Original caption: “An alert Coast Guardsman leaps into action as he covers his patrol. On the anti-saboteur patrolmen of the Coast Guard also protect vital cargoes on the piers awaiting shipment to the far-flung battle lines.”
Note the shore duty leggings, M1903 Springfield, and its attached 20-inch M1905 bayonet. USCG photo 26-G-89-049, via the National Archives.
Formed from scratch in 1942, the Coast Guard Beach Patrol employed about 24,000 men, aged 17 to 73, protecting 3,700 miles of coastline from potential enemy invasion during World War II. More on the subject in this excellent 124-page period chronicle.
BM2 Keisha Kerr and her father Wayne, a civilian employee at Coast Guard Base Boston, are historical reenactors of the Coast Guard’s World War II Beach Patrol. They have spent the last five years educating the public about this unique part of Coast Guard history.
In September 1942, horses were authorized for use by the patrol. The mounted portion soon became the largest segment of the patrol. For example, one year after orders were given to use horses, there were 3,222 of the animals assigned to the Coast Guard. All came from the Army, with many being recently retired cavalry mounts. The Army Remount Service provided all the riding gear required, while the Coast Guard provided the uniforms for the riders.
Members of the Coast Guard’s mounted beach patrol cross an inlet during their patrol on the West Coast.
A call went out for personnel and a mixed bag of people responded. Polo players, cowboys, former sheriffs, horse trainers, National Guard cavalrymen, jockeys, farm boys, rodeo riders and stunt men applied. Much of the mounted training took place at Elkins Park Training Station and Hilton Head, the sites of the dog training schools.
A beach patrol exhibit at the WWII Museum in New Orleans
More on the Coast Guard mounted beach patrols here in a detailed 124-page report and a 10-minute newsreel here at the National Archives
Saw this in a news image from down in Old Mexico.
Captioned as “Masked and armed men guard a roadblock near the town of Ayutla, Mexico, on Jan. 18. Hundreds of men in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero have taken up arms to defend their villages against drug gangs.” With no attribution
The gun, for those of you who are hardware savvy, appears to me to be a M50 Reising submachine gun.
I did a piece on these little forgotten WWII gems for Guns.com last year that will give you more information but bottom line is H&R (yes, the shotgun fellas from Massachusetts) made about 123,500 of these .45ACP subguns to the design of one Eugene G. Reising from 1940-46 in several variants. The USMC used them in Guadalcanal before replacing them with more reliable gear, with the balance being issued stateside to state guards and the USCG for beach patrol (see below).
After the war many were handed out by the Office of Civil Defense (now FEMA) to police agencies for use if WWIII ever cracked open. This had led to a bunch of small departments still having these old guns around.
How this one showed up in Mexico is anyone’s guess. The forward grip and shortened/repaired stock is a nice, locally added touch.
If a gun could talk…