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Springfield 03 Rifle

Discussion in 'Allied Light Weapons' started by Jim, Jun 19, 2008.

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  1. harolds

    harolds Member

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    If GP's info on the 23rd regiment is correct, and I have no reason to believe it isn't, then that regt. had their Springfields for only a short time in Normandy. I suspect the new regimental commander had them turn them in, at which time they were issued M1s. Thus, very few of them would have been listed as "lost".
     
  2. firstf1abn

    firstf1abn New Member

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    It wouldn't matter how many '03s were lost. As has been correctly stated, '03s were still in use as grenade launchers (no info on the 23rd's situation though), so their presence would be no surprise. What would matter is whether the 23rd's S4 report showed the loss of any Garands.. If, as has been claimed, the 23rd carried '03s in place of Garands, then the loss of even one Garand (or M7 GL for that matter) would disprove the shaky hypothesis.

    I have some S4 reports from the 18th Infantry from 1st Inf Div. Not sure whether the 2nd Inf Div units followed exactly the same protocol and format in their S4s, but if they did, it could settle the matter quickly as the 18th's S4 reports ordnance losses daily. What are the chances a regiment with about 1800 rifles went very long without losing a single one in June 1944? The answer is still out there. Nice folks at NARA - even more so in a case like this when they get a request with enough info so they can go right to it.
     
  3. Andy235

    Andy235 Member

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    That would be utterly strange if a Colonel could change an entire Regiment's TO/E because he had a fondness for a particular rifle. I suspect that he would have had to get approval from the War (it wasn't renamed Defense until post war) Department to equip an entire regiment differently than the rest of the army.
     
  4. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Some time ago saw a picture, along with a post, - probably on this forum - of soldiers marching ashore sometime after D-Day. It sure looked to me like they were carrying Springfields. Perhaps somebody gave him his way just to shut him up for a while.
     
  5. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Since they were in the inventory and supported in any case going along with his desires was probably the easiest course for all involved.
     
  6. firstf1abn

    firstf1abn New Member

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    Any chance you could explain how you calculated this probability.
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    If you have x number of rifles to allocate and y (>x) people that want them and someone says I'll pass it's easier to accommodate their request and send the rifles to people than want them. Especially since a unit commander can throw a fair amount of sand into the machinery if he wants to. May not make him popular but ...
     
  8. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    Could you retrieve the applicable documents referenced in your earlier posts to shed some light on the facts behind this story? Postulating probabilities doesn't make an awful lot of sense if - as you claim - the answers are easily obtainable. I for one would be very interesting in seeing primary source documentation on this.
     
  9. firstf1abn

    firstf1abn New Member

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    If you could be more specific, I'd be happy to try to help. But I think most of the burden to provide evidence would fall on those subscribing to the Fuller claim, which is a rather novel assertion. So I suggested a path for those who accepted the Fuller story, but I don't have those reports. Your earlier post from the Middleton bio will inform those just coming to the controversy and provides a good starting point. No need to repost here. Previously I had contacted Special Collections at the LSU Library hoping to find the source for the quote (Besides being unattributed, the date of the episode is unstated - for all we know, the story could be from 1965). Very helpful staffer was unable to locate the quote in the Middleton Papers. A swing and a miss. Drat! As I'm sure you appreciate, Middleton had no firsthand knowledge of the Fuller '03s in WWII story. His WWII association with Fuller began after Fuller was relieved of command of the 23rd, so Middleton is not a primary source. Hard to evaluate an unknown source. Sure wish we had the next sentence.

    It's funny, when I saw the somewhat rambling post above, I was mulling whether starting at the beginning might be a good idea. Let me do it this way.

    I have four questions to try to define what the question is and what we already know. The first three will only benefit from facts, not conjecture (so a source would be nice - "I heard" is not a source for the task at hand); the fourth is wide open to interpretation. I think developing a consensus on these 4 will move the ball. If answers are numbered, it might help keep me straight (a day's work in itself).

    1. Does everyone agree the photo was taken on D+1? If not, why not and what is the correct date. (sources, remember)
    2. Does everyone agree that confirming the unit pictured is the 23rd Infantry is necessary if the Fuller claim is to be confirmed?
    3. What evidence points to the 23rd? Is there some reason why it couldn't just as easily be another unit organic to the 2nd Infantry Division?
    4. How many '03s do you see in the photo? Breakdown by definite/probable/possible would be useful as the background is very out of focus.

    The highest quality version of the image that I have seen is here:

    File:2nd Infantry Division, E-1 draw, Easy Red sector, Omaha Beach, D+1, June 7, 1944.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

    If there's solid info beyond the photo and the Fuller story to support the claim that (paraphrasing) "an entire infantry regiment in Normandy carried '03s because of the preference of its commander," let's see it.

    Looking forward to everyone's thoughts. And thanks George.
     
  10. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    Firstly, I would like to emphasize again that I am not vouching for the authenticity of the Fuller story. I have heard it a few times and simply referenced the claim in response to a question. I find it a bit far-fetched to be factual and have stated repeatedly that I am not vouching for its authenticity. As such, I'm unsure why you believe I am one of the advocates for this being factual.

    I assume you were referring to the S4, per your post from 17 February and again on 18 February 2018 (emphasis mine):

    "On the Hurley Fuller claim, why hasn't someone who believes the story taken 5 minutes to request the 23rd Infantry's June '44 S-4 report from NARA? With an email submission form, it doesn't even cost a stamp like in the olden days. There are a couple of other possibilities of where ordnance losses could appear in unit records, but it says a lot that apparently nobody has made this obvious first stop."​

    "I have some S4 reports from the 18th Infantry from 1st Inf Div. Not sure whether the 2nd Inf Div units followed exactly the same protocol and format in their S4s, but if they did, it could settle the matter quickly as the 18th's S4 reports ordnance losses daily. What are the chances a regiment with about 1800 rifles went very long without losing a single one in June 1944? The answer is still out there. Nice folks at NARA - even more so in a case like this when they get a request with enough info so they can go right to it."​

    You state that the emphasis is on the Fuller believers to provide evidence. OK, accepted. But why not simply present your own evidence that it is false (which, per your postings, you believe to be in the S4) rather than prodding others to produce their own evidence that the claim is true? I'm just curious as you seem fairly knowledgeable on this topic (certainly more so than me) and producing the S4 would clear up the differing opinions on this story.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  11. firstf1abn

    firstf1abn New Member

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    Hi Alan. Wasn't trying to pin the Fuller story on you at all. I'd say you have consistently showed a healthy skepticism and your instincts are solid. To repeat, I don't have the 23rd Infantry's S4 reports. I described the format of that report I had seen in the 18th Infantry's records to suggest the Fuller matter could potentially be resolved by getting the 23rd's from June 44 (on the assumption the 23rd used the same format as the 18th). If the 23rd reported the loss of Garands in early June, then the Fuller hypothesis fails. Simple as that.

    I don't see much of a future in doing others' research for them (I don't want to hog all the fun). I try not to make claims I can't support and don't think it's much to ask that others do the same. Otherwise it quickly devolves into wishful thinkers presenting opinions as facts. Opinions need to have some factual basis and I haven't yet seen anything to support the Fuller story. In short, how does one combine undated hearsay with a photo and conclude anything? (see Question #3 in particular).

    My quiz was an effort to guide those who are interested in facts, but maybe don't understand how army admin works. Now, would you like to lead the way on the quiz?
     
  12. harolds

    harolds Member

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    If you're talking about me, I should clarify that I was NOT making an absolute claim that it was a certainty that the unit had 03s. I just remembered something about a long ago post, either here or on another site, that supported that notion. Since there is a lot of expertise on this site I thought my post might trigger someone else's memory. This whole thing may indeed be a myth but behind many myths there is some truth. If this is a myth, how in the heck did it start anyway?
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018

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