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U.S. Civil War rifled muskets used in WW2.

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U.S. Civil War rifled muskets used in WW2.

Postby Felix C on 24 Jan 2013 17:04

I recall from reading the very basic CBI theater volume in Time-Life's WWII set that muzzle loading civil war muskets were still inventoried in the USA and provided to Kachin(Burma) locals for use in guerilla operations. Apparently, black powder was easily sourced locally. I believe they were provided by OSS teams.

Any further reading on this aspect? Numbers involved? Wonder how effective they were? Eventual disposition. etc.
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Re: U.S. Civil War rifled muskets used in WW2.

Postby Mark in Cleveland, Tn. on 27 Jan 2013 01:47

Sounds like a Time/Life common mistake. Just does not make any sense, as the CW era muskets were POS.Then if the OSS supplied these, then along with the muskets you have to have lead *minnie balls*of a huge caliber,etc.
Easy to find out, just find a copy of the series on the CBI....
You sure the article said maybe...CW *type*???? Big diffeence, as Time LIfe could have used CW musket as a generic description of all kinds of weird cast off weapons. But still would need the comparable ammo to fire.
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Re: U.S. Civil War rifled muskets used in WW2.

Postby phylo_roadking on 27 Jan 2013 02:20

then along with the muskets you have to have lead *minnie balls*of a huge caliber,etc.


Mark, in one of the first editions of "Britain At War" magazine a few years ago, there was a picture printed of the corroded contents of a box used by a Home Guard detachment in the UK to store the small amounts of ammunition they received for various "donated" American weapons that came into their possession in the summer of 1940...

And right in the middle of all the corroded brass was the unmistakeable shape of a Minié ball!!!! 8O

Logic says that there was therefore at least one ACW-era musket of U.S origin in British service during WWII...
Last edited by phylo_roadking on 27 Jan 2013 02:48, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: U.S. Civil War rifled muskets used in WW2.

Postby Felix C on 27 Jan 2013 02:39

Mark in Cleveland, Tn. wrote:Sounds like a Time/Life common mistake. Just does not make any sense, as the CW era muskets were POS.Then if the OSS supplied these, then along with the muskets you have to have lead *minnie balls*of a huge caliber,etc.
Easy to find out, just find a copy of the series on the CBI....
You sure the article said maybe...CW *type*???? Big diffeence, as Time LIfe could have used CW musket as a generic description of all kinds of weird cast off weapons. But still would need the comparable ammo to fire.


Yes. I still have those volumes. I have not seen another reference other than the paragraph in T-L.
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Re: U.S. Civil War rifled muskets used in WW2.

Postby Mark in Cleveland, Tn. on 27 Jan 2013 21:32

Phylo, yeah, you are correct, just to me seems out of wack!
But we all know about foreign aid.. Our out of date militaria surplus got shipped to others!!!
P-39 Airacobras to USSR!!! :lol: Not exactly a first line AC, right?
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Re: U.S. Civil War rifled muskets used in WW2.

Postby binder001 on 28 Jan 2013 18:06

I don't know about muzzle loaders in the US government inventories, but I know that numbers of .45-70 breech loaders were still around and were kept available for "state guard" volunteers. In my area there is "legend" of some National Guardsmen discovering a number of old breech-loading Springfields in a state arsenal. These weapons didn't get turned in and ended up adorning dens and home bars. This is more than just vaporware - we had an M1884 rifle with socket bayonet on display in our basement during my youth.

There are stories in the gun magazines about Bannerman's in New York having huge quantities of Civil War firearms available for very low prices into the 1920's-30's era, so the weapons existed.
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Re: U.S. Civil War rifled muskets used in WW2.

Postby Trackhead M2 on 28 Jan 2013 19:30

Felix C wrote:I recall from reading the very basic CBI theater volume in Time-Life's WWII set that muzzle loading civil war muskets were still inventoried in the USA and provided to Kachin(Burma) locals for use in guerilla operations. Apparently, black powder was easily sourced locally. I believe they were provided by OSS teams.

Any further reading on this aspect? Numbers involved? Wonder how effective they were? Eventual disposition. etc.

Der FC,
Funny post. I don't recall Roger Hilsman who was in Detatchment 101 of the OSS mentioning Enfield or Springfield Rifle muskets in his book American Guerilla.
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Re: U.S. Civil War rifled muskets used in WW2.

Postby Felix C on 28 Jan 2013 20:51

I will pull the CBI volume this evening and type the entire paragraph here.

Well, it is nice to provide info on a topic previously unexplored here.

I notice on one site there is mention of Katchin guerrillas with their own construction flintlock muskets alongside M-1 carbines.

1-29-2013 update:
Reference was not in the CBI volume. Probably in the Partisans and Guerrillas volume. Will check again tonight.
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Re: U.S. Civil War rifled muskets used in WW2.

Postby Felix C on 01 Feb 2013 14:21

It was in the Secret War volume of the Time-Life Series.

pp.110-111

Colonel Carl Eifler, first commander of OSS Detachment 101 wired Washington to send him 500 shotguns as the Kachins he was training preferred shotguns over the machine guns they were being trained on.

Eifler's memoirs indicate as follows:

"They said it was an unusual request," recalled Eifler, "and could I justify it?" Annoyed, Eifler wired back sarcastically , "I prefer muzzle-loaders. The natives can make their own black powder and use the nuts and bolts from wrecked vehicles for ammunition." For some reason, that request was not deemed unusual, and Eifler was sent 500 Springfield muzzle-loaders that had never been fired but had been carefully stored, gathering dust, in a warehose since the Civil War. The Kachins took an immediate liking to the muzzle-loaders and carried them throughout the Burma campaign.
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Re: U.S. Civil War rifled muskets used in WW2.

Postby PF on 08 Jan 2014 17:49

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