Original U.S. WWII Browning M1917A1 Display Machine Gun With Tripod and Ammo Box

Item Description

Original Item and New Made Items: Only One Available. This gun is a newly made steel and aluminum non-firing display Browning M1917 Machine Gun, while the tripod, cradle, and wood ammunition box, are totally original World War One production, most likely then re-issued during WWII. We also have included a short strip of linked dummy ammo to enhance the look.

The tripod and cradle are offered in excellent condition, the cast brass tripod data plate on the rear leg reads:


Crown Cork & Seal Company of Baltimore was one of two manufacturers that made around 20,000 1917 tripod in the closing years of WW1. The inside of the crosshead is marked: D7410 / U.S. M1917A1, indicating that this tripod was brought up to M1917A1 specifications during the 1920s-1930s.

The M1917 wood ammunition box is totally original with working closure clasp and no cracks or breaks. It has the angled corner specific to early production models, which was removed for the later M1917A1 specification.

All in all this is a wonderful display set of a very hard to find WW2 U.S. Machine Gun made famous by Sergeant John Basilone (November 4, 1916 - February 19, 1945). He was a United States Marine Gunnery Sergeant who received the nation's highest military award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for heroism during the Battle of Guadalcanal in World War II. He was the only enlisted Marine to receive both the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross in World War II.

During the Battle for Henderson Field, his unit came under attack by a regiment of approximately 3,000 soldiers from the Japanese Sendai Division. On October 24, 1942, Japanese forces began a frontal attack using machine guns, grenades, and mortars against the American heavy machine guns. Basilone commanded two sections of machine guns that fought for the next two days until only Basilone and two other Marines were left standing. Basilone moved an extra gun into position and maintained continual fire against the incoming Japanese forces. He then repaired and manned another machine gun, holding the defensive line until replacements arrived. As the battle went on, ammunition became critically low. Despite their supply lines having been cut off by enemies in the rear, Basilone fought through hostile ground to resupply his heavy machine gunners with urgently needed ammunition. When the last of it ran out shortly before dawn on the second day, Basilone held off the Japanese soldiers attacking his position using his pistol. By the end of the engagement, Japanese forces opposite their section of the line were virtually annihilated. For his actions during the battle, he received the United States military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor.

Afterwards, Private First Class Nash W. Phillips, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, recalled from the battle for Guadalcanal:

Basilone had a machine gun (M1917) on the go for three days and nights without sleep, rest, or food. He was in a good emplacement, and causing the Japanese lots of trouble, not only firing his machine gun, but also using his pistol.

History of the Browning M1917:

The M1917 Browning machine gun is a heavy machine gun used by the United States armed forces in World War I, World War II, Korea, and to a limited extent in Vietnam; it has also been used by other nations. It was a crew served, belt-fed, water-cooled machine gun that served alongside the much lighter air-cooled Browning M1919. It was used at the battalion level, and often mounted on vehicles (such as a jeep). There were two main iterations of it: the M1917, which was used in World War I; and the M1917A1; which was used thereafter. The M1917, which was used on some aircraft as well as in a ground role, had a firing rate of 450 rounds per minute; the M1917A1 had a firing rate of 450 to 600 rounds per minute.

The Model 1917A1 was again used in the Second World War, and was primarily used with the M2 ball, tracer, and armor-piercing ammunition introduced just prior to the outbreak of hostilities. Some were supplied to the UK for use by the Home Guard since all production of the .303 Vickers were needed to resupply the equipment abandoned during the Fall of France. The M1917's weight and bulk meant that it was generally employed as a fixed defense or as a battalion or regimental support weapon. At the fierce battle of Momote Airstrip in the Admiralties, the US Army's 5th Cavalry machinegunners killed several hundred Japanese in one night using their M1917 Brownings; one gun was left in position after the battle as a memorial to the desperate struggle.

M1917 and M1917A1 Ammunition Chests:

The machine gun used a wooden ammunition chest that carried 250 rounds.

The early M1917 model had an angled corner and a leather strap handle on top.

The later M1917A1 model had a square corner and a cloth strap handle on top.

The wooden ammunition belt chest was replaced during WWII by the expendable metal Box Ammunition M1 adopted May 6, 1942. On June 20, 1945, a modified version known as the M1A1 was adopted. The M1A1 had a spring-loaded catch to fasten it to the M1917A1 tripod more securely and provide a better watertight seal. In the late 1940s the M19 box replaced the earlier metal M1 and M1A1 boxes, and a modified version known as the M19A1 appeared in the early 1950s and continues in use today.

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