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I have two letters from Ivan Prall, the airman that was on Iwo and sent home the battle damaged 99 I have in my small collection. In both letters he mentions the burned condition of rifles due to flamethrowers.

At the OVMS show last weekend a gentleman showed me a two page letter, no return address, but written in March 1945. In that the writer mentioned he was sending home a 99 sniper and that most of the rifles they encountered had been burned. He also mentioned they had killed a Japanese sniper they turmed, "The Gopher." The hunt for him and his extermination was written up in some magazine. My guess is that the magazine was "Yank."

Rifle conditions - burned, and the date, March 1945 seem to indicate the "Gopher" was an IJA or IJN sniper on Iwo Jima. However one book, (article?) I read sometime back mentioned a sniper on Peleliu that was "infamous" for his U. S. kills and had been given a name.

Anyone recognize/associate "The Gopher" with any one battle? Hopefully, we will receive photocopies of the letter and they will be printed in B'zai along with Ivan's letters.
 

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Yes, Marines refered to a Japanese sniper on Peleliu as the "Gopher" but, in reality, it is doubtful that one sniper was responsible for the many casualties attributed to him. Same w/Iwo and same holds true for Saipan. Just some holdouts that were well concealed and couldn't be located that generated the rumors of a single sniper. Frustrated Marines, who had trouble locating the Japanese fire and experts in scuttlebut, probably elaborated on the "gopher" story. Many stories are also told about gun caves boasting steel doors (on Peleliu) that many official documents and eyewitnesses state existed. Fact is, the Japanese did have artillery in caves but no steel doors. Complete nonesense as the Japanese didn't have the metal to custom fit any steel doors over entrances to caves nor did they have the time to emplace such formidable doors (this from a Japanese officer who survived the battle) and analysis of a post battle cave study and photos.

-Eric
 

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Apparently most everyone that got shot on the islands was a casualty of a 'sniper'; at least those that wern't a victim of the light Nambus.

'Sniper' fire also kept the 2nd Raiders pinned down on Makin.

Those damned bolt action Arisakas were pretty good it seems.
 

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Speaking of burned rifles.

Don`t mean to kidnap this thread,but just for comment on burned rifles;
In the late 70`s, before Japanese arms were of interest to me ( I was into shooting and
collecting M1`s ),I was in Val Forgett`s NAVY ARMS store here in NJ looking at his M1`s
for sale on his racks.While I stood there,a forktruck delivered two big crates through the
delivery entrance,and set them down on the floor at the rear of the store.
Val and his sons set about prying the tops off the two cases,and when they were done
I walked over to join them and to see what was inside.At first all I saw was sand,but as
Val churned his hand through the sand he came up with a rifle burned black but
recognizable as a rifle.Then another,not so bad but the butt was burned black and charred.
As he kept retrieving rifles from the sand,one thing becme very clear.There was a very
peculiar odor coming from the burned rifles,a kind of sweet but pungent gasoline smell.
Val walked over to his counter and wrote on a big piece of paper "Japanese rifles $8.00
each.Take your pick.Please notice,these are"WALL HANGERS ONLY" and cannot be fired.
Since then I`ve often wondered what island they came from,or if they were really not
functional,once they were cleaned up.As for Val,after his passing,they closed up shop
here in NJ,but I think one of his sons opened a store in ALexandria,VA.

Charlie
 

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Given the prolific use of flame-throwers in much of the Pacific footage available, it is not surprising at all that quite a number of rifles were burned or charred.

I know when I ever find one I will make every effort to buy it, if possible.
 

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Burned type 99

I have a type 99 that came from Iwo. I got it from a lady who's father served there with the marines. She told me it had to come from there because that's the only place he fought, he was wounded there. about the forward third of the rifle was scorched pretty good.
 

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Good thing they got around to banning such barbarious things like flame throwers, Napalm and willy peter.
Our military evolved to "kinder and gentler" weaponry.

I think the "Gopher" as an individual, is a war story.
 

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I have heard of a professional sniper (Not a flunkie) on Iwo operating in the area of the geographic landmark known as the "A**Hole". I will have to look back through my stuff but I am sure he was in the 3rd Division. I believe the book "Semper fi mac" refers to this area as well. I can't remember if it mentions the sniper or a nickname for him. I have however heard of nicknames being given like that. I have heard of one known as "The tick" on Okinawa. Places like Iwo or Oki where the lines had stagnated would give a professional sniper some time to get established and make a name for himself.
Scott
 

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Good thing they got around to banning such barbarious things like flame throwers, Napalm and willy peter.
Our military evolved to "kinder and gentler" weaponry.

I think the "Gopher" as an individual, is a war story.

Why waste 40 bucks of gasoline when we can use a million dollar missile to do the same job? Maybe we can go back to fist fighting! Or I guess we could just send the anointed one to have a talk to settle our differences! :rolleyes: ;) :D

Just some random thoughts, I'm sure if I had ever had to face a flame thrower I might have a different opinion on them.
 

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I'm pretty sure napalm and WP are still in use, even though the media loves to have a hissy fit about it's use. The flamethrower was abandoned due to the fact that it's range was short and was more of a bullet magnet than being a machine gunner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Rereading a book on Iwo, individual stories. One Marine won the C.M.of H. by knocking out five pillboxes with a flame thrower(s). He was crawling through Japanese trenches between pillboxes and at one point he could here MG bullets glancing off one of his tanks. No one would bring him a "refill" so he had to crawl back every time the FT was empty to get another. Hell of a way to earn a living!
 

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I got to play with a flamethrower a bit that i dug out of an old equipment dump.

They are fairly complicated to load-you need a compressor and there was mixing of some powdered stuff and the Gasoline.
The igniter mechanism required a set of match like things that fit in the nozzle.
We used it to burn brush around the camp perimeter til we ran out of the match thingies.

They are good for three or four bursts and that's it. I think 20 seconds total, maybe.
A hell of a job, indeed.

I believe the Klintons are responsible for outlawing napalm and WP against human targets.
They were simply too inhumane to use for killing and dismembering people.
Kickbacks from the expensive missile builders could have figured in.

Not sure where the thermobarics stand right now.
 

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Hello Mike :

You bring out an interesting sidebar that I have wondered about. When I was drafted in 1965 I had a swear in ceremony to take the oath of service to the Nation, its Constitution and the Leaders above me.
During the time of the Clintons I wondered if I could have served faithfully with Bill as the "Commander in Chief". I had, have, and will continue to have a distaste for that power hungry greedy couple of low life politicians . So to me is a wonder how military personnel can serve and live with such examples being their top Commander, I could and would serve under Mr. Bush despite his failings but no way under Bill or Hillary.
Thank God the Nation was spared another pillaging and abuse of the White House.
Vicasoto
 

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So to me is a wonder how military personnel can serve and live with such examples being their top Commander, I could and would serve under Mr. Bush despite his failings but no way under Bill or Hillary.
I sure can follow that sentiment...Ive often considered myself lucky I never had to try and say " the Right Honorable Mr William Jefferson Clinton, SIR!!!" Im pretty sure its impossible to do with a straight face...I also pity the men who will have to swear allegience to this new abomination.
 

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As a reserve Marine officer, I am faced with having BHO as the top of my chain of command (while on orders, anyway). We serve the nation, not the President. The people of this nation, for whatever reason, have chosen him as their President. While I may not personally agree with many of his policies, my oath of allegiance does not allow any excuses for personal disagreements.
 

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Think Bones got it right.

One's oath involves all lawful orders.
If you disobey something on those grounds, you best know what you're
doing.
Free thinking is discouraged in the military for good reason considering the possibilities.

Blind fanaticism is something else.

I belong to a group of old SF guys of all ranks and eras, some still serving.

A very lot of discussion came up on this with the Klintoons.

Keep the faith but be vigilant.

This new deal is going to be a nightmare.

Apologies for hijacking the thread.
 
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