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doughboy

Question about Weapon Number !!!

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Hi,

I have a question about the weapon-number.Can anyone tell me,is it possible based on the weapon-number to determine where, or to which unit the gun was delivered.What I

mean is, is it possible to determine,the Garand or Thommy Gun with the number xxxxxxxx was used in an Infantry unit or was Lend Lease.It would be very interesting if anyone has an answer.Thanks in advance.

 

doughboy

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Basically, for WWII era through VN: NO.

 

Factories delivered their products to Ordnance Districts (on paper) and they, by truck or railroad car load, were physically shipped to Ordnance Depots, General Supply Depots or directly to posts/camps/stations. IF one can track down the records of delivery to Govt and shipping onward, that is all they will tell you.

 

Lend-Lease: SOME -- not all and not even most -- blocks of serial numbers sent to Lend-Lease clients are a matter of record.

 

In VN, I learned that by longstanding SOP (1917? 1942?) small arms shipped overseas to war zones were DROPPED FROM ACCOUNTABILITY. That is, any permanent record Stateside would just say "M-16A1 #123567 shipped to SEA, 33 Feb 69".

 

Since about 1983, this changed, thanks to computerization. Army Materiel Command got serious about being able to track every single small arm, throughout its life, by serial number. This came to a head when the Israelis captured dozens of brand-new M-16s in Lebanon....their numbers showed they were FMS items sent to the Saudi National Guard six months earlier! US-origin M-16s were also found in Panama (1989) and Iraq (1991), BUT IIRC these were all either new-made and delivered on COMMERCIAL contracts (never in US mil custody) OR VN-era battle losses acquired from VN via the international "gray market".

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