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Re: Last use of a Trapdoor by a deployed Army Unit in a combat zone

Posted by John on Wednesday, 12 February 2014, at 11:51 a.m., in response to Re: Last use of a Trapdoor by a deployed Army Unit in a combat zone, posted by Bob Bryson on Tuesday, 11 February 2014, at 4:11 p.m.

I believe the U.S. Army had a formal process established sometime prior to WW2 to standardize ordnance items (and perhaps other type of equipment). This typically would be something like [Item] is adopted as standard. [Item] is adopted as substitute standard. [Item] is declared to be obsolete.

The name of this group, or their report may be something like "Ordnance Technical Change" Committee or Memorandum, and they may have operated out of Rock Island Arsenal.

That might provide an "official" date for trapdoors' demise, although almost certainly some outfits never get the word, or procrastinated on taking action, or simply ignored orders from Headquarters.

When dealing with trapdoors in state hands it can be even more convoluted, as the trapdoors has been issued prior to the Dick Act of 1903, which established the dual state/federal status of the National Guard. Thus, the trapdoors issued under the old Militia Act of 1808 were disbursed to the states pretty much to become state property with no further federal oversight.

Therefore, while the feds (Ordnance Department) may have officially declared the trapdoors obsolete in [year???] the actual final disposition from state inventory may have 48 different different answers. Some may have sold them off very early (WW1 era?) while others may have kept them in storage, unsure what to do with them until much later. And, to add further confusion, it is likely that some states transferred trapdoors from their militia/national guard to other agencies such as state police, prisons, "state guard" etc where release to the public may have been delayed for a few more years of decades. Add in the occasional "left in an old building and forgotten about" scenario, and you may get even more recent disposition dates.

It is important to be somewhat skeptical about tales of "trapdoors sold by the National Guard in 19xx" as gun show gossip, unless someone can come up with a sales receipt, newspaper clipping or something else to confirm it with actual documentation. (Remember the oral history stories insisting that "Grandpa carried this trapdoor in the Civil War?")

In my opinion, the last issue of trapdoors for combat use would have been during the Philippine Insurrection, but even then they were being replaced by Krags in some units in the field.


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