Why WWII M1’s have mismatched parts

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Why WWII M1’s have mismatched parts

Post  blackhorse26 on Sun May 09 2010, 14:50

No wonder many of WWII M1’s have mismatched parts

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"Brave Men"
No wonder many of WWII M1’s have mismatched parts. Read the following account of a weapons cleaning session by noted war correspondent Ernie Pyle. This graphically depicts the lack of sanctity of original parts replacement on battlefield pick ups.

Ernie Pyle was THE war correspondent of World War II. He was a foxhole correspondent and told the story of the soldiers and sailors he lived with to their families back home. Pyle was killed-in-action by Japanese small arms fire in the Pacific in 1945. This article is about an Ordnance Repair Company at Normandy. Pyle's story shows us how many of our M1's earned their parts mix and their ‘character'. Division histories of D-Day Infantry Divisions - the 1st, 4th and 29th, show casualties of 205%, 252% and 204% of authorized strength during the course of the European campaigns - quite a turnover in men as well as weapons. Lest we forget!

"Every infantry or armored division has an ordnance company with it all the time. This company does quick repair jobs. What it hasn't time or facilities for doing, it hands back to the next echelon in the rear. Daily to the small-arms section of the company there came trucks with the picked-up, rusting rifles of men killed or wounded, and rifles broken in ordinary service. The outfit turned back around a hundred rifles a day to its division, all shiny and oiled and ready to shoot again. They operated on the simple salvage system of taking good parts off one gun and placing them on another. To do this they worked like a small assembly plant. The first few hours of the morning were devoted to taking broken rifles apart. They didn't try to keep the parts of each gun together. All parts were standard and transferable; hence they threw each type into a big steel pan full of similar parts. At the end of the job they had a dozen or so pans, each filled with the same kind of part. Then the whole gang shifted over and scrubbed the parts. They scrubbed in gasoline, using sandpaper for guns in bad condition after lying out in the rain and mud. When everything was clean, they took the good parts and started putting them together and making guns out of them again. After all the pans were empty, they had a stack of rifle - good rifles, ready to be taken to the front. Of the parts left over, some were thrown away, quite beyond repair. But others were repairable and went into the section's shop truck for working on with lathes and welding torches. Thus the division got a hundred reclaimed rifles a day, in addition to the brand- new ones issued to it.
And, believe me, during the first few days of our invasion men at the front needed those rifles desperately. Repairmen told me how our paratroopers and infantrymen would straggle back, dirty and hazy-eyed with fatigue, and plead like children for a new rifle immediately so they could get back to the front. One paratrooper brought in a German horse he had captured and offered to trade it for a new rifle, he needed it so badly. During those days the men in our little repair shop worked all hours trying to fill the need.

I sat around on the grass and chatted with the rifle repairmen most of one forenoon. They weren't working so frenziedly then, for the urgency was not so dire, but kept steadily at it as we talked. The head of the section was Sergeant Edward Welch of Watts, Oklahoma. He used to work in the oil fields. Shortly after the invasion, he had invented a gadget that cleaned rust out of a rifle barrel in a few seconds whereas it used to take a man about twenty minutes. Sergeant Welch did it merely by rigging up a swivel shaft on the end of an electric drill and attaching a cylindrical wire brush to the end. He just stuck the brush into the gun barrel and pressed the button on the drill; away she would whirl and in a few seconds all the rust was ground out. The idea was turned over to other ordnance companies.

A stack of muddy, rusted rifles is a touching sight. As gun after gun came off the stack, I looked to see what was the matter with it - rifle butt split by fragments; barrel dented by bullet; trigger knocked off; whole barrel splattered with shrapnel marks; guns gray from the slime of weeks in swamp mud; faint dark splotches of blood still showing. I wondered what had become of each owner. I pretty well knew.

Infantrymen, like soldiers everywhere, like to put names on their equipment. Just as a truck driver paints a name on his truck, so does a doughboy carve his name or initials in his rifle butt. I saw crude whittlings of initials in the hard walnut stocks and unbelievably craftsman like carvings of soldier's names, and many and many names of girls. The boys said the most heartbreaking rifle they'd found was one belonging to a soldier who had carved a hole about silver-dollar size and put his wife or girl's picture in it, and sealed it over with a crystal of Plexiglas. They didn't know who he was or what had happened to him. They only knew the rifle was repaired and somebody else was carrying it, picture and all."


Ernie Pyle


Your Freedoms Were Paid For By The Blood Of America’s Vets! For Those Who Fought For It, Freedom Has A Flavor The Protected Will Never Know!
If hooking up an terrorist prisoner's nuts to battery cables will save just one American life, then there are 3 things to remember,'Red is positive, Black is negative, and Make sure his nuts are wet.
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blackhorse26

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