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My question could be surprising, I'd like to know during WWII who wore the M1911A1 pistol?
On some picture from WWII we see some G.I did not have the pistol, just Garand or USM1?
 

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Intially, every paratrooper was issued a pistol as a mean of defense, pending the rifle reassembly after a combat jump. This was discontinued in 1942.
 

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Generally, anyone whose duties precluded carrying a rifle. The M1 Carbine was specifically developed to replace the M1911A1 and give support personnel something better to fight back with in the event of a Blitzkrieg-style breakthrough of the front lines, but it was soon realized that some things cannot be done when you have to carry a weapon that still requires using both hands. In addition, any GI who badly wanted a .45 eventually found a way to get one, even if they were a rifleman and not normally issued one. I once owned a 1911 that the previous owner won while playing a game of cards with other GIs somewhere in Italy. The poor guy who lost the bet had to report it as a "combat loss" while the new owner was able to sneak it home.
 

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By the way, note how many clean, unmolested .45s still exist out there. A substantial number of them were issued to personnel who never got close to the front lines, from high-ranking officers all the way down to MP's and guys who did nothing but drive a truck all throughout the war. Still others sat in warehouses and were never issued, while guys on the front lines were being killed in their foxholes and wishing they had a pistol with them.

There's an old story that was once posted on the CSP forum about a helicopter pilot in Vietnam who went to the arms depot to be issued a service weapon, since he knew he'd be having to fly over enemy-held territory. He wanted a .45, but the unit armorer (forgive me if that's the wrong name) refused to let him have one, saying the .45s were all reserved for officers. Instead he was given a .38 Special Airweight and only five rounds of ammo! (if anyone might know where that story is currently posted I'd appreciate it). He mentioned he couldn't get rid of that POS fast enough and eventually obtained a .45 by going though the "other" channels like I mentioned previously.
 

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Generally, anyone whose duties precluded carrying a rifle. The M1 Carbine was specifically developed to replace the M1911A1 and give support personnel something better to fight back with in the event of a Blitzkrieg-style breakthrough of the front lines, but it was soon realized that some things cannot be done when you have to carry a weapon that still requires using both hands. In addition, any GI who badly wanted a .45 eventually found a way to get one, even if they were a rifleman and not normally issued one. I once owned a 1911 that the previous owner won while playing a game of cards with other GIs somewhere in Italy. The poor guy who lost the bet had to report it as a "combat loss" while the new owner was able to sneak it home.
I have one WWII photo of my Dad with a 1911. He was in the supply side of what was then called the Medical Department. He was assigned to Pearl Harbor in the Spring of 1941, was there during the Japanese attack, and was attached to a station hospital throughout the war all the way to the retaking of the Philippines. It was the only firearm he had except during training at Fort Lewis Washington where he had a 1903A3.
 

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Having been assigned to a few Navy base armories , I can tell ya there were still hundreds , maybe thousands of 1911A1s , still in original boxes/wooden crates , with seals intact , at Norfolk in the early 80's. M-14's too. Word is during the Clinton years , they were shipped back to NS Crane , and perhaps on to Anniston for destruction , or given away are foreign military aid. The Beretta M-9 was gaining ground. Smaller bases also had apparently new pistols which were inventoried , but never used , while the ones in the ready racks were in less than prime shape. Pistols in better shape were usually kept separated and used for qualifications. Apparently some Nat.Guard armories still had lots of like new 1911A1s during the Gulf wars.
 

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Some great stories and info here. Sounds like they found their way, one way or another, to those who wanted/needed one. Funny thing is, it's still happening today.
 

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Then as in now, if you wanted a pistol badly enough there were ways to get one. Battlefield pick-ups, bribing those with access to one, and outright theft were among the many means to get your hands on one. A familiar scene from the movie The Thin Red Line was the young Private who badly wanted a pistol, and when he found one carelessly left hanging in its holster next to a bunk he swiped it.
 

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Military officers, Radiomen, mortar men, Machine gunners, Platoon leaders, Tanker Commanders, Military Police, air crew, pilots,etc.
The above and Navy Corpsmen attached to Marine Corps units used 1911A1's or 1911's clear through to the change to plastic, and as I recall I think Army Medic's too. But we were trained in the use of the M14 and later the M16. During my time we only were supposed to carry defensive weapons (Geneva Convention).
 

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Then as in now, if you wanted a pistol badly enough there were ways to get one. Battlefield pick-ups, bribing those with access to one, and outright theft were among the many means to get your hands on one. A familiar scene from the movie The Thin Red Line was the young Private who badly wanted a pistol, and when he found one carelessly left hanging in its holster next to a bunk he swiped it.
And AFAIK , there was no 'reporting' of thefts of pistols to any civilian LE agency or database. Theft's were handled within individual units/commands and often NIS.
 

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Not to hijack this thread..but...In RVN, I was a Army Ranger and I wanted the CAR15 (the collapsable short nose variant of the M16) BAD. I finally found one and gave the company armorer a carton of Marlboro Red's in 'trade' Well, it was a cool looking rifle..BUT in several enusing firefights it jammed because of the shortened barrel and inability to eject/rechamber fast enough. Got rid of it quickly and went back to the standard M16. Lesson learned
 

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John Holbrook, a sometimes contributor to this forum ended up with a near-new Colt M1911A1 that he was able to bring home after the Vietnam War. During a firefight his M16 jammed (sound familiar?) and his Captain was wounded, so Mr. Holbrook quickly took the .45 from the Captain and used it to take out three VC who had nearly found their position. The grateful Captain let John hang onto the pistol, and he still has it to this day.

http://www.sightm1911.com/lib/legends/serious.htm
 

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During the Vietnam festivities I was a Navy pilot and flew A-7Es off the Enterprise. We were issued either that silly little snub nose .38 with a handful of flare rounds or you could carry your personally owned weapon. I had a Browning High Power with me but I wanted a .45 so I asked our ordnance officer in the squadron to talk to the ships small arms folks and a couple hours later he handed me a factory box with a brand new Colt 1991A1 and several boxes of ammo. A quick trip to the range in Subic Bay and a couple boxes of ammo later I was all set. It fit just fine in the integral holster in my survival vest and I carried 6 additional loaded mags. Sure wish I had kept that beauty instead of turning it back in; likely, nobody would have ever asked for it back.
 
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