We have been working on the acquisition of this major piece of great historical significance for over 3 years, finally being able to obtain it directly from the family.
This is the US Army WWII issued Colt M1908 General Officers Pistol issued to Lt General Withers A. Burress, known affectionately as “Pinky Burress” one of the more significant and successful commanding Generals of the European Theatre during WWII. General Burress commanded the 100th Infantry Division from its mobilization in 1942 right through into France in 1944 and led it right through the end of the war with major engagements in the Vosges Mountains of Northwestern France, The Ardennes, the Rhineland and through Central Europe.
In September of 1945 he was promoted to command the VI Corps. In the Postwar era he served as the Inspector General for the European Command. Later jobs included Command of the Constabulary in Europe, Command of the Infantry School and finally the Command of the US 1st Army based at Governors Island in NY. At his retirement in 1954 he received a tickertape parade in New York City.
Notably he was one of only 11 Generals that commanded one of the Army’s 90 Divisions from mobilization through to the end of the war. To put this in perspective, the skill sets needed to put an Army Division together and forge it into a fighting force are not the skill sets needed to effectively wield it as a weapon of war. The men who could do both were few and far between.
That this Pistol is even being offered for sale is highly significant as almost all of the General Officers sidearms of the Important WWII Generals are held in museum collections or at West Point. It has been many years since a gun belonging to a major WWII general has even turned up for sale. General Burress also is one of the most important figures in 20th Century VMI lore as well so that adds another layer of desirability. We were able to photograph two pictures from the family, being shown here for the first time, one of them with General Eisenhower and the other with the legendary actress Marlene Dietrich.
The pistol it ‘self is in 97%+ condition, and it comes with a Colt Factory Letter confirming Shipment to General Burress. Interestingly, in all of the reference books under this serial number the name is completely mis-spelled however on the actual Colt Shipping records it is listed correctly and the factory letter does have the correct spelling.
This is likely to be one of the last privately held sidearms of a Prominent WWII US Army General to be offered for sale and as such it is a rare and fleeting chance to own an important artifact of Army History.