Cover, Spare Barrel M8 ; Take-down bow cover sleeve
Re-purposed machine-gun barrel cover functioning as a protective sleeve for a wooden take-down bow section. The cover is light brown canvas with a snap closing flap and leather reinforced ends. It is stenciled in black on one side, "COVER, SPARE BARREL M8".
Ralph Hulbert began his archery career at the age of 6, having learned from his father. He grew up in Massachusetts hunting and fishing and enjoying the outdoors. He was therefore a top candidate for the Army's new division - a division comprised entirely of expert outdoorsmen, skiers, rangers, horsemen and mountain climbers. Unlike the rest of the army, a recruit needed three letters of reference to even be considered for the 10th Mountain. Hulbert easily garnered these letters and was quickly accepted and transported to Camp Hale, Colorado, altitude 9,300' in February of 1943. Among his other training, PFC Hulbert scored 'Expert' on the rifle range and as a result was made a company sniper. In WW2 this meant that he was issued an M1903A4 scoped rifle and a .45 pistol as a secondary weapon. However, because of his reputation as an archer, company brass 'suggested' that a bow might be useful on night patrols...without giving it an official sanction. Said Mr. Hulbert, "Being as I was the only archer in the division at the time, the idea was not pleasant." But, orders are orders, even if unofficial and Hulbert packed his bow and arrows in his duffle and shipped out in late 1944 for the Italian Alps with the 86th Mountain Infantry Regiment. Hulbert's bow was a private purchase, take-down longbow with a draw weight of 93#, a tremendously powerful bow. We believe that while stationed at Camp Swift, Texas, Hulbert ordered the bow from Texas Tackle House, a mail-order business whose bows were custom made in Denton, Texas. The specific bowyer who made this one is currently not known. Based on a 1944 advertisement, however, the company specialized in take-down Osage bows...exactly Hulbert's type. That PFC Hulbert had this bow in training is well documented with photos taken in and around Camp Hale. Researcher John Breeding believes the bow was used in combat as documented in letters Hulbert wrote home to his mother from Italy.