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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Dear friends,

Giving the passing of several friends and enthusiasts during the past weeks, I thought it was a good idea to bring some good news to lift it up the overall mood.
I know I have not been as active as before in the forum and I apologize for that, I hope to redeem myself with this explanation.

As many of you already knows, I have been working as a volunteer curator (i.e., for free) for the São Paulo Police Museum, here in Brazil for the last four years. During this time, beside catalog and taking care of the firearms, I decide to engage in an aggressive campaign to fill the gaps in our collection. Given the general anti-gun feeling that permeates the museums, we are fortunate to have a Director (former police officer) that enjoy firearms and it is committed with the idea to assemble one of the best gun collections to be visited in our country.

We sent requisitions to the Brazilian Army and Navy, to Taurus Firearms Co. and other institutions, requesting the donation of historical firearms that, otherwise, will be deliberately destroyed and melted. Auctions for civilians or sale to international surplus dealers are currently out of question, because of the today's legislation. Despite this scenario and all the COVID related issues, it seems that we are finally starting to reap what we sow.

Near the end of October 2020, and after a full one-year long process, we finally received from the Brazilian Marine Corps a donation comprising 47 historical firearms:

- 6 M1911A1 pistols

- 1 Smith & Wesson M1917 Brazilian Contract

- 7 Thompson M1 SMG (all Savage made)

- 5 M3 Grease Gun SMG (all Guide Lamp made)

- 4 M1 Garands (all Springfield made)

- 5 Browning M1919A4 machine guns

- 9 Mauser M1908 Brazilian Contract rifles

- 10 Mauser FI M954 short rifles.

The US made guns were part of the former US Navy vessels bought by the Brazilian Navy between 1951 and 1970, which came complete with their armories. So these are NOT “safe queens”, as many were refurbished during their long career that, in some cases, lasted until the late 1980s and, later, they sat in dirty warehouses in the tropical Rio de Janeiro city. However, for us, at the museum, this donation has a special meaning as we know that what was left behind will ended up in the furnace – as already happened with around sixty M1911A1 pistols. That is why I feel that we are truly mavericks in that museum.

Now the reason why I had scale down my participation here it is because every Saturday I drive to the museum to surveil in detail what is with us and clean everything (and they are really dirty). But working alone (sometimes I take my 10 years old son with me), this will take a lot of effort and time. In addition, we made it clear that we want all the guns in working condition and nothing will be deactivated. At most one or two internal pieces removed temporarily for display purposes. We want firearms, not a chunk of useless iron.

As a final note, we are expecting to receive further donation from the Brazilian Army (including a collection of a deceased gun collector) – which will also comprise some WWII artillery – and a Taurus full display of their current armament.

Sorry for the long text, but I thought you would like to know that, somewhere, we are still fighting to preserve historical firearms.

Take care everybody!
Douglas.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
The guns were transported from Brazilian Marine Corps gun depot in
Rio de Janeiro to the port of Santos, in the São Paulo State, by a patrolling vessel.
All the guns were tucked inside a single big wooden crate, and we found this when arrived there:

Sem título.jpg


641060
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
From the port of Santos, a truck with this material (with a armed escort) made a 50 miles road trip to the museum.
When we opened the box, this is what we found, in "as is" condition: the guns clearly sat in the Navy Armory depot for decades. A lot of work to do.
20201023_072333.jpg 20201024_124257.jpg 20201024_124604.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The initial work was to identify what we had received and put some order in it.
Among the stuff some small treasures as a Union Switch & Signal M1911A1 - more about it later.
Then, starting to clean some stuff to have at least two of each ready to display.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
After three months of hard working, some of the guns are emerging renewed.
Here are one of the Grease Guns, M1 Thompson and M1 Garand that are ready to go. However we are think of get a M1 Garand stock for display purposes. The wood part on every firearms are pretty much worn.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Here are some better pictures I made for the sidearms.
All 1911s have US 1960s replacement barrels. But otherwise, they look pretty good.
The problem is: none of the two Colt-made frames came with matching slides.
One came with a Colt 70s Mark IV slide and the other with a blank replacemnet slide from the 1960s (with a US Army contract number).
Now I need to find at least one correct slide for those. Well, nothing is perfect, isn't it?
The S&W 1917 is suprisingly with its original finish and even the grips are numbered to the gun. This is one of the 25,000 guns that were in the first batch delivered in 1937-1938.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Finally, the Union Switch & Signal M1911A1.
We are going to prepare a exposition of the US guns that were issued to the Brazilian Expeditionary Force in Italy, during WWII, and this trio of M1911A1s will be a highlight of the display, together with the SMGs. As said, we are not ashamed of showing historical weapons, and this is a gorgeous trio to have.
That's all for now. I hope you enjoy it.
Douglas.
 

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Bravo!! Standing Ovation!!!
I shudder to think how many historic weapons wind up melted after police "buy-back" programs and misguided legislation preventing the transfer of historic arms to museums, etc.
 

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This is outstanding! I moved it to the New Collector area and made it a sticky.

Well done my friend!

Ed

PS - having watched and received a CMP 1911a1 - what came from the army are very few matching uppers and lowers. In cleaning, in rebuilds, etc, seldom were they kept 'intact'. As examples, we'd like them 'matched' but the reality is that unless brought back by a GI or sold via DCM, seldom are they matched. My Remington Rand is upper and lower, but the upper is a slightly later version than the frame. Point is, that if they likely came from the ship like that, its an official build (or was mixed up on the ship).
 
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Finally, the Union Switch & Signal M1911A1.
We are going to prepare a display of the US guns that were issued to the Brazilian Expeditionary Force in Italy, during WWII, and this trio of M1911A1s will be a highlight of the display, together with the SMG. As said, we are not ashamed of display historical weapons, and this is a fantastic display to have.
That's all for now. I hope you enjoy it.
Douglas.
Very cool! I assume you will include the banners and patches worn by the “smoking snakes” during the Italian Campaign. How well do Brazilians know of their participation as one of the Allies? Is this something they spend much time teaching to students?
 

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Good work, Douglas,
It looks like your efforts are beginning to pay big.
Pat
 
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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Folks,
Thanks for all the comments.
It was a team work, but it was one of the most exciting things I ever done in my life concerning our collecting interest.

Regarding Brazil's role in WWII almost nothing is said in schools, and when it is mentioned, it is only as a footnote.
However, we strongly addressed this subject in our museum by displaying the uniform of a Brazilian MP in Italy (1944-45) and a Woman's War Auxiliary Force (that acted as Civil Defense force in the homefront).

But why a WWII display in a Police Museum?

It is important to note that the São Paulo Police Force took an important role inside the Brazilian Expeditionary Force.
Until 1943, the Brazilian Army lacked a military police (MP) force of its own but when the Brazilian Expeditionary Force was activated, its whole structure was reformed to comply with the U.S. Army Table of Organization and Equipment (TOE). This required the FEB to have at least one MP Company for the division. In order to save time on training they simply picked up an entire Police Company from the one of the branches of the State of São Paulo’s Police Force. Seventy eight policemen from State of São Paulo left Brazil for Italy with the first echelon of the FEB, as the first members of the Brazilian Military Police. As more soldiers arrived, the number of Brazilians MPs increased to a company, with around 180 men; the policemen from São Paulo forming its core.

They all wore the U.S. black armband with white “MP” letters on their left uniform sleeve and M1 helmets with a red band painted around and the Brazilian National Flag between the initials “MP” and the Fifth Army insignia on the right side. They also adopted the same crossed Harper’s Ferry Model 1805 flintlock pistols insignia on their shirt collars (made of gray cloth, instead of the U.S. Army yellow). Interestingly, when they returned the São Paulo Police adopted the crossed pistol insignia, which is still in use today. The Brazilian Army finally established a permanent Military Police Company, officially called “Army Police” (“Polícia do Exército” or simply “PE”).

Here is the uniform display showing the MP soldier (most of it, including the M1 helmet is made with reproductions - only two known original helmets survived). Also, I am attaching some historical pictures to give you all a historical background.
Now I am preparing the guns to be put in exhibition in two other displays (with the related medals and insignia).
01.jpeg 02.jpeg 03.jpg 04.jpg 05.jpg 06 - FEB MPs with German POWs.jpg 07 - FEB MPs in a Jeep with a German POW.jpg 08 - Back in Brazil, July 1945.jpg 09.jpg
 

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Douglas, a great service you are doing saving these historic firearms from the smelter! An even greater service you are doing not only to us, but also to your country, by furthering the knowledge of Brazil's often unfrequented WWII involvement. Kudos for the excellent work, thank you for sharing, and keep it up!
 

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Douglas, you are doing great work !!!!!!!!!!! Hopefully it will be appreciated by your fellow countrymen in the future.
When a country loses it's history, its heartbreaking. (As we here in the US are beginning to learn.....)

What a wonderful haul ! The US&S looks super, and I see early lockbar rear sights on at least one of the M1 Garands.

I always enjoy your historical explanations and vintage photos and find them fascinating.
Please keep it up.

Regards, Ned
 
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