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View Full Version : Garand clip 'ping' - cost many soldiers their lives in WWII


Dr_2_B
September 6, 2008, 05:38 PM
Seems to be some debate about this. The argument, of course, is that the enemy would hear the distinct 'ping' and charge GI Joe who was now helpless because he supposedly had an empty rifle. Problem with this reasoning is that Joe had a buddy sitting next to him in the foxhole. I have a feeling this has taken on urban legend status, but I'm interested in hearing from anyone who has first-hand knowledge of whether this phenomenon actually caused the deaths of many US soldiers in WWII.

crowbeaner
September 6, 2008, 05:58 PM
I know 2 living WW2 vets; one fought the Pacific (my dad) and the other landed at Anzio and was wounded. He went back to his unit after 6 weeks and fought in Italy. Both have told me that they heard of guys throwing an empty clip on the ground with 5 or 6 rounds left to make the enemy think they were empty. When the enemy ran in, they got shot. Urban legend? Maybe. Maybe not. You'll have to decide.

Dfariswheel
September 6, 2008, 06:01 PM
An urban legend that's not true.

Among other reasons it never happened:

1. The M1 can be reloaded so fast, that by the time they heard the clip eject, got to their feet and rushed the distance, you had the M1 ready to fire again.
People who don't shoot the M1 extensively are not aware just how fast you can shove in another clip.
A good M1 rifleman can reload in about one second.
A rushing enemy would need to be a lot faster then most humans to beat the bullet.

2. NOISE.
Battle fields are so noisy with explosions and gun fire, you'd never hear the "ping" over the racket.

3. GI's were not out there alone.
They had buddies with them who'd shoot anyone trying to rush their position.
It was usually 2 to a hole, and there'd be nearby holes with others in them.

sc928porsche
September 6, 2008, 06:25 PM
Many years ago my dad and I were out for a days shooting and were using a garand amongst other things. When the clip emptied and the ping of the clip was heard, he told me that it was reassuring to hear that sound because in the heat of battle, you knew when you had to install a new one instead of racking the bolt on an empty chamber like the springfield that he was first issued.

TPAW
September 6, 2008, 06:32 PM
Here's my response to the same question from some time ago:

Quote:
As to the suggestion that the Garand's clip ejection alerts the enemy that your rifle is empty, I believe Ian Hogg started that rumor. I prefer Peter Kokalis' observation that he has never heard of a battlefield that was quiet enough to hear a piece of sheet metal pinging.

My response:

Neither did my father. Big Red One, 1st Infantry Division, WW2. From Africa all the way up into Europe. Four years of combat. Clips making noise that alerted the enemy! I never heard him laugh so hard. Out of nervesness in combat, GI's farting in their pants because of bowel disorders and fear, was louder than a so called clip alerting the enemy. Not to mention throwing up from the gut wrenching fright and the sight of your buddies being blown apart with pieces flesh and brain matter all over you.

In addition to my father, all my uncles fought in the infantry in Europe against the Germans. As a kid I would hear them talk about their experiences, some very bizarre. Never did any of them mention anything about the ping of a clip alerting the enemy. Gunfire, explosions, men screaming in pain and the like, was all they, or the enemy heard. Just like our guys never heard them cycle the bolts on their rifles.
I've experienced combat in Vietnam. It's chaotic, confusing, very noisy and frightening. You tend to go numb and focus on surviving. As crazy as it sounds, sometimes you don't even hear your own gunfire. Hard to believe, I know, but it's true.

Hkmp5sd
September 6, 2008, 06:39 PM
As a veteran of countless firefights and campaigns in the Medal of Honor series of games, I can state the sound of the clip being ejected from the Garand never caused me to be wounded or killed. :) This includes battles across the European continent, through the Pacific island hopping campaigns and thousands of online death matches.

4V50 Gary
September 6, 2008, 06:41 PM
Even if it were true, riflemen learned to pair up so one would sustain fire while the other reloaded. Roger's Rangers did this in the flintlock days as did the American militia at the Battle of Oriskany. British Riflemen (circa 1800-1815) also adopted this practice. It was done to some extent during the Civil War too.

nate45
September 6, 2008, 06:49 PM
An urban legend that's not true.


My Grandfather was a 1ST LT. in the Army Rangers in the Pacific Theater and I have a friend who was reconnaissance with the 90th Infantry Div from D+20 till the end of the war. They both agree with you Dfariswheel, so since I wasn't there and they were, I'll agree as well.

CPTMurdoc30
September 6, 2008, 06:52 PM
2. NOISE.
Battle fields are so noisy with explosions and gun fire, you'd never hear the "ping" over the racket.

Civilians never really understand just how loud a battle is. I read an article that it was like have 3 of the biggest chain saws made stuck wide open right next to yoru ear with exlosions going off around you.

I can tell you from experiance that handgranades are about 10,000,000 times louder than they are on the boob tube. I have thrown my share of live handgranades and they would hurt your ear even with hearing protection in.

Dr_2_B
September 6, 2008, 07:28 PM
Here's why I even bring this up. Dr. William Atwater (former director of the US Army Ordnance Museum) is a reputable military historian who appears on the History Channel and Military Channel a lot. Many of you have seen him - he's the heavy-set guy who speaks of his Vietnam days.

Unlike some of the goofballs on there (like Aryeh Nusbacher who is actually a woman now), Atwater's got it together. But I actually heard this BS out of his mouth. I'm disappointed.

TPAW
September 6, 2008, 09:14 PM
Unlike some of the goofballs on there (like Aryeh Nusbacher who is actually a woman now), Atwater's got it together. But I actually heard this BS out of his mouth. I'm disappointed.

Don't be too hard on the guy. Maybe there were isolated incidents, but as a rule, I've never heard of it. Keep in mind, nearly five years of fighting in both the European and Pacific Theatre. Anything could have happened and probably did. Things that we will probably never know.

Jason_G
September 6, 2008, 09:30 PM
I agree with most of the folks here in that the idea of enemies listening for the "Garand ping" to locate American soldiers/marines (and know that GI Joe is empty) is a load of garbage, probably propagated by folks that have never been in a gunfight, let alone full-blown war-time combat. Not that my credentials include being a war vet, but common sense ought to squash this urban legend. If anyone here has ever shot a high powered rifle sans ear protection (yes I have had my moments of stupidity in my youth) either at the range or hunting, they ought to know how loud a single rifle is. Imagine a whole lot of that, coupled with artillery, grenades, etc. Aside from the conceivable rare exception, I would doubt that the enemy would even hear the ping, much less be brave enough to charge in on the sound knowing that the GI could easily be reloaded by the time he gets there. Sounds suspicious to me.

Jason

shaman
September 6, 2008, 09:32 PM
the dad never mentioned it, neither uncle mentioned it.

ive never been in battlefield combat but i can only imagine it would be quite hard to hear a garand clip ping and know it was from the exact guy in front of you.

the steyr 95 has almost the same sound when you load the fifth round, ejecting the clip out the bottom.

dipper
September 6, 2008, 09:55 PM
In addition to my father, all my uncles fought in the infantry in Europe against the Germans. As a kid I would hear them talk about their experiences, some very bizarre. Never did any of them mention anything about the ping of a clip alerting the enemy. Gunfire, explosions, men screaming in pain and the like, was all they, or the enemy heard. Just like our guys never heard them cycle the bolts on their rifles.
I've experienced combat in Vietnam. It's chaotic, confusing, very noisy and frightening. You tend to go numb and focus on surviving. As crazy as it sounds, sometimes you don't even hear your own gunfire. Hard to believe, I know, but it's true.

TPAW,

Same here, my uncles ( 4 of them) fought in the infantry in Europe.
When they would talk about their experiences ( not often) they never mentioned anything about the "ping".
They talked about all the other noises --one particular night in great detail.


Dipper

HorseSoldier
September 6, 2008, 10:00 PM
Another +1 on the urban myth angle, for the reasons already outlined above.

Swampghost
September 6, 2008, 10:03 PM
My experience is the same as shaman's. One of my uncles was a Marine that went from Omaha Beach to Berlin. Another was RA at Anzio and I've never it mentioned. I'm thinking urban legend.

Dad was Navy.

Ignition Override
September 6, 2008, 10:41 PM
Matheath:

Both of those guys were (are) on the Military Channel tonight elaborating on the world's "top ten tanks".
Mr. Atwater seems to have some of the best credentials, at least for describing combat rifles and their comparative merits.

If I go down to the river bottom and see the same cottonmouth snake swimming, I don't want it to know when I'm reloading the SKS or Mini 30, especially the MN 44 :( . The last time I saw it and fired from the opposite bank and missed, it had attempted to climb the steep bank (some are seen far above the water).

Dfariswheel
September 6, 2008, 11:25 PM
Dr. William Atwater really is an internationally known expert and has forgotten more than most of us put together know.

As for his appearances on TV, remember, he's reading from a script, and I've heard some obviously untrue things on the History and Discovery channel from real experts.
Why they allow misstatements to pass is usually a matter of "Please just read the prompter Dr. Atwater, we'll fix it later".

SteelJM1
September 6, 2008, 11:25 PM
Well, i've not been in any wars or battles, but I do own a Garand. I went out without ears one time and I can assure you that I tried to shoot a 9th round out of my rifle because I missed the miniscule 'ping' of the clip over the ringing of my ears from the horrendously loud muzzleblast. And that was just one rifle.

I suspect that even IF zee Germans heard the ping, the only thing they would realize is that they were fighting Americans, and that those Garands fire fast, so best to keep the heads down.

I think the movies accentuate the ping a much more than they really are in real life.

skinewmexico
September 6, 2008, 11:47 PM
My dad never mentioned it as a problem, and he managed to survive landings at Saipan, Iwo Jimo, and Guadalcanal. He did say the M1 carbine was a problem, and all the guys he knew who had them dropped them when they came to their first Garand.

Buzzcook
September 6, 2008, 11:56 PM
This is something that could be answered by experimentation.
Get a hold of an 8mm Mauser and a Garand. Go to a firing range and shoot 20+ rounds out of the Mauser without ear protection. At the same time have a friend shoot the Garand about 40yds from you. I'm guessing you don't hear the ping.

CGSteve8718
September 7, 2008, 12:45 AM
2. NOISE.
Battle fields are so noisy with explosions and gun fire, you'd never hear the "ping" over the racket.

Exactly. This is really the only reason that defeats this urban legend. Forget about how well trained some soldiers were, or how fast a Garand clip (clip is right this time !) can be reloaded.

This is something that common sense can tell you without having been in combat, much less WWII combat.

Get a hold of an 8mm Mauser and a Garand. Go to a firing range and shoot 20+ rounds out of the Mauser without ear protection. At the same time have a friend shoot the Garand about 40yds from you. I'm guessing you don't hear the ping.

Throw in some grenades, mortars, arty, possibly aircraft bombing/strafing, yelling orders from team leaders and NCOs, screaming from wounded, your adrenaline...I could only imagine that hearing the ping would be the same as hearing a pin drop.

BillCA
September 7, 2008, 04:39 AM
I can't comment on this directly and my dad served in the USAAF flying B-17's out of Italy. And most of my other relatives who served have since passed. But my father did say that he asked a few ground-pounders in Italy about it when they had come off the line to the rear. Universally, their response is "Nah, the [Germans] can't hear it over the constant firing. In fact, sometimes it's easier to hear the *ping* from the guy next to you than your own."

If anyone wants to see how fast a Garand can be fired and reloaded, rent a few episodes of the old Combat TV show and watch Pierre Jalbert ("Caje"). While these were modified blank-firing Garands, he can reload in about 1~1.3 seconds. I caught him talking about the show on a late channel one night. He actually bought his own M1 and practiced with it until he could empty 8 rounds in 5 seconds an reload in under 2 seconds. (yes, he said he had a callous on his shoulder from all the practice too!:D)

Art Eatman
September 7, 2008, 10:10 AM
I went through Basic with the Garand in 1954. You get a platoon of guys on a firing line, I guarantee you that nobody a hundred yards off is gonna hear a Ping. Sure, you can hear your own, or that of the guy next to you, but at any distance? With a bunch of guys shooting in your direction?

I can dream up a scenario of an isolated Garand guy trying to deal with an isolated enemy, and the Ping being helpful to the opponent. But that enemy guy had better be really, really ready to pop up and shoot, 'cause he has only a second or two. That's if the Garand guy is just standing around leisurely reloading--which I don't really see happening.

I saw that History Channel program. Sorry, but that Ping deal wiped out a whole bunch of Attaboys for credibility.

petru
September 7, 2008, 10:22 AM
I agree with you Art but everyone over looks the real draw back of this en block system and that was not being able to top off the magazine. Soldiers would shoot off their last few rounds in the clip so they could reload with a full clip. This caused them to run out of ammo very, very quickly and again with no ammo you are dead or captured.

I read somewhere that Mr. Garand wanted to put a 20 round detachable magazine on the Garand when he originally designed the gun but the military Neanderthals wanted a gun that could be carried magazine down over the shoulder like the 1903 Springfield when on parade. Talk about stupidity, but its about what you would expect from them.

petru
September 7, 2008, 10:25 AM
If anyone wants to see how fast a Garand can be fired and reloaded, rent a few episodes of the old Combat TV show and watch Pierre Jalbert ("Caje"). While these were modified blank-firing Garands, he can reload in about 1~1.3 seconds. I caught him talking about the show on a late channel one night. He actually bought his own M1 and practiced with it until he could empty 8 rounds in 5 seconds an reload in under 2 seconds. (yes, he said he had a callous on his shoulder from all the practice too!)

Thanks for the trip down nostalgia lane but I remember thinking to myself as a young boy when watching him shoot that no one could actually hit anything when firing as fast as he did. Later in life when I shot rapid fire in National Match shooting this fact was confirmed to me in no uncertain terms.

Deaf Smith
September 7, 2008, 12:46 PM
Ever hear a Garand fire without ear plugs on?

Ever hear 10 Garands and Mausers fire at same time without ear plugs? Bet it's real hard to hear that ping! Add grenades, machineguns, shouting, etc... well you get the picture.

So I doubt if the ping matters much.

Crosshair
September 7, 2008, 12:58 PM
I agree with you Art but everyone over looks the real draw back of this en block system and that was not being able to top off the magazine.
The garand magazine can most most certainly be topped off. It's not the easiest thing to do, but it can be done. May have been easier to eject the partially full clip, pocket the two or three rounds that come out, and put in a new clip.

44 AMP
September 7, 2008, 01:38 PM
Myth? most likely

There may have been GIs killed due to the enemy hearing the "ping" of the ejecting M1 clip, but there is no way to make it a verifyable fact. I'm sure any GIs killed that way are balanced out by the number of enemy killed attacking an "out of ammo" GI when is foxhole buddy, or he himself shot them.

Stories about the enemy waiting until they heard the ping and attacking are just that, stories. It probably did happen, at least once, nearly everything you can think of has happened, at least once.

GIs working in pairs (so that one was always loaded), and GIs throwing an empty clip against a rock to fool the enemy into attacking (sometimes it worked) are common knowledge.

The Garand enbloc clip did not get US soldiers killed. Quite the opposite, I would say.

Want another one? Watch the movie "The Longest Day", and see where one of the paratroopers gets killed because he mistakes the sound of the bolt action Mauser for the "cricket" recognition device. Click click, click click. Bang! Click click, click click. Ain't Hollywood somthin'?
__________________

texasrangers
September 7, 2008, 01:55 PM
The only way I could see it happening is when a GI is on outpost by himself and being attacked by a larger group in the dead of night with all other sounds of battle far off. If there are 3, 4, or 5 jerries or japs coming at this GI, and he fires his 8 rounds and they hear that ping, then its possible that when they heard the ping the enemy rushed him. I do doubt that this happened often, as most GI's probably wouldnt want OP duty by themselves, but with units that saw lots of combat and had high casualty rates it may have been necessary for a lone GI to be out there. Hopefully it didn't happen much, but in an actual firefight it probably didnt happen at all.

Crosshair
September 7, 2008, 02:35 PM
I do doubt that this happened often, as most GI's probably wouldnt want OP duty by themselves, but with units that saw lots of combat and had high casualty rates it may have been necessary for a lone GI to be out there.
In night combat, if they were getting that close I one would probably want to apply grenades to the affected area.;) For night, they would have probably been better suited with a M1 carbine or subgun of some type due to the limited visibility at night. I understand that the M1 carbine was popular in the Pacific because of the short combat distances. (Of course, so were subguns, grenades, bazookas, and flamethrowers.)

hank327
September 7, 2008, 03:54 PM
everyone over looks the real draw back of this en block system and that was not being able to top off the magazine. Soldiers would shoot off their last few rounds in the clip so they could reload with a full clip. This caused them to run out of ammo very, very quickly

That would be a very foolish thing to do. To "top off" a Garand, you eject the partial clip, insert a fresh, fully loaded 8 round clip and close the bolt. You then pick up the partly expended clip and pocket it. Later when you have the time, you fully load the partially expended to 8 rounds. No need at all to "shoot off" all your ammo simply to insert a new clip.

I agree that most civilians have NO IDEA how noisy a battlefield is. In the movies, 81 mm mortars when fired go off with a gentle "thump". Yeah, right...:rolleyes: Anything that can throw a 12 pound projectile almost 5000 meters is NOT going to go off with a gentle "thump"! This applies to all the other weapons being used. I put the Garand "ping" firmly into the urban legend catagory.

NickySantoro
September 7, 2008, 04:51 PM
Garand clip 'ping' - cost many soldiers their lives in WWII

Goat droppings. My service was with the the M14 and M16. Currently I have two Garands. I'm certainly no expert with them but I can assure you that even I can reload fast enough to neutralize any aggressor who might "pop up" at the sound of a "ping".

jeo556
September 7, 2008, 05:14 PM
I've never had any battlefield experience whatsoever.....However I have heard about this and thought it through. Put Saving Private Ryan in the DVD player and crank up the surround sound, In the heat of the moment you probably wouldn't be able to hear a mortor inpact 10 meters away let alone the "ping" from a garand clip. Just my two cents. To all those that know this firsthand you have my respect and admiration more than you can ever know. Thanks for being a Veteran!!!!!

King Ghidora
September 7, 2008, 05:45 PM
According to my WWII history class professor, who was a Stars And Stripes reporter during the war, the sound of the Garrand ping would alert Jerry that the soldier was about to reload but the only time that ever happened and made a difference was in an isolated situation where just a few soldiers were in a fire fight. I was not there of course but I know what my prof said and he was there in the foxholes at Anzio, Casino etc.. It didn't result in the soldier with the Garrand being charged though. It resulted in the guy in the other foxhole taking the chance of popping his head up to take a shot. Charging someone trying to reload would have been suicidal. Altogether it was a very rare event that the Garran ping made a difference but it did sometimes happen. But again it was very, very rare.

As for the click click of the Mauser on D-day that was a definite factor. That happened often in the confusion of the air drops behind the lines. The GI's were issued clickers that clicked twice much as the toy turtles we got as stocking stuffers as kids in the early 60's and late 50's. They clicked when you pushed in and they clicked when you let them out. The click of a Mauser bolt being pulled up pulled back and then the second click of the bolt being put down was very similar to the sound of the clickers the GI's were issued. It did cause some soldiers to lower their guard thinking they were close to another GI signalling them instead of Jerry working the action on his Mauser to chamber a round. Remember these were people wandering the countryside a long way from any battle. It was Jerry on patrol and the 101st and 82nd trying to regroup to attempt to reach their objectives. In fact pretty much everything in the Longest Day was based on true incidents including the column of GI's marching right past a column of Jerrys without anyone noticing until it was over that they were marching right on the other side of a stone wall from the enemy. It was confusion central that night and all sorts of strange things happened. In fact The Longest Day is one of the most accurate war movies ever except it leaves out some of the major errors made by the Allied high command. For example the troops actually landed at low tide making them have to cross over a quarter of a mile of open beach before they got to the cover of the cliffs and also there's no mention of the fact that the tanks that were supposed to do the work of breaking through the machine gun nests were almost all dropped off in choppy water and they promptly sank because they had never been tested in choppy water. They had only been tested in calm water.

BillCA
September 8, 2008, 03:39 AM
For examples of 81mm mortars firing with the Marines,
see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FBhIbyeVUE

For examples of how much louder the 125mm mortar is, you can go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FBhIbyeVUE
(watch the concussion in the sand!)

zippy13
September 8, 2008, 05:18 AM
When wondering why unlikely rumors (like the M-1's clip ping killing GI's) persist, I usually come to the same conclusion: Follow the money -- who might profit from such a rumor? Well, if I was trying to convince a post-war peace loving congress that all those millions of M-1's, victorious in WW II, should be scrapped in favor of a new service rifle. Then, a killer ping rumor would make the M-14's ping free, rechargeable, detachable, higher capacity magazine seem an absolute necessity.

ringworm
September 8, 2008, 05:53 AM
go shoot a clip from a garand with hearing protection and tell me if you hear a ping.

Spade Cooley
September 8, 2008, 08:35 AM
When we shot the M-1 in the Army the reloading was so fast the enemy would have to be very quick to move, not quick enough to charge the position. With reaction time about one second and getting started out of the hole taking another second, the M-1 rifle shooter would be loaded and ready to roll by the time the enemy got up.

King Ghidora
September 8, 2008, 10:47 AM
It's easy to speculate about how much of a disadvantage the ping was but it takes going to historical sources to know the truth. Let's look at a few:

Also, the spent clip was automatically ejected after the last round was fired, making a distinctive sound, which could be fatal in close quarter or sniper operations. (http://militaryhistory.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ&sdn=militaryhistory&cdn=education&tm=195&f=00&su=p897.1.336.ip_&tt=11&bt=1&bts=1&zu=http%3A//www.rt66.com/~korteng/SmallArms/m1rifle.html)

The ping could also be used to your advantage:

I droped the spent clip to trick the Germans into charging. As they Charged I shot each of the 5 Germans with my M1 Garand.
Nickolas Nelson Aug 4, 2006 (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=M1+Garand)

That trick was used often in fact. The US soldiers weren't dumb. They knew what the Germans would do when they heard a ping. So they took advantage of it.

There are also descriptions of how one soldier would shoot his full clip resulting in a ping while his buddy was ready for an enemy charge with a full clip.

In full battle it certainly could not be heard. But, again, in a small skirmish it could be and it was a factor. It was a disadvantage for a short time but it became an advantage.

Again this is information I got first hand from someone who was there and was trained to report what he saw.

Mike Irwin
September 8, 2008, 11:04 AM
"hear that sound because in the heat of battle, you knew when you had to install a new one instead of racking the bolt on an empty chamber like the springfield that he was first issued."


Unless his bolt-action Springfield was broken or otherwise modified, I don't see how this would have been a factor for your father.

On Springfields, as with Mausers, when the magazine runs dry the follower comes up and blocks the bolt.

This does two things:

1. Lets you know that your gun is dry.

2. Holds the bolt in the proper position so that you can load 5 more rounds with a stripper clip.

Deaf Smith
September 8, 2008, 05:00 PM
I've read of Japanese thinking we stil had 5 shot Springfields and after 5 were fired at them in the jungle they got their heads up to shoot. But that old Garand still had 3!

Lt. Col. George John said in his book, "Shots Fired in Anger" that a squad of GIs could take on a whole platoon of Japanese and whip them in the jungles. Remember the Japanese had almost no submachineguns and thus it was with a 5 shot Ariska or a Nambu (plus 'knee' morters... which he thought was a real good weapon.)

I have also read of one GI holding off a German company by shifting is postion every time he fired a round or two from his Garand. The Germans still had the mindset of 5 shot bolt guns to.

King Ghidora
September 8, 2008, 09:32 PM
The Japanese had those very long rifles (some were over 50 inches) and when they had bayonets installed they were taller than the soldiers were. They were terrible jungle weapons. They were weapons meant to be fired from entrenched positions but as we all know, WWII wasn't fought that way. Another case of having the right weapon for the previous war.

CGSteve8718
September 8, 2008, 09:38 PM
Even if the Germans used the tactic of rushing at the sound of a "ping" at first, they would have immediately caught on to there being a second GI, or a thrown clip to cause the sound. Remember, the German troops were the seasoned, combat hardened vets, we were the "noobs" going into WWII.

Surely word would have spread like wildfire through German lines and intel that we (the Americans) were using this tactic to any kind of advantage and be discarded very shortly.

I still do not buy it. Like someone else said, if it happened at all, it most likely happened in isolated areas away from indirect fire and air (from either side) and in very close quarters.

dr.j
September 8, 2008, 09:55 PM
I stood several yards away once without ear covers as a friend of mine emptied an M1 clip (stupid, but I wanted to know what it sounded like). By the end of the clip my ears were so rattled that I couldn't hear anything, much less a ping. One of the only reasons I did this is because he kept spouting this same bs about the germans, and I wanted to prove him wrong.

King Ghidora
September 8, 2008, 11:02 PM
I've heard that soldiers are trained to endure the loud noises of battle by being gradually exposed to loud noise more and more. From what I have heard in battle you barely hear the sound of your own gun firing much less the heavy artillery that goes with it. I don't know how much of that stuff is true but I've heard it more than once. I also know that many soldiers suffer severe hearing damage from things much larger than a 7.62. Think about being close to a .50 caliber machine gun. Then think about tanks, artillery, mortars, etc. etc..

Some people still attempt to protect the hearing of their children by gradually raising the level of gunfire noise they are exposed to. Some claim this makes their ears immune from the pain of incredibly loud noise. I have serious doubts about this but some swear by it.

I just know I heard this whole scenario spelled out on a radio program about a year ago. Maybe they were completely nuts. I don't know. They talked about making the ear drum thicker by gradual exposure to louder and louder noises.

Again from what I heard the whole "ping" issue was a very rare event. You read comments on the net where people say one thing or another. It's hard to know who's telling the truth. I did trust my history prof.. He seemed like an upstanding guy to me and not prone to bragging or the like. He was proud of the whole war effort as he should be but he also acknowledged that his job was mostly being a reporter but he did end up in some fox holes.

amd6547
September 9, 2008, 08:07 AM
My Father was a WWII vet of France and Germany, and a fan of the M1.
The first time I ever heard of the "Ping" alerting the enemy was from him...
While he did not go into detail (he really never went into too much depth on his combat experiences), he did fight in the Battle of Falaise Gap in the hedgerow country, where there was alot of close, small unit action.
His unit, an armoured cavalry unit, was also first in many small german towns.

King Ghidora
September 9, 2008, 02:01 PM
The terrain there was exactly the kind of place where a ping could have been a problem. You're firing through a hedgerow and your rifle goes ping and someone 30 yards down the same row you were in but hiding in the hedge steps out and fires at you. The action was very scattered there and very confusing. It was very early on in that area too. Who knows if word of the ping has spread from Italy or North Africa. I'm guessing it wouldn't have been a problem at all at either of those places because in Africa it was all major battles with only a few patrols out into the desert in Jeeps. Italy was mostly about the high ground and Sicily was about Patton's tanks. The hedgerow country might have been the first place the ping became an issue. It was probably the place where soldiers were closer to each other sometimes without knowing anyone else was around. Of course the paratroopers and gliders that dropped behind the lines might have known about the issue sooner but they wouldn't have had any way to tell anyone else about it.

SIGSHR
September 9, 2008, 02:17 PM
I suggest an experiment in which we see how far away the "ping" can be heard, first in a quiet environment and then after the ears have been exposed to the sounds of battle. People forget that one result of the adoption of smokeless powder and repeating rifles was the phenomenon of the empty battlefield, as longer range weapons firing smokeless powder forced
massive changes in tactics, such as greater use of cover and concealment and emphasis on "digging in" as well as lengthening the ranges at which combat was conducted.

BillCA
September 9, 2008, 02:33 PM
Some people still attempt to protect the hearing of their children by gradually raising the level of gunfire noise they are exposed to. Some claim this makes their ears immune from the pain of incredibly loud noise. I have serious doubts about this but some swear by it.

I just know I heard this whole scenario spelled out on a radio program about a year ago. Maybe they were completely nuts. I don't know. They talked about making the ear drum thicker by gradual exposure to louder and louder noises.

False.

Exposure to loud noises above about 95 db (decibels) can permanently damage your hearing. Constant noise above 95db or short-duration noises above 120db can cause hearing loss. Read up on the subject and you'll understand why.

The only thing unprotected exposure to gunfire will do is reduce your ability to hear well in the future. Many GI's coming home from the war realized their hearing had been damaged. Some to lesser degrees than others. Some navy crew, especially the 20-40mm gunners, came home with 50% hearing loss, as did many front-line ground troops. Once it's gone... it's gone.

Please... Always wear hearing protection on the range.

dr.j
September 9, 2008, 05:26 PM
One of my friends that I shoot with from time to time was in the military in the mid 90s. He didn't seem to be bothered by the sounds of 9mm, .45, and .223 shots without ear protection. I would believe that his training did involve some type of exposure to loud noises since sounds that make my ears ring did not bother him. People can get used to just about anything. Another possibility could be that his ears were royally screwed up from shooting without ear protection. He doesn't seem to be hard of hearing though.

King Ghidora
September 9, 2008, 06:50 PM
Do you think I don't know the conventional wisdom on loud noise Bill? I just reported what I heard. I said I doubted it was true. I also said soldiers suffered from hearing loss quite often. So why tell me what I just said?

Mike Irwin
September 10, 2008, 10:31 AM
Did Bill attack you personally, King?

No.

He was addressing the content of your message, which is SEPARATE from you.

Relax.

King Ghidora
September 10, 2008, 11:25 AM
I didn't attack anyone either Mike. And I didn't say Bill attacked me. You relax. I just wondered why he repeated what I had already said as if I needed to be told something I had just said.

BillCA
September 11, 2008, 03:58 AM
I just wondered why he repeated what I had already said as if I needed to be told something I had just said.

Perhaps because you didn't say it.

In your post #46 you describe the idea, held by some, that one's hearing can be "conditioned" to loud noises. And you say you doubt the claims. Good enough. You also said "I don't know how much of that stuff is true but I've heard it more than once." And later you said that you heard it discussed on a recent radio show, adding "Maybe they were completely nuts. I don't know."

So my post was not a repeat of yours. I offered factual information (as best as I can remember it), along with the warning that hearing loss is permanent.

Actually, it's both permanent and cumulative. Exposure to lower levels of noise for longer periods can make you as hard of hearing as an artilleryman with 3 years of combat.

So now you know. There's no way to "condition" one's hearing to loud noises like gunfire without permanent hearing damage.

Double Naught Spy
September 11, 2008, 05:20 AM
It's easy to speculate about how much of a disadvantage the ping was but it takes going to historical sources to know the truth. Let's look at a few:

Also, the spent clip was automatically ejected after the last round was fired, making a distinctive sound, which could be fatal in close quarter or sniper operations.

The ping could also be used to your advantage:

I droped the spent clip to trick the Germans into charging. As they Charged I shot each of the 5 Germans with my M1 Garand.
Nickolas Nelson Aug 4, 2006

Let's look at those 'historical' sources. The first is a military history source. Cool. The second is from the urban dictionary and is NOT a historical source. It isn't even documented as to its source for the alleged quote.

jsmaye
September 11, 2008, 07:31 AM
Proving the "Death by ping" theory right or wrong is not worth damaging your hearing.

Warlokke
September 11, 2008, 04:24 PM
Just a comment...after a firefight you can barely hear yourself talk and generally have to yell real loud at folks to be heard at all. After the first few rounds you fire, or your buddy next to you fires, your hearing just ain't very good. I wasn't in WWII, but I don't think combat was that different back then. I particularly like it when folks talk about using verbal fire control commands in combat....that is why hand and arm signals exist, because you can't friggin' hear after the fight starts, not cause your gonna out Ninja the enemy. Soldiers are taught to always look at their team leader for signals, whether patrolling or fighting, same thing with the buddy team concept. You look cause you can't hear but you can see hand and arm signals. After a firefight it is so quiet it is weird...but it is because your hearing is shot for a while and you can't hear low sounds until your hearing recovers.

Anybody that routinely shoots firearms without hearing protection is either stone deaf to begin with or is trying to find a reason not to have to listen to his significant others nagging.....:)...it just isn't physically possible to avoid hearing damage if you don't wear hearing protection when firing weapons unless you are using silenced weapons.

King Ghidora
September 11, 2008, 06:23 PM
Maybe I'm just no so inclined to always believe the conventional wisdom. I know lots of folks who went to war and came back with no hearing damage to speak of. How did they manage that? A good friend of mine was a door gunner on a chopper in Nam but he can hear much better than I can. He saw lots of action. Want to call him up and ask him about it? I have his number but I'll tell you right now he won't want to talk about it.

I've heard military people swearing that there was a method to make your ear drums adapt to noise. I doubt it's true but I'm not so sure that I know everything or that you do either or that the conventional wisdom is always correct. I've lived long enough to see conventional wisdom change over and over again. I've seen instructions on brushing your teeth change half a dozen times at least. One week you're supposed to brush up and down then you're supposed to brush back and forth then they change it back again. Much of the time it's just some joker trying to prove he's an expert by trying to rewrite conventional wisdom. There's good money in doing that. I have my opinion about the theory regarding adapting to loud noises but I've learned to recognize the difference between opinion and fact. Until I see first hand whether the claims made are true or not I'm not going to try to replace facts with my opinion. In other words I'm not going to claim I know something I don't know. Unless you know of this theory and you know for a fact that it isn't true then you're substituting opinion for fact.

Also when a soldier says something it's part of the historical record. I don't find it so easy to dismiss what they say as some seem to do. History is written based on first hand accounts and that's what the comment I posted was. I do believe I have a grip on what constitutes historical data since I was a history major in college. I studied lots of battles and I took at least 2 classes that were about specific war. One was WWII and the other was Vietnam. I know how historical data is collected and when a first hand witness says something historians just don't dismiss what they say out of hand. Again there are situations where a few rounds could be fired without a full fledged battle going on. The hedgerows are a perfect example of that. Unless you have some reason to doubt this particular soldier's story you really come off as knowing stuff not in evidence when you proclaim what he said to not be part of the historical record.

What I see here is a bunch of people without first hand knowledge claiming that they know the facts when really what they are saying is based on assumptions. Probably the most important thing I learned in college is to not do that because someone can always make you look bad when you do it. I know Medal Of Honor winners who aren't so sure of things. If you think I'm likely to believe posters on a ng who don't even claim first hand knowledge of the issues then you're mistaken. I've heard the theory about adapting your ears to loud noise more than once. I've heard the ping stories from people who had first hand knowledge. Someone's deductions and assumptions here aren't about to dissuade me about either.

SteelJM1
September 11, 2008, 06:35 PM
When wondering why unlikely rumors (like the M-1's clip ping killing GI's) persist, I usually come to the same conclusion: Follow the money -- who might profit from such a rumor? Well, if I was trying to convince a post-war peace loving congress that all those millions of M-1's, victorious in WW II, should be scrapped in favor of a new service rifle. Then, a killer ping rumor would make the M-14's ping free, rechargeable, detachable, higher capacity magazine seem an absolute necessity.

I think it has to do more with why my thumb is all bruised and swollen! :mad:

dmazur
September 11, 2008, 07:07 PM
This is kind of parallel, as "can you hear it?" seems to be part of the question -

As part of my responsibilities as project manager, I administer a hearing conservation program. (Ear plugs and muffs...) We routinely measure equipment, especially new equipment, for sound level. We're looking for a sound level > 85 dBA, which is considered by industrial hygienists as the "threshold of damage".

At our project, we require hearing protection at this 85 dBA level, which is typical of a lawnmower, even though it is really required for a "time-weighted average" of 85 dBA (which is more noise.)

Why? Because, as posted, hearing loss is both cumulative and permanent. What used to be thought of in the old days as "getting accustomed" to loud noises was actually progressive hearing loss. Once you killed of a few hairs in your ears, the loud noise didn't bother you as much.

Until the hearing loss affects frequencies in the speech range, many people don't even know they have a hearing loss. When they can't understand people talking, they figure it out. By then it's too late to prevent it and they are shopping for hearing aids...

In WWII, hearing loss was not nearly as well understood as it is today. Just something to consider when debating who could / could not hear a "ping".

Buzzcook
September 11, 2008, 07:36 PM
Take this for what it's worth.
A while back I watched a pbs show on the Eskimos of Greenland. They mentioned problems of right ear deafness amongst the hunters since the introduction of modern rifles.
As an aside they said that it was the suddenness of the noise that cause the problem. They said that the human ear can "close" itself to loud noises, but because the noise of the rifle shot was so sudden the ear didn't have time to react.

King Ghidora
September 11, 2008, 09:44 PM
That could well explain why some say such things about getting used to loud noises dmazur. It could also just have been a matter of the Army lying to soldiers to get them to go along with what needed to be done. There are many possible explanations for why I've heard multiple times about this sort of "training". Probably the sad part is that people were talking about training their kids to adapt to gunfire.

I was around a lot of gunfire when I was young. I also attended a lot of loud concerts. And I still do a lot of shooting though I rarely shoot anything loud without protection. I have my hearing checked regularly and according to my doctor I have average hearing for a man my age. I don't know if that just proves we have all lost hearing or that the ability to hear is more resilient to loud noise than is usually suggested. I've also ran jackhammers far too much and worked in factories that were too loud too. I sometimes wonder how I can still hear as well as I do at my age after being exposed to so much loud noise. What seemed to bother my hearing more than anything was listening to headphones too loud. There's no doubt firing a .45 without hearing protection even a few times can give you problems though. When you can't hear well for a week after shooting like that you know something is wrong.

Still I think we're all looking at a relatively new science here. The exact amount of damage from different types of noise is still being studied. It's hard to test because most people aren't going to be willing to listen to loud noise just to see how bad it hurts their hearing. Progress is slow as a result. I'm just not ready to buy all that gets said because the testing of such things is too new. Obviously loud noise will damage your hearing but how much is still something we haven't nailed down yet IMO.

BillCA
September 11, 2008, 09:46 PM
I know lots of folks who went to war and came back with no hearing damage to speak of. How did they manage that?
Probably the same as a couple of fellow coworkers of mine - one was a clerk-typist and the other was a cargo loader for C-24 transports. ;)

I've heard military people swearing that there was a method to make your ear drums adapt to noise. I doubt it's true but I'm not so sure that I know everything or that you do either or that the conventional wisdom is always correct.
I don't know exactly how true it is, though I have heard it mentioned by vets, that there is a way to reduce the pain in one's ears during a battle and it seems to help with audio recovery time. And that technique is to yell loudly while firing or when explosions are going off. Something about the way sound is carried inside the bone of the skull is supposed to help. Anyone else heard this?

Also when a soldier says something it's part of the historical record. I don't find it so easy to dismiss what they say as some seem to do. History is written based on first hand accounts and that's what the comment I posted was.
When it comes to certain wars, I start looking at the source of the information -- who said it, who recorded it and in what context.

Unfortunately, too often people now have their own motives for saying things about various wars, battles or actions, that aren't true. This one comes to mind:

They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.

Thanks for reading.

dmazur
September 11, 2008, 09:47 PM
No argument, but if you look at human anatomy of the ear, there is no mechanism for the ear "closing" for loud noise, sudden or not.

The hairs I referred to are in the inner ear, and, once damaged they do not repair themselves. Thus the "permanent" nature of the damage.

Also, the louder the noise, the more rapid the damage.

The longer the noise exposure, the sooner hearing loss is observed.

The defense is to limit your exposure to loud noise of any kind, and wear hearing protection around noise that can be immediately damaging (such as gunfire.)

I'm surprised at the PBS statement. Usually their content is better researched.

The reason why progressive hearing loss (due to noise exposure) isn't immediately observed by the worker is because it is selective. Different frequencies are lost, not a uniform loss across the range of the human ear. Typically, high frequencies are lost first. If you are a music expert, you might notice certain recordings sound different after a noise exposure, for example. When it becomes apparent is when "holes" are punched in the response spectrum which happen to fall in the range of the frequencies of human speech. You can hear some of what someone is saying, but not all. This is a real challenge for hearing aid designers, who often have to "tune" the aid to the individual patient, to amplify only the "holes" in their hearing. If they provide uniform amplification, the hearing aid is perceived as "too loud", the patient turns it down, and it doesn't work and better than no aid. ( :) ) IMO, this is fairly well understood by industrial hygienists (and perhaps the risk management section in your company), but not by individual workers who often think it is a bunch of nonsense. In retaliation to lack of cooperation, hearing conservation programs often try to scare workers into compliance by exaggerating the dangers. That's not a good plan. The danger of hearing loss is real. "One noise exposure isn't going to make me deaf" is also true. What the workplace needs to do is just recognize that a little bit of protection goes a long way, and the louder the noise, the more you need protection. -- What is unfortunate is that, unless you work somewhere that is concerned about medical costs, this information isn't widely or commonly available.

MeekAndMild
September 11, 2008, 09:53 PM
I've heard military people swearing that there was a method to make your ear drums adapt to noise.I think you must be referring to the fact that if a person is exposed to in-close howitzer fire without putting their hands over their ears they'll rupture their eardrums. :confused:

dmazur
September 11, 2008, 10:09 PM
Here's an extract on hearing loss -

The mechanism of hearing loss arises from trauma to stereocilia of the cochlea, the principal fluid filled structure of the inner ear.[citation needed] The pinna combined with the middle ear amplifies sound pressure levels by a factor of twenty, so that extremely high sound pressure levels arrive in the cochlea, even from moderate atmospheric sound stimuli. Underlying pathology to the cochlea are reactive oxygen species, which play a significant role in noise-induced necrosis and apoptosis of the stereocilia.[7] Exposure to high levels of noise have differing effects within a given population, and the involvement of reactive oxygen species suggests possible avenues to treat or prevent damage to hearing and related cellular structures.[7]

The elevated sound levels cause trauma to the cochlear structure in the inner ear, which gives rise to irreversible hearing loss.[8] A very loud sound in a particular frequency range can damage the cochlea's hair cells that respond to that range thereby reducing the ear's ability to hear those frequencies in the future.[9] However, loud noise in any frequency range has deleterious effects across the entire range of human hearing.[10] The outer ear (visible portion of the human ear) combined with the middle ear amplifies sound levels by a factor of 20 when sound reaches the inner ear.[11]

Hearing loss is somewhat inevitable with age. Though older males exposed to significant occupational noise demonstrate significantly reduced hearing sensitivity than their non-exposed peers, differences in hearing sensitivity decrease with time and the two groups are indistinguishable by age 79.[2] Women exposed to occupational noise do not differ from their peers in hearing sensitivity, though they do hear better than their non-exposed male counterparts. Due to loud music and a generally noisy environment, young people in the United States have a rate of impaired hearing 2.5 times greater than their parents and grandparents, with an estimated 50 million individuals with impaired hearing estimated in 2050.[3]

In Rosen's work on health effects and hearing loss, one of his findings derived from tracking Maaban tribesmen, who were insignificantly exposed to transportation or industrial noise. This population was systematically compared by cohort group to a typical U.S. population. The findings proved that aging is an almost insignificant cause of hearing loss, which instead is associated with chronic exposure to moderately high levels of environmental noise.[8]

Which came from this article in Wikepedia -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noise_health_effects

Death from Afar
September 11, 2008, 10:47 PM
Yet another reason to use an Enfield. ;)

Swampghost
September 11, 2008, 10:50 PM
Does all of this state when you can no longer hear your wife? I've been ignoring her for years but she's starting to catch on and I'm looking forward to REAL hearing loss.

In all seriousness, I've been exposed to massive amounts of noise and my ears just seem to naturally 'shut down'. Kind of like SCUBA diving when your ears 'pop'. After the 'pop' everything seems to go back to normal.

I'm 57 and can still hear a rattlesnake slither through the leaves at 30 ft. but am having problems in crowds of people.

Mike Irwin
September 12, 2008, 12:34 AM
"I'm 57 and can still hear a rattlesnake slither through the leaves at 30 ft. but am having problems in crowds of people."

And that is the nature of selective hearing loss.

I still have very acute hearing in some ranges, but in others? Nothing.

King Ghidora
September 12, 2008, 12:44 AM
Probably the same as a couple of fellow coworkers of mine - one was a clerk-typist and the other was a cargo loader for C-24 transports.

Yeah that would make sense except those transport engines can be pretty danged loud too. I know you were joking and all but I can't figure out how someone who was a sniper in WWII and a guy who operated either a 30 or 50 caliber machine gun in the door of a Huey (don't know which they used as door guns) could manage to come back hearing anything at all. Those chopper engines are pretty danged loud too. Maybe he used hearing protection, I don't know. I do know that the introduction of noise cancelling headphones certainly made those engines sound like they weren't as loud but the way those things work they are playing sounds just as loud as the engine only on the exact opposite wave form. If the engine sound is on the up side the noise cancelling sound is on the down side. I wonder if those things really help or if they make things twice as bad and we just don't know it.

I know we're making progress in the study of these things but it's still a new science. I just know that people can hear over top of those big engines with noise cancelling tech. I know it's really strange that that technology works at all.

I also know I have some hearing loss even if it is in the normal range for my age. I just figure most of us have had some of the same exposure to loud noises over the years. I wish I did know more about this stuff and I hope my kids don't have the same kinds of exposure I had. I know my dad worked for a railroad and got a big check for compensation for hearing damage. I guess progress is being made because I don't think my hearing is as bad as his was at my age. Then again I never saw dad use hearing protection when he shot his guns but at least he was into shotguns mostly. The sound isn't right by your ear like a .45 is. He shot a 16 ga. most of his life. He used it for trap shooting and for quail hunting.

MacGille
September 12, 2008, 02:08 AM
I have a profound hearing loss in both ears caused by tank guns in the army. The isidiousness of hearing loss is that you don't know you have it. I had the ringing in the ears (tinitus) but I didn't know I was hard of hearing. I was middle aged before I found out. After many years of shooting, and flying small planes, a friend asked me why I had my TV turned up so high. I could barely hear it. When I had my ears tested I found out that I had about 50% of normal hearing. I couldn't hear high pitched sounds at all. After I got my hearing aids I heard my own footsteps for the first time in 40 years. I could hear birds singing, and women's voices. I know what caused it because I remember the day I was caught outside my tank and the tanks on both sides of me fired their main guns. It was like getting stabbed in both ears at the same time. But I didn't know I couldn't hear well because if you can't hear it, a noise doesn't exist.

I was trained on the M1 rifle and during training on the firing line you could hear the ping of empty clips, but there were a lot of them, and reloading is very fast. An enemy would not be able to pick out which soldier had emptied his rifle. And he would not be able to move more than 3 feet before the rifle was reloaded. During WWII there were hundreds of thousands of enemy shot with M1s. I have never heard one reliable case of a GI who was shot because of the ping. In the rattle of rifle fire, machine gun bursts, grenades, screaming, yelling, artillery fire, bombs bursting etc. hearing and reacting to the ping would take a superman. IT DIDN'T HAPPEN, its an urban myth.:)

MacGille
September 12, 2008, 02:37 AM
OK everyone who has used an M1 in combat conditions (real or training) raise your hands. You tell us about the ping kills. Everyone who has not had that experience sit down and shut up!

As far as stories from the front lines, I know that people don't always remember things accurately. And people sometimes remember things that didn't happen at all. And people sometimes lie. I know one guy who sometimes posts on this forum who claims to have been a gunner on a river Patrol boat in 'Nam. He tells all kinds of stories about his fighting days. I also know his sister and his mother and both of them have told me that the closest he ever got to the military was one semester of high school ROTC. He also says he was a reserve cop, but I know he took a couple of ride alongs and never was a cop.

Historians check their sources very closely, CO's reports, buddies, official documentation, enemy corroboration etc. Any anecdotal tale is discounted without corroboration.

:)

King Ghidora
September 12, 2008, 05:53 AM
So when a historian tells me what you just said isn't true should I believe him or you?

I am a historian BTW. I produce historical documentaries for a living. Currently I'm working on a documentary on one room schools. It's a long process where I've done lots of research and done lots of interviews and I'm still not done. Just getting together the visual material takes a lot of time. So please don't tell me that I don't know what I'm doing when it comes to documenting historical information.

I was a history major and a journalism major in college. I learned what it took to verify information long ago. You're talking about what I do for a living when you talk about how historians and / or journalists verify information. And I'm here to tell you that "anecdotal tales" are not dismissed out of hand when they jibe with known facts.

You guys can argue the point all you want. I know for a fact that the historical record indicates that sometimes the ping did cause people to get shot. A 3 second pause is a long time in certain situations like the fluid battlefields of WWII. If you can't fire back for 3 seconds that gives your enemy a chance to come up from behind his cover and aim at you. Ordinarily the Garrand kept the enemy pinnned down because of the fact it was a semi-automatic facing bolt action rifles. The one time the enemy knew he had a chance was when he heard that ping.

Again my history professor claims he saw this happen. You can call him a liar and dismiss his claims if you like. But you are talking about someone who was there. You're right that in a major battle it wouldn't be an advantage at all. But once again in a small skirmish where a few soldiers were involved it could make a difference. The historical record says that it happened. I know that for a fact. I'll dig out my notes and find exactly what my professor said and post a copy of my notes if you like and I took excellent notes. I essentially wrote down everything that was said.

I didn't want to come on here making claims that are hard to back up but I've said enough times that my history professor was there and he said he saw it happen. If you think I'm lying then so be it. But I know what I was taught. And just to be blunt about it I was the star pupil in that class. That's how I got to be a historian now. I know you have a problem believing what people say and I can't say as I blame you. People do lie. But not all of them and I'm not lying now.

Just to give you an idea what my life is like my wife won the award as the best student in two different disciplines as a college student. My daughter has a totally free ride to Ohio St. because of her academics which is probably a 1 in 50,000 thing, my son is a graduate student at Dayton in laser physics where he does research for the Air Force. He makes a lot of money going to school. Yes he gets paid well to go to college. Actually he gets paid by the Air Force mostly now but he also won a fellowship that was extremely hard to come by. BTW he was qualified to go to Harvard as a graduate student but there weren't enough positions in his field and he wouldn't have gotten paid there anyway. And me, I produce historical documentaries.

I didn't want to go into all this but I'm getting tired of having what I said questioned by people who don't know nearly as much about the subject as I do. Call me a liar if you will but I can describe every battle and every campaign in WWII in great detail. Want to know about Hitler's religion? It wasn't Christianity. he thought he was a reincarnation of Thor. That's what all the Aryan Nation stuff was really all about. He wanted to replace Jesus as the deity of the western world. Want to know about the Japanese and their worship of the Emperor and how he was considered more of a god than a man. Want to know how that lead them to buy into the Samurai culture and why that caused them to try to conquer the world? Want to know what size guns the Arizona had and what size guns the battleship that replaced it had? Want me to recount my discussions with a guy who fought in every single naval battle in the Pacific from Pearl to Okinawa? Do you know what the Turkey Shoot was and what made it be called that? Do you know how many soldiers died on the Death March? Do you know how they were killed? Do you know about the Rape of Nanking? Do you know about the Russo-Japanese War? Do you know about the Burma Road? Do you know who Roger's Rangers were? Do you know what the Maginot Line was and the other name it came to have later in the war? Do you know why the Germans called it the Westwall and the Allies called it the Siegfried line? Do you know what Monte Cassino was about? Anzio? El Alamien? Sicily? Patton? Rommel? Montgomery? Messina? The V1? The V2? The Heavy Water plant at Rjukan? Dr. Yoshio Nishina? Just look up the last one. Here I'll do it for you. Read about him on this web page (http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Yoshio-Nishina). If that doesn't scare the pants off you then you just don't know what should scare you. Yes it was a long time ago but it was a race to the finish at the time and most people have no clue why things worked out the way they did. If you read that you will have a clue if you know how to apply it.

I could go on for hours here. Before you start telling people how historians do things you probably ought to find out who you're dealing with. When I say I have evidence that the ping did matter at times I mean what I say.

Tamara
September 12, 2008, 07:25 AM
Again my history professor claims he saw this happen. You can call him a liar and dismiss his claims if you like. But you are talking about someone who was there.

I once knew a guy who was there (and by "there" I mean combat, the particular war is irrelevant) and had the CIB and campaign ribbon and Eleven-series MOS and DD214 to go with it who swore... swore that a near miss from a Ma Deuce could kill you from the overpressure. Most of the time it was a buddy of his that saw it happen. Once or twice, though, he said he saw it happen.

There's a reason that forensic evidence trumps eyewitness testimony every time.

You are a historian, right? How many oral history pieces have you read where GI's describe German Panther tanks and their 88mm guns? Or call anything the Germans had that was hand-held and full-auto a "Schmeisser"?

jsmaye
September 12, 2008, 07:50 AM
Understand, when most of us say "historians" we mean The History Channel or The Military Channel, and to a lesser degree, the various science channels. They all constantly get things wrong.

Mike Irwin
September 12, 2008, 09:24 AM
Technially I am a historian.

I have my degree in history and have more than my fair share of time working in museums devoted to the preservation of American history.

There are most definitely "oddities of history" that people take for gospel truth, and which are even recited as gospel truth by those recognized to be authorities, that just aren't true, or for which there is little to no foundational basis.

First hand "I was there" experiences are not always reliable, either. There are some really compelling studies done of people who have witnessed crimes and how their own prejudices, beliefs, etc., influence their description of events and perpetrators.

How many here have had Navy carrier personnel SWEAR to them that their nuclear carrier routinely operated at 70+ knots, and that wasn't even the top speed, which is turbo ultra secret classified and you'd have to be killed if you knew it? I have, and more than one.

Tamara's example of the "M2 overpressure will kill you" is a perfect example.

Sometimes there's a slight shred of truth that can be gleaned from things like this.

For example, the carrier...

Generally, when launch aircraft, a carrier noses into the prevailing wind and goes to full power.

So, if you have a carrier going 35 knots nosing into a 35 knot wind, there's your 70 knots.

That's wind speed on the flight deck, which is monitored and reported very frequently during flight operations because it affects the catapult and arrestor wire settings.

The ship isn't going 70 knots, but the wind over the flight deck certainly is.

Double Naught Spy
September 12, 2008, 09:48 AM
Again my history professor claims he saw this happen. You can call him a liar and dismiss his claims if you like. But you are talking about someone who was there.

That is called a good story, and now it is a story of hearsay, or oft-repeated story.

It isn't about calling your history professor a liar. It is the story you recounted that is in question. They aren't calling you a liar either, just doubting an old story, steeped in a lot of myth baggage.

dmazur
September 12, 2008, 02:28 PM
Yes, applying noise opposite in phase does cancel the noise out. There is a commercial product mfg by Bose that uses this technology. The military calls it ANR (Active Noise Reduction.) It does have to sample the outside noise, invert the phase and then apply it in order to cancel the noise. It isn't twice as loud (unless the phase shift circuit fails :) )

Here is an interesting article about the military concern about hearing loss and what they're doing about it. The comments about the degree of hearing loss suffered in military conditions is interesting.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3912/is_200306/ai_n9247108/pg_1?tag=artBody;col1

Back to the "can you hear the ping?" question, I think there is plenty of evidence that battlefield hearing loss makes this a "probably not true" in the myth classification department, rather than "current research supports the claim".

amd6547
September 12, 2008, 02:31 PM
Such a tiresome discussion.
Those who doubt it could be possible flatly dismiss it.
I know my Father, and he had no agenda when he mentioned the ping in an off-hand comment, one of the few he ever made about his combat experiences. He served prior to WWII in an Ohio National Guard unit that was half horse- half armored car equipped. By the time he reached France, they were fully equipped with M8 armored cars and Stuart tanks.
He was something of a weapons expert in his unit, having qualified with basically every small arm in the Army from 45 1911 to 50 Browning, as well as the 37mm cannon used first as a towed anti-tank gun, then as the main weapon on the tanks and armored cars. He taught the use of the 30 and 50 cal machine guns, and had a personal collection of German automatic weapons which he used to teach other units with. He never went into detail about the war, but would occaisionally make a statement while watching "Combat" with me like "a 30.06 AP would go right through a tree like that, and the german hiding behind it". Or, "Hiding behind a wall like that is useless--an M1 would take that apart brick by brick".
He was a fan of the M1, and liked the M3 grease gun as well. He also mentioned the efficiency of cannister rounds in the 37mm cannon on the M8.
One of the few stories he told about the hedgerows concerned having to drive across a road intersection lined with hedges one by one as a German 88 fired down the road.
You guys can believe or disbelieve the "ping" story, but I know at least one European vet who was aware of it.

LanceOregon
September 12, 2008, 03:11 PM
Do you think I don't know the conventional wisdom on loud noise Bill? I just reported what I heard

And that is also exactly what you have done here regarding this myth about the Garand "ping". You have not provided one single real piece of actual documented evidence to show that you are doing anything more than spreading this myth.

.

Jager78
September 12, 2008, 03:15 PM
All I will say is this,
There might be a little truth to that, I'm sure it probably happened but without that rifle many more of our guys might not have made it back home.

The M1 Garand is a fine rifle and I'd rather go into battle with one of them than a original M16

LanceOregon
September 12, 2008, 03:25 PM
Those who doubt it could be possible flatly dismiss it.

Well, the problem is that for most people to accept something as being a fact, they need to be able to see some sort of truly documented evidence.

And anonymous posts on an internet forum just don't cut it for most folks. If people believed everything that they read on the Internet, the world would certainly be one messed up place.

.

alistaire
September 12, 2008, 03:36 PM
When you heard a PING! you knew you were going to be killed by Americans, not Brits.

support_six
September 12, 2008, 03:40 PM
amd6547, I agree with you totally. My father-in-law was a mud Marine on Iwo Jima and in Fox Company, 7th Marine Regiment in Korea. I've talked to him at length about his experience with the M1 in both wars. I've posted this on this forum before, whenever this subject comes up. In WWII, on Iwo Jima, his experience was that the "ping" was no big deal. Many posting on this forum are correct in that in "force on force" actions (look that one up, you armchair commandos) put too many troops in proximity to the enemy with enough noise that hand and arm signals win out over voice or radio commands.

...but, his USMC company was detailed to patrol the area "behind" the allied lines dealing with infiltrators consisting of a few enemy soldiers up to a company of enemy soldiers who had slipped behind and congregated. Most of his time in Korea was spent in patrolling in platoon down to fireteam size forces. He spent time on lots of LP/OPs with just a buddy. Most of the firefights were two or three guys on one or two enemy. He told me he never saw or heard of anyone actually getting killed because of the ping but he said he was aware of the concept, had been taught to operate so that it wouldn't happen to him, and did so by keeping a spare clip in his left hand while balancing the forend of his M1. This made for a quick reload when his clip ejected.

The title of this thread is probably false – not many soldiers lost their lives in WWII because of this phenomenon. ...but is it a myth, an urban legend, a false concept? Not on your life. Lots of soldiers never operated at the small unit level. Most were just part of a maneuvering battalion or regiment. But some did operate in small groups and noise discipline was much more important to them.

So to all you guys who claim it as a legend because you can think of so many ways it couldn't have happened – good luck trying to prove a negative. You can't. One problem these days is the rapidity with which the veterans of these wars are leaving us.

Buzzcook
September 12, 2008, 04:42 PM
I still have very acute hearing in some ranges, but in others? Nothing.
Apparently one of the ranges I'm deficient in is the same as my wife's voice.


It's really hard to prove stuff on the internet without a link to some accepted authority. Making a claim that you are the, or an, authority just doesn't do it.
That doesn't mean that you or anyone else making that claim is being disrespected, it just is what it is.

Just a note on Historians. "Citizen Soldier" by Stephan Ambrose is a wonderful pop history of American involvement in WWII told through interviews with common soldiers. It is rife with errors. Perhaps those errors are because the book is based on anecdotal evidence and somewhat casual research on Ambrose's part.

I can't remember the title or author now, but a few years ago a lady wrote a book on The Battle of Gettysburg that compared eyewitness accounts to physical evidence. The eyewitness accounts were invariably wrong, sometimes wildly so.

One of the pop gods of WWII history is SLA Marshall. His interpretation of after battle interviews were, for many years, taken as gospel. While still an ongoing discussion, most people interpret Marshall's interviews differently than he did regarding the use of small arms.

It is possible that some soldier(s) Where killed because of an expended clip. It is possible that some soldier thought others were killed by the ping of an expended clip. It is possible that the story of soldiers dying because of the ping of an expended clip got into the historical record even though it was apocryphal.
But just the logic of the situation seems to indicate it was not something that happened. The historical record that is accessible on the web is equivocal at best.

Deaf Smith
September 12, 2008, 05:48 PM
It is very easy to prove one way or another about the ping.

Just ask those at Camp Perry, where they shool leg matches with M1 Grand rifles quite a bit, if when all those guys are on the line firing, can anyone here a 'ping'?

nate45
September 12, 2008, 06:09 PM
Like I said before, I don't believe it was a factor and probably fits the urban legend, old wives tale category.

However, even though my hearing is not the best in the world, when I fire my Garand with ear plugs or ear muffs, when the clip ejects, I can clearly hear the ping.

Others wearing hearing protection standing several yards behind have said the can clearly hear it.

I just don't see how it could be used to tactical advantage.

Granted this is hearsay, but one man who I trust, told me they could hear MG42 crewmen changing their hot barrels. What he did not tell me was that this was a cue to charge, in fact he said they did it very fast.

Now if a machine gun crew changing barrels does not give you time to rush them, I doubt hearing a Garand clip eject does either. Unless you were very,very close.

King Ghidora
September 12, 2008, 06:16 PM
You are a historian, right? How many oral history pieces have you read where GI's describe German Panther tanks and their 88mm guns? Or call anything the Germans had that was hand-held and full-auto a "Schmeisser"?

I don't just take the word of one person on this issue. Just look how many people here relate stories they have heard from relatives about the subject. Look at the detail of the story retold by support_six. Do you think his father-in-law made all of that up? Why would he do that? I certainly know of the propensity of people to exaggerate and to just get things wrong.

Historians don't generally take the word of one person when there are so many sources to use. In this case their were thousands. The story is not a fabrication no matter how many times you deduce that it isn't logical. There's a difference between history and speculation.

My history prof. was a reporter from Stars And Stripes and as such he was a trained observer. If he had reported something ridiculously wrong, as you seem to suggest, he would have quickly found himself assigned to a rifle unit. His job was to spend time with ordinary soldiers and report what was going on with them. That had him spending time in foxholes and talking to a lot of soldiers. That's not some GI Joe making assumptions. That's a professional accumulating data and sorting out the wheat from the chaff. I seriously doubt he reported that Panthers had 88's on them.

Since the Panther came out so much earlier than the Tiger, which did have the 88's, I doubt most Allies thought the Panther carried the 88. Up until the development of the Tiger the 88's were used as anti-aircraft and anti-tank guns. Since the Panther was used from the battle of Anzio on it would seem unlikely that soldiers connected it with the 88. But here I am speculating. If you have proof that what you say is true I'm willing to listen.

Bart Noir
September 12, 2008, 06:50 PM
How does anybody know what the enemy heard? How does anybody know what decisions the enemy made, based on what the enemy might have heard? Did the war stop for a few minutes so that questionaires could be filled out?

A GI fires his last of 8 rounds and hears his own "ping". Moments later the enemy makes a rush towards him. The enemy is hit, the GI lives to old age being sure that the "ping" was the reason he was charged. But how can he know? Did the dying enemy motion him over and mention the "ping"?

That's the way I see the "Story of the Ping" being sustained.

Bart Noir

Death from Afar
September 12, 2008, 07:09 PM
I agree with Bart.

Thers is another good reason to have a .303. Zombies can hear pings too!

(yes, dear moderator now i have mentioned zombies please kill this thread!)

King Ghidora
September 12, 2008, 08:06 PM
The best way to know what the enemy heard is to ask them. You think no one bothered to do that?

Again this bit of trivia is a well documented historical fact. Yes sometimes historians are wrong. I sometimes wonder if the History Channel really shouldn't be called the "I know more than those other guys so pay me more" channel. Historians lived to make a name for themselves by re-writing the conventional wisdom. It gets their name in the journals and it gets them tenure if they do it enough. But I went to a school where such things were rarely important because no one there ever got their names in the journals at the time. Later on they wrote the history of things no one cared about when I was in college. So some of them did make a name for themselves. BTW I have a long interview with one of those people in my current project.

Historians without any agenda are usually more reliable than those looking to make a name by re-writing existing history. That's why it's so easy for people to pick out the errors in the History Channel stuff. They're more interested in re-writing history and often it's more about their political agenda than it is anything else.

I know how history works. I know that first hand accounts are often dismissed but they later turn out to be true. No one believed Marco Polo at first. People still argue about his recounted adventures and that's been hundreds of years ago. There's no end to applying speculation to the known facts. We had a term for this where I went to school. It's a common term really. This is a family board though so I'll only repeat the initials. We called it B$.

It's often said that history is written by the victors. IMO that's pure Barbara Striesand. The facts don't change just because we want them to. There's two kinds of history really. There's the Babs S. kind and there's the facts. I won't say there's no value to the first kind. There is especially when we see history repeating itself. But we shouldn't dismiss the second kind because the first kind makes no sense at all if it doesn't follow what the second kind lays out. But a meaningless bit of trivia like the one we have beat to death here isn't going to be important to much of anything. So I'm done beating this dead horse. It's a waste of time.

Before I quit I'd like to point out a few other first hand accounts that were dismissed as wild tales for years before they became proven true. No one in the east believed a place could have hundreds if not thousands of geysers like Yellowstone does so they dismissed the first hand accounts from the mountain men who were the first white people to see it. Those easterners also dismissed reports of a massive gorge over a mile deep in Arizona. We know it as the Grand Canyon today.

So dismissing single accounts is not always the right thing to do. Judging who's lying and who's just plain crazy isn't always easy of course. But dismissing first hand accounts out of hand isn't right. Absent a good reason to claim someone is lying I find it's better to trust people who otherwise appear to be honest and not prone to wild exaggerations. We have a parallel situation in the world today. How many believe in UFO's without having actually seen one? What about Bigfoot? Angels? Have you seen any of these things? People claim they have. Do you automatically dismiss them all? Remember that just over 100 years ago the conventional wisdom was that the wild tales of gorillas were fantasy yarns from attention seeking wackos. What about the JFK assaination? Are you able to fire 3 rounds with a bolt action rifle in 8 seconds and be accurate at distances between 50 and 100 yards? Are you ready to dismiss every story you hear that doesn't fit the conventional wisdom? If you are then likely as not you'll have to eat crow at some point. Of course some people continue to cling to old thinking despite incredible evidence. Are you one of the people who think we didn't really go to the moon? People believed the world was flat for hundreds of years after the proof it isn't was common knowledge. So maybe it's not always the right thing to do to dismiss a single anecdote.

Tamara
September 12, 2008, 09:55 PM
Since the Panther came out so much earlier than the Tiger, which did have the 88's, I doubt most Allies thought the Panther carried the 88.

The Panther made its combat debut at Kursk in 1943; Schwere Panzer Abteilung 501 rolled Tigers on the Leningrad front with Army Group North in late Autumn '42.

I'm riffing off the top of my head here, but several books of oral history including the well-known ones by Ambrose, as well as O'Donnell's Beyond Valor, contain transcripts of combat veterans mentioning Panther tanks and 88s. (Unsurprising, as G.I.'s who weren't intel weenies or cannon cockers often referred to any direct-fire German cannon as an "88".) I'm not going up to the attic to get page cites, because it just doesn't interest me that much anymore, frankly. As for trained observers with Stars and Stripes, well, read Bill Mauldin? It's a wonderful read, but it's not a textbook.

I think we can drop this conversation, though, as your post I quoted tells me where you and I stand on relative knowledge on the topic of WWII history (or at least Wehrmacht AFVs). We are both sure we're right, and isn't that enough to make anyone happy?

Buzzcook
September 12, 2008, 10:51 PM
Tamara, Ernie Pyle would be the one to read. I read a book of his columns last years. They guy could write pretty darn well.
If Pyle had heard of that story he would have written about it and the rifle probably would have been redesigned post haste.

shaman
September 12, 2008, 11:47 PM
and dont forget that mr. fritz over there with the bolt action rifle could shoot

44 AMP
September 13, 2008, 12:42 AM
Tiger tanks entered production in August 1942, and entered combat in the fall of that year. Panther tanks began production in November 1942, but were not used in combat until the Kurk offensive, in July 1943.

GIs had a well noted habit of calling all German guns 88s (sometimes even when they knew better), and anything bigger than a Sherman tank was a "Tiger" to the majority of the infantry. Tankers (and AT gunners) usually knew better, as it could be a matter of life and death to them, but to the average infantryman, the distinction was not quite so important.

As to the ping of the Garand clip, sure, it probably did result in a death or three during the course of the war, but was it a failing of the rifle that constantly lead to the death of our troops? No. Not hardly.

King Ghidora
September 13, 2008, 03:00 AM
Actually I was referring to when soldiers on the western front saw the Panther. I don't believe any of our soldiers would have seen it in action in Kursk. It's no secret the Panther was developed as a hedge against the powerful T-34's with their slanted armour. But we were discussing whether our soldiers said the Panther had 88's. And the first place our soldiers saw the Panther was Anzio. So your assumption about our relative knowledge of WWII is just smoke the best I can see. If you think I don't know the Panther first appeared on the eastern front you're really grasping at straws. That's like saying that the Garrand was a German rifle. You can't seriously think I thought the first time the Panther appeared was in Anzio. Well maybe you do but that shows how weak your argument is.

Since we're playing this game let's see you describe where the 88's first gained notoriety as anti-tank guns in addition to being good anti-aircraft guns. For extra credit you can tell me which anti-aircraft gun was actually the most effective in the war. And just for kicks tell me what the Ultra intercepts were. I've got a strong feeling you have no chance in this contest. You picked on the wrong guy pal.

BTW no one bothered answering the questions I asked earlier. Tell the truth. Did you know who Yoshio Nishina was before I mentioned him? Do you know now? Do you know why I keep mentioning his name?

Since you didn't answer my question when I asked it I'll go ahead and tell you who he was. He was the leader of the Japanese effort to develop an atomic bomb. Recent revelations (mainly the release of information that at least one submarine run between Germany and Japan occurred where the main cargo was non-enriched uranium - we captured that sub but the possibility that more such runs happened is considered relatively high or at least that was the story when this information first came out) seem to possibly indicate that Japan actually detonated an atomic bomb during the war. The actual detonation is a subject of great dispute but there are those who believe it happened and it had a great effect on our own decision to drop out bombs. At any rate they certainly did have an advanced program in place to develop an atomic bomb.

One thing is sure. They were trying to do the same thing to us that we were trying to do and there's not a doubt they would have used their bomb if they had the chance. One look at the things they did in the war should remove all doubt of that.

Most everyone knows about the attack on the German heavy water plant in Norway. If the Allies hadn't done that chances are the Germans would have had an atomic bomb long before we did. It was the super weapon Hitler talked about so often. But very few know that the Japanese had a very formidable atomic program too. Here are some links that back up this story including a reference the allegation that Japan did explode an atomic bomb in their testing.

http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Yoshio-Nishina

http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Japanese-atomic-program

So unless you knew that I doubt you can come close to my knowledge of WWII. I can't believe I'm playing this game with you but I guess that's what happens when someone claims superior knowledge about something when they really don't know what the other person knows.

As far as Ernie Pyle goes, he was the spokesman of the dogface but his slant often left him left out of the important stories of the war. The soldiers loved him. The leaders didn't so they didn't give him much information about anything mainly because they thought he was bad for morale. They tried to can him once but the GI's demanded his return. The brass tolerated him but just barely. There were a lot better sources of important information in Stars And Stripes.

Here's something I bet you didn't know. GI Joe was actually based on Pyle's life indirectly. The term GI Joe came from a movie and the character in that movie was based on Pyle. Also Gomer Pyle was not based on Ernie.

HiBC
September 13, 2008, 03:33 AM
I'm going to step past the Jerry Springer part of this.

Seems like I recall reading about how the Brits didn't think much of the first versions of the B-17.The P-51 Mustang's first versions were lame.The P-38 was killing test pilots in dives till some dive brake flaps were added.The original 30-03 had problems due to bullet jacket alloys.Was it Kaiser who built the Liberty Ship yard in the Northwest? When they went to welding instead of riveting ,it cost some failed ships and lives.
There is always som dilrod to bellyache about how "the bad guys" twist their hands with glee about screwing our troops.
How about "We did the very best we knew how and we won"
What yawn inducing lame drivel over egos and whizzing contests!!
This is tiring.

nate45
September 13, 2008, 04:16 AM
Since we're playing this game let's see you describe where the 88's first gained notoriety as anti-tank guns in addition to being good anti-aircraft guns.

Me,Me I know, North Africa.

And just for kicks tell me what the Ultra intercepts were.

Thats where the British broke the German Enigma codes.

For extra credit you can tell me which anti-aircraft gun was actually the most effective in the war.

Bofors. I'm just guessing, you got me there I don't know.

King Ghidora
September 13, 2008, 06:06 AM
Very good on the Ultra intercepts. They were very important in N. Africa too. They gave the Brits the information on Rommel's planned offensive at El Alamein (the last one) which led to his final defeat on that continent and sent the Desert Fox running back to Germany with his tail between his legs as a sick man. And as Churchill put it, it was the end of the beginning. After that the Allies didn't have any defeats. Before that they didn't have any victories.

That was one of the first great advantages the Brits got from their work on the codes. Early on it was very hard to decipher the daily codes and during the Battle Of Britain

BTW the exact location of the first use of the 88's as tank killers was indeed in N. Africa at Halfaya Pass. It became know as the "Hellfire Pass" because of the effectiveness of the 88's on the Allied tanks. "They are tearing my tanks apart," was the last words heard on the radio from the Allied Commander.

And the best anti-aircraft gun in the war? It was the American 90 mm Mark 1. It shot higher with heavier rounds and had a faster rate of fire than the 88's. It was not as versatile though but it was eventually adapted as an anti-tank weapon. The Brits also had a better anti-aircraft gun than the 88 in the 3.7-inch Mark 3.

Now that we answered the questions for Tamara I'll have to think of more. :) Let's leave N. Africa and skip Sicily (everyone who's seen Patton knows that story) and go right to Italy. I could ask what the big holdup was at Monte Cassino but I'm guessing most people know that. The real question was whether the Germans were actually doing what they claimed they weren't doing. If you know the story you know what they claimed they weren't doing. It's only been in recent years that the real truth of the matter has come to light. If you know the story you can make my rambling make sense.

BTW my wife's uncle earned a Silver Star at Anzio. The hospital he was working in took a direct hit from heavy artillery. It was quite possibly Anzio Annie that struck the blow. He was the lone survivor out of about 100 people. I never got to meet the guy. He died before I met my wife. But his brother, my father in law, told me the whole story. There's another good question in there. What was Annie's counterpart called?

nate45
September 13, 2008, 06:23 AM
It was just before dawn
One miserable morning in black 'forty four.
When the forward commander
Was told to sit tight
When he asked that his men be withdrawn.
And the Generals gave thanks
As the other ranks held back
The enemy tanks for a while.
And the Anzio bridgehead
Was held for the price
Of a few hundred ordinary lives.- When the Tigers broke free (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYtGsvoBVw8), Roger Waters

I've got to get one of those .455 Weblys.

44 AMP
September 13, 2008, 11:57 AM
Ok, you dodged the Panther/Tiger bullet by (after the fact) pointing out that you were talking about the first time our troops saw the Panther was at Anzio. And somehow neatly sidestepped the fact that the first time our troops saw the Tiger was in North Africa (Tunisia), months before Anzio.

Since we're playing this game let's see you describe where the 88's first gained notoriety as anti-tank guns in addition to being good anti-aircraft guns.

Are you talking about where the 88s first gained notoriety? or where they first gained notoriety among the Allies?

BTW the exact location of the first use of the 88's as tank killers was indeed in N. Africa at Halfaya Pass. It became know as the "Hellfire Pass" because of the effectiveness of the 88's on the Allied tanks. "They are tearing my tanks apart," was the last words heard on the radio from the Allied Commander.


This leads me to think you are again only talking about notoriety among the Allies, but the actual first place the 88s became noted for their anti-tank capacity was else where. AND it was against the Allies!
5/21/40
FRANCE:
The English attack the German advance near Araas. 6 and 8 DLI (Durham Light Infantry) with 4 and 7 RTR (Royal Tank Regiment) attack the SS division Totenkopf which is traveling behind the armored spearhead of the German advance. The attack is successful, at first, mainly owing to the thick armor of the English Matilda tanks, which is impervious to the German guns.
General Rommel personally organizes the German defense around a battery of 88mm FlaK guns, and uses them against the tanks. The 88mm is discovered to be an excellent anti-tank gun. The thick frontal armor of the Matilda is not impervious to the 88mm FlaK gun.


Although the 88mm FlaK guns had seen some limited ground combat in the Polish campaign, it was this battle in France that made their reputation as a tank cracker in the German Army. Rommel remembered this lesson and deliberately used 88s as anti tank guns later in North Africa.

I would love to continue this WWII Q&A (no doubt we can both learn a few things), but lets take it to PM (or e-mail) to save thread space, please. Anyone else who wants to join in, come on, lets have some fun, and talk WWII trivia!

Mike Irwin
September 13, 2008, 04:09 PM
As far as I know, the first recorded, recognized, and remarked upon use of the Flak 88 family of weapons against armor wasn't in France, it wasn't in Russia, and it wasn't in North Africa.

It was in Spain during the Spanish Civil War. Germany's Condor Legion used their 88s (most likely Flak 36s and 37s), which had originally been attached for use as antiaircraft guns, as general field artillery and as anti-tank guns against Soviet supplied BT-series tanks.

As for the 88's use as an anti-tank gun in Europe, Rommel's troops used their 88s to great effect against British and French heavy tanks. Their use as anti-tank guns in 1940 stopped cold a British attempt to break through the German lines at Arras.



"And the best anti-aircraft gun in the war? It was the American 90 mm Mark 1."

Read up on the 128 mm Flak 40.

SpeciallyMadeBullet
September 13, 2008, 04:30 PM
That would really all depend- it can't be extremely loud so if there up close and personal and can hear over the artilery then sure they might figure it out but really its hard to tell.

Slamfire
September 13, 2008, 04:52 PM
The clip "ping" is bogus.

Talked to one of the Gun Club's few remaining WWII Vets.

S. Ramon was an under age kid living in El Paso. He wanted to join the service so much that he convinced his parents to let him join the Navy, in Communications.

He left San Diego, to Pearl Harbor, and then participated in the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. He was second wave in both of these invasions because his job was to relay the communications from the Island to the Command Ship offshore.

(I worked for a Boss who told me he knew he was going to die, because he had been assigned third wave in an island invasion. The guys assigned to the early waves, were understood to be, dead men.)

S.Ramon was wounded, probably on Iwo, woke up on a Hospital ship, but he won’t talk about it.

Anyway, I have gotten a few combat stories out of him, but you have to pry.

Today I asked him about the “ping” providing a sign. His overall reply was that any empty rifle would be reloaded so quickly that any Japanese exposing themselves would be dead in seconds. Essentially that. There were snorts and hand motions involved in the explaination. I had the overall idea that the firepower of a squad of Americans armed with carbines, Garands, BAR’s was such that any Japanese caught out in the open died very quickly.

In fact, based on one story of his, it seems that catching Japanese in the open would be a preferred event. Because the trip to the mouth of a cave, to roll a grenade down to the Japanese inside, was very dangerous.

He said the “ping” story, including people tossing clips to get a “ping”, were a myth, in his experience.

He mentioned he was very frustrated with the lack of accuracy with the M1 Carbine. He described a chance at a quick 200 yard shot, but he claimed the carbine was not accurate enough to hit moving Japanese at that distance. He told me that he had time to sight in his carbine before he embarked. He shot it, told the unit armorer where it shot, the unit armorer adjusted the sights until the carbine was zero'd.

He also mentioned slinging bandoliers of ammunition, to GI’s who were calling for ammo. Said if you did not catch the bandolier, it would hurt real bad when it landed…:eek:

hank327
September 13, 2008, 04:54 PM
My history prof. was a reporter from Stars And Stripes

I think this is the problem with your argument. Your history prof was a remf and in all probability never engaged in infantry combat himself. His observations were at best second hand and thus no more valid than any of ours. I can tell you that having served four years as an infantryman, the Army DOES NOT have a training program to accustom a soldier's ears to load noises. Any claims to the opposite are patently false.

Tamara
September 13, 2008, 08:22 PM
As far as I know, the first recorded, recognized, and remarked upon use of the Flak 88 family of weapons against armor wasn't in France, it wasn't in Russia, and it wasn't in North Africa.

Yeah, but pop history usually has them making their anti-armor debut at Arras, no matter that the Condor Legion had been plinking Republican tanks with them years earlier. I'd never heard anyone claim they were very first ever deployed in a direct-fire role in Operation Battleaxe before. New one on me; I'm getting schooled left and right here. I should pay more attention during those History Channel documentaries... :rolleyes:

44 AMP
September 14, 2008, 01:05 AM
Yep, no doubt they were there, and they got used. But an important difference was that the conventional anti tank guns of the time (37mm or the Two Pounder (40mm)) would also knock out Republican or Polish light tanks, just as they could take out the Panzer I, and IIs. Even the medium Panzer III and the "heavy" MK IV were vulnerable to some degree.

But when the Germans faced the 80mm frontal armor of the British Matilda MK IIs in France, the only commonly available gun that could stop them was the 88mm flak guns. This led to the decision to upgrade the regular AT and tank guns from 37mm to 50mm, but like a lot of things, when you are winning, improvements happen slowly. They were just beginning to make the changeover when they went into Russia. And they were still winning there, for a while. Then they began to meet the T-34 and the KV series tanks.

You can see this kind of thing over and over studying WWII equipment (and lots of other places in history if you look), when you are winning, you don't need better weapons, and when you are losing, it is real difficult to improve your equipment, even though there is a strong motivation to do so.

You can look at the "ping" of the Garand as a flaw, something that got GIs killed (but it is arguable, the significance of how many actually were killed as a result) but it is a small thing overall. How many did we lose because we had very poor performing torpedoes for the first half of the war? Or how many did we lose because none of the single engine fighter planes had supercharged engines in the early months of the war? Or how many did we lose because we deliberatly concentrated on the Sherman tank instead of a heavier better armed and armored design? Or any one of dozens of other decisions made about the equipment our boys used in that war.

Some of our equipment was inferior to that of our enemies. Some was superior. But all of it was built and used by those men and women that we have come to call our "Greatest Generation". They, quite literally, changed the world. Against that, I think a little "ping" doesn't matter all that much.

King Ghidora
September 14, 2008, 03:58 AM
Ok, you dodged the Panther/Tiger bullet by (after the fact) pointing out that you were talking about the first time our troops saw the Panther was at Anzio. And somehow neatly sidestepped the fact that the first time our troops saw the Tiger was in North Africa (Tunisia), months before Anzio.

I didn't "dodge" anything. I was talking about the Panther, which is NOT a Tiger tank despite you linking them together, and the first time the Allies saw them. We weren't discussing Tigers at all. We were discussing Panthers and the first time the Allies saw them was at Anzio. But since you mentioned the Tigers yes there were a very few of the Tiger I tanks in N. Africa. But the Tiger that did so much damage in the Battle Of The Bulge was the Tiger II which was also known as the King Tiger. The Tiger I was plagued with overheating problems and was incredibly unreliable. The early models of the Panther was actually plagued with overheating problems too. In fact many of them actually set themselves on fire because of it. One German commander said he was losing more tanks to the inability of his tank commanders to control the fire problems than he was to the Soviet army. And the King Tiger had problems of it's own not the least of which was a huge appetite for fuel because it was such a heavy tank. It could easily stand up to any other tank in the war but mechanical problems and the scarcity of fuel meant it wasn't nearly as effective as Hitler had hoped it would be. Plus there was the problem of experienced tank crews by then. Most tank commanders were just out of the Hitler youth by that point.

In fact the Panther was just a Panzer with sloping armour and an overhanging gun at first. It took quite a bit of development to make them capable of giving the T-34's a run for their money. But of course by that time the updated versions of the T-34, like the T-34-85, were already on the battlefield.

I think this is the problem with your argument. Your history prof was a remf and in all probability never engaged in infantry combat himself.

Sometimes I wonder why I post this stuff at all. Did you even read my posts? I clearly said he had combat experience. Do I have to continually repeat myself?

I can tell you that having served four years as an infantryman, the Army DOES NOT have a training program to accustom a soldier's ears to load noises.

Well like I said I heard it on the radio. I also said I didn't consider that a very reliable source of information.

Art Eatman
September 14, 2008, 07:56 AM
Ain't heard no Panzer Ping...

88s sounded like field-jacket zippers, according to Bill Mauldin. He wuz there; wuz you?

:), Art