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M1 Garand

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In my opinion, the M-1 Rifle is the greatest battle implement ever devised.
~ General George Patton in a letter to General Levin H. Campbell Jr.

The M1 Garand is a semi-automatic, gas-operated, rifle and was the standard infantry weapon of the United States Armed Forces from 1936 to 1957.

Description

The M1 used an en-bloc clip that held 8 rounds and took the standard US .30-06 Springfield cartridge. This clip system remained seated inside the rifle's fixed magazine until all 8 shots had been fired, where upon the clip would automatically eject out, opening and locking the bolt back. The clip could also be easily manually ejected at any time by opening the bolt and pressing the clip release latch. Topping off the clip with single rounds while it was loaded in the rifle was also possible, but it took two hands and a bit of practice to do, it was far more common to fire till empty, and/or manually eject the entire clip and load in a fresh one.

The gas system was direct blowback, meaning the pressure from a round being fired was funneled down the gas port into the gas cylinder, and backwards toward the receiver. The pressure then impacted the cycling spring, pushing it back, thus pushing the bolt back, extracting the spent casing. The follower would then push another round upwards to the top of the clip, at that time the bolt would be sliding forward again, and the new round would be stripped off the clip and chambered into the breech, ready to be fired.

The weight was about 4.3 kg unloaded without bayonet mounted, and 5.1 kg loaded and bayonet attached. It had a length of around 1.1 meters. It also had a muzzle velocity of 850 meters per second.[1] The M1 had rear aperture sights and front wing-like sights. Attachments included an M1 Bayonet and an M7 rifle grenade launcher.

Variants

M1C Garand: A sniper variant of the M1 Garand. This version was equipped with an M81 telescope mounted to a Griffin and Howe telescope-stand, which was physically drilled into the receiver, The scope was mounted near the receiver slightly to the left, with a cheek pad on the stock to help align the shooter with the scope.[2] This version saw little combat usage in World War II and was more prevalent in Korea and Viet Nam.[3]

M1D Garand: A sniper variant much like the M1C. Instead of drilling, the telescopic was mounted to an external clamp. In September of 1944, the M1D was determined as a "substitute standard". Virtually no M1D's served in World War II.[3]

Experimental Versions

A large number of prototype Garands were manufactured in the time leading up to, during, and after World War II. The M1E5 "Tanker's Garand", for instance, was a modified M1 Garand that had a folding stock. The E5 was one of a series of M1 prototypes that were never put into production like the original. The E5 even had a shortened barrel. Other models were modified to take magazines, chambered in other cartridges, modified into select-fire or automatic fire modes, or fitted with different length barrels or different gas systems.

History

M1 Garand 1

A US Infantryman in Fort Knox, 1942

Designed by Dr. John Garand at Springfield Armory in 1923 as a replacement for the M1903 bolt action rifle, the M1 was used by the United States military during World War II. Development concepts on what would become the M1 Garand began in 1919, but testing of semi-automatic rifles in the U.S. had began as far back as slightly before WWI.[4] So many M1s had been produced that by 1941, the United States army was well equipped and the increase in rate of fire gave an advantage over German and Japanese bolt-action rifles. This sparked interest in semi and fully automatic weapons. The Garand was used throughout World War II and some of its variants were used as well. The Garand was later nicknamed the gun that won the war. The M1 was used even after World War II in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. It was gradually phased out and replaced by its descendant, the M14 rifle. The M1 is still used today by the US Military for ceremonial purposes.

Notes

  1. The M1 was originally designed for the .276 Pedersen, but reliability issues led it to be only suited to the 30-06
  2. John Garand was also the main driving force behind the M-14 and a number of civilian sporter rifles, he also had a lot of experiments with inline stocks and side mounted magazine feed systems
  3. The name "Garand" in "M1 Garand" was never officially recognized by the military, it was and still is today only known in the military as "US Rifle Cal. 30 M1". The "Garand" nomenclature began when the rifle was retired and went on the surplus civilian market in the 1960s and '70s, by that time John Garand had become well known, during its time in service, it was only known as the "M1 rifle" or simply "M1" and never "M1 Garand"
  4.  A Carbine version of the Garand was fielded in 1943, known as the "Tanker" it had 6 inches of the fore stock and barrel cut down, resulting in a shortened M1 rifle that was easy to fit in and be used in tanks and armored vehicles, hence the name "Tanker"

References

  1. http://www.militaryfactory.com/smallarms/detail.asp?smallarms_id=52
  2. http://milpas.cc/rifles/ZFiles/Articles/Sniper/The%20M1C%20and%20M1D%20Variations%20of%20the%20Garand%20Rifle%20by%20Dick%20Culver.htm
  3. 3.0 3.1 http://world.guns.ru/rifle/autoloading-rifles/usa/m1-garand-e.html
  4. http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/smallarms/p/m1garand.htm


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