With this month being the 70th anniversary of the rush by the Free World to help keep the fledgling Republic of Korea from forced incorporation by its Communist neighbor to the North, it should be pointed out that the UN forces that mustered to liberate Seoul and keep it so carried an interesting array of arms. Gathered ultimately from 21 countries you had a lot of WWII-era repeats such as No. 3 and No. 4 Enfields carried by Commonwealth troops as well as M1 Garands/Carbines toted by American and a host of Uncle Sam-supplied countries.
But there were most assuredly some oddball infantry weapons that were used as well.
One historical curiosity was the initial contingent supplied by the Royal Thai Army, who left for Korea in October 1950 wearing French Adrian-style “sun” helmets and armed with 8x52mm Type 66 Siamese Mausers that were actually versions of the bolt-action Japanese Type 38 Arisaka built before WWII at Japan’s Koishikawa arsenal.
Note their French-style helmets, U.S.-marked M36 packs, and Japanese Showa-period rifles. Ultimately, more than 10,000 Thai troops would serve in the Korean War alongside U.S. forces, fighting notably at the Battle of Pork Chop Hill. (Photo: UN News Archives)
More in my column at Guns.com.
The above U.S. Army training film explains the principles of operation of the M1 (Garand) Infantry Rifle.
John Garand’s M1 rifle was developed at Springfield Armory over a five-year period and put into production in August 1937, with over 5 million produced by SA, Winchester, Rock Island Arsenal, International Harvester and Harrington & Richardson by 1957 when it was theoretically replaced by the M14.
Gen. George S. Patton called it “the greatest battle implement ever devised” after seeing it in action during some of the heaviest ground combat in World War II. It went on to hold the line in Korea, the Cold War, and the early days of Vietnam. The old M1 remained in National Guard armories through the 1970s and as many as 250,000 DoD-owned Garands still serve with various military and civilian honor guards.
General George S Patton called the M1 Garand, “The greatest battle implement ever devised.” And with good reason: this hard-hitting 30.06 armed the ‘Greatest Generation’, as well as a few that came afterward.
After World War 1, the US Army had literally millions of Springfield, Enfield, and Mosin rifles lying around. While these were all adequate for the Doughboys of the Western Front, the military knew that these bolt-action rifles were all essentially 19th Century technology. Through a series of trials and tests in the 1930s, the Army experimented with various semi-automatics that could deliver a much higher volume of fire. By 1936, a single design by Mr. John C Garand stood at the top of the pile and was adopted as the “US Rifle, Cal. .30, M1”.
Read the rest in my column at Firearms Talk