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Уланов

Americans’ adventures in Russia. PART 2. Garand and M1

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Уланов

Americans’ adventures in Russia. Garand and M1

 

«The danger lies within western powers interest in us, after they taim the Russian Tsar and gain control over eastern Europe.”

US ambassador to Russia Seimor in his letter to secretary of State William Marcy.

It is hard for Russians and US citizens to imagine, that these 2 countries saw each other as «natural allies» most of the modern history period. For instance, soon after being re-elected, president Lincoln called up council for “immediate re-armament of Russian army”. Quite a logical step, bearing in mind that the federal government feared that United Kingdom might take part in the war on the rebel states’ side.

Even though the plan developed by this council had never been put into life, the military and technical cooperation between Russia and USA soon took up a large scale. Two rifles, designed by famous civil war hero General H.Berdan, were put in service of the Russian army in the second half of 19th century. Smith and Wesson revolvers had also been supplied to the Russian army and police. The overall number of revolvers ordered form the US was 250 000, that is why the third model became known as the “Russian”.

During First Wordl War, Russia became the largest buyer of the Winchester M1895 rifles. John Browning design, adapted to the Russian round, had proven itself reliable in repulsing enemy attacks – the lever action allowed for higher fire rate, compared to the bolt action. The reliability of the M1895 in trenched war turned out to be quite low – the rifle was very sensitive to dirt and low temperatures. Meanwhile its disassembly was far more complicated than the regular Mosin rifle.

The USSR seemed to have had prepared much more thoroughly for the next war – the Tokarev SVT rifle had been put into service. The drop in production quality during the war, just like replacing the professional army with somewhat prepared rookies had played its negative part in SVT’s career. After a lot of failure reports from the frontline, the SVT had been put out of production, with just its automatic variant still being supplied as ersatz-machinegun.

Nevertheless the Red Army commanders hadn’t stopped dreaming of a semi-automatic rifle. The system of mixed soldiers’ armament – with submachine guns and long rifles, basically made part of the soldiers useless at distances beyond 200 meters. The Mosins were too slow, to do any significant damage to the enemy.

The desired semi-automatic guns could be acquired form the USA in terms of Land Lease contract. They only had to find out how good the guns were first.

Garand rifle was bought to the test facility of the Main artillery department of the Red Army in July 1943. It is curious, that Garand was not only compared to the Soviet SVT-40 (Tokarev), but also with the German G-41(m) (Mauser).

                Accuracy was tested first.

 

No.

Rifle

Sight

Distance in meters

Groupings radius

100% of all shots (см)

50% best shots (см)

1

7.62-мм semiautomatic Garand rifle (USA)

1,1

3,3

6,6

100

300

600

12,2

28,3

67,7

4,9

11,3

28,7

2

7.92-мм semiautomatic rifle G41(m) (German)

1

3

6

100

300

600

8,0

30,0

83,3

4,2

14,7

34,7

3

7.62-мм semiautomatic Tokarev rifle (SVT-40)

1

3

6

100

300

600

13,4

46,3

94,0

3,8

14,7

27,0

Winchester 1942 rounds were used to fire the Garand. Polish ammo of 1930-ies was used with th German Mauser. The SVT data had been taken form the 1941 report.

As it is seen form the table, the American and German rifles had shown better accuracy, than the Russian SVT-40. This had several reasons, according to the report. First of all, the German and the American rifle are heavier than the Russian one by 800 and 600 grams respectively. Second, Garand had dioptrical sights and the line of sight length was the largest among all 3 rifles.

Accuracy and comfort of the rifles was determined through carrying out tasks and exercises from the Basic Firearm Course (BFC) by qualified shooters-testers. Their conclusion was the following:

1. The Garand semiautomatic rifle is comfortable and has good accuracy, as all exercises done had marks “excellent” and “good”, except for “satisfactory” for the second shooter in exercise no2.

2. G-41 semiautomatic rifle is uncomfortable and has low accuracy, as there were five “satisfactory”, one “good” and one “excellent” marks, and one “bad” one (meaning 0 hits).

 

 

The next was determination of practical fire rate at 100-mm target at 100 meters.

 

 

N

Rifle

Shooter 1

Shooter 2

Average rate of fire (shots per minute)

Number of rounds

Time per sec.

Number of rounds

Time per sec.

1

7.62-мм semiautomatic Garand rifle (USA)

16

16

16

30

31

29

24

24

24

42,5

41,0

45,0

32-34

31-35

33-32

2

7.92-мм semiautomatic G41(m) rifle (Germany) 

20

20

20

60

59

63

20

20

20

57

50

55

20-23

20-24

19-22

 

The high rate of fire of Garand was possible, according to shooters, by the comfort of clip loading, the automatic clip ejection after last shot and the speed of acquiring the target with dioptrical sight.

 

 

And, obviously, one of the most important parameters, which Soviet soldiers were interested in, was reliability in different environments.

N

Envorinment

7.92-мм semiautomatic G41(m) rifle (German)

7.62 мм semiautomatic Garand rifle (USA)

7.62-мм semiautomatic Tokarev (SVT-40) rifle

Misfires

Qty.

%

Qty.

%

Qty.

%

1

Normal lube parts

2

4

3

6

2

Thick lube parts

2

4

5

10

3

Dry parts

3

6

4

8

4

Angle elevation 70-80°

1

2

3

6

5

Angle elevation (down) 70-80°

3

6

6

Rifle and ammo heated up to 70°

3

6

8

16

7

Rifle and ammo cooled down to -50°

2

4

1

2

9

18

8

Dusty rifle with dry parts

20

40

3

6

6

12

 

 

Misfires overall

30

7,5

7

1,75

41

9,75

 

 

As it is seen form the table, the Garand beat the SVT and the German rifle in terms of reliability. One test out of eight was crucial for it – fired when covered in dust, when there simply was not enough energy in gas for reloading cycle.

It seemed that there should have been clear conclusions form these tests – here is THE accurate and reliable rifle for the Red Army. But there were a few other important aspects for the Main Artillery Department. They were mentioned in the end of the test report.

 “Disassembly, cleaning and maintenance of Garand rifle is more complicated, than the Tokarev rifle and requires more training.

For instance, cleaning the barrel with the rod form the muzzle is impossible.

In terms of weight, the Garand (4.513kg) and the G41(m) (4.717kg) didn’t meet the modern requirements of the time and are heavier than the SVT-40 by 0.613 and 0.817 kgs respectively.”

The second point could be neglected – at the end of the day, the bad experience of the same SVT-40 proved that chasing weight cut at the cost of reliability is not the most reasonable way. But the educational requirements for the soldiers was much more crucial. For many newbies in the Red Army weapon cleaning came down to shaking the sand off the gun after the enemy’s artillery strike. All sorts of different commissions, that visited the front line constantly, reported equipment and tool loss by the soldiers. Though, slowly the soldiers’ education had improved and was no longer tragial by 1943, as it was in 1941, when “soldier is unable to reload due to rusty bolt” was common.

The second American system tested at the facility at the same time was M1 Carbine. USSR became interested in it back in 1941, when the Main Artillery Department officers read the results of the tests for lower impulse ammo carbines in “Army Ordnance” magazine. But the idea of creating a new round for the army looked, somewhat, in the worng time in 1941. Besides, the carbines created for the TT round (7.62x25) didn’t show any significant advantages over the existing rifles at that time.

 large.81-12040-47-p068.jpg

As it was immediately pointed out, “the 7.62-mm semiautomatic American M1 carbine is a new type of personal, high manuevarable firearm – for instance, its weight is as low as 2.250 kg.”

 

 

This time shooting in different environments was the first test.

 

 

N

Environment

Number of shots

Misfires

Ammo stuck in mag

Qty misfires

% misfires.

1

Normal parts lube

20

2

Angle 90° (down)

20

3

Angle 90° (up)

20

4

Thick lubricant

20

1

1

5

5

Dry parts

20

 

 

Overall in different environments

100

1

1

1,0

The accuracy test was also promising. The M-1was competeng with Degtyarev experimental carbine and the captured M.Kv.42(H) by Henkel, which was referret to back then by the Soviets as Automatic carbine.

Name

100 meters

300 meters

500 meters

Sight

100% of all shots

50% best groups

Sight

 100% of all shots

50% best groups

Sight

 100% of all shots

50% best groups

7.62-мм M-1 semiautomatic American carbine

Min.

8,4

3,6

Min.

23,5

11,7

Max.

4 shots out of 30 below point of aim by  2-2.1 meters

7,62-мм Degtyrev’s carbine

1

21,7

10,7

3

64,7

31,0

5

131,3

45,0

7,9 мм  automatic carbine M.Kv.42(H) by Henkel

1

11,5

5,4

3

30,5

15,2

5

38,3

20,2

 

 

The conclusion was disappointing – direct hit ballistics of M-1 turned out to be almost the same as the on of the PPSh. Flat nose bullet had lost energy really fast during the flight. With this kind of results, all the American’s advantages had become pointless, especially when compared to the captured “German” gun. As a result, the M-1 was “recommended for study” to the Russian designers. It was obviously not ordered within the Land Lease contract. USSR was working on making its own intermediate cartridge and a firearm for it full scale in 1943.

Andey Ulanov.

 

 

 

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