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A tribute to the M1 Garand and the men who carried it in World War II

This is the tale of a weapon, a rifle to be specific,
but not just any rifle...a genuine fragment of history.

M1 Garand, World War II
My M1 Garand

My M1 Garand
M1 Garand, World War II


The M1-Garand

This is the tale of a weapon, a rifle to be specific, but not just any rifle...a genuine fragment of history. I have a fervent infatuation with history which burns deep within my soul, particularly World War II, European Theater history. At this writing I am 32 years old and my generation, and even that of my parents, has unfortunately forgotten what our grandfathers did for us during that grand endeavor. I believe Hitler's Third Reich was the greatest threat to freedom in the history of mankind.

Yes, the former Soviet Union with its nuclear arsenal, and even more corrupt, socialist agenda may seem a more menacing adversary, but they were destined to failure from the start. They never really had a chance at surviving; it was just a matter of them running their course, and the people realizing how wrong they truly were. Nazism was much different. With a few very slight changes in history,we could all be wearing swastikas on our uniforms right now.

If that had been the case, nothing we now have would be the same.

I often think of the men who saved the world during the World War II, and am very grateful for them. The tears, sweat, and blood those brave heroes sacrificed is not something tangible, it is not something we can touch or taste or see, and therefore is easily forgotten by us who did not live through it. However, there are certain perceptible objects and places still left that one can behold if he or she so desires. Walking the beaches of Normandy, one can still imagine the blood washing up on the shores, and can feel the ghosts from D-Day. The words of the great men still ring true in their writings, or when those still with us recite stories of battle. We can visit museums and lay our hands on a Sherman tank that hunted Rommels Panzers across the deserts of North Africa, or one of the B-17 Flying Fortresses that kept the Nazi leaders deep in their underground bunkers in Berlin. When you touch these objects, you acquire a precious tactile connection with those courageous Americans from way back then.

Another of those tangible items I'm speaking of that epitomizes what those valiant fellows did for us is the glorious M1 Garand rifle. After a lifetime of desperately wanting one, I finally procured one for myself. This is the rifle most soldiers carried throughout the European campaign, and it really is something extraordinary for it is one of the primary tools that eradicated the plague of Nazism from the face of the earth. It is chambered for the superb 30.06 cartridge, and is clip-fed from the top.

This rifle is incredible! It was built during a time when they made things to last. This masterpiece was built before my father was born, and will serve my son well in battling future enemies of freedom and democracy if they should so challenge. It's walnut stock beckons you to caress it, and its action is as smooth as if it were made of silk. This isn't just a rifle to lock up in the cabinet and bring out a few times a year to hunt with, this is a genuine treasure that deserves a place on the wall, and a gentle pat of gratitude each night before going to bed.

I fondle this weapon so much I had to give it a girls name!

But all this passion I speak of is simply the technical details of it. I havent even began with the history of it.

I would give a month's salary to know where this rifle has been, and to know the men who carried it into battle. I often sit in the chair and drift back in time, and ponder what this particular weapon could have been through. I dream of how it may have endured the sand and heat at the Kasserine Pass in Tunisia. This rifle may have fought its way up through Sicily and Italy, or maybe across that English Channel and through those French hedgerows in the summer of 1944. It may have frozen in the Ardennes Forest during the Battle of the Bulge, or maybe even witnessed General Patton urinate in Germany's Rhine River as he crossed it, showing the Hunn, (as he called them) what he thought of their natural border.

As I stroke it, I feel the dents in the stock and wonder what caused them. Was it concertina wire somewhere on the Siegfried Line, or was it a tank-trap at Omaha Beach? I wonder if an American GI fell dead over it, or if it spilled Nazi blood.

What I'd give to know its history!

--Sergeant Stacy Foster

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If interested, please contact the webmaster at SgtFoster@DesertVets.org

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M1-Garand Information | WW2 European Theater | Maps of Europe | D-Day | World War II Links
John Cantius Garand | Acquiring the M1 Garand | 30.06 | Your Thoughts on the Garand | 1903 Springfield
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Tribute to my Grandfather | Firearms Links | Friends of the M1-Garand

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