WWII GI Weapons vers 1

This is a pictorial of US WWII GI weapons and attire.  Data and photos were taken from 2nd Armored Re-enactors website (and probably another re-enactors site) a few years back. 




The M1 Garand Rifle

The M1.30 cal rifle or Garand was the primary weapon of the infantryman. (Note: The "Garand" rifle was always referred to as the "M1".) It is a semi-automatic air-cooled gas operated clip fed weapon. It is loaded with 8 rounds held together in an en bloc clip.


[The US Army units had priority on M1 rifles during the early war period.  The M1 Grenade Launcher attachment (M7) wasn’t issued until Sept. 1944.  The sniper version of the M1 is the M1C.]



The 1903/1903A3 Rifle (sniper)

This is a .30 cal bolt action rifle with a 5 round fixed magazine. Although its use is permitted for re-enacting, the individual should make every attempt to procure the M1 rifle. The use of the 1903 and 1903A3 is limited to pre- and early war impressions, e. g. Tunisia 1942. By 1944, most every combat unit in the European theater was equipped with the M1 rifle. Some 1903's were still used, however these were in the sniper configuration. The rifle shown is a 1903A4 sniper rifle (The "A4" nomenclature indicates a 1903A3 with a telescope). Each rifle platoon was authorized one of these, this is the only correct sniper rifle for the European Theater in WWII.


[There was usually one M1903 per squad.  This was used by the USMC until 1943.  The Grenade Launcher attachment was available in until September 1944.]

[The US Army didn’t provide sniper training except in Theater.  The Division would set up a sniper school if there was one.  USMC did that as well.  M1903 was used to fire rifle grenades, then provided as a “sniper” weapon.  I would assume the platoon’s best shot would be issued the sniper weapon.  The best shots in a German unit were on their machineguns.]



The M1 Carbine (Optional)

 The .30 cal. M1 carbine was most often carried by members of the weapons platoon in a rifle company, military police, signal men, and rear echelon personnel. It was also carried by officers. It is fed from a 15 round detachable magazine (Note: A magazine is not a clip. A clip has no internal spring). M1 carbines were often appropriated by GI's depending on the circumstances (urban warfare) as they were light, had a greater capacity, and were much easier to fire owing to lack of recoil.  Use of the carbine by infantrymen is discouraged and may only be used with the unit leader's permission. 


[The original intent of the M1 Carbine was to replace the .45 M1911A1 pistol.]



The M1911 .45 Cal. Colt Semi-Automatic Pistol (Officers)


 This was the standard sidearm for officers and NCOs beginning with the First World War. It is a recoil operated weapon fed from a seven round magazine. The WWII version was designated the 1911A1 and can be recognized by the arched mainspring housing at the rear of the grip. WWI pistols were blued with wooden stocks (grips); WWII pistols were parkarized with plastic stocks.



The M1917 .45 cal. Revolver (Officers Optional)

 This revolver and its cousin, the .38 cal. S&W Victory pistol are listed here on an exceptions basis. Revolvers were not in common usage amongst infantry personnel, however, they could be found as personally furnished firearms or as the results of trades with Navy personnel.



The Thompson Submachine Gun (Optional)


The "sub-gun" was commonly used by airborne troops, vehicle drivers, and NCO's; any place where a short, high capacity weapon was required. The WWII version is the M1A1 shown here, and is slightly different from the M1928. It is fed from a 20 or 30 round magazine.


[The 1928 version of the Thompson SMG is easy to recognize as the bolt is located on the top and it was usually equipped with the ammo drum.  It will be found in British and Canadian units.  It was replaced by the STEN SMG in allied units; and supplemented by the M3A1 Grease Gun (SMG) in US units.]



The M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR)

This weapon, developed during WWI, was the infantry squad's fully automatic weapon. It was fed from a 20 round detachable magazine. The WWII version was slightly different than that produced in 1918. The stock was bakelite, the finish was parkarized, and the bipod was added.



The M1 Bayonet

 This is the 10" bayonet which is correct for all European Theater impressions. 10" bayonets may be found as cut-downs from 16" bayonets or as originally manufactured. Either version is correct and will fit both the 1903 and M1 rifles. The proper scabbard is marked with the Ordnance "flaming bomb".



The 1905 Long Bayonet (Optional)

This bayonet with the fiberglass or canvas covered scabbard is correct for pre- or early war impressions. This is a 16" bayonet originally developed prior to WWI. First production (i.e. WWI) bayonets feature wooden grips and the blades are bright or dark blued. Second production (WWII) bayonets feature plastic grips and the blades are parkarized. Either production is correct.


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This list shows you what Armored Vehicles carried (these are in addition to what the Armored Infantry would carry)


M8 Armored Cars (Recon)-

4 M1 carbines for the crew w/400 rounds

6 frag grenades

6 smoke grenades

6 M1A1 Anti-Tank Mines,H.E.



M20 Armored Cars (Recon)-

5 M1 Carbines for the crew w/500 rounds (1 fitted with a grenade launcher)

1 M9A1 2.36 inch Rocket Launcher w/10 rockets,M6A3 A.T. type.

6 Frag grenades

6 smoke grenades

3 rifle grenades,A.T.

3 A.T. Mines,M1A1



M3,M3A1 75mm Motor Gun Carriages (Half Tracks)-

1 M1903 Rifle w/grenade launcher 

4 M1 Carbines

5 Frag grenades

5 Smoke grenades

2 Thermite grenades 

10 Rifle grenades,A.T.


[The M3 and M3A1 half-tracks do NOT have a 75mm gun on them.  There was a version of the US half-track with a 75m gun used by the US Army in North Africa.  It was replaced by the M10 GMC.  The USMC continued to use it in the Pacific, and the British used the ones they had as a support weapon in their armored reconnaissance units.]

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