The M1 Garand is a rifle chambered for the .30-06 round and was the first semi-automatic rifle to be generally issued to the infantry of any nation. It is the most popular American rifle during World War II. It is a valuable collector's item today along with the M1 Carbine.
Usage by the MarinesEdit
In November 1941, the Marine Corps classified the M1 as the standard service rifle. Its standard bayonet, was an M1917 Bayonet. Marines resisted the M1 at first because they had used the Springfield rifle for almost 30 years. The Springfield was held in high regard because of its long range accuracy and reliable functioning under the harshest battlefield conditions. Throughout World War II the Army Ordnance Department was responsible for acquiring small arms for both the Army and Marine Corps. It was not until after the end of the campaign for Gualdalcanal that sufficient M1s became available to equip all front line Marine units with this rifle.
The M1 gave the Marine rifleman superior firepower against his Japanese opponent. It was dependable and easy to maintain in the field. An M1-equipped Marine rifle platoon could sustain the same volume of fire as a company armed with bolt-action rifles.
Operation of the M1 was simple. Ammunition was loaded with an eight round clip inserted into the top of the receiver. When the rifleman fired his last round, the bolt locked to the rear and the empty clip ejected with a distinctive ping sound. To reload, the rifleman simply pushed another loaded clip into the top of the receiver. Once the clip was fully inserted, it would unlock the bolt, which stripped off the first round to load in the chamber.
A common problem experienced by new shooters was "M1 thumb" which occurred when the rifleman failed to quickly remove his thumb off the clip as he was loading. When the bolt unlocked, it could smash his thumb against the front of the ejection port. This only happened once for most new shooters.
Although the M1 had some minor deficiencies, it was without question the finest service rifle of World War II. Marines who carried it in combat swore by its reliability, simplicty and hard-hitting firepower. It went on to serve the Marine Corps in the Korean War, and through many years of the Cold War until it was retired from service in the early 1960s. Fifty years later surplus M1s are still sold to US citizens who meet certain requirements by the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP), which took over the mission of the US Army Department of Civilian Marksmanship (DCM). Suitable ammunition is also sold at reduced prices.
It is the most seen rifle in the series. Major cast members like Pfc. Bill Leyden, Pvt. Tony "Kathy" Peck, and Pvt. Hamm are users of the rifle. Pfc. Eugene Sledge also used the rifle twice but only for brief moments. Once when Bill Leyden is wounded in Peleliu and a Japanese Soldier ran toward him with his Carbine out of sight. The second time was when Sledge's carbine was soiled by corpse soaked mud, and he had to get another rifle to replace it.