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M1 Garand in WW2

Discussion in 'Small Arms and Edged Weapons' started by BigEFan, Apr 15, 2019 at 8:09 PM.

  1. BigEFan

    BigEFan recruit

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    Was the Garand the only semiautomatic rifle widely used in WW2 ? When I watch episodes of "Combat!" I always see firefights where the Germans are armed mostly with bolt-action Mausers. The Americans mostly have the Garand and it looks like no contest. A German soldier fires one shot and the American returns 4 or 5 shots in quick succession. That must have been unnerving to the Germans. Patton called the Garand the "greatest battle implement of all time" or something like that.

    Also, was it the same mismatch in the Pacific when the Americans with Garands outmatched the Japanese with their single-shot rifles?
     
  2. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Germans had a different small arms philosophy than we did. Every squad had an MG34 or 42 which probably more than evened things up. You might do some weapons research online and on YouTube. You'll find out more there in shorter time than us telling you here.
     
  3. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    The Garand was the only semi-automatic long rifle in WWII to be standard issue for infantry.
     
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  4. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    As Slipdigit says, the M1 Garand was the only semiautomatic to be the standard issue rifle of the infantry.

    However, the Soviets and Germans both made widespread use of semiautos. The Soviets had a very active prewar semiautomatic rifle program which resulted in the SVT38/SVT40 series. These were more prevalent early in the war, as production was scaled back in favour of increased Mosin-Nagant production due to the dire situation which the Soviet Union found itself in starting from 1941. Approximately 1.6 million produced.

    The Germans were somewhat late to the semiautomatic rifle scene. After several experimental/trials models including the G41(M) and G41(W), the G43/K43 was introduced in 1943. By the end of the war approximately 400 thousand were produced. However, concurrently the Germans were pursing a select-fire rifle chambered in an intermediate cartridge since the mid 1930s and were the world leaders in this field. This development produced the Sturmgewehr-44 (aka "Assault Rifle") in 1943. Unlike in the movies, German infantry tactics were heavily focused on automatic fire. As harolds noted, heavy emphasis was placed on the general purpose machine gun (MG34 and MG42) and German small unit tactics were fundamentally different than those of the US.

    As for the Japanese, yes, a semiautomatic rifle program was essentially non-existent and Japanese doctrine made limited use of automatic firepower in general. Limited efforts were made in the 1930s centered around copies of the US Pedersen rifle but these went nowhere, with likely no more than 100 produced. In 1945, recognizing that Japanese infantry were at a significant disadvantage, a direct copy of the M1 Garand (Type 5) was produced. Less than 200 were produced before the war ended and none saw combat.

    Other nations had fairly advanced semiautomatic rifle development programs in the pre-war era, including France (resulting in the MAS40, which saw limited combat in May 1940), Belgium (eventually resulting in the FN49 which was not produced until after the war), Italy (several models including the Armaguerra 1939) and Czechoslovakia (many designs including the successful ZH29). Conversely, other nations such as Britain had essentially no programs for semiautomatic rifles before the war and only very limited development during the war (with British efforts centered around a redesign of the Belgian pattern which was to result in the FN49 after the war).
     
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