M1: Garand or Carbine?


January 10, 2012, 09:42 AM
I am trying to figure out which "M1" my grandpa was probably issued in WWII.

Here is the background story FWIW.

My grandpa served in the 7th aaf in the pacific in an engineer aviation unit (I can't recall the exact batt # at the moment but I want to say the 821st???) He was promoted up to a T4 eventually by the time his service was over and got to spend the last few months as a cook. He said "Because they found out I knew how to make a rue."

He never really talked much about the war (despite my constant asking him since I could talk.) A few years before he died, I was visiting them (I was in my early 20's) and just watching TV or something in another room, when he walked in with a few old papers, journals, piece of scrap paper with dates and Arrive and Depart locations on it by hand. "Yeah." I said. "Read this then."He said to me.

I discovered he's unit were in alot of the nasty places in the pacific. They went in, cleared enemy, cleared jungle, made trails/roads/runways/etc. Once I was done reading all the stuff, I gave it back to him. He then told me more "details" about alot of the various places. Some lighthearted like paying villagers to wash their uniforms (which sometimes they would steal or get moved on before they got them all back) BUT most not as amusing.

Anyway, I asked him if he still had his uniform, hat, pistol etc. He said, "No. Just the patches and pins." (Which I now have put away.) He told me that "Only officers were given handguns and I had to lug enough stuff as it was."

Lastly, I asked him what rifle gun was he issued? He said "An M1."
It never occurred to me to ask at the time, WHICH one?
The Garand or The Carbine?
(And I can't find any pictures of him personally holding either one.)

My guess would be the Garand because it was the most common BUT since it
was the Pacific, I wonder if it was the carbine.....

Anyway if you had to take an educated guess, which one do you think it have been?

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January 10, 2012, 09:48 AM
My guess, M1 Carbine..........

January 10, 2012, 10:05 AM
An M1 Rifle is my guess.

January 10, 2012, 10:07 AM
I think that if he had a Carbine he would have said so. When a soldier says "M1" I think we can assume it was the Garand. My first guess would also be the Carbine since he was some sort of engineer but again, he complained about having to carry it and that suggests the Garand.

January 10, 2012, 10:16 AM
^^^ That's what I was thinking ^^^

January 10, 2012, 10:19 AM
Two response. Two answers.

I am starting to lean toward the carbine because of the time frame and everything.

It was the 821st Eng Avn Bat. and I know he was stationed in Manilla, Leyte, Marshall islands and GuadaCanal. It seems that his battalion was considered a "support" unit, even though they were there to build the stuff before the others they supported arrived.

My father (who has now passed) wasn't sure either. I plan to call my aunt (his oldest child) later today but HIGHLY DOUBT she will now. So, it's seemingly a crap shoot right now.

January 10, 2012, 10:22 AM
He complained about having to carry stuff period because it was always hot.

Vern Humphrey
January 10, 2012, 11:36 AM
Garands were in short supply for much of the war, so that rear echelon troops were issued M1903A3s and carbines. Aviation units would have been low on the list to receive Garands.

January 10, 2012, 11:38 AM
Depends on his specific MOS.

One of our Club’s officer’s is a WWII veteran. He was second wave at Iwo and Okinawa. Still has nightmares he told me. His job was to relay communications from the command ship to the ground commander. His branch of service was Navy. He told me because of his MOS he carried a carbine. He claims the M1 Carbine was so inaccurate you could not hit a Japanese at 200 yards with the thing, and he tried. So I asked him why he did not chunk it and take a Garand. He he carried a carbine because of his MOS.

He served with and next to Marines who were armed with Garands so it was not like he could not pick one up.

January 10, 2012, 01:44 PM
My step-father was a T-5 in the South Pacific. Probably served in the same places? Pop carried a standard M1 Garand. Don't know what the cook carried, but it was likely the same?

You can Google "combat engineering battalion south pacific" and get a bunch of units that served. One of those stories will mention your grandpa's unit number in reference. Once you have that fixed in your memory, it's a lot easier to search on the unit histories, etc.

Tim the student
January 10, 2012, 04:02 PM
Because of his job, I'd guess carbine.

But... my granddad was a mortarman in the Pacific, and he carried a carbine. He referred to it as a carbine, not as an M1. FWIW, he also said it would do its job at the distances he was shooting at.

January 10, 2012, 04:13 PM
If he just said, "M1" I would tend to think he had a Garand.

That's the only clue though. He could have been issued either one. I do think soldiers tended to call the M1 Carbine "a carbine" from the reading I've done.

No way to know 100% though.

January 10, 2012, 04:35 PM
I would think since he was an engineer (?) type it would have been the carbine. BUT usually when they refer to it as simply "M1" then that would lead me to believe the Garand. Usually when you ask a vet about the war and they don't talk, they were probably involved in the more intense fighting. Those that weren't in the thickest fighting generally tend to talk about it more.
My dad rarely spoke of it at all, though he did loosen up a little not long before he died. He was in the Phillipine invasion and some other action here and there, then they went to Japan once the war was over as part of the occupation(?) I know he was the gunner in an infantry machine gun crew. I don't know if I'm using the right terms here-bear with me. He carried a 30 cal Browning MG and he had 1 or 2 ammo bearers with him. He said the Japanese would not surrender, they'd attack them with anything they could get their hands on and forced them to kill them. He said there was no way to estimate how many he killed during the main battle-just kept firing until there were no more enemy coming at them. He did not say much more and you could tell he was agitated a little just telling that much. We will have truly lost a national treasure when this generation has passed.

Tim the student
January 10, 2012, 04:44 PM
^^ My granddad was part of the occupation of Japan as well. His unit didn't get sent directly over though, he re-upped and went over to the best of my knowledge.

January 10, 2012, 06:31 PM
I would guess that being in an aviation engineering unit it would almost certainly be a carbine but i'm far from being a WWII expert.

My step-grandpa was infantry in Europe but is actually a very small man so although he was issued a carbine he was able to trade it away for a carbine. I've been meaning to take mine over for him to see.

January 10, 2012, 06:40 PM
Most GI's from WWII knew the difference between the M1 (Garand), and the carbine. They REFERRED to the Garand as the "M1". They NEVER referred to the Carbine as "the M1" all by its lonesome, it was always carbine or "M1 Carbine". My dad was issued the carbine, but quickly armed himself with the M1 (Garand), as it was a more respected weapon for putting down the enemy....even early on, the carbine got a reputation for being too low powered for a lot of the jungle applications, and maybe a bit less reliable. Lots of GI's, even though they carried heavy loads (my dad carried an 81mm base plate....40 extra pounds of gear), he still felt the Garand was worth the extra weight.

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