m1 combat use


January 16, 2013, 09:12 PM
This might be a one and done but here goes: If you actually used an M1 Garand in combat, myself, and many others would be interested in reading your account of using the rifle. I am interested in how the rifle performed for you, at what ranges it could be employed and what role did you feel the rifle was ideal for? Many others here would love to read this information as well. Thanks for your time.

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January 16, 2013, 11:10 PM
If you would like a good book about the M1 in combat, I found this was a pretty good read.

It also has stories about other types of weapons carried by the infantry in WWII and Korea.


Flatbush Harry
January 17, 2013, 12:06 AM
My father carried a Garand in the South Pacific in WWII. When he was promoted to sergeant (E5), he opted for an M1 Carbine. He told me that he was happy to lug a lighter weapon and trusted his squad to do the heavy shooting. My uncle, an infantry company commander and later a battalion XO in the ETO in WWII, went from a Thompson submachine gun that he took ashore on Utah Beach to an M1 Garand after the invasion. He told me he preferred a weapon that could shoot to 300-400 yards as necessary. He said his 1911 .45ACP was a good second weapon but that two .45ACP weapons were not as useful.

They're both gone now, but I'll be forever grateful for their service and sacrifices.


January 17, 2013, 05:53 AM
My great uncle, a Marine Parachutist in the Pacific, carried a Springfield then then Garand. My other great uncle was Navy so no Garand for him. Another great uncle carried an M1 literally from North Africa, Italy, through to Europe to the end of the war (was a regular army guy, coast artillery before the war, started a private left the army a sergeant). He died before I could talk with him about guns as I was only 4 years old and he but 60. My grandfather was a combat engineer who carried a Garand then an M1 Carbine.

It's a shame that most passed away before I could talk to them about what they carried. The marine became a pastor, the navy man a bread delivery truck driver, the sergeant and my grandfather became farmers. When I was around them, I only felt awe and was content to listen to what they said. In any case, given they never complained about the Garand, they must have liked it.

January 17, 2013, 06:32 AM
For a time my father carried an M1 Carbine in the Pacific, but after he and a buddy shot a Jap 11 times with their carbines in a "secure" area and had the guy run off along the jungle path, he decided to upgrade. (They followed a blood trail and found the enemy solder slumped against a tree - when searching him for documents they counted 11 hits - none of which stopped him immediately.)

The upgrade rifle was an M1 Garand - he said it hit with a lot more authority than the carbine, and he didn't recall having to hit a Jap solidly more than once to down him. And he soon moved to a Thompson SMG - heavy but effective.

Informal ballistic testing (shooting at coconuts) showed that the carbine would penetrate, with a small holes where it went in and out, but wouldn't knock the coconut off the tree. A .45 would knock the coconut off the tree, and the M1 Garand would burst it open.

January 17, 2013, 08:09 AM
My dad was not a front infantryman, but slightly behind with an 81mm mortar crew in the Phillipines. He was trained on a P17 Enfield in basic, given an M1 carbine along with his 40lb mortar baseplate (or rounds of 81mm ammo, depending on the day), but did not have faith in the carbine, so quickly acquired an M1 Garand (from a soldier that was not needing it anymore) and carried it for about 2 1/2 years in the jungles. He only used it once with direct results, at fairly close range, on a Japanese soldier who was pretending to be dead, in a row of dead Japanese along a road. My dad was almost taken by surprise, but the 8 rounds of the Garand allowed him to shoot from the hip, walking the rounds on to the guy at about 15-20 yards. I'm sure he fired it at the enemy many times in other circumstances, but this close range time was the only time he was "face to face". They DID see the carnage that their 81mm mortars delivered as they advanced, so the number of "kills" was never a topic.

January 17, 2013, 08:22 AM
My dad dragged several guns throughout the South Pacific with the First Marine Division, including the M1 Garand. He trained in Paris Island SC with an 03A3. Unfortunately those like him of the Greatest Generation are dying off at a rate of about 2,000 per day or more. He hated the Reising Sub Machine Gun (M50 Version) but found the M1 Garand and the M1 Carbine good enough for the job.

Far as I know for US Troops you need to find a living WWII, Korean War or a very early Vietnam War veteran that actually carried one in combat. I trained in the Marine Corps with the M14 during '69 and when I got to Vietnam in '72 it was all M16. This is a good read on where the rifle saw service and who used it. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M1_Garand)


January 17, 2013, 11:26 AM
My Dad qualified as Marksman with the M1 Garand. He carried it throughout the ETO until he was wounded and taken prisoner by the Germans. He thought it was a good rifle but told me that during basic training he would make a deal with one of the cooks to borrow their M1 Carbine for those little 20 mile hikes they would go on every so often out in the Texas countryside.

January 17, 2013, 02:00 PM
My dad was a gunner in a machine gun crew in the S Pacific. He said he was also issued a 1911, but he traded somebody for a Garand. Said if he needed a 2nd weapon, he wanted to be effective with it. He qualified as marksman with the Garand, but never could do much good with the .45. So he wound up carrying the Garand slung over his back in addition to the 1919 .30 cal. Said he was glad he had ammo bearers with him.
Like most of the greatest generation, he's gone now. I think it's for the best that they're all passing on--they don't have to witness the destruction of the country and way of life they fought for.

January 17, 2013, 05:40 PM
One of my late uncles was a marine in the Pacific in the latter stages of WWII. He qualified in boot camp with a Springfield and then got an M-1 in the Pacific. About 2 years before he passed away in 2010 I brought over the DCM Garand I acquired in the mid-nineties. He said that he and most of the other guys, being fully trained on a Springfield, were a little suspicious of the M-1 at first, cause at the time it was still kind of "new-fangled". But once they got familiar with it that all changed. He told me of his high regard for its accuracy and reliability. It was the first time since 1945 that he had held an M-1 and you could plainly see that he had great respect for it. So it was fitting that the local VFW post that he was one of the original members of; gave him a rifle salute at his funeral with M-1's.

Vern Humphrey
January 17, 2013, 05:49 PM
I was among the last US troops to train on the M1, at Fort Polk, LA, in 1962 -- the cycle after me got the M14. I was an adviser to Viet Namese (ARVN) infantry on my first tour in Viet Nam. My issue weapon was the M2 carbine, which got wrapped around a tree. I "borrowed" an M1 rifle from the battalion I was advising and carried it from then on.

A typical firefight would be at ranges from a few yards to perhaps a hundred yards. The M1, especially with armor-piercing ammo (which is what was issued) was very effective. You rarely see a target in combat, but by methodicaly shooting a patten where the enemy is probably located, the M1 was quite effective. On one occasion, I engaged a RPD machine gun across a rice paddy -- probably 400 yards -- and we later found the gun position and an impressive pool of blood.

On my second tour, I was a company commander. I got my battalion commander to get me two M14 sniper rifles (pre-M21) and carried one myself. In the coastal area just south of the DMZ, long shots were occasionally possible, and the M14 was effective beyond 500 yards with match ammo. My last shot with the M14 was at less than 10 yards -- over the top of the scope.

January 17, 2013, 06:13 PM
my uncle was in the 11 airborne and was in the phillipines, he carried a m1 carbine in the invasion,but picked up a m-1 garand in the battle for manila and he thought it saved his life several times.most of his fighting was thru the streets of manila and the extra power of the 3006 was a welcome addition.i once ask him if the ping of the enblock being ejected was a problem and his reply was the noise of battle blotted out just about all other sounds. and i found that to be true in vietnam myself. eastbank.

January 17, 2013, 07:19 PM
Well Vern is it so far as to who used one in combat.

I wasn't going to respond as it would be second hand reporting as far as combat use of the M-1 went.

I did train with the M-1 in highschool in the late 60's and found it to be a nice handling rifle. I also trained with the M-14 and of course had a nutered one in my room at The Citadel for that one semester that was enough for me. On Enlisting I was issued an XM-16E1 in basic, but had a near new M-16A1 when I got to my Infantry posting. I liked the M-1 better than the M-16A1.

While in high school a couple of my instructors were big M-1 fans one having fought from North Africa to somewhere east of the Rhine for his last Purple Heart. The other used an M-1 in the pacific in WWII and in FOrea a few years later. They both thought it a great rifle. Neither BTW had any particular problem with the M-1 Carbine. Though the second started one battle with a Carbine and ended it with a K98 type Mauser, as this was in Korea I had my doubts until I found he certainly knew the difference between a Mosin Nagant and a Mauser. I later heard that some Chinese "voulunteers" were issued left over Chang Ki Sheik Mausers. He seemed to feel that the best combat rifle was one that allowed one to shoot the enemy or use a bayonet. He said the M-1 was a great Bayonet holder and as the other had a DSC for an event where he had used an M-1 as a bayonet holder he felt it adiquate for that as well.

My Dad was in Korea after the shooting officially stopped and in a Rear Ech....well he was in Ordinance Vehicle maintenence. He felt the M-1 was to heavy and bulky and wrangled a Carbine and then because it was cool a Grease gun... his alert gun was his sections Ma Duece..... but never used any in anger.


January 17, 2013, 09:49 PM
Following the lead.

My dad was trained on/with the 1903 Springfield at Ft. Chaffie, Ark. As soon as he got to the Pacific he was issued a M1 Garand.
The first day out on patrol one man was selected to be 'Point Man' and was issued a Thompson. The next day a new 'Point Man' was needed, lost the first man. Yep, my dad was issued a Thompson. He carried that Thompson till he shipped out from Japan.
He passed on in 1997.
At my uncle's funeral, he served in Washington State, he didn't know what they were doing at Hanford. A man that I have always called 'Uncle Ralph' came in and set down next to me. He looked over at me and said something like, he just doesn't remember very much since he got out of prison. And he doesn't. This is so heart breaking. He was a POW in Germany and his Alzheimers is that bad.

These men were 'The Great Generation' and none of them ever talked about 'it' and I would never ask. It was just not done.

January 17, 2013, 09:55 PM
not an M1, but an M14 (big brother) while most of my fellow squad members had the puny M16. the 5.56 is a joke compared to the .308 (7.62) just as the 30 cal M1 didnt compare to the BAR or combat rifles in 30-06, just cant compare.

January 18, 2013, 08:55 AM
My long-deceased Dad used the M1 in the Pacific Theatre during WWII (Army Infantry). Took out a Japanese sniper at 300 Yds that was plinking at his unit with one of the type 99 (??) Arisaka bolt rifles.

He did say it was sometimes a bit 'unhandy' in the very dense jungle, but much prefered it to the M1 Cabine or Thompson

January 18, 2013, 12:03 PM
No experience with the M1 in combat, but a good source for lessons from those who did, is the Garand Collector's Association (GCA) magazine. You have to join GCA to get it but it is a great read with lots of technical stuff but also articles from former M1 users, both combat vets and folks that trained on the M1. Google GCA if interested, I think they have some of the material available on-line.

January 18, 2013, 03:27 PM
Even the youngest WWll vets will be over 80, Korean War vets 70 at least, Vietnam vets over 60. Of course Garands were in use into the 60s, but not much in Combat after Korea. If you want first hand stories you'd better hurry. I have a surviving brother that was in Korea after the war. Vets seem to be dying off from all three wars in the last few years at a rapid rate.

January 18, 2013, 04:02 PM
My uncle was a staff sargent in the Army in Europe in WWII. I asked him if he carried an M1 Carbine because my dad, who served in the Navy during WWII, owned an M1 Carbine at the time (roughly 1970).

He said, and I quote... "I never wanted to get that close to the Germans!"

He and his mortarmen were making a river crossing in a wooden pontoon boat when the boat was hit with MG fire that basically cut the boat in half horizontally. Lost everything including the Mortar, the ammo, his Garand, and his helmet...and I presume a couple of men too. He was detailed to carry a number of wounded men back from the rivers edge. When that was done he said "there were a bunch of dead guys by then so I just picked up another rifle and another helmet and crossed the river".

He carried a Garand the whole time. He was 19 and 20 at the time. He'll be 88 in March. Says he thinks about the war every single day.

Vern Humphrey
January 18, 2013, 04:03 PM
I later heard that some Chinese "voulunteers" were issued left over Chang Ki Sheik Mausers.
A lot of weapons issued to Chang Ki Shek wound up in strage places. I killed an NVA officer and took from him a Browning Hi-Power, made by Inglis of Canada. A friend took an M1917 Enfield from a Viet Cong.

January 18, 2013, 05:25 PM
Did the WW2 Army guys have to qualify at 300 or 600 yards? I seem to remember my grandpa telling me 600, but that has been a long time.

Vern Humphrey
January 18, 2013, 05:51 PM
The qualification course was:

Ten shots, 200 yards, off-hand, slow fire

Ten shots, 300 yards, standing to sitting, rapid fire

Ten shots, 300 yards, standing to prone, rapid fire

Twenty shots, 600 yards, prone, slow fire

January 18, 2013, 06:04 PM
Twenty shots, 600 yards, prone, slow fire

I believe the NRA is the group who moved the slow fire prone to 600 yards. Based on discussions with old timers and actual examination of post WW2 KD ranges, slow fire prone was at 500 yards.

Vern Humphrey
January 18, 2013, 06:07 PM
By the 1960s, all our KD ranges were 600 yards. The Army did, for a while, reduce the off-hand range to 100 yards.

January 18, 2013, 06:07 PM
Yeah just curious because the last rifle he qual'ed on was an M14 in the early 60's and he qual'ed sharpshooter before he retired. I remember he told me in basic during WW2 he shot a Springfield bolt 30-06. He carried a Garand when he was in infantry from France all across Europe and a 1911 when he was a medic.

He didn't talk a lot about what went on over there to me but maybe a couple times. Bad stuff.

He liked the Garand and M14 quite a bit, but not the M16. He said the Garand would work with mud and sand in it. He referred to the M16 as a piece of junk.

I don't believe he ever fired a centerfire rifle until he went into the military in WW2. He just shot 22 rifle for small game to provide food during the Depression.

January 18, 2013, 06:12 PM
I am 59 and a Viet Nam vet, though actually served in Laos. we had old 1911s issued, they were from both world wars, rattled and were slightly more accurate but still more lethal than chunking a rock. our radio operators, most officers, senior officers and couriers of secret documents carried them. cant remember what make I carried, too many years, beers and who knows what we smoked over there :).

Loc n Load
January 19, 2013, 10:04 AM
My dad, and five of my Uncles were all WWII combat vet's, all had a lot of experience with the Garand, in the Pacific and the European theaters. They had nothing but good things to say about it. I shot one competitively in service rifle/hi power matches for ten years. I have seen skilled riflemen shoot " leg matches" at 1000 yds with M1's, iron sights. The 30-06 is a classic round, and it performs extremely well on "soft targets". The Garand is one of the most effective rifles ever produced IMHO. I have a lot of trigger time on the M-14/M1A also, and they are IMO "upgraded" Garands.

Vern Humphrey
January 19, 2013, 12:40 PM
The M14 has been called the "Perfected Garand" with justification.

The Garand's flaw, if it can be said to have one, was the en bloc clip, which was essentially foisted off on Garand by John Pedersen -- all Garand's early designs had box magazines.

The flaw in the en bloc clip was its complexity. Strip a Garand and look at all the parts necessary to receive the clip, lock it in, eject it on the last round, or allow the shooter to eject a partially empty clip. Gunsmiths who know the Garand talk about "timing" -- which is getting all those complex parts to work together properly.

The effect of this complexity was that only Winchester and Springfield were able to manufacture Garands that actually worked -- other companies tried it, but most of their production had to be reworked at Springfield. It wasn't until the Korean War that other companies were able to manufacture quality Garands.

January 19, 2013, 01:06 PM
I tend to agree with Vern. I qualified with and used both the M-14 and M-16 rifle and owed a Garand. The Garand is in a class by itself the king of battle rifles. But for general use I like the M-14 better. It is shorter, lighter has faster and safer reloading, and could shoot full auto. It made a better hunting rifle do to less weight. There is no doubt the 30-06 was the most powerful accurate rugged and a great combat weapon. But M-14 was just right. And incredibly accurate. I can tell you they could hit the 600 meter targets if you could.
The M-16 is good in it's own right but the Garand is a grand rifle mans rifle. While I agree the M-14 is improved. No rifle will replace the Garand in stature.
Maybe it would be different if the M-14 was the main rifle in a major war and we could get the actual rifles. But that did not happen.

January 19, 2013, 01:55 PM
My father loved the BAR for its accuracy as he could fire off one round at a time with his light finger touch on slow fire plus the 20 round box magazine.
Started fires with tracers with the M1 at 500 yards and loved armor piercing rounds while with the Armys 27 divison at Okinowa. Picked up a discarded model 55 Reising without the wire stock from the Marines. He would use that with a mashed in Thompson magazine & just the one round in the chamber (fires from closed bolt) for guarding prisoners. He said it looked cool and no one in the army had ever seen one.
At wars end he went to the 11th airborne and prefered the carbine over the M1 because of the weight factor. He weighed 127 pounds and to insure that he would drop faster they made him the 60 MM base plate man.

January 19, 2013, 08:19 PM
Iíve never had an appreciation for the M1 rifle.

At ITR (Infantry Training Regiment) we used the M1 for all courses of fire. Viet-Nam the ARVN and PF (Popular Forces) were issued M1 rifles along with other United States small arms of the period. At GITMO I instructed naval personnel that comprised part of the defense battalion basic marksmanship with the M1 converted to 7.62mm NATO.

I always thought the M1 carbine would have been the better selection for small stature users such as the Vietnamese and naval personnel that werenít al that enthusiastic about small arms and marksmanship.

Personal basis the M14 which people refer to as the product improved M1 was the better of the two. The M1 has its place in history thou not a place in my heart.

January 19, 2013, 08:47 PM
My uncle carried a M1 in Europe. He didn't talk about it much, except he once said it was reliable even during the brutal winter conditions of the Battle of the Bulge.

Many years after this talk with my uncle, I wound up with a Garand (in 7.62) for a couple of weeks for basic marksmanship when I was in the Navy. The rest of the time we carried inert Springfields, which worked just fine as a 9 lb exercise device...

I have a M1 now, somewhat for nostalgic reasons.

It is still a heavy beast. :)

January 19, 2013, 08:49 PM
My grandfather was issued the 03A3 during his first engagements in Italy but later was issued the Garand.
He liked the ability of a quick second shot but he didn't like that you couldn't top off the magazine before continuing down a street otherwise he couldn't find any other faults.

Vern Humphrey
January 20, 2013, 03:11 PM
I always thought the M1 carbine would have been the better selection for small stature users such as the Vietnamese and naval personnel that weren’t al that enthusiastic about small arms and marksmanship.
My experience with the carbine left a bad taste in my mouth. And the ARVN Infantry I advised, regardless of their short stature definitely preferred the Garand.

January 20, 2013, 03:35 PM
but he didn't like that you couldn't top off the magazine before continuing down a streetI continue to see that repeated over & over again.

But it simply isn't the case.

You could easily eject a partial clip and reload a full clip.
Then reload the partial clip at your leisure.

Or, you could easily top off the partial clip in the rifle, if you were carrying any loose ammo.



Vern Humphrey
January 20, 2013, 03:38 PM
Hmmmm, try that when seconds count, your knees are knocking, your teeth chattering, and your heart is beating more than a hundred times a minute.

January 20, 2013, 04:55 PM
Vern Humphery:My experience with the carbine left a bad taste in my mouth. And the ARVN Infantry I advised, regardless of their short stature definitely preferred the Garand.

Different time, place, and ARVN unit would account for difference of opinion in regards to the M1 and M1 carbine.

Vern Humphrey
January 20, 2013, 05:07 PM
Different time, place, and ARVN unit would account for difference of opinion in regards to the M1 and M1 carbine.
Very likely. But having had one bad experience, I considered the fact that I might not survive a second such experience, got rid of the M2 and carried a Garand from then on.

January 20, 2013, 05:17 PM
My grandfather was in the Navy and I don't know what weapons he had other than a knife. He never talked about it and I can't recall ever asking, but my grandmother says he had only a knife in Okinawa, Japan while performing search and rescue missions as they couldn't use firearms because the passing enemy patrols would then be able to locate them.

FWIW he was fond of shotguns, so I suspect he may have used them at some point during the war as he was frequently in close quarters combat situations, but I don't know.

I know that doesn't answer the OP's question in any way, but I figured it's worth sharing.

January 20, 2013, 08:54 PM
I dragged the venerable old M1 all over........a parade field.

But i thought it pretty cool that the bugger probably had quite a history...even with a de-milled barrel.

January 21, 2013, 08:37 AM
I see several stories here where the vets never or rarely talked about their war experience. My father was one of those. I have a few pictures and letters he sent home from training, and later from Japan during the occupation after the war, but the letters are all just general small talk to his younger siblings and parents. Only once or twice in my lifetime did he ever mention anything that went on in the Phillipine invasion and everyone just knew deep down that it was something that was NEVER asked about. I know his sisters said he was never the same after he came back and he had "nervous" problems the rest of his life.
I had a couple uncles about the same way, and a couple more uncles that talked about the war all the time. Come to find out, the ones that talked about it a lot were not in the thick of the combat on the front lines. They were support in the rear areas-which is equally important, don't get me wrong. Just that they didn't see the bad stuff the front line troops saw.

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