A sneak preview of some of the highlights:
“Le armi le carica il diavolo” (the Devil Loads the Guns!)
...I asked Giorgio to inquire of a retired Carabinieri NCO veteran of many UN peace missions, how they carried their Beretta pistols. All of them, he says, the old 1934 and the double action 92 were always carried with the magazine full and chamber empty.
In Italy in particular, as well as in most of Europe, whether in the police or Army, the pistol is viewed as a badge of authority, not as a primary combat weapon. Guns are deemed “an evil necessity.” “Le armi le carica il diavolo” is an old Italian proverb, which accurately describes this philosophy, it means, “The devil loads the guns.”
This attitude dates back to the era of horse cavalry, in which the primary weapon was a lance or sabre. Pistols were a backup weapon, secured with lanyards to keep them from being lost. The grip safety of our M1911 pistol was specified by a cavalry officer to prevent accidental discharge of a dropped pistol dangling on its lanyard while being jostled by a galloping horse! European butt-located magazine releases forced the user to positively grasp the magazine in order to withdraw it, reducing risk of the magazine being dropped and lost. Fast reloading was not felt important or necessary.
Carrying an automatic pistol with its chamber loaded was felt to be dangerous. Allied pistol instruction prior to WW2 was purely “academic,” formal bullseye firing. Modern combat pistol technique as pioneered by Fairbairn & Sykes was taught only to commandos and covert operators. Typical WW2 soldiers of both sides received only minimal training and were “not to be trusted with a loaded pistol...”
...The best evaluation of the 1934 Beretta pistol I have found read in English was penned by none other than Roy F. Dunlap...in Ordnance Went Up Front, (Stackpole, 1948)...
"The average military man cannot hit ”¦ anything with a pistol. As a rule the bigger the gun, the less he hits”¦smaller calibers are easier ”¦ to handle. A hit with a .380 beats a miss with a .45!.
...“I like the Beretta, and regard it as, by far, the best standard sized auto loading pocket pistol in the world”¦(its) rugged simplicity keeps it ”¦running when (sand) brings”¦(close tolerance) double-action Walthers and Mausers grinding to a halt.”
“”¦The Italian Army Model 1934 9mm Corto, outnumbered all other (war trophy) pistols (in the ETO) combined”¦ one of the sturdiest and most reliable auto pistols ever made... The only broken part I ever saw”¦ was a hammer, in which the gun was dropped cocked and locked onto concrete. The service stocks have steel backing plates so if the composition panels are cracked or broken”¦parts are held securely, so that function of the gun is not affected in any way. The magazine holds seven cartridges. The gun is very well designed and made. I have never been able to cause a malfunction in one without actually bending the steel magazine lips with pliers!”¦
“”¦Berettas”¦are simple to work on”¦having only 36 parts, none”¦frail or subject to easy breakage”¦although many GI's needed a fixin' job”¦because Standard Operating Procedure in the Italian Army, if capture was imminent, was to remove the thumb safety and drop it into the desert sand. GIs were always bringing me Berettas having Ã¢â‚¬Ëœa hole in the middle' and asking for me to make the part...So, I got pretty good at it...
The rest you will have to wait for.
73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia