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GUNS Magazine April 2013 Digital Edition - Page 48
The The US US Armed Armed ForceS ForceS Fielded Fielded wiTh mAny ArmS wiTh The The SAme SAme mAny ArmS nAmeS nAmeS dUring dUring wwii. wwii. y the time the majority of American ground troops entered battle in World War II, most of their personal arms were designated M1 or M1A1. Ever wonder why some American weapons in that war were named after years such as M1911A1 for .45 ACP pistols or M1903 for bolt-action .30-06 rifles? Then others were simply named M1 or M1A1? B Mike “Duke” venturino pHotos: Yvonne venturino Duke’s three WWII M1s include (from top) an M1 .30 Carbine by Winchester, M1 .45 Thompson submachine gun by Savage and an M1 Garand rifle by Winchester. The M1 Thompson submachine gun (top) which cost the US Government about $44 was a simplified version of the Model 1928A1 Thompson (bottom) which cost over $200. The M1928A1 was replaced by the M1 and then M1A1 version. It’s because in the 1930s the US War Department decided that thereafter equipment would have model numbers instead of being called by the year the item was adopted. So the primary infantry rifle became M1, the only carbine fielded by American forces in WWII also became M1 with a specialized M1A1 version following. The same M1 and M1A1 terms were put on Thompson submachine guns. Incidentally the literal translations of those labels are “Model One” and “Model One, Alteration One.” A logical thinker familiar with America’s WWII weapons has to wonder about some of this. For instance: when the government gave Remington Arms Company permission to remodel the Model 1903 “Springfield” into the Model 1903A3 the two rifles then had only 26 parts interchangeable. Yet when the Thompson submachine gun was remodeled in 1942 it went from 1928A1 to M1. Also, there were several changes incorporated in the M1 Garand rifle during its 20 years of service, such as a different mode of operation for its rear sight and, at the Springfield Armory during the war, a switch was made from all machined parts to some stamped ones. However, instead of getting A1 added to its name it stayed always the M1. The real meat of the matter is that M1s and M1A1s in regards to rifles, carbines, and submachine guns were made to the tune of millions. They served worldwide not only in American hands but also with most of our allies. There could probably be an argument about which M1 is most well known: the rifle or carbine. There certainly would not be about which M1 was the least known. That would be the M1 Thompson submachine gun. Whereas the difference between an M1 Carbine and an M1A1 Carbine is immediately visible, someone has 48 W W W. G U N S M AG A Z I N E . C O M • A P R I L 2 0 1 3