World War ll M1 Garands

World War ll M1 Garands

For those who had been there, the M1s available today are nothing like they used to be in WWII; it seems that the rifles once issued to Marines and GIs, are not to be build again.

During the Second World War, only Springfield Armory and Winchester Repeating Arms that were owned by the government were manufacturing Garands. In the 1950s, the production was changed by manufacturers like Harrington & Richardson, International Harvester and Springfield Armory, who restarted the production of Garands in the 1950s.

Some believed that all the WWII Garands manufactured by Springfield Armory and Winchester would be alike, but they were not, although they had interchangeable parts, The Daily Caller reports.

During the first stage of the production, the government issued M1 Garands with forged triggerguards, however, later on, around early 1944, they started making stamped ones. There were very small details that could easily show the difference between WWII manufacturers. For example, in Winchester’s case, the sight ears were more flared than Springfield Armory’s. Another example could be that fact that for Winchester, barrels were not dated but they had a stamp on them (“WP” for “Winchester Proof”). On the other hand, Springfield Armory barrels were stamped with the month and the year they were made.

After the war, when the M1s were returned to arsenals around the country, nobody did anything to try and preserve the originals. If they were damaged, the good parts were kept, while the faulty ones were binned. This is why you can now find rebuilt M1 Garands, which will probably come with Springfield Armory receivers and Winchester barrels or the other way around.

In his book, Complete Guide To The M1 Garand And M1 Carbine, Bruce N. Canfield mentions a few facts about John C. Garand and his journey to designing the M1s. Garant was offered a part-time job at the government-owned Springfield Armory in 1919, for which he became a permanent employee in 1921. However, his rifle design was not used by the US Army until 1936.

Reffering to the WWII M1s, General George Patton said that “the M1 is the best battle implement ever devised.”

Another Second World War vet explained that “yeah, he might have said that but what are the chances he ever packed one around day in and day out for months? They were heavy!”

Although the M1 Garand was adopted by the US Army in 1936, GIs and Marines combat infantry riflemen were not given M1s until mid-1943.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE