Author Topic: springfield trapdoors and the Spanish American War  (Read 5336 times)

Offline Tater Pickens

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springfield trapdoors and the Spanish American War
« on: March 27, 2016, 09:35:34 pm »
Were 45-70 trapdoors  used in the Spanish American War? I have an 1884 springfield trapdoor rifle that I had the serial number traced by Al Frasca, who showed me a list of numbers, which encompasses the serial number on my gun, and it was shipped to Company I of the 6th Regiment in 1889. I did some research on Company I of the 6th regiment and determined they were part of the 2nd brigade of the 1st Infantry that fought at Kettle Hill and San Juan Hill.
I know that the government had replaced the trapdoor with the bolt action Krag rifle in 1895, 3 years before the battles listed above, but I understand that not all army units had replaced the trapdoor with the Krag. I was just wondering if any of you folks who have studied up on the Spanish American War would have any thoughts on whether there was any possibility that Company I was still using the trapdoor at that time or had they gone to the Krag?

Thanks,

Tater Pickens

Offline pony express

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Re: springfield trapdoors and the Spanish American War
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2016, 09:49:01 pm »
While I have no ideas about the unit you mentioned, I do know that many trapdoors were in use in Cuba and the Philippines. When the Army was expanded leading up to the war, there just weren't that many Krags to go around. What I have read was for the most part Regular Army units were already armed with Krags, while most state units had trapdoors. Also, most of the Volunteer units probably had Trapdoors, too(of course with the exception of the Rough Riders, they got Krags because of TR's political pull)

All in all, I'd say if your rifle was issued to that unit in 1899, then that's probably what they were still carrying.

Offline Delmonico

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Re: springfield trapdoors and the Spanish American War
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2016, 10:11:46 pm »
My understanding is Regular Amy used Krags and the only Volunteer unit to use them was TR's unit because the former Ast Secretary of the Navy pulled some strings. ;)
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Offline St. George

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Re: springfield trapdoors and the Spanish American War
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2016, 11:32:04 pm »
That's true.

The Trapdoor was a Militia weapon - meaning 'Volunteers'.

Regular Army outfits carried the Krag, and TR 'did' exercise his influence in getting them for his unit.

As to the Trapdoor mentioned - I'd say 'no' - by the time of Cuba, they'd've had Krags, and those Trapdoors would have found their way into a State Armory, someplace.

Wishing doesn't make it so, in cases like this.

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Offline Delmonico

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Re: springfield trapdoors and the Spanish American War
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2016, 12:08:03 am »
My understanding is that Minnesota National Guard had them till the 40's and Nebraska, Wyoming, North and South Dakota and Montana got them right after the War due to the fear of another Lakota up-rising, don't know if it is true, but Butcher photos shows Nebraska having them by 1905.   


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Offline St. George

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Re: springfield trapdoors and the Spanish American War
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2016, 09:31:37 am »
Post SAW, many Trapdoors were still in Service and being used for training of the various Home Guard/State Guard units, in lieu of the '03's and Model 1917s that the Guard came home with after WWI.

The Home Guard/State Guard are 'not' National Guard units, but more of a pure 'militia' concept to be brought into play should the National Guard be called up.

They were usually made up with men too old and boys too young for active Service - had uniforms and insignia, performed Drills and were to assist the State in 'keeping order' in the absence of the local Guard unit.

Nebraska even had a vehicle - a Harley - no one has ever figured out where it went.

Their hefty stockpile of Trapdoors was 'discovered' inside the old 'State Arsenal' on the State Fairgrounds a goodly number of years ago, and those Trapdoors walked out of there on a weekly basis until they were gone, thanks to State employees of the Guard.

Matter of fact, they had a 'General's Cabin' where the visiting Officers could stay while in the area, and above the fireplace mantle were two crossed Trapdoors - a'la Infantry Branch Insignia - and when those went 'missing', they went to one of the 'accumulators' of the State Arsenal Trapdoors, and he very reluctantly replaced them, but it wasn't like he didn't have spares...

In the mid-seventies, they located a couple of bales of uniforms from the SAW units, along with horse tack, and they put the word out that if anyone wanted any of it, to come get it, but no one did, so it was all burned.

I'd imagine it was that way, everywhere, if you happened to 'know a guy'.

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Offline Johnson Barr

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Re: springfield trapdoors and the Spanish American War
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2016, 12:32:27 pm »
TR still didn't have enough pull to equip all the his Volunteers the Krag Springfields. He used his own funds to equip his officers with Winchester 1895 Carbines chambered for .30-40 Krag.
"Peace is that glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading"  -Thomas Jefferson

Offline St. George

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Re: springfield trapdoors and the Spanish American War
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2016, 01:47:59 pm »
No - he lent a Trooper 'his' - and some other Officers had their own, following his example.

They weren't issued.

The small arms shortage actually occurred with the shortened Colt revolvers - they weren't able to get enough to fill the unit, so issuance was on a 'First Come, First Served' basis, until casualties fixed that little logistical problem.

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Offline Major 2

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Re: springfield trapdoors and the Spanish American War
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2016, 03:04:05 pm »
The reason TR chose his 38 (Maine) over his SW also in 38 Colt ....
He had the SW when left New York for San Antonio,
 Colt .38 service revolver salvaged from the  Maine, was a gift he favored to it over the S&W #3
He carried the Colt in Cuba and up Kettle /San Juan Hill.


Both guns are priceless, the Colt 38  was returned after it was stolen some 16 years... The S&W is in the NRA collection


nothing to do with Springfield trapdoors.... :-\
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Offline Drydock

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Re: springfield trapdoors and the Spanish American War
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2016, 07:20:14 pm »
All Regular army infantry units had turned in their Trapdoors by the end of 1895.  Calvary units by the end of 1896.  Trapdoor Springfields did see use both in Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Phillipines, but only in the hands of State and Volunteer units.  And those had been cycled out by 1900.
Civilize them with a Krag . . .

Offline Niederlander

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Re: springfield trapdoors and the Spanish American War
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2016, 07:59:38 pm »
I'm pretty sure the Marine Corps got rid of ours by World War 1.....................
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Offline pony express

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Re: springfield trapdoors and the Spanish American War
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2016, 09:23:47 pm »
if your rifle was issued to that unit in 1899, then that's probably what they were still carrying.
Oops, I misread your original post, for some reason I read it as 1899, not 1889.. So yes, they probably did exchange for Krags.

Offline Bat 2919

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Re: springfield trapdoors and the Spanish American War
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2016, 08:36:33 am »
The way the Marines hold on to obsolete equipment there may still be some in the inventory, have you checked to be sure ;D
« Last Edit: March 29, 2016, 08:38:20 am by Bat 2919 »
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Offline Niederlander

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Re: springfield trapdoors and the Spanish American War
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2016, 08:48:15 am »
It's not so much about holding onto it, but more about that's all we've got!
"There go those Nebraskans, and all hell couldn't stop them!"

Offline Drydock

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Re: springfield trapdoors and the Spanish American War
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2016, 09:10:23 am »
Everyone knows you'll just stea . . .ah, independently acquire what ever you want ennyways.
Civilize them with a Krag . . .

Offline Trailrider

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Re: springfield trapdoors and the Spanish American War
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2016, 11:14:21 am »
It's not so much about holding onto it, but more about that's all we've got!
According to Hatcher's "Book of the Garand", he told the story of a Marine on Guadalcanal, after the Army's RCT arrived, who planted himself right behind the Army point man on a patrol. Asked why he was doing that, the Marine replied that his doggie compadre was likely to "get it" on the first burst in an ambush, and when that happened, the Marine was going to drop his M1903 Springfield, and grab the soldier's M1 Garand!  :o  I guess the Marines weren't issued M1's until just before Tarawa. (Note: This is from a former Air Force type who is simply interested in history.  So any additions and corrections are welcome!)
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Offline Niederlander

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Re: springfield trapdoors and the Spanish American War
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2016, 11:39:00 am »
Lots of Marines "lost" their Reising sub machine guns and aquired M1's, too.  Of course, they were docked pay once everything calmed down.
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Offline Guns Garrett

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Re: springfield trapdoors and the Spanish American War
« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2018, 01:54:43 pm »
I recall Gunners Mates on the USS Midway using a Trapdoor (modified) as a line-throwing gun for UnRep...
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Offline Drydock

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Re: springfield trapdoors and the Spanish American War
« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2018, 07:04:28 pm »
Yep, the Missouri still had Trapdoor line throwers when she recommissioned in 85.  They were shortly replaced with adapted M-14s, but all the old WW2 Gearing and Sumner class destroyers carried them until they mustered out in the late 70s.
Civilize them with a Krag . . .