Tag Archives: M1

About Time, Fusiliers Marins edition

Earlier this month, the Chief of Staff of the French Navy, Admiral Christophe Prazuck announced the that the names of the nine French Marine units, the Fusiliers Marins et Commandos Marins, will moving forward be tied to historic officers of the names of key heroes from the Free French 1er BFM/BFMC (aka Commando Kieffer) and 1er RFM (Régiment de Fusiliers Marins).

Raised from volunteers abroad and members of the French Navy who ended their 1940 war in British ports– many from the old battleships Paris and Courbet— the brand-new Forces Navales Françaises Libres (Free French Naval Forces) forces under Admiral Emile Muselier, allied with then-renegade Maj Gen. Charles de Gaulle formed these commandos along British lines.

Taking part in the Dieppe Raid in August 1942, they landed in force at D-Day and continued on to the Alps, earning more than 200 Croix de Guerre and 32 Légion d’Honneur.

While elite frogmen units such as Commando Hubert have the names of famous (posthumously) officers who have led them, up until this month, the modern French marines had unit names such as the uninspired but descriptive details such as the Groupe des Marines de l’Atlantique (Atlantic Marines Group). Now, the Groupe des Marines de l’Atlantique, for example, is the Amyot d’Inville Marines Battalion, named after French navy CDR Amyot D’Inville who commanded the Free French Marines at Bir Hakeim and was killed on the Continent in 1944.

More here. 

Guns of the U.S. Army, 1775-2020

While you may know of today’s standard U.S. Army infantry rifles, and those of the 20th Century, how about those present at Lexington and Concord or the line of Springfield muskets from 1795 through 1865? What came after?

For all this and more, check out the easy 2,000-word primer I did for this last weekend at Guns.com.

All Quiet in the Ardennes

American engineers emerge from the woods and move out of defensive positions after fighting in the vicinity of Bastogne, Belgium, in December 1944. Note the M1 Garand, M1 Carbine and M9 Bazookas, along with a liberal sprinkling of grenades and spare ammo. (Photo: U.S. Army)

Today is the 75th Anniversary of the last great German offensive of WWII. Launched through the densely forested Ardennes region near the intersection of the eastern borders of Belgium, France, and Luxembourg, some 200,000 Germans fell on less than 80,000 unsuspecting American troops, many of which were recovering from the summer and Fall push through France and the Lowlands.

While the German offensive gained ground at first, eventually reinforcements– including Lt. Gen. George S. Patton Jr.’s Third Army–were rushed to the scene and counterattacked.

However, for the men trapped inside the 75-mile “bulged” salient from St. Vith to the week-long Siege of Bastogne, it was a white hell of exploding trees and an onslaught from 1,000 German panzers that those who survived never forgot.

The U.S. Army suffered over 89,000 casualties in the six-week-long Battle of the Bulge, making it one of the largest and bloodiest battles fought by the nation’s servicemen.

U.S. Army infantrymen of the 290th Regiment, 75th Infantry Division, fight in fresh snowfall near Amonines, Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge, Jan. 4, 1945. Note the M3 Grease Gun to the right and M1 Carbine to the left. (Photo: U.S. Army)

For a more detailed look at the men, firepower, and background of the battle, check out the (free) 685-page U.S. Army Center of Military History reference, “The Ardennes: Battle of the Bulge” by Hugh M. Cole, as well as the vast records available through the National Archives. For more information about commemorating the battle Bastogne and other events, visit Bastogne 75 and Belgium Remembers 44-45.

TBT, Springfield Armory edition

This Springfield Armory layout from 1961 shows a then-current uniform of a Captain in the U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery with a new M14 rifle and jungle boots coupled with a view of World War II-era army uniform and one from the Spanish-American War.

Of interest, the WWII “Ike” jacket has an SFC sleeve patch, 4th Armoured Division shoulder sleeve patch, German Occupation medal, and good conduct medal. A “K” ration box rests on top while an M1 rifle and coverless M1 helmet and liner chill nearby.

The SpanAm War shot includes the iconic U.S. M1892 Krag along with the khaki 1889 Pattern campaign hat and 1898 Pattern blouse.

The story of the Millionth Garand

Canadian-born firearms engineer Jean Cantius Garand went to work at the U.S. Army’s Springfield Armory in 1919 and age 29 and remained on the job until he retired in 1953. While he had a hand in a number of projects over that 34-year period, it was his semi-auto M1 rifle, adopted by the military on the eve of World War II, that he is best remembered for. Rather than send Garand off with a gold watch at his retirement party, Secretary of Army Robert Stevens authorized SA to give him one of their noteworthy M1s from the arsenal’s museum.

The gun they gave the inventor was SN# 1,000,000, an SA-made .30-06 completed in November 1942, scarcely a year after Pearl Harbor.

Secretary of Army Robert Stevens presents John Garand with an M1 Garand rifle at his retirement in 1953. Note the deep grain in the walnut

And it is still beautiful (and up for auction) today.

You can really tell see those beautiful, distinctive tiger stripes in any photo. This is one I took when I inspected the piece back in March.

Hopefully, it will be bought by a museum or a philanthropist willing to put this national treasure on public display.

More in my column at Guns.com

PI Marines rake in interesting finds on the Southern Islands

The Philippine Marines have been busy doing hearts and minds type missions in the Sulu area for the past several months and have managed to get 246 weapons turned over (with a little help from martial law.)

About half are vintage M1 Garands, followed by a decent haul of M14s and M16s, as well as a smattering of other hardware to include M79 bloop tubes, 81mm mortars and 90mm recoilless rifles.

Dig the M79s, with one using a boot top as a pad…also the fifth gun up is a suppressed M1 Carbine with a homemade wooden pistol grip…

Yes, that is a Vietnam-vintage Colt XM177 in the foreground, followed by (likely Manila-made Eslico) M16s. You never know what you are going to come up with in the PI

More in my column at Guns.com.

If you are interested in a deal on an IHC Garand, there has been a development

The U.S. loaned 312,430 M1 rifles to NATO-allied Turkey, beginning in 1953 and ending with the final shipment of 5,000 in 1972. A few years ago, several thousand were returned from the Turkish Navy and now, over 13,000 have come back from the Turkish Air Force and are filtering out through the CMP as testing and grading are being completed.

The good news is, as many as a quarter could be rare IHC models.

The neat news is, they also sometimes have Turkish dope charts (marked Nisangah Tanzi) affixed to them.

More in my column at Guns.com

Happy birthday, Lee

The great Lee Marvin would be 94 today.

Here he is seen as Sgt. Turk in the “Bridge at Chalons” episode of Combat! (1963)

And if he looks natural with that Garand, he came about it honestly.

Leaving school at 18 to enlist in the Marines after Pearl Harbor, this member of The Greatest Generation was seriously wounded while a part of the 24th Marines during the assault on Mount Tapochau in the Battle of Saipan in 1944 and spent over a year in recovery before he was medically discharged.

Heard you were looking for a pre-owned M1 or M1911? CMP just got 99K of the first and 8K of the latter..

The Civilian Marksmanship Program has recently received truckloads of vintage M1 Garand rifles long ago loaned to U.S. allies overseas and is preparing to inventory M1911 pistols as well.

Gina Johnson, CMP’s general manager, told me via email Tuesday the federally-chartered non-profit corporation has been moving the repatriated 30.06-caliber rifles into their warehouses in recent days.

“We have roughly 86,000 rifles from the Philippines and roughly 13,000 rifles from Turkey in our possession,” said Johnson.

And then there are the 1911s…

More in my column at Guns.com.

Putting in guard time at Great Lakes

Here we see Seaman David J. Lohr, USN. Serving with the Seaman Guard at Great Lakes, Illinois, after Boot Camp, 1917. Note the M1905 bayonet and scabbard with M1903 Springfield rifle to go along with his flat cap and Cracker Jacks.

Copied from the collection of David J. Lohr, by Courtesy of RM1 Pamela J. Boyer, USN, 1986. NH 100998

Next, we have a crisp new Blue Jacket at Great Lakes in the 1960s guarding a stack of M1s and the platoon guidon, likely during chow. Even while the fleet, by and large, was using M14s at the time, M1s (along with M1917s and 1903s) remained in use as training rifles not only there but at Orlando and San Diego for some time.

Stack, Arms. RTC San Diego 1970s. note the SA03s

And M1903A3 drill rifles with M1 bayonets still clocking in to one degree or another in 2002 in the below image. I’ve seen lots of images since then of Great Lakes trainees with M1s but they have all been chromed rubber ducks I believe.

020208-N-5576W-005 Great Lakes, IL (Feb. 8, 2002) — The Honorable Gordon England, Secretary of the Navy, inspects the recruit rifle team during the Recruit Pass in Review Ceremony held at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, IL. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Michael Worner. (RELEASED)

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