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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I heard some officers carried a private purchase M1911 with them overseas?

how would they have brought it back without the military trying to confiscate it as US property? or contraband?
 

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private firearm deployment

Very likely, war bring backs were very common back then, even early on in Iraq staff and officers were bringing personal side arms, and troops doing simple paperwork for trophies.

Not anymore, to much NATO liability, and coming home from Afghanistan is a gauntlet of searches for contraban, TSAx10.
 

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My oldest brother was a buck sergeant infantry and he brought back a pristine Luger with holster and an SS dagger and I never heard of any problem in 1945.

My second brother, also in Europe in WWII, brought back a German .25 automatic pistol.

A neighbor had all sorts of German trophies in his basement: Infantry and Luftwaffe helmets, Mauser rifles, a few pistols and some bayonets.

And it is my understanding that officers could pack just about anything in wooden shipping boxes and have them sent stateside without any checking or trouble.
 

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While not entirely responsive to the question, in his book "The Pacific", Ambrose quotes a letter from Marine Eugene Sledge to his dad reminding him of his request to send him a .45 Automatic while he was stationed in the pacific during WWII. While I'm not sure whether Sledge received the requested firearm, it seems to indicate that it wasn't just officers using personally purchased sidearms during WWII as Eugene Sledge was an enlisted man.
 

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My oldest brother was a buck sergeant infantry and he brought back a pristine Luger with holster and an SS dagger and I never heard of any problem in 1945.

My second brother, also in Europe in WWII, brought back a German .25 automatic pistol.

A neighbor had all sorts of German trophies in his basement: Infantry and Luftwaffe helmets, Mauser rifles, a few pistols and some bayonets.

And it is my understanding that officers could pack just about anything in wooden shipping boxes and have them sent stateside without any checking or trouble.
Simpler times for sure. I still daydream about finding some long-forgotten P.08 in the basement of an estate sale.
 

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I could not know how difficult it would have been to bring back weapons and such in WWII, but I suspect if one had some sort of rank, then it would not have been difficult.

When I came back from a year as an Advisor in IV Corps, Vietnam, all i had was one set of kaki's and a small gym bag, or what we used for such back then. Not civilian clothes, just what I was wearing, my knives, and my Pentax camera. I put a small lock on my bag, and dropped by the MP's in Saigon, who wrote up the "capture papers" for a type 53 Chicom carbine, which i have along with the papers. Not much value in the rifle, i have never shot it, but with the papers it has at least some importance to me.

Anyway, when i was DROS'ing back Stateside, I was well aware of the rules and potential punishment for trying to bring contraband, drugs and explosives and weapons, so I asked the MP at the gate if he wanted to check my gym bag, he said it would be checked back in the States, but when i arrived at San Francisco's Airport, i walked off with my bag still with the little lock secure on it. I could have brought back anyone of my five submachine guns.

When I and my Hospital Unit were returned from Desert Storm, we were put in a huge tent at KKMC, and had to lay all our stuff out, two duffle bags and a ruck of stuff, and the MP's and dogs scrambled all over our things. There was an amnesty box there, it seemed pretty full to me. We could bring bag Iraqi helmets and web gear and stuff, but no weapons. I brought back some British web gear and stuff some one gave me, it is up in my attic now.

I have some non weapon stuff, compasses and small items, that troops returning from the Grenada operation gave me at Bragg when they came back.

I heard rumors in Desert Storm of troops being busted for trying to return with AK's and such, but maybe the rumors were put out just to make us believe the security was going to be pretty tight when we came back. I am pretty sure returning troops now from our War have strict inspections.

But i have my Chicom 53 with papers,

All the best....
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thanks for all the interesting stories & replies about bring backs and personal weapons

a WWII vet that was a supply Sgt during WWII told me he sent back two M1911A1 pistols in a box he sent back to the US and he marked the box as containing "shoes"
 

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My friend has a Russia Tokarev that his grandfather brought back with him. Mint. Pretty sure the rules were FAR less strict back them... didn't guys bring their rifles home at times?
 

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Even the Canadians had little issues during WWII, bringing home some souvenirs.

My Grandfather - a Company Sergeant Major with the Queen's Own Rifles - had no problems in bringing back a captured Walther P38, and his own S&W .38 service weapon. I now am happy to have both.
 

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Back then even enlisted guy's would bring personal handguns with them.Not just 1911's but revolvers as well.I have a family friend that was a Marine during Vietnam and he brought a 357 Blackhawk with him.It wasn't untill after Vietnam that the military stopped allowing personal handgun's to be carried by anyone.Hal there is some truth to that.I know of a Marine tanker that was busted with one after Desert Storm.I don't remember what happend to him though.
 

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To answer your question as posted, military 1911s were mark "US Government Property" on the frame. This would be the easiest way to determine that it was not Government property if it was a commercial pistol. At that time I believe Colt was the only manufacturer of commercial 1911 type pistols. Everything with Remington Rand, Ithaca, Union Switch & Signal, etc... would have the US Government Property stamped in the frame.
 

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I don't know how he did it, but my great uncle brought home from WWII his army issued 1911 along with a dagger he took from a German officer. He gave his grandson the dagger and I got the 1911.
 

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While not entirely responsive to the question, in his book "The Pacific", Ambrose quotes a letter from Marine Eugene Sledge to his dad reminding him of his request to send him a .45 Automatic while he was stationed in the pacific during WWII. While I'm not sure whether Sledge received the requested firearm, it seems to indicate that it wasn't just officers using personally purchased sidearms during WWII as Eugene Sledge was an enlisted man.
According to the book Sledge did receive the .45 auto from his father. But in the film he received a .45 revolver. As long as it was a commercial model and not marked US property I don't see why a returning serviceman would've had any issues bringing it back. Today of course it's a different matter, as personally-owned weapons are generally not allowed.
 

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I heard some officers carried a private purchase M1911 with them overseas?

how would they have brought it back without the military trying to confiscate it as US property? or contraband?
in the bottom of the duffle bag...
 

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I have seen and handled both guns, (Colt 1917 New Service .45 and a Colt 1911) his son brought them to a gathering of gun collectors years ago in NE Alabama

According to the book Sledge did receive the .45 auto from his father. But in the film he received a .45 revolver. As long as it was a commercial model and not marked US property I don't see why a returning serviceman would've had any issues bringing it back. Today of course it's a different matter, as personally-owned weapons are generally not allowed.
 

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I served in Desert Storm. I was in communications. The switchboard rig I was in charge of had electrical panels that could be accessed for repairs from inside by removing some screws. There was ample room in there to hide some stuff. Don't ask me how I know. Always a way to get things home. Just depends on how bad someone wants something.
 

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getting away from WW2

I served in Korea during 1951. The only item I picked up was a Japanese WW2 bayonet. While in reserve, I got that bayonet nickel plated. It was going to be
my Korean trophy........Alas, when I tried to embark with it the MP's said it was not on the 'take' home list. I asked it it was on a 'non take' home list. The MP said 'no'. As I saw it that damn MP got my trophy, and he did not even have to fight for it... I always hoped he got to sit on it....
 

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My father served 37 years in the Army, enlisting at age 15 during WWII and retiring as a LTC. He carried a personally owned .45, which I now have, throughout WWII and the Korean War. When he shipped to Viet Nam he did not carry it, because the regulations had changed and it was prohibited. I have a documentation letter from him laying out the details. The .45, by the way, was a commercial Colt and has been shot to hell. But it still works.
 

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My Grandfather somehow came back with his Thompson, a Mauser 98k and a bunch of swords and medals. Also, a Walther PPK with the holster.
The house was robbed and the guns were taken except for the Walther which he kept in the original holster that he screwed into the back of the headboard of his bed.
I used to play with the Thompson in the yard and the '98. My Granddad said the Thompson wouldn't fire, so I think they did something to it so that he could bring it back. Dewat? I don't know. Never know now.
I ended up with the Walther, Holster, 1 mag & the original Bring Back Paper.
 

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When I was a small lad my Father and His WWII buddies had awesome "Bring Back" weapons. Pistols, knifes, rifles, machine guns, hand grenades, swords, etc.
I guess rules and ways of doing thing were very different back then. One guys had a duffle bag full of German Pistols, a Sub-machine Gun (MP-38 ?) plus a huge German Flag.
During the Korean War my Mother sent hand guns to soldiers inside fruit cakes.
 
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