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Old 02-03-2018, 04:57 PM   #1
Rick-a-Roo
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Default AAC aircrew sidearms

A friend of mine was searching the net for information on sidearms for WW2
bomber crews, and came across a forum (The High Road) that has a thread
from 2007 dealing with the subject.

forum rules prevent me from posting a link to the thread so here is the
original question and some of the answers:

Quote:
Sidearms for B-25 Airmen

Q. One thing I never asked my dad before he died years ago was if he was
issued a sidearm when he served during WW2.

He was a Navigator on a B-25 for the Army Air Corps in the Pacific Theater.

Does anyone know if they were issued a sidearm, and if so, what it was?

A1. I know of 8th Air Force crews in the ETO who carried the 1911 and
whatever else they could scrounge. I personally knew one B17 pilot who
always carried an M1 carbine in the cockpit, and effectively used it after
crash landing in France.

A2. If he carried, then I suspect it might have been a 1911A1. This is
conjecture on my part, since some pilots carried .38 Special revolvers. An
example of the latter is the elder President Bush, who carried a .38 revolver
during his wartime service.

A3. Some carried .45 ACP revolvers

A4. An army airman would most likely carry a 1911A1. He might carry a
1917 .45 ACP revolver, but that was less likely.

Navy flight crew were generally issued S&W .38 "Victory Model" revolvers. I
don't think the army issued any of those as regular issue to anyone.

A5. My father told me about some of his experience in WWII. He was a
radioman/navigator in the India/China/Burma theater. He flew in the
c-46 Commando from India to CHina - The Hump so called because
they flew over the eastern HImilayas. All aircrew were issued the
1911A1 The fllight routes they took were later named the Trail of
ALuminum for the lost aircraft. As you transit north it was over jungle
and then the cold above the tree line mountains. He said they
had a couple of magazines as spares as well as in the survival kit there
were 10 shot shells for the .45 He told me he was lined up at the rear door
to bail out a couple of times as they were going in and out of the clouds
playing life and death games dodging a 2nd class jap fighter that didn't have
much more speed than they did. He also related not many air crew ever
survived bailing out, he said they took one guy's stuff that was personal and
sent it home to family, the other stuff they divided up. Then this guy showed
up - he had survived and walked out and eventually went back to the unit.
He got back more stuff than he had in the first place....

Dad also said he remembered doing about 30 minutes a day for a week in
Basic Training dry firing the 1911 prior to any live firing. I wonder if they
do that with troops today with the M9.

Dad did101 missions over the Hump - normal tour was 51 missions,
he volunteered twice for 25 more... not many belong to the 101 missions
over THe Hump "club." They all hold the DFC with AIr Medal and Oak leaf
clusters. He belongs to the Hump Pilots and AIr crew Association - THey get
together with annual meetings but not for too many more yers they are
passing to the big air lift in the sky as the years pass....

A6. I don't know much about the ArmyAir Corps crews but the vast majority
of the Navy & Marine Corps air crews and pilots were issued S&W Victory
models in .38 spl during WW2.

A.7 My dad who was US Army Air Corp during WWII was an Instructor for
P-40's, then Bells (IIRC) P39's Aircobra's, which he dubbed flying duds, and
then P-51's, his absolute favorite, told me, when I told him about my guns,
that he didn't like the Colt 45's, as that is what he was issued.

I asked him why, and he said too much recoil.. lol
...and so on.

I thought this was really interesting, especially as there is no real consensus,
but the 1911/1911A1 seems to be the favorite.
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Old 02-03-2018, 06:00 PM   #2
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Bomber crews in England were issued 1911s in shoulder holsters but they were rarely carried on the airplane.
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