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Union Switch & Signal US&S M1911A1 Pistol with a 442nd provenance


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One of my favorite collecting items was the 1911 series military pistols and all the accessories.  Over the years I have thinned out the collection only retaining a Colt 1911 and US&S 1911a1.  I have decided during the trying Covid-19 times to post a few selected items on the Military Collectors Forum.  If this the new normal, then I will post more thrilling items.


My father was a 442nd RCT veteran and had many vet friends.  When I was a little kid, my father’s friends would come by the house and talk story.  I didn't realize at that time they were 442nd veterans and Military Intelligence Service veterans.  They all had different occupations worked hard, raised families and today passed on to the final roll call.


One day one of his friends came to the house carrying a brown paper bag and handed me the package.  He told me he brought two handguns back from Europe during WW2.  His son took the “Walther” P38 and the second handgun he gave to me.



The 522nd Field Artillery Battalion of the 442nd RCT.  The 442nd RCT contained 3 battalions of infantry [including the 100th Infantry Battalion] , 522nd field artillery battalion, 232nd combat engineers, anti-tank company, cannon company, and 206th ground forces band. 


The 522nd had 3 firing batteries of 4 M2 105 truck towed howitzers.  The men of the 522nd, many of whom had science and engineering backgrounds and a good understanding of mathematics, were known as one of the fastest and most efficient artillery units in Europe reaching speeds of three rounds in less than one minute from each of the guns.  They had the ability to fire 3 to 4 fire missions simultaneously.


The Veteran

He was a member of the 522nd FA.  He was a cook and was known for his straightforward personality.  He told me the only time he got injured during the war was by falling off a moving "Deuce and a Half" breaking his leg and having his stove blowing up peppering him with metal.  I cannot divulge the name of the Veteran for obvious reasons since the 1911a1 was not a true spoil of war [no capture papers] and when asked how he obtained the pistol he never said.


The 1911a1

Union Switch and Signal 1911a1 1943

M3 Enger Kress shoulder holster dated 1944

Hoff MFG. Co magazine pouch dated 1942

2 1911 45 caliber 2 toned magazines unmarked


The Image[s]

The first photo I included a WW1 Climax and a WW2 contract made 1912 squad cleaning kit complete [the accessories I have collected over time]

All the other images contain what was in the brown bag

A close up of the barrel bushing with the US&S concentric machining ring pattern

Ironically the serial number contains the three digits "442"


Thank you for reading



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Nice rig and the story to go with it...but, if you can, change the thread title from "United" to Union".

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yeah, I messed up sorry.  maybe the moderator can change it for me

thanks for the heads up

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And, WOW!  That is a gorgeous original example.


Correct Du-Lite blue, and tell-tale signs that the small parts are correct as well - including the blue tinted stamped trigger, and the real doozy, the barrel bushing with concentric circle tooling marks, unique to this maker.  


Nice kicker to have the two WWI two-tone magazines.  Are you sure they are un-marked?  No letter on top of the ‘tongue’ of the baseplate?

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Dear Gap

As per your request for photos of the trigger.  I have enclosed views from both left and right20210221_163154.jpg.fea626c9757ace2c3663a838624f393c.jpg20210221_163206.jpg.f3afce3a338bff281177199b0b3c7ace.jpg

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I do not possess the skill sets to discern if the trigger is blued or parkerized.  You will have to make that determination.

I have never broken the pistol down to remove the trigger.

thanks for the question 

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  • 3 weeks later...

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