The treatment given these actions produces a surface resistant to abrasive action and wear, while the soft core makes the parts resistant to impact or sudden shock. The Mauser actions were all made from carbon steel, one receiver being low carbon and case-hardened. Quoting from original report: “The Mauser Sporter was really butchered when some nut cut the dovetail in the thread section of the receiver. It was already too light. This action must have been intended for shooting very low pressure loads. The bolt on this action and the Spandau Mauser bolt were very hard, having a Rockwell of over c 50 in some places. The Spandau receiver appeared to be of poorer quality than the first Mauser observed.” Further reports received from the testing laboratories are as follows: “The two Springfield actions observed were very different in analysis; #403123 being made of carbon steel and #1484928 made of nickel-steel. Both actions were hardened to Rockwell c 42 to c 47. This is plenty hard for carbon steel and I think that the nickel action would be improved if it were a few points softer. (Note, Jap receiver #14316.) Both of these actions showed some upset of the locking lug, seats. It was noted that the striker tip was broken. The end showed a Rockwell c 38, but 3/4 of an inch from the break, the hardness was only b 92.” “The Krag actions were a surprise because so many of the ‘experts’ have condemned the Krag as being a weak action. Sedgeley apparently did a good job re-heat treating the receiver, (#254212) and also was lucky that he had the .33% carbon steel to

work with instead of the .25% carbon steel in receiver #283206. I cannot, however, recommend re-heat treating actions as quench cracks are apt to form, and they are difficult to detect. Low carbon steels are less subject to quench cracks than high carbon steels and alloy steels, but neither do they respond to heat treating. “It would be questionable if any real gain would result. Two small fractures on the barrel end of the Sedgeley receiver may have been caused by the re-heat treating by Sedgeley. The same condition was noted on the bolt (#383206) at the junction of the bolt handle and bolt tube. These cracks could have been caused by repeated stress on the parts. “All of the Krag bolts showed an upset back of the firing pin hole and through the gas port.” Again I quote from the original report from the laboratories: “The Jap actions, like the Mausers were all made of carbon steel but the carbon content (.75% to .87% c) was about twice that of the Mausers. This steel, given a good quench, then a draw (or temper) to Rockwell c 35 results in a really tough material. The ultimate in folly was reached with the casting of a receiver. A micro examination, (checked by chemical analysis) showed the case receiver to be pearlitic malleable cast iron, badly decarbonized. The workmanship of this action was on a low level with the quality of the material.” In conclusion it is hard to say exactly what the ideal hardness of the receiver or bolt would have to be. This would largely depend on the material used. Our reports tend to show that a Rockwell c somewhere around 40 or 42 might be the ideal for our nickel-steel and that a Rockwell of something like 36 c or 38 c for carbon steel, such as used in the Japanese actions. In all probability a much better material than anything used in the actions tested could be found. We now have alloy steels which can be heat treated to much better advantage than those which are found in the more common military actions. It must be called to the readers’ attention that any conclusions that have been discussed in this series of articles are necessarily based on the actual results obtained from testing the actions on hand. There are a great many other actions of similar design to

those tested which have not been touched upon, but which may or may not be worthy of consideration. These action tests are being continued. More Jap actions will be tested. The Russian will be added to our list. It is planned to continue the test until no doubt as to the strength and suitability of the various actions remains.

XLVI GERMAN SMALL ARMS MANUFACTURING PLANTS There were always a great many gunmaking firms in Germany who, between wars, made all types of small arms, either from start to finish or, in some cases, using semi-finished actions and barrels purchased from some larger outfit who had facilities for production of these major items. In wartime the small shops became military suppliers to the extent of their capacity, either turning out finished arms or contracting for parts for assembling centers or larger arsenals. Formerly it was customary for weapons to be marked with the name of the maker, but around 1935 the Nazi rearmament plan set code numbers for all these various plants. This was followed by the letter code which lasted until the end. I believe the following list is complete and covers the German and the German-dominated ordnance suppliers and sub-contracting organizations, in Germany and in the occupied countries.

GERMAN SMALL ARMS MANUFACTURERS CODES A aak—Waffenfabrik Brunn A.G. Prague XIII. ac—Carl Walther, Zella/Mehlis, Thuringia. aek—F. Dusek Waffenerzeugung, Opocno bei Nachod. amn—Mauser Werke, Waldeck, Bez Kassel. ar—Mauser Werke, Berlin-Borsigwalde (Eichborndamm). asb—D.W.M. A.G., Berlin-Borsigwalde, (Eichborndamm 107127). auc—Mauser Werke, A.G., Koln-Ehrenfeld, Marien Str 28-30. awt—Wurttembergische Metallwarenfabrik A.G., Geishingen, Steige. axs—A. Krupp, Berndorfer, Metallwarenfabrik. ayf—Erma B, Geipel, G.m.b.H. Waffenfabrik, Erfurt. azg—Siemens-Schuckert Werke, A.G., Berlin.

B bcd—Gustloff Werke, Werk Weimar, Weimar. be—Berndorfer Metallwarenfabrik Arthur Krupp A.G., Berndorf, Niederdonau. bh—Brunner Waffenfabrik A.G. Brunn (Brno, CZ). bky—Bohmische Waffenfabrik A.G. in Prag-Werk Ung-Brod (Moravia). bmv—Rheinmetall Borsig A.G., Werke Sommerda, Sommerda. bmz—Minerva Nahmaschinenfabrik A.G., Boscowitz. bnd—M.A.N. A.G., Werk Nurnberg, Nurnberg 24. bnz—Steyr-Daimler Puch A.G. Werk Steyr, Steyr, Austria. bpr—Johannus Grossfuss Metall-u-Locierwarenfabrik, Dobeln-iSa.

br—Mathias Bauerle Laufwerke, G.m.b.H., St Georgen/Schwarzwald. bvl—Th Bergmann & Co-Abtlg-Automaten u.Metallwarenfabrikation, Hamburg/CA. bwo—Rheinmetall-Borsig A.G., Werk Dusseldorf, Dusseldorf. bxb—Skodawerke, Pilsen. byf—Mauser Werke, Obendorf. bym—Genossenschafts Maschinenhaus der Buchenmacher, Ferlach/Karnten. bkp—Gewehrfabrik H. Burgsmuller & Sohn. G.m.b.H., Kreiensen/Harz. bjv—Bohn-Mahrische Kolben-Danek A.G.-Prag, Werk Vysocan. bkp—Rohrenfabrik Johannes Surmann G.m.b.H., Arnsberg/W. bzt—Wolf, Fritz, Rob S, Gewehrfabrik, Zella/Mehlis, Thur.

C ce—J. P. Sauer & Sohn Gewehrfabrik, Suhl. ch—Fabrique Nationale d’Armes d’Guerre, Herstal/Liege, Belgium. cof—Waffenfabrik Carl Eickhorn, Solingen. cdo—Th Bergmann & Co, K-G., Waffen u-Munitionfabrik, Werk Veltem/Main. chd—Berlin Industrie Werke A.G., Berlin-Spandau, Frieheit 4-7. con—Franz Stock Maschinen u.-Werkzeugfabrik, Berlin W62, Kleistr 21. cos—Merz-Werke Gebr. Merz, Frankfurt a/M. cpo—Rheinmetall-Borsig, A.G. Werke, Berlin-Marienfeld. cpq—Rheinmetall-Borsig, A.G., Werk Guben. cpp—Rheinmetall-Borsig, A.G., Werke Breslau. crs—Paul Weyersberg & Co Waffenfabrik, Solingen. cvl—WKC Waffenfabrik G.m.b.H., Solingen-Wald, Postfach 29. cxg—Spreewerk G.m.b.H., Metallwarenfabrik, Berlin-Spandau.


dfb—Gustloff-Werke, Waffenwerk Suhl, Suhl/Sa. dot—Waffenwerke Brunn A.G., Brunn. (Brno, C/Z). dou—Waffenwerke Brunn A.G., Werke Bystrica. dov—Waffenwerke Brunn A.G., Werke Wsetin. dow—Opticotechna, formerly Waffenfabrik Brunn A.G., Prerau, (C/Z). dox—Waffenfabrik Brunn A.G., Werk Podbrezova. (C/Z). dph—I. G. Farbenindustrie A.G., Werk Autogen, Frankfurt (Main)-Griesheim. dsh—Waffenwerke Ing F. Janecek, Prague-Nusle II. (See also hew) Geisserie in Teinitz s./S. dgl—Remo GewehrFabrik, Gebruder Rempt, Suhl. duv—Berliner-Lubecker Maschinenfabriken, Werk Lubeck. duw—Deutsche Rohrewerke, A.G., Werk Thyssen, Mulheim/Ruhr.

E egy—Ing. Fr. August Pfeffer, Oberlind, Thur.

F fnh—Bohmische Waffenfabrik A.G. in Prag-Werk Strakonitz. fwh—Norddeutsche Maschinenfabrik G.m.b.H., Hauptverwaltung, Berlin NW 7. fue—A.G. vormals Skodawerke, Werk Dubnica/Mechanische Werkstatt. fxa—Eisenacher Karosseriefabrik Assmann G.m.b.H., Eisenach. fxo—C. G. Haenel Waffen-und Fahrrad-Fabrik, Suhl. fze—F. W. Holler Waffenfabrik, Solingen. fzs—Heinrich Krieghoff Waffenfabrik, Suhl.

G ghf—Fritz Kiess & Co G.m.b.H. Waffenfabrik, Suhl. gsb—Rheinmetall-Borsig A.G., Loewen, Belgium. (Formerly S.A. des Ate de la Dyle. gsc—S. A. belge de Mecanique et de l’Armenente, Monceausur-Sambre (Mecar). guy—Werkzeugmaschinenfabrik Oerlikon, Buhrle & Co, ZurichOerlikon, Switz.

H hew—Waffenfabrik Ing. F. Janecek, Prag Nusle II., Pangrac Wasserwerk. hhg—Rheinmetall-Borsig A.G. Werk Tegel, Berlin-Tegel. hhv—Steyr-Daimler Puch A.G., Werk Nibelungen, St Valentin, Austria.

J jhv—Metallwaren Waffen u Maschinenfabriken A.G., Budapest, IX Sorchsoriuc. jkg—Kongl Ungar Staatl-Eisen-, Stahl und Maschinenfabrik, Budapest. jlj—Heeres Zeugamt, Ingoldstadt. jua—Danuvia Waffen-und Munitionsfabrik AG., Budapest XIV, Angol-utca 10-12. jwa—Manufacture d’armes Chatellerault, Chatellerault, France.

K kfk—Dansk Industrie Syndicat, Copenhagen, Denmark. kla—Steyr-Daimler Puch A.G., Warsaw, Dworska 29. ksb—Manufacture nationale d’armes de Levallois, Paris Levallois Perret 60 Quai Michellet. kur—Steyr-Daimler Puch A.-G., Werk Graz, Fuhrhofsgasse 44.

kwn—S. A. Fiat, Turin, Italy.

L lza—Mauser Werke A.-G., Werk Karlsruhe.

M moc—Johann Springer’s Erben, Gewehrfabrikanten, Wein VIII/65, Josefsgasse. mpr—S. A. Hispano Suiza, Geneva, Switzerland. mrb—Aktiengesellschaft vorm Skodawerke, Werk PragSmichow, CZ. myx—Rheinmetall-Borsig A.-G., Werk Sommerda/Thur.

N nec—Waffenwerke Brunn A.-G., Prag, Werk (V) Gurein. nhr—Rheinmetall-Borsig A.-G., Werk Sommerda. nyv—Rheinmetall Borsig A.G., Werk Unterluss. nyw—Gustloff-Werke, Meiningen.



THE PRINCIPAL MILITARY RIFLE BOLTS Shown complete, turned bottom-up to give cocking-piece and notch detail. (For description see back of page.)

Horizontal—Top to Bottom

1903 Mannlicher-Schoenauer. Same as commercial rifles made by Steyr in 6.5mm and similar short cartridges. Note the centrally-placed bolt handle and long bolt sleeve. British Lee Enfield. Note the heavy rib on bolt, which forms the principal locking lug, with contact at rear. The projection at front is the bolt guide on the bolt head. This is not in any sense a locking lug. 1914-1917 Enfield. Note Mauser features—long extractor, locking lugs at front of bolt. No guide rib or safety lug. One piece sleeve without sleeve lock. No safety parts on sleeve, and headless cocking piece. Notch or “hook” on rear of cocking piece at bottom to allow loop or wire or cord in holding to rear in disassembling according to British system. Cuts on bottom of bolt are to allow movement of the sear blocking pin which prevents sear movement unless bolt is properly closed and locked. 1903 Springfield. Different from Mauser in that cocking piece is headed, extractor short, heavy locking lug on side of bolt. Sleeve has safety and sleeve lock. 1898 Mauser. Locking lugs set slightly further back from face of bolt than on Enfield and Springfield. Safety lug is small, on bottom of bolt. Safety on sleeve and sleeve lock is provided. Both much simpler and stronger than on Springfield. Headless cocking piece, with milled recess on right side allowing for cocking without moving bolt handle by using a coin or cartridge rim in this cut. 99 (1939) Japanese. The Model 38 Arisaka bolt is identical in appearance, though polished. Shown with bolt cover. Note that lugs are similar in placement to those of the ‘98 Mauser and that the long extractor is used. No safety lug on bolt. Bolt sleeve entirely different than any other. The small lug shown being the safety catch, to hold sleeve and cocking piece in receiver safety notch when sleeve is turned.

Vertical Bolts

Just a Mauser ‘98 (top) and a 1903 Springfield (bottom) which have been polished and handles altered for telescopic sight use in sporting rifles. Note lug positions and locations of bolt handles.

EXPLANATORY NOTES ON BULLET & PROPELLANT DATA Number 4. German armor-piercer with hardened-steel core—most common type AP. 6. German observation explosive bullet: sometimes loaded with 45 grains of flake powder instead of 50 grains of tubular nitrocellulose. 7. Cordite used in spaghetti-like form, the usual load consisting of 42 sticks measuring approximately .046 x 1.56″ each, perforated through center. Also loaded in U. S. with ball powder and in both U. S. and England with chopped tubular nitrocellulose propellants. 8 & 10. The flake powder used may be nitroglycerin based, although it looks and acts like nitrocellulose. 12. The Pedersen Experimental U. S. cartridge of 1929. Powder was du Pont No. 25 (similar to present No. 4198). Weight, average of ten cartridges. 13. The correct weight of the M2 flat-based bullet is 151 grains; that of the M2 Alternative, 152. (Alternatives were slightly modified specifications for wartime loadings.) 14. Most M1 boat-tailed bullets ran up to a grain over the government listing of 172-grains as official weight. 15. The specified weight of the M2 Alternate is 164-grains; however, ten weighed bullets averaged 165.5-grains. Velocity is listed as 2,770 FPS. (The original M2 AP, used prior to 1938, listed a 168.5-grain bullet at a muzzle velocity of 3,260 FPS.) 17. The powder used is in very large, amber-colored grains, in perforated tu