Museums at Normandy

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Part of my trip to the UK took my to Le Havre, France. Being so close, I had to go to Normandy and see Omaha Beach. I went to the Normandy American Cemetary. The visitor center has a wonderful exhibit with a few firearms inside.

 

Springfield M1.

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German Luger

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Battlefield cross.

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Nearby in Caen, France, is the Mémorial de Caen Museum. It focuses on WWII and has some exhibits after 1945. The museum is a center of History and Peace. Outside, they have the famous Non-Violence statue. There are 16 copies of this Non-Violence sculpture. It was made by Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd of an oversized Colt Python .357 Magnum revolver with a knotted barrel and the muzzle pointing upwards. Carl made this sculpture after singer, songwriter and peace activist John Lennon was murdered.

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The museum did not have a lot of firearms but I took some pictures of a few of them.

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This was an odd display. Almost like preserving an archaeological dig.

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I finally saw a PTRD. Funny story about the PTRD, during a live chat with Polenar Tactical they told me a local Slovenian Gun Dealer registered his PTRD for hunting purposes. He wanted to show how ridiculous the regulations were since there were no restrictions on size or caliber.

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PPSH.

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This 1911 looks to be a COLT M1911. However I do not recognize the stampings near the beaver tail.

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Here are the stampings I was talking about. “AN” and what looks like a crown or antlers. Does any 1911 expert know what these stampings are for?

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Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


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  • A.g.

    I believe that the stamping on the 1911 means “Arme Neutralisée” : neutralized weapons.
    I’m looking for a confirmation.

  • Alter_Ego

    *cemetery 😉

  • snmp

    stamp of proofhouse “AN” for Arme Neutralisé => demilled weapon

  • Vitsaus

    Good thing the Europeans have been so grateful for all that the US did over there.

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      They did let us make one of the “Vacation” movies over there.

      • forrest1985

        By europeans i hope you mean the french!

        • TheNotoriousIUD

          Whats wrong with the French?
          Their fries and maids uniforms are awesome.

          • forrest1985

            Everything apart from those two things lol! Eiffel tower aint bad i suppose

          • Tom

            Aint bad the bloody thing was built like a hundred years ago they still haven’t taken the scaffolding down!

          • They love to rant about everything. Including themselves.

            God, do the French suck. I should know, I am one of em!

    • nirvana

      If the French navy didn’t help us out in the Revolutionary War you’d be singing “God Save the Queen”

      • forrest1985

        Good tune that :p

      • FrenchKiss

        The French President De Gaulle also asked the United States to remove our military bases from French soil after WW2. DeGaulle said he didn’t want a single American soldier in France. The U.S. Ambassador asked DeGaulle if that included all the Americans buried in Normandy. DeGaulle “generously” said no. So, yeah, the French are real grateful.

        • nirvana

          De Gaulle had the stones to do it- French soil- war’s over- he told the US to scram

          • Rock or Something

            DeGaulle was a donkey’s butt. Unfortunately, a seemingly necessary one for France due to the political instability they were facing at the time.

        • Tsubaka

          Also immediately after WW2 there was trouble with some allies soldiers in french towns like bar fight,rapes.. And police had problem to respond to this
          Of course it only concern an minority of soldiers but you know sometime an minority could degrades relations

      • Rock or Something

        I would add that the French had a vested interest in aiding us against the British, which ironically almost came undone when relations between the U.S. and new Republic France was so bad, a Quasi-War from 1798 to 1800 occurred.

        During WWI, a story was told that an American soldier, shortly after reaching France, went to Marquis de Lafayette’s grave and shouted “We are here to repay your debt!”

        • tom.joad

          Sadly, the american army came to late to change the course of the war during WWI

      • Zebra Dun

        Help? Von Steuben helped more than any French did.
        Doesn’t matter, if it were not for the rest of the free world French girls would still answer to the call Fraulein.

  • Zachary marrs

    A non-violence statue at a ww2 museum?

    Ironic, to say the least.

    “They like to look at history, but they don’t want to learn it’s lessons”

    • FrenchKiss

      What do you expect? The artist is Swedish. Remember, the Swedes were “neutral” during the war. It was too hard to determine which side was moral! Well, by neutral I mean the Swedes let Nazi Germany ship military supplies across Sweden in trains. But that’s all!!!

      • nirvana

        Sweden and Russia have had a long and bloody history since before Peter the Great- the Swedes figured the Germans could maybe knock the snot out of Stalin- plus the Swedes were edgy after the whole Invasion of Finland thing.

      • Tom

        In fairness to the Swedes they hardly had a military to stand up to the Germans and they did help the Danes evacuate their Jewish population mitigating a lot of the horrors of the Nazi regime.

        Hindsight a great thing and if everyone knew then what we know know about the Nazi regime then everyone would of given Germany a swift kicking and the whole thing would of been over very quickly.

        • idahoguy101

          Yes. And it appears that lesson is still being forgotten about ISIS/ISIL in Syria and Iraq

          • Cleophus

            Horse hockey. ISIS/ISIL are a tempest in a teapot. Something that the US has no compelling national interest in pursuing. If ISIS is such a bad boogy man then let the countries of the middle east band together and take care of them. Saudi Arabia has a military more than large enough to do the job, not to mention adequate finances. Let them send their boys to bleed and die.

          • Zebra Dun

            I don’t care if Muslim kills Muslim.

      • mikee

        The Swedes collaborated with the allies and the axis forces before and during WWII. Examples are the FLAK 18/36 developed by the Germans with Swedish assistance and the Bofors 40 mm AA gun and its derivations which served with the allies and captured examples with the axis forces during WWII. Post WWII the Swedes created the story of the .223 “tumbling bullet” saga as a response to losing out to a multi million dollar contract to supply US forces with .223 ammo during the Vietnam conflict. Then there was the “Carl Gustav” saga of not supplying ammunition to US and Australian forces during the Vietnam War. They also did a “con job” on the Collins Class submarines – arguably one of the worst submarines developed since WWII which the Swedes did not adopt themselves etc.,…..

    • Anonymoose

      And a Colt Python no less. When was the last time someone was shot with one of those? And where can I get one with a barrel long enough to tie in a knot?

      Also, I distinctly remember John Lennon saying that “happiness is a warm gun.”

  • USMC03Vet

    That museum looks like something right out of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall.

  • nirvana

    my grandfather fought in the 101st SS Panzer at Normandy and had a lot of interesting stories.

  • MrEllis

    Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed it.

  • Weren’t Swedes making Colt Pythons for the Germans?

  • Ed

    Didint need a pic of the pro facsit crap statue that Mr CARL Fredrick farted out

    arl Fredrik

    • Ed

      Sorry Carl Freddick i meat his crap.

  • idahoguy101

    The French didn’t exactly sit out WW2. Their Army lost 100,000 soldiers in the Battle of France. And afterwords they never turned their substantial Navy over to the Nazis. They scuttled any ship the Germans were going to seize.
    DeGaulle was a primadonna ingrate.
    But the Tank soldiers under his command fought effectively against the Germans in the Battle of France. Then he evacuated to Britian to form a Government in Exile rather than obey Petain’s Vichy Regime. But he was an insufferable S.O.B. during and after the war.
    When President Kennedy visited DeGaulle the old war horse explained in detail the folly of fighting Vietnamese nationalism to our President.
    If Kennedy had heeded DeGaulles assessment then 58,000 Americans wouldn’t have died in Southeast Asia.

    • Tom

      Whilst the French did eventually scuttle much of the fleet in France they only did this after the Germans ended the Vichy puppet government and attempted to take control of them. The fleet made no attempt to continue the fight or remove themselves from German control until much later in the war. This contrast with say the Polish fighter pilots who upon the fall of Poland flew to Britain to continue the fight becoming a key element in the Battle of Britain.

      The main French naval force in North Africa was actually destroyed by the Royal Navy shortly after the fall of France after they refused the British ultimatum to ether join them in fighting the Germans, surrender their ships or sail to the US and surrender the vessel to then then neutral USA.

      I am sure much of the French Navy would have wanted to continue the fight and many many French despised the Vichy government. But for the most part French politicians and senior military figures lacked the stomach to face down Germany regardless of cost.

      DeGaulle deserves a lot of credit for rallying what French forces he could to continue the fight. Of course he is still (much like Churchill) one of history’s biggest arseholes.

      • idahoguy101

        The French reaction to their defeat and to the Vichy government was mixed. Some ships steamed to Britain. Most stayed pier side. Churchill ordered that the main fleet in North Africa surrender. The French Admiral divered and stalled for time.

    • tom.joad

      deGaulle was nor a S.O.B. or a primadonna ingrate. He had to stand against the german AND the allegedly allies. Why don’t you tell us how the british and the US, tried to steal everything they could from the former french empire?
      For example, when we were in Vietnam, we asked for help form the US. The US Govt refused. they though they could let France loose then came an win and then keep the vietnam for themself. We later saw were this kind of arrogance lead you.
      The british. Allegedly allies too…. the only reason they allowed deGaulle to stay in england was to have an eye on him. They didn’t really wants France to come back and be an empire again. They tried to steal lebanon from us back then. There are many other examples you can read fromn the memoirs of deGaulle (sadly the english translation sucks).
      Plus be realistic : the US invasion was not meant to help an allied country. The russian were on their way to freed us. It was just a way to conquer the biggest area to be sur that the communism will stay far away from england and the US of A.

  • Tom

    I think it has to do with the post war French trying to create the myth of their own liberation. The presence of Americans and other foreign troops simple reinforced the idea that the French (along with the British) had been steamrolled by the Germans, The French have tried hard to force the narrative that they essentially liberated themselves from occupation.

    No one should doubt the bravery of the French troops that fought or the members of the resistance but the truth is the former (largely a result of political incompetence) failed utterly and for the later their efforts were essentially irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

  • SirOliverHumperdink

    Silly swede, Lennon was shot with a Charter Arms .38

    • tom.joad

      Let’s imagine (!) he was stabbed, would have the artist made a knife with a knotted blade? Would have he been stabed with a pen, we would have a knotted pencil standing there right now?

  • tom.joad

    You forget to mention that you also save YOUR ass from the Nazi threat.
    Russian would have freed us from the german as well but that, the US gvt couldn’t accept it. That why they decide of the invasion.

  • CavScout

    “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf”
    In this case, France is like ‘people’ and the US is the ‘rough men’. They put a ‘peace’ statue at a WW2 museum/memorial when someone murders the King of the Hippees?