Aircrew personal weapons

Discussion in 'Weapons Systems Tech.' started by s1chris, Sep 2, 2013.

  1. s1chris

    s1chris Member

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    Hello, is it possible to tell if pistols or other firearms were carried on board aircraft in the event of bailing into occupied territory? I'm mainly after information about RAF and USAAF please.

    Cheers Chris
     
  2. bobm4360

    bobm4360 Member

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    Most USAAF and USN/USMC aircrew were issued M1911A1 pistols, and at various times and places, the survival kits and vests were equipped with tracers for signalling and shot cartridges for small game.
    Regards,
    Bob
     
  3. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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    When I was in the Navy, 61-64 we were issued 38's when we flew.
     
  4. s1chris

    s1chris Member

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    Excellent information, thanks.
    Also edged weapons (knives etc). Was there specific ones carried?

    Cheers Chris
     
  5. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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    We just carried a leather sheathed hunting knife, 8-9" blade?
     
  6. s1chris

    s1chris Member

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    Cool, ill get searching for an I.D number.
    The reason being I would like to buy one of each to display with what uniform I currently have.
    With USAAF being what I mainly own I thought I would start with them first.

    Thanks again.
     
  7. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Some RAF pilots carried a revolver, particularly during the BoF. Pingel, in his post capture interrogation, tells of a downed RAF pilot threatening all and sundry with a revolver before being disarmed. He was not invited for dinner at the Luftwaffe officer's mess as a result.
    Hurricane pilots seem to have put a service revolver in a tunic pocket with a lanyard around their neck. The weapon is not visible in photos, but my guess would be an Enfield No2 which was a little less bulky than the old Webley. There was a version of the Enfield with a spurless hammer, issued to armoured troops, less likely to catch and accidentally discharge in the confines of a vehicle, which would be the best bet for a pilot.
    I don't think that it was a common practice. After all you are hardly going to hold off men armed with rifles (at the very least) with a revolver. Attempting to do so would be an excellent way to get yourself killed.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  8. s1chris

    s1chris Member

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    Hi Steve, I just need to get some RAF uniform to display now then.
    I have thought about personal weapons for a while but having watched Ben Aflek (spelling?) fend off the IJA after crash landing the B-25 in the film pearl harbour yesterday, there now on my Xmas list to myself.

    Sure as damn it, waving that around got one of them shot.

    Cheers Chris
     
  9. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    RAF and Commonwealth Aircrew in 2 TAF, based on the Continent after D-Day, were issued with a .38 Webley or Smith and Wesson, and some acquired the Browning HP35. These were to be worn in a standard issue webbing Service holster, on a '38 Pattern web belt. Some are known to have carried this in one of their flying boots!
    (Early Spitfires had a holster on the port wall, for an Enfield pistol, although the carriage of the actual weapon seems to have been rare, and might have been more for a 'final solution' in the event of being trapped in a burning cockpit!)
    However, many aircrew did not carry the weapon, for fear of being shot by the enemy, if the weapon was seen after a forced landing or bail-out.
    For similar reasons, Typhoon pilots, in particular, were issued with Army Battledress blouses, onto which their rank tabs and wings etc were sewn, but in this case, it was to help prevent being shot by 'friendly fire', when the 'RAF Blue' uniform, in the heat of the moment, might have been mistaken for the grey of the Waffen SS uniform. Contemporary photos show a mixture of attire, with and without holstered weapons
    In general, it was not common practice, in the RAF in the ETO, to carry a personal weapon, although this was more common, and I believe part of SOP, in the MTO and PTO.
    .
    'Modern' RAF aircrew, if on Ops over hostile territory, carry a Browning HP35, or a H&K or Sig semi-auto pistol, in an 'arm pit' holster as part of the survival vest, with a 'release' knife in a spring-loaded, metal scabbard, which slides into a 'sleeve' on the right thigh of the Mk4 and Mk14 flying suit, but, since the introduction of the current 'US style', sage green suit, I believe this knife has been replaced by a survival-type knife, again carried in the vest, which replaced the 1970s pattern 'Frankenstein' life jacket, in service until recently.
    Luftwaffe aircrew of all ranks, were issued with, and were supposed to carry on Ops, a Walther PK pistol, carried in a leather holster on the leather Service belt.
     
  10. s1chris

    s1chris Member

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    Now that's a comprehensive breakdown if I ever saw one. Cheers Terry.
    Now to get searching and pricing up deactivated examples.

    Cheers Chris
     
  11. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    U.S. Army Airforce aircrew sidearms were typically issued 1911A1 .45 automatics, the U.S. Navy pilots carried issued S&W .38 revolvers (victory model).

    They were also known to carry whatever they scrounged up, I've heard mentioned that a B-17 crew in the ETO carrried a .30 carbine with them, another crew a 12 ga. shotgun.

    Americans have been known to be (and even still are) creative with thier personal carry choices.
     
  12. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Chris, if you can find a legal de-act pistol in the UK these days, they're extremely expensive, and totally welded - no working parts of any kind will move. Until about five years ago, I used to present talks/lectures on infantry weapons, mainly based in a private 'armoury' at a tank-driving site. The average price for something like a Browning or Walther was around £500 upwards - more than a 'live' weapon when they were still legal in the UK !
    Also, you may find that, in order to purchase one, without being hounded under 'Operation Trident', and possibly prosecuted, a bona fide dealer will probably need proof that you are a member of a recognised re-enactment group, or theatrical, film or TV company. This also applies to replica weapons, most of which are now illegal. The other option, of course, is an 'air soft' version, if it's just for appearance sake.
     
  13. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    They used to have 1:1 scale plastic model kits of famous sidearms, I had the L96 Mauser kit many years ago.

    Not sure if they still make 'em or not, but this perhaps might be an option...or do the laws in the UK also prohibit plastic scale replicas as well?
     
  14. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Yes, a company called LS used to make full-size plastic kits, some of which had working parts and looked extremely realistic. I used to have their M16 hanging on the wall!
    I'm not sure if they're illegal in the UK (yet!), but I haven't seen the kits around for quite some time. In fact, the only weapons kits I've seen, even outside the UK, have been 1/6th and 1/3rd scale. Even some air soft weapons are now moulded in bright red or orange and bright blue!
     
  15. s1chris

    s1chris Member

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    What the law don't know, won't hurt them.
    The majority of what I have seen for sale comes with deactivation certificates so there's a little bit of legal coverage there.

    They may find my small selection of live .50cals on a belt more of a concern though.
    Even so, it will all be cased and secure. I'm reality other than the entire web I have just told, nobody will know I have them.

    Cheers Chris
     
  16. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't fancy wearing that under a Sutton harness and parachute harness! Maybe that's why those Hurricane pilots have clearly tucked the weapon, on a lanyard, into a pocket. I assume from your info that this would have been a Webley rather than the Enfield (which I would have preferred). I've read of flying boots coming off on the opening of a parachute. I don't imagine a revolver would help that :)

    At least one Luftwaffe unit forbad its personnel from carrying a personal weapon after the bodies of aircrew who had ditched or parachuted into the Channel were recovered having shot themselves, presumably having given up hope of rescue.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  17. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    All it takes is one person to see you in possesion of one of these items and then tell the authorities. Even if you have permission, you'll find that some people take it upon themselves to be a "concerned citizen" acting upon the common good (in their mind).

    And then the fun begins...

    I have a fully legal .22 Umarex (Walther/Colt) carbine that looks like a dreaded "assault weapon" and when I was at the range, target plinking, a "concerned citizen" reported my "illegal weapon" that was frightening them (I kid you not, this is what they told the 911 dispatcher). The Ranger appeared (this was on Federal property) and we had a fun discussion regarding state law. I was, of course, well within the law, but the fact remains that we had a do-gooder in our midst that cost me about an hour and a half of my time. And for nothing.

    I will say in the Ranger's defense, that they went to the reporting person and suggested that if fire arms frightened them, perhaps they shouldn't be there...
     
  18. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Chris, be very careful!
    Since the start of 'Operation Trident', there has been a real 'clamp down' on all things 'guns', including replicas etc. The possession of un-licenced, live ammunition, carries a mandatory, minimum five year prison sentence - and can be enforced for each round possessed!
    A little over five years ago, I acted as an 'Expert Witness' in a Court case for an acquintance, a chap who was a bona fide dealer in de-acts, replicas etc. The case involved a number of replica pistols, and one de-act SMG, and apparently the SMG had been re-activated, and at least one replica pistol 'converted' to fire live, after they were sold by the chap. He was facing a five year sentence for each count, even though completely innocent !
    Also, any 'firearm' (the Police now consider air weapons, de-acts and replicas as such, even though there is no explosive propulsion involved, and no barrel !) now has to be purchased and collected face to face - it can no longer be done by 'mail order'.
     
  19. Bernhart

    Bernhart <b>2012 Forum Fantasy Football Champion</ b>

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    have seen a pic of RAF type during BOB with a pistol in his boot
     
  20. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    This may sound daft but if I remember correctly in the Italian BR20's shot down over the UK during the BOB they found rifles with bayonets!!
     
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