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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My grandfather was a Seabee in the South Pacific in WWII and served from 1944 to 1946. (As in CB...construction battalion). He was a really great man. Any guesses as to what firearm he would have been issued? No one in my family seems to know. I do know that he was an enlisted man, not an officer. Seems like if you were climbing around on heavy machinery most of the day, you'd just carry a 1911, but I wasnt sure how many enlisted men got pistols. When I was an enlisted man in the army, they refused to give me pistol, even when driving convoys, and mostly only officers had them. I dug out a couple of photos he had from that time in his life. I thought some here might be interested in them. Unfortunately, most of the pics are scenery or guys other than him, but they are still interesting to look at. Looking through those old pictures makes me think of how so many were willing to pay such a high price for a thing as valuable as freedom. Must have been a crazy time for a small town farm kid like my grandpa, and millions just like him

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
PS Does anyone know what the tripod mounted gun is?? I have one other picture of that scene, so they must have been having a good time when they took that picture...
 

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If he was issued or managed to get a pistol it would likely have been either a 1911-A1 .45, or a S&W "Victory" model in .38 Special.
It's at least possible he could have had a Colt or S&W Model 1917 revolver in .45ACP.

If he had a rifle it almost certainly would have been an M1 Carbine since it was intended to be issued to non-combat support personnel.
If Navy personnel had access to an actual rifle, it was almost always a 1903 series Springfield.
I knew a shooter in my old gun club who'd been in the Navy during the war and he said they had M1 Carbines, 1903 Springfield's and a few Thompson SMG's.
He said other then in the hands of Army and Marines, they never saw an M1 Rifle.
It was very late in the war before there were enough M1 Rifles to go around, so most non-infantry personnel didn't have them.

For knives, if he was actually issued one, it would have been a Mark One as above, or a Mark Two which is the same as the Marine "Ka-Bar". Both the Mark One and Mark Two were issued with leather sheaths, and later in the war with gray fiberglass bayonet type scabbards.
Both the Mark One and Mark Two were made by a large number of companies who'd made knives before the war.
MANY personnel had personal knives of any conceivable sort they picked up somewhere, including home made knives. A lot of knives owned by Navy personnel were made in Navy machine shops both for Navy and Marines willing to trade or pay.
Many Seabee's had hot businesses making knives or converting knives and bayonets into combat knives.

Every commercial company who made knives before the war made them during the war for use of military personnel. These were sold through PX's and Ships Stores in VAST numbers, so large numbers of people who had a knife had a non-official issue type knife that had been sold as hunting knifes before the war.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
If he was issued or managed to get a pistol it would likely have been either a 1911-A1 .45, or a S&W "Victory" model in .38 Special.
It's at least possible he could have had a Colt or S&W Model 1917 revolver in .45ACP.

If he had a rifle it almost certainly would have been an M1 Carbine since it was intended to be issued to non-combat support personnel.
If Navy personnel had access to an actual rifle, it was almost always a 1903 series Springfield.
I knew a shooter in my old gun club who'd been in the Navy during the war and he said they had M1 Carbines, 1903 Springfield's and a few Thompson SMG's.
He said other then in the hands of Army and Marines, they never saw an M1 Rifle.
It was very late in the war before there were enough M1 Rifles to go around, so most non-infantry personnel didn't have them.

For knives, if he was actually issued one, it would have been a Mark One as above, or a Mark Two which is the same as the Marine "Ka-Bar". Both the Mark One and Mark Two were issued with leather sheaths, and later in the war with gray fiberglass bayonet type scabbards.
Both the Mark One and Mark Two were made by a large number of companies who'd made knives before the war.
MANY personnel had personal knives of any conceivable sort they picked up somewhere, including home made knives. A lot of knives owned by Navy personnel were made in Navy machine shops both for Navy and Marines willing to trade or pay.
Many Seabee's had hot businesses making knives or converting knives and bayonets into combat knives.

Every commercial company who made knives before the war made them during the war for use of military personnel. These were sold through PX's and Ships Stores in VAST numbers, so large numbers of people who had a knife had a non-official issue type knife that had been sold as hunting knifes before the war.
This is great information, I knew I would pick up some knowledge if I posted this. Thank you dfariswheel.

There's a chance he carried one of these: PAL USN Mark 1
I want one!
 

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why is that one man in the picture pointing a shotgun at the head of the man siting behind the browning machine gun? a pretty loose bunch of fellows.
 

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Lol...Both of my Grandfathers were in their 60s by WWII, and, both demurred from participation.


My dad and far as I recall, all of my Uncles on both sides, were in on it though.

My dad joined the Army Air Corps in June of 1940, in advance of our Country officially joining the frackus.

Not handy, but I still have a bunch of Snapshots my dad took in the China-Burma-India areas, and some images of him with a Thomson and an m1911.


He gave me his 'beater' A2 Jacket around 1968, and I wore the hell out of that for quite a few years, without ever wearing it out.

Those A2s were really great Jackets!


I am not up on what my various Uncles carried - some were also Army Air Corps, some Army Infantry, some Navy, some Pacific Theatre, some European Theatre.

Far as I recall, only one was wounded, and he was shot like one day before the War was declared to be over, or maybe it was one day after it was declared to be over, I forget now, shot by a 10 or 12 year old German Kid, with what was likely an '88 Mauser or some other much longer by then, than usual Rifle. He saw the kid at like fifty yards or something, and, for whatever reason, he turned away, hoping to convey a lack of interest to the kid of entering into any sort of skirmish or other. Well, apparently the kid thought otherwise. He survived and recovered alright, lived to a ripe old age.
 

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why is that one man in the picture pointing a shotgun at the head of the man siting behind the browning machine gun? a pretty loose bunch of fellows.
"Goofin' for the Photo!"

I would not have been amused though, if that were my Head! even less so, if that were my Shotgun!
 

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I'm going to agree with the lot that said M-1 Carbine as the most likely issued weapon for a Seabee during the War. My Dad is a USN WWII Aircrew Veteran who was in contact with Seabees in the Pacific Theatre, but if I ask him I'm almost certain he would have no clue as to what they were issued. He had a tough enough time recalling the .38 Special S&W Revolver he was issued. It was just another thing he had to wear under his May West, just a piece of kit. Also, as for the knife he was issued, he carried two, the issued knife and one knife that an Uncle had made for him before the War. As for the USN issue knife...when I ask him about it, he just recalls that it was a "sheath knife"... I'm thinking that it was a Mk. I Knife, as I have one and showed it to him a couple years back and he recognised it, but then again he'd probably recongnise a Mk.II Knife as well. Now when it comes to a Browning .50 Calibre M-2 Machine Gun...he knows what he is talking about LOL.
Mark
 

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Just saw a picture book at Barnes & Noble about U.S. small arms in WWII.

Under handguns, a lot of pictures showed island action with Marines using 1917 .45 ACPs. I seem to remember Jeff Cooper talking about carrying a 1917 in the Pacific.
So one weapon could easily have been the 1917. I think the Victory model .38 was used a lot by the Navy seamen and also its and Marine aviators.
 

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The little Navy Mark 1 sheath knife wasn't well thought of by those issued it - it kept breaking.

It was, however - good trade stock with the natives - and you can often find them in new-in-wrap condition.

For a working knife - the favorite was the Ka-Bar (Mark 2) - and when I was last in Okinawa, they were still issuing out the WWII-built ones, with the hard scabbards and the tan leather scabbards.

I still have one in the hard scabbard.

Seabees were notorious for their theater-made knives - hell, they practically lived in machine shops - and if they weren't producing them from what scrap as could be found, they were customizing Ka-Bars with plexiglas handles and such - often salvaging the windscreens from Jap aircraft.

Bill Jordan was the one carrying a Model 1917 in the islands - not Cooper, who was stationed aboard the Pennsylvania.

It was a favorite of Mark Clark, as well - and there were even WWII-era built holsters for them, too, but most were carried in the older, reverse-grip holster from WWI.

Naval Landing Parties were armed with Springfields and Thompsons - their original pre-war complement of small arms - the Carbines came late to the Navy and Seabees, with the Marines getting priority for Garands.
 

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The SeaBees didn't have a TO&E weapon so far as I know. The M1903 Springfield rifle was available to them, as was the M1 Submachine gun. I know of one who carried his personal M1917 revolver and had a grooved piece of wood for the half moon clips. Ammunition (.45 ACP) was carried in bandoliers made from canvas machine gun belts.

Incidentally, the machine gun, correctly identified as the M1917A1, is mounted on the M2 tripod usually used with the M1919A4 light machine gun.

Bob Wright
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
This is all great information, and I thank all of you for taking the time to share your knowledge and recollections. I cant think of a single battle story my grandfather ever told. I do know that he joined against his parents will. His father had some connections and probably could have gotten him out of any draft due to some kind of agricultaral exemption thing, but Grandpa wanted nothing to do with that. He did have a few pretty good stories he told. I am not sure of how truthful this story is, but my favorite tale he told was of a time he was performing guard duty and was sitting under a coconut tree. He said he fell asleep and a coconut fell on his head and he thought he had been shot. A few minutes later the sergeant made his rounds and was pleased to see that my grandpa was wide awake and alert. If I recall correctly, he also told the family that after the war was over, he was offered $10,000 annual salary if he stayed in the South Pacific in a civilian capacity, possibly as some kind of reconstruction effort, I dont recall. That was a lot of money in those days but it didn't appeal to him and he returned back to the states to work at his father's grain elevator. He joked that had he taken the job, his kids might have grown up speaking a different language, implication being he would have married an island woman instead of my grandma.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well just wanted to post a quick comment for those who stated it was probably a carbine- I read a tidbit written by a sailor who was stationed at Camp Parks Construction Battalion Reserve Depot, which I think is near Dublin CA. He stated that amongs other things the sailors in their spare time would practice with their "carbines." There were a lot of Sea Bees, so of course there were probably variations, but its at least a bit of supporting evidence to what many of you said. I have been reading about the history of the Sea Bees, they were really quite the group, and well respected by other branches. A war takes fighting men, but those men have to have fuel to get where they are going, strips to land their planes, etc. The Sea Bees did both. Obviously far fewer casualties than infantry etc, but still several were lost in the cause. I have located some of his locations, and sounds like he was in Guam, Phillipines, New Guinea.
 

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This is great information, I knew I would pick up some knowledge if I posted this. Thank you dfariswheel.



I want one!
Do a search on e-bay these can be had a lot of the time for around $50 or less. The most expensive one I saw was $185. Just depends on what condition you want it in... Good luck. Dennis
 
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