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  1. #1
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    Default WWII Weapon Bringbacks???

    Were there any restrictions in WWII about bringing back German weapons. I know Lugers, P38's, and 98K's were brought back, but were MP 40's or any others allowed? Foxman Also, why were certain 98k rifles brought back intact, and some succumbed to the duffle cut. Were GI's in combat allowed to store war prizes to the rear echelon or did they send them right away? Just curious.

  2. #2
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    Default Restrictions

    My dad's had the duffle cut, but I am not sure if he did it over there or over here. I do know that he told me on the train coming back that they were allowed to only bring one firearm back and no live ammo.

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    The ones that were shipped home in boxes were intact. The regular joe that brought it home "in hand" had to store it in his sea (duffel) bag. The stock, intact, would stick out the top and was not allowed. The only way around it aside from leaving it in Germany was to do a "duffel" cut to make it all fit inside where out of sight was out of mind.

    mow.
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    Default An Example

    I was watching documentary footage of US troops registering their bringbacks at the field HQ. It was going smooth. One G.I. brought up a K98k and registered it with an officer behind a folding table, then another GI brought up two pistols with the officer admiring one of them a luger. Then a third G.I. brought up an MP40 and was told he could not take that home, and what was he thinking.

    So it seems from that footage I viewed that there were restrictions on what could be brought back.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by anttom View Post
    So it seems from that footage I viewed that there were restrictions on what could be brought back.
    I would think the 1934 National Firearms Act would have prevented it without the $200 stamp.

    Although, didn't Hambone have GI bringback papers on an Italian SMG?

  6. #6
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    My Dad, who passed 11 years ago, told me after ww2 when his troop ship docked in New York that MP's were checking duffle bags ect and taking every weapon that didnt have papers. He said there was a pile of MP 40s, and even an MG 42 that was confisated. Then they got to a guy with nothing but guns in his bag, they told him he had to turn them over. He called them REMFs and pulled out a grenade and told them they could have it all but he was keeping this "little pin". They turned white, let him go and didnt check any other bags. I am sure after talking to some vets that had stuff taken form them, that the guys taking it kept it for them selves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anttom View Post
    I was watching documentary footage of US troops registering their bringbacks at the field HQ. It was going smooth. One G.I. brought up a K98k and registered it with an officer behind a folding table, then another GI brought up two pistols with the officer admiring one of them a luger. Then a third G.I. brought up an MP40 and was told he could not take that home, and what was he thinking.

    So it seems from that footage I viewed that there were restrictions on what could be brought back.
    I saw that too. There was an MP44 already lying on the table. I suppose full-autos were verboten, but plenty were smuggled back. I heard of a guy who brought back an MP40 and several "potato mashers".

    My Dad tried to bring back a carbine and some pistols from Okinawa, but they were told on the troop ship to dump all weapons overboard after some clowns had a shootout over a craps game.
    Last edited by Regis Rex; 03-07-2009 at 03:06 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mauser202 View Post
    My Dad, who passed 11 years ago, told me after ww2 when his troop ship docked in New York that MP's were checking duffle bags ect and taking every weapon that didnt have papers. He said there was a pile of MP 40s, and even an MG 42 that was confisated. Then they got to a guy with nothing but guns in his bag, they told him he had to turn them over. He called them REMFs and pulled out a grenade and told them they could have it all but he was keeping this "little pin". They turned white, let him go and didnt check any other bags. I am sure after talking to some vets that had stuff taken form them, that the guys taking it kept it for them selves.
    My Granddad brought back a duffel bag full of pistols and rifles but apparently didn't have any papers on them. So when he was coming down the gang plank off the ship and heard every one was being searched by the MPs he dumped the whole bag over the side into the bay.

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    Quote Originally Posted by T308 View Post
    I would think the 1934 National Firearms Act would have prevented it without the $200 stamp.

    Although, didn't Hambone have GI bringback papers on an Italian SMG?
    http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?t=88867

    Plenty of MP40s, MP/Stg.s, etc. were brought back by GIs. So many that they had to have an Amnesty in 1968 to allow registration of them all. I think something like 80,000 machine guns were amnesty registered. Plenty are still out there, brought back by vets, never amnesty registered.

    The Beretta MAB 38/42 brought back by Sgt. Weaver was registered by him with the US Treasury when he got home in 1946 as a "war relic". He applied to them for permission to "import" it as a war relic, though it was already technically here BATFE had it in their database from this 1946 war relic importation registration.

  10. #10
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    We sometimes forget that civilian weapons were also brought back by GI's. I have two. One is a sweet little 16ga J.P.Sauer & Sohn double hammergun that is unbelieveable in workmanship. I've corresponded with Sauer in Eckernforde about this piece, and was told that of 25 made in the 1890's, 18 were in the Sauer civilian armory when American GI's overran the Company in 1945.

    The other is a small caplock muzzleloading pistol that was given to me by the GI who brought it home. The story on this pistol is, I think, believeable. Said he took it from an old man who happened to be in a basement with his old wife when several GI's entered the basement to spend the night out of bad weather. When asked if he was armed, the old man produced the pistol which was taken from him by the GI who gave it to me. Too bad it wasn't an all matching 1938 ce 98k! When they left the GI's gave the old couple a loaf of bread and a few c-rations. Sounds reasonable to me.

  11. #11
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    Default Returned Weapons

    I have a K 98 that was captured by a GI in a motorized unit. He said all the loot taken by the unit was stored and tagged in one of the vehicles. After VE day they returned with the vehicles, loot and all. No search, no paper, no duffel cuts.

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    My uncle was made postmaster for a small German town after hostilities and sent back many small arms and Mausers to his parent house and sold them after the war. He kept a Luger and an MP40 which his kids eventually sold after he passed away.

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    ii have a very very long wooden box shipped back by a mp in the 508th marked "HOUSEHOLD GOODS"
    I know for a fact there were several firearms.I only got a few items the rest were stolen/sold off years ago...and a live grenade was found in the house and destroyed by the bomb squad our guys brought back some cool stuff..rightfully so
    Turbo charger rebuilder and waste veg oil burner

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    I grew up in a neighborhood that was mainly vets; WWII, Korean, and later Vietnam. The neighbors were close and would have BBQs, or just hang out in the weekends. I would just sit and listen as they told thier stories over dinner and a beer. I heard some great stuff as the night went on! I have some great memories...
    It was a great place to grow up!!!
    I grew up in the 80's, while the vets were older, they were still able to go out and do of things. My dad and one or two neighbors would go shooting out in the mesa at least once a month. I remember one neighbor, Mr. B, had quite a few full autos. He'd always had something different when we went out.
    I remember shooting Thompsons, MP40's a BAR and either an MG34 or '42 among others. It was over 20+ years ago.
    I remember asking my dad where he got them and my dad said Mr.B had brought them back from when he was in the army. I'm not sure if they were registered or not. Knowing Mr.B, probably not.
    My dad told me that he had a lot more than what he showed me.
    Mr. B died almost 10 years ago, and I wonder what happened to all of the stuff he'd collected over the years. He had some cool stuff!
    After he died, his family came in and cleared out the house of everything and put it up for sale. Who knows what happened to his firearms collection.

    My parents still live in the same neighborhood, but most of the neighbors have either died, went into nursing homes, or simply moved away.
    The 'hood isn't the same, with the gangsters and illegals that have moved in. The places we used to go shooting are now housing developments. It's sad.
    Last edited by unbekannt; 03-08-2009 at 12:01 AM.
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    The preceeding opinion should be considered only as an opinion and not legal advice. In no event will the poster, Unbekannt, be held liable to any party for any damages arising in any way out of the availability, use, reliance on or inability to use poster's opinion or any information provided by or through the poster, or for any claim attributable to errors, omissions or other inaccuracies in, or destructive properties of any information provided by or through the poster.

  15. #15
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    Thumbs up

    The only firearms that the GIs were prohibited from bring back in WW 2 were the ones they didn't try to. Regulations permitted ANY/ALL trophy firearms, but some units prohibited certain things. Most of the guns brought or shipped back were either by rear echelon troops or after the war was over. The line Inf had no way of carrying anything but a pistol with them on a daily basis. If you were in an Arty, Armored or mech Inf then you had transportation, but not the line Inf.

    I have an MG 42 that was shipped home in 1944 and an MP 40 that was hand carried back. Both of these confirmed by batf records. I know this because I tried to register both as dewats in 1966 and the feds came back to me wanting to know where I got them, they were registered as operable.
    They found the guy who sent the 40 back and he said he had welded the bolt before he sold it. They never located any relative or anyone in the area in rural SE Colo who knew the people the 42 was sent to so went ahead and registered it as a dewat. I reregistered it as an operable in 68.

    The same problem with bringing back trophy firearms existed in Viet Nam as in WW 2 and probably Korea, altho I have never heard what was permitted then. Regulations permitted the return of one (1) war trophy firearm by everyone in country and for some strange reason three (3) by SF and MACV personel. No one in RVN was ever allowed to bring home any full autos.
    Most guys didn't know about it and either snuck their SKS or what ever home or just never tried.
    Unfortunately there was also the problem with some units Not permitting it even though the Military rules permitted it.
    I'm real glad this was the case because I sent a couple of SKSs home with friends and brought 2 SKS, Browning HP and ruskie Makerov back with me.
    Course I cheated to get the 4th. I took the Makerov to Hawaii on R &R and gave it to the wife to take home. I have the papers on all of them.
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    I was doing some google searching awhile back and was reading about the "bring back" issues with returning WWII GIs. Apparently, there were some legit bring backs and there were a lot of smuggled bring backs. There were hearings in congress about the problem. Newspaper articles covered local crimes committed with bring backs. As the problem grew, the authorities cracked down. I read an article where a returning troop ship was loaded with illegal undocumented bring backs, such as MG42s and such. There were extensive searches to confiscate the illegal weapons. In spite of all the effort, a lot of illegal bring backs made it.

    My mom's cousin, a Korea vet, told me that he had a couple of pistols taken from him on the troop ship home. He made it through a few searches on the ship, but got caught before they off loaded. He thinks the pistols were kept by officers in charge and never turned in as required.

  17. #17
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    I had a First Sgt, WW 2 vet, who brought 2 or 3 pistols back with him. He had done the paperwork. At Jefferson bks in St Louis where he processed out they checked the papers and ask if he had any ammo. He siad no, just the pistols. The guy shoved a box out from under the table and told him to take what he wanted. They had confiscated it from guys who didn't have paper work for it.
    I'm sure that the MPs and whoever else that were taking weapons away from guys w/o papers kept any "really nice" specimens for themselves.
    Sarge
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  18. #18
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    I had many Argentine and Peruvian army officers that went to the US for training or taken courses right after WWII, they brought bringback guns gotten during week end drinking
    binges with the GI's that sold Lugers, etc for a few dollars to pay for the fun-I always remember an etched Luger that was a work of art, it belonged to an old argentine colonel
    who would have sold it, but I was too young and the price for the Luger was way out of my possibilities-

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    The Eisenhower Library has some of the general's WW2 bringbacks including a MP-40. I saw this on the History Channel, back when it used to be a history channel. Maybe you can visit them on line these days...

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    Quote Originally Posted by cousinkix1953 View Post
    The Eisenhower Library has some of the general's WW2 bringbacks including a MP-40. I saw this on the History Channel, back when it used to be a history channel. Maybe you can visit them on line these days...
    You're right about the History Channel. They ought to change the name.

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    That's interesting Raul. Some people are not aware of the expeditionary forces that South America contributed to fighting in the ETO.

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    Evidently it must have been OK to bring back deactivated weapons. Over the years, I've seen two (yes two) deactivated FG-42's and one MP-40 with bring-back papers. It may sound unbelievable, but within a 30 mile radius in Indiana, three FG-42's have been discovered; two first models & one second model.
    Last edited by denny gaither; 03-09-2009 at 08:57 AM.
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    http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?t=103242

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    Quote Originally Posted by denny gaither View Post
    Evidently it must have been OK to bring back deactivated weapons. Over the years, I've seen two (yes two) deactivated FG-42's and one MP-40 with bring-back papers. It may sound unbelievable, but within a 30 mile radius in Indiana, three FG-42's have been discovered; two first models & one second model.
    Hardly a surprise. You can order all kinds of WW2 dewats from the Military Antiques Museum, which is located in the small northern Kommiefornia town of Petaluma. They have the Thompson, MP-40, MG-34/42. Mauser 98k, Garand, Enfield and even a few AK-47 assault rifles.

    I wouldn't pay those inflated prices for a demilled bolt action rifle, that costs more than what I paid for a service grade firearm that is still alive...

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by denny gaither View Post
    Evidently it must have been OK to bring back deactivated weapons. Over the years, I've seen two (yes two) deactivated FG-42's and one MP-40 with bring-back papers. It may sound unbelievable, but within a 30 mile radius in Indiana, three FG-42's have been discovered; two first models & one second model.
    Denny,
    The NFA tax stamp has always been $200. It was $200 in 1934, in 1945, and 2009. Of course, that applied to a live weapon then, not a "Deactivated War Trophy" or "Dewat". Back then, $200 was lot of money (probably the equivalent of several thousand dollars today). That was the point in 1934, to keep hoodlums from ordering Thompson M1928s from Sears for $100. So, when these things were first treasury registered, or amnesty registered in 1968, many were deactivated or "dewatted" per the requirements of that time, which only meant that the chamber and barrel were "permanently" welded shut.

    I've seen this run from a bullet knocked about an inch down the muzzle of an MP40 and an inch of lead solder poured on top (it knocked right out revealing a mint bore and not so much as rubbing any blue off), to a welding rod stuck in the chamber, the chamber welded shut ruining the barrel, and the bolt welded in place, closed. These vets dewatted their own stuff to avoid the $200 tax, and of course, one could buy already dewatted (per period specs) surplus:
    Last edited by Hambone; 03-08-2009 at 11:59 PM.

  25. #25
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    Lots of stuff got by snuck in by G.I.s who were in Vietnam. I remember in separations battlion in Camp Pendleton one guy had what he said were the last few parts he needed for the AK he had sent back in pieces. In 1970 it seemed the M.Ps were more interested in troops sneaking in dope, than guns. The dogs were all sniffing sea bags for dope, but I guess cosmoline didnt bug them. Remember the amnesty boxes to dump your drugs in both here and overseas. When WW2 ended as well as the big drawdown towards the end of the VN war lots of troops coming and going, most wanting to get out, and it seems a lot of stuff got through, w/ def. no paper work. All I wanted was to get home, and wasn't really into guns at that time. I remember the guys who were always complained they couldn't get any ammo for their commie guns!!

  26. #26
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    Absolutely any method, practice, restriction, hideaway, quantity, variation, ad infinitum that you can imagine happened.

    Never underestimate a cunning or determined GI.


    A few made their way to the lockup, but stuff happens.

    It got harder and more serious over the years, though.

    I started late 50s and saw/got some cool stuff.

    Got a good .45/vietnam story I ain't tellin'.

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    I remember a shady friend-of-a-friend in the 70's who had a beater AK he claimed was a Vietnam bring-back. He couldn't get ammo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Regis Rex View Post
    I remember a shady friend-of-a-friend in the 70's who had a beater AK he claimed was a Vietnam bring-back. He couldn't get ammo.
    I've seen one like this AK story tells also. Knew a guy in high school that had his Dad's WWII Thompson under the bed. My Dad won a German P-38 in a 1950's poker game.
    Last edited by Skratch; 03-10-2009 at 09:38 PM.

  29. #29
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    My friend has the same kind of story regarding his dad, but with a Beretta Model 1934 pistol.
    No one ever got into Valhalla unarmed.

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    Because I don't know any names I'll pass along a couple of related bits. The end of WWII left over 300 liberty ships to slowly gather rust in the port of Wilmington, NC. I've heard from several sources that locals liberated large numbers of unissued US weapons still crated up on board those vessels (many of which abruptly had no war to go to and became little more than floating warehouses). I've heard of folks hauling off crates of M1911s and so on. The liberty ships are long gone (minus a lot of tools and other useful machinery as well from what I've heard), but the stories are still around and pretty consistent. And then there was the guy I met in W. Va. about 20 years ago who lamented the loss of the M60 medium machine gun he'd sent home from Vietnam. The BATF asked him about that one. Seems his wife complained to the authorities that someone had put a machine gun inside the refrigerator her husband sent her! I bet she had some trouble gaining leverage in arguments against the purchase of new guns with the family's hard earned bread for many years afterwards. I doubt there are many shooters who haven't known someone with a war trophy gun -- legal or otherwise. And I've always thought it was interesting that so little trouble is linked to those guns. The country was awash with them after WWII, but we were a people who just didn't produce kids who shot other kids or men who confused murder with justice or accomplishment. That was a rarity then. All that's changed is the culture. If anything, the full autos are fewer and less likely to be in the hands of young men now than ever before.
    Last edited by Begemot; 03-10-2009 at 11:59 PM. Reason: correction -- different guys

  31. #31
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    A few different stories.
    My aunts dad brought home some Lugers, flags medals daggers etc. He also sent a box of stuff to a relative before he came home that had a MP 38 or 40, some potatoe mashers and supposedly his Thompson. I guess the relative never went to the PO and picked up the package. Maybe someone bought it years later for a couple bucks in one of thes auctions?

    I was talking to a guy that does hotel buys. A few years back he was doing a buy in SF and this old guy asked him if he bought firearms, sure, he said. The old guy told him to come down to his van. The vet and his wife were in the front seat and the buyer sat in the back. The vet slid a canvas bag back to the buyer, inside was a MP40 with 2 mags full of the orig ammo. He asked if it was registered? The vet showed him the capture papers. The buyer told him it is illegal if it was not registered with ATF and would have to be donated to a museum or destroyed. The vet went off "... these are the only goddamn papers I need....." the vets wife starts bitching"....I told you that thing is illegal...." The buyer did not want to take the chance and passed. Who knows what happened to the weapon?

    My local gun dealer told a story about a guy who brought in a Jap type 96 LMG back in the 80's or 90's. He had just bought it at a garage sale for $75 and had no idea what it was.

    I was talking to a WII vet who was on a ship bringing troops home. He worked in the kitchen and the infirmory(sp?). He gave a soldier 2 shots of penicillin to cure his clap in trade for a PPK. He said he could have been in big trouble if he got caught, penicillin was like gold back then.
    Another soldier traded him a box full of medals for a steak dinner.

    I worked with a guy that had a friend in the first gulf war. He workd in transportation and hid a AK inside a tanker truck.

  32. #32
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    Thumbs up WW11 bringback

    My brother picked up a K98 after the Normandy invasion while his ship(DE Peterson) was docked in England. Came from a British ship back from the beach with a load of German weapons. He had capture papers for it and carried it home after the war. It has a small brass tag with the number 1108 and that was used on the paper instead of the serial. I have it now, a 1940 dated Mauser all matched. He fired it from the ship on the way back and must have cleaned it as the bore is mint....

  33. #33
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    I grew up in a neighborhood where all us kids were carrying automatic weapons playing cowboys and indians. Nobody cared. Shipping back an automatic weapon from WW2 was simply based on what your CO cared about. In some cases he signed off anything; in others a critical part was removed; in even other cases he told the troops that they're big boys and to use their own judgement; and, oh yes, another person with a MP-38 simply stuck a shipping tag on his and mailed it unpacked from North Africa to his parent's home. There was no rhyme or reason. So, the troops on my street carried everything from a .25 auto to a Japanese light or Czech ZB26. We were prepared to fight indians. A BATF agent reviewing my records last spring asked to see my MP-40, so I had to take an hour off and dig it out of storage. I'm not sure he believed my story that it was my cowboy and indians gun. It had been registered during the 68 amnesty.

    A funny story is that 2 FBI agents showed up at my grandparents house about '47 and with copies of souvenir paperwork in hand asked to see my uncle's "Schmeisser." He retrieved the little .25 auto from a drawer and showed it to them. Everyone had a laugh. The agents didn't know Schmeisser made a .25 auto. I was a 6 year old kid watching the whole scene and didn't understand what was going on. I figured it out years later. If my hometown in 1947 was an indication of how many bringbacks there were, there must have been a million.

  34. #34
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    Some years back while touring a museum, I heard that two weapons in their firearm collection came from a WWII vet who had been wounded in Italy. A couple of months after being sent back to the states to recuperate, he received a wooden box in the mail. Inside was his M1 Thompson and an Stg44 (if I remember correctly, from the soldier or German position that wounded him) sent by his buddies still over in Italy. Apparently the package had no trouble getting to him.

    He donated both to the museum late in his life.

  35. #35
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    Cool story OG. Here is a past thread on a vet bringback:

    http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?t=88867

  36. #36
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    My Father served in an armored cav unit through France and Germany.
    He was a weapons expert, and accumulated a collection of German automatic weapons...MG42, 34, and various other full auto's. He would take them to other units to familiarize them with the enemies weapons.
    He had planned to have them dewated, and had his superior's permission. Unfortunately, he came down with dysentary at the end of the war...when he got out of the hospital, all his stuff was gone.
    All he was able to bring home was a Norwegian 45, and a French Unique 32, both with papers hand typed in France.
    Last edited by jeff barnes; 03-13-2009 at 06:40 AM.

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