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.
It’s a small plot of land that’s never left unguarded. The Sentinels who guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier are a small and exclusive group. They stand their post 24 hours a day, 365 days a year regardless of the weather. Hear the Sentinel’s Creed and you’ll know why. DOD video edited by Air Force Staff Sgt. Jared Bunn
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.
Vietnam, Marines of Company H, 2nd Battalion, 4th Regiment, walk through a punji-staked gully; 28 January 1966. Note the M14 battle rifle, Marlboro (they were issued in packs of 5 in C-rats) and bare M1 helmet.
General Photograph File of the U.S. Marine Corps, 1927 – 1981; Records of the U.S. Marine Corps, Record Group 127; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. Photograph 127-N-A186578
Punji sticks are ancient anti-personnel devices, with the British reportedly encountering them in Burma as far back as the 19th Century and, as noted in our post on the frogmen of Balikpapan, the Japanese used them extensively in WWII. Today they are banned from use in warfare under Protocol II of the UN’s 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.
Of course, those who are most likely to use them never had much use for what Geneva had to say, anyway.
The last rifle built for the U.S. military at Springfield Armory was the M14, and historic photos from its production vouch that it was made “old school.”
Put into production in 1959 to replace several weapons to include the .30-06-caliber WWII-era M1 Garand, the select-fire M14 would be manufactured by Springfield Armory, Winchester, Harrington & Richardson and TRW through 1964. In all, more than 1.3 million of these 7.62x51mm chambered battle rifles were cranked out before the line was closed in favor of the contractor produced M16.
Staining and fitting the M14’s wooden stock, a task not too different from the Armory’s past work on the M1 and M1903.
Function firing an M14 on full-auto. Note the four spent cases in the air. Besides the semi-auto M1 Garand and M1 Carbine, the M14 was intended to replace the M3 submachine gun, select-fire M2 Carbine, and the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle.
More in my column at Guns.com
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.
DEFENSE DEPT. PHOTO (MARINE CORPS) A4503022. May 8 1965, Sgt R.O. Shaw.
Caption: Locating a Sniper—A rifle squad from Company “D,” 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, searches for a sniper firing at the position inside the International Safety Zone in Santo Domingo. Note the M1 helmets, Korean War style flak vests and M-14.
The action in the Dominican Republic was not the pushover some often chalk it up to. In the end, Johnson lamented ordering troops into action there. The below doc from the invasion is surprisingly gritty, and directly addresses the sniper problem in the above photo.
I recently had the chance to tour U.S. Army’s Museum Support Center at Anniston Army Depot, the keepers of the flame for military history in the country.
The 15,200-acre installation in North Alabama was established in World War II and overhauls both small arms and vehicles for the Army. A longstanding tenant on the sprawling base, based out of Building 201, is the Museum Support Center, operated by the Center of Military History. The CMH maintains an immense collection of 650,000 historic items across 228 sites including 57 large museums that are a part of the Army Museum Enterprise. Items not yet on display, waiting for a public home, or are excess to current museum needs are stored in the “Army’s attic” in Anniston.
In secured storage at the MSC are 13,000 live weapons of all sorts, ranging from 13th Century Ottoman gear to guns captured recently in Afghanistan…and they were gracious enough to roll out the red carpet for me:
More in my column at Guns.com
Rock Island Auction House has released some teaser information about their upcoming Premier Auction in May, and it has just about one of every full-auto or select-fire offering on your fave list.
While they do not have the full item descriptions listed yet, they have released some highlight images and what they show– besides the regular fare of 19th Century collectible lever guns and 18th Century dueling pistols– is a cornucopia of Title II/Class 3 items. Outside of the full Call of Duty collection, you aren’t going to find these guns in one place. There is even a Heckler & Koch HK21, a type I haven’t seen since I worked with NASA.
Among the neater pieces I saw was a Japanese Type 11 light machine gun– Kijirō Nambu’s take on the French 8mm Hotchkiss chambered in 6.5x50mm Arisaka. This particular piece was captured on Kwajalein Atoll in 1944 by the Recon troop of the 7th Cav.
More (including a lot more photos) in my column at Guns.com
I saw an AK-47 while in Vietnam and it had a 30 round magazine. So I cut the top and bottom off of a couple of M-14 Magazines and welded them together and made a “40” Round magazine for my M-14. It really didn’t work very well when test firing it, several of the last rounds would not chamber with only two springs. So I put “three” springs into the magazine, but then I could only load a little over 30 rounds. There just wasn’t enough room for three springs and 40 Full Metal Jacket rounds in that magazine. I sure received some strange looks while walking around with my 40 round magazine. Semper Fi, Larry Hilton via Grunt.com