Taking small arms home on leave WW2

9.414

War Hero
Don't the Swiss National Service conscripts get to take their weapons home? especially to little-known swiss german villages? maybe that's why the suicide rates are so high. If only there was someone with relevant experience we could ask....
They certainly used to, but apparently the rules have changed in recent years.

According to Professor Google, he informed me that:
 

2000AD

Old-Salt
I remember my Grandad (WW2 ex Royal Artillery) mentioning that he bunged a couple of rifles and maybe a pistol or two into the landfill in Hamworthy in Dorset which was not far from his house. The site was covered over in later decades and is now an industrial estate. Not sure if they were his weapons or if the originated from Great Grandads Boer War/WW1 service.
 
I think that would mainly have been Home Guard use.

In early 1980's in NI a UDR base in a sizeable old house that had been taken over at the start of the troubles was being vacated and sold off. The search team checked the place thoroughly and I signed off the FFE certificate. House duly sold off and renovations start.

A few weeks afterwards I am called to the Ops Room to explain myself as the ATO task is called in as builders have discovered a sizeable ammo cache! Fortunately it was as they broke down a wall and found a secret cupboard with a stash of WW2 date stamped ammo in a hideaway that had been plastered over. Probably in preparation for an invasion.
Renovating an old house in Derry's Waterside in the 1980s we found a stash of odd-shaped rifle ammunition behind a wall. We called the RUC who cleared it away but later we found more of it and decided to have fun by throwing it in the fire we had going in the yard, oh yeah, that was a great idea, the one time we tried it.

A few weeks later we came across old revolver bullets under the kitchen sink, the peeler who examined them dismissed them as "Oul' Davy Crockett rounds". I distinctly remember the odd shape of the rifle rounds and they looked like the one on the left below, described as an 1888 Mauser round. I was told later by the RUC that they probably dated back to the 1912 UVF gun running, so that sounds about right.

220px-8x57.jpg
 

endure

GCM
Don't the Swiss National Service conscripts get to take their weapons home? especially to little-known swiss german villages? maybe that's why the suicide rates are so high. If only there was someone with relevant experience we could ask....
They can keep their guns at home but unless they're THEM not the ammo...

 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
They can keep their guns at home but unless they're THEM not the ammo...

As the national sport is shooting it makes little difference.
 
In July 1940 an on-leave RAF Sergeant apparently acting under the influence of alcohol, officiousness and "fifth columnist" propaganda fired at a car during an air raid and the blackout resulting in the death of the Assistant Chief Constable of Edinburgh City Police Mr Robert Chisholm Thomson who was in charge of the city's air raid precautions and on duty at the time.
 
Don't the Swiss National Service conscripts get to take their weapons home? especially to little-known swiss german villages? maybe that's why the suicide rates are so high. If only there was someone with relevant experience we could ask....

They certainly used to.
I did Nijmegan March in '78 and met a group of Swiss soldiers, beers in the evening etc.
They had an extraordinarily long semi auto rifle ( even by SLR standards, kept them at home and a small quantity of ammunition.
 
Think I've said it before. Grandad carried the sights off the 25pounder they had been issued with two weeks before itler decided to have a holiday in Belgium and France.
Disabled the nice new quad and 25pndr as only inner city Manchester lads could. Limber was empty after open sights shooting near arras. Walked back from the Dunkirk parimiter after being relieved by French troops ( then seeing the barn dive-bombed to oblivion). Got to the beaches, dive bombed (two lads next to him in the sand bounced into the air and killed).
Decided the best option was the mole. Two days standing in line. Told me about the gap with boards across.
Got onboard a destroyer and the first thing that the matelot on the plank did was take the sights off grandad and Chuck them overboard as excess weight.
Grandad was gutted. Then he was told to get below. I asked him once if he should have stayed on deck. He said after eight days without sleep he wouldn't know a thing if the ship was hit.
Ended up in Margate.
I would love to know which destroyer it was.think it was a V&W. Frankly grandad didn't care less by then.
Edit to say he had twelve francs and a condom when he got home. Gran was worse than the as when she found the condom.
 
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Grandad was gutted. Then he was told to get below. I asked him once if he should have stayed on deck. He said after eight days without sleep he wouldn't know a thing if the ship was hit.
Ended up in Margate.
I would love to know which destroyer it was.think it was a V&W. Frankly grandad didn't care less by then.
Editor say he had twelve francs and a condom when he got home. Gran was worse than the as when she found the condom.
Poor sod.
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
They certainly used to.
I did Nijmegan March in '78 and met a group of Swiss soldiers, beers in the evening etc.
They had an extraordinarily long semi auto rifle ( even by SLR standards, kept them at home and a small quantity of ammunition.
The Stgw 57 - lovely rifle.
Bit as you mention a little difficult for most to shoot accurately from the shoulder.
It's selective not semi, the Swiss just decided to give every troep a mag fed LMG.

20200805_stgw_57_m.jpeg
 
The Stgw 57 - lovely rifle.
Bit as you mention a little difficult for most to shoot accurately from the shoulder.
It's selective not semi, the Swiss just decided to give every troep a mag fed LMG.

20200805_stgw_57_m.jpeg


By selective, do you mean that could go full auto ?

I mean - I quickly reasoned that as a longer rifle is usually more accurate over distance and
Switzerland has these long distances due to lots of elevation differences and
as time progresses - semi-autos will get better (in accuracy terms) compared with bolt-action standards

If that was used full auto it would be all over the place without a bi-pod, and if it had one the barrel was not interchangeable when it got hot during sustained fire.
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
By selective, do you mean that could go full auto ?
Yes.
I mean - I quickly reasoned that as a longer rifle is usually more accurate over distance and
Switzerland has these long distances due to lots of elevation differences and
as time progresses - semi-autos will get better (in accuracy terms) compared with bolt-action standards
It's Swiss so of course it's accurate.

If that was used full auto it would be all over the place without a bi-pod, and if it had one the barrel was not interchangeable when it got hot during sustained fire.
It has a bipod, you can see it in the photo mounted just below the (folded) foresight. It can also be fitted just forward of the small forend/handguard.

It doesn't have a quick-change bbl, although there is a jacket, but it was hardly envisioned as holding back the Red hordes all on it's jack.
 

ches

LE
Was in Switzerland about 12 years ago & in a bar late afternoon after a long run in the car from northern France & a group of Swiss militia types with gats popped in for a few sherberts. Hung those Stgw things on the coat hooks & stood at the bar throwing pilsner down their neck. No one batted an eyelid.
 
By selective, do you mean that could go full auto ?

I mean - I quickly reasoned that as a longer rifle is usually more accurate over distance and
Switzerland has these long distances due to lots of elevation differences and
as time progresses - semi-autos will get better (in accuracy terms) compared with bolt-action standards

If that was used full auto it would be all over the place without a bi-pod, and if it had one the barrel was not interchangeable when it got hot during sustained fire.
Yeah, luckily we don't have long distances elsewhere.
 
Yeah, luckily we don't have long distances elsewhere.

And we don't have Stgw 57 either.
I was surprised to learn it had a full auto capacity as I missed out on the Bren - before my Service and LSW after my time.
And our L1A1 - arguably a long rifle - had the full Auto capability removed as it was deemed to difficult to use with satisfactory accuracy.
 
I have read that certainly in the first years, troops would take their personal weapon home. Mainly due to the threat of invasion but without ammo, so sort of defeating the point.
Apart from the threat of invasion, troops were billeted all over the place. There frequently weren't secure arms khotes available. You couldn't hand your rifle into the armoury and go home for a long weekend if you were billeted in the village hall or with Mrs. Smith at number 17.
 

Johned

War Hero
My dad was evacuated from La Panne just up the beach from Dunkirk and was sent home on a few days leave before being posted to retraining on Bodmin Moor. He had a punctured eardrum when the truck he was driving had took a direct hit with an arty shell (the poor sods in the back were all killed) and underwent a bout of malaria on the beach contracted from his prewar service in India. He certainly brought his rifle home with him as while he was catching up some kip upstairs, I was playing with it down in our kitchen with strict instructions from Mam not to take it outside into the backyard. I can remember that as if it was yesterday; ask me what I did the day before that and I have already forgotten. Such is life!
 

longtimeout

War Hero
Don't the Swiss National Service conscripts get to take their weapons home? especially to little-known swiss german villages? maybe that's why the suicide rates are so high. If only there was someone with relevant experience we could ask....
They are issued a personal weapon during recruit training, and it stays with them for the duration of their service.

It's quite common to see a bunch of bearded conscripts get on a train, dump their Stgw-90's in the luggage racks, and head off to the dining car. Nobody bats an eyelid, but you can be sure that if someone came along and grabbed one, there would be people getting in their way.

Everybody knows how it works, and stepping out of line is quick to raise wrath.

At the end of your service, you are given the option to purchase your rifle for a nominal sum. In the case of the last two generations of semi-auto rifles, Stgw-57, and Stgw-90, the auto sear was modified before sale, to make it semi-auto only. Obviously with the previous, bolt action models, this wasn't an issue.

It's quite common at shooting clubs to see a CHF500 (400 quid) rifle, with CHF2000 of accessories, (sights, barrel heat shimmer bands, etc etc).

Every Wednesday afternoon and Saturday morning, you hear the members shooting at the local 300m range. There's pretty much one in every village, with service ammunition supplied at a subsidised price.

Until a few years ago, everyone was issued a big "sardine can" of deployment ammunition. It was suppoed to be checked regularly that it was still intact. They were all "supposed" to be returned when the system changed.

I know my Father in law still has his, and allegedly a few hand grenades stashed away, just in case the Russians come storming along the valley.
 

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