Bullet found in the Solomon Islands, Pacific


#1

Dear people,

When I excavated some stone house foundations on a small island in the New Georgia group in the Solomon Islands in 2003, I found a bullet, which measures 16.1 mm long and 11.5 mm in diameter. It most probably dates in the nineteenth century. I am seeking any information on this bullet.

Now I like to post its photo here, but don’t know how. Please give me email at takuya.nagaoka@gmail.com, if you are willing to help me on this. I will send you the image.

Thank you for your assistance.

Sincerely,

Takuya Nagaoka
PhD Student
Department of Anthropology
University of Auckland


#2

Here is the photo. It looks like a .45 ACP bullet to me.


#3

I agree.FMJ 230 grains 45 ACP bullet


#4

Hi,

Thank you very much for your responces.

Actually, I believed that the bullet was of the nineteenth century when the natives obtained guns from western traders and used them during their headhunting raids to other islands before their pacification and conversion to the Christianity around 1900, as it was found with prehistoric and early historic (e.g., glass sherds, clay pipes) artifacts.

But now it is more probably of WWII, right? Of a pistol? What is the whitish stuff filled at the bottom of the bullet (see my third photo)?

It is sometimes a bit disappointing to know the truth!

takuya


#5

This cartridge was used in both pistols and machine guns.I think you are right,it is probably of WWII era.

I think that the whitish stuff at the bottom of the bullet is lead oxydation


#6

I agree with everyone on this. It is a 230 Grain FMJ bullet for the .45 A.C.P. cartridge. The white “stuff” is the oxidized lead core of the bullet. These were used by all U.S. Forces in the Colt/Browning M1911 and M1911 A1 pistol, the Thompson M1928, M1928A1, M1 and M1A1 Submachine Guns, and late in the War the M3 submachine gun The United States Marine Corp also had some Reising Submachine Guns in this caliber.

Why be disappointed? You undoubtedly have a genuine artifact of the WWII fighting in the Pacific Ocean Theater of Operations, to me far more interesting, since it was a much more important event historically then use of some obscure firearm in the 19th Century by the indigenous population. I think its an interesting find.


#7

Using the rifling marks,width, angle, number etc,could any of the firearms John mentioned be eliminated? Just curious.


#8

Yes, I am sure since the bullet is not badly deformed that it could be determined what type of firearm fired this projectile, but I doubt that could be determined from these photos, even if enhanced. I think one would need the bullet and the crime-lab equipment used for such determinations, as well as reference material for the number of lands, rate and direction of twist, etc., for each of the firearm types in question.


#9

U.S. Marines landed on New Georgia 20th June 1943. The initial landing was inopposed but there was later hard fighting to clear the Japs out of the forest.

This is not likely to be an isolated find, in all probability there will be more stuff not far away and there could be loads.

Any American artifact with good provenance from an identifiable battle zone such as this will attract the interest of collectors in the US.

The beauty of the .45 bullet is that it wouldn’t have travelled all that far from the point where it was fired. A proper search of the area with a metal detector would be interesting and could be potentially quite profitable. Keep strict records of where you make any finds.


#10

More background on New Georgia

Initial landing was by 4th US Marine raiders but I can later identify US troops from 25th and 37th US Infantry Divisions. Other beligerents included troops from Austrailian, New Zealand and Fiji, (all of which were basically British). I can’t identify their role. Overall commander was Halsey (US)

Japanese had 10,500 troops well dug in on New Georgia and another 9000 on Kolombangara.

Allies committed around 30,000 men in all with losses 1195 men and 93 aircraft.

Based on a balance of probablity I would say the bullet would most likely have come from a Thompson because of the amount of ammo that would have been consummed by Thompsons in this sort of action compared to the much smaller amount expended by pistol. But thats just playing the probability game.

I also think theres a lot more still out there to find. I’ll bet those islands haven’t been picked over like BFs in Europe.


#11

Australians, New Zealanders and Fijians , during WW II, were definitely NOT “British” and would take great offence at being labelled so.

Whilst he majority of Australians were of British origin, many other national groups already made up the Aussie (Army) population, including ex French, German and Italians, etc whose fathers had migrated to Australia as far back as the mid-1800s… New Zealanders comprised a large chunck of “British” ( Scottish mostly) Migrants, and of course the native Polynesians, or “Maori” who formed the more warlike units in the NZ Army ( fully integrated); and the “Fijians” were a true Native Army (Melanesians) with some European officers, but by and large, all composed of well trained islanders.

Aussies and Kiwis had an abiding dislike of British officers, harking back to events in the Boer and First World Wars… where in any case, by 1918, the ANZAC troops were under complete and independant Australian Command ( after a disastrous 1915 and 16, under incompetent British Command.

The Only trouble was in WW II, when in the Pacific, a certain US five star general tried to use up “colonials” ( Ie, Australians, New Zealanders etc) in order to save his own troops “for the bigger Picture”, by assigning the Allies to “side show” operations and “mop ups”, rather than the “big Picture” Island hopping jobs. Only in New Guinea did the Aussies have their own way ( more because the US troops and their officers were completely Lost in the New Guinea landscape, and there were too few of them in 1942-43 to be of any consequence). This continued in 1944 and 45, with such wasteful campaigns as Borneo and Java, so that by the time the US Marines were at the doors of Japan, the Allies were still “cleaning up” the Indonesian Arcipelago…the aforesaid General had already reserved the Philippines for the US Army to take back, and didn’t want either the USMC nor anybody else to rain on his parade…

regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


#12

WOW! Who would have thought the find of a dug 45 cal projectile would turn out to be one of the coolest history lessons ever! Talk about knowing your stuff. Just amazing how much information can be learned from something so small. Amazing you guys know this. Definitely one of my favorite threads. Very cool!


#13

[quote=“DocAV”]Australians, New Zealanders and Fijians , during WW II, were definitely NOT “British” and would take great offence at being labelled so.

Whilst he majority of Australians were of British origin, many other national groups already made up the Aussie (Army) population, including ex French, German and Italians, etc whose fathers had migrated to Australia as far back as the mid-1800s… New Zealanders comprised a large chunck of “British” ( Scottish mostly) Migrants, and of course the native Polynesians, or “Maori” who formed the more warlike units in the NZ Army ( fully integrated); and the “Fijians” were a true Native Army (Melanesians) with some European officers, but by and large, all composed of well trained islanders.

Aussies and Kiwis had an abiding dislike of British officers, harking back to events in the Boer and First World Wars… where in any case, by 1918, the ANZAC troops were under complete and independant Australian Command ( after a disastrous 1915 and 16, under incompetent British Command.

The Only trouble was in WW II, when in the Pacific, a certain US five star general tried to use up “colonials” ( Ie, Australians, New Zealanders etc) in order to save his own troops “for the bigger Picture”, by assigning the Allies to “side show” operations and “mop ups”, rather than the “big Picture” Island hopping jobs. Only in New Guinea did the Aussies have their own way ( more because the US troops and their officers were completely Lost in the New Guinea landscape, and there were too few of them in 1942-43 to be of any consequence). This continued in 1944 and 45, with such wasteful campaigns as Borneo and Java, so that by the time the US Marines were at the doors of Japan, the Allies were still “cleaning up” the Indonesian Arcipelago…the aforesaid General had already reserved the Philippines for the US Army to take back, and didn’t want either the USMC nor anybody else to rain on his parade…

regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics.[/quote]

I’m not talking about the ethnic mix of the troops. In 1943 Austrailian and NZ troops wore the British Uniform (different hat ) carried the .303 rifle and swore allegance to the Queen.
Most of the British Infantry in the Western Desert (North Africa) were Aussis.

The current political debate in Austrailia about the role of the Queen as Monarch and all that goes with it wasn’t around in 1943. That only started in 1953.

The .303 rifle was the reason they were used for “sideshows” in the Pacific. You can’t mix troops with incompatible weapons on the battlefield because of the problems of supplying the right ammo to the right troops at the sharp end.

The idea that Aus. troops were used for the dirtiest jobs has always been a part of the Austrilian folklore of both WW1 and WW2 and is directed at both British and American commanders at different times but it doesn’t really stand up.

In 1915 the Anzacs took terrible losses at Galipoli and nobody disputes there was incompetence in the planning. The Anzacs weren’t picked for the job though because it was going to be tough. They were picked because they were stationed in Egypt and were nearest.

You mention 1916, certainly the Aussis were in heavy fighting a Poziers but it was the Souh Africans that took Dellville Wood, the Welsh at Mametz and the worst, High Wood was taken by 47th (London) Division. Other notables include the Newfoundlanders at Beaumont Hamel and the 36th (Ulster) Division next to them. I can’t even start on the Scots or I’ll be here all day.

The heaviest losses on the first day of the Somme was 34th Div (Brit) right in the centre. They were relieved/reinforced the following day by 19th Div (Brit) who went on to take the heavily fortified village of La Boisselle.

19th Div also prepared the ground for 47th Divisions attack on High Wood After that 19th Div were taken out of the fighting on the 7th August having lost 337 officers and 6260 other ranks and unable to continue as a fighting Division.
Nobody had it easy in 1916.

What I think is most significant is that just under 1200 men and 96 planes were lost taking a dot on the map in the Pacific that nobody today has even heard of.


#14

Thank you, everyone, for your information.

The small island I found this bullet is called Nusa Rovaiana, which is located near Munda across the lagoon (about 15 munities boat ride). After the capture of the area, Americans built a road from this island to the next island on the passage. Although I am not sure whether actual fighting was taken place on this small island, I could pick up several ammunitions on the shore.

JohnMoss: My disappointment was simply because my thesis topic was the late prehistoric-early historic household archaeology!

Thank you again.

takuya


#15

Firstly, During WW I, the Biggest casualties suffered by ANZAC troops were Fromelles (over 5000 casualties in a single battle) and Pozieres.
BTW the tactics and Command decisions were all British Army staff…with predictable results to all troops involved…By mid 1917, the independance of Field commanders of Aussie Battalions and Divisions were making itself felt…they were achieving their objectives, sometimes over-running their end points to capture further Rear line German Positions, so much so that by 1918, General Monash was in Command of the Australian Corps on the Western front ( the Black Day of the German Army, 8 August, was due to the meticulous Planning by all levels of Australian Command, right down to Platoon level…even the Germans (Ludendorff) admitted that the disaster which befell the German Army in August 1918, was due in no small part to the Preparation of the Australian troops.

Further in WW II, the North African Campaign was mostly fought by ANZAC troops early on, as they were “on their way” to England in 1940, but were “Waylaid” halfway there, due to the Fall of France, and the Italian Advance onto Egypt in June 1940.
Again, the Australians were under their own Divisional Commanders, only the British Higher Command in Cairo had overall control.

When the Japanese attacked in 1941, the Australian Government Recalled the Australian Divisions in North Africa, to defend Australia…the 8th Division was sent to defend the undefendable Singapore; and was totally Lost.
The 7th and 9th Divisions were diverted in mid-Ocean to Burma by Churchill, and the Australian PM, Curtin refused this order, and got the two divisions home to Australia, whence they defeated the Japanese in New Guinea after a Two year struggle ( 1942-44). So much for “British control of the Australian Forces”. And don’t confuse the constitutional Position of HM Queen Elisabeth II of Australia( our Constitional Head-of-State) with the British Government.

To be exact, Australia has been independant from the UK in matters of Law and Policy since the Act of Westminster (1931-- finally enacted 1942) and subsequent " separation" acts after WW II; In any case, these pieces of legal documents were simply establishing what was already “de-facto” since 1901, where the Australian Defence Forces abolished the death penalty for Military offences-- after the Breaker Morant execution in South Africa, and determined that all Australian Military personell would be subject to the Defence Act 1903,(Cth) and NOT the Army Act 1881 (UK). As a result, NO Australian was executed by Military Court-martial during WW I or II, unlike a large(relatively) number of British soldiers.

So , Mr Green, Get Your Facts Straight; whilst the British like to think they actually “Ran” the War, it was actually handled by others without so much as a “by your leave”.
And don’t think I am a Rabid OzzieOzzie Australian…My ancestry is Romano-Celtic, and my forebears fought with the Allies in WW I,(Italo-Austrian Campaign) and against the Communists in WW II (Russia and Yugoslavia); some Descendants are even now serving in the Middle East ( with their NATO units); or been in “the wrong side” of the Falklands War.
I myself served in a (now LH) Mounted Infantry Unit, with distinguised WW I war honours,(Palestine) for several years; since my time, it has been re-activated to full Regular status, and has just finished a tour of both Iraq and Afghanistan ( 2/14LH (QMI)).

Even in WW I, The Australian LH divisions in Palestine were under Australian command (Harry Chauvel, a French Huguenot descendant from South East Qld; even the Yorkshire Yeomanry in Palestine were under his command ( as well as being seconded to Col. Lawrence for Lawrence’s MG sections and RR Armoured Cars).

And as to the high casualties of British (UK) Troops on the Western front, these were more due to the command inefficencies and incompetence than to anything else…which Australian, New Zealand and Canadian independance of thought and action overcame by the end of 1916…One has only to read the unit diaries and records of the time, and study the combat reports of Both sides…yes the Germans were quite perspicacious about the abilities of their opponents on the Western front…They rated “colonial” Troops the worst situation to be against; and in the Colonial eptithet they included both White (European) and Black (French African) Troops; and of course, the Legion Etrangere; followed in order by the French and British on a mixed Unit by unit basis, with the other allies (Belgium, Portugal etc) as the lowest on the “effectiveness” list. ( even though some German Intel reports in the middle of 1916 still rated the Australians as little better than the British (English) Troops, this soon changed as the " planning" instituted by Monash and his colleagues began to take effect on Australian Operations.). This is simply, British and French Line troops were “predictable”; Colonials were " unpredictable" and sometimes “downright crazy”.

The Americans were added by the Germans to “the Colonials” late in the War, once they too had “accustomed” themselves to the meatgrinder that was Trench Warfare.

Put that in yer pipe and smoke it!!!

Doc AV
RIP Div. Alpina Cuneense, Ansa del Don, Russia 1942
RIP Battaglione “M”, Bersaglieri, ( 8 Div,3 batt), Piedicolle-Selva di Tarnovo, Slovenia, 1945.


#16

Dear Takuya-san,
My apologies for “hijacking” your Thread…but Mr Green’s statements could not go unanswered. Short of a challenge to " katana-do," cutting words will have to suffice.

Again, Apologies,
Doc AV
O-su-to-ra-ri-a.


#17

Takuya - in that case, I understand your disappointment very well. Still, its a good souvenir find, if not related to the work you are doing. Good luck on your project. It must be a fascinating study. Unfortunately, here, other than the history of our own troops in WWII, we know little or nothing about the history of the peoples and cultures of the Pacific Basin itself.


#18

I think this is way off topic and I don’t see it going anywhere constructive so I am going to bow out. Clearly you have strong views on the subject.