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Thread: Harlem Hellfighters rifles???

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
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    Crawfordsville, Arkansas
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    Default Harlem Hellfighters rifles???

    Hey all I am wondering, some of you on here have a lot of serial number data which I think is wonderful. Is there much on the rifles carried by the Harlem Hellfighters and their rifles? And if so, are their serial numbers known too?

  2. #2

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    Harlem Hellfighters rifles.
    In the National Archive there is an Inventory list ,done in 1927,of
    rifles turned in and on hand for Company B,369th NYNG.
    This Unit had previously been the 15th NY,and later the 369th
    Infantry Regiment,better known as "Harlem Hell Fighters".
    These rifles are all 1903s ,most of these rifles are extremely
    low numbers.
    The question is were these rifles sent to France with the 369th?
    Respectfully
    Ed Byrns

  3. #3

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    As I recall, the 369th fought with the French and used French equipment and uniforms, including Lebel or Bethier rifles. The M1903s were left behind.
    "We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst."
    --C.S. Lewis

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    London, Ontario
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    2,289

    Default

    Records of what guy got what weapon were local unit records and were not kept by anybody.
    Like Rick says, they were seconded to the French Army and turned in all their U.S. kit. Had some stones those guys. One guy took one 12 Germans while wounded with a knife and won. Took the U.S. almost 100 years to award him an MOH. French dropped a Croix de Guerre on him right away.
    http://www.businessinsider.com/harle...ighters-2017-4
    Spelling and grammar count!

  5. #5

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    "Records of what guy got what weapon were local unit records and were not kept by anybody.'
    Not a correct statement,National Archive Documents prove otherwise.

    "The M1903s were left behind."
    I do not believe a USNG unit ever left their assigned rifles behind,
    they may have relinquished them when assigned to the French.
    Respectfully submitted
    Ed Byrns

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sunray View Post
    Records of what guy got what weapon were local unit records and were not kept by anybody.
    Like Rick says, they were seconded to the French Army and turned in all their U.S. kit. Had some stones those guys. One guy took one 12 Germans while wounded with a knife and won. Took the U.S. almost 100 years to award him an MOH. French dropped a Croix de Guerre on him right away.
    http://www.businessinsider.com/harle...ighters-2017-4
    If you've actually pulled records at the Natonal Archives, you wouldn't be making that statement regrading what records were kept.

    Yes it is a incorrect statement.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1903fan View Post
    Hey all I am wondering, some of you on here have a lot of serial number data which I think is wonderful. Is there much on the rifles carried by the Harlem Hellfighters and their rifles? And if so, are their serial numbers known too?
    So far I have only found one document concerning the 369th NY NG. It's an inspection of ordnance material at the New York Station beginning on Jan 17, 1917 and continues thru Jan 20, 1927 . Inspection consists of M1903s, M1917s (revolvers) and a couple M1918 BARs, and M1917 Browning Automatic Machine Guns. If the small arm had no issues, a number of the type of firearm with the comment (in good condition) was noted.

    If the firearm had an issue, it's SN was noted, the defect and corrected action which must be taken.

    For instance, some of the issues and their corrective actions documented were.....

    Issue / Corrective action
    "excessive headspace" "to be surveyed"
    "light trigger pull" "replace sear and cocking piece"
    "rear sight slide and binding screw missing" "to be replaced"

    Hope this helps answer your question. This document was pulled from the Chief of Ordnance Files at the National Archives.

    Best wishes.
    Last edited by Smokeeaterpilot; 07-05-2017 at 08:01.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Byrns View Post

    "The M1903s were left behind."
    I do not believe a USNG unit ever left their assigned rifles behind,
    they may have relinquished them when assigned to the French.
    Respectfully submitted
    Ed Byrns
    I admit I am not aware whether their M1903s were left in the U.S. or relinquished in France - I only know the 369th used French weapons and equipment while in combat.
    "We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst."
    --C.S. Lewis

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick the Librarian View Post
    I admit I am not aware whether their M1903s were left in the U.S. or relinquished in France - I only know the 369th used French weapons and equipment while in combat.
    Considerable attention was paid to the Hellfighters in the WWI documentary shown on PBS a few months ago, including photos of them armed with their (ugly) French rifles. However, the poileus were supposed to be better fed than the soldiers of any other army, so perhaps '03s for fresh bread & veggies was a fair exchange.

  10. #10

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    They did appreciate the wine ration, also, as I recall!
    Last edited by Rick the Librarian; 07-15-2017 at 09:45.
    "We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst."
    --C.S. Lewis

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