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Thread: Stash Of WWII French Resistance Weapons Found

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

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    Stash Of WWII French Resistance Weapons Found

    French Resistance cache unearthed including STENs named ‘Pepette’ and ‘Alice’ (PHOTOS)
    10/19/17 | by Chris Eger

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    Odds are, a little elbow grease and some lube will get those STENs up and running again. (Photo: The Lyonne Republicaine)

    A couple remodeling an old home in north-central France found a cache of ammo, grenades and submachine guns hidden under a granite floor, The Lyonne Republicaine reported.

    The find was made in July by the couple in the Quarré-les-Tombes area, about 150 miles away from Paris. Cached under the floor were three STEN guns, over a dozen Britsh Mills bomb type fragmentation grenades, three handguns, more than 1,000 rounds of ammo, and several Bren light machine gun magazines.

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    Two of the sub guns were engraved, one with the name Pepette and another in the name Alice.

    The couple donated the find to the Museum of the Resistance in Morvan, who are demilitarising the weapons and plan to exhibit them starting next Spring.

    According to the museum, the cache probably belonged to the Maquis Vauban, a Resistance group that operated in the area in 1943 and 1944.

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    During World War II the Allies dropped literally tons of arms and munitions to local resistance forces across occupied Europe to give the Germans a little heartburn. Though squirreled away over 70 years ago, caches left behind by various underground groups have popped up in Denmark, France, and Latvia in recent months, as have individual arms buried during the war for one reason or another.
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  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    That's a cool story. Imagine to have unearthed that find!
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Soon they will need more airdrops...just saying.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks for posting - that's certainly an interesting "find" and I would imagine there are such things in many places waiting to be discovered. They all look in amazing condition. While not a whole lot of folks give thought to the Resistance, they are to be remembered for the risks and sacrifices that many made during the war in "fighting back".

    I once worked with a man, who as a child, lived in Holland under the Nazi occupation and he was old enough to remember the atrocities that they did to the residents as well as knowing some who were in the Resistance, including his father. He had some fascinating stories and was a kind and gentle man but when it came to the Nazis, he had true hatred for them and what they did to the people in the area where he lived.

    Thanks DougGuy for the post - a great story!

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    uh yeah resistance,,,, only known to have actually done something once patton drove his tanks out of Normandy.

    notice first thing they done? turned them over and demilled them.... morons.

    think any American would have made much notice to finding something like that?

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    The Liberator pistols were one of the coolest weapons given to the French Resistance

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawlerbrook View Post
    The Liberator pistols were one of the coolest weapons given to the French Resistance
    I guess that depends on how you define cool. I know I'd rather have a STEN and a 1,000 rounds of ammo over a Liberator and a couple rounds... While neat the Liberator was intentionally a cheap throw away gun.

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    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    They find old weapons caches in limestone caves scattered throughout Italy all the time. Some of them pre-dating WW1. When in Tuscany some years ago I fired a flintlock musket with BP, flint and ball cast from materials recovered froman old cellar. Local Carabinieri barracks has sizable inventory of working WW2 German weapons and ammo, they are all set ifthe Swiss decide to invade .
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Minuteshaver View Post
    uh yeah resistance,,,, only known to have actually done something once patton drove his tanks out of Normandy.

    notice first thing they done? turned them over and demilled them.... morons.

    think any American would have made much notice to finding something like that?
    That had to come up sometime in this thread. The French resistance was an almost miraculous organisation, such as no other nation has ever produced. It produced useful cooperation between groups as diverse as pre-war communists and fascists. For much of the pre-invasion period its direct military action had to be limited to occasions of particular benefit, due to the German custom of executing a hundred for one. Those who claim Japan would find a rifle behind every bush in America must know a way around that one, but the French resistance didn't.

    But their espionage and sabotage activities, which meant tens of thousands of people living on their nerves with no such thing as a tour of duty, were priceless long before the invasion. The accurate location and description of fortifications and industrial targets, in areas where collateral damage had to be minimised, meant that bombing greatly reduced the benefit the Germans were able to get from the French infrastructure. Intelligence on radar and the German bomber guidance beams was of immense benefit in losing Germany's air war and saving thousands of British civilians. Bombs were designed around how much concrete slave-workers put into U-boat pens. Hundreds of Allied airmen were smuggled back to the UK, risking fairly comfortable POW status for them, but something far worse than by being hit by something in battle, for those who saved them.

    After the invasion, their operaNtions had a huge effect on the German ability to move troops to Noat rmandy. General Eisenhower, writing in peacetime and after detailed consultation with his staff, estimated their value at that of ten regular divisions. But he was only the supreme commander, so what would he know? At that point they seized anwiold occupied various areas. To quote one example, in the Vercours plateau 4000 men fought 10,000 Germans, with probably as many more held from Normandy in reserve, and suffered around 650 dead. They knew it would happen, short of a German collapse in Normandy, and what it achieved was what they did it for. The average life of an SOE or OSS radio operator was six weeks, and I will get around to below-average in a moment.

    Holland is a tragic story. Resistance there was effectively wiped out by Major Giskes of Abwehr intelligence, who caught one or two agents and worked on them by the only interrogation method that really works: humane and sympathetic questioning with the merest hint of keeping them out of the hands of the real nasties, and the intellectual discipline of working out what someone knows, and using it to get at what you don't. Real-life espionage is about human relationships and information science, not guns and cars that turn submarines. Unfortunately many of his captives were tortured or executed when a byproduct of the von Stauffenberg plot to assassinate Hitler was the handover of intelligence functions and prisoners to the SD. Giskes, in his book, recalls wondering if he would have to shoot his own way out of the SD headquarters.

    Marks, son of the bookstore in "84 Charing Cross Road", suspected that things were going wrong. There were too many excuses for failure to communicate, and agents weren't transmitting the code phrases to indicate that they hadn't been arrested and "turned". Marks had set up a special department to detect "indecipherables", coding errors which made an entire message illegible, in order to avoid the extreme vulnerability of a repeated message. The Dutch agents, and no others in Europe, sent no indecipherables at all, suggesting that the messages weren't being composed in the field. Being a 23-year-old cryptographic genius, profoundly unmilitary and irresistibly drawn to anarchic wit, it took a long time to convince his superiors, and around fifty agents were sent to their deaths. But they went.

    The biggest liability in intelligence work is the tendency of so many people to shoot their mouths off as soon as they think of something that will make them sound big. I don't know what made me think of that right now.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    The Liberator was designed as a way to get a Sten or something more lethal. By cool I mean sort of unique and designed for a very narrow mission.

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    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    The descendants of Jedburghs who survived and returned alive from their mission in Brittany with 12th Army Group in 1944 owe a debt which cannot be repaid to the Brit instructor cadre who shared what is now looked upon fondly as old school tradecraft. The curious here would be wise to seek the writings of M.R.D. Foot to read up on the preparations for the A-Day and D-Day landings.
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  12. #12
    Boolit Master Artful's Avatar
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    Last edited by Artful; 10-24-2017 at 04:45 PM.
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  13. #13
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    Those would be hanging on my wall proudly if I had found them. I guess the museum is a good alternative since they are French and will probably get arrested just for finding them.
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  14. #14
    Boolit Master





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    Note they are cutting them up to make display pieces.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by DerekP Houston View Post
    Those would be hanging on my wall proudly if I had found them. I guess the museum is a good alternative since they are French and will probably get arrested just for finding them.
    They used to get accidentally discovered in France fairly often a few decades back. As long as they were in the hands of an actual former resistance member, the police used to say:

    "You really shouldn't have that, so what a good thing you have decided to hand it in voluntarily."
    "I have?"
    "You have."

    Somebody else who gets caught with a secret hoard of full-auto weapons gets treated pretty much the same as he would in just about any other country. It is a bit like the diminishing visit by D-day veterans to France, who find there is nothing they can't do except buy their own drinks. It is the people born after the war, who talk about "we" when it wasn't "we", that imagine them to be ungrateful.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Boaz's Avatar
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    Thanks DougGuy , interesting !
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    Boolit Master Thumbcocker's Avatar
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    How much ammo was there before the authorities were called?
    You'll go far providin' you ain't burnt alive or scalped."

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  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    +1 BiS; I would post my opinion on people who denigrate those heroes simply because they are French, but the conversation could easily go downhill from there.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    B in S - well said!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scorpion8 View Post
    That's a cool story. Imagine to have unearthed that find!
    Yes, indeed!
    "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same......." - Ronald Reagan

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