The M1903 Springfield, formally the United States Rifle, Caliber .30, Model 1903, is an American magazine-fed, service rifle 5-shot rifle used primarily during the first half of the 20th century.
Usage by the MarinesEdit
Since its earliest history, the Marine Corps has lived by the phrase, "every Marine a rifleman." Marksmanship and its tactical applications have been drilled into every Marine who has worn the uniform of the Corps. This core combat skill was epitomized by the thin line of Devil Dogs at Belleau Wood who smashed the best the German army had to offer. But the Springfield rifle was not only used in the First World War, but also in expeditions across the face of the globe, and through the early battles in World War II. Versions of the Springfield modified as a sniper rifle soldiered on through the Korean War, and some even saw service in this role in Vietnam. Marksmanship was almost a cult in the Marine Corps. The yearly ritual of qualification—especially in the interwar years—took a full week and the stakes were very high, not only for the individual Marine, but for his unit as well. Marines practiced snapping in, a repetitive exercise with unloaded rifles where they lined up their sights on an object and then squeezed the trigger. Performing this drill hundreds of times in various shooting positions, the riflemen refreshed and honed their skills before the all important live firing.
Between its introduction in 1903 and the end of World War I about 1,200,000 Springfield rifles were produced by the U. S. arsenal of the same name and at the Rock Island Arsenal. Springfield Armory transferred the production machinery to Remington in 1941 and production of the World War II era M1903A3 began in September of that year. In addition to Remington, Smith-Corona, better known as a typewriter manufacturer, built these rifles during the war. During the war, these two companies built 1,415,593 Springfield rifles.
To replace the Springfield rifle, the U. S, Army adopted the M1 Service Rifle in 1936 and the Marine Corps followed suit in November 1941. Nevertheless, the trusted Springfield remained in service throughout the war. It was the standard service rifle of the Gyrenes who fought on Wake Island, in the Philippines, and with the First Marine Division during the epic struggle for Guadalcanal.
The M1903A3 rifle was declared as substitute standard with the adoption of the M1 and as limited standard in November 1944. But large numbers of Springfield rifles remained in service throughout the FMF during the war, especially to equip grenadiers. The D-series Marine division was authorized 456 M1903 rifles and an identical number of M1 rifle grenade launchers. The faithful Springfield was subsequently declared as obsolete on 24 July 1947.
The rifle can mostly be seen used by Marines in Guadalcanal. While a sniper version can be seen in Peleliu.
- The reason why it makes few appearances is because it is mostly used as a sniper rifle. It would be unusual to find one in the front line except in Guadalcanal.
- It remains popular as a civilian firearm, historical collector's piece, and as a military drill rifle.
The Variant most seen is the M1903A3 Springfield, distinguished from others by having its rear sight sticking out prominently, while the sniper on Peleliu uses an M1903A1 Springfield fitted with a very long 8x Unertl Telescopic sight; although the USMC would have more standard '03s than '03A3s.