M1 Carbine Rifle
|Country of Origin||United States|
|Barrel Length||458 mm|
|Muzzle Velocity||600 m/s|
Contributor: C. Peter ChenThe M1 Carbines were semi-automatic carbines were designed for officers, paratroopers, engineers, tankers, and other types of soldiers who might need greater firepower and range than pistols, but found full-size rifles too unwieldy. The design started out in 1940 as a light-weight rifle, but by May 1941, requests were made to convert the design to a carbine. In Oct 1941, the Winchester Repeating Arms Company was awarded contract to build their prototype carbine, which was then designated M1 Carbine. On 22 Oct 1941, M1 Carbines were named the standard carbines of the United States Army. In mid-1942, the first M1 Carbines were delivered to American soldiers stationed in the United Kingdom. They were eventually given to soldiers and Marines fighting in all theaters of WW2.
The M1 Carbines' effectiveness varied. Many reported the M1 Carbines were superior because they do not hamper movement like the longer and heavier M1 Garand rifle. Additionally, these men reported that the relatively high rate of fire and low recoil made them very practical in defense situations. Men who saw frequent combat, however, reported that the carbines did not have ample stopping power, seeing that sometimes an enemy soldier could be hit several times by the M1 Carbines and still fight back relatively effectively.
M1 Carbines were also given to other Allies. The British Special Air Service (SAS), for example, used M1 Carbines and M1A1 Carbines after 1943.
After WW2, many M1 Carbines were given to Israeli forces for use in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Soon after, they were also given to German and Japanese forces; the Japanese ones were produced in Japan by Howa Machinery under American supervision. After the Korean War, where they saw widespread use, M1 Carbines were exported to many countries friendly to the United States, including South Korea, Republic of China in Taiwan, South Vietnam, and others.
A fully-automatic variant was produced also produced after the war, designated the M2 Carbine.
Starting in the mid-1950s, the United States began selling military surplus of M1 Carbines to civilians, including police forces. Many of these civilian versions remain in use today.
In the mid-1960s, with the introduction of the M16 rifle, the M1 and M2 Carbines were finally retired from US Army service.
A total of 6.25 million M1 Carbines of various models were manufactured, making this design the most produced small arm in American military history. Although the design belonged to Winchester, they were built by various companies including Inland (a division of General Motors), IBM, Underwood (typewriter maker), and Rock-Ola (jukebox maker). Modern variants of the design are still being manufactured today.
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945