As far as I know, the last verified known report of a low-serial-number Springfield failing was in the 1950s during the National Matchs, or an NRA certified match.
I've heard people say Hatcher lied.
Gotta ask, though, what would his motivation have been?
Considering the nature of the military at the time, and his position in it, it would make more sense, a LOT more sense, for him to have covered up any such incidents.
Sorry, but I don't buy the claims that Hatcher lied about either the failures he investigated, or his findings or theories on why they failed.
It's a known fact that more than a few of those guns got into public hands, outside of structured reporting mechanisms.
I've always looked at the low-number Springfield situation the way a lot of people look at a Webley that's been converted for .45 ACP.
"Well, they wouldn't have converted it if it were unsafe, would they?"
That's a bad, bad logic trail to follow because there's more than enough circumstantial evidence to suggest that such a conversion is a serious problem waiting to happen (especially with a Webley Mk IV or lower), and yet people still insist on shooting them because they're a British gun, and it's a well known fact that the British have ALWAYS made GREAT guns, and if it looks big and beefy it just has to be strong. Right?
If someone wants to shoot his low-number Springfield, and follow it up with a couple of cylinders of .45 ACP out of his Webley Mk whatever, that's great. More power to him.
I just don't want to be anywhere near him when he's pulling the trigger.
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza
Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.