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Looks like the CMP is really going to get those M1911s after all

The Army bought millions of M1911/1911A1s between 1913 and 1946 and they remained the standard service pistol until 1985 when they were replaced by the M9 Beretta (92F), which in turn was replaced this year by the M17/M18 (Sig Sauer P320).

Well, the thing is, there are an estimated 100,000 old .45s still in the Army’s inventory in excess to the hundreds in use by various shooting teams and on display in the service’s museums and with historical honor guards. Stored at Anniston Army Depot, the service has been selling them for $150 a pop to law enforcement agencies since the 1990s but they still have a pretty large stockpile of the dated guns.

And the latest NDAA directs they get a move on to the CMP with said GI Longslides.

On the handguns headed to the CMP, the bill instructs the Secretary of the Army to conduct a two-year pilot program that will transfer “not less than 8,000 surplus caliber .45 M1911/M1911A1 pistols” in 2018 with a cap of no more than 10,000 transferred per fiscal year. The program would then be reviewed to ensure the guns were sold by CMP in accordance with applicable federal laws and evaluate its cost to the Army.

More in my column at

A well-equipped Granite Stater on the move

(Photo Credit: Library of Congress)

(Photo Credit: Library of Congress)

Union Private Albert H. Davis of Company K, 6th New Hampshire Infantry Regiment in uniform complete with shoulder scales and Model 1858 Dress Hat (“Hardee hat”) with a Model 1841 percussion Mississippi rifle, the impressive 27-inch-long M1855 sword bayonet mounted, a tarred U.S. Model 1855 double bag knapsack with bedroll, canteen and haversack.

Civil War soldiers carried between 30 and 40 pounds of supplies on their backs when in marching order as shown above and could pull down 16 miles on average per day. As for Davis’ rifle, it was common in Civil War-era regiments formed in the beginning of the conflict to equip two of their 10 companies as flank units with rifles rather than more traditional muskets, for skirmishing. As the war wound on, all companies would typically be equipped with .58 caliber minie ball-firing Model 1855/61/63/64 US Sprinfield rifles with 21-inch triangular socket bayonets, replacing both earlier smoothbores and the .54-caliber Mississippi, though a large number of foreign pieces were utilized as well.

Organized in Keene, New Hampshire, the 6th NH mustered in for a three-year enlistment on 27 November 1861 (156 years ago today!) and fought in the Army of the Potomac and Army of Tennessee, seeing the elephant at such places as Antietam, Vicksburg, Fredricksburg, the Wilderness, Cold Harbor and the Battle of the Crater, losing 418 men in the process.

Remember, today is not about how much you can save on bedding

“Infantryman” by Capt. Harry Everett Townsend, American Expeditionary Force to France, 1918, via U.S. Army Museum/CMH

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words

To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…

The chill of Autumn, and 500-pound bombs, 73 years ago today

A B-25 executes a skip-bombing attack on IJN Akishimo during the Ormoc Bay campaign,10 November 1944. US Army Signal Corps Photo A56859A

IJN destroyer Akishimo shown under attack by U.S. Army B-25 Mitchells while escorting troop convoy TA No. 4 withdrawing from from Manila to Ormoc, Philippines, on this day in November 1944.

She suffered heavy damage after taking a direct bomb hit, losing her bow and 20 sailors along with it. Two days later, while under repair at Japanese-occupied Cavite Naval Yard, she was hit by another USAAF attack and subsequently destroyed.

Akishimo (秋霜, “Autumn Frost”) was a 2,500-ton Yūgumo-class destroyer completed 11 March 1944 for the Imperial Japanese Navy. As such, she was just over eight months old in the above photo, and would never be pretty again.

That Key West experience

“Military Men standing by a small gun. Fort Zachary Taylor. Key West. 1918. Monroe County Library”

Looks like a 3-inch gun on a masking parapet mount without the gun shield (which would have gone on the hooks) mounted. Taylor had six of these guns in two batteries (Adair and Dilworth) between 1899-1920 during the installation’s Endicott Period, which would correlate to the uniforms, which curiously are Naval though the fort was an Army Coastal Artillery post. Perhaps they were just checking out the landlubber’s gun…

From the position, it looks like Battery Adair, which mounted four Driggs-Seabury low-angle 3-inchers in M1898MI mounts, emplaced to cover controlled minefields leading up to the fort’s masonry walls. The battery was named after the late 1st Lt. Lewis D. Adair, 22nd U.S. Infantry, who died 5 Oct 1872, of wounds received in action with Sioux Indians at Heart River Crossing, Dakota Territory. Adair, who at the time of his last battle was fifteen miles from Heart Butte, on Heart river, while on duty with his company escorting the Northern Pacific Railroad survey of the area, was reportedly given his death blow by the great Hunkpapa Sioux chief Gall.

According to Fort Wiki, the end of the Great War ended the battery’s usefulness and “On 27 Mar 1920 all four guns were ordered removed and the carriages salvaged. The guns were transferred to Watervliet 17 Sep 1920 and the mounts were scrapped 20 May 1920.”

Meet Bridget, she like long walks, and taking shots at the Kaiser’s men across No Man’s Land

The gun that fired the first American shot at Sommerville, near Nancy Oct 23 1917

The 75mm artillery piece that cranked out the first U.S. shot on the Western Front in World War I a century ago last week is still in the Army’s custody.

The M1897 gun, a French-made field gun named “Bridget” is on display today in the Large Weapons Gallery at the U.S. Army Military Academy Museum at West Point but on Oct. 23, 1917, it fired the first shot across “No Man’s Land” by American forces in France.

The gun was sent back to the states in 1918 and is at West Point today, still with the names of the “First Shot” crew who fired it 100 years ago last week.

More in my column at

The M16-ish burp gun from the woodland camo era

A Colt M231 Firing Port Weapon mounted in M2 Bradley door 1986. Stoked with tracers, the gun was sighted via periscope (Photo: Christopher Barzyz)

A Colt M231 Firing Port Weapon mounted in M2 Bradley door 1986. Stoked with tracers, the gun was sighted via periscope (Photo: Christopher Barzyz)

Sharing only limited commonality with the M16, Colt’s M231 Firing Port Weapon was a full-auto-only buzz saw made to squirt bad guys from an opening in the M2 Bradley fighting vehicle. Some 27,000 FPWs were ordered from Colt for the M2, each of which originally had six firing ports from which to use the chopped down 5.56mm officially designated as a submachine gun by the Army.

After covering a rare Class III transferrable example up for auction, I spoke with a vet from the 1st Cav Divison who wasn’t too impressed with the FPW’s performance.

“When it was my turn I found that you had to walk the rounds to the target. By the time you got to the target area you had to change magazines again. The extremely high rate of fire went through the magazines fast,” he said.

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