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Span-Am weapons used MUCH later than thought!


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Look at this photo from WW2 (post-1942, from the details on the vehicles): WWII_COTP_Jeep2.jpg

Focus on the MG’s manned by the men standing in the backs of the Jeeps. Those are M1895 Colt machine guns from the Spanish-American war era! They also look like they’re mounted on either camera or optic tripods. I know the home front dealt with older equipment but I wouldn’t have believed this if I wasn’t looking at the photo of it!

Lee Bishop Formerly known as "Ratchet 5" with the 2nd Infantry Division (yes, in REAL life)

US WW2 War Correspondent collector

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Those are Coast Guardsmen on domestic port security duty. As such they would have been issued second line equipment. Note that the other weapons also seen are the M1903 Springfield rifle, the Reising SMG and a BAR. And the mounted bayonets??

 

I doubt those old M1895 machine guns ever got fired. They were about half a century old by the time that pic was taken. Parts would have been tough to get.

 

Your comment about the tripods is well taken. An unsteadier mount is hard to imagine. Sorta gives you the feeling that this was some PR guy's idea of an action shot. A neat photo in any event.

 

Regards,

Charlie Flick

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The shortage of machine guns was so acute that the U.S. Navy was negotiating the purchase of rebuilt Marlin machine guns in 1942. These guns had been declared "surplus" in the 1919-1930s era -- as were Lewis, Colt-Vickers, Hotchkiss, and other machine guns. Many had been sold in functioning condition as scrap. Ultimately, they were "demilled" with a small torch cut under the front of the receiver and into the barrel. Among the firms selling the rebuilt guns were Fiala Outfits, R.F. Sedgley (?spelling), and the rebuilder: Van Karner Ordnance. It was Van Karner who was negotiating with the Navy for the purchase of the Marlins (for the Coast Guard). I suspect that Van Karner's firm was connected with Griffin & Howe as they both had the same address. The negotiations ended when it was determined that sufficient Brownings were being produced (at about $79 each) to meet the needs of all the services. At the instigation of the Department of State (Office of Munitions Control) and the U.S. Army (namely Rene Studler, chief of the small arms branch of Army Ordnance), the U.S. seized all of the rebuilt m.g.s and parts from a number of dealers and rebuilders in mid-November 1942. I'm writing an article for Small Arms Review on this subject, but doubt that it will appear earlier than next year -- if at all.

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The shortage of machine guns was so acute that the U.S. Navy was negotiating the purchase of rebuilt Marlin machine guns in 1942. These guns had been declared "surplus" in the 1919-1930s era -- as were Lewis, Colt-Vickers, Hotchkiss, and other machine guns. Many had been sold in functioning condition as scrap. Ultimately, they were "demilled" with a small torch cut under the front of the receiver and into the barrel. Among the firms selling the rebuilt guns were Fiala Outfits, R.F. Sedgley (?spelling), and the rebuilder: Van Karner Ordnance. It was Van Karner who was negotiating with the Navy for the purchase of the Marlins (for the Coast Guard). I suspect that Van Karner's firm was connected with Griffin & Howe as they both had the same address. The negotiations ended when it was determined that sufficient Brownings were being produced (at about $79 each) to meet the needs of all the services. At the instigation of the Department of State (Office of Munitions Control) and the U.S. Army (namely Rene Studler, chief of the small arms branch of Army Ordnance), the U.S. seized all of the rebuilt m.g.s and parts from a number of dealers and rebuilders in mid-November 1942. I'm writing an article for Small Arms Review on this subject, but doubt that it will appear earlier than next year -- if at all.

 

Hey Bob:

 

Good to see you back on the Forum.

 

That is very interesting background information. I was not aware that the government actually sized rebuilt MGs and parts in 1942. That is a pretty desperate measure and I would have thought that by late '42 the emergency conditions might have eased somewhat.

 

You mentioned Van Karner. I was also not aware of any connection with Griffin & Howe. That must have been an interesting outfit. I have one of the rather exotic looking, brass Van Karner 37mm pyrotechnic signal pistol in the collection. Your spelling of the name is the R. F. Sedgley, Inc. is correct. At that time it was located at 2311 North 16th Street in Philadelphia, PA. (And, BTW, it was another maker of pyrotechnic signal pistols.)

 

If you are going to be doing more writing I am going to have to renew my subscription to S.A.R. thumbsup.gif

 

Regards,

Charlie Flick

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I have also been told by a WWII U.S. Navy vet that some liberty ships or second line ships, as he described, would have a weapon arsenal for the purpose of repel people trying to board the ship. He said he remembered seeing on some of these ships the "old Krag" rifle with ammunition bandoleers dated prior to WWI. He was an old time hunter and thought it was funny they were using such outdated weapons. Now I do not know this to be fact but it makes sense to issue out all the old left over weapons.

 

Kevin

Kevin Braafladt

 

Looking for items relating to the 91st Infantry Division from WWI. Especially anything pertaining to the 364th Infantry Regiment.

Looking for First Army related items from WWI.

 

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Suprising find but it does make sense. I've met vets who trained with broomsticks and wooden toy rifles in basic training mainly due to rifle shortages. I'd rather have an outdated weapon than no weapon, even if the odds of ever having to use it were1 in 1,000,000. Span-Am is older than I would have thought however. Good picture!

 

-Tim

Want to buy Large reg or Large Long green dominant ("lime") ERDL jacket. Original. Thanks.

 

B/104th 26th "Yankee Division"

F/2/5 USMC

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