5 Things To Know About The Rifle That Won The Second World War: M1 Garand!

M1 Garand rifle, USA. Caliber .30-06. From the collections of Armémuseum (Swedish Army Museum), Stockholm.
M1 Garand rifle, USA. Caliber .30-06. From the collections of Armémuseum (Swedish Army Museum), Stockholm.

The famous United States General George S. Patton called the M1 Garand semi-automatic rifle ‘the greatest battle implement ever devised’. He attributed the Allied victory over the Axis in no small part to the power and efficiency of this weapon. It was the standard weapon of the United States infantry from 1936 to 1957, replacing 903 Springfield. By 1941 the M1 Garand had been issued to all branches of the U.S. forces. During the Vietnam War, some soldiers were still using them. Even now it is still used, but for drill purposes. After the war, surplus Garand rifles were used by America’s allies. The British even considered adopting them as a replacement for their own standard rifle, but they decided against the move.

The M1 Garand gave the American soldier distinctive advantages against his enemy. It was faster than the Axis bolt action rifles. The rifle was fired from the shoulder. The rifle barrel was cooled by air and it was cocked by the expanding air from the previous round. The rifle’s metal clip contained eight rounds, and the rifle fired one round each time the trigger was pulled. After all the rounds have been spent, the empty clip is ejected with a pinging sound. It had an effective firing range of 500 yards. It weighed 9.5 pounds and was 43.5 inches long. It could fire 40 – 50 rounds a minute. It used a 30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge.

The M1 Garand was produced by the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts. It was named after the Canadian – American firearms maker John C. Garand, who designed it in 1928. The Armory built 5.5 million of them.

The Garand was replaced by the M14 Rifle is the 1960s, which remains the standard rifle of the U.S. Army.


Joris Nieuwint

Joris Nieuwint is a battlefield guide for the Operation Market Garden area. His primary focus is on the Allied operations from September 17th, 1944 onwards. Having lived in the Market Garden area for 25 years, he has been studying the events for nearly as long. He has a deep understanding of the history and a passion for sharing the stories of the men who are no longer with us.

@joris1944 facebook.com/joris.nieuwint