I am doing this report on the M1 Garand for Mr. Walker 182’s History Class. The Garand is a fascinating World War II semi-automatic rifle. In the sub-sections below I will describe the developement history of the gun, the service history, and info on different versions. I wanted to add diagrams of the M1 rifle but the pictures are copyrighted and I was not able to download but the diagrams could be found at http://www. chestnutridge. com/gchart. asp Development History The origins of the United States Rifle, Caliber.
30, M1 begin around August, 1900, when Captain O. B. Mitcham wrote to the Chief of Ordnance at Springfield Armory about “the question of automatic small arms is now being taken up seriously in Europe. ” Not much was done by the U. S. Army until just before and during the U. S. entered the World War I. Many rifles were tested, most of which were tested were attempts to convert the M1903 rifle from bolt-action to semi-automatic. It was during this time that John Garand, then a young man of 30, moved to New York City from Canada after the United States entered World War I. After learning of the arms problem, he decided to try to make a rifle and got financial backing from John Kewish.
Garand’s first rifle was built and tested before Hudson Maxim, who suggested the rifle be presented before the Naval Consulting Board. Governmental officials then determined Garand’s rifle had merit and arranged to pay Garand $35. 00 per week for his services, with Kewish paying the other $15. 00 per week of Garand’s pay. This arrangement later caused Kewish to claim Garand cheated him of his share when the M1 rifle was adopted eighteen years later. After his first design was turned down by the military, Garand was transferred to Springfield Armory in November, 1919.
During the next five years, Garand created many rifle designs, but they all had one thing in common: the primer of the spent cartridge was used to operate the rifle’s action. When the military changed the design of the M1906 cartridge, Garand could no longer use this operating principle. It was at this time when John Pedersen arrived with a new design in a totally new caliber, . 276. Pedersen was an expert of his day in weapons design, so the military then ordered Garand to build his rifle design around the new . 276 caliber.
Between 1927 and 1931, the military held many tests to see if either Garand’s design or Pedersen’s was better. While the military argued against the . 276 caliber, Garand’s . 276 caliber design was recommended for adoption on January 4, 1932. On February 25, 1932, the Army Chief of Staff, General Douglas MacArthur, put an end to the caliber issue, stating “this change will introduce an element of chaos, confusion and uncertainty which, when magnified under war conditions, would more than counteract the beneficial effect of any semi-automatic rifle.
With this statement, MacArthur ordered the development of a . 30 caliber rifle. This did not delay Garand’s work because he had already developed a design to fire the . 30 caliber on his own time in anticipation of such an event. Two more years would pass before the rifle was adopted as the United States Rifle, M1 on January 9, 1936. The United States became the first country in history to adopt a semi-automatic rifle as its standard military rifle after this event. Problems beset the M1 as it was first being issued.
They occurred in the area where expanding gases of the fired bullets were tapped from the barrel to operate the rifle and the rifle suffered stoppages after firing only seven of the eight rounds in its clip. The M1’s early performance problems gave it such a bad reputation that after the 1939 National Matches, the National Rifle Association was able to get Congress to look at the problem. A major redesign was ordered on October 26, 1939 and Garand redesigned the rifle to operate with gases tapped from a gas port just below the barrel.
In July, 1940, the Army demonstrated the revised M1 before Congressional officials, allowing them to fire the rifle for themselves. Senator Ernest Lundeen, a former infantry officer and the M1 rifle’s biggest critic, fired 27 consecutive bull’s-eyes at 300 yards, convincing all at the event the M1 was the best design available. In November, 1940, the United States Marine Corps adopted the M1 as its standard service rifle. A year later, the M1 was being fired in battle for the first time after the United States entered World War II.
Between 1942 and 1945, Springfield Armory and Winchester Repeating Arms built just over 4 million M1 rifles. Also during the war, two major design changes were proposed for the M1 to create a handier rifle for airborne and armored troops. The first was the M1E5 had a shorter barrel (18″ compared to the standard 24″) and a folding stock to reduce its overall length and weight. Only one was ever built. The second was the T26, which had an 18” barrel, but the standard length stock. Only about 150 were built. As with the M1903, the M1 rifle spawned sniper variations.
The M1C and the M1D, standardized in July and September, 1945 respectively, both mounted the telescope used on the rifle to the left to allow the top-loading M1 to be reloaded, but differed in the way the telescope was mounted to the rifle. Neither was truly successful in the sniping role. The June 25, 1950 North Korean invasion of South Korea caught the United States small arms production establishment totally unprepared. No M1 Rifles had been manufactured since August 1945, but during this interconflict period, Springfield Armory had refurbished and prepared various types of World War II small arms for long term storage.
In June 1950, Springfield Armory prepared to resume M1 Rifle production. This process included the acquisition of machinery, physical plant layout, updating engineering drawings, and the hiring and training of a production labor force. Over six months passed before Springfield Armory produced its first M1 rifle. To supplement Springfield Armory, the Ordnance Department decided to contract for additional M1s with Harrington & Richardson Company(H&R) of Worchester, Massachusetts and International Harvester Company’s(IHC) Evansville(Indiana) Works plant. Contracts were signed in early 1952.
IHC had never produced any type of small arms before, but was chosen primarily due to its geographic location. There was widespread concern about the dense concentration of defense-related industries on the East Coast of the United States. U. S. military planners determined these facilties were venerable to Soviet manned bomber or missile attack, therefore, defense production facilties should be dispersed throughout the middle sections of the United States. With no prior firearms manufacturing experience, IHC required a great deal of assistance from Springfield Armory personnel.
The assistance included using Springfield Armory-supplied receivers to meet initial contract delivery schedules. IHC did not produce stocks, handguards or barrels. Stocks and handguards were supplied by the S. E. Overton Company, South Haven, Michigan. All IHC M1 rifles were fitted with barrels produced by the Line Material Company (LMR) of Birmingham, Alabama. IHC small arms manufacturing inexperience and start-up difficulties resulted in the delivery of only 6,904 M1 Rifles between 1 July 1952 and 30 June 1953.
And for reasons which are not entirely clear, H&R also got off to a slow start. In Fiscal Year 53, HRA delivered only 500 M1 Rifles, but produced its own stocks and barrels. An armistice was signed on July 27, 1953, which officially ended the Korean War. Both World War II and 168,500 newly manufactured Springfield Armory M1 Rifles, were available in sufficent numbers to equip all United Nations troops. The probability of any IHC or HRA produced M1 Rifles being used to arm United Nations troops prior to July 27, 1953 is highly unlikely.
With the 1955 sale of its Evansville plant to Whirlpool Corporation, IHC ceased M1 Rifle production and in 1955, H&R closed its lines as well. Springfield Armory continued M1 Rifle production into 1956, but on a reduced schedule. In 1952, the Marine Corps rebuilt most of its existing M1C sniper rifles, using upgraded telescopes and mounts, calling the result the MC-1. Between the years 1953 and 1963, Springfield Armory new-built and modified existing M1 rifles into nearly 45,000 M1 National Match rifles. On 17 May 1957, the adoption of the United States Rifle, Caliber 7. mm, M14 officially marked the end of production of the M1 rifle.
But a shortage of M14 and M16 rifles during the Vietnam War prompted the U. S. Navy to have a special chamber insert built to allow the M1 to use NATO-standard 7. 62mm M80 Ball ammunition and first standardized the rifle as the M1E14, then later as the Rifle, 7. 62mm, Mk2 Mod 0. Service History The M1 was affectionately nicknamed the Garand, after its designer. The rifle proved to be accurate, durable, rugged and reliable. The only problems with the rifle came from the use of its clip.
The clip held only eight rounds in a staggered grouping. The rifle could not be “topped up” in the middle of battle because of the way the clip operated. After the last round was fired from the rifle, the clip ejected with a distinctive sound. Other than these small problems with the rifle the M1 was exceptional. The M1 Rifle was also distributed to several nations under many American military assistance programs. During the Vietnam War , the M1 served as a training rifle for troops inducted into the U. S. Army. It still serves in the training rifle role for the U. S. Navy .
The M1 was the main rifle of many military reserve units until the mid-1970’s for example, the M1 was seen in the hands of Illinois National Guard troops during confrontations between Guardsmen and demonstrators outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention complex, when it was replaced by the M16. To this day, the M1 also fulfills a ceremonial role with all branches of the military, in color guard and honor guard units. Like its predecessor, the M1903, the M1 rifle served this nation very well during times of conflict and peace.