The remains of Wehrmacht soldiers abandoned at the military road of the Leningrad front (18+)
We spent the day again on the battlefield of the Leningrad Front. During the World War II, the position of the Wehrmacht army was located in this place. Taking metal detectors, we went in search of WW2 relics.
Having established a camp, we went in search of relics. One of my first finds was a large Orthodox cross. Priests use such crosses. Jesus Christ is depicted on the front of the cross. The text of the prayer is visible on the back of the cross. We donated this cross to the local church.
We soon discovered a strong signal. Having dug holes, we found cannon shells, under which lay the remains of a Soviet soldier. The soldier had three Soviet coins, a pocket watch, a cup, and a penknife with him. The bones were partially destroyed by time. Unfortunately, we didn’t find the soldier’s ID.
Next, we moved on to the excavation of the dugout. There was a stove in one corner of the dugout. We found 4 burnt rifles under the stove. It turned out to be the United States Rifle, cal .30, Model of 1917. Most likely, the Soviet soldiers ran out of ammunition for this rifle, and they began to use these rifles as grate firing.
The M1917 Enfield, the “American Enfield”, formally named “United States Rifle, cal .30, Model of 1917” is an American modification and production of the .303-inch (7.7 mm) Pattern 1914 Enfield (P14) rifle (listed in British Service as Rifle No. 3) developed and manufactured during the period 1917–1918. Numerically, it was the main rifle used by the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe during World War I. The Danish Sirius Dog Sled Patrol on Greenland still use the M1917, which performs reliably in Arctic conditions, as their service weapon.
At the time of the American entry into World War II, the U.S. Army was still issuing the M1917 to chemical mortarmen. Perhaps due to M1 Garand shortages at the start of the war, the M1917 was also issued to artillerymen, and both mortarmen and artillerymen carried the M1917 in North Africa. Lieutenant Colonel Charles E. Peterson (USAR, retired; 1920–2005), a Major in the 101st Airborne in the Normandy action, reported seeing some M1917 rifles issued to rear-echelon U.S. troops in France during World War II. Other M1917 rifles were issued to the Philippine Commonwealth Army and Philippine Constabulary. After the fall of the Philippines, M1917 rifles were used by Japanese police forces as well as by U.S. and Filipino soldiers with the local guerrillas before the liberation of the Philippines. These rifles were also used by the Hukbalahap.
Before and during World War II, stored rifles were reconditioned for use as reserve, training and Lend-Lease weapons; these rifles are identified by having refinished metal (sandblasted and Parkerized) and sometimes replacement wood (often birch). Some of these rifles were reconditioned with new bolts manufactured by the United Shoe Machinery Company and stamped USMC leading to the mistaken impression these were United States Marine Corps rifles.
Many were bought by the United Kingdom through the British Purchasing Commission for use by the Home Guard; 615,000 arrived in Britain in the summer of 1940, followed by a further 119,000 in 1941. These were prominently marked with a red paint stripe around the stock to avoid confusion with the earlier P14 that used the British .303 round.
Others were supplied to the Nationalist Chinese forces, to indigenous forces in the China-Burma-India theater, to Filipino soldiers under the Philippine Army and Constabulary units and the local guerrilla forces and to the Free French Army, which can occasionally be seen in wartime photographs. The M1917 was also issued to the Local Defence Force of the Irish Army during World War II, these were part-time soldiers akin to the British Home Guard. In an ironic reversal of names, in Irish service the M1917 was often referred to as the “Springfield”; presumably since an “Enfield” rifle was assumed to be the standard Irish MkIII Short Magazine Lee–Enfield, while “Springfield” was known to be an American military arsenal.
The M1917 was supplied to both Denmark and Norway after WWII as an interim weapon prior to the arrival of the M1 Garand.
Having finished excavations in the dugout, we began to look for new signals. After some time of searching, we found a new strong signal. It turned out to be a German helmet. While clearing the area around the helmet, I saw bone remains. As a result, we dug up 3 German soldiers. They all had IDs. This meant that we could find the relatives of these soldiers, and return them to their homeland.
As a result, we managed to return 4 soldiers from the war. Now they will be buried with all military honors. Below you will see photos of some more finds we found during that day. A video from those excavations is also attached. The video has English subtitles.
Thanks for your attention.