I would imagine huge stocks of German munitions, small arms, armored vehicals artillery, etc. were captured intact from the Wermacht, S.S. and other ground combat formations by the Western allies both in Germany after the surrender in '45. Does anyone know if there was a systematic attempt to collect and destroy this material ? How was it disposed of ? Who was reponsible among the western allied powers ? How much may have been shipped back to the U.S., U.K., France, Canada, etc. for testing purposes and what (among ground combat equipment) was high on the priority lists for capture and evaluation? Anyone know of a good book or study on the subject?
Ex-German materiel ended up EVERYWHERE, from Syria (PzKpfW IVs) to a friend's uncle's closet (MP40).
The French used a lot of ex-German equipment including French built Fiesler Storch light aircraft and smallarms such as P38s and Kar98Ks.
The Yugoslavs were also big users of ex-German hardware, up to and including artillery. I used to own a Kar98K refurbished in Yugoslavia. The work was SUPERLATIVE.
The Czechs continued producing the Bf-109 and an execrable local development called the S-199 after the war.
Lugers arsenal reconditioned in the Soviet Union have recently been sold in the United States in considerable quantities.
Some odds and ends of information for you:
The Russians captured large quantities of German small arms, and had them rebuilt and refinished (probably by captured German ordanace personnel) and placed them in storage against future need. After the fall of communism, tens of thousands of these weapons (Mauser 98k rifles and P-38 pistols) were imported for sale on the US surplus market.
After WW II, the French government awarded an American, Samuel Cummings, a contract to clean up the Falaise battlefield, destroying all the unexploded munitions and collecting the abandoned weaponry. Apparently he was allowed to keep what he collected, since it was the basis for his 1950's founding of Interarmaco, the largest importer of surplus military firearms in the US.
There was lot vehicles (not armed) sold or given away by the allied forces to the cities and welfare org.s in the hole US. I read once that US na dUK armed forces did not want to ship home lots of their own material and of the german material so they plunged (is it the right word?) a lot into the north sea. Nowaddays there are zones in northsea (eastern frisia islands) where trraffic is forbidden and there are other zones where fishermens should be very careful.
There should be information available in germany and in the US/UK.
Bodo Mordhorst Bremerhaven/Germany 'nordish by nature'
The French Army used Tiger IIs and Panthers up until the early 50's.
Many of the Arab armies that attacked Israel in '48 used second-hand German tanks. The Syrians used mainly Pz IVs and StuGs, IIRC.
'Some kind of central planning seems to be the object of most environmental activists. But why is a Politburo expected to work better for plants and animals than it did for Russians?'
A friend's father also observed this in the Pacific theater. Huge quantities of weapons and materiel stockpiled for the invasion of Japan were bulldozed into the Pacific Ocean after VE day.
I forgot to mention that the Swiss used the Hetzer post-war.
At one time, I knew some reinactors in Hermann, MO who were supposedly negotiating the purchase of a Hetzer from Switzerland. I don't know if they ever got it or not.
The Panther was of particular interest to the British Army. The Royal Engineers supervised the assembly of some late model Panther Gs from components in captured factories, which were then shipped back to the UK.
The Panther G in Bovingdon Tank Museum is such a vehicle (though where the Panther II turret that is lying on the ground outside came from, I don't know). The French Army actually used Panthers as combat vehicles into the 1950s.
The fate of Wernher Von Braun and co is of course well known too...
In respect of U-boats, after the German surrender their crews were ordered to surrender to the nearest Allied ship, though over 200 were scuttled by their captains. On May 14 1945 eight U-boats were escorted into Lisahally, Northern Ireland. There was a formal handover before the U-boats were sunk just off the coast. I assume this was because it would have seemed obsence to the many victims of these vessels that they should remain intact.
As recently as last year there was a proposal to salvage the remains of these ships for their scrap metal value.
Captured German ammunition etc was also dumped into the Med. In the book 'Captain Blossom Soldiers On' some details are given. The author, Captain Michael Nelson, was in charge of an RASC unit that was tipping munitions into the sea off of Salerno in 1945-46. In fact, many of the personnel involved in this task were German POWs.
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Victorious allies attempted to pick over German munitions technology fairly thoroughly after VE Day, cf. seizure of V2 rockets and scientific staff for postwar examination in Britain and the USA. An early prototype was the 'Alsos' mission of the Manhattan Project, looking for material about any German atomic bomb project.
1. Official teams were deployed under various names e.g. BIOS = British Intelligence Objectives Subcommittee and CIOS = Combined Intelligence Objectives Subcommittee (and CIOS = Canadian Intelligence Objectives Subcommittee.)
2. A few later books have been written e.g. Tom Bower, The Paperclip Conspiracy (1987) cf. also Brian Ford's Ballantine books on German Secret Weapons etc. Main fields investigated were rockets, submarines, jet engines and high-speed aerodynamics.