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Destroying the WC Lies --- The Rifle, Part I

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( Author's note: This is a long narrative, so I'm going to do it in parts. I plan to do a part every day until I get the whole thing posted. I dedicate this narrative on the Depository Rifle to my friend, the late Tom Rossley, without whose help and guidance I could not have put this all together )





".....if Oswald did it with this weapon.....it was an absolute miracle, because no one who knew anything about rifles would have chosen such a decrepit, worthless rifle, as this Italian carbine, manufactured in 1938, for which there is such pure ( poor ) ammunition."
( Testimony of Mark Lane in 2 H 51 )

The Warren Commission concluded that in March of 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald, using the alias, "A.Hidell" ordered a Model 91/38 Italian Mannlicher Carcano bolt-action rifle from Klein's Sporting Goods in Chicago to be delivered to his post office box 2915 in Dallas, Texas. The Commission provided evidence to support its conclusion, including copies of the order blank, money order and envelope filled out by "Hidell". It concluded that Oswald had ordered the weapon from an advertisement in the February 1963 edition of American Rifleman magazine. It was this rifle, the Commission said, a 40.2" weapon bearing serial number C2766, that was found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository by Dallas Police 45 minutes after the shooting of President Kennedy and Governor Connally.





In 1958, Crescent Firearms ( under the name Adam Consolidated Industries ) purchased 500,000 rifles from the Italian Government. The final shipment of those rifles ( 520 cartons ) left Italy's port of Genoa after being identified as lot number 91594 and arrived in the New York via the steamer Elettra Fassio on October 25, 1960. The 520 cartons were removed and trucked by the Waterfront Transfer Company to the Harborside Terminal, a bonded warehouse in New Jersey.

As one can see, the CARTON NUMBERS are listed on the manifest. For example, "3086/3094" means that all cartons numbered from 3086 thru 3094 inclusive were on this shipment. The third entry down, 3305/3436, means that all cartons bearing numbers in that range were part of this shipment, including the carton 3376, which allegedly contained a rifle with serial number C2766, the same serial number as the rifle found on the sixth floor of the TSBD.
The shipment was placed in storage and remained there for the next two years.


This is where the paper trail for carton 3376 ends.

Fred Rupp was a federally-licensed gun dealer who had a contract with Crescent Firearms to pick up rifles at the Harborside Warehouse and inspect, clean, test-fire, repack and ship them to Crescent's retail customers. Klein's purchase order of 1/15/62 requested that 400 model 91TS rifles ( 36" troop specials ) be delivered.
According to Harborside delivery order # 89138, Rupp removed the first 170 cartons on August 29, 1962. A list of the numbers of the cartons removed was on the manifest. CARTON 3376 WAS NOT AMONG THEM.


Importers of rifles and gun dealers were required BY LAW to maintain a list of SERIAL NUMBERS of the rifles they imported. Rupp was required by law to keep a list of the serial numbers he removed from the warehouse ( which he did on the 8/29/62 manifest ) and the name of the retail customer he shipped them to. And Klein's was required to keep the serial numbers of rifle they sold to retail customers. ( 7 H 371 )
During the month of October, 1962, Rupp removed 264 more rifles from lot 91594.

90 on October 4th


70 on October 16


64 on October 24


and the last 40 on October 31

On all of the subsequent shipping manifests of the rifles removed from Harborside Warehouse by Fred Rupp, THE LIST OF CARTON NUMBERS IS ABSENT, even though on the 10/24 manifest, it is clearly marked "list numbers of cases shipped".

Rupp removed a total of 434 Mannlicher Carcano 91/38 rifles in the month of October 1962 from the lot of 520 rifles ( 91594 ) belonging to Crescent Firearms. He told the FBI that he kept no record of the carton numbers or serial numbers of the rifles he removed from Harborside. ( CD 7, pg. 180 ) In other words, THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT CARTON 3376 WAS AMONG the 434 rifles removed by Rupp, even though the FBI said it was.

The Warren Commission used two documents to "prove" that carton 3376 was shipped to Klein's Sporting Goods.
The first one is Crescent Firearms invoice # 3178.


Mr. BELIN. Mr. Waldman, referring to Waldman Deposition Exhibit No. 3, which are the serial numbers of the 100 rifles which were made in this shipment from Crescent Firearms to you.......is there any way to verify that this payment pertained to rifles which are shown on Waldman Deposition Exhibit No. 3?

Mr. WALDMAN. The forms submitted by Crescent Firearms showing serial numbers of rifles included in the shipment covered by their invoice No. 3178 indicate that the rifle carrying serial No. C-2766 was included in that shipment. ( 7 H 368 )

Of course, it shows no such thing.
Because if you look closely at invoice # 3178, you'll see that ALL OF THE CARTON NUMBERS HAVE LITTLE CHECKS ABOVE THEM EXCEPT CARTON NUMBER 3376.



Which means that in verifying the carton numbers in that shipment, 3376 was never verified as being a part of that shipment.
The FBI's " tracking of the rifle " included unsigned and undated documents and manifests.
One such undated and unsigned example of document was Waldman Exhibit 3, the second document the Warren Commission used to "prove" that carton 3376 was shipped to Klein's in February.

Waldman Exhibit 3 is an undated and unsigned list of ten carton slips which allegedly made up the February shipment from Crescent to Klein's. Listed on each of the ten carton slips are the serial numbers of the 10 rifles in each carton, including carton 3376. Since there are no dates on any of the slips in Waldman Exhibit 3, it serves no purpose in proving that carton 3376 and thus the C2766 rifle was part of the February shipment.


In fact, the ten carton slips, including slip 3620 which contained the list of rifles in carton 3376, could have been filled out at any time. If one looks at the slip numbers, which are pre-printed at the bottom of each slip, one will see that the numbers are not in sequence, which one would expect them to be if they were created at the same time by the same person and for the same shipment.
The slip numbers are 3672, 3504, 4376, 3813, 3789, 3661, 3762, 3544, 3620 and 3770.

In trying to establish a timeline, an undated document is worthless as evidence. It proves nothing.


The Klein's Witness

William Waldman was anything but an expert. He knew so little about the M-C rifle, that when he was shown the order form from his company to Crescent Firearms, ( Waldman Exhibit 1 ) he testified that the order had been changed from a 91TS to a 91/38EFF:
Mr. BELIN. Now, I notice on Waldman Deposition Exhibit No. I a date well, I might read everything under the column of description; it says Italian Mannlicher-Carcano, Model 91TS, bolt action 6-shot rifle; and then cal.--that's for caliber--6.5, and then there is an "X" and 52 mm Italian-select, clean, and test-fired, changed to Beretta Terni M19, then a slash line 38 EFF, and then the date of 4/16/62. Explain that date and that description.


Mr. WALDMAN. Yes; this general style of rifle was made by a number of different manufacturers over a period of time and there were minor modifications made by---developed by each of the manufacturers.

Mr. BELIN. Would this be similar to a number of manufacturers making the Springfield rifle in this country?

Mr. WALDMAN. As for example, the different manufacturers making the Springfield rifle. Basically, the weapons were of the same general design, but as I say, there were details that were different. We originally had ordered one style of Carcano rifle, one that was known as the Model 91TS. As time went on, we changed to another model known as the Model 91/38EFF, this on April 13, 1962. ( 7 H 362 )

The problem is, that there is no such thing as a 91/38EFF. The "EFF" on the form was short for the word "effective" followed by the date 4/13/62.



Waldman not only had no knowledge of the model of rifle his company handled, he had no knowledge of the language used on shipping forms. Waldman didn't fill out those slips. He didn't fill out the order for the rifles. He didn't accept the shipment of the rifles, yet he was the one who gave testimony. The people at Klein's whose responsibility it was to handle such measures were never called to testify to the origin of the documents.
He never should have been called as a witness in regard to the processing of the rifle sale.
In fact, the Commission even had him giving testimony about documents that were clearly from Crescent Firearms.

Why would they do that ?

Because at Crescent Firearms there WAS someone familiar with rifle sales. But Louis Feldsott was never called to give live testimony before the Commission and only gave a sworn affidavit. In that affidavit, however, Feldsott swore that Crescent's records showed that rifle C2766 was sold to Klein's on June 18, 1962, not in February 1963.


Why would that have been a problem ?

BECAUSE PRIOR TO 4/13/62, KLEIN'S RIFLE ORDER WAS FOR THE 91/38 TS, WHICH ONLY CAME IN 36" LENGTHS. There's no way that Fred Rupp could have prepared a shipment between 4/13 and 6/18. That's only two months. The February 1963 shipment took him five months to prepare.
That means that if rifle C2766 was sold to Klein's as part of a shipment on 6/18/62 in response to their 1/15/62 order, Rupp would have had to have started preparing the shipment right after the order, and that means that the rifles in that order would have been 36" rifles. Because the order for the 91/38's didn't go into effect until 4/13/62, the order change would have been much too late to have altered a shipment that had already been started and would be delivered on 6/18.

In addition, Rupp told the FBI that the rifle bearing serial number C2766 which he serviced was a 36" rifle. 
( Armstrong, Harvey & Lee, pg. 446 )

This information is significant, I believe, because it proves that there was more than one rifle, in this case both a 36" rifle and a 40.2" rifle, bearing the serial number C2766.

NOTE: "The Three Carcanos" was up next, but since I've already posted that here, I'll skip it and go on to the next issue with the rifle:


TOMORROW: The Order blank and the order form

Edited by Gil Jesus
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Nice one Gil.  A key issue.  The first generation critics accepted the rifle.

They should not have.

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