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View Full Version : How the Garand En-Bock clip got U.S. soldiers killed


petru
September 7, 2008, 10:37 AM
On one of the other posts everyone was arguing about En-Bock Garand clip ping but many missed the forest for the trees.

The real problem with this clip is that it could not be topped off causing soldiers to fire off their last remaining rounds so they could quickly reload with a full magazine of cartridges (8). This caused the whole group of men to quickly run out of ammo and when they were cut off or low on ammo this resulted in many be shot down with empty rifles or being captured (if the enemy was in a good mood that day).

I read somewhere in the distant past that Mr. Garand wanted to put a 20 round detachable magazine on the Garand when he originally designed the gun but the Military Neanderthals did not like it because the rifle then could not be carried magazine down over the shoulder on parade like the older 1903 Springfield could. Talk about stupidity, but Mr. Garand made the gun the way the wanted it made and the rest sadly, is history, as they say.

I might add that military arms designers were well aware of this problem and the later developed M14 finally had a 20 round magazine put on it.

Alleykat
September 7, 2008, 10:57 AM
Mr. Browning didn't want a grip safety on his 1911, either, but he acquiesced to those writing the checks.

Jim Watson
September 7, 2008, 11:12 AM
I don't know how many troops got killed by running out of ammo through banging off the last couple of rounds in a clip so as to be able to reload with eight, but it sounds better than the legend of a Nip charging at the sound of the ping.
Most other infantry rifles of the day were stripper clip loaded five at a time. I can't see how that is superior to the en-bloc. While the detachable box magazine is superior to either for sustained fire, it was a very new idea at the time.

I don't know what Mr Garand wanted, any more than I know what Mr Browning wanted, but Hatcher illustrates a 1920 Garand primer actuated rifle with big box magazine that looks like it came right off a BAR. Did he perceive a tactical advantage (he was not an infantryman) or did he just use an available part?

The 1921 Garand has a floorplate and no mention of magazine design or capacity by Hatcher. Maybe Ed Clancy has the scoop on the design objectives of the day. Maybe it will take hiring a medium to run a seance.

By 1928 when he went to gas operation, the en-bloc clip was pretty well entrenched, possibly due to the efforts of Mr Pedersen to get his rifle accepted. At least the Garand 10x.276 clip was symmetrical like the later 8x.30; the Pedersen clip had to be loaded this end up.

Jason_G
September 7, 2008, 11:55 AM
On one of the other posts everyone was arguing about En-Bock Garand clip ping but many missed the forest for the trees.
:confused:I don't think anybody missed the forest for the trees, it was a thread on a totally different topic.

Jason

HorseSoldier
September 7, 2008, 11:59 AM
The real problem with this clip is that it could not be topped off causing soldiers to fire off their last remaining rounds so they could quickly reload with a full magazine of cartridges (8). This caused the whole group of men to quickly run out of ammo and when they were cut off or low on ammo this resulted in many be shot down with empty rifles or being captured (if the enemy was in a good mood that day).

Not if they had any degree of decent training, they didn't. Coordinating use of weapons within a fire team or squad for the exact purpose of making so everyone's guns aren't dry at the same time is a basic skill for infantrymen and small unit leaders.

As is managing available ammunition supplies to keep yourself and your unit in the fight.

Plus this claim ignores the fact that those GI's were part of a unit that did not solely rely on the M1 Garand for firepower. BARs, carbines, SMGs, and M1919s would have been on hand in force to round out a unit's firepower.

Put another way, I've never encountered any accounts of US troops being overwhelmed rapidly in combat due to exhaustion of ammunition supplies or the even sillier premise that an entire fireteam had all their weapons go dry at the same time. I can't think of anyone, outside perhaps some really psyched up Japanese forces, who'd be so crazy on a real battlefield as to try and overrun an opponent based on the possibility they might be out of ammunition -- since if they're not, that's an excellent recipe for suicide.

I read somewhere in the distant past that Mr. Garand wanted to put a 20 round detachable magazine on the Garand when he originally designed the gun but the Military Neanderthals did not like it because the rifle then could not be carried magazine down over the shoulder on parade like the older 1903 Springfield could. Talk about stupidity, but Mr. Garand made the gun the way the wanted it made and the rest sadly, is history, as they say.

We don't reflect much on it these days and kind of just accept the external box magazine due to its various pluses, but you can get a much lower prone firing position without that magazine sticking out the bottom of your rifle.

I might add that military arms designers were well aware of this problem and the later developed M14 finally had a 20 round magazine put on it.

The StG-44 (and AK-47) made higher capacity magazines a non-negotiable design feature of subsequent weapons. Saying everyone universally agreed on their usefulness for time immemorial is anachronistic.

wncchester
September 7, 2008, 12:05 PM
The old tale of men being charged an killed when and enbloc clip went "ping" just got wilder!

While anything is possible in war and it's a certaintly that some have been killed or captured with an empty rifle, the ping story simply doesn't hold water, especially that one.

Think a moment; how likely is it that any "whole group" of soldiers would all get low on ammo at the same time, all would fire off any remaining rounds at the same time, the noise level would be quite enough - remember, we must assume the other side was still shooting - and our guys would been sufficently concentrated so the collective "pings" could get them shot or captured at the same time? NOT bloody likely! In fact, it's beyond any rational belief.

The major advantage of the enbloc clip was that a rifle could be reloaded in half the time it could be done with a stripper clip. The ping was too soft to be heard from much distance and it would get lost in the noise of combat. No enemy could, or would, expect to charge into an unknown body of troops in the wild hope that the enemy had all gone ping at the same time.

Such conjecture and silly arguments fall into the realm of gun weinies wishing to sound intelligent on something they know nothing about. The Garand was, and remains, the best battle rifle ever fielded, partially because of the eight round enbloc clip.

Citizen Carrier
September 7, 2008, 12:49 PM
If I had to fire off a few rounds of 7.7mm or 6.5mm without hearing protection, I doubt I'd be hearing a clip pinging.

mini4m3
September 7, 2008, 01:03 PM
You can top off a Garand easier done then said.

I don't know why people don't know about this - maybe because all they base their knowledge on is movies or video games...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--NbefyN0-M&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXwHXymfmxY&feature=related

Crosshair
September 7, 2008, 01:04 PM
The garand CAN be topped off with loose rounds, but only with 7 rounds, not 8. It's not as easy as doing it with a bolt action, but it can be done. If they want a full clip, they are probably not in immanent danger of combat, thus they could either top off the magazine or simply eject the partial clip and pocket the two or three loose rounds still in the gun and slap in a full clip.

Slopemeno
September 7, 2008, 01:08 PM
Lets put it this way...theres a guy with the *exact* same moves and skills as you out there in the brush. he has a Mauser or an Ariska, and you have a Garand. Want to trade? Me either.

A boss of mine many years ago was a Korean war vet. I asked him about the ping (his reply.."Yeah, right") and inability to top off ("Just empty it and top off"). He wasn't a shooter in the civilian world but he was very, VERY impressed with the ability of the Garand to take punishment and continue to operate.

He described a scene where a Lt. in his company struggled with an M-1 carbine that wouldn't feed. He said the Lt. calmly stuck the barrel in the
v of two heavy branches of a tree, bent the barrel, walked over and pulled an M-1 out of the mud, found a bandoleer, and walked away.

petru
September 7, 2008, 01:18 PM
You can top off a Garand easier done then said.

I don't know why people don't know about this - maybe because all they base their knowledge on is movies or video games...

Actually none of these techniques would have helped the WWII soldier in the field as the ammo was carried in the en-block clip so stopping in the middle of combat to unload an en-block clip in the hand and then stick a few rounds in the rifle was not practical and was never done to my knowledge.

I have tried doing this myself and it is way, way, more difficult than the video would have you believe especially trying to do this under the stress of combat. The more rounds in the en-block clip, the more difficult it is to get the rounds in, especially in a hurry. Its not practical at all.

I would say the video also gives gun owners a really bad name as this yo-yo is inside a building or house (first video) waving a loaded rifle around and pointing it up at the wall and ceiling. If the gun had gone off anyone in another room or upper floor just might have been killed.

What would have been better would have been spare 20 round magazines carried on the belt as was done in later U.S. wars.

44 AMP
September 7, 2008, 01:30 PM
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'?

HiBC
September 7, 2008, 06:05 PM
We could say the Jeep got people killed because it is easy to roll,and thet penicillin got people killed because some people are allergic to it.
Everything is a tradeoff.Is it better to have 3 rounds of 5.56 or 1 round of 30-006? depends!
Under many of the realities of a WW2 GI,having a little less weight on the hands and arms (not a 20 rd mag of '06) made him less fatigued,quicker to get a shot off.To not have a protrusion of a magazine is better if you are crawling thru mud,bushes,and barbed wire,or if you are using your rifle for a bayonet handle.Belly button sucking mud low prone shooting,a magazine raises the shooters head to make a better target(Study hawkins position)
The en-block clip was a compact ,handy package of ammo,and they slip into the top of a Garand very fast.
I accept your point in theory,and no doubt,it was part of some casualties,but in the balance of all things,from George Patton to our enemies who faced them,the Garand was a great battle rifle

shaman
September 7, 2008, 06:59 PM
the dad and uncles talked about this very thing. never let everybody get empty.(picture a little boy sittin at the feet of these august personages, hearing tales to build an empire upon, on a cold winter evening after a days deer hunt)

they were worlds apart and units apart but they all knew this. dont shoot yourself dry untill you make sure your buddy is loaded.

these men aimed and i mean aimed a rifle. they hit what they shot at and they didnt shoot without a target. "suppresive fire" was for the machine gun folks.

the dad once told me if it ever comes to it and you have to assault(he always assumed there would be a war for me to get entangled in) pick the section you hear lots and lots of rifle fire from to hit. those guys are panicked and pouring out fire without aiming.

dont hit the area where ya just hear the occasional shot. those guys are aiming.

back then, there would most likely be a BAR man or a .30 machine gun right close and they all talked about those weapons doin most of the killing.

one of the uncles went across normandy beach on the afternoon with a machinegun section. he lasted nine days untill they walked right into a multiple zipper gun ambush.

he got hit seven times in the back. his pack saved him by slowing some of em down. one hit his ammo belt, blew up and filled him with splinters from the exploding brass.

his unit pulled back, got pushed further back by artillery(the REAL killer) and had to abandon him. a round hit a tree and peppered him with splinters. he told me he was pretty sure this was it.

he was laying by the side of the road when a german patrol approached. two soldiers ran up on him and one was gonna stick him with a bayonet when a voice stopped him.

the officer with this patrol came up and talked to the uncle in better english than the uncle could speak. this officer said he was a harvard grad.

told the uncle they could not take him as they were moving too fast to be burdened with prisoner.

they bound his wounds as best they could, left him a canteen of water and went on.

he lay there all day and night untill next morning the americans advanced and found him.

the germans took his garand and ammo.

FireMax
September 8, 2008, 01:29 AM
I don't know about urban legends. However, I would definitely prefer that my rifle not send out an audible "Ping" when I shoot my last round of ammo in the magazine.

Scorch
September 8, 2008, 10:11 AM
How the Garand En-Bock clip got U.S. soldiers killed
References, data, field reports? Any actual evidence, or just war stories? I'm sure you know the difference between fairy tales and war stories. One starts out "Once upon a time . . ." the other starts out "Now this ain't no sh** . . .". Other than that small difference, one is just as reliable as the other as a source of information. You could fill a medium-sized encyclopedia with the misinformation generated by various sources about the problems with this or that weapon, most of it bogus or outright lies.