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Feature, Inland 931 First Commando Fiji Guerillas

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    Posted: Dec 06 2020 at 11:12pm
2020-H      

Featured Carbine

Inland 931 – First Commando Fiji Guerillas

                                                                         By Glen Collier


 http://www.uscarbinecal30.com/forum/uploads/3657/2020H1.jpg

 

After the end of World War II, Inland 931 was reportedly obtained from Charlie Tripp, a New Zealand farmer-rancher who had served in the New Zealand Army.  Research shows Charles William Howard Tripp was born in Timaru, New Zealand on February 22, 1902.  With the outbreak of World War II, Tripp enlisted in the New Zealand Army for New Zealand’s Second Expeditionary Force (2NZEF).  The first expeditionary force was in World War I.  The Nominal Role for 2NZEF shows two embarkations for Tripp.

On January 14, 1942, NCO Charles William Howard Tripp arrived in Fiji as part of the 36th Battalion of the 2NZEF.  The purpose was to train for jungle warfare and to set up the Fiji Defense Force.  In April 1942, Lieutenant Tripp was given command of the Southern Independent Commandos.  In July 1942, the Americans arrived to take over the defense of Fiji and most of the 36th Battalion returned home.  Tripp and his commandos stayed with the Americans.  In January 1943, Captain Tripp received orders to form the First Commando Fiji Guerillas from selected New Zealand and indigenous Fiji personnel.  The unit was advised to be prepared to move to the Solomon Islands on short notice.   Tripp and his guerillas worked as scouts for the Americans and as Commandos behind the Japanese lines in and around the Solomons, including Guadalcanal.  The Fiji guerillas, adept at operating in the jungle, were lethal.  It was said that “when the Fiji Commandos raid at night, death wears velvet gloves.”

A rare and obscure book entitled Pacific Commandos, New Zealanders and Fijian in Action, A history of the Southern Independent Commando and First Commando Fiji Guerillas, by Colin R. Larsen, details the activities of the Fiji guerillas under Tripp’s leadership.  There is mention of Tripp and a carbine, written in a sensationalized manner.

During the main battle a Japanese machine-gun opened up on Captain Tripp at ten yards' range. Captain Tripp happened to be carrying an American Carbine which he was trying out for the first time—it was also the last for it failed to fire and he threw it at the Japanese. He then dived into the fern. The Japanese threw grenades all round him, and he ran back past George Conn who was then under good cover. Then a dozen Japanese came towards Captain Tripp from another direction, so he crouched in some undergrowth. One of the enemy came straight towards him; this one he shot with his automatic pistol. He then got back to his patrol and ordered them to withdraw, and it was at this stage that the patrol split up. Captain Tripp and some Tongans soon ran into more fire whereupon they took cover and awaited for darkness.

At dusk, the Japanese, who had a rough idea of the position of the commandos, started shelling them with mortars. These shells forced them from their hiding places. After travelling half a mile they were about to bivouac for the night when they found that they were still in the middle of strong enemy positions. A Japanese jumped out of a foxhole and grabbed Captain Tripp round the waist, turning him square on to the hole. Another Japanese, in the foxhole, laid his rifle across the first man's shoulder and fired. Captain Tripp was shooting the bottom man with his pistol when the top man was shooting him, and he fell over backwards with the impact of the bullet. The bullet did not penetrate the flesh as it was deflected by a clip of cartridges and a cigarette lighter, and Captain Tripp was able to shoot the other Japanese before he got to his feet again.


Tripp’s family provided this photograph of the items in his pocket that deflected the Japanese bullet.


http://www.uscarbinecal30.com/forum/uploads/3657/2020H3.jpg


 

Because casualties and disease had depleted the unit, Major Tripp’s First Commando Fiji Guerillas was disbanded on May 27, 1944.  For his service during World War II, Major Charles William Howard Tripp received the following:

         Distinguished Service Order 1939-45 Star

         Pacific Star

         Defence Medal (NZ)

         War Medal 1939-45

         New Zealand War Service Medal

         Silver Star (USA)


It is worth noting that of the six Silver Stars (USA) awarded to New Zealanders in World War II, three were presented to Commandos.

Tripp died in 1991 and is buried in Woodbury Cemetery, Woodbury, Timaru District, Canterbury, New Zealand.

 http://www.uscarbinecal30.com/forum/uploads/3657/2020H4.jpg

Inland delivery of M1 carbines to fulfill its military contract began in June 1942 with 362 deliveries, according to War Baby!, page 361.  Due to subsequent modifications, several features are found only on the earliest Inland carbines, such as Inland 931.  

http://www.uscarbinecal30.com/forum/uploads/3657/2020H5.jpg

The 6-42 barrel is proofed with a large “P” with serifs. According to CC NL #346, dated March 2008, the highest reported serial number with a serif “P” barrel proof was 3,546 with a 7-42 dated barrel.

 http://www.uscarbinecal30.com/forum/uploads/3657/2020H7.jpg

The Type I rear sight is marked with a round serif “S” on the left side.  This mark on flip sights is found on original early Inlands and Winchesters.

http://www.uscarbinecal30.com/forum/uploads/3657/2020H8.jpg

The Type I trigger housing, with bevels on the front and back, has some other distinguishing features.

 http://www.uscarbinecal30.com/forum/uploads/3657/2020H10.jpg

One such feature is the lack of hammer spring recess.  Inland 931 trigger housing (on the left) with no hammer spring recess, is compared to later trigger housing with a recess for the hammer spring (on the right).  This modification was no doubt a welcome one for anyone re-assembling the carbine.

http://www.uscarbinecal30.com/forum/uploads/3657/2020H12.jpg 

The ordnance bomb on the left side of the trigger housing is believed to be an inspector stamp.  CCNL 346-18, page 18 mentions a small flaming bomb on the left side of early Inland trigger housings.

 http://www.uscarbinecal30.com/forum/uploads/3657/2020H13.jpg

The extractor and extractor plunger are Type I.  The cone of the extractor plunger fits into the V-notch of the extractor.  This combination was known for causing the bolt to come apart when firing.  According to War Baby!, page 300, carbine production in February 1943 was held up until this problem was resolved.

http://www.uscarbinecal30.com/forum/uploads/3657/2020H14.jpg

The solution was the Type II extractor, which was made by reworking the Type I.  Note the larger cut and the change in the lip of the extractor.  Also, the plunger was changed from a solid cone to a cone with a flat side.

http://www.uscarbinecal30.com/forum/uploads/3657/2020H15.jpg

A later redesign produced the Type III extractor with the flat lip.  There was no change in the extractor plunger.

 http://www.uscarbinecal30.com/forum/uploads/3657/2020H16.jpg

The top of the cam cut on the operating side is straight flat on Inland 931.  A review of Inland Carbines of the Month in Carbine Club Newsletters shows that at least by serial number 107316, with a 12-42 barrel date, the cut was heart shaped.

 http://www.uscarbinecal30.com/forum/uploads/3657/2020H17.jpg

The earliest Inlands did not have the crossed cannons acceptance stamp on the right side of the stock. Instead, they were in the sling well.  The I-cut stock for Inland 931 has small crossed cannons with an “O” and ordnance bomb in the sling well.  According to CC NL #333-4, this is the earliest Inland sling well marking.

http://www.uscarbinecal30.com/forum/uploads/3657/2020H18.jpg

The inside of the handguard is marked with a flaming bomb and only an O” as opposed to an “OI” on the usual side rails of the handguard.

 http://www.uscarbinecal30.com/forum/uploads/3657/2020H19.jpg

The flat of the 6-42 Inland barrel has only a few “hieroglyphs” compared to later serial numbers.

 http://www.uscarbinecal30.com/forum/uploads/3657/2020H20.jpg

The flaming bomb seen near the gas port has been reported for barrels dated 5-42 to 9-42 (CC NL #346-6).

 http://www.uscarbinecal30.com/forum/uploads/3657/2020H21.jpg

High wood stocks were susceptible to breaking, and this was not unique to early Inlands.  Note the neat repair with screws to the damaged high wood on the Inland 931 stock.

http://www.uscarbinecal30.com/forum/uploads/3657/2020H22.jpg

The ears of the front sight on Inland 931 have been removed.  This is said to be of benefit in low light conditions, such as those involved in jungle combat.

http://www.uscarbinecal30.com/forum/uploads/3657/2020H23.jpg 

After the end of World War II, a New Zealand farmer-rancher turned military weapons collector acquired Inland 931 from Charles Tripp, who was an acquaintance.  The carbine was inherited by the collector’s son and it remained in the family collection until offered for sale in 2020.  The seller described Tripp as having worked behind the enemy lines in Burma and the Pacific Islands.  No evidence of Tripp’s involvement in Burma was found.  However, research shows there is little record of those who participated in those operations.

On March 15, 2019, a mass murder occurred in a New Zealand mosque.  The New Zealand government quickly enacted strict gun control measures making most semiautomatic and military-style weapons illegal.  A forced buy-back of banned weapons was implemented.  The effective date of the new law was April 12, 2019.  The owner of Inland 931, a person with dual US-NZ citizenship, received New Zealand permission to export his weapon collection to himself in the US on April 8, 2019.  Had it not been exported, Inland 931 would have become wood chips and scrap metal.  The export documents are shown below.

http://www.uscarbinecal30.com/forum/uploads/3657/2020H24.jpg


http://www.uscarbinecal30.com/forum/uploads/3657/2020H25.jpg

The following picture is from “Fiji Patrol on Bougainville” in the January 1945 edition of The National Geographic Magazine.  The commandos shown are not from Tripp’s First Commando Fiji Guerillas but are from the First Battalion, Fiji Infantry Regiment, which was also led by New Zealanders.

http://www.uscarbinecal30.com/forum/uploads/3657/2020H26.jpg


http://www.uscarbinecal30.com/forum/uploads/3657/2020H28.jpg


http://www.uscarbinecal30.com/forum/uploads/3657/2020H27.jpg



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This article and/or its images are the property of the author and/or the Carbine Collectors Club. They're not to be distributed or for commercial use without prior written permission (Title 17, Chapter 5, Section 501(a) U.S. Code)



Edited by New2brass - Dec 19 2020 at 2:33pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote New2brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 11 2020 at 4:25pm
Whoa! check out that early trigger housing!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote W5USMC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 11 2020 at 5:28pm
Love it! Great Carbine and excellent article!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jackp1028 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 11 2020 at 9:07pm
What an incredible article! How often do you see a surviving Type 1 extractor plunger? This carbine and the story behind it are priceless.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arthur Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 11 2020 at 10:09pm
“operating slide stop retaining pin” ??? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GotSnlB28 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 11 2020 at 10:29pm
Super article, great job, it made my evening reading it. That picture of the carbine mag, cartridge, and lighter which deflected the Japanese bullet - Wow! It is great that time capsule was saved from destruction.

Two things in the data sheet which I found a bit interesting : tapered sear spring, would have thought straight. 5/16 UI swivel would have thought 1/4 unmarked.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jangle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 12 2020 at 9:44am
Loved the article and research.
Thanks for showing photos of this awesome Carbine!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 03manV Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 12 2020 at 10:16am
Great info. 
Thanks for posting.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote painter777 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 12 2020 at 12:59pm
What a Treat !

Thank You
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hunterman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 12 2020 at 1:44pm
Originally posted by arthur arthur wrote:

“operating slide stop retaining pin” ??? 


Not on this slide.  I don't know when the pinned slide stop was discontinued, but it is not present on this slide. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hunterman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 12 2020 at 1:58pm
Originally posted by GotSnlB28 GotSnlB28 wrote:

Two things in the data sheet which I found a bit interesting : tapered sear spring, would have thought straight. 5/16 UI swivel would have thought 1/4 unmarked.


The UI swivel with the wide aperture is undoubtedly not original to a carbine of this vintage.  However, it's use is part of the history of this weapon and I won't be correcting it.  The sear spring is straight - my mistake.  Data sheet has been corrected.




Edited by hunterman - Dec 13 2020 at 1:03pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote New2brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 12 2020 at 6:08pm
Early swivels could be a PITA for a thicker sling, and remember that early on the screw was not staked in and many were lost/replaced.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arthur Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 12 2020 at 11:02pm
Hunterman, You are right. The pin hole is closer to the top. I saw slide number 15 at a gun show about 25 years ago and took a couple pictures of it. After digging around I found them. Maybe Dan might add them to this post. Cheap camera, glossy pictures, printer scanned, blown up = fuzzy, sorry. I tried to buy the slide but dealer didn't want to sell.

http://www.uscarbinecal30.com/forum/uploads/2396/Inland15.jpg


Edited by New2brass - Dec 12 2020 at 11:44pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote welbytwo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 13 2020 at 12:20am
I would be a buyer of #18 or #23 marked slides like this
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hunterman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 13 2020 at 9:59am
Originally posted by welbytwo welbytwo wrote:

I would be a buyer of #18 or #23 marked slides like this


For what serial numbers was the pinned slide stop used?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote welbytwo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 13 2020 at 10:37am
first 2000 or so maybe--and maybe the tool room test manual guns -not really enough been found to range the use of
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Johnboy490 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 13 2020 at 12:46pm
Wow, just a great story, really enjoyed the pics, Thanks Hunterman, made my Sunday,
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote m1a1fan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 13 2020 at 5:37pm
What a great read!

Excellent article and fantastic carbine.

Thanks for sharing!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HARLEY08 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 13 2020 at 6:43pm
Thank you for the info and pictures - Great!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote colreed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 17 2020 at 3:57pm
Hunterman,
Your article was quite an education for me. Things I've never seen. It was great, thanks. 
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