The M1 Carbine
A Brief History*CLICK ON IMAGES TO OPEN LARGER PICTURES*
The M1 carbine produced and issued in larger quantities than any other US small arms in the second World War. Production began in August 1941 through to August 1945, accounting for over 6 million rifles, produced by 10 main contractors.
The origin of the weapon began in June 1940, with the proposal of a light rifle. The German Blitzkrieg tactics had demonstrated how the use of fast moving tanks and armour meant non-combat and support troops could quickly be involved in fighting. It was proposed that this light rifle was needed as a weapon to replace the pistol and to be less restrictive than a standard rifle or sub machine gun. The proposed weapon was to be semi-automatic and would fire a new .30 cal round designed by Winchester, approved in early 1941.
Winchester put forward a design for the new light rifle which beat competition from four other manufactures including designs by Colt and John Garand. The Winchester design was selected at the end of September 1941 and officially adopted as the US carbine, Calibre .30 M1.
Wartime Production Figures for each are provided below.
|Prime Contractor||Production Figure|
|Inland Division, General Motors||2,632,097|
|Saginaw Steering Gear, General Motors||517,212|
|National Postal Meter||413,017|
Approximately 140,00 of these weapons were the M1A1 carbine. This was the more compact version of the gun with a folding stock specifically designed for paratroops.
Interestingly captured M1 carbine popular with the Germans and it was known officially at the Selbsladekarabiner 455(a). The following pictures are from a well know sequence shot near Poteau in the Ardennes, captured by the US 3rd Armored Division, showing German Fallschirmjägers and SS Leibstandarte with captured M1 carbines.
The M1 carbine continued to see active service by US forces in the Korean war (1950-53) and later in the Vietnam war. It was also exported for use by US allies such as South Korea.
Calibre: .30 cal
Length of weapon: 35.5" / 905mm
Length of Barrel: 18"
Muzzle velocity: 1990fps / 967 ft-lbs
Rate of fire: M2 full auto 650rpm
Max Range: 300 yrds
Weight: 5.5 lbs
Magazine Capacity: 15 or 30 round box magazine
Operation: M1 / M1A1 semi automatic, M2 / M3 selective
Assigned Manufacturer Serial Numbers
Inland Division, General Motors
The following books are highly recommended reading on the M1 carbine:-
Bruce N. Canfield-Complete Guide to the M1 Garand and the M1 carbine- ISBN 0-917218-83-3
Larry L Ruth - War Baby! The U.S. Caliber .30 Carbine, Vol. 1- ISBN-10: 0889351171
Larry L. Ruth - War Baby! The U.S. Caliber .30 Carbine, Vol. 2- ISBN-10: 0889351236
Craig Riesch - U.S. M1 Carbines, Wartime Production - ISBN- 10: 1882391438