Saturday, December 12, 2020

So Sarge, How About a Scorecard?

World War II U.S. Army Enlisted Rank Insignia
(Source)

Okay, so I've been throwing a lot of rosters and lists at you lately and it can get a bit confusing, so it's time to stop and explain some of this stuff. I'll also give you a handy dandy glossary for all the German stuff. (Poor Beans, he thought at first that the Schützes were a really big Austrian family, nope, it just means "rifleman." Rereading that post, I kept making the same error, and damn it, I wrote it! Not good.)

For starters, that graphic above shows the various combinations of chevrons and rockers worn by the enlisted guys in WWII, well, the American Army at any rate. I retired as a Master Sergeant in the Air Force, in Dubya Dubya Deuce there was no higher paygrade. They created two paygrades above that post-war. Probably so that all the staff pukes and strap hangars could show off. Out of all the enlisted paygrades above my lofty station of Master Sergeant, I could count the good ones on one hand. If I'm feeling generous, on two hands, never had to take my shoes off, if'n you know what I mean!

So the next thing, a short glossary of German military terms (which got thrown at you here):
As for those German ranks, here's another couple of charts for you (oh joy, right?), that show the equivalent rank titles for the U.S. Army, the German Army, and the Waffen SS

You should note that the German Army (das Heer) had different titles for their lowest enlisted soldiers. This was done as a morale booster for the most part. These are the 1944 titles, they were different earlier in the war. Trust me, I drink and I know things.

(Source)

Ahem, yes, but I digress.

Now the weapons the men carried, the Deutsches Grenadierkompanie had a lot of StG 44s (also known as the MP 44), where your standard German Landser (German equivalent to the U.S. "dogface") carried the Kar98k.

(StG 44 - Kar98k)

The StG 44 was fully automatic and fired the 7.92×33mm Kurz round, the Kar98k fired the standard 7.92×57mm Mauser round.

The MG 42 (and it's predecessor the MG34) fired the same round as the Kar98k, good logistics there having a common round. However the StG 44 needed different ammo, so not so good. On the other hand, the weapons carried in the regular infantry platoons by the officers, NCOs, and certain specialists all used the 9x19mm Parabellum round. Again, a smart move logistically.

Those weapons looked like this:

(MP 40 - P 08 - P 38)

Now those machine guns I mentioned above, the German ones, here they are:

(Source)

(Source)

Hey Sarge! You forgot the Americans! No, I didn't, I'm getting there...

The men in a U.S. Army infantry company carried three main weapons:

(M1 Rifle - M1 Carbine)

The M1 Rifle (often called the M1 Garand) fired the .30-06 Springfield round whereas the M1 Carbine fired the .30 Carbine round. The former packed more of a punch.

The main firepower of an American infantry squad was provided by this beast:

The famous M1918A2 Browning Automatic Rifle (B.A.R.)
(Source)

Which also fired the .30-06 Springfield round. (Good logistics!)

Many of the specialists in the company carried the M1911 pistol in .45 caliber -

M1911A1 .45 Caliber Pistol
(Source)

The light machine gun squads in the company manned the M1919 Browning machine gun, also firing the .30-06 Springfield round:

US soldiers fire a M1919A4 in Aachen
(Source)

While we haven't met C Company's mortar section yet (you will in a minute), they manned the 60mm M2 mortar:

WWII era 60mm U.S. M2 Mortar
(Source)

Now speaking of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment (The Blue Spaders), I had the chance to bring the company up to T.O.&E.¹ strength on Friday. A bunch of new replacements came in along with a number of old hands back after recovering from their wounds. As you know I cannot resist rosters and lists (it helps me understand the battles when I know how the men were organized and equipped) here's Charlie Company as of mid-December (I put Nate Paddock's platoon in bold italic font) -

Cpt. Tony Palminteri, Commanding Officer
1st Lt. Cody Lawson, Executive Officer
1st Sgt. Morton Saeger, First Sergeant
Sgt. Ryan Rodgers, Supply Sergeant
Cpl. Jacob Winters, Communication Sergeant
Cpl. Troy Leonard, Company Clerk
T/5 Leo Ramsey, Armorer
Pfc. Clay Newton, Bugler
Pvt. Albert Samson, Messenger
Pvt. Ricardo Butler, Messenger
Pvt. Karl Roberson, Messenger
Pvt. Timmy Bell, Messenger
Pfc. Santos Clarke, Orderly
 
S/Sgt. Preston Santos, Mess Sergeant
T/4 Roman Scott, Cook
T/4 Garry James, Cook
T/5 Jeff Klein, Cook
T/5 Gilbert Chapman, Cook
Pfc. Dallas Hicks, Cook's Helper
Pvt. Irvin Lowe, Cook's Helper
Pvt. Bennie Pittman, Cook's Helper 

​Medics attached from Battalion
T/4 Harry Milbury
Pfc. Dylan Jackson
Pvt. Randall Robinson

1st Platoon, C Company
Platoon Headquarters
1st Lt. Nathaniel Gonzales, Commander
S/Sgt. Earl Tyler, Platoon Sergeant
Sgt. Don Arnold, Platoon Guide
Pfc. Bill McGuire, Messenger
Pvt. Stewart Casey, Messenger
Pfc. Robin Bradley, Basic Duty
Pfc. Leland Gutierrez, Basic Duty
Pvt. Theodore Barber, Basic Duty
Pvt. Jamie Guerrero, Basic Duty
Pvt. Gerald Gregory, Basic Duty

1st Squad, 1st Platoon
Sgt. Alberto Rodriguez, Squad Leader
Cpl. Dwayne Reyes, Assistant Squad Leader
Pfc. Garrett Weber, BAR Man
Pvt. Courtney Roy, Assistant BAR Man
Pvt. George Morgan, Ammo Bearer
Pfc. Tim Jones, Grenadier
Pfc. Darrin Wolfe, Riflemen
Pvt. Howard Castillo, Riflemen
Pvt. Felix Neal, Riflemen
Pvt. Erik Adams, Riflemen
Pvt. Leroy Carson, Riflemen
Pvt. Virgil Steele, Riflemen

2nd Squad, 1st Platoon
Sgt. Rudolf Taylor, Squad Leader
Cpl. Wayne McGee, Assistant Squad Leader
Pfc. Raymond Parsons, BAR Man
Pvt. Alfred Watkins, Assistant BAR Man
Pvt. Luther Duncan, Ammo Bearer
Pfc. Lorenzo Copeland, Grenadier
Pfc. Nicholas Richards, Riflemen (Scout)
Pvt. Eddie Burns, Riflemen (Scout)
Pvt. Tommy Massey, Riflemen
Pvt. Gerard Wallace, Riflemen
Pvt. Shannon Townsend, Riflemen
Pvt. Al Adkins, Riflemen
3rd Squad, 1st Platoon
Sgt. Francis Baldwin, Squad Leader
Cpl. Jeffery Erickson, Assistant Squad Leader
Pfc. Rafael Rivera, BAR Man
Pvt. Randal Wade, Assistant BAR Man
Pvt. Frederick Rodriquez, Ammo Bearer
Pfc. Bob Barton, Grenadier
Pfc. Sidney Berry, Riflemen (Scout)
Pvt. Jerome Santiago, Riflemen (Scout)
Pvt. Lyle Richardson, Riflemen
Pvt. Charles Blair, Riflemen
Pvt. Duane Cox, Riflemen
Pvt. Byron Martin, Riflemen
2nd Platoon, C Company
Platoon Headquarters
1st Lt. Nathan Paddock, Commander
Sgt. Stephen Hernandez, Platoon Sergeant
Pfc. John Myerson, Radioman

Pfc. Charlie Gammell, Sniper
Pfc. Jackson Hebert, Spotter

Sgt. Woodrow Sherman, Platoon Guide
Pfc. Theodore Erickson, Messenger
Pvt. Robert Jennings, Messenger
Pvt. Luke Houston, Basic Duty
Pvt. Will Jones, Basic Duty
Pvt. Fred Strickland, Basic Duty
Pvt. Peter Romanov, Basic Duty
Pvt. Irving Dixon, Basic Duty

1st Squad, 2nd Platoon
Sgt. Jack Wilson, Squad Leader
Cpl. Melvin Katz, Assistant Squad Leader
Pvt. Chris McWhorter, BAR Man
Pvt. Luther Thomas, Assistant BAR Man
Pvt. Cecil Brown, Ammo Bearer
Pvt. Caleb Christensen, Grenadier
Pvt. Brad Gonzales, Riflemen (Scout)
Pfc. Alexander Boone, Riflemen (Scout)
Pvt. Anthony Lewis, Riflemen
Pvt. Justin Long, Riflemen
Pfc. Bogdan Nowak, Riflemen
Pvt. Bill Zielinski, Riflemen

2nd Squad, 2nd Platoon
Sgt. Greg Jenkins, Squad Leader
Cpl. Hilario Santos, Assistant Squad Leader
Pvt. Henry McTeague, BAR Man
Pvt. Rick McCarthy, Assistant BAR Man
Pfc. Harry Mitchell, Ammo Bearer
Pvt. Derek Carson, Grenadier
Pvt. John Kilpatrick, Riflemen (Scout)
Pvt. Dave Hudson, Riflemen (Scout)
Pvt. Frank Genovese, Riflemen
Pvt. Peter Moreno, Riflemen
Pvt. Donald Adkins, Riflemen
Pvt. Curtis Lambert, Riflemen

3rd Squad, 2nd Platoon
Sgt. Flavio Gentile, Squad Leader
Cpl. Diego Pena, Assistant Squad Leader
Pfc. Franklin Barnett, BAR Man
Pvt. Ken Buchanan, Assistant BAR Man
Pvt. Javier Munoz, Ammo Bearer
Pfc. Homer Ginter, Grenadier
Pvt. Riley Taggert, Riflemen (Scout)
Pvt. Jeb McCall, Riflemen (Scout)
Pvt. Joe Gray, Riflemen
Pvt. Ross Flowers, Riflemen
Pvt. Thomas Spencer, Riflemen
Pvt. Edgar Freeman, Riflemen

3rd Platoon, C Company
Platoon Headquarters
2nd Lt. Ricky Frazier, Platoon Commander
S/Sgt. Bob Poole, Platoon Sergeant
Sgt. Vernon Owens, Platoon Guide
Pvt. Anthony Valdez, Messengers
Pvt. Morris Watson, Messengers
Pfc. Roberto Rogers, Basic Duty
Pfc. Dwight Fleming, Basic Duty
Pvt. Christopher Ellis, Basic Duty
Pvt. Abel Simpson, Basic Duty
Pvt. Earnest Gibson, Basic Duty
1st Squad, 3rd Platoon
Sgt. Cliff Davis, Squad Leader
Cpl. Glen Moss, Assistant Squad Leader
Pfc. Tomas Lopez, BAR Man
Pvt. Jose Warner, Assistant BAR Man
Pvt. Carlos Farmer, Ammo Bearer
Pfc. Johnnie Ingram, Grenadier
Pfc. Billy Matuszak , Riflemen (Scout)
Pvt. John Malcolm, Riflemen (Scout)
Pvt. Curt Bixby, Riflemen
Pvt. Lowell Vargas, Riflemen
Pvt. Dominic Norman, Riflemen
Pvt. Guy O'Brien, Riflemen

2nd Squad, 3rd Platoon
Sgt. Samuel Carroll, Squad Leader
Cpl. Jack Foster, Assistant Squad Leader
Pfc. Mitchell Chavez, BAR Man
Pvt. Terrance Dean, Assistant BAR Man
Pvt. Perry Francis, Ammo Bearer
Pfc. Bruce Boone, Grenadier
Pfc. Manny Day, Riflemen (Scout)
Pvt. Adrian Elliott, Riflemen (Scout)
Pvt. Wilson Shaw, Riflemen
Pvt. Melvin Gonzalez, Riflemen
Pvt. Terrence Johnston, Riflemen
Pvt. Rufus Curry, Riflemen
3rd Squad, 3rd Platoon
Sgt. Lucas Cole, Squad Leader
Cpl. Ed Brewer, Assistant Squad Leader
Pfc. Fred Banks, BAR Man
Pvt. Willard Lynch, Assistant BAR Man
Pvt. Donald Phelps, Ammo Bearer
Pfc. Neal Mendoza, Grenadier
Pfc. Elbert Burke, Riflemen (Scout)
Pvt. Bill Schneider, Riflemen (Scout)
Pvt. Dominick Kim, Riflemen
Pvt. Casey Santiago, Riflemen
Pvt. Jan Cannon, Riflemen
Pvt. Timmy Fox, Riflemen
Weapons Platoon
Platoon Headquarters
2nd Lt. Herman Jacobsen, Platoon Commander
S/Sgt. Walter Copeland, Platoon Sergeant
Cpl. Ernest Rodgers, Transport Corporal
Pfc. Roosevelt Munoz, Messengers
Pvt. Forrest Barrett, Messengers
Pfc. Bryan Garza, Drivers
Pvt. Glenn Rose, Drivers
 
Light Machine Gun Section
Section HQ
Sgt. Percy Holland, Section Leader
Pvt. Carroll Jensen, Messenger
Pvt. Aaron Stevens, Basic Duty

1st LMG Squad
Cpl. Judd Maxwell, Squad Leader
Pfc. Jim Weber, Gunner
Pvt. Eugene King, Assistant Gunner
Pvt. Brad Chapman , Ammo Bearer
Pvt. Steve Pacheco, Ammo Bearer

2nd LMG Squad
Cpl. John Andrews, Squad Leader
Pfc. Louis Gilbert, Gunner
Pvt. Jerome Jennings, Assistant Gunner
Pvt. Ray Cooper, Ammo Bearer
Pvt. Frank Todd, Ammo Bearer

Mortar Section
Section HQ
Sgt. Marshall Vega, Section Leader
Pvt. Victor King, Messenger
Pvt. Hector Roberson, Basic Duty
Pvt. Stuart Craig, Basic Duty

1st Mortar Squad
Cpl. Brett Lane, Squad Leader
Pfc. Arnold Walker, Gunner
Pvt. Sidney Mason, Assistant Gunner
Pvt. Mo Romero, Ammo Bearer
Pvt. Bill Mendez, Ammo Bearer

2nd Mortar Squad
Cpl. Chris Richardson, Squad Leader
Pfc. Christian Burns, Gunner
Pvt. Otis Ramos, Assistant Gunner
Pvt. Roman Bowen, Ammo Bearer
Pvt. Jimmy Wong, Ammo Bearer

3rd Mortar Squad
Cpl. Leroy Rhodes, Squad Leader
Pfc. Alvin Day, Gunner
Pvt. Randolph Farmer, Assistant Gunner
Pvt. Andrew O'Brien, Ammo Bearer
Pvt. Rene Robinson, Ammo Bearer

Yay! More lists! (And thank you Internet for those Random Name Generators!)

I'll be back on Sunday with another episode of To the Rhine, the Americans are getting ready for a Christmas party for the Belgian kids near Aubel, Belgium. Meanwhile the dastardly Huns are getting ready to attack!

Stay tuned.




¹ Table of Organization and Equipment

44 comments:

  1. Some good mid-20th century American names there Sarge, no "cute" spellings either. Those German MGs just look nasty.

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  2. Hey Old AFSarge;

    Love the detail and the German MG's yep the GI's called them "Hitlers Zippers" because of the rate they fired, even Willie and Joe had a cartoon played on that. I remember seeing some of the Bulge pictures showing the German troops using American weapons, especially one dude with a .45ACP, but he was in several pics and I wonder if he was a "propaganda" soldier because he was in several pictures and he had that "Aryan" look going, if you know what I mean.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I know the footage you're referring to, SS troops advancing with burning US vehicles in the background? Those scenes are from a German film which was staged as if to represent real combat. Those were real soldiers though and the same guys appear in a number of scenes, all taken from the same footage.

      Delete
  3. Hey, Sarge - you forgot the G43 on the German side - they made several hundred thousand of them, about the same number as StG 44's and fitted quite a few with scopes for designated marksman role. And yeah, the German MG's were damn good - we based the design of our later M60 on the MG42, although it can be argued the MG42 was the better of those two guns.
    Once again, I'm impressed with the detail of your background information - no wonder the situations in your writing seem so realistic!

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    Replies
    1. I didn't forget it, four of the snipers in the Grenadierkompanie actually carry them, the scoped version. The idea was to show the most common weapons carried in Kampfgruppe von Lüttwitz. I showed the Luger (nobody in Kampfgruppe von Lüttwitz carries one) as it's a popular pistol with Americans and it shows the difference between the P 08 and the P 38.

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  4. I think the pistol in the photo ( if it's the one I'm thinking of) is a Browning P-35 ( the soegennant "High Power"). Family resemblance don'tcha know.
    Great detail Sarge and a LOT of work even with the name generator. Speaking of names, I notice that every one of Lt. Paddock's assistant squad leaders had a "hispanic" looking name. Coincidence? I'm liking these guys ( especially Esteban) and their "backstories" (again Sgt Hernandez in particular).
    I've served with some amazing people from all backgrounds - with the usual allotment of clinkers. Your note on the E-8/9 has some merit, though SOF is kinda rank-heavy and that's OK in some instances (served with some very good MCPO's and MSG's especially). HOWEVER, the "command" version are all too often "politicians" who long ago lost touch with their enlisted roots and there are few things worse than that.
    I will note that in a very demanding assignment I had a CMSgt working for me who was outstanding! His replacement was a MSgt (USAF also) who was as good if a little less experienced
    Boat Guy

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    Replies
    1. the photos Sarge posted were labelled correctly - although the Nazis used a lot of P-35 (High Power) pistols when they took control of the FN plants in Belgium and steered production to their own forces.

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    2. Boat Guy - I don't know of any useless senior NCOs in special ops, but I never served with any. I assume you're referring to the photo MrGaribaldi references above? The photo I placed above is definitely an M1911. But yes, the Germans did use Browning Hi Powers to a limited extent. I did find that photo, and yes, the SS trooper in question is carrying a P 35. (And he's in a lot of stills from that footage. I seem to recall an article I read a while back where they actually traced the guy, had his name and most of the details on him, I'll have to track that down.)

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    3. Tom - In the photo MrG refers to, the guy is carrying a P 35. Why he has it in his hand is probably the cameraman's idea, rear area pogue that he probably was. (The cameraman, not the guy with the pistol.)

      Delete
    4. Hey Old AFSarge'

      "Google" Battle of the Bulge Hans Tragarsky, he was the SS soldier I remembered seeing in all the pics, the Pistol was a Browning High Power.

      Delete
    5. That's the guy and the picture I remember.

      Delete
    6. Ahh, thanks, guys - I was thinking of just the photos in the post, didn't realize y'all were referring to another source. Thanks for the reference, Mr. G - I now see what you mean - one pic holding the P35 in his right hand with trigger on or near the trigger guard, and another pic with the P35 in his left hand being gripped 'backwards' around the frame and slide. (The High Power was the first semi auto pistol I ever owned, so it has a special meaning for me - and I now have three of them, a couple of them having been customized.)

      Delete
    7. We do charge off on tangents from time to time!

      Delete
  5. Sarge - after I read and commented here, I read this entry in a GUNS magazine blog - I think you'll enjoy it, the first anecdotes about the Battle of the Bulge are relevant to your story. https://gunsmagazine.com/odd-angry-shot/snapshots/
    The title to the blog post, The Little Things Can Outshine “The Big Picture”, also speaks to your writing - individual stories are what make the big picture!
    Thanks again!

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  6. Sarge, what the heck is a Senior Colonel in the US Army (or Armed Forces)? Spent a lot of time with the Army and read a lot of books about WWII, but have never heard that term mentioned other than in the context of "not gonna make General, waiting for 30". So senior by date of rank to most other O-6's. Those folks were usually EXCELLENT bosses, Vegas was one, my boss at CINCPAC another. Both outstanding, mission oriented and excellent BS deflectors.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay, Senior Colonel isn't a rank, that's in there to show that an SS-Oberführer lies somewhere between O-6 and O-7. I should have indicated that. I have heard the term "Senior Captain" in the Navy to refer to an officer who isn't going to get his flag but is still awfully good at his/her job so they stay in until they retire. My daughters' Professor of Naval Science at Holy Cross was one such man. All he had to do to make admiral was do a Pentagon tour, he turned it down. You can probably understand that reasoning.

      When he was on active duty he had the most "at sea" time of any officer O-6 and above, he once told the kids that a "sailor belongs at sea, not at a desk." He lived that philosophy, the kids loved the guy, a damned fine man and officer.

      Vegas sounds like him.

      Delete
  7. Not one Miller or Smith? C'mon, every command I was with always had a Miller or a Smith, usually both. Not criticizing, just pointing out a fact. On the CV we used to prank the airdales by calling up their berthing compartments ask if Miller or Smith was around and tell them the MAA (Master at arms, think ships police force) wanted to see them. Don't judge, we were young , bored and at sea (and resented the aircrew making the chowlines so long). Ah misspent youth.

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    1. Huh, you're right, no Millers, no Smiths. I think the Germans have a few Müllers and Schmidts though.

      I was in a number of units that had neither, it happens with smaller outfits.

      Delete
    2. In boot we didn't have any Millers, but two Smiths and two O'Briens [with the same initials].

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    3. Note that there are two O'Briens in Charlie Company.

      Delete
    4. I am glad there are no Olsons, you are hard on them! I wish we could have found out why he was called Ollie.

      Delete
    5. His army buddies always called him Ollie. They weren't from Wisconsin...

      Delete
  8. And that's if the German unit isn't equipped with captured weapons. Sure, all the pistols may be 9mm, but... so at least those all use the same ammo. Not the same mags or pieces parts...

    But rifles? Oy vey!

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    Replies
    1. Kampfgruppe von Lüttwitz is uniformly equipped according to German regulations. No deviations will be tolerated!

      😉

      Delete
  9. Tiny nit. The BAR in the photo is the WW2 issue M1918A2 with bipod and "ears" along side the magazine. Caption indicates M1918, which lacked those features. The M1911A1 pistol and caption are correctly matched.

    Great work at getting the organization and details right, so thought you might want to correct this tiny deviation from perfection.
    JB

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    Replies
    1. I didn't specify the model of BAR in the photo, the source correctly identifies it as the M1918A2. Not an error, just an omission.

      Delete
  10. BAR v the Bren gun? Bren gun wins every time.
    Retired

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    Replies
    1. I won't argue that, the Bren is a fine weapon.

      Delete
  11. Sarge, fwiw, Dad brought back two P-38s he "liberated" from some Waffen SS types when his 42nd Rainbow Div liberated a major sub-camp of Dachau. (to inclu their armbands and epaulettes, collar tabs, etc.) Plus an old Navy NCOIC Chief who served on a DD in the Med on EIUs faculty and good friend of Dads (who was head tennis & roundball coach) gave me a full-sized Naval NAZI Battle-flag he had "acquired" during his tour. Of course today if I were found with such things I'd be declared a "skinhead Nazi right-wing extremist" and a danger to the Republic. :)

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  12. PS to the above: As a Regimental Intel Officer, Dad acquired/took MANY thoroughly gruesome pics taken on site, many copies of which he brought home and kept hidden--only stumbled across them years later-a sight to see indeed..

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  13. You have the makings of a whole novel here, Sarge!

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  14. Sarge, did certain units or ranks carry Thompson Submachine guns? I thought I remember them in either photos or movies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm still digging into that but initial research indicates that the weapon wasn't issued to American line infantry units. It was issued to British and Canadian commando units, U.S. Paratroopers, and Marine Raiders.

      The movies like to show sergeants carrying the Thompson, but it wasn't an issue item.

      Delete

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