Gunboards Forums banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

· Registered
244 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On 1 December, the 1st Battalion completed embarkation on board the carrier Lexington (CV 16) and sailed for the West Coast to be disbanded. On the 24th, the 3d Battalion, reinforced by regimental units and a casual company formed to provide replacements for Fifth Fleet Marine detachments, relieved 2d Battalion of all guard responsibilities. The 2d Battalion, with Regimental Weapons and Headquarters and Service Companies, began loading out operations on the 27th and sailed for the United States on board the attack cargo ship Lumen (AKA 30) on New Year's Day. Like the 1st, the 2d Battalion and the accompanying two units would be disbanded. All received war trophies: Japanese rifles and bayonets were issued to enlisted men; officers received swords less than 100 years old; pistols were not issued and field glasses were restricted to general officers.

This passage was taken from SECURING THE SURRENDER: Marines in the Occupation of Japan
by Charles R. Smith. Interesting part was to me about the swords, pistols and field glasses. Although this is a 4th. Marine battalion, the same must have held true for later in the occupation. My father was in the 2nd. Marine division and he had to sneak field glasses out of a warehouse, and he also cut the bottom of his canteen out to fit a Model 1910 Mauser. On his bring-back papers it also shows he had a "Japanese Saber". I know he had his pick, they must have only allowed him to take a saber? Also interesting that the officers could only take 100 yr. old swords. At that time, how did they determine the age of the swords? Did they go by what the Japanese told them at the time? Also, has anyone ever seen bring-back papers to include a sword or saber on the listing? I really commend my dad for sneaking so much stuff! Unfortunate that he traded his saber for a pistol when he came back. He also traded the Mauser for a Colt 38 on the ship he came back on.

· Premium Member
3,000 Posts
One of the basic things you learn in the military is that nothing stays the same from day to day.

You learned to antcipate "Change 1, 2,," or or subsequent ones that are sure to come.

Lots of them based on wier notions like determining the age of swords as you mentioned.

· Kryptonite member
5,773 Posts
Think I have a copy of a "bring-back" paper that lists a sword or saber among other items.

· Diamond Bullet Member
1,968 Posts
For what it’s worth:

Dad was a Marine, fought on Iwo Jima and went ashore at Sasebo shortly after the surrender.

I didn’t get involved in milsurps until 1999, Dad passed away in 2002. Before he passed I asked him about many different subjects in regards to milsurps and such.

So – my recollection of his recollections (asking a 75 year old man about something that happened decades earlier)

On Iwo, Marines snapped up as many trophies as possible – mainly to trade once back aboard ship. Flags, pistols & swords were the most sought after.

The trophy hunting was done after they were taken off the line, when they would ‘search & destroy’ pockets of Japanese that were still fighting.

I asked him about ‘flame-thrower’ charred rifles and other battle damaged items – what he remembers is guys only going for the good-looking stuff, too many rifles around to grab one that was busted, burnt, shrapnelled, covered in blood, guts, etc.

Shortly after boarding they had a formation of all Marines – they were told they could keep most anything except grenades, machine guns, mortar rounds etc.. They designated an ‘amnesty rail’ where the Marines could dump anything considered contraband. Most did.

He said he had never heard of bring-back or capture papers.

He had no idea what a ‘mum’ was.

Apparently Sasebo was a big Naval Station, he said they ‘secured’ the base and all non-essential weaponry (he was told) was dumped at sea.

After a short time in Japan they boarded ship to head back to the USA. He said they stopped (for weeks or months) on several islands to help the garrisons flush out remaining Japanese soldiers. Not much trophy hunting then – all the sailors already had theirs and the jungles ruined a lot of stuff.

I have a sword, a Japanese ‘training’ manual, his knife (theater made) and his Marine manual. My brother has huge flag and some other items that escape me right now. My Mom has all the originals of the photos.

View attachment 133935 View attachment 133936 View attachment 133937

View attachment 133938 View attachment 133939

the bottom pics are of Sasebo. Quick question - the last photo. Dad said they garrisoned in a big castle and watched this woman do laundry in the river every day. Any idea what castle it is?

· Copper Bullet member
4,066 Posts
The swords that were older than a hundred years old were what were called "family samurais" which are absolutely unique and extremely valuable. Each one is hand made and very VERY sharp, it's also on some kind of bearings that make it slide out faster. A friend of mine back in the day found that out when he tilted his grandfather's captured one forward a bit. He lost the tip of his index finger from it sliding right out on him. Bad news some of those swords, I can honestly say I wouldn't want to be on the business end of one.
1 - 9 of 9 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.