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  #21  
Old 02-10-2018, 07:11 PM
Firstflabn Firstflabn is offline
 
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The author is an FN guy and has written books on that subject, but it appears to me he did no original research for this article (other than the photos perhaps). You can recognize phrases from Larry Ruth's War Baby II and his emphasis on all in the second paragraph curiously mimics Marty Morgan's description in his discussion of Jean Huon's La Carbiner US M1 in CCNL 360.

Typical of the popular history genre that AR specializes in, there's no way to know where the claims come from as there are no sources mentioned. As someone who knows a little bit about the subject, here's some of the problems I see:

1. Ruth says, "...some small components were produced as needed." This blossoms into "The spare parts were supplied by the U.S. military or made at FN. Countless new walnut stocks were made for M1 Garands and carbines—including M1A1 paratrooper stocks" in the article. A stunning assertion like that requires support. A picture of refinished stocks does not establish they were newly made.

I have a couple of U.S Army inspection reports from Aug-Sep 45 where FN was visited. One describes the operation as "...reconditioning and packaging of small arms on a contract basis." The other report says, "The processing of weapons at Fabrique Nationale can be described as a fourth echelon job, certainly not a fifth echelon or Arsenal reparation" [yuk, what a word]. Fourth echelon certainly involves no manufacturing (nor does Fifth for that matter). Another section says that soon FN's backlog of "carbines, automatic pistols, and other small weapons would diminish...." That doesn't leave much room for a sudden change to manufacturing parts on a large scale.

2. Perhaps the most egregious error is the author's idle speculation on pistols. As the above shows, automatic pistols were part of the FN operation in the early fall of 1945. Did the author come up with this theory because of the absence of photos of pistols being worked on? Wouldn't be the first time someone has fallen victim to the "absence of evidence is not necessarily the same as evidence of absence." To complete the rejection of this theory, on Aug 16, 1945, army inspectors reported that FN had received 16,457 pistols.

3. Now, back to the author's claim that all ETO small arms were processed by FN. Apparently he never heard of the 350k or so US occupation troops. Does he intend to say small arms from those forces were sent to be reworked by FN and then returned to the units? Does he not know that several hundred thousand US troops in the ETO were redeployed to the Pacific with the first two divisions packing their own gear and departing in June 45? Does he not know there were about 350k USAAF GIs in the UK? Is he supposing those forces' small arms were packed, sent to Liege, unpacked, reconditioned, and packed again for shipment stateside?

There were about 3 million U.S. small arms in the ETO (not counting those with French troops) on V-E Day. His claim of 2.1 million processed at FN is not out of the question, but seems a bit high. It's nowhere near all. And 2.1 million happens to also be the number mentioned by Marty Morgan, lending further support to the idea that Huon's 1984 book, not this author's research, is the source.

I'd say 2.1 is a bit high considering occupation, redeployment, and the work of depots in UK, but it may not be way way high. The point is, this writer has no idea what the number is or what percentage of the total that represents.

There are several more mistakes I could list, but these are the worst factual errors.

Looking at the big picture, on the prevalence of original weapons: has he never heard of bringbacks/send homes? Does he assume the reader had never heard of the rebuild activities in stateside arsenals and how that affects perceptions of prevalence of originals?

I suppose he might have done some good by providing new info to those totally unaware of FN's work, but along with that come the bogus claims. How many forum posts will it take to undo the damage?

I'll let my keyboard cool off now. When your eyeballs recover, just bear in mind that unsourced claims should be looked at with skepticism. Like Reagan said, trust but verify.
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  #22  
Old 02-14-2018, 11:37 PM
hcmaize hcmaize is offline
 
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Kinda deflates my hopes for receiving an original- or correct-dated-parts CMP rifle ....alway hoped those gems were possible in routine SG/FG buys
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