Gunboards Forums banner
1 - 2 of 2 Posts

1,321 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Thoughts on mum grinding.

Topic author: Ronin48
Subject: Thoughts on mum grinding.
Posted on: 12/15/2003 08:20:02 AM

1. Documented reports of Japanese defacing mums before surrender.
2. Documented reports of mums being ground before issued to US troops.
3. Many of the 1980s Arisaka imports from China were ground, strictly a Japanese act.
4. One German book states that the Japanese requested permission to remove/deface mum before rifles given to 'barbarians.' No reference to this sttement.
5. Dougout Doug quoted as stating he did not want to 'debase' the Emperor in any way.
6. Some/many (?)late Occupation issue rifles apparently had mums left intact. Hirohito had renounced his divinity, no reason to grind mum now. (If he is not a god, then I don't care if he gets pissed because the 'barbarians' obtained one of 'his' rifles unground.)
7. Rifles shipped from Japan unground had mums ground when they reached states.

This seemss to suggest a word-of-mouth spread of the mum grinding "orders" and a "better to be safe than sorry" atitude amoung Allied personnel, ie "I haven't seen a written order to grind mums, but others are grinding them so, by-god, none will go through this ship, post office, etc without having the f--king mum grounmd off."

I understand there was an order that the striker on large caliber guns be removed. Have seen both Arisakas and Nambus with striker clipped. (See paragraph above.)

So, to sum the above, IJA considered it a 'crime' against the
Emperor to fall into the hands of the 'barbarians' with "HIS" symbol, 16-petal chrysanthemum, intact. When it became certain that rifles would leave Japanese hands the mum was defaced. Comments?


Reply author: Earl
Replied on: 12/15/2003 6:10:11 PM
I agree with all of the above. Definitely the grinding was done by different people (Japanese and US) and under different circumstances/rules.

It seems though it must have began sometime after the occupation (at least I think so) as I own and have owned too many rifles that were obtained right at the end of the war in Japan and from the mandated islands that never surrendered during the war (Truk and Rabaul) that have their mums intact. Of course, its entirely possible they were spared the "grinding" by industrious fellows who didn't want their guns ground.


Reply author: BradB
Replied on: 12/15/2003 9:50:12 PM
I checked with the archivist at the MacArthur Library (and personal documents) here in town. He has a doctorate focused on MacArthur, and has searched numerous times for the alleged "mum grinding" order. If the document EVER existed, nobody has ID'ed any copies or official refences to it yet. Agree with you Doss.

Reply author: Ronin48
Replied on: 12/16/2003 06:32:36 AM
Remember the two Betties painted white with green crosses on their wings (or vice versa). These carried 'pre-surrender' personnel to meet with US forces and hammer out terms. Bet if records of those meetings still exist we might get to the bottom of the 'mum grinding mystery?'

Reply author: petersalt
Replied on: 12/16/2003 5:27:50 PM
This has to be the most interesting topic in WW2 collecting, along with the 'school marking', the CC [KT] marking, the never-mummed weapons and 'which were captured'/which were piled upon surrender...
Keep it up, Doss!
gluck, peterNaCl

[well, as far as the MOST interesting topic, I guess there's always: 'How many pistols did Hitler actually use on 4/30/45?' Since there seem to be a fair number of these around.]

Reply author: tankdriver
Replied on: 12/16/2003 7:08:40 PM
My boss was on a cruiser durning WW2. Late in the war they captured a freighter that was full of late war type 99s. The captian of the cruiser gave each crewman one of the captured 99s. I loooked at this weapon and the mum is ground. He said it was ground when he got it on board the cruiser. Now I can not see the crew of a freighter being captured running down in the hole grinding the mums as a cruiser approachs can you?

Reply author: kfields
Replied on: 12/16/2003 8:58:01 PM
If there were U.S. soldiers involved in grinding of mums, there should be a record of that. There were "Morning Reports" generated daily by the company clerk and signed by the commanding officer that detailed (briefly) task, duties, activities, movements of troops withing that Company for that day. If soldiers were tasked to the grinding wheel, one would think there would be a record in some of the Company records. Just a thought.

Reply author: Earl
Replied on: 12/16/2003 9:11:10 PM
I don't know about reports, papers etc. documenting the fact - but most of us that have been collecting the rifles for awhile have talked to veterans that DID the grinding or at least watches as another serviceman ground his rifle. As Doss said, there is no rhyme or reason to it. It happened differently at different locations even on different ships. I know of one instance where rifles were checked as the troops boarded the ship and were ground right there on the spot. Like Doss I too have talked to vets that packages and shipped unground rifles only to receive them home ground. This isn't supposition but first hand accounts - documents may not exist or may have long since been lost or destroyed but that doesn't change the fact that it happened at different places by different personell and under different instructions/guidelines.

There aren't written papers documenting every order. If your Exec, CO, or S2 tells you to grind the mum - you grind the mum.


Reply author: Jareth
Replied on: 12/17/2003 12:51:14 AM
Future research might yeild answers to the mum mystery. It's my opinion, always has been, that you can't say with certainty, that a ground gun was an arsenal pick up and not a captured weapon.

Reply author: BradB
Replied on: 12/17/2003 06:30:54 AM

I agree. There are no certainties. I have talked to too many vets who had their late war capture pieces (which usually meant "I picked it from a pile on the beach on Saipan" rather than "I took if from a guy in a bayonet fight") ground during a down time before they were able to ship it or in transit. I also have a mummed paratrooper that was clearly never issued that came from the arsenal and was halved in a duffle bag before the evil grinder reached it.

On a variation to this thread... I think that there are varieties to grinding methods that indicate location and origin. Here are some of those thoughts:

Rifles that are "X'ed", Peened or slashed were probably done in a remote location by Japanese troops with limited resources before marching to a surrender point (Island remnant)

Rifles that are neatly ground were probably done by Japanese workers (discipline and cultural respect) to rifles collected in a warehouse where the workers had time and proper equipment (not rushed)

Rifles that are partially or shallow ground were probably done by a bored or rushed GI on a work detail who could not wait to be finished and go drink with the locals

and finally, based on observations of several Mukden rifles, some grinding was done in former occupied territories by native contract labor who attempted to obliterate more mum than was there out of malice, sometimes including grinding the rifle character designation was well (I have a Mukden carbine that is ground almost 1/4" deep!)

Anyway, there's my speculation on the "average" defacement. Won't hold to every instance, but I think it covers many of them as a fair possibility.

Reply author: Fatstrat
Replied on: 12/17/2003 8:41:04 PM
It is my belief that probably most of the Arisaka's we see were battle used at some point. It's inconcievable to me that the Japanese were preparing to fight off the Allied invasion of Japan with sharp sticks, if stores of unused rifles were available. So in my mind, a Ground Mum does not detract from the idea that these are battle rifles in every respect. My principle goal in collecting these rifles is to find matching specimens. Mums are great, but I've passed on many a mumed/mismatched rifle, while I'll buy a ground/matching one. But this is a point I came to over time. At first, I would buy all the Arisaka's, of any (except bubbatized) condition I could find. I convinced myself, despite good advise from Earl and several others, of the same arguments as I've seen several people make. " Mums don't matter, it's still a historical battle rifle". Over time I had hundreds of dollars invested in some rifles that I found I would be lucky to even break even on, if I wanted to sell. Eventually I came around. This is what I think, based on as far as I know, the best info we have.
Mums were ground at some point, shortly after the war. Most of the time the mum grinding occured on surrendered rifles. But some battlefield captures got caught up in it too. But without documented proof, ground Mum is ground Mum and will not be as desirable as a mumed rifle. If you have a G/Mum rifle (as I do) w/an undocumented battlefield pickup story, that YOU believe, great. Keep it and enjoy it. But don't expect anyone else to believe the story. When you go to sell, 99% of the time, your story will be viewed as just that, a story. A g/mumed rifle will bring what a ground mum rifle will bring. With or without a story. Hard but true facts.

Reply author: CW
Replied on: 12/17/2003 10:27:29 PM
Has anyone come acros a ground rifle with capture papers?

Reply author: Earl
Replied on: 12/18/2003 01:52:48 AM
Sure, have seen many. Capture papers were used at least up until 1946 (latest dates I personally have seen on them).

Reply author: Ronin48
Replied on: 12/18/2003 07:39:05 AM
Sorry, but I have a problem with the captured freighter full of late war T-99s story. As far as I can determine we did not capture Japanese ships, we 'killed' them. My apology if I am wrong, but I want to see the 'nail scars.' Too many stories around like this one and the Kamikaze skipping across the lagoon and sliding up on the beach. US troops investigate and pilot pointsd to lock on outside of cockpitlocking him in. Whne removes pilot says in perfect English, "Thanks fellows, was visiting in Japan when these bastardsput me in their airforce, made me learn how to fly, made me a kamikaze pilot and sent me on this mission."

Then there is the one about the T-99 sniper carbine from the midget submarine.

Reply author: tankdriver
Replied on: 12/18/2003 09:31:38 AM
Doss, Usless he flat out lied to me it is true. He still has the rifle and his uniform. He has retired and moved away, But I will try to find the ship he was on. He did a diary in a kind of short hand, but he can no longer remember the way he did it. Has name is Frank Krud. I'll keep you posted.

Reply author: BradB
Replied on: 12/18/2003 4:25:58 PM
I can see this happening after Tokyo bay but not before. A cruiser would not make a run at a cargo ship: they would ID from a distance and blast it out of the water. Now one flying a white flag after a delcared cease fire... that's different.

Reply author: Austin
Replied on: 12/20/2003 3:24:53 PM
My uncle's destroyer, USS Taylor, captured a raft with several Japanese soldiers between the Phillipines and Borneo . They took them prisoner and confiscated all weapons. Several sailors including him were given Arisaka T99 , captured at sea. He still has his rifle. It is unground with capture paper.

Reply author: tankdriver
Replied on: 12/20/2003 5:55:03 PM
Update on my old boss, He has died, wife remarried. I am getting her number and will try to get it touch wirth her next week, but may be after the first of the year.
Will keep you posted

Reply author: Stew
Replied on: 12/21/2003 2:33:53 PM
I have seen a couple of Series 27 Nagoya T38's which have only the outer petals of the mum defaced by small "o" circles. The circle of "o"s appear in an orderly manner which suggest the use of a single die stamp containing the "o's" rather than being individually struck.I understand that this defacing of the mums was done by the Siamese to Japanese rifles left behind by the Japs at the end of WW2.I would like to know more about this.Does anyone have any information

Regards Stew

Reply author: PeterN
Replied on: 12/21/2003 5:04:04 PM
I have a series 25 Type 38 rifle that has eight Os stamped round the outside of the mum. This rifle also has a stamp on the stock behind the top tang that may or may not indicate Siamese service. When I get a digital camera I will take a close up of it for the forums perusal.

Reply author: Ronin48
Replied on: 12/22/2003 8:36:48 PM
Frank Allan (FL) who is writng the book on the T-38 had a recent article in BANZAI on the last Siamese purchase of 38s. These were not rifles left at the war's end.

As I remember they were all from one or two specific series, mums cancelled with series of circles stamed around the margin. If interested in a copy of Frank's article send a large SASE and $1.00 for photocopying. E-mail me for my address

Gunboards :
© 2000-2006 Gunboards

1 - 2 of 2 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.