Gangster Gats: Dillinger-Nelson Gang

… one bullet-proof vest, one loaded 50-round machine-gun drum, one Thompson sub-machine gun and one .45 automatic pistol and one high-powered rifle (nice people).

‒ SAC Hugh Clegg, memo to Director J. Edgar Hoover (04-APR-1934)

 

The gang of bank robbers loosely comprised of John Dillinger and a varying number of associates including “Baby Face Nelson” (Lester Gillis) operated in the Midwestern USA between 1933 and 1934. It was pursued relentlessly by the Bureau of Investigation. Several members were eventually arrested but most were killed. John Dillinger, Public Enemy No.1  from 22-JUN-1934, was shot by agents in Chicago, Illinois, on 22-JUL-1934. “Baby Face Nelson,” Public Enemy No.1 from 23-OCT-1934, was killed in Barrington, Illinois, on 27-NOV-1934.

I have previously attempted to describe the inventory in the Cthulhu ‒ Waffenhandbuch (2008) (p. 281). Here is a new approach, using a display assembled in 1966 at the FBI Headquarters in Quantico, Virginia, as a visual guide. Obviously this is only a partial list of their complete arsenal.

SD_GG_DN

Owing to their chosen career, the gangsters had assembled some pretty specialized tools. While many of their guns were stolen from police stations, they also bought a lot of them from a variety of open and black-market sources. Their primary source was gunsmith Hyman Lebman of San Antonio, Texas (GURPS High-Tech: Pulp Guns 1, p. 5; Investigator Weapons 1: The 1920s and 1930s, p. 25), who sold them semiautomatic pistols and second-hand Thompson submachine guns. At the time, full-automatic weapons were still freely available in many states (High-Tech: Pulp Guns 1, p. 4; Investigator Weapons 1, pp. 18-20), and while the manufacturer of the Thompson gun, the Auto-Ordnance Corp., had ceased to deal with civilians in 1930, anyone could buy such a gun from another previous owner. Lebman also supplied the gang with unique weapons which he converted from ordinary pistols and carbines. Although Lebman apparently came up with the designs on his own and prior to meeting “Baby Face Nelson,” the weapons were virtually custom-made for the needs of the discriminating bank robber.

Detailed Look

SD_Gangster Gats_Dillinger-Nelson_1

Left to right, top to bottom:

  1. Dunrite Bullet-Proof Vest (GURPS High-Tech, p. 66; Investigator Weapons 1, p. 49).
  2. Remington Model 11 Police Special semiautomatic shotgun in 12-gauge 2.75” (18.5×70mmR) (High-Tech: Pulp Guns 1, p. 23; Investigator Weapons 1, pp. 82-83).
  3. Colt Government (A1 style) semiautomatic pistol in .45 ACP (11.43×23mm) (High-Tech: Pulp Guns 1, pp. 17-18; Investigator Weapons 1, pp. 37-38).
  4. Winchester Model 07 semiautomatic carbine (#111R [sic]) in .351 Winchester (9×35mmSR) (GURPS High-Tech: Pulp Guns 2, pp. 9-10) converted by Lebman, with the barrel sawn off, fitted with a Cutts compensator (High-Tech: Pulp Guns 1, p. 30), an underbarrel rail for a Thompson gun foregrip (GURPS Tactical Shooting, p. 75), and a 10-round extended magazine (High-Tech, p. 155). [This weapon was confiscated from the gang by the Tuscon Police Department in Tuscon, Arizona, on 22-JAN-1934. The Thompson grip is missing here, but was present when the carbine was confiscated. A prop similar to this is used by “Red” Hamilton, Ed Shouse, and Homer van Meter in Michael Mann’s Public Enemies (2009).]
  5. Colt Pocket Hammerless semiautomatic pistol in .32 ACP (7.65×17mmSR) (High-Tech: Pulp Guns 1, p. 15; Investigator Weapons 1, pp. 40-41).
  6. S&W Regulation Police revolver in .32 S&W Long (7.9×23mmR) (High-Tech: Pulp Guns 1, p. 9).
  7. Colt Police Positive Special revolver in .38 Special (9×29mmR) (High-Tech: Pulp Guns 1, p. 11; Investigator Weapons 1, p. 41).
  8. Winchester Model 07 semiautomatic carbine in .351 Winchester (High-Tech: Pulp Guns 2, pp. 9-10), without magazine.
  9. H&R No.8 single-shot shotgun (#820761) in 16-gauge 2.75” (High-Tech: Pulp Guns 1, p. 24). [This was seized in Eddie Green’s apartment in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on 03-APR-1934.]
  10. Colt Police Positive Special revolver in .38 Special.
  11. Colt Pocket Hammerless semiautomatic pistol (#119702) in .380 ACP (9×17mm) (High-Tech: Pulp Guns 1, p. 15; Investigator Weapons 1, pp. 40-41). [This is claimed to have been in Dillinger’s right trouser pocket when he was shot in Chicago on 22-JUL-1934. However, the pistol displayed was actually confiscated by the FBI on 06-FEB-1935 from Volney Davis, a member of the Barker-Karpis Gang. Dillinger’s pistol (#obliterated) was originally put up in the display but removed at some point and replaced by the externally identical pistol from Davis. Dillinger carried a spare magazine in his left pocket, filled with .380 ACP cartridges made by Remington-UMC.]
  12. Auto-Ordnance Type L 50-round drum magazine (High-Tech, p. 155) for the Auto-Ordnance Model 1921AC Thompson.
  13. Colt Woodsman semiautomatic pistol in .22 LR (5.6×16mmR) (High-Tech: Pulp Guns 1, p. 19; Investigator Weapons 1, p. 44).
  14. S&W Military & Police revolver in .38 Special (High-Tech: Pulp Guns 1, p. 10; Investigator Weapons 1, pp. 56-57).
  15. Colt Government (M1911) semiautomatic pistol in .45 ACP in shoulder holster (High-Tech, p. 154; Investigator Weapons 1, p. 103).
  16. Colt Super .38 machine pistol (#obliterated, secret #13583) in .38 Super (9×23mmSR) (High-Tech: Pulp Guns 1, p. 18; Investigator Weapons 1, pp. 37-38), converted to full-automatic by Lebman and fitted with compensator, Thompson gun foregrip, Monarch grip plates for the attachment of the Monarch “Steady Fire” shoulder stock (High-Tech: Pulp Guns 1, p. 18), and a Monarch “Multi-Shot” 22-round extended magazine. [Most of the documented Lebman machine pistols were converted Colt Government or M1911 pistols in .45 ACP. The FBI display claims this is a .45-calibre Colt Government, but it has a .38-calibre magazine, distinguishable by the crimp that runs down its length. This weapon was left behind by Dillinger at his Lincoln Court apartment in St Paul, Minnesota, and confiscated by the Bureau of Investigation on 31-MAR-1934. A prop similar to this is used by “Baby Face Nelson” in Public Enemies.]
  17. Auto-Ordnance Model 1921AC Thompson submachine gun (#8946) in .45 ACP with Cutts compensator (High-Tech: Pulp Guns 1, pp. 28-30; Investigator Weapons 1, pp. 87-89), without magazine. [This weapon was stolen by Dillinger, Walter Dietrich, and Harry Pierpont from the Auburn Police Department of Auburn, Indiana, on 14-OCT-1933. It was confiscated from the gang by the Tuscon Police Department in Tuscon, Arizona, on 22-JAN-1934.]
  18. Colt Government (A1 style) semiautomatic pistol in .45 ACP.
  19. Colt Government (M1911) semiautomatic pistol in .45 ACP.
  20. Colt Vest Pocket semiautomatic pistol in .25 ACP (6.35×16mmSR) (High-Tech: Pulp Guns 1, p. 15; Investigator Weapons 1, p. 43).
  21. Deutsche Werke Ortgies semiautomatic pistol in .25 ACP.
  22. Ithaca Auto & Burglar Model A double-barrelled shotgun in 20-gauge 2.5” (15.6×63.5mmR) (High-Tech: Pulp Guns 1, pp. 25-26; Investigator Weapons 1, p. 79).
  23. Colt New Service (M1917) revolver in .45 ACP (High-Tech: Pulp Guns 1, p. 9; Investigator Weapons 1, pp. 39-40).
  24. Remington Model 11 semiautomatic shotgun in 12-gauge 2.75” (High-Tech: Pulp Guns 1, p. 23; Investigator Weapons 1, pp. 82-83) with sawn-off barrel and stock (High-Tech, p. 106; Investigator Weapons 1, p. 76). [A prop similar to this is used by Hamilton in Public Enemies.]

 

Related posts:

Gangster Gats: Bonnie & Clyde

Gangster Gats: Fred “Killer” Burke

Gangster Gats: Cleaver Gang

Gangster Gats: “Pretty Boy” Floyd

Gangster Gats: Purple Gang

 

 

 

 

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