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Machine gun belt from Normandy

Article about: The casings were probably fired, but there is also a hole drilled in every case. Every case says 65, but the letters change on some.

  1. #1

    Default Machine gun belt from Normandy

    Hi, this is my first post! Been browsing for a while and I love this site, but sometimes it frustrates me because I'm so jealous of all the great stuff everyone has and finds... Being from Canada I don't see all that much original WWII items around.

    I'll cut to the chase first, then ramble afterwards about my France experience, and if you choose to read on, I thank you.

    I bought this machine gun belt from a car boot sale on the road at the Dog 1 (I thinK) exit on omaha beach. I was excited and automatically thought WWII but now with a little research I'm thinking maybe not. The (empty) bullets say "65 FN" or "65 LM" on them which I'm thinking means 1965 and the manufacturer. The belt says AA52 SAV which I think is either french or UN?

    I'm sure someone here can clarify exactly what I have here.

    Machine gun belt from NormandyMachine gun belt from NormandyMachine gun belt from NormandyMachine gun belt from Normandy

    My great Uncle was shot down on a bombing raid over Hannover in 1943. Although he was born and raised in London England he was actually flying with Canadian Squadron 434 of the RCAF so when I saw this cap badge at the local flea market I had to have it.

    Machine gun belt from Normandy

    And now for my story:

    My parents immigrated to Canada from Yorkshire England a few years before I was born. I have no family here except my parents and siblings and have never met my uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, none of them.. going on 30 years. My uncle came to visit in the spring and invited us to my cousins wedding in the fall. He is a great guy and I couldn't wait to meet everyone so we took this as an opportunity to do so. Plane tickets are so expensive! The cheapest flight over the pond would drop us in Paris France a week before the wedding. I went with my mother and my sister, both were excited to stay in gay Paris for a few nights. I played along but really I was planning a road trip to Normandy. I am WWII obsessed. My first few days in Europe were pretty hectic.
    I should have made some friends on here before I left to help streamline my efforts, but it was still the best trip. Here's how my trip unfolded...

    Day 1: Overnight flight Toronto to Paris, didn't sleep a wink. Arrive at 7am Paris time Friday morning. Have already been up for 25hrs straight at this point.
    Go to the louve, eiffel tower, Notre Dame, champs de elysee. Drinks till 1am, go to bed.

    Day 2: Up at 5am, gather my stuff and catch a cab to the rental car place. Takes about 2hrs to finally get my car out of the garage - not a big fan of Paris (except the women.. wow) and I head for the Falaise gap. I get to Chambois around noon, check out the monuments and stuff and walk around town. Then I drive to Moissy. I kick the dirt around and walk the backroads but didn't find anything! I probably wondered around there for 2hrs and found squat! St. Lambert sur Dives was awesome... all those little towns are ancient! So different from here, seems more common in Europe. I toured falaise and Caen before getting to my hotel at Luc sur mer around 7pm. Just enough light for me to stroll the beach in search of evidence of wars past for a couple hours. But found nothing again!

    Northern France needs more street signage

    Day 3: Finally some decent sleep. But up at 5:30, on the road for 6. Head for the Canadian cemetery but get lost. Found a single marker with a tall canadian flag rolling over head. Marked the spot of a fighter plane that crashed there. COuldn't waste any more time, headed for courseulles sur mer. Visited that gnarly house there - People actually live there! I think it's weird. Checked out the german defenses and gun placements, it was great, a dream come true to actually be there, where it happened. Got to the Juno beach center museum place right as the doors opened. Sweet Canadian girls working there too. Great place to visit, very informative. Lots of great items in there. Bunkers out front were cool too. Scoured that section of beach and found nothing.

    I headed down the coast hitting every beach and gun battery and as many museums as I could along the way. Made a detour around a farmers field and walked the road for a kilometer or 2 next to the ploughed field. Found nothing again. I really wanted to bring home a piece of the war and was not feeling too lucky that day.

    By the time I got to Omaha beach it was getting late. Did I mention that I had to be back in Paris by 7pm to cath the eurorail to London? Well I did, and I hated it. I could spend a month in Normandy, easy.

    Of all the beach towns that Omaha covers, I had to choose 1. I chose Vierville sur mer because it was closest to Poin t du hoc which was next on my list and it's supposedly the beach from Saving private ryan - right? I'm pretty sure.

    I searched the beach and the hills there and couldn't find my treasure I so hopelessly longed for...

    It's about 1pm and I need to be headed for Paris no later than 3pm. I still need to hit up Point du Hoc, so I better get going. Darn it. But wait - there's a car boot sale... Old people with all thier old stuff! right on Omaha Beach... there HAS to be some goodies here. But I had to be quick. First table, BAM, machine gun belt. "how much?" I ask. "dix". "sold"
    Next table - Weird looking canister. maybe a gas mask. I now know it was a german gas mask canister and the mask was inside, but not in very good condition, I checked. She only wanted 12 euros for it and I didn't buy it. I regret that decision so much. There were no markings on it..... no time to dilly dally, I need to get on the road.

    Crazy German machine gun nests in the cliff right in peoples backyard 0n the road at Dog 1 - Avenue virginia USA or something like that. Baffled me how people just live amongst it now.

    Point du Hoc was a blast, but then I was headed back to Paris. My Normandy trip was done and I will probably never get the chance to go back.

    I wish I could have gone to st mere eglise and the pegasus bridge and spent more time everywhere, but I had to squeeze in as much as I could in a day and a half. Beautiful area, and the people were all so nice. I Hope I get a chance to go back one day.

    So my question for the people who are in that area or are close enough that they get to visit that area often is - Is it odd that I didn't find anything there? I mean I know it's not just littered with stuff on the surface now, but there seems to still be a lot being found in Normandy. I though for sure if I kept my eyes peeled to the ground around the corridor of death I would find something. Or along the farmed fields just inland from Omaha and Juno, there would be something in the dirt - a casing, a rusty piece of metal, anything. Nope.

    Anyways, If you've made it this far then thanks for hangin in there. I wanted to make my first post a good'n. I plan to keep checking the Flea market and even antique stores so I hope I have some more (shorter) posts in here in the future.
    Last edited by Broods; 10-18-2011 at 03:19 AM.

  2. #2

    Default re: Machine gun belt from Normandy

    Awesome story... I don't know anything about your machine gun belt, but I hope it turns out to be legit!

    An ex girlfriend of mine studied abroad in Rouen, France and I had an opportunity to visit her there... we could have gone to Normandy. Of course I didn't go visit her... I regret that.

    Do you have any pictures of what you saw in Normandy?

  3. #3

    Default re: Machine gun belt from Normandy

    I have a couple hundred pictures. I could post some later if anyone's interested

  4. #4

    Default re: Machine gun belt from Normandy

    Of course we'd be interested! Show us the cream of the crop!

  5. #5

    Default re: Machine gun belt from Normandy

    Welcome mate. You sure made a good first post. "Gay" Paris Sounds like a hectic tour de France i will say.

    About your belt i can only say it's not German. Could be American. Their newest (i think) machine gun is called M429 SAW. Maybe a hint here. The L65 does not necessarily mean it's from 65.

  6. #6

    Default re: Machine gun belt from Normandy

    I'm a little confused... is it just me, or have these bullets been fired? If so, why aren't the casings on the machine gun belt empty? (excuse my lack of knowledge ... I'm a new gun owner and am still working on terminology)

  7. #7

    Default re: Machine gun belt from Normandy

    Looks like a post-war NATO belt, 7.62mm French army I guess. The date is 1965. Funny I live not very far from Normandy, but never realy go there. I know there are some good finds to be made on the car boot sales, but that goes for the whole of France and Belgium, just a matter of being there early because all the military colectors are there at the crack of dawn to snap up the goodies.
    I was in Ypres (Belgium) last week, still loads to be picked up from the battle fields, amazing after all these years; it's still being ploughed up!
    Next time you decide to come to Europe drop me a line and I'll show you some places where there are still loads to find.

  8. #8

    Default re: Machine gun belt from Normandy

    Bullets will be put into fired shells for display purposes. Not uncommon.........


  9. #9

    Default re: Machine gun belt from Normandy

    Either it is spent casings with refitted projectiles, or someone have gone through the ordeal and fitting the live round in a re-loader, removing the projectile from the casing, pouring out the cordite(gun powder) and firing the primer in a rifle..... and then crimping the projectile to the casing.

    I think the first variant is the most likely, meaning the projectiles and casings was not "born" together.

  10. #10

    Default re: Machine gun belt from Normandy

    I did a few "then and now" pctures, unintentionally. But it's pretty neat I think.

    Defenses along the juno beach sea wall
    Machine gun belt from NormandyMachine gun belt from Normandy

    Omaha view
    Machine gun belt from NormandyMachine gun belt from Normandy

    House at Juno beach... People live here!
    Machine gun belt from NormandyMachine gun belt from Normandy

    and a couple randoms
    Machine gun belt from NormandyMachine gun belt from NormandyMachine gun belt from NormandyMachine gun belt from NormandyMachine gun belt from Normandy

    What really caught my attenetion was that the wood inside the german bunkers still looked brand new. I'm just happy I even got the chance to go there.

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