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  #1  
Old 17 Mar 11, 16:44
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Question M1 Garand and the US Marine Corps

Having recently gotten into watching and reading a whole host of Pacific War documentaries and books (and films and TV series) I've come across some accounts of the US Marine Corps having gone into the Pacific War with many of its units still carrying the M1903 Springfield as their standard service weapon (my main source was Do or Die Men by George W. Smith with Robert Leckie's Helmet for my Pillow and a scene in The Pacific where Marines commented the Army was better equipped than they were in terms of firepower). It seems like only some units intially had the M1 Garands issued in quantity to them (2nd Raider Battalion according to American Commando) around the time of the Solomon Islands Campaign.

I wonder was it due to pre-war budgetary reasons that the Garands weren't issued to the Marines as quickly as they were to the Army? Or was this a function of the traditional Marine Corps emphasis on accurate and aimed fire? Or the fact that historically the Marine Corps has often operated on what amounts to a shoestring budget (no offense nor interservice rivalry bashing intended)?
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  #2  
Old 17 Mar 11, 18:49
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Here's a link to a thread I posted about a year ago on the same subject.

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=90900&highlight=garand
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  #3  
Old 17 Mar 11, 18:56
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Thanks buddy. I appreciate it.

One allegation I'd come across was that Carlson's Raiders were able to get M1s largely because of the connections of Major James Roosvelt to the White House.
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  #4  
Old 17 Mar 11, 20:11
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A second factor in the Marines late adoption of the M1 was the greater use of the BAR. The US Army had stuck closely to the standard of one per rifle squad or nine per rifle company through the interwar years and for WWII. During the 1920s & 1930s the Marines decided a much larger number of BAR were necessary in the company and debated at some length how many. Before WWII the standard rifle company had sixteen BAR divided into four eight man squads, with one BAR squad per rifle platoon & the fourth with the company commanders group. There was a feeling amoung the USMC leadership the automatic rifles should be even more numerous & ideas were still afloat for adding at least two more to the company. With nearly double the number of automatic rifles as with a US Army company & the distinct possibility of adding more the semi automatic M1 rifle seemed to many to be less necessary.

In 1943 the Marines did increase the BAR to 18 per company & to 27 per in 1944. The Marines also placed four & later six MMG in the rifle company vs the two in the US Army infantry company.
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Old 17 Mar 11, 23:35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoneRider View Post
Thanks buddy. I appreciate it.

One allegation I'd come across was that Carlson's Raiders were able to get M1s largely because of the connections of Major James Roosvelt to the White House.
Carlson's Raiders also made use of a large number of Johnson Rifles and Light Machineguns.
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Old 18 Mar 11, 04:05
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the USMC always comes after the US Army
except in combat
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  #7  
Old 18 Mar 11, 08:53
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Well, one has to remember that the old Springfield held five rounds. The M1 8. Do you see the problem for a Marine? He'll need both hands to count how many rounds he has. So who holds his rifle?
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Old 18 Mar 11, 15:27
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Originally Posted by Half Pint John View Post
Well, one has to remember that the old Springfield held five rounds. The M1 8. Do you see the problem for a Marine? He'll need both hands to count how many rounds he has. So who holds his rifle?
Oooohhhh, you nasty boy!

Also factored in is the conservatism of high commands as a whole. Like the Henry rifle, the Garand was also downgraded for expense. At least a significant minority of the movers and shakers believed the troops would waste too much ammunition and not stand up like men with the Garand.

My father always thought otherwise. His did him well.

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  #9  
Old 18 Mar 11, 15:44
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Oooohhhh, you nasty boy!

Also factored in is the conservatism of high commands as a whole. Like the Henry rifle, the Garand was also downgraded for expense. At least a significant minority of the movers and shakers believed the troops would waste too much ammunition and not stand up like men with the Garand.

My father always thought otherwise. His did him well.

Regards,
Dennis
Well to be fair, I think highly of our Marines. Just not as highly as they think of themselves.
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Old 19 Mar 11, 00:07
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Does anyone have any insight into the vast difference in BAR numbers between the Army and Marines?
Was it due to the difference in terrain between the ETO and PTO?
Accuracy by volume?
Marines were physically stronger?
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Old 19 Mar 11, 08:33
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Quote:
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Does anyone have any insight into the vast difference in BAR numbers between the Army and Marines?
Yes, refer back to my post of 17th March. The larger number reflected in part Marine combat experience in Nicaruagua 1928-32. Also USMC doctrine was driven more from the bottom up vs the top down. Note this went beyond BAR. The Marines kept adding MMG to the company as well. By 1945 the Marine Captain could depend on six MMG in his company TO/TE, and usually had 2-4 of the bn MG at hand.

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Was it due to the difference in terrain between the ETO and PTO?
No

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Accuracy by volume?
Unsure, but probablly not

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Marines were physically stronger?
Not significatly on the battlefield
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Old 26 Mar 11, 11:38
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Quote:
Also factored in is the conservatism of high commands as a whole. Like the Henry rifle, the Garand was also downgraded for expense. At least a significant minority of the movers and shakers believed the troops would waste too much ammunition and not stand up like men with the Garand.
I also thought that the US Marine Corps emphasis on precision marksmanship of individual riflemen had something to do with the slower adaptation of the Garand compared to the US Army. However I've come across no sources that confirm this to be the case.
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Old 26 Mar 11, 20:53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoneRider View Post
I also thought that the US Marine Corps emphasis on precision marksmanship of individual riflemen had something to do with the slower adaptation of the Garand compared to the US Army. However I've come across no sources that confirm this to be the case.
Up to WWII there may not have been much difference between USMC & US Army rifle training. Probablly the Marines required all enlisted & officers to qualify annually in the standard shooting course wheras the Army was less likely to require regular qualification training from quartermaster sergants or coast artillery gunners. Even USMC pilots found themselves spending a week each year on the rifle range. But, the shooting course was probablly similar. Around 1910-14 The USMC decided its current rifle training inadaquate and adopted the current US Army rifle qualification course. The KD course we were still using for basic rifle training in the 1990s was not much changed from that of 1918.

Note the US Army spent some fifteen years thinking about the Garand, which was originally presented circa 1925-27.

I've refered to the Marines combat experience in Nicaragua 1927-1932. A lot of rethinking of experience from the Great War came from that.

Last edited by Carl Schwamberg; 26 Mar 11 at 21:00..
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Old 26 Mar 11, 21:49
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Well to be fair, I think highly of our Marines. Just not as highly as they think of themselves.
HeHeHe!!! (Hollow laughter from the background.) lcm1
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Old 26 Mar 11, 22:03
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I've refered to the Marines combat experience in Nicaragua 1927-1932. A lot of rethinking of experience from the Great War came from that.
What specific engagements led the Marines to believe that they needed to have more organic automatic firepower within their platoons and companies? Were they seeing different action than Army troops that warranted more Bars?
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