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svt40

Collectors of world war militaria

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I cannot be the only one out there collecting world war militaria. Lets see what some of you have collected. I know Scotsman has a nice ordnance collection going.

But I'll get the ball rolling with some of my collection.

First off is my 1942 Ford GPW 4x4 1/4 ton truck, aka the jeep. I purchased it in 2004 and have been working on it's restoration ever since. I should have it on the road this summer if all goes well.

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But as a collector I have military items from the 1880's all the way up to current equipment. My main focus has always been WWI and WWIIm, but I've had to begin moving towards more modern equipment as the WWI and WWII gear is getting so much harder to find.

Helmets are something i really like to collect as well as US webgear.

Here is a M1938 tankers helmet as used by the US and some of it's allies during WWII. This is one of those that came out of the large cache of helmets found in Pakistan in the mid 1990's. The goggles are made by Polaroid and are typical of what was used during WWII.

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This helmet is an M1 helmet that was made about 1943.

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It's a stainless steel front seam, swivel bale. In 1941 when the US M1 helmet was first issued, the bales that the chinstraps were attached to were fixed bales that did not move. It was found that they tended to break off. So around late 1943 the military adopted the swivel bale. This movable bale fixed the problem of the bales breaking off.

The early helmets also used a stainless steel rim to protect against the raw edge of the helmet shell. It was found that paint did not adhere well to the stainless steel and that caused a reflection hazard for the soldier. So again in late 1943 or early 1944 the rim material was changed to Hadfield manganese to match the helmet shell. Shortly after this changover the seam was moved to the back of the helmet.

The liner is of the early rayon webbed variety.

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This liners was a high pressure model made by Inland manufacturing and features the early rayon webbing. The sweatband on the earliest version snapped into the liner and came in 13 different sizes. The webbing was retained by square washers that were secured with hollow rivets to the liner. The chinstrap for the liner was also secured using a hollow rivet and was adjustable by a slide buckle.

The web material was later changed to a cotton herring bone twill (HBT) as rayon became a war commodity. The sweatband was also modified to a fully adjustable version so that supply could maintain a stock of 1 adjustable sweatband rather than 13 different sized sweatbands.

The washers that secured the webbing to the shell was also changed to conserve material to an "A" washer. The leather chinstrap was also modified to allow for it's removal rather than being a permanent fixture within the liner.

Edited by svt40

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This liner is typical of what was commonly issued during most of the war.

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As you can now see it is made of HBT material rather than rayon and the washers securing the webbing are now "A" shaped rather than square. Also visible is the adjustable sweatband and the removable leather liner chinstrap.

The second model of liner that was produced is called the low pressure liner.

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It was developed after the Hawley liners were found to be unsuitable for combat use. The low pressure liners were made of resin impregnated cotton duck that was press formed in the shape of the M1 helmet. The earliest ones used the same webbing system as the original Hawleys did (rayon) while the later models used the HBT webbing as this one shows. These liners were alos very short lived as they were deemed too fragile for combat. The liners had a tendency to shatter when struck causing more injuries from the broken liner than would otherwise have happened.

From these experiences came the high pressure liner as shown above. The high pressure liners were used until the beginning of the Vietnam war. During Vietnam a new liner was designed that was stronger and easier to adjust for comfort. Around the mid 1980's the M1 helmet was phased out in favor of the PASGT helmet that is still in use today along with more current variations such as the MICH.

This is a PASGT that was used in 2002 in OIF. It has a DCU (Desert Camoflage Uniform) cover with the 3rd Inf Div SSI and a Sgt rank patch on the front with a retroflective square on the rear top. The retroflective patch has been replaced with an IR ID patch on newer uniforms that aids in identification of friendlies from the air.

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The first helmets issued to our troops were the French made Adrian helmets. These were given to volunteer forces that had joined in WWI prior to the US joining the war.

When the US joined the war they wanted to adopt a helmet for their soldiers. So they looked at the available helmets including the German design. The British however upped the ante when they gave the US forces a large amount of their own Brodie helmets. This forced the US to adopt the British design and they began production of the M1917 helmet.

This particular M1917 belonged to Arthur Selewoncuk from St Paul Minnesota. He was in the 89th infantry L company originally. But when the 89th shipped out "over there" he was transferred to HQ company.

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The US M1917 is identifiable from it's British counterpoint by a few features. ALL US made M1917's will have a rim. The earlier British Brodies have a raw edge with no rim on the helmet. US M1917's also have a rivet in the dome of the shell for the liner. The British version have a screw. The bales on the US M1917 are also rivetted while the Brodies are held in with a split washer. Lastly the British Brodie has a large rubber donut in the top of the helmet for comfort while the US helmets do not. The liners are otherwise identical. oilcloth with rubber donuts contained with a leather lining. The single strap chinstrap was secured to the dome of the shell and went through the two bales on the sides of the shell and was adjusted with a sliding buckle.

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In the late 1930's the US was looking for a new helmet but still had thousands of M1917s in stock so they developed a new liner for the M1917 and called it the M1917A1. A few newly made M1917A1 are encountered but most are often converted M1917s. This is the helmet that is seen in 1941 during the Pacific theater and when Japan bombed Pearl harbor. The US M1 helmet had only been adopted a few months prior and was not in wide service issue as of yet.

This is a M1917 that has been modified to M1917A1 configuration. Gone is the leather chinstrap and it has been replaced with a cotton canvas strap secured to the liner and not the shell. The liner is now retained by a single screw in the dome. Modified M1917's still retain the original bales for the leather chinstrap while newly made M1917A1s no longer have these bales.

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Edited by svt40

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Webgear is US service has changed a lot in the last 100 or so years. We are also the first country to make the changeover from leather to canvas equipment around the 1880's. The gear issued to our troops during this time was also on the forefront of a completely integrated webgear design.

This first item is a M1881 Prairie belt that was manufactured by Mills. It was designed to carry 45-70 cartridges and originally came with a brass plate buckle. It was found that the buckle were very weak and prone to breakage so they modified many of the belts in 1886 to this standard that you see.

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Belts similar to this were also made by Russell but only Mills had the looms capable of weaving a belt with integrally woven loops for ammunition. The Russell belts all have loops that are sewn onto a woven belt.

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In 1903 Mills began constuction of a new type of cartridge belt for the US military. This belt had 9 pockets that carried 10 rounds each of the new US 30.03 ammunition. However this ammunition was found to be inferior to the new German 8mm ammunition with spitzer bullets. So in 1906 the US military changed all their rifles to the new .30 caliber ammunition with spitzer bullets and the 30.06 was born. It was soon discovered that the tips of the new bullets would pierce the pockets on the woven M1903 belts rendering them unservicable. Around 1907 Mills began to weave a new belt with a reinforced pocket for the new spitzer bullets.

M1907 pattern cartridge belt. All pockets are secured with "eagle" snaps. These belts were adjustable for size on the front by adjusted a claw type buckle behind the belt.

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In 1910 a completely new design for webgear was introduced as the long lived M1910 pattern. The M1910 pattern of webgear was used in some form or fasion all the way until Vietnam. Even now parts of this design are still in use with our modern soldiers.

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The M1910 cartidge belts now had 10 pockets and were adjustable in the rear of the belt rather than the front on the earlier M1903 belts. The M1910 belts also did away witht he complecated divider system the earlier belts had and opted to use a simple strap to secure the ammunition in the pocket. Another change was the use of oval grommets on the left bottom half of the belt. This allowed for two items per grommet to be attached. This feature was done away with in 1918 as were the straps holding the ammunition.

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In 1917 more changes were made to the US cartidge belts to ease production. Lift the Dot (LTD) snaps replaced the expensive and fragile eagle snaps. Changes were also made to create a fully sewn together cartidge belt rather than the woven types from earlier. This allow many more companies to produce the belts and greatly increased their production. They also came in two types now as well. A mounted and dismounted version. The mounted was for cavalry troops or often times officers. It had 9 pockets and an empty spot that allow for the attachment of a pouch for either revolver or .45acp ammunition.

Here we see two of the mounted M1910 cartridge belts in the new fully canvas duck sewn together design.

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Here is the same design in the dismounted or infantry version with a full 10 pockets.

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During the interwar years the Army was still working on improving the soldiers webgear based on observations made during WWI. In 1923 a new design was created that improved the old M1910 models. It was dubbed the M1923 cartridge belt. It did away with the limited adjustablility of the old WWI style belts through the use friction buckles rather than claw buckles. The buckles on the front of the belt were made smaller. LTD fasteners were now the norm and making a comeback again was the straps to secure the ammunition in the pockets.

A typical M1923 cartidge belt as manufactured in WWII. This particular one was produced in 1942.

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Here you see the diferrence in the adjustements between the M1910 (bottom) and the M1923 belts (top). Also visible are the elongated grommets in use from 1910-1917 on the bottom belt.

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The now common Lift the Dot fastener

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Open pocket showing the ammunition securing strap and a loaded M1 Garand clip. The belt would hold 80 rounds of ammunition for the M1 Garand or 100 rounds for M1903 series rifles.

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Edited by svt40

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At the end of WWII the only changes to the cartidge belt was to dye them Olive Drab shade #7 (OD7) rather than the earlier WWII color which was Olive Drab shade #3 (OD3)

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These belts remained in use until the early stages of the Vietnam war. In 1956 a new set of webgear was issued designed around the new M14 service rifle.

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In 1967 the M56 gear was considered unsuccessful in a damp jungle environment and the new M1967 gear was introduced. It was similar to the M56 gear except that it was manufactured in nylon rather than cotton duck.

In the 1970's the Army adopted the ALICE or LC-1 webgear. In the 1980's the LC-2 was adopted and it too was later superceded by the current LBE and MOLLE gear.

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Change of pace so let's take a look at German helmets. As most know the Germans started with the Picklehaube during WWI but after horrendous head injuries being reported from the front the Germans adopted the M1916 stahlhelm in...yup you guessed it 1916.

This helmet was revolutionary in it's design and manufacture. The design because of the protection it provides and the fact that most modern armies now use helmets of a similar design. Revolutionary in manufacture because it's a single piece of steel. At this time it was believed that a single piece of steel could not be drawn out to such a shape and remain strong enough to fit the needs.

The first helmets were made in various sizes from size 60 to the largest at size 70. They also had ventilation lugs that provided an attachment point for an armored browplate called a Stirnpanzer. These lugs can often times give an idea to the size of the helmet in question as well. A large size helmet will have just lugs where a small helmet will have thick washers under the lugs. The liners consisted of 3 leather pads sewn to a liner ring. This liner ring was then held to the shell with 3 split pin rivets. The chinstrap was attached to the shell via a spiked pin the same as used on the M1891 picklehaube

This is a German M1916 helmet that was later reissued during the early part of WWII for use as a referee's helmet during training exercises.

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This is an Austrian helmet of similar design. The chinstraps were actually attached tot he liner on the Austrian helmets of the era.

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Split pin holding in the liner band. This one is from a M1931 liner but the WWI liners were similar.

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Three pad liner in the Austrian helmet. Identical to the German version. Usually stuffed with horsehair for comfort.

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The only way to identify what type of helmet you have is if the liner is installed.

M1916- all leather liner including the liner ring, chinstrap attaches to the shell

M1917- leather pads with a metal liner ring, chinstrap attaches to the shell

M1918- leather pads with a metal liner ring, chinstarps attach to the liner with metal clips

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In 1935 the Germans developed the M1935 or M35 stahlhelm. It was shorter than it's WWI predecessor and the lugs for the browplate were removed. It also ustilized the newly developed liner system, the M1931.

These helmts had the raw edge rolled inward to make for a neater appearance and the ventilation lugs were separate parts riveted to the shell. Sizing remained the same as the WWI helmets and was usually stamped near the chinstrap on the skirt of the shell. The early M35 helmets were painted "apple" green or Luftwaffe blue and had both the Adler and tricolor decals for the Heer, the Luft eagle and tricolor for the Luftwaffe and Seigrunes and the party symbol for the Waffen units. The Heer and Luftwaffe both had the tricolor on the right side of the helmet and thier distinctive adler on the left. While the waffen was the opposite with the runes on the right and the party symbol on the left. These decals were readily available by any merchant authorized to sell military goods and were quite inexpensive for the soldier to purchase.

This is my M35 with field applied camoflage consisting of a layer of zimmerit followed by field gray paint. Unfortunately someone has dug the adler out from under the camoflage and ruined the value of the helmet.

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In 1940 the Germans modified the design of the helmet to help speed up the production times by making the vents a stamping in the shell rather than a separate component to be rivetted in. This helmet was called the M1940. It is identical to the M35 except for the ventilation holes. it also used the same M31 liner system. Also in 1940 the services did away with the double decal system and dropped the tri-color and party decals on all new helmets. Soldiers int eh field were to remove the same decals from their current helmets as well. This rule was not strictly enforced and you will often see M40's in both single and double decal configuration.

This is an example of a plain jane M40.

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Again in 1942 production needed to be sped up. So the M1942 or M42 helmet was designed. Gone now is the rolled edge of the helmet leaving the raw edge only. Also in late 1942 to early 1943 the adler was no longer used on the new helmets and once again soldiers in the field were instructed to remove the adler from their helmets. As before this was not strictly enforced.

This is my M42 luftwaffe

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Here are some liner shots of the M31 liner system.

This the liner of an Army (Heer) M40. This one shows blood damage to the leather of the liner from a wounded soldier wearing this helmet.

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This one is also an Army helmet that was previously Luftwaffe as seen by the color of the interior.

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This is a closeup of the chinstrap attachment point as well as a closer look at what blood does to leather.

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Detail of the buckel used to adjust the chinstrap.

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Edited by svt40

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Ok next I'll try to show the evolution of the infantry pack during the 20th century. I do not have pics of everything I have especially the newer stuff like the ALICE gear.

In 1904 the US military was using the same sort of pack as they used in the 1870's. A simple haversack that could be attached to the belt or by a leather strap over the shoulder.

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In 1908 they designed a larger haversack designated the M1908 and both were manufactured concurrently. The one I show in the picture above is a M1904 model manufactured around 1908 or 1909.

In 1910 with the total redesign on the infantry equipment came a new haversack that was worn as an integrated part of the soldiers webgear. The new haversack was meant to carry all the soldiers personal gear as well as their half of a 2 man tent and all their mess utensils including rations.

This is the M1910 haversack as it was originally made.

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This pack was very short lived because it was very time and material consuming to manufacture. In 1912 the M1910 haversack was redesigned with ease of construction and material conservation in mind. The older M1910 was consider limited issue and were discarded, making them very rare to find today. The new haversack of the 1912 design remained labled as the M1910. It had new web straps and new clips for attaching to the webgear. It also introduced a new way to attach the meatcan pouch to the flap of the haversack.

These haversacks were in use all the way until 1945. In 1928 a small redesign was done to the haversack to fix the problem the earlier ones had when a solder was running. This modification was makign the single rear strap into a V shaped setup that stopped the pack from swaying. The mess kit pouch was also modifed to be closed by a strap with a friction buckle rather than the earlier style flat button. This was designated the M1928 haversack. The M1928 haversacks stopped being manufactured around 1942 and a replacment was actively being sought. Seems the soldiers did not like the haversack because it was too complicated to use properly and did not allow the soldier to carry a lot of gear.

M1910 and M1928 haversacks showing a wide variety of colors and manufacturers.

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Edited by svt40

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This is the M1910/1928 haversack in the open position. As you can see it is really a pain to use and if not packed correctly things will fall out.

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These are called pack tails and were attached to the bottom of the M1910/1928 haversack to hold the shelter half/blanket roll. They were quite unpopular and rarely used during WWII.

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In 1936 the military realized they needed a different type of haversack for non infantry troops. Originally designed for armored troops and officers but by wartime it was found in use by many as an alternate to the M1928 haversack.

This new design replaced the haversack and created a quick release pack that was attached to suspenders. This new setup was called the M1936. The first part of this setup was the M1936 suspenders. They attached tot he webgear via clips and provided load bearing for the loaded cartridge belt. These suspenders were made in OD3 canvas and had a small metal "D" ring at the shoulder.

2nd pattern M1936 suspenders.

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Attached to these suspenders would be the M1936 musette bag. This was a much improved pack over the older M1910/1928 version and was well recieved by the troops.

This is a 1942 dated example of the early war version of the M1936 musette bag.

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This is what the whole set looks like when assembled.

This is without the musette bag attached.

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And with the bag attached.

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Then a detail shot of the bag's straps attached to the "D" ring.

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Then the lower strap of the suspenders is removed from the belt and attached to the bottom of the musette bag to stop it from flopping around.

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In 1943 a simplified version was being designed to replace the M1936 suspenders. The result was teh M1943 suspenders. They provided the same use but used less materials to manufacture as well as being much faster to produce.

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Late war musette bag in OD7 and with the E-tool tab.

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These were short lived as well and were only produced for less than a year before being replaced with a whole new pack/suspender system. The new system was called the M1944. It consisted of a new style of suspender. And a new pack with an upper and lower component. The packs were of a conventional bag type design and had a rudimentary water proof barrier. The upper and lower pack were connecting via quick release canvas strapping similar to that used on the assault vests during D-day.

M1944 suspenders

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The M1944 pack system. The upper pack was the combat pack. The lower pack contained everything that was not required for combat and was able to be quickly release.

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The M1944 pack system was also very short lived. While the M1936 musette bag it was meant to replace was produced until 1945 the M1944 pack was produced for less than a year. The quick release system is what doomed this pack to failure. When the canvas got wet it would swell up and the lower packs would not release as intended. But once the canvas dried it shrank and no longer provided a secure hold and the lower packs would then fall off.

So the military took the M1944 and modified it to use friction ladder buckles rather than the quick release fasteners and redesignaed this pack the M1945. Many of the M1944 packs were modifed to this new standard. This makes the M1944 pack in it's original configuration very rare. Unfortunately i do not have any M1945 packs to show. The look almost identical to the M1944 except for some small details.

This is the quick release strap on the lower M44 pack. There were 4 of these on each lower pack, 1 on each side. To make the M45 pack they removed these and added 2 canvas straps that went around the fron and rear of the pack and attached to a new buckle on the upper pack. The quick release components were all cut off and discarded.

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The M45 pack system was in use throughout the Korean war and on into early Vietnam. In 1956 when the army adopted the M1956 gear there was not really a pack in use anymore. The pack had been shrunk down to a simple ruck sack. It was expected that soldiers would only carry what was needed for the patrol and leave the rest back at base camp.

This gave us the M1956 ruck sack.

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In 1961 the M56 ruck was seen as needing some improvement. So the M1961 ruck sack was produced. The differences were the M61 was larger and had a waterproof liner. Both could be used in the exact same manner as before.

Middle of the M1956 gear set is the M1961 ruck. ( I know you saw this pic already but I cannot get a new pic at this time)

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In 1967 the canvas gear was falling apart from the humidity of the Vietnamese theater and a new design was on the table. They basically took the M56 gear and made it in Nylon and called it the M1967.

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some of my stuff...the rest is in the garage...

Nice! Heh we need to set up a display at the next CRS get together now that I live just outside of Dallas.

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Well to piggy back off of Scotsmans pics.

Here is a German Smi35 landmine. Sometimes called a "bouncing betty" When tripped the mine had an ejector charge that would launch the mine about 2-3 feet into the air where it would explode.

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Here is a shot showing the internals of the Smi35.

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Now if you know you have these in the area then you will need something to locate these. That is where the US Army's SCR625 came into play. This was the type of Mine Detector used by the US military during WWII. This one is a C model that was later updated to the H model. The H model modification added addition parts to allow for the engineer to lay prone or kneel while searching for mines rather than standing. This gave the engineer added protection while performing his sweeps while under fire. It additionally gave more protection against the accidental discharge of a landmine.

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Dumb question, but does that mine still work?

Also where could I get one? I have a german stickgrenade and a bouncing betty would go great with my collection.

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Dumb question, but does that mine still work?

Also where could I get one? I have a german stickgrenade and a bouncing betty would go great with my collection.

The mine was rendered inert before I purchased it. It was actually a ground dug mine from Poland. I bought it many years ago and no longer have the website. Basically the digger found it with a metal detector, dug it up, disarmed it then cleaned it up. I think I paid less than $75 USD for it at the time.

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Nice! Heh we need to set up a display at the next CRS get together now that I live just outside of Dallas.

Sounds great - hopefully they have a convention some day soon again,,,

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