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WWII Bringback Underwood "MII" Armorer Conversion

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David Albert View Drop Down
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    Posted: Aug 06 2017 at 11:36am
I just returned from The American Thompson Association Annual Show and Shoot this weekend...Always my favorite weekend of the year. One of our members regularly displays a few of his other machine guns, along with his Thompsons, and this year he had a Carbine on his table. My attention turned to it, and I quickly realized it was unusual. At first glance, I thought maybe it was a commercial conversion M2, but it was not.

We often speak about "if this gun could talk," and "buy the gun, not the story," but with NFA firearms, we usually have more documentation to support a weapon's history. The member who owns the Carbine has had it for 30 years, and bought it from a WWII vet who registered it during the November 1968 Amnesty. The member bought 37 Amnesty registered MG's from the vet in the 1980's, including this one. The story is that the vet began collecting WWI machine guns in the 1930's, and was aware that he was breaking the law, as none were registered. He carefully BURIED them on his property, and then WWII began. He went off and fought in the war, and brought back many other WWII machine guns to add to his "collection." He buried them also, including this Carbine. He kept them buried until the 1968 Amnesty, and then registered them all, with some registered as dewats, and some as live. The net result today is that they are all live, transferable machine guns under the NFA, and are owned by the aforementioned TATA member.

I haven't mentioned the specifics about the Carbine yet, because it gets even more interesting. This is the story from the late vet, which can't be 100% verified, but appears to be supported by the physical evidence, and the Amnesty registration. The story goes that the vet had this Underwood M1 Carbine in combat in the ETO, and the stock broke on it. He took it to an armorer, who placed it in an M1A1 stock he had available that had previously been on a broken M2 Carbine. The armorer converted the Underwood M1 Carbine to M2, and hand stamped an extra "1" next to the existing "M1," making it an "M11." I seem to recall seeing this marking somewhere before, and I'll look in my books and CCNL's when I get a chance.

The vet also related that the flash hider was a modification the armorer installed, which reduced muzzle climb. As can be seen, a flash hider has had the top area removed to direct gas upwards.

BTW, the owner of this "M11" Carbine has never fired it.

As stated previously, we have the story, with some physical and paper evidence to support it. I'm curious about the thoughts of members here as to whether anything inconsistent exists to the story. I don't know if the vet fired this Carbine post-war, and whether the brass deflector was added later.

The Underwood serial number is 2361609. It has a 4-44 dated Inland barrel on it.

Here are the images:



Here are the full strength image links, if you would like to see them. My apologies for the iPhone photos, but sometimes you use what's available...

http://www.sturmgewehr.com/dalbert/CarbineClub/IMG_4668.jpg
http://www.sturmgewehr.com/dalbert/CarbineClub/IMG_4669.jpg
http://www.sturmgewehr.com/dalbert/CarbineClub/IMG_4670.jpg
http://www.sturmgewehr.com/dalbert/CarbineClub/IMG_4671.jpg
http://www.sturmgewehr.com/dalbert/CarbineClub/IMG_4672.jpg
http://www.sturmgewehr.com/dalbert/CarbineClub/IMG_4673.jpg
http://www.sturmgewehr.com/dalbert/CarbineClub/IMG_4674.jpg
http://www.sturmgewehr.com/dalbert/CarbineClub/IMG_4675.jpg
http://www.sturmgewehr.com/dalbert/CarbineClub/IMG_4676.jpg
http://www.sturmgewehr.com/dalbert/CarbineClub/IMG_4677.jpg
http://www.sturmgewehr.com/dalbert/CarbineClub/IMG_4678.jpg
http://www.sturmgewehr.com/dalbert/CarbineClub/IMG_4679.jpg

Any comments you may have are appreciated. I can contact the member with follow-up questions, if necessary.

David Albert
dalbert@sturmgewehr.com
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote New2brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 06 2017 at 12:10pm
Neat gun, do not know how i feel about a folder on FA.

That is not a brass deflector, or at least designed as such. Also not USGI.

It is a breech shield designed by the Dutch used with their BFA.
It was to protect shooters eyes from flash.

Think it was in the 90s that a Pennsylvania company copied and marketed as brass deflector
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David Albert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 06 2017 at 12:51pm
Originally posted by New2brass New2brass wrote:

Neat gun, do not know how i feel about a folder on FA.

That is not a brass deflector, or at least designed as such. Also not USGI.

It is a breech shield designed by the Dutch used with their BFA.
It was to protect shooters eyes from flash.

Think it was in the 90s that a Pennsylvania company copied and marketed as brass deflector


new2brass,

A folder on FA would not be my preference, either. But I like the story that goes with it...

I recall a previous conversation now about the breech shield. Thanks for the clarification.

We could probably find an old SGN ad for the company that marketed it.

David Albert
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote W5USMC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 06 2017 at 1:47pm
Originally posted by New2brass New2brass wrote:



That is not a brass deflector, or at least designed as such. Also not USGI.

It is a breech shield designed by the Dutch used with their BFA.
It was to protect shooters eyes from flash.

Think it was in the 90s that a Pennsylvania company copied and marketed as brass deflector

Whatever it is, breech shield or deflector,  It is pictured on page 793 of "War Baby! Comes Home", along with the dutch BFA, where it is described as a cartridge case deflector?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote New2brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 06 2017 at 2:16pm
Originally posted by W5USMC W5USMC wrote:

Originally posted by New2brass New2brass wrote:



That is not a brass deflector, or at least designed as such. Also not USGI.

It is a breech shield designed by the Dutch used with their BFA.
It was to protect shooters eyes from flash.

Think it was in the 90s that a Pennsylvania company copied and marketed as brass deflector


Whatever it is, breech shield or deflector,  It is pictured on page 793 of "War Baby! Comes Home", along with the dutch BFA, where it is described as a cartridge case deflector?


Wayne, WB2 when published utilized what is thought to be correct at the time.
Larry Ruth, the author of the War Baby series is a long time club member and contributor.
Even though he found errors or mistakes the publisher would not correct any issues when they did subsequent printings.
War Baby three he adressed the changes with what to change in previous books.

I do not know if this was specifically addresed in WB3.

Bill Ricca, also a long time member and contributor woyld buy and sell government surplus. Much information was gathered over the years not only from items found in wrap but also from copies of contracts he procured.

I believe it was Bill that pointed out the reproductions as well as them being copied from the Dutch BFA shield.

It was addressed in newsletters before and i believe after WB2

I do not have access to newsletters right now, but believe the reason for the shield was that the plastic blanks would not seal properly   in the chamber. Un spent powder could gather then ignite in the shooters face. The shield would help minimize the flash.

I am sure it also helped deflect the plastic shells based on the curve in metal. But AFAIK that was not its main purpose.

So next we can decide if the muzzle device is a compensator or flash hider.

Dave, did you happen to check it for markings?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David Albert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 06 2017 at 3:28pm
New2brass,

I did not check the flash hider for markings.

David Albert
dalber@sturmgewehr.com
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote m1a1fan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 06 2017 at 7:11pm
Thought a UW T code would have a T1 band and T1 rear sight? The shape of the top of the hinge screw looks off as well. Also thought UW made their own barrels.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote manteo97 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 08 2017 at 3:22pm
Very unique M2 conversion. Nice touch, stamping "M II".

There is some research into the use of "M2A1's" folders in Vietnam, by US Forces, ARVN and Viet Cong. Not sure how they performed, maybe someone on this forum has had some experience.

Certainly, the full stocked pot-belly M2 feels more robust, and probably functioned a little better, but I don't think the M1 carbine was ever originally designed with the intent to be a F/A firearm, although it did become one. A few historical examples of field mods during WW II to make the carbine select fire can be found in CCNL.
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