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Thread: WWII Potato Diggers

  1. #1
    Call Me a Cab Stearmen's Avatar
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    WWII Potato Diggers

    Here is a great photo I found by accident. A Coast Guard unit in their Jeeps, notice the pedestal, and the machine guns. Yes, those are 1895 Colt Potato Diggers! Lots of other interesting firearms in the photo. Shows how unprepared we really were.

  2. #2
    Practically Family Otter's Avatar
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    Interesting photo, never fired one of those but by all accounts a truly poor machine gun. Better than nothing I suppose, 1939/40 our Home Guard were drilling with garden forks and improvised pikes. My Dad was so pleased when he was issued with a US made P14 rifle, he still remembered it with fondness back in the 80's.
    Last edited by Otter; 04-16-2012 at 02:10 AM.

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    One of the Regulars
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    Quote Originally Posted by Otter View Post
    Interesting photo, never fired one of those but by all accounts a truly poor machine gun. Better than nothing I suppose, 1939/40 our Home Guard were drilling with garden forks and improvised pikes. My Dad was so pleased when he was issued with a US made P14 rifle, he still remembered it with fondness back in the 80's.
    Your Dad should have kept the P14! It was better rifle than the Enfield's issued in WWII. I have the American cousin of the P14, the 1917 Enfield that the US issued to its troops that took the 30-06 cartridge. The 1917 was used in US and Canada in WWII for the similar units like the British Home Guard.

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    Practically Family Otter's Avatar
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    I think he always regretted that he couldn't keep it, we have very strict gun controls here. He worked for an Auctioneers called McTears during WWII as a junior, being too young to go into the services. One day a couple of plain clothes gentlemen from Special Branch appeared enquiring about firearms that were stored on the premises (McTear being an Irish name and there was paranoia in the early war years over the potential of a Fennian insurrection in Scotland).

    Well, my Dad duly unlocks the safe storage area and displays the collection of firearms that they were concerned about, 50 Tower pattern muskets, part of an estate sale and coming up for auction in two weeks. He alway said they looked rather disappointed especialy when he enquired if they would be placing a commission bid.

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    One of the Regulars
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    Interesting to know that the British were that concerned about the Irish at that time. Ironic, when you consider that Field Marshall Montgomery was half Irish.

    It is much harder to find the P14 than the M1917, here in the States. Quite a few P14 were sold in poor condition many years ago just to be able to salvage the receiver and bolt for custom rifles utilizing magnum cartridges like the 375 Holland and Holland because of the reputation of the action being very strong and capable of handling the higher pressures in big game cartridges.

    I notice in your avatar photo you have what looks like a replica of the Flying Tigers flight jacket and the 45 shoulder holster. Is the holdster the M6, M7 or the M3 model?

  6. #6
    Practically Family Otter's Avatar
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    M3 from Soldier of fortune in the UK, they now do the M7 and an M3 that has a darker rough side to it. The jacket is an older Aero smooth horshide "Aces" jacket with the scarlet silk lining the patches are all 490th Bomb Group, the Burma Brige Busters. Thanks for noticing!

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    I'll Lock Up Story's Avatar
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    Some of the Merchant Marine's Liberty Ships had Marlin machineguns mounted for anti-aircraft defense.

    Note - the CPO riding shotgun in the leftmost jeep has a plain Jane 1918 BAR, while the two ratings riding shotgun in the other jeeps have .45 Reising submachineguns.

    Quote Originally Posted by RHY View Post
    It is much harder to find the P14 than the M1917, here in the States.
    Alot of the Mk I* Weedon rebuilds came in a few years ago, surplus via India (I've got one for sale if anyone legal and CONUS is interested).

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