This page contains various photos of a pistol I once legally owned until the Government recinded the authorisation for the public to own one. The photos will be at least 20 years old ( mostly black and white ) and published for those who although interested may never again have the chance to see the detail.

          Colt  Mod.1911A1 in 45ACP

Although many countries made this pattern under license, my pistol was made by Colt themselves.

This gun was either never issued or possibly refurbished but from close inspection of the poor lettering it may have been wartime manufactured.

The Browning style pistol was put forward for appraisal in 1906 and this variant gained favour over other makes under test. It served the USA well through two World Wars and beyond, being as lethal today as it was then.

                              Remove magazine and check contents                                                                  Unload magazine (Maximum 7 rounds) 

                           Pull back slide to confirm gun is empty. 

                Press recoil spring cap and move barrel bushing aside.

                             Withdraw recoil spring and end cap.

                        Swing barrel bushing to other side and remove. 

   Push slide rearward until locking catch is aligned with slide notch. Pressure on pin from other side of frame enables it to be withdrawn, unlocking barrel.

                Barrel and slide can now be removed from frame. 

                  Notice the link that attaches the barrel to the frame. 

Showing how the bullet seats flush in the barrel. Too far in or out and the gun could malfunction. No special tools are needed for general cleaning.

        Rather than have the Government destroy this perfectly good gun, I allowed it to be imported back to the USA where someone else will cherish it.

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Alvin C York, farmboy and reluctant hero of WW1 

 OCTOBER 8th 1918
  The day Alvin C. York captured 132 German Prisoners with a Springfield rifle and Colt 45 Auto pistol.

He's portrayed in the film carrying a Sprinfield M1903 yet the US Army issued him with a M1917

   

This action gained him the USA's highest award, the (Congressional) Medal of Honor.

See him on YouTube  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GntoM1uoCN0&NR=1

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From the official report made by officers of the Eighty-Second Division to General Headquarters:

The part which Corporal York individually played in this attack (the capture of the Decauville Railroad) is difficult to estimate. Practically unassisted, he captured 132 Germans (three of whom were officers), took about thirty-five machine guns, and killed no less than twenty-five of the enemy, later found by others on the scene of York's extraordinary exploit.
This story has been carefully checked in every possible detail from headquarters of this division and is entirely substantiated.
Although York's statement tends to underestimate the desperate odds which he overcame, it has been decided to forward to higher authority the account given in his own name.
The success of this assault had a far reaching effect in relieving the enemy pressure against American forces in the heart of the Argonne Forest.
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Coming from the hills of Tennessee, Alvin found himself drafted into the US army much against his religious convictions. He found himself and many others advancing under heavy enemy machine gun fire until most of the assault were either dead or wounded. With a few survivors they managed to come upon the German position from the rear and promptly took 20 or more prisoners. Realising the events happening behind them, the machine gun crews turned, opened fire and pinned them down again. Alvin decided he had little choice but to charge and engage them.

In his diary he describes one event ...

"In the middle of the fight a German officer and five men done jumped out of a trench and charged me with fixed bayonets. They had about twenty-five yards to come and they were coming right smart. I only had about half a clip left in my rifle; but I had my pistol ready. I done flipped it out fast and teched them off, too.

I teched off the sixth man first; then the fifth; then the fourth; then the third; and so on. That's the way we shoot wild turkeys at home. You see we don't want the front ones to know that we're getting the back ones, and then they keep on coming until we get them all. Of course, I hadn't time to think of that. I guess I jes naturally did it. I knowed, too, that if the front ones wavered, or if I stopped them the rear ones would drop down and pump a volley into me and get me.
Then I returned to the rifle, and kept right on after those machine guns. I knowed now that if I done kept my head and didn't run out of ammunition I had them. So I done hollered to them to come down and give up. I didn't want to kill any more'n I had to. I would tech a couple of them off and holler again. But I guess they couldn't understand my language, or else they couldn't hear me in the awful racket that was going on all around. Over twenty Germans were killed by this time."

The Hollwood film version (why let the truth get in the way of a good story) has Gary Cooper as Alvin using Luger pistols taken off dead German soldiers but in his diary Alvin plainly states...

"...... this German major said, "How many (men) have you got?" and I said, "I have got a-plenty," and pointed my pistol at him all the time.
In this battle I was using a rifle and a .45 Colt automatic pistol.

So I lined the Germans up in a line of twos, and I got between the ones in front, and I had the German major before me. So I marched them straight into those other machine guns and I got them.
The German major could speak English as well as I could. Before the war he used to work in Chicago. And I told him to keep his hands up and to line up his men in column of twos, and to do it in double time. And he did it. And I lined up my men that were left on either side of the column, and I told one to guard the rear. I ordered the prisoners to pick up and carry our wounded. I wasn't a-goin' to leave any good American boys lying out there to die. So I made the Germans carry them. And they did.
And I takened the major and placed him at the head of the column and I got behind him and used him as a screen. I poked the automatic in his back and told him to hike. And he hiked."

The German officer didn't realise that there were only about 8 "Doughboys" still alive capable of escorting them.

You can read Alvin's own words at    http://acacia.pair.com/Acacia.Vignettes/The.Diary.of.Alvin.York.html  

Clips of this action according to Hollywood's 1941 film can be found on YouTube.

 

Various newsreels and tributes are also to be found on YouTube.

Here's one   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykxFFUziQGc&feature=endscreen&NR=1

Another       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=931_bb-kJ0U&feature=related

Plenty more references, some good and some not so.

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So what about the most decorated US soldier of WW2 then?          Audie Murphy?    Hollywood again?

Think.. MSG Llewellyn M. Chilson, 45th. Div.                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWjYpNVQves

More to come when I've researched it.

 
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