Original U.S. WWII Colt Browning M1917A1 .30 Caliber Machine Gun Tripod with Cradle - Dated 1945
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very to find 1945 dated Colt Browning M1917A1 Tripod, with cradle fork head, and comes complete with original data plate, brass bezel and hardware. Offered in very good condition with much original paint on the legs, and is totally solid and usable. The cross head does look to have been serviced recently, and we have tested the traverse and elevation controls, which are all fully functional.
Data plate reads:
Under the plate there is still an original leather strap for securing the legs, which has an intact buckle, though the loop next to it has come loose. We have only had a few of these available in the past, so act quickly, as this will definitely not last long!
The Browning M1917A1 .30 Caliber Machine Gun was 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.
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