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Did America Not Need the Garand?

RNorwood

Alpha
Some very fine points made and interesting however, one does not arm down to the level of their enemy therefore the scarcity of automatic combat rifles by the Germans or Japanese really means little. When they came up against U.S. soldiers in situations where they outnumbered U.S. troops they more often than not got pasted. '03 is a wonderful weapon and can still hold it's own - at distance. One of my criticisms and this holds for the K98 is the 5 round limit. Five rounds, who thought that up? I know the answer - cheap old fogies who didn't want troops using too much ammo. We've always had a hard time with the ammo question which answers why M-16s came out with 20 round mags initally and not 30. Enfields could pack 10, pretty nice in a shootout. As a matter of fact back on the Mail Call show with R. Lee he went toe to toe with an Enfield. The Enfield won because it hit a lot more targets in the time allotted. That said anyone who's ever fired and Enfield has to wonder how or why the Brits dragged that chunk of steel around for so long. So, again that said, I'd probably go with the '03.
The '03 saw extensive service with the Marines which to me is unfortunate whether or not the Japanese rifles were equal or sub par. They faced an enemy that certainly every time was going to fight to the death. I think they deserved better. As for the grenade launcher issue - sling along an '03 for the purpose and give your "grenadier" an M1 carbine as consolation. Fire power is always a key. Having an 8 round semi auto battle rifle back in the day and even today, sorry, there's no question despite the realities of what was.
 

10mmLife

Hellcat
Founding Member
Some very fine points made and interesting however, one does not arm down to the level of their enemy therefore the scarcity of automatic combat rifles by the Germans or Japanese really means little. When they came up against U.S. soldiers in situations where they outnumbered U.S. troops they more often than not got pasted. '03 is a wonderful weapon and can still hold it's own - at distance. One of my criticisms and this holds for the K98 is the 5 round limit. Five rounds, who thought that up? I know the answer - cheap old fogies who didn't want troops using too much ammo. We've always had a hard time with the ammo question which answers why M-16s came out with 20 round mags initally and not 30. Enfields could pack 10, pretty nice in a shootout. As a matter of fact back on the Mail Call show with R. Lee he went toe to toe with an Enfield. The Enfield won because it hit a lot more targets in the time allotted. That said anyone who's ever fired and Enfield has to wonder how or why the Brits dragged that chunk of steel around for so long. So, again that said, I'd probably go with the '03.
The '03 saw extensive service with the Marines which to me is unfortunate whether or not the Japanese rifles were equal or sub par. They faced an enemy that certainly every time was going to fight to the death. I think they deserved better. As for the grenade launcher issue - sling along an '03 for the purpose and give your "grenadier" an M1 carbine as consolation. Fire power is always a key. Having an 8 round semi auto battle rifle back in the day and even today, sorry, there's no question despite the realities of what was.
Great points and welcome to the forum!
 

HansGruber

Hellcat
Some very fine points made and interesting however, one does not arm down to the level of their enemy therefore the scarcity of automatic combat rifles by the Germans or Japanese really means little. When they came up against U.S. soldiers in situations where they outnumbered U.S. troops they more often than not got pasted. '03 is a wonderful weapon and can still hold it's own - at distance. One of my criticisms and this holds for the K98 is the 5 round limit. Five rounds, who thought that up? I know the answer - cheap old fogies who didn't want troops using too much ammo. We've always had a hard time with the ammo question which answers why M-16s came out with 20 round mags initally and not 30. Enfields could pack 10, pretty nice in a shootout. As a matter of fact back on the Mail Call show with R. Lee he went toe to toe with an Enfield. The Enfield won because it hit a lot more targets in the time allotted. That said anyone who's ever fired and Enfield has to wonder how or why the Brits dragged that chunk of steel around for so long. So, again that said, I'd probably go with the '03.
The '03 saw extensive service with the Marines which to me is unfortunate whether or not the Japanese rifles were equal or sub par. They faced an enemy that certainly every time was going to fight to the death. I think they deserved better. As for the grenade launcher issue - sling along an '03 for the purpose and give your "grenadier" an M1 carbine as consolation. Fire power is always a key. Having an 8 round semi auto battle rifle back in the day and even today, sorry, there's no question despite the realities of what was.

A friend's grandfather served with the Marines in the Pacific in WW2, and said that they PREFERRED the Springfield to the Garand; it was much more reliable in mud, wet, and sand...to the point that he turned down a Garand to keep his 03.

Having “firepower” that doesn’t function doesn’t do you much good.
 

KillerFord1977

Hellcat
Founding Member
Its all individual ability.
Any device in the hands of someone who is inept or less than capable will not function as well as the device is designed. If its a frying pan or a rifle, some can make it sizzle to perfection and some cannot.

lots of folks can make a pump shotgun or bolt rifle as quick or quicker than a similar semi auto and more accurate
 

bandaidman

Alpha
Founding Member
It's been said that Germany didn't feel the need for a semi automatic rifle because they didn't think the war would be that long. (Ernst Udet the head of the Luftwaffe wanted to halt ME 262 development for that reason. Just think if it had been available in 1942 instead of 44-45 how many B17 and B24's would have been lost.) Hitler didn't think the army needed a semi-automatic rifle but the soldiers on the Eastern front were begging for something to defend against the massed wall of soldiers with submachine guns Kar 98's couldn't put a dent into them. When he found out about the Stg44 which had been developed as a MP43,44 (machine pistol) He was at first furious because they had gone behind his micromanaging back to build something his soldiers wanted. He found out when he went and talked to soldiers on the Eastern front and asked them what they needed. They said more of the Stg 44, then called the MP44. He regained face by changing the name to sturmgewehr or assault rifle. Just think if they would have had them in Africa, Sicily, or Normandy. If they would have had the development time to make it better (stiffer receiver, magazines and other weaknesses due to the hurried production and poor material by the end of the war.) It could have been on par with the MG43. the 7.92 Kurtz used less material to make cartridges, less powder and was as effective as a full power 7.92 cartridge. At that point not having enough M1's would have been an emergency.
Britain it has been written that the reason for keeping the Martini-Henry rifle was because they only fought colonial wars where they fought against spears and black powder relics. When they came against the Boers in South Africa using Mauser actions they had to fight determined, good shooting, well disciplined troops. That brought about the genesis of the SMLE that had reached its pinnacle at the end of the first World war. They were in the process of developing a self loading rifle but because Great Britain was broke and their government wouldn't put money into defense it didn't happen. They were in worse shape after Dunkerque due to the loss of many rifles and were training soldiers with sticks. America pulled out their stocks of Enfields and sold Britain as many as they could make until we got into the war after Pearl Harbor.
 

RNorwood

Alpha
A friend's grandfather served with the Marines in the Pacific in WW2, and said that they PREFERRED the Springfield to the Garand; it was much more reliable in mud, wet, and sand...to the point that he turned down a Garand to keep his 03.

Having “firepower” that doesn’t function doesn’t do you much good.
Had the Japanese been armed with a fully automatic rifle those Marines would've sang a different tune. They were on an equal footing so to speak. As we know when we work the bolt on such a rifle the internals are fully exposed thus, if mud was a factor for the Garand, it would go double for the springfield. The Japanese knew this which is why they equipped the Arisaka with a "dust cover". Unfortunately the cover did little for the rifle's performance and was often removed. No idea what that friend's grandfather was all about; perhaps loyalty to his simple old rifle that didn't take much finesse to maintain and operate. All I can say, speaking from experience, is that when you have a pack of very determined guys only too happy to die coming at you in numbers you be glad for the ability to pump out rounds, fast.
 

HansGruber

Hellcat
Had the Japanese been armed with a fully automatic rifle those Marines would've sang a different tune. They were on an equal footing so to speak. As we know when we work the bolt on such a rifle the internals are fully exposed thus, if mud was a factor for the Garand, it would go double for the springfield. The Japanese knew this which is why they equipped the Arisaka with a "dust cover". Unfortunately the cover did little for the rifle's performance and was often removed. No idea what that friend's grandfather was all about; perhaps loyalty to his simple old rifle that didn't take much finesse to maintain and operate. All I can say, speaking from experience, is that when you have a pack of very determined guys only too happy to die coming at you in numbers you be glad for the ability to pump out rounds, fast.
Well, according to him, as I recall, they took both rifles out and got them dirty, gritty, rolled 'em in sand, etc...and the 03 outperformed the M1 as far as reliability.

Considering he started in Guadalcanal and went from there...I'm willing to bet he knew what he was talking about, particularly with determined guys coming at you in numbers.
 

RNorwood

Alpha
Well, according to him, as I recall, they took both rifles out and got them dirty, gritty, rolled 'em in sand, etc...and the 03 outperformed the M1 as far as reliability.

Considering he started in Guadalcanal and went from there...I'm willing to bet he knew what he was talking about, particularly with determined guys coming at you in numbers.
 

RNorwood

Alpha
Well here we are. I suppose we could debate this all day and into tomorrow so I'll let the Garand's record stand on its own.
 

Bassbob

Ronin
Be that as it may you can't change history and the fact is that the Garand isn't called the gun that won the war for nothing,].
 

HansGruber

Hellcat
Be that as it may you can't change history and the fact is that the Garand isn't called the gun that won the war for nothing,].
Patton called it that...

Interestingly enough, Eisenhower said the weapon that won the war for the allies was the deuce and a half truck...but Eisenhower also keenly understood logistics, and how rifles are useless without ammunition being brought to them.

I love my Garands, and they are fine rifles...just presented a contrary viewpoint of a man who had direct combat experience with it.

Sorry if I ruffled the groupies' feathers.
 

Bassbob

Ronin
Patton called it that...

Interestingly enough, Eisenhower said the weapon that won the war for the allies was the deuce and a half truck...but Eisenhower also keenly understood logistics, and how rifles are useless without ammunition being brought to them.

I love my Garands, and they are fine rifles...just presented a contrary viewpoint of a man who had direct combat experience with it.

Sorry if I ruffled the groupies' feathers.


Didn't ruffle my feathers. I've shot a couple Garands. Never owned one, though I would love to. And lots of things "Won" the war. If you were going to narrow it down to one thing that won the war and you were serious, there's no way you could say anything other than the bomb. THAT'S what won the war.
 

HansGruber

Hellcat
Didn't ruffle my feathers. I've shot a couple Garands. Never owned one, though I would love to. And lots of things "Won" the war. If you were going to narrow it down to one thing that won the war and you were serious, there's no way you could say anything other than the bomb. THAT'S what won the war.
That’s what ended the war with Japan, but at the point they got used, the Allies would have won it anyway; it just ended the war sooner, with a LOT less casualties.

It had no effect on the war in Europe, however (Germany surrendered months before Hiroshima, and it is very, very doubtful that Berlin would have been nuked even had a Bomb been available at the time). The ability to out-produce Germany in every bit of war materiel, even with a supply chain thousands of miles longer...that’s what won the war in Europe.
 
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Bassbob

Ronin
That’s what ended the war with Japan, but at the point they got used, the Allies would have won it anyway; it just ended the war sooner, with a LOT less casualties.

It had no effect on the war in Europe, however (Germany surrendered months before Hiroshima, and it is very, very doubtful that Berlin would have been nuked even had a Bomb been available at the time). The ability to put-produce Germany in every bit of war materiel, even with a supply chain thousands of miles longer...that’s what won the war in Europe.


Sure, I know all that Mr. Gruber, but we are trying to realistically, not romantically, narrow WWII down to one single implement that won the war. The only other serious consideration would be " The American GI". In reality it is impossible to narrow it down to one thing that won the war. There are tens of thousands of objects and actions that won the war. Not the least of which is Hitler's failure to learn the lesson Napolean learned about invading Russia in the winter time. Or Hitler's decision to invade Czechoslavakia.

For what it's worth, if for some reason I was thrust into combat with only one rifle it probably would NOT be a Garand. Of course comparing modern rifles to the Garand is unfair since they weren't available in 1940, but still....

I'm not sure which rifle I would pick. Maybe a BAR in 30-06 or an M4 in 5.56. Or maybe the AA-12. Who knows.
 

RNorwood

Alpha
Patton called it that...

Interestingly enough, Eisenhower said the weapon that won the war for the allies was the deuce and a half truck...but Eisenhower also keenly understood logistics, and how rifles are useless without ammunition being brought to them.

I love my Garands, and they are fine rifles...just presented a contrary viewpoint of a man who had direct combat experience with it.

Sorry if I ruffled the groupies' feathers.
No feathers ruffled mate, just your preposterous notion. Both fine weapons, I'd have either but me first choice would be a heavy banging every squeeze of the trigger mother-effing American made battle rifle.
 

HansGruber

Hellcat
No feathers ruffled mate, just your preposterous notion. Both fine weapons, I'd have either but me first choice would be a heavy banging every squeeze of the trigger mother-effing American made battle rifle.
Like I said, I’m just passing in the words of a man who actually used them in combat, and his preferences and why.

Kinda preposterous to second guess them unless you were there too, in my book.

But by all means, continue to Monday morning quarterback it; I’m done with it.
 

RNorwood

Alpha
Like I said, I’m just passing in the words of a man who actually used them in combat, and his preferences and why.

Kinda preposterous to second guess them unless you were there too, in my book.

But by all means, continue to Monday morning quarterback it; I’m done with it.
We have the words of one man - one man, we do not know or know how he thought or what this "test" was, where it out performed the Garand; what were the parameters, bench marks? "Out performed" is a big thing to say, perhaps he meant in some situations. There's just no way to qualify it, especially since they were two completely different guns. I preferred the M-14 over the '16. And in all my studies of WWII I never heard of dead G.I.s found next to Garands they were trying to fix.
 

TidalWave

Custom
Hello all, here is today's article posted on TheArmoryLife.com. It is titled Did America Not Need the Garand? and can be found at https://www.thearmorylife.com/did-america-not-need-the-garand/.

This article is very interesting, and I enjoyed it tremendously. I almost always find things I hadn’t known before - even the tidbits are good to see....
But I’m not so sure there’s much argument to be made on a macro level about the superiority of the Garand. One thing to remember is we began the war with an “old guard” Army and Marine Corp. Their opinions held sway (some of you surely know the term “China Marines”?) for a good while after the enormous swell of Pearl Harbor volunteers and the willing draftees shortly after. These newbies however didn’t have the same attachment to the old equipment and quickly adapted to the modern.
A couple of interesting works to read:
“Ghost Soldiers” - a very readable account of the Cabanatuan POW camp raid/rescue by the Army Rangers in the Philippines. It discusses the long-lost Corregidor/Bataan captives perplexity seeing the Ranger appear in plain functional OD green uniforms, carrying Garands , carbines etc that they’d never seen (even though stateside, these were known just prior to the war)...
Another is one of my favs: “Touched with Fire: the Land War in the South Pacific” which tells of the first encounters of Americans & Australians with their early war Japanese counterparts. Discusses the weapons used and their advantages/disadvantages -I especially found interesting the explanation of how the Arisaka came to be adopted - and relative mindsets of the opposing troops. The Garand figures in this book.
It’s very readable, and one can read some sections out of order without losing anything much. Author is Eric Bergerud. Available on Amazon.
 
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