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Old 01-13-2020, 04:18 PM
Gewehr43 Gewehr43 is offline
 
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Default Documentation on Marine 1911's? Paging Cpl Norton

So I'm curious to get some feed back on a series of questions I have regarding Marine Corps 1911's. With the release of the CMP pistols all sorts of interesting 1911's have come out and of course, what the markings on them mean.

The "OA-OB" markings:
So if I have this right, the source of that idea is a GCA article (2006? about M1 Garand rebuilds) and the single source author saying those were USMC depot marks- Albany and Barstow- respectively. So it was typically OA-xx for example. So "Overhaul-Albany- year."
And when pistols began appearing with that same format, the connection was obvious.
But noone to date has found actual documentation from the Marines out lining this format/regulation correct???

The Navy/Marine Corp relationship:
Has anyone found any documentation about what the NAVY did with all their 1911 pistols? As we all know (like it or not) the MC falls under the Dept of Navy. So is it not reasonable to assume that as the NAVY needed to overhaul/store/dispose of their 1911's they would have the Marines do it?

So how does one know if a 1911 that may have been overhauled by the Marines wasn't, in fact, a NAVY pistol given to them for processing?

Crane:
If I understand this correctly, Crane has been a Navy depot since WW2, involved in many things but including the small arms of the Navy and by extension the Marines.
But no one, yet, has found out their markings for the depot work they do/did.
Correct?
So we really don't know what markings are, in fact, theirs?
And if every other depot marked their work, why wouldn't Crane?

The USAF:
Same thing, during WW2, they had a good number of 1911's for the air crews.
What happened to them?
I don't know of a USAF small arms Depot. Lackland was a small "match" unit. Not a mass level depot.
So as they got rid of their 1911's where did they go?
Just like the Navy, did they turn them over to the Marines for disposition?
I bring them up because in the book, "US Military Match and marksmanship pistols" by Bill Jenkins, page 65, states that in 1970 when Lackland closed, they sent their match pistol parts to Quantico.
Likewise in AFI 36-2654 6.5.1 even now the USAF uses "other services under contract" for depot level maintenance of their small arms.

So, at times, the "Marine Marking" question has taken on a life of its own.
But how much of this do we know for a fact, is actually Marine markings and not say Crane?
Or the pistol you have with a Marine rebuild mark isn't just one they processed for the Navy? or given to them by say, the Air Force?

PS: Cpl Norton, I "paged" you since I know you (and others) have done an amazing amount of work in researching the Marine "stuff" and have come across a lot of interesting documents and since my questions are mostly document related, I hope you can answer my questions. You- all- have done a great service in finding/preserving the documents found so far!
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Last edited by Gewehr43; 01-13-2020 at 04:36 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-13-2020, 06:19 PM
Bigswedez Bigswedez is offline
 
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I saw several chopped up navy M1911's at the Princeton Illinois Gunshow in the 1990's . Capt Crunch !
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  #3  
Old 01-13-2020, 10:05 PM
cplnorton cplnorton is online now
 
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The reality is, it is likely these pistols have served in multiple branches, or even served in the same branch at different times in their history. Some most likely have served in every branch.

I have ran freedom of info acts on several of the "A Month Year" marked rebuilds and and they come back as being shipped to Albany a few months prior to the date marked on the pistol.

I have not ran a OB-XX yet. Mostly because I really didn't have much doubt it was for Barstow. Actually I thought the CMP had issued a statement on the OB, stating they were Marine. Something about people were complaining about the electropencil and they made a statement about it. Maybe I'm mistaken. But I swear they did make a comment on it.

But it does get complicated. I know on one of the Albany pistols I ran, it showed up with the Navy and then later the Marines. Another one went from the Marines to the Air Force.

I have also ran a lot of Army records and seen mentions of the Air Force in there.

I guess what I'm saying is, this stuff as soon as it was declared excess in one branch would be shipped to another branch if there was a need.

Stuff was cycled back and forth a lot. That is why I opened with it's very likely they served in several branches and I'm sure some made it to every branch before they were retired.

I know before I started to research in the Archives, I was under the belief that weapons would for instance go the Marines and never leave. But that simply isn't true at all. Stuff was being sent back and forth all the time in huge amounts.

For instance in WWII, a Marine M1903 could have served with the Marines, went to the Navy, and then turned over to the Army. This could have all happened in 1942 to 1947. So I mean it doesn't take long for some of this stuff to make the rounds.

But this is a hairy topic because even though say the pistol was sent to Albany to be rebuilt, it might not have necessarily have been property of the Marines when it happened. I have found evidence that the Marines and Army rebuilt Navy weapons for them. I have not seen a lot of Air Force docs after the split in 1947. But I would assume it's the same for them.

I've seen the Army rebuild Marine weapons. I've seen the Army rebuild Navy weapons for them, and I've seen the Marines rebuild Navy weapons.

For instance in WWII, the Navy had two rebuild depots that did repairs in small numbers, but when they would do a large rebuild of say M1903's, they would send them to Army depots such as Augusta.

So about all you can do is a run a freedom of info for each serial, which will only show the records from about 1975 and up. You also have to run it thru each branch as their records only show the time it was with them and not another branch.

It can get expensive really quick to run a serial and it's very labor intensive to track down the right people to ask, then you sometimes get the run around as well.

I bet I spent about $500 to just track 3 or 4 serials. That is why I don't run a lot of the newer ones anymore.

But thank you for the kind words. Your questions are spot on and many I have myself. The biggest thing is, the records from these newer rebuilds are still not accessible at the archives and won't be for a long time.

So other than running freedom of infos, there isn't really much we can do to find which branch they were in.
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Old 01-13-2020, 11:40 PM
slufstuff slufstuff is online now
 
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I cannot speak to the USMC questions, but as far as the USAF, it bears keeping in mind that the USAAF was still part of the army until 1947. During the post-WW2 drawdown, the small arms would have gone back directly to the army in most cases. I have no documentation, but there were literally hundreds of squadrons worth of pistols (pilots, aircrew,security, etc) that most likely ended up in the various stateside and overseas armories/arsenals that lost any identification with the air corps or USAAF.
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  #5  
Old 01-14-2020, 10:12 AM
jeeperbob jeeperbob is offline
 
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Having served as an Air Force small arms specialist I can say at the base level we were responsible for maintenance and repair of all small arms base wide. Repairs that were depot only were sent thru the supply system to depots designated for specific repairs and then returned to the base of assignment unless determined to be un-repairable. The were not marked if overhauled by an AF depot. The AF discontinued use of M1911 pistols in the late 1960s except for the competitive shooting program. Those weapons were maintained by the USAF gunsmith shop at Lackland AFB which was next door to the armory where I worked. My Dad was an Air Policeman from 1950-1961 when he retrained into the Small arms specialist career field till his retirement in 1970. As an Air Policeman he was armed with a M1911 A1 an an M2 Carbine. The competitive program was discontinued except for the annual worldwide Security Police matches. I had the honor to meet Gen Curtis LeMay at the worldwide matches at Lackland in 1977.
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Old 01-14-2020, 12:03 PM
Logdog Logdog is offline
 
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From actual experience as a USMC responsible officer inventorying M1911A1, Crane managed the weapons...small arms. Twice per year I had to inventory and report to crane the M1911A1's held by my units. Crane provided a computer spreadsheet, inventorying was carried out and any discrepancies were required to be explained/investigated. In operational units, unserviceable weapons were turned in on a "equipment repair order" to the next echelon for repair or disposal to the next echelon. Newer weapons were shipped in through the logistic system from depot. Weapons were redistributed among units with authorization. Barstow is really interesting to visit to watch systems torn down and rebuilt.Crane probably has archives of those reported serial numbers by unit. Serial numbers would go down to the battery level(Artillery). I don't know if Crane is still the manager.
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Old 01-14-2020, 04:32 PM
Gewehr43 Gewehr43 is offline
 
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Yes... Crane is an interesting part in all this...

Cpl Norton:
What have you found out specifically about the Crane/ it's markings or handling of serial number lists?

I seem to remember a thread about a FOIA on a 1911 that we discussed.
In it, the pistol "flowed" thru Crane...
My question would be is what they did with it (did THEY rebuild it?? or were they simply "passers-on" or simply a storage facility??)

What is your understanding of what Crane did/does?


Also.....and I'm not disagreeing with you, simply clarifying a comment you made above:

So for reasons unknown the "A-date" has been found on 1911's and took the place of the "OA-date" found on M1 Garands?
Even though they are both Albany rebuilds? Correct?

Did you find any indication that these reflected a different source?
What I mean is could the "A-date" mean it was a contract of say, Air Force 1911's they worked on? And if found, a "OA-date" might mean a Marine pistol was worked on? When you ran the "A-date" ones, what was the origin of the pistols?


I assume "all that" has been lost in the decades and endless work of all involved?
And like wise the use of same stamps could very well have different meanings over time...
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Last edited by Gewehr43; 01-14-2020 at 04:46 PM.
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  #8  
Old 01-14-2020, 05:46 PM
Logdog Logdog is offline
 
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Crane did send an armorers van to matches to support the Navy teams. With some talking they would help out whoever spent some time with them. A Navy trophy rifle invoice would tell where Crane received the rifles from. Crane did accountability, any work was done within the Marine logistics chain on a normal basis. Weapons Training Bn at Quantico has rebuild capability. They were responsible to the 90's for .45 rebuild into MEU(SOC) weapons as well as snipers.
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Old 01-14-2020, 08:23 PM
Gewehr43 Gewehr43 is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Logdog View Post
Crane did send an armorers van to matches to support the Navy teams. With some talking they would help out whoever spent some time with them. A Navy trophy rifle invoice would tell where Crane received the rifles from. Crane did accountability, any work was done within the Marine logistics chain on a normal basis. Weapons Training Bn at Quantico has rebuild capability. They were responsible to the 90's for .45 rebuild into MEU(SOC) weapons as well as snipers.
Yes and they still do support Navy teams....
But let's keep this in the standard 1911 that the CMP is selling field, which is what I'm interested in.
The match pistols/rifles is another can-o-worms best addressed in another thread.....
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  #10  
Old 01-15-2020, 09:15 AM
Logdog Logdog is offline
 
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Bottomline in all this discussion revolves around three commands, Crane, MCLB Barstow and MCLB Albany. A secondary source would be the Army material command from wich CMP received the pistols. 3 years is the general guidlines for destroying old correspondence. The inventories I conducted over 20 years or so were not classified when sent. I would bet that they are Fouo or higher now because of the sensitivity of the subject. Inventories included all small arms...pistols, rifles, LMG and MG not just pistols. The inventories were computer generated so inventories had a data file.
Match weapons were generally used up and demilled by the repairing unit echelon...WTB Quantico and others. Match weapons were still accountable to Crane as they arrived at Weapons Training BN as standard pistols to be upgraded. I would bet that the M1911A1 match pistols are all Army and Airforce sourced.
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