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Colt M1911 use in WWI from Enlisted Man ?

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#1 Matt4thCav

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 07:25 AM

Hi, I found this picture of soldiers of 1st ID. The soldier on the left (No rank on the sleeve) carries a Colt N1911, is it a private acquisition? Until now I had seen only the corporals and sergeants in the troop with the M1911 or M1917 revolver...! 




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Edited by Matt4thCav, 18 December 2017 - 07:26 AM.

#2 Old Marine

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 09:06 AM

It is not the norm to issue a Private rifleman a pistol, but it's not uncommon for riflemen to acquire pistols on their own.  He could had bought or traded something for it, he could have gotten it from wounded soldiers or he could have just found it lying around. 

#3 12A54

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 11:27 AM

Weren’t Runners issued pistols? Runners were typically Privates I believe.

#4 everforward

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 11:56 AM

I'd check the TO&E if possible on some of the different units like machine gun companies and mortar platoons....some of the special units like the mortar platoons were organized in the field. Soldiers that went on trench raids may have been issued pistols as well.

#5 warguy

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 01:18 PM

I have a yardlong photo of the 6th MGB USMC on August 12th 1919 in Washington DC after returning home and EVERY man in the photo has a 1911 holster. Not sure if this was the case during the fighting but I have always found that interesting. Kevin

#6 Steve Brannan

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 03:10 PM

My great uncle was a PFC in the Signal Corps and he was issued a M1911. 1st Signal Batt. 2nd Division, WWI.

#7 firstflabn

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 06:35 PM

Not sure about the earlier T/Os, nor which one the 1st Div was using at the time of the photo, but the Jan '18 version for a rifle co shows the Thrower in the Hand Bomber Section is authorized both a rifle and a pistol. These guys are shown as PFCs, but that doesn't seem to be much of a reach.


No other privates in the division got both (by the book anyway).


With almost 12,000 pistols in this WWI division, it's not a big shock to see them show up.


Rifleman is a misunderstood term. In this WWI organization, about 6 of 7 rifles are in the hands of other than Riflemen. That's because only about 10% of this division was Riflemen.

#8 world war I nerd

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 03:00 AM

In addition, pistols were considered to be prized possessions by the men of the AEF - just about every combat soldier wanted to carry one if he could get his hands on one. 


Pistols were also in short supply early on. Many men authorized to carry a sidearm arrived overseas with a holster but had nothing to put in it for quite some time.


It was common for wounded soldiers who did have a sidearm to pass it on to a buddy before heading to the rear for medical treatment. Wrist watches and binoculars were also frequently passed along to other squad members as these items all had a habit of "disappearing"  at first aid stations and hospitals.

#9 Matt4thCav

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 08:59 AM

Thanks so much guys.


#10 collector

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Posted 31 December 2017 - 08:10 AM

Buglers could also carry pistols.

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#11 cavsaddle

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Posted 01 January 2018 - 02:12 PM

Interesting manual and photo. Especially like the strap attaching the bugle. Thanks for posting 

#12 illinigander

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 05:53 PM

Is that not the length of the Colt-Vickers box of WW1?  Never seen one with that divider though.


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