🔶If you were an American GI or Marine fighting during WW2, what would you take as a war trophy?🔶
This picture shows an American soldier as he shows off his bat display of captured weapons including an MG-34, and MG-42, 2 MP-40’s, and an MP-38. The weapon sling around his back is most likely his own US standard issue M1 Garand Rifle. This photo was taken during the Normandy Campaign of the Second World War.
When US troops entered the European or Japanese theaters of war, they obviously were trying to give their all for their country and hopefully live in the process, but the idea of acquiring a war trophy would also be in the mind of many.
I would say the most prized trophy’s in the Japanese Theater would be the Nambu pistol or a Japanese flag. In the European Theater, the most prized trophy’s were the Luger pistol, German helmet, StG44, German Nazi Flag, it MP-40. The Luger stands out as the most sought after though as it was not given to every German soldier, and mainly officers had them. Thus, acquiring a Luger meant you killed an officer, or at least found one dead. Lugers were also just sometimes found abandoned, and the first GI to find it was a very lucky guy.
Some sold their Lugers back home years after the war for some good money, but many kept them as a symbol of what they went through and that they prevailed through the horrid eclipse of humanity that was WW2.
During the breakout of Normandy, the Germans were put into a hard retreat in the west facing hard US strength. Since most of the German armor and elite troops were in the eastern sector facing British and Canadian troops in and around Caen, the US were easily able to move west and then subsequently southward. The British capture of Caen combine with a Canadian drive south and US move eastward after moving south, the entire German Normandy garrison was trapped in what became known as the Falaise Pocket. Although most of the Germans would escape, 50,000 would be captured and 10,000 killed. They also had to leave all their equipment behind, and thus Normandy became firmly allied. This equipment yielded vast amount of sought after Lugers. The German retreat to the east also opened the path to Paris.