Shrapnel Damaged 1911 from Battle of The Bulge

Some very interesting photographs have been circulating around the internet today. They purport to show a US Government issued Colt M1911 that was recovered from the, “Battle of the Bulge” area during WWII. Looking at the damage, two things immediately come to mind. The first being just how powerful large artillery really is. You can actually see the individual places where shrapnel collided with the pistol-steel and just decimated the weapon. The second thing that comes to mind…the wearer was probably mortally wounded if not DRT.

Death comes in many forms on the modern battlefield.

As for who published the photos, you can find his Facebook page here. As best as I can figure, he’s some kind of high-end collector. Feel free to reach out to him and find out more about the pistol. I certainly would like to know where it resides today? Here is what he says about the pistol on his Facebook page:

Today I was able to hold and photograph something that absolutely stopped me in my tracks.
One person I shared this with said “you had hell in your hands”
He was right.
I hope the hero who died with this at his side went quickly.
This is so representative of what the heroes of WWII went through…. . Not only in the Pacific theatre, but the German front also.
This was Bastogne in 1944.
It’s in a friends private collection and it took some doing to be able to photograph it.
I was shaking when I handed it back.
“I took these photos today.. A gentleman I know was kind enough to allow me that privilege.
Often times we get so caught up in the gun we forget the sacrifices.
This one really brings it home.
It is believed that the this damage is from artillery fire.
This weapon was very likely holstered at the time, and the soldier was facing the explosion.
I can’t begin to tell you how powerful of a sentiment this raised in my heart to hold this”
I shared this in a few historical groups I belong to, so some of you have already seen this, but it’s just too powerful of an artifact not to share with the rest of you.
Today I held hell in my hands.

“Shooting Guns & Having Fu

  • Mikial

    Very moving. Thanks for sharing this. It gives me great cause to reflect on who the person carrying that pistol might have been.

    My grandfather died in WWI long before I was born. My father and two uncles served in WWII, all survived. My half-brother served in Korea, he survived. And my cousin survived serving in Nam.

    I was a combat arms officer but was already out of the Army during the Iraq War, so I went anyway and spent 2 1/2 years there as a DoD security contractor. I lost several friends and attended several memorial ceremonies. It was a defining time in my life. There has been a member of my family in every American war since the French and Indian War, including members on both sides during the Civil War, and I wasn’t about to miss my chance to continue the honor my family has earned throughout our history by serving in my own war. To my regret, neither of my sons has any desire to enlist.

    One thing I always like about your posts is that they come from the heart. Have a Merry Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior.

    • Mikial, you are very kind. Your family tree reads like mine!

      Merry Christmas.


      • Mikial

        Sorry for asking this here, but I wasn’t sure where else to ask it.

        Speaking of WWII, what ever happened to that Moisin you decided not to give away? That would be an impressive addition to any collection, although nothing like this 1911.

        • It is currently boxed up and sitting in the armory. We aren’t sure what we will do with it at this point.

          We are still in the process of giving the Glock away. Our thinking is to run giveaways on a case by case basis and rebuild with the new model.

          If we start getting lots of grief, we will just close the entire endeavor down.

          Stay tuned.


          • Mikial

            Well, best wishes and just remember Lincoln’s words about not being able to please all of the people all of the time.

  • Tizwicky2009

    The enormity of their sacrifice and struggle really comes into perspective when you consider the ferocity of the fighting, appalling losses, and short duration of the “Battle of the Bulge” which was about 40 days (12/16/1944 – 1/25/1945). Official DOD reports state that American forces suffered 89,500 casualties including 19,000 killed, 47,500 wounded and 23,000 missing! No telling what the actual German losses were but you can assume that they were significantly higher given that the Nazi’s were attacking and the Americans were in strong defensive positions. It is a miracle that the weather cleared and Patton and the 3rd Army showed up when they did because the “Battered Bastards of Bastogne” probably could not have held out any longer than they actually did. Truly amazing and inspiring.