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Old September 6, 2008, 05:38 PM   #1
Dr_2_B
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Garand clip 'ping' - cost many soldiers their lives in WWII

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.
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Old September 6, 2008, 05:58 PM   #2
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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.
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Old September 6, 2008, 06:01 PM   #3
Dfariswheel
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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.
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Old September 6, 2008, 06:25 PM   #4
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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.
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Old September 6, 2008, 06:32 PM   #5
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Here's my response to the same question from some time ago:

Quote:
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.
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Old September 6, 2008, 06:39 PM   #6
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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.
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Old September 6, 2008, 06:41 PM   #7
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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.
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Old September 6, 2008, 06:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dfariswheel
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.
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Old September 6, 2008, 06:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
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.
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Old September 6, 2008, 07:28 PM   #10
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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.
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Old September 6, 2008, 09:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
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.
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Old September 6, 2008, 09:30 PM   #12
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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.

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Old September 6, 2008, 09:32 PM   #13
shaman
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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.
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Old September 6, 2008, 09:55 PM   #14
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Quote:
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.


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Old September 6, 2008, 10:00 PM   #15
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Another +1 on the urban myth angle, for the reasons already outlined above.
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Old September 6, 2008, 10:03 PM   #16
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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.
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Old September 6, 2008, 10:41 PM   #17
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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).
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Old September 6, 2008, 11:25 PM   #18
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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".
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Old September 6, 2008, 11:25 PM   #19
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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.
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Old September 6, 2008, 11:47 PM   #20
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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.
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Old September 6, 2008, 11:56 PM   #21
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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.
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Old September 7, 2008, 12:45 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DFarishwheel
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Buzzcook
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.
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Old September 7, 2008, 04:39 AM   #23
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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!)
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Old September 7, 2008, 10:10 AM   #24
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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.
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Old September 7, 2008, 10:22 AM   #25
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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.
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