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WW2 war trophies

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WW2 war trophies

#1 Post by M67 » Mon Apr 22, 2019 1:46 pm

I'm very interested what was the most desirable weapons-war trophies in the Second World War?
I would like to know if there were any diferences between the pistols and between the rifles.
I suppose it was Luger, Kar98 K and some Arisaka. How it was with the SMG, Can a soldier send home or bring home a submachine gun like MP40 or MAB38A for example?
Thanks and best regards, Franko - M67
Last edited by M67 on Tue Apr 23, 2019 2:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: WW2 war trophies

#2 Post by Rapidrob » Mon Apr 22, 2019 3:36 pm

Yes you could bring home SMG's,though it was frowned upon as the 1934 BATF still required a 200 dollar tax stamp, you were supposed to register any SMG,MG or destructive device when you got home. Many did not. 200 was a lot of money back then.
So many Title II, Class three weapons were brought home and Not registered,there was an Amnesty in 1968 to allow you to register your toy and get a tax stamp.
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Re: WW2 war trophies

#3 Post by 72 usmc » Mon Apr 22, 2019 4:54 pm

Most bring backs from WW I that I have seen are M95 Mannlicher rifles and the GEW 98s. Also the odd tall German WW I helmets. You see these at gun shows back in the 1970s. With WW II items, most bring backs (rifles) that you see at gun shows are K98s, Arisakas and Carcanos, but it is best if the have the bring back papers. Pistols are also plentiful. Real plentiful are Lugers, the P38 and Nambus, but again you want a paper trail. Less often you see German pocket pistols and Broom handles, or Russian tokarevs. I guess it depends on the guy, where he served, and what he wanted. For example, my dad was a WW II marine and he got back with his M1 carbine and 45 auto because he wanted to use them for hunting and was too poor to buy a store bought new rifle in 1946. The Arisaka he just sent home. That sat in a USMC trunk till 2012. Now my uncle was an Air Corps mustang pilot he brought back his 45 auto - no interest in capture stuff. My army uncle was captured in the Battle of the Bulge, escaped and killed an SS guy and took his 1914 pocket pistol- I got that. The neighbor got back with a German helmet and K98 bayonet. In my time, the best was a Chinese Tokarev sent home in a hollowed out receiver. Others sent home papered Mosins or SkS rifles. Some sent home deactivated vc grenades. I think most GIs had sticky fingers, especially Marines :shhh: :lol:
At gun shows it is common to see P38s, Broom handles, Lugers, Nambus, but far less common- maybe one a year are Russian Tokarevs , and other odd ball pistols. there is lots of import marked surplus items- less bring backs. As for rifles, prior to a resurgence of a few war movies around 1990- the Arisaka, Carcano, & Manlichers were junk you could hardly give away. Most hunting rifles were US o3 Springfield's, M1917 enfields, K98 mausers or GEW 98s. They had some value to cut down, shorten, and use for hunting. That destroyed a good number of bring backs in the USA. So it depended on the guy and branch of service he was in. Most got home with a bayonet or machette. Some save their WW II stuff like my dad, but others got rid of the stuff and their uniforms. Air Force guys seem to have taken home their US pistols. Navy guys got ground mum Arisakas as souvenirs. I know of no guys that were in England that brought back a Webley or #4 Enfield rifle. My grand father was a Marine in WWI and my dad had his M1917 Winchester rifle, but it was sporterized by dad to use as a cheep hunting gun. That destroyed that rifle. This was a common use for the bring back during the late 1940s and into the 1950s. So I would venture to guess about 40% were converted which makes them parts rifles in my book. Now, what is hard to find is a bring back with its surviving paperwork, they are generally 2x to 4X the cost of a normal lost porv. pistol or rifle. Not all vets went through formal procedures to get stuff back -it just magically showed up back home :dance: Now full auto fire are a different story, it takes a tax stamp and most that have been brought back remain hidden. Its like stolen nazi art, it never sees the light of day.

Less guys sent home captured helmets, or web gear- this is more commonly seen than clothing or shoes. Most common are fighting knifes and bayonets, or rank insignia taken off Uniforms. Diaries are also a great find or capture photos. But these rarely found. Both generations are gone and you do not see the WW II vet walking into a gun show to sell his war trophies. The kids that are in the 50s or 60s may periodically dump some of the dad's WW II stuff. In the US there are many less sports hunters like there was in the 1940-1960 period. And most do not even serve in the military, or even own or fire a gun. There is a heavy city based anti firearm liberal attitude.

When I was in school the entire class almost shut down for deer season to go hunting, now, few of the kids hunt or fish. Most young adults have never shot or handled a gun. Only those that got guts go in today because they know they will be in combat. Back in the day the girls fired bow & arrows and the guys had single fire 22 caliber rifles in gym class. A thing of the past. I see very few high school or college age guys or gals at gun shows. Most do not collect military historical items, little know military history. They think Germany bombed Pearl Harbor in Alaska. :roll: :?

Desert storm vets are really shut down from obtaining and sending war trophies back:
The US Rules of Engagement for Operation Desert Storm (1991) states: “The taking of war trophies [is] prohibited.”

https://www.quora.com/Why-arent-war-tro ... S-military
Because the United States military prides itself as the most highly trained and professional military force in the world. We are not thieves, or mercenaries, or rapists etc. The things that occurred in past times are what they are, but the stuff GI's from all allied nations raided, stole, sent home etc. was not anything of military nature or related. They stole all the silver, china, jewelry anything from just regular civilians. You don't win hearts and minds and appear to be a peaceful liberation force if our infantry is tossing every house and taking everything of value. lol

In present day every single box, case, container, bag, you name it. Is laid out and searched one by one by customs agents (usually coast guard) in country.. then they watch you load it all and they seal the container. THEN it gets shipped back to the states.. yes you can slip something small by them but I'm talking something that can fit in your pocket. There have been TONS of soldiers busted building false walls in shipping containers and trying to send back AK's, RPK's, RPG's, AT4's, grenades, you name it. I'm sure some have successfully done it but it's hard, most get caught, and it's not worth being in federal "man sex daily" prison. The invasion of Iraq in 2003 was when we had the best opportunity cause every process for returning home was new and we all had the most equip to bring back. I got Iraqi helmets, bayonets, uniforms, but that was it. BUT every unit was able to bring home some Iraqi heavy weaponry to put outside of our headquarters, we got a couple big ass AA guns. We tried to bring back this Honda motorcycle that the feyadeen has mounted a recoiless rifle to, but the commanders wouldn't sign off. Lol

Trust me many many soldiers brought back stuff. Just not big, expensive, valuable things or anywhere near the scale of past wars. And no weapons what so ever. Anyone that has been in the post 9/11 military and tells you they got to bring their M4 (or ANY weapon for that matter) home with them is a complete 100% full of shit liar that never served. We wish we could bring guns back like WW2 vets did. That would be amazing.
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Re: WW2 war trophies

#4 Post by 72 usmc » Mon Apr 22, 2019 8:57 pm

So in WW II the top grade stuff in the ETO would be a luger, P38, K98, and any sniper weapon. Most always grabbed SS stuff. In the PTO it would be a Japanese sword, Nambu, and then an intact mum Arisaka, especially the paratrooper or sniper rifle. In Italy it would be an Italian pistol or most got the Carcano rifle. French rifles and Arab modified rifles are a hard find as well as some Chinese weapons. Most did grab bayonets. Any complete bring back weapon with papers and the vets trunk filled with picture s, clothing, orders, web gear bayonets is a rare find and big historical item that cost some cash.
Other GIs were more intent on getting the US M1 carbine or 45 Auto back home for use. Not so much the capture stuff. They earned it, and what Uncle Sam did not know about the better.
some paper examples
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Screen Shot 2019-04-22 at 7.55.58 PM.png
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Re: WW2 war trophies

#5 Post by damorealan696 » Mon Apr 22, 2019 11:23 pm

This is a subject ripe for discussion. As a kid we lived in Brooklyn a 5 level walk up. Just in that 1 building the dads had flags, daggers, pistols ,rifles , helmets, belts, buckles, bayonets

and about anything else. My dad saw no combat, but he had a very nice Berretta .32 One dad had an in the box 1911, said he found it laying around. I think they took what they could

carry. Most in NY had never fired a gun, so they probably passed on crew served weapons

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Re: WW2 war trophies

#6 Post by M67 » Tue Apr 23, 2019 2:36 pm

Thanks 72 usmc for very detailed explanation.
My father told me his personal experience. At the end of the war they should surrender all weapons to the allies. One British soldier asked for any pistol. My father gave him one Beretta M34 pistol (broken) and he got one tin of 50 cigaretes. He was very happy!
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Re: WW2 war trophies

#7 Post by 72 usmc » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:25 am

damorealan696 brings up a good point. Lots of guys brought back little stuff.
We have military collector shows with
Waukesha Expo Forum Badger Military Collectible Show
Free Appraisals! There will be items from the civil war, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm.
Just about anything under the sun, mostly uniform rank badges and strips, insignia, patches, cartridges , hats & helmets, flags, dug Civil War items, clothing & US uniforms, deactivated shells and grenades, paper items, photos, maps, documents, military radios, leather goods and web gear, lots of bayonets and knifes, tools and metal goods- like mess kits, gas mask canisters,and canteens. Some like Live cartridges for the cartridge collector. But then not so much rifles, but lots of pistol sets with paper work, holster and belt. Most of the firearms are sold /shown at gun shows- The collector shows are for the small stuff. Lots of people collect WW I & WWII items, but do not want firearms.

Most of the kids of WW II vets have the stuff their dads and uncles brought back and if they are collectors or history teachers. the stuff ends up at your house because they know you are the individual that still appreciates the trophies they wanted to bring back. Heck, most have the common Nazi arm band, a few German or US helmets, and got a flag or two. A local marine was in Korea and I ended up with his artillery unit's signed souvenir flag. Some stuff like the army vets death case & burial flag, I just had to save because so many just see this stuff as cash, not history. They(sellers) bust up the family GI"s set/pocessions too sell. But if you had a lot of the large farm families with 10-14 kids - they all went in the service and brought stuff back from WW II so you end up getting it all free. Two things I forgot are arm bands and flags- things generally brought back. Also most GIs or marines kept their fighting knife of bayonet. Most of the marines kept all their web gear. Air force guys brought back a whole different category of goodies. WW I pilots had goggles and the best top buck item is a cut out square of the canvas from a shot down WW I planes markings. WW II guys bring back shrapnel or plane parts, Naval guys get shells and trench art made in the machine shop while at sea. Also lots of native art work from the ports on the many islands they stopped at.

Some of the goodies from uncles or stuff saved form the sellers:
IMG_2038.jpg
IMG_2039.jpg
IMG_2034.jpg
IMG_2045.jpg
IMG_2041.jpg
Last edited by 72 usmc on Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:42 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: WW2 war trophies

#8 Post by 72 usmc » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:33 am

More, and what good is it?
For the vets day display at the local school. I can show my USMC blues but not the VC Tok. No firearms or even replica BB gun examples. No live ammo. Bayonets are OK. When setting up the case you almost need a guard, kids love bayonets :doh: An all US case. In honor of the US Veterans. Some show up and give talks to the kids on Veterans day.

In the 1950s & 1960, the vets use to fire a rifle salute- that kind of ended with Nam. Now it occurs at Vet burials or at some cemeteries as a rifle salute on Veterans Day generally out in the country or church plots. The big cities kind of frown upon rifle salutes in parades or in honor of specific groups WW I , WW II, Civil War. No discharge of firearms in big city limits. The red tape is not worth the effort. There are a few vets that dress up in period uniforms to fire the salute with period correct rifles on certain holidays in the US small towns. Reenacting is a big thing in the US. Mostly Revolution or Civil War and some WW I groups, but WW II is taking hold too.
In the pre crash forum there was a section on the Vets and members talked about the dads and what they did in the wars and what stuff they brought back- where they served and some neat pictures and stories. That might be on the Wayback save?? It was an interesting section that members kept adding stories to.
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IMG_4012 copy.jpg
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Last edited by 72 usmc on Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: WW2 war trophies

#9 Post by 72 usmc » Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:23 pm

I found it: List your Fathers/Grandfathers of WWII Service
https://web.archive.org/web/20120520082 ... ?f=14&t=22

What numbers were handed out to the Navy guys at the end in the pacific.
https://forums.gunboards.com/showthread ... r-Trophies



During & in combat "What war trophies did German and Soviet troops value most during WWII?"
https://www.rbth.com/history/329860-wha ... s-gathered

Other info from documents & reality seemed to differ:
http://www.nfaoa.org/documents/NotesonW ... ecords.pdf

Interesting problem: Man Unsure What To Do With Grandfather’s WWII Japanese Skull Collection
AWM_072837.jpeg
AWM_072837.jpeg (52.83 KiB) Viewed 1339 times
Source
https://www.duffelblog.com/2012/06/man- ... ollection/

Marines are always a hard lot. Peleliu warning sign
skull_and_danger_sign_on_peleliujpg.jpg

It is odd, an intact military rifle is nice, but the ones I like are the ones with a bullet hole in the stock like my Mosin, or a Japanese type 99 that is charred from a flame thrower. Those are very rare and were sent back as trophies of memories rather than rifles to use for hunting. Flame burnt Type 99s go top buck. Likewise, original deactivated Japanese or German grenades or land mines command top buck.
To old to fight and to old to run, a Jar head will just shoot and be done with you.

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