Historical Shooting Inc

Charlestown, NH

WW2 and Korean War Veteran's Reunion

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

          On Sunday, September 5th, 2010 representatives from Historical Shooting Inc. had an opportunity to set up a display of WW2 and Korean War era weapons, equipment and memorabilia at a reunion for Veterans of those conflicts that was held at the Robert L. Johnson VFW Post 771 of Springfield VT.

This was the first time that our WW2 collection has been on public display. We ran short of time to set it all up and room to set it up in, but the display still managed to take some folks down memory lane and make history into a tangible thing for some younger people who had never seen this sort of thing.

Forty three Veterans of those conflicts signed the VFW Post's guest book, in attendance were also guests, friends and family members.

There were speakers, door prizes, a comedian and a great WW2 period live "Radio Show" for entertainment. Outside was a Korean War vintage Jeep. A pair of young girls took turns reading stanzas from A. Lawrence Vaincourt's moving poem "Just a Common Soldier" and there was hardly a dry eye in the place!

          This table is displaying a small portion of our homefront collection. We displayed some Civil Defense items, a 1945 Philco radio, ration books, and Red Cross items. To the left is a selection of WW2 vintage patches that started this whole collection while the war was still on and little 8 year old Mabel Levis of Lawrence, MA was sent patches, occupation money and other memorabilia by her GI pen pals stationed around the globe.

          These are the guns that defeated the Axis powers and pushed the North Koreans back to the 38th parallel.

From the top:
1903 Springfield Rifle
M1 Garand Rifle
M1 Carbine (this one is a Rock-Ola)
1928a1 Thompson submachine gun

          Some USGI field gear

Shown here is a cartridge belt, M1928 haversack, 1943 dated "meat can" (mess kit), 1943 dated Tru-Temper machete, M1910 entrenching tool, D-Day "Cricket" signalling device, Carlisle bandage and pouch, and 1944 dated USN inflatable live ring.

          More USGI items

Shown here is a pistol belt and holster for the 1911a1 .45 pistol, two types of rifle grenades, 1944 dated pick and handle, a mag pouch for the Thompson or Reising SMG, a box of bottles that Graves Registration men would use to contain ID documents, water purification tablets, a mortar sight case and clinometer, a "pro kit", and a Signal Corps carrier pigeon box.

          A collection of .30 cal beltfed machine guns.

On the table, to the left is a Browning 1919a4 on an M2 tripod, to the right is a 1919a6. Standing up behind them is a packboard on which the 1919a4 and tripod could be carried. To the far right is a WW2 vintage US ammo can, in front of the 1919a6's bipod is a gunner's kit for the MG34 (shown below). Also on the table are a few artillery items.

Under the table is a Soviet SG-43 machine gun on a wheeled mount with shield that could be reconfigured for anti-aircraft use by standing it on end.

          A display of Allied weapons

From the top:
Soviet M91 Mosin Nagant rifle, with bayonet
Australian No 1 MkIII rifle, with bayonet
Canadian No 4 Mk1 rifle with bayonet
French M1886 Lebel R35 Carbine
British No 5 MkI "Jungle Carbine"
Soviet M1944 Carbine with folding bayonet

          An assortment of Allied powers items

Displayed on this table is a French gas mask and cannister, a Soviet DP28 Light Machine Gun, an assortment of British "home guard" training pamphlets, British canteen, Russian ammo pouch, and canvas carrying case for the DP28.

          British field gear

This photo shows a British BREN Light Machine Gun, underneath it is a BREN gunner's kit, complete with spare barrel and tools, British web gear, including a pack and a pair of BREN mag pouches, RCAF pistol belt, blade bayonet for the STEN or No 4 Mk I rifle, and a 1943 dated Ghurka kukri knife.

          Axis small arms

From the top:
Japanese Type 99 Arisaka rifle with bayonet
1944 dated German k98 Mauser with bayonet
Czechoslovakian VZ24 Mauser with bayonet
Italian M91 Cavalry Carbine with folding bayonet
Italian Beretta M38A submachine gun
Finnish KP31 Suomi submachine gun

          A collection of war souvenirs taken from Axis forces

On the right, in the frame, is a burned remnant of a Japanese flag that was taken off of a Japanese soldier by a US Marine after killing him with a flame thrower. On the table is a large and small Japanese flag, all three have kanji inscriptions on them and we know the names and units of the GIs who captured them. On top of the flags is a Japanese officer's dress sword. To the right is a German flag, German belt buckles, a field map of Italy, a Wehrmacht armband, German soldier's ID book, a couple of German medal fragments, and an Italian magazine pouch for the Beretta M38A. In the stand behind the flags is a replica Panzerfaust ("tank fist"), a last-ditch effort anti-tank weapon intended to try and slow the Allied advance into Germany.

          A German MG34 on an anti-aircraft tripod

The 48-star US flag to the left isn't ours, but we do have several in the HSI collection. The MG34 is displayed here with a 50-round belt that fed from the green drum on it's left side. The ammo can hangs underneath the tripod to add ballast for stability. There is a detachable anti-aircraft "spiderweb" sight fixed to the barrel, and a post-type rear AA sight folds up out of the regular rear sight.

The Japanese prayer banner hanging in the background is part of our collection.

          A collection of small arms that would have been used in the Korean War

From the top:
US M20 rocket launcher, the "Super Bazooka". This replaced the smaller 2.36" W2 vintage rocket launchers
Soviet SKS-45 with folding blade bayonet
Chinese Type 53 Carbine, a Chinese copy of the Russian M1944 Carbine
Chinese copy of the Soviet PPS-43 submachine gun
Soviet PPSh-41 submachine gun

          Marion Bascom, WW2 Army Nurse

Mrs. Bascom is just one of the great people that we met at this reunion. She saw us looking at her uniform that was hanging by the door and came over to introduce herself. We had been trying to figure out what the blue and white patch was. She told us a quick version of her story.

The reunion was too short to talk to everyone. We would like to have a good long sit-down interview with every one of them who would like to talk to us. Our WW2 and Korean War Veterans are all elderly now, their numbers shrink by over 1000 per day! They are truly a national treasure. We need to meet them, hear their stories, and tell them how much we appreciate their service to future generation now, while we still can. If you know anyone who lived through those years, go and talk to them now, introduce your children to the men and women who made history while you still can. If you put it off for a year or two, it may be too late.

We owe it to these people to preserve their memories and tell their story to the next generation. It is the least we can do for them.

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