grates of four pot belly stoves. Those sling swivels and butt plates just wouldn't burn.

They wouldn't burn down at the shop either, and after a few months we had quite a few tons of fine old scrap iron that had once been many a soldier's, sportsman's, or collector's joy. Inasmuch as nothing is wasted in Europe, it is fairly safe to assume that many of the shovels of France now contain a fair degree of good gun metal.

I guess the work I was engaged in back in those hectic days could best be summed up in the classic remark made by our Battalion medical officer. Sitting in my room one frosty night, watching me throw some Terni buttstocks in the stove, the Doc remarked, "Hmm, there goes old Mussolini's dream of World Empire up in smoke."

I assume similar destruction of CEM was being carried on at other points in Europe and the Far East as well. But apparently we Americans didn't uncover all the weapons in former enemy lands. For, in spite of all the destruction and demilitarization of captured firearms after World War II, today we can buy just about any weapon that the Axis ever used. In fact, we can very nearly buy any weapon that the Europeans have ever used in their recurring depopulation programs since the days when Napoleon took the cure at St. Helena.

I wonder where all these weapons have been through the years, the ones now being offered for sale to thee and me. If we gave the Europeans back the weapons which we captured from them in 1945, and if they are now selling the same old iron back to us, it seems to me that, as usual, we have somehow wound up on the short end of the stick.

I suppose this little tale should have a moral to it and, if it does, let me toss this little gem at you gun lovers and collectors: Unless we Americans want to run the risk of seeing our own pet weapons turned into shovels, or used to heat some invader's room, we'd better keep our guards well up, and make sure of winning all our future wars.


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