One of the only guns that I know of that had its own designed in mind vehicle. The Bren carrier
**Trigger Warning, Some serious bragging is coming up**
Now I have seen this machine gun a couple of times. Once at the Imperial War Museum in London. Where I was allowed to pick it up. Somebody trying to & did win a Victoria Cross in WWII Burma
At 22 pounds, I really feel sorry for the poor guy who had to hump this on a route march of any distance. The other time at a Machine Gun shoot at a very hot and nasty place.
From what I saw about it was that it was a pretty good squad machine gun for its time. Frankly I think that it was almost as good as the M-60 MG. That I served with in the Army.
Now here is a couple of strange things that I noticed about it. Because the British / Commonwealth / Empire Army was stuck with the 303 Enfield Rimmed Round. It had to use and curved magazine that is mounted on top.
So when you cranked off a round. Gravity would help in both ejecting and feeding it another round. Pretty smart thinking says I.
I am also willing to bet that it was mighty useful that both the Rifleman and the Bren Gunner used the same ammo. Always a good thing when high speed metal is flying around.
The other thing that struck me about this gun. Is the sight system that it uses. Because of the magazine blocks a straight view across the barrel. The sights have to be offset on the right hand side.
Now for some good news! First off way the Troops found that the Bren was too accurate! In that a good man could literally & consistently put a round thru the same hole. Again & again.
So a smart Trooper would hold on to a worn barrel. In order to get a better pattern when time came for suppressive fire.
Also after the war. The British Army wisely kept this gun inservice right up to the Falklands War in the early 1980’s. But wisely had it rebarreled in the 308 NATO round. I am told in this form it also gave the Crown great service.Notice the straight magazine compared to the earlier model. As the 308 round is rimless.
Here below is some more good stuff about this stout Warrior
One of the most iconic British WW2 weapons today, the Bren Gun was in short supply in 1939 but quickly became the backbone of the British infantry.
by Arnold Blumberg
While all the combatant nations engaged in World War I fielded machine guns during the conflict, the British Army’s Vickers was arguably the best medium machine gun of the war, while their Lewis gun—an American design but perfected by the English—was the most effective light machine gun.
However, both weapons had their problems. The Vickers Machine Gun was a heavy Maxim-type weapon. Water-cooled and belt-fed, it was very reliable. But it was also a very complex war tool requiring a specially-trained crew, and the weight of the gun and the prodigious amount of water and ammunition it required meant the Vickers was restricted to a purely static defensive role.
The Lewis gun had been adopted during the Great War to provide close support for advancing troops. It had an air-cooled barrel and fired .303 caliber bullets from a 47-round pan magazine mounted on the top of the piece. Unfortunately, the Lewis gun was still relatively bulky, complicated, suffered from a high rate of stoppages, and could not maintain sustained rates of fire due to its barrel overheating, causing the gun to simply stop working.
Replacing the Vickers & Lewis
Faced with the shortcomings of their standard medium and light machine guns, the British Army sought to replace both in the 1930s. That year, a contender to replace the Lewis gun appeared in the form of the Zb 26: a light, air-cooled, magazine-fed weapon produced by the Brno Firm of Czechoslovakia. Modified to shoot the standard British Army infantry and machine gun .303 caliber ammunition (or 7.7x56mm), the gun—now designated the Zb 30, with a 30 round curved magazine—caught the attention of the Small Arms Committee. After a few minor alterations, the Czech fire arm-called the ZBG 34, was adopted by the Army. Referred to as the BREN, from “Brno” and “Enfield”, assembly lines were set at the Royal Small Arms Factory in 1935, with the first finished product appearing in September 1937.
Introducing the Bren Gun
The original Bren gun was designated the Mark 1. It was capable of semi or fully automatic fire from a distinctive curved top-mounted 30-round magazine. It was 45.5 inches in overall length, and employed a quick-change 25-inch barrel, which could be replaced in seconds, allowing it to keep up a sustained rate of fire. The Bren gun used a magazine rather than the better belt-fed system due to the theory (proved incorrect by the Germans with their MG 34 and MG 42s) that the former made the weapon more portable. The piece weighed 22 pounds and 3 ounces, and fired 500 rounds per minute.
Throughout the Second World War, the Mark 1 Bren was modified three times to include the models Mark II, Mark III, and Mark IV. The same .303 caliber ammunition as the Mark 1 was used, so the differences between these patterns were a few pounds of weight and inches shaved off the later model’s overall length and barrels. In mid-1944, the Bren was standardized as the Mark III with a full length of 42.9 inches, barrel length 22.25 inches, and weighing 19 pounds and 5 ounces. Its effective range was 600 yards. It was essentially a lightened Mark 1, but fitted with a simpler ladder back sight of the Mark II, a shorter and lighter barrel (which reduced accuracy) and simpler butt. Over 57,600 Mark IIIs were produced during the war.
Backbone of the British Infantry
During World War II, the Bren gun became the backbone of the British infantry. Every infantry section of ten men (equivalent to an American rifle squad) and its combat tactics were built around the Bren light machine gun, with the section’s riflemen tasked with augmenting the firepower of the Bren. Each infantry section contained a seven-man Rifle Group, and a three man Bren gun Group. In addition to carrying extra Bren gun ammunition, the Rifle Group would provide security and replacements for the Bren gun crews, while the Bren gunners provided the main killing power of the infantry section.
In addition to the Bren in each infantry section, every infantry battalion included a carrier platoon made up of 13 Universal Carriers (unofficially called “Bren Gun Carriers”) in four sections of three vehicles each. Each conveyance carried a Bren gun and a three-man crew. Further, support units (ie,. supply, artillery) carried on their rosters Brens for close defense and anti-aircraft protection.
Bren guns were integral in anti-tank warfare. Although not able to knock a tank out with their small arms ammunition, their fire would cause the enemy tank crews to “button up,” limiting their fields of vision, and dispersing opposing infantry supporting the tanks. Anti-tank weapons could then be brought to bear on the steel monsters with less risk to the attackers.
Useful in the Far East and Western Front
When war broke out on September 1, 1939, the Bren had only been recently adopted by the British Army and was in short supply. After the British evacuation of France in June 1940, only 2,300 Bren guns were available for service. A chronic shortage of the weapon persisted until late 1942, when production of the gun by the UK, Canada, and Australia made up the shortfall. By war’s end Bren guns were in plentiful numbers with all British combat divisions: 1,262, 1,376, and 966 in infantry, armored, and airborne, respectively.
In the Far East, Commonwealth soldiers appreciated the Bren’s portability, as much of the fighting took place in swamps and the jungle and where the armament’s heavy caliber rounds could easily penetrate the thick vegetation. The Australians took to the Bren very quickly, using it as a heavy automatic rifle rather than a machine gun.
When the Allies landed in Italy in 1943, and then in France the next year, the Bren was not affected by the bitter winters found in those theaters of the war. More importantly, it allowed the British infantry, still equipped with bolt-action Enfield Rifles, to maintain a respectful rate of fire compared to the Americans’ use of the semi-automatic Garand Rifle, and the Wehrmacht’s employment of the excellent MG-42 Light Machine Gun.
The Bren gun, in its last incarnation—the post-World War II L4A4—was effectively removed from active service in the mid-1980s being replaced by the L86 Light Support Weapon. While never completely replacing the Vickers, the Bren did serve as the primary support arm for British and Commonwealth troops through World War II and Korea, and set the British small-unit infantry tactics on a path they would follow until the 1980s. Originally Published January 20, 2015
Westley Richards .375 Bolt Action rifle built on original Oberndorf Magnum Mauser
Because I found some more Guns & Stuff That I want to add to the collection! ****By the way I do take tips from those so inclined to do so. My Paypal button is around here for those kind souls!****
Now I was basically phasing out of the Army National Guard. When “THE WORD” came down about the 1911a1 being replaced by the 92F.
To say that some of the Real Old Sweats were not happy. Would not really do them justice in describing their righteous rage.
But then after the survivors who said “maybe this might be a good thing”. Were either scrapped off the floor or gotten a Dust Off to the Medicos.
So We did like what all good soldiers do.
and then we.
Followed by almost stopping to complain about it for a while & continue the Mission.
Now here is what I found out. It is not that bad a pistol really. As I own one, (The price was too good to pass by the deal)
That & it seems to have the capacity to hold a huge amount of 9mm ammo. (15 rounds outside of the People’s Republic of California!)
Just do not tell that Jerk Mel Gibson about that. As it seems that he never has to reload in the movies.
It also has some heft and shoot better at least to than the 45. I also like the sight picture. Here are some of the variations out there.
Now for the not so good news. The Trigger sucks in my humble opinion. Either in the single or double action mode. But maybe that is my problem.
Would I take this gun into a firefight by itself? Oh Hell no! Since I firmly believe that a pistol is really just a badge of rank. That & a gun of last resort.
If I could not avoid such a fight or not call in a strike.
Then I would take an AK-47 to the party.
But hopefully that will not happen again in mine or my family’s lifetime
Here is some more technical information about this fine pistol!
The Beretta 92 pistol evolved from earlier Beretta designs, most notably the M1923 and M1951. From the M1923 comes the open slide design, while the alloy frame and locking block barrel, originally from Walther P38, were first used in the M1951. The grip angle and the front sight integrated with the slide were also common to earlier Beretta pistols. What were perhaps the Model 92’s two most important advanced design features had first appeared on its immediate predecessor, the 1974 .380 caliber Model 84. These improvements both involved the magazine, which featured direct feed; that is, there was no feed ramp between the magazine and the chamber (a Beretta innovation in pistols). In addition, the magazine was a “double-stacked” design, a feature originally introduced in 1935 on the Browning Hi-Power.
Carlo Beretta, Giuseppe Mazzetti and Vittorio Valle, all experienced firearms designers, contributed to the final design in 1975.
In order to meet requirements of some law enforcement agencies, Beretta modified the Beretta 92 by adding a slide-mounted combined safety and decocking lever, replacing the frame mounted manual thumb safety. This resulted in the 92S which was adopted by several Italian law enforcement and military units.
The 92SB, initially called 92S-1, was specifically designed for the USAF trials (which it won), the model name officially adopted was the 92SB. Features added include a firing pin block (thus the addition of the “B” to the name), ambidextrous safety levers, 3-dot sights, and relocated the magazine release catch from the bottom of the grip to the lower bottom of the trigger guard. The later relocation of the magazine release button means preceding models (92 & 92S) cannot necessarily use later magazines, unless they have notches in both areas.
A compact version with a shortened barrel and slide and 13-round magazine capacity known as the 92SB Compact was manufactured from 1981 to 1991.
Beretta modified the model 92SB slightly to create the 92SB-F (the “F” added to denote entry of the model in U.S. Government federal testing) by making the following changes:
Design of all the parts to make them 100% interchangeable to simplify maintenance for large government organizations.
Squared off the front of the trigger guard so that one could use finger support for easier aiming.
Recurved the forward base of the grip to aid aiming.
Hard chromed the bore to protect it from corrosion and to reduce wear.
New surface coating on the slide called Bruniton, which allegedly provides better corrosion resistance than the previous plain blued finish.:16
Vector-graphic of model 92FS
A Beretta 92FS Inox with the slide retracted, showing the exposed ejection port and barrel mechanism.
A Beretta 92FS Inox stainless steel pistol.
The French military adopted a modified version of the 92F with a decocking-only lever as the PAMAS G1. These pistols have Tellurium in the slide, making the steel brittle and as such only have a service life of approximately 6,000 rounds. 
The FS has an enlarged hammer pin that fits into a groove on the underside of the slide. The main purpose is to stop the slide from flying off the frame to the rear if it cracks. This was in response to reported defective slides during U.S. Military testing.
The Beretta 92’s open slide design ensures smooth feeding and ejection of ammunition and allows easy clearing of obstructions. The hard-chromed barrel bore reduces barrel wear and protects it from corrosion. The falling locking block design provides good accuracy and operability with suppressors due to the in-line travel of the barrel. This is in contrast to the complex travel of Browning designed barrels. The magazine release button is reversible with simple field tools. Reversing the magazine release makes left-handed operation much easier.
Increasingly, it has become popular to reduce handgun weight and cost as well as increase corrosion resistance by using polymers. Starting around the year 2000, Beretta began replacing some parts with polymer and polymer coated metal. Polymer parts include the recoil spring guide rod which is now also fluted, magazine floor plate, magazine follower and the mainspring cap/lanyard loop. Polymer coated metal parts include the left side safety lever, trigger, and magazine release button.
To keep in line with the introduction of laws in some locations restricting magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, Beretta now manufactures magazines that hold fewer than the factory standard 15 rounds. These magazines have heavier crimping (deeper indentations in the side) to reduce the available space while still keeping the same external dimensions and ensuring that these magazines can be used on existing firearms. Beretta also produces 15 round “Sand Resistant” magazines to resolve issues encountered with contractor made magazines, and 17 round magazines included with the A1 models. Both magazines function in earlier 92 series and M9 model pistols.
Italian magazine manufacturer Mec-Gar now produces magazines in blue and nickel finishes with an 18-round capacity, which fit flush in the magazine well on the 92 series. Mec-Gar also produces an extended 20-round blued magazine that protrudes below the frame by 3⁄4 inch (19 mm). These magazines provide users in unrestricted states with a larger capacity magazine.
The FS models are Double-action/Single-action (DA/SA) pistols; they have an initial double-action trigger pull subsequently followed by single-action operation. The “FS” models have a safety lever that also functions as a decocking lever.
The French-made PAMAS G1 variant.
The G models (so named because this configuration was first designed for the French “Gendarmerie“) feature a decocking lever only instead of the safety-decocking lever of the FS. When the decocking lever is released, it automatically returns to the ready-to-fire position. There is no manual safety.
The DS models are double action only pistols: the hammer doesn’t stay cocked. Therefore the hammer spur has been removed, and is flush with the rear of the slide. The safety levers serve as manual safeties only and have no decocking feature..
The D models are also double-action only pistols but without the manual safeties.
The 90two is a 9mm/.40 variant of the 92-series with a redesigned, thicker slide and frame with an accessory rail, captive recoil spring, internal recoil buffer, replaceable sights, user changeable monogrips and 17-round magazines.
92A1 / 96A1
The 92A1 and 96A1 were introduced in 2010, based on elements from the 92FS and 90two. The overall shape and styling builds on the 92FS with more parts commonality than the 90-two had. From the 90-two comes a heavier slide construction combined with a slightly altered frame to accommodate the picatinny rail and .40 S&W power levels. While most internal components are compatible with standard 92 models, the slide, frame, captive recoil spring assembly, and takedown lever and button of the 92A1 and 96A1 are not interchangeable with other models other than the 90-two.
The 92G-SD is a tactical variant of the 92G with a Brigadier slide and picatinny rail.
Variant chambered for the .40 S&W, Succeeded by the 96A1.
Variant chambered for 9×21mm IMI. This option was introduced in 1987 for markets where it is illegal to own a weapon chambered for a military cartridge such as 9×19mm; essentially, this is the case of Italy. There were also about 5000 early 98F manufactured in 7.65×21mm Parabellum.
A limited-edition (2000 copies) commemorative (of the year 2000) model manufactured in 2001, featuring the heavier Brigadier slide. Only 1000 Billennium pistols were initially imported into the United States, the other 1000 were sold throughout the rest of the world. The Billennium also has a frame mounted safety.
60-gram (2.1 oz) heavier slide and 1 millimetre (0.039 in) wider to improve control when firing multiple shots in quick succession. It also includes removable front and rear sights.
Single action only. It is designed for sport shooting and includes a front barrel bushing for improved accuracy.
The 92 FS Centennial limited edition (500 units) commemorates adoption by the Italian Military of Beretta’s earliest semiautomatic pistol, the Model 1915. This Centennial 92 is notable for its frame-mounted manual safety and single-action-only mechanism. The Beretta medallion in each wood grip panel displays the anniversary dates in Roman numerals, which are also engraved on either side of the steel slide. The pistol is packaged in a custom M2A1 ammunition can bearing the Centennial logo.
Shorter barrel and slide (like “Compact”), but with standard-sized frame that has a slightly shorter dust cover. Special G Centurion, DS Centurion and D Centurion models are available in some countries.
Heavier Brigadier slide, single-action only and also designed for sport shooting, including a front barrel bushing for improved accuracy. It also came with an additional longer barrel that was weighted.
Shorter barrel, slide, and more compact frame (13-round magazine capacity).
Similar to the Compact L, but has a slimmer grip that accepts only a single stacked 8-round magazine.
Compact with Rail
A compact version of the M9A1.
92G Elite IA
Pistols with this option include the heavier Brigadier bruniton slide with front serrations and Elite designation, Inox finish (silver) stainless barrel, thin skeletonized hammer, and bevel of the magazine well. A flat hammer spring cap was standard as well as the decock only (G-Model) feature and dovetailed front sight. It was introduced in 1999 and replaced by the Elite II option in 2001.
This option is essentially a black Vertec with a bruniton Brigadier G slide having the Elite 1A designation and a thicker skeleton hammer. The 4.7 in (120 mm) stainless barrel with Inox finish was also changed to the blackened stainless version like black Vertecs.
This option replaced the Elite I option in 2001 and includes the same features as the original Elite plus removable Novak type sights, extended magazine release catch, checkered front/rear grip strap, thicker (than Elite I) skeletonized hammer, and lighter D-spring. This option is available only with the stainless G-Model slide, also with front serrations. The stainless barrel for the Elite II has a target crown.
The Inox models feature the following parts made in stainless steel: the barrel, the slide (including the extractor, the safety and the right-side manual safety lever), the trigger, the trigger pin, and slide stop lever. The aluminum frame is anodized to match the color. Can have either black or stainless controls.
The M9 is essentially the commercial 92FS as the design was when it was adopted by the US military in the late 1980’s. Subtle differences from a modern production 92FS are a straight dustcover, “snowman” style sights, a straighter grip and military markings.
The M9A1 was adopted by the USMC in 2006. It adds a 1-slot Picatinny rail, more aggressive front and backstrap checkering and a beveled magazine well for easier reloading of the weapon. M9A1 pistols are sold with physical vapor deposition (PVD) coated magazines developed to better withstand the conditions in the sandy environments in Iraqand Afghanistan.
The M9A3 (the M9A2 concept never went into production) was released in 2015 as part of the Modular Handgun System trials. The main updates to the M9A3 were a 3-slot Picatinny rail, thinner vertical grip, removable wrap-around grips that can be swapped between Vertec-style and ‘old’ M9 style, fully removable sights and a universal slide, which makes the gun convertible from decocker-safety to decocker-only mode. Additionally, the M9A3 comes with 17-round sand-resistant magazines in a beveled shape for easier reloading.
Nickel-plated carbon steel, single-action-only, collector’s model. [Edit: Both single-action-only and single/double-action variants exist. Also used for competitive shooting because of its steel frame (for added weight and strength), the frame-mounted safety and/or Vertec-style grip-frame that are all desirable features in a competition gun.]
Heavier Brigadier slide. It is also designed for sport shooting and includes a front barrel bushing for improved accuracy.
Thin Vertec polymer grips, flush muzzle with slide, and dovetail target sights. Late models have an underbarrel 92A1-style Picatinny accessory rail.
Beretta/Wilson 92G Brigadier Combat, a cooperative effort of Wilson Combat and Beretta. It features heavy Brigadier Slide, stainless match barrel, single function ambi-decock and a refined action.
Wilson Combat 92G Brigadier Tactical
(2014 to present)
Made in collaboration with Wilson Combat, these pistols differ from the standard Brigadier in that they have a military standard 1913 picatinny rail, all steel controls (as opposed to the polymer coated steel), decock only feature (G-model), 4.7″ target crowned barrel, fluted steel guiderod, thin profile G-10 grips, rounded trigger guard, the lighter hammer spring used in the “D” model, Elite II hammer, and their own unique serial number with a “WC” prefix among other features.
The Beretta 93R is a significantly redesigned 92 to provide the option of firing in three-round bursts. It also has a longer ported barrel, heavier slide, fitting for a shoulder stock, a folding forward grip, and an extended magazine. Unlike other Berettas in the 90 series it is single-action only, does not have a decocker, and very few are around today.:12–13
The Beretta 92 was designed for sports and law enforcement use and, due to its reliability, was accepted by military users in South America and other countries all over the world.
A large contract for the Beretta 92 was with the Brazilian army, for which Beretta set up a factory in Brazil. This factory was later sold to the Brazilian gunmaker Taurus (Forjas Taurus S/A). Taurus makes pistols called PT92without the need for a license from Beretta since their design is based on the original Beretta 92, whose patents have since expired.
The PT92 can be distinguished from its modern Beretta counterpart primarily by having the safety mounted on the frame as opposed to on the slide like the Beretta. Though mechanically similar to the original, the PT92s differ from the early 92s by having a trigger guard similar to the modern 92s (the originals were rounded) and a magazine release in the same place as the modern 92s (the originals were at the bottom of the grip).
Turkish companies MKEK and Girsan manufactured a copy of the Beretta 92F as Yavuz 16 for the Turkish Armed Forces and General Directorate of Security. There has been speculation that these were being made under contract from Beretta. Some of these pistols were imported into the United States by the company American Tactical Imports as the American Tactical 92 or AT-92. Yavuz 16 was exported to Canada, Colombia, Georgia, Malaysia and Syria.
France has made licensed copies of Beretta 92FS as the PAMAS G1 and the French-M92 is now in use in the Armies and law enforcement agencies, only to be replaced by the SIG SP2022 in the national police.
As I was zooming thru the Net. I spied upon this little nugget of information. So being the Shameless thief that I am. I thought that there might be an interest about this subject. I hope that you wonderful folks out there will like it.
“Phil, we’re going to pass on him; he’s just a bit too short for what we’re looking for.”
The author with the Heym 89B in .470 Nitro Express, and a huge bodied Australian water buffalo. Photo Courtesy: Stealth Films/Steve Couper
Really? The bull was as dead as yesterday, comfortably wading in the billabong, completely oblivious to the hunters standing 40 paces away behind the shade tree on the bank. But, professional hunter Graham Williams was very serious, and all I could do was draw the rifle down on the buffalo and count coup. Something in my body language must have expressed frustration, and the ever-cool Willams uttered what I would soon learn was his catch-phrase: “Please be patient, there are many bulls to be looked over.” I shouldered the big German double, and continued on the buffalo trail beside the series of waterholes that dotted the small valley.
It had been a journey of epic proportions; the East Coast weather in the U.S. caused me to miss my connecting flight, and therefore the flight to Sydney. That wrinkle, coupled with the rigidity of the Australian firearms policies and a lost rifle and baggage made for a stressful couple of days. In camp already, my partners and cameraman were on the hunt, and I was sitting in Darwin waiting for gear. No worries, I was just 36 hours late, but I had arrived. The charter flight was smooth and we saw some good water buffalo bulls and a trio of wallabies on the drive into Graham Williams’ remote camp in Arnhemland, in the Northern Territory of Australia.
The hunt was a combination of work and play; we were filming an episode of Trijicon’s World of Sports Afield, but it was with a group of friends that enjoyed hunting together. Chris Sells, head honcho at Heym USA, had put the hunt together, and his buddies John Lott and John Saltys were along as well. Chris and I had a purpose: to put the Heym Model 89B double rifle — chambered in .470 Nitro Express — through its paces. It wasn’t my first jaunt with the 89B – I had the privilege of taking the first animal, a Cape buffalo bull, with the 89B in .450/400 at the end of 2016 — but it would be a great opportunity to play with the rifle chambered in .470 Nitro Express. Arnhemland is comprised of mostly Aboriginal land, and the hunting operations provide a source of income for the indigenous peoples, in addition to keeping the water buffalo population in check. You see, the Asiatic water buffalo – Bubalus bubalis – was introduced to the Northern Territory in the 1830s, and have since gone feral. Australia classifies them as an invasive species, and they are readily hunted for sport and for meat. Easily weighing over a ton – bigger than any Cape buffalo in Africa – the bulls take a pounding and can soak up a lot of lead. Using a double rifle makes a lot of sense, as the Arnhemland terrain provides enough cover to allow for a good stalk, and the shooting tends to be at close range.
For the big game hunter who’s looking for the best value in a double rifle, the Heym 89B is undoubtedly at the top of the heap.
Hailing the Heym
With a rounded boxlock action, squared at the rear, the Heym 89B offers classic British styling mated with German engineering; truly a sound marriage.
The Heym Model 89B is a perfect choice for this style of hunting, and the .470 Nitro Express is a classic, rimmed, double-rifle cartridge that has proven itself on any and all dangerous game animals, including the African elephant. Ah, the 89B! If you’re a student of dangerous game rifles, I’m certain you’ve heard the Heym name before, and I’m equally sure you are familiar with their Model 88B double rifle. Well, the 89B is the heir to the empire, the successor to the throne. It maintains the same inner workings of the 88B – a highly dependable boxlock – and pays homage to the classic Anson & Deeley design, including the Greener crossbolt and disc-set strikers. That is where the similarities end.
The .470 Nitro Express makes a great choice for any dangerous game, on any continent.
Ammunition for the water buffalo hunt was built with 500-grain North Fork cup solids over Alliant Reloder 15, in Hornady cases. Velocities were at the standard 2,150 fps mark.
When I first held the Model 89B, I immediately noticed the difference in the stock design. German-born gunmaker Ralf Martini was brought in again – he had an integral part in designing the Heym Express by Martini bolt-action rifle I love so much – and formulated a stock design that emulates the classic pre-war British doubles. A sweet, sloping pistol grip – with an angle more relaxed than that of the Model 88B – is designed with a smaller circumference fits perfectly in the hand. In addition, the smaller, sloping forend – in the classic splinter design – gives a firm grip yet none of the bulk or weight of the huge beaver-tail forend designs. The nose of the comb has been moved rearward, and the overall stock design is fundamental to keeping the balance point and weight of the rifle between the hands, to ensure a sweet-handling rifle that is characteristic of the classic double rifles of a century ago. And sweet it is! If you’ve ever handled those classic designs – the Webley & Scott, the Westley Richards – you’ll find the Heym Model 89B to be an immediate friend; it’ll feel like you’ve known each other for years.
Famed stockmaker Ralf Martini was brought in to design the Heym 89B stock, and did a fantastic job creating stylish and ergonomic furniture.
But the stock is only the beginning. During the design process, which took up the better part of a decade, the action and barrels also received an overhaul. Where the 88B has a signature look at the back of the action, with the wood jutting into the rear metal of the action, the 89B has a square action at the rear, in the classic fashion of the Webley P.R.V. 1 action. In comparison to the 88B action, many of those square edges have been rounded – especially on the top and bottom of the action – and some well-placed stippling adds a bit of flair to the action’s top. Heym saw fit to produce another frame size: a larger frame for the .470 Nitro Express and its big brother the .500 Nitro Express.
The underside of the barrels, with caliber and maker inscription.
The splinter forend gave a positive grip, with none of the bulk of the larger beavertail forend designs.
The barrel contour was also made slimmer, once again to put the balance of the rifle between the shooters hands. While this may not seem like such an important feature, trust me when I tell you that the handling of a gun designed specifically to serve on a dangerous game hunt is paramount. The barrel is topped off with a rear sight bedecked with a gold vertical line and some anti-glare stippling on the primary sight, with flip up leaves for further yardages. The bold front bead is filed flat, one of the little things that Heym does to enhance performance. The rib is machined to accept either the Trijicon RMR red-dot or the Docter sight; this is one feature we took full advantage of in Australia. While I used the traditional iron sights in Mozambique for my Cape buffalo, Australia does have some terrain where the shots are in open country, and the Trijicon RMR RM09 – with the oneMOA dot – makes life easier when distances approach 100 yards. As you’ll see shortly, that Trijicon was put to the test and came out shining. The rifle was certainly accurate enough, putting a right and a left within an inch of each other at 50 yards. The Heym rifles are regulated with Hornady ammunition, but for our hunt, we developed a load around the 500-grain North Fork Cup Solid, a bullet designed for all sorts of penetration, with a small cup at the nose for just the slightest hint of expansion. Fueled by Alliant Reloder 15 and clocking in at 2,147 feet per second (fps), this load regulated perfectly, and I was eager to see the performance on those huge Australian bovines.
A thick and pliable red recoil pad helped take the sting out of the .470 NE.
The twin triggers of the 89B broke cleanly and crisply, offering two quick shots for a perfect dangerous game setup. Photo Courtesy: Stealth Films/Steve Couper
The Stalk of a Lifetime
So, with this new frame size, in a rifle with undeniably classic lines, chambered in a time-proven caliber, Graham Williams, Chris Sells and I headed into the Australian bush to stalk some bulls. I was up first, and once I had that encounter with the bull in the billabong, I began to see why Mr. Williams insisted on my patience. Apparently, that bull was positioned at what we dubbed The Valley of the Bulls, as we immediately bumped into several bigger specimens, with Graham pausing an extra bit to glass a distant bull, quietly feeding in the tall grass on a slight hillside. “Do you see that bull Phil? The big one feeding up there?”
A good, bold front sight is easily picked up by the shooter’s eye. HeymUSA has the bead filed flat to reduce glare and allow for more precise shot placement.
“The one with the pink horns? Does he seriously have pink horns?” I asked.
“It’s the color of the soil; it has many different shades and changes quickly in this area. That’s a damned good bull, and we need to take him, but the wind is going to be tricky. Follow me, stay low, and if we bump another bull, stand still and let it pass.”
Aye, aye, Cap’n – right behind you. We had spotted the bull from 350 yards or so, and while he was in an open area dotted with trees, the trees got a bit thicker off to his right, and we used those trees for cover to make an approach. Along the way, two younger bulls had caught our movement, but luckily enough bounded off without too much noise; we felt good that things weren’t disturbed too badly.
The Asiatic water buffalo makes for great hunting; this old bull was fresh from his mud wallow.
Graham and I stopped long enough to have a discussion, or perhaps a debate, about where the bull last was in comparison to where we were heading. During the talk, we simultaneously spotted those pink horns again, this time we watched him lay down about 100 yards off. Slowly, furtively, quietly we snuck from tree to tree, hoping to get good and close to the bull. There was no doubt that he was the bull we wanted to take; he had great mass and was immense in the body. The distance shortened from 50 yards to 30 yards, as Graham and I tiptoed from paperbark tree to paperbark tree, then shortened to 25 yards as I began to question exactly how close he wanted to get. Thumb firmly planted on the 89B’s safety, we ran out of trees at 17 yards, and the bull knew something was up. He got up quickly, but not quickly enough and the 89B floated to my shoulder. The shot presentation wasn’t stellar, but I had enough of an angle to see some ribs and just a hint of the shoulder from the bull’s right side; that’s fine, I didn’t have to penetrate that grass-packed paunch on the left side. The Trijicon dot settled just behind the shoulder and I broke the right trigger, immediately followed by the left. The bull stumbled to his front knees, moving straight away from me now, and another North Fork placed exactly at the root of his tail put him down for good. Still, I gave him another between the shoulder blades as he lay twitching on the ground, and only then did I get the exact scale of a mature Asiatic water buffalo: he went well over a ton, probably closer to 2,200 pounds. Huge, worn horns, caked in reddish-pink mud and broomed off at the tips, swept back beautifully, measuring well over 40 inches between the tips. I stood in awe of this magnificent animal, and as the adrenaline subsided, I reflected back on exactly how wonderful the rifle I carried was. That Trijicon RMR was so good I didn’t even notice it, the dot floated onto the target and the bullet went where the dot was. Watching the footage on film, it looked as though I was shooting a lesser caliber than the big .470; such is the case when a rifle fits you properly.
Graham Williams’ camps offered rustic, yet comfortable, accommodations, in a truly vast and wild area of Australia.
Chris Sells had the opposite end of the distance spectrum a couple days later, when a wise, old bull that we had bumped three times stopped at 120 yards to look back, and Sells and the Heym/RMR combo settled the score for good. “Phil, I wouldn’t have tried that shot with iron sights, but that RMR changes the game” Sells confided. The two of us had carried that gun – trading off for my faithful Heym .404 Jeffery for backup – and both enjoyed the weight and balance. Even with 26-inch barrels, the Heym 89B was never cumbersome, in spite of tipping the scales at an even 11 pounds.
The North Fork Cup Solids worked just fine, giving all sorts of penetration, regardless of shot angle, and among three bulls and numerous shots, we only recovered one bullet. Just a hint of expansion and 100-percent weight retention are common features of the Cup Solid, and that’s exactly what we found.
Now if you don’t feel the need to own a good double rifle, I sort of understand, but if you end up in pursuit of dangerous game – and Graham Williams will attest to the fact that water buffalo can and will charge – a double is an excellent tool for close-quarters work. I feel confident, having handled and shot a fair number of double rifles, that the Heym 89B represents the best value on the double rifle market today. They are made to fit the client in both barrel length and length of pull, and in a market where prices can easily get into six figures, the 89B is a means of attaining a dependable and reliable, yet attractive rifle. There are numerous levels of fine wood and engraving patterns to choose from, as well as a caliber for every shooter’s comfort level. How much did I enjoy my couple of hunts with the 89B? I ordered a .470 NE, stocked to my dimensions, and I cannot wait to take delivery. SPECIFICATIONS Weight: 11 lbs. Caliber: .470 Nitro Express (tested) Action: Break action, boxlock Barrel: 26 in. steel barrels Magazine: N/A Sights: Iron sights furnished, able to accept red dot sights, scope mounts available by special order Overall Length: 43 in. MSRP: Starting at ~$21,000US (call for pricing)
For more information about Heym rifles, click here.
For more information about Trijicon Red Dot sights, click here.
For more information about hunting Austrailia, click here.
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Poor Finland! Sadly it holds the Record of being the only Democracy that fought with Hitler. Not that they wanted to, I am willing to bet. But when you have Stalin as your neighbor. One really does not have much of a choice. Since it is the Devil or the Deep Blue Sea time.
Now the Finns are a hostage of geography. What with being stuck between the two major powers of Europe. (Germany & Russia)
You also have to remember that the First campaign of conquest in WWII in Europe. Was by Hitler’s then Ally -Stalin. A true Monster of a Man.
So The Finns really did not have a choice on the matter. I mean look at who do you want to have pissed off at you? Pretty tough choice huh?
So the Finns just hunkered down. And then started throwing punches & somehow survived. Due to some great Leadership under this stud of a man.
Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim
Now about the Guns
I have owned a couple of the Mosin–Nagant rifles over the years. During which I have found the Finnish models to be the best of the lot.
That & while they are heavy and bulky. They do shoot pretty well with the Russian 7.62x54r round. Which is a serious man stopper round.
As this guy would heartily agree with down below.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Häyhä after being awarded the honorary rifle model 28.
Simo “Simuna” Häyhä (Finnish pronunciation: [ˈsimo̞ ˈhæy̯ɦæ]; 17 December 1905 – 1 April 2002), nicknamed “White Death” (Russian: Белая смерть, Belaya Smert; Finnish: valkoinen kuolema; Swedish: den vita döden) by the Red Army, was a Finnishsniper. According to western sources, using a Finnish-produced M/28-30 rifle (a variant of the Mosin–Nagant rifle) and the Suomi KP/-31 submachine gun, he is reported as having killed 505 men during the 1939–40 Winter War, the highest recorded number of confirmed sniper kills in any major war. However, Antti Rantama (Häyhä’s unit military chaplain), credited 259 confirmed sniper kills were made by Simo Häyhä during the Winter War. Häyhä wrote in his diary, found in 2017, that he killed over 500 Soviet soldiers (by both sniper rifle and machine/submachine gun).
Häyhä was born in the municipality of Rautjärvi in the Grand Duchy of Finland, in present-day southern Finland near the border with Russia, and started his military service in 1925. He was the second youngest of a Lutheran heritage family of farmers of eight children. Before entering combat, Häyhä was a farmer and hunter. At the age of 20, he joined the Finnish voluntary militia White Guard (Suojeluskunta) and was also successful in shooting sports in competitions in the Viipuri Province. His home was reportedly full of trophies for marksmanship.
Häyhä in the 1940s, with visible damage to his left cheek after his 1940 wound
During the 1939–40 Winter War between Finland and the Soviet Union, Häyhä served as a sniper for the Finnish Army against the Red Army in the 6th Company of JR 34 during the Battle of Kollaa in temperatures between −40 °C (−40 °F) and −20 °C (−4 °F), dressed completely in white camouflage. Because of Joseph Stalin’s purges of military experts in the late 1930s, the Red Army was highly disorganised and Soviet troops were not issued with white camouflage suits for most of the war, making them easily visible to snipers in winter conditions.
According to Western sources, Simo Häyhä has been credited with 505 confirmed sniper kills. A daily account of the kills at Kollaa was made for the Finnish snipers. All of Häyhä’s kills were accomplished in fewer than 100 days – an average of just over five per day – at a time of year with very few daylight hours.
However, Simo Hayha’s result is impossible to check, because his targets were always on the Russian side. During the war, the “White death” is one of the leading themes of Finnish propaganda. The Finnish newspapers frequently featured the invisible Finnish soldier, thus creating a heroic myth. Depending on the statistics, Häyhä is believed to have killed between 200 to 500 enemies by sniper rifle.
A. Svensson, Häyhä’s division commander, credited Häyhä with 219 confirmed sniper kills, and an equal number of kills by submachine gun, when he awarded Häyhä an honorary rifle on 17 February 1940. In his diary, military chaplain Antti Rantamaa reported 259 confirmed sniper kills and an equal number of kills by machine/submachine gun from the beginning of the war until 7 March 1940, one day after Simo Hayha was seriously wounded.
Some of Simo Häyhä’s figures are from a Finnish Army document (counted from beginning of the war, 30/11/1939):
7 March 1940 (when Simo Hayha was seriously wounded): total of 259 sniper kills
Häyhä used his issued Civil Guard rifle, an early series SAKOM/28-30 (Civil Guard district number S60974). The rifle was a Finnish White Guard militia variant of the Mosin–Nagant rifle, known as “Pystykorva” (literally “The Spitz”, due to the front sight’s resemblance to the head of a spitz-type dog) chambered in the Finnish Mosin–Nagant cartridge 7.62×53R. He preferred iron sights over telescopic sights as to present a smaller target for the enemy (a sniper must raise his head a few centimeters higher when using a telescopic sight), to increase accuracy (a telescopic sight’s glass can fog up easily in cold weather), and to aid in concealment (sunlight glare in telescopic sight lenses can reveal a sniper’s position). Häyhä also did not have prior training with scoped rifles thus using captured Soviet scoped rifle (m/91-30 PE or PEM) in combat without proper training was not what he preferred to do. As well as these tactics, he frequently packed dense mounds of snow in front of his position to conceal himself, provide padding for his rifle and reduce the characteristic puff of snow stirred up by the muzzle blast. He was also known to keep snow in his mouth whilst sniping, to prevent steamy breaths giving away his position in the cold air.
In their efforts to kill Häyhä, the Soviets used counter-snipers and artillery strikes, and on 6 March 1940, Häyhä was hit in his lower left jaw by an explosive bullet fired by a Red Army soldier. He was picked up by fellow soldiers who said “half his face was missing”, but he did not die, regaining consciousness on 13 March, the day peace was declared. Shortly after the war, Häyhä was promoted from alikersantti (Corporal) to vänrikki (Second lieutenant) by Finnish Field MarshalCarl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim.
Simo Häyhä’s gravestone in Ruokolahti Church Graveyard, Karelia, Finland. The inscription reads: Home – Religion – Fatherland
It took several years for Häyhä to recuperate from his wound. The bullet had crushed his jaw and blown off his left cheek. Nonetheless, he made a full recovery and became a successful moose hunter and dog breeder after World War II, and even hunted with the Finnish President Urho Kekkonen.
When asked in 1998 how he had become such a good shot, Häyhä answered, “Practice.” When asked if he regretted killing so many people, he said, “I only did my duty, and what I was told to do, as well as I could.” Simo Häyhä spent his last years in Ruokolahti, a small municipality located in southeastern Finland, near the Russian border. Simo Häyhä died in a war veterans’ nursing home in Hamina in 2002 at the age of 96, and was buried in Ruokolahti.
All that I know for a Red Hot Gospel Truth. Is that I would not want him pissed off at me in my Area of Operations!
What is there to say about “Old Blood & Guts* “, General George Patton USA? Actually a lot. I am also willing to bet that Folks a couple of Hundred years from now. Will be talking about him and his Career.
To begin with. I extremely doubt that a Character like Patton could survive politically in Today’s Army. (I have heard that he does though have some distant relatives still serving in the Green Machine)
General Patton IV – He was the last direct relative to serve in the Army.
Want to hear him? The man had a very strange voice by the way.
But let us get to part of his gun collection. This what I have been able to find so far. Now I am willing to bet on a couple of issues. So here goes the old fool!
Patton came from Money. He was at the time probably the Richest Officer in the Army.
(There are still a lot of folks in the military. Who do not depend on their paycheck. But you would never know it from looking at them.)
The class of folks that he came from. Are real big on the sport of shooting, riding & fishing.
I am also been told by folks that I believe. That if you were in Europe during WWII. The sky was the limit. On opportunities of getting a high end gun to add to your own collection. Especially if you were an Officer.
Now let us get to the Good General and a few of his known to be owned by guns!
This somewhat freaky-looking 1901 Remington Target Pistol was Patton’s first pistol.
This is the famous .45 Colt Model 1873 Single-Action Army revolver, serial number 332088, purchased by George S. Patton on March 4, 1916 for $50. Its right ivory (not pearl) handle is monogrammed “GSP”, and it resides at the George Patton Museum at Fort Knox, Kentucky. – $50 equals about $4000 in today’s (2017) money. But if one considers all the engraving on it. The Old boy got his money’s worth for it.
Patton’s rig & holster.
13 Patton’s Thompson Submachine Gun
Thompson Submachine Gun of General George S. Patton Jr.
Caliber: .45 ACP Action: Blowback, full or semi auto Muzzle Velocity: 920 fps Range: 100 yards Rate of Fire: 900 rounds per minute Magazine Capacity: 20 or 30 round magazine Barrel Length: 10.5 inches Overall Length: 32 inches Weight: 11 lbs Year Built: 1941
General Patton had this particular Thompson Submachine Gun, which he owned, in his vehicle when he was in combat areas.
General George S. Patton with a “liberated” 18th century German Jaeger rifle .
Seems to me that somebody got himself a Mauser KAR 98 somehow.
This looks like a Colt Woodsman in his holster. While at what is called now Fort Irwin California / NTC.
Here is also another article I found that might be interesting to you. Thanks for your taking the time to read this!
Also do not be afraid of the PayPal service either. God am I shameless!
The Known and Lesser Known Carry Guns of George S. Patton
If anyone were asked who they thought the most flamboyant American general of the Second World War was, I would bet, dollars-to-donuts, that most would answer, “George Patton.” Well, General George S. Patton, who carried his trademark revolvers on his hips during the war, was probably the most easily recognizable general.
Those handguns of his, by the way, had stories to tell. He initially carried twin Colt single-action Army .45 revolvers, but after he gave one of them to a Hollywood star he admired, because of the star’s courage to entertain front-line troops in combat zones, he replaced it with a 3 ½ inch Smith and Wesson .357 magnum. Part his this flamboyance was those ivory-handled revolvers. The general, however, knew the importance of inspiring his troops, and his flamboyance certainly achieved that goal.
As to the question of why he carried two revolvers, rather than just one, it is well known that as a young man he was part of General Pershing’s “Punitive Expedition” into Mexico to hunt down the infamous Pancho Villa. And, on 14 May, 1914, during one of those expeditionary forays, he came under fire while leading a caravan of three vehicles to obtain food for his troops. The band of “Villistas” attempted to flee on horseback. Patton was armed with his own Colt SAA .45 revolver. Back then he carried it with the hammer down on an empty chamber, hence only five rounds.
During the firefight he emptied the weapon, some believe three times. In a subsequent letter to his father, Patton wrote, “I fired five times with my new pistol and one of them ducked back into the house. I found out later that this was Cardenes and that I had hit both he and his horse.” Captain Julio Cardenes was a member of the Pancho Villa gang of thugs, and was second in command, when he was shot by then Lieutenant George S. Patton. Patton then carved a notch in his revolver’s handgrips, and removed Cardenes’ spurs as souvenirs. Those spurs, by the way, are now in the Museum of WWII in Natick, Massachusetts.
The firefight took place at close range, approximately fifty or sixty feet, but a second gang member came much closer, about ten feet, and Patton shot at the horse. The horse and the gangster hit the ground, and when the latter attempted to stand, he was cut down by the American troops. Like everyone involved in close-in firefights, the very first ones changes one’s outlook, and henceforth Patton would carry a second, or back-up, handgun. General Joyce would later confirm that it was the experience with the Mexican gangsters that convinced Patton he should carry at least two handguns. Some newspapers at the time described the revolvers as having pearl handles, but when asked about those handles by a reporter in WWII, Patton angrily responded that they were in fact ivory, and that, “only a New Orleans pimp would carry a pearl-handled gun!”
As a young man, Patton competed in pentathlon events, which included pistol shooting, and he would practice for hours on end on his trigger pull techniques with his strong hand and off-hand positions. Patton’s obvious preference was for revolvers, but during WWII he did also carry a Colt Pocket Model hammerless, as well as a Remington Model 51 .380. It was with the Remington that he shot at a Luftwaffe airplane, as it was attempting to strafe his encampment. He was also known to carry a Colt Detective Special .38 revolver. All of his handguns, with the possible exception of the Remington, had the ivory grips, and some were inlaid with the initials “GSP” and had the stars of a U.S. Army general. Many American soldiers and officers, including General Omar Bradley, carried the Colt M1911 semi-automatic pistol, But General Patton only carried the 1911 on rare occasions. During the North African campaigns, Major General Walter Bedell Smith, a close colleague of Patton, carried a Colt Model 03 in a shoulder holster. But Patton was never known to have carried the 03.
In the final analysis, whatever one’s opinions may be of the general, whether one viewed him as being flamboyant or otherwise, some things are certain, he inspired his troops to the point of fanaticism, and he did so by fearlessly leading the way. His persona, that of a hugely colorful, and larger-than-life military genius, exemplified by those ivory handgrips, made him an unforgettable and heroic American.
As a child, Patton had difficulty learning to read and write, but eventually overcame this and was known in his adult life to be an avid reader.[Note 1] He was tutored from home until the age of eleven, when he was enrolled in Stephen Clark’s School for Boys, a private school in Pasadena, for six years. Patton was described as an intelligent boy and was widely read on classical military history, particularly the exploits of Hannibal, Scipio Africanus, Julius Caesar, Joan of Arc, and Napoleon Bonaparte, as well as those of family friend John Singleton Mosby, who frequently stopped by the Patton family home when George S. Patton was a child. He was also a devoted horseback rider.
Patton married Beatrice Banning Ayer, the daughter of Boston industrialist Frederick Ayer, on May 26, 1910 in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts. They had three children, Beatrice Smith (born March 1911), Ruth Ellen (born February 1915), and George Patton IV (born December 1923).
Patton never seriously considered a career other than the military. At the age of seventeen he sought an appointment to the United States Military Academy. Patton applied to several universities with Reserve Officer’s Training Corps programs. Patton was accepted to Princeton College but eventually decided on VMI, which his father and grandfather had attended. He attended the school from 1903 to 1904 and, though he struggled with reading and writing, performed exceptionally in uniform and appearance inspection as well as military drill. While Patton was at VMI, California’s Senator nominated him for West Point.
In his plebe (first) year at West Point, Patton adjusted easily to the routine. However, his academic performance was so poor that he was forced to repeat his first year after failing mathematics. Patton excelled at military drills though his academic performance remained average. He was cadet sergeant major his junior year, and cadet adjutant his senior year. He also joined the football team but injured his arm and ceased playing on several occasions, instead trying out for the sword team and track and field, quickly becoming one of the best swordsmen at the academy. Ranked 46 out of 103, Patton graduated from West Point on June 11, 1909 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Cavalry Branch of the United States Army.
For his skill with running and fencing, Patton was selected as the Army’s entry for the first modern pentathlon at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden. Of 42 competitors, Patton placed twenty-first on the pistol range, seventh in swimming, fourth in fencing, sixth in the equestrian competition, and third in the footrace, finishing fifth overall and first among the non-Swedish competitors. There was some controversy concerning his performance in the pistol shooting competition, where he used a .38 caliber pistol while most of the other competitors chose .22 caliber firearms. He claimed that the holes in the paper from his early shots were so large that some of his later bullets passed through them, but the judges decided he missed the target completely once. Modern competitions on this level frequently now employ a moving background to specifically track multiple shots through the same hole. If his assertion was correct, Patton would likely have won an Olympic medal in the event. The judges’ ruling was upheld. Patton’s only comment on the matter was:
Patton on his steeplechase horse, Wooltex, in 1914
The high spirit of sportsmanship and generosity manifested throughout speaks volumes for the character of the officers of the present day. There was not a single incident of a protest or any unsportsmanlike quibbling or fighting for points which I may say, marred some of the other civilian competitions at the Olympic Games. Each man did his best and took what fortune sent them like a true soldier, and at the end we all felt more like good friends and comrades than rivals in a severe competition, yet this spirit of friendship in no manner detracted from the zeal with which all strove for success.
Following the 1912 Olympics, Patton traveled to Saumur, France, where he learned fencing techniques from Adjutant Charles Cléry, a French “master of arms” and instructor of fencing at the cavalry school there. Bringing these lessons back to Fort Myer, Patton redesigned saber combat doctrine for the U.S. cavalry, favoring thrusting attacks over the standard slashing maneuver and designing a new sword for such attacks. He was temporarily assigned to the Office of the Army Chief of Staff, and in 1913, the first 20,000 of the Model 1913 Cavalry Saber—popularly known as the “Patton sword”—were ordered. Patton then returned to Saumur to learn advanced techniques before bringing his skills to the Mounted Service School at Fort Riley, Kansas, where he would be both a student and a fencing instructor. He was the first Army officer to be designated “Master of the Sword”, a title denoting the school’s top instructor in swordsmanship.Arriving in September 1913, he taught fencing to other cavalry officers, many of whom were senior to him in rank.Patton graduated from this school in June 1915. He was originally intended to return to the 15th Cavalry, which was bound for the Philippines. Fearing this assignment would dead-end his career, Patton traveled to Washington, D.C. during 11 days of leave and convinced influential friends to arrange a reassignment for him to the 8th Cavalry at Fort Bliss, Texas, anticipating that instability in Mexico might boil over into a full-scale civil war. In the meantime, Patton was selected to participate in the 1916 Summer Olympics, but that olympiad was cancelled due to World War I.
1915 Dodge Brothers Model 30-35 touring car. This model from the new Dodge Brothers company won some renown for its durability because of its use in the 1916 Pancho Villa Expedition.
In 1915 Patton was assigned to border patrol duty with A Company of the 8th Cavalry, based in Sierra Blanca. During his time in the town, Patton took to wearing his M1911 Colt .45 in his belt rather than a holster. His firearm discharged accidentally one night in a saloon, so he swapped it for an ivory-handled Colt Single Action Army revolver, a weapon that would later become an icon of Patton’s image.
In March 1916 Mexican forces loyal to Pancho Villa crossed into New Mexico and raided the border town of Columbus. The violence in Columbus killed several Americans. In response, the U.S. launched the Pancho Villa Expedition into Mexico. Chagrined to discover that his unit would not participate, Patton appealed to expedition commander John J. Pershing, and was named his personal aide for the expedition. This meant that Patton would have some role in organizing the effort, and his eagerness and dedication to the task impressed Pershing.Patton modeled much of his leadership style after Pershing, who favored strong, decisive actions and commanding from the front. As an aide, Patton oversaw the logistics of Pershing’s transportation and acted as his personal courier.
In mid-April, Patton asked Pershing for the opportunity to command troops, and was assigned to Troop C of the 13th Cavalry to assist in the manhunt for Villa and his subordinates. His initial combat experience came on May 14, 1916 in what would become the first motorized attack in the history of U.S. warfare. A force under his command of ten soldiers and two civilian guides with the 6th Infantry in three Dodge touring cars surprised three of Villa’s men during a foraging expedition, killing Julio Cárdenas and two of his guards. It was not clear if Patton personally killed any of the men, but he was known to have wounded all three. The incident garnered Patton both Pershing’s good favor and widespread media attention as a “bandit killer”. Shortly after, he was promoted to first lieutenant while a part of the 10th Cavalry on May 23, 1916. Patton remained in Mexico until the end of the year. President Woodrow Wilson forbade the expedition from conducting aggressive patrols deeper into Mexico, so it remained encamped in the Mexican border states for much of that time. In October Patton briefly retired to California after being burned by an exploding gas lamp. He returned from the expedition permanently in February 1917.
After the Villa Expedition, Patton was detailed to Front Royal, Virginia, to oversee horse procurement for the Army, but Pershing intervened on his behalf. After the United States entered World War I, and Pershing was named commander of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) on the Western Front, Patton requested to join his staff. Patton was promoted to captain on May 15, 1917 and left for Europe, among the 180 men of Pershing’s advance party which departed May 28 and arrived in Liverpool, England, on June 8. Taken as Pershing’s personal aide, Patton oversaw the training of American troops in Paris until September, then moved to Chaumont and assigned as a post adjutant, commanding the headquarters company overseeing the base. Patton was dissatisfied with the post and began to take an interest in tanks, as Pershing sought to give him command of an infantry battalion. While in a hospital for jaundice, Patton met ColonelFox Conner, who encouraged him to work with tanks instead of infantry.
On November 10, 1917 Patton was assigned to establish the AEF Light Tank School. He left Paris and reported to the French Army‘s tank training school at Champlieu near Orrouy, where he drove a Renault FTlight tank. On November 20, the Britishlaunched an offensive towards the important rail center of Cambrai, using an unprecedented number of tanks. At the conclusion of his tour on December 1, Patton went to Albert, 30 miles (48 km) from Cambrai, to be briefed on the results of this attack by the chief of staff of the British Tank Corps, ColonelJ. F. C. Fuller. On the way back to Paris, he visited the Renault factory to observe the tanks being manufactured. Patton was promoted to major on January 26, 1918. He received the first ten tanks on March 23, 1918 at the Tank School at Bourg, a small village close to Langres, Haute-Marne département. The only US soldier with tank-driving experience, Patton personally backed seven of the tanks off the train. In the post, Patton trained tank crews to operate in support of infantry, and promoted its acceptance among reluctant infantry officers. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel on April 3, 1918, and attended the Command and General Staff College in Langres.
In August 1918, he was placed in charge of the U.S. 1st Provisional Tank Brigade (re-designated the 304th Tank Brigadeon November 6, 1918). Patton’s Light Tank Brigade was part of Colonel Samuel Rockenbach‘s Tank Corps, part of the American First Army. Personally overseeing the logistics of the tanks in their first combat use by U.S. forces, and reconnoitering the target area for their first attack himself, Patton ordered that no U.S. tank be surrendered. Patton commanded American-crewed Renault FT tanks at the Battle of Saint-Mihiel, leading the tanks from the front for much of their attack, which began on September 12. He walked in front of the tanks into the German-held village of Essey, and rode on top of a tank during the attack into Pannes, seeking to inspire his men.
Patton’s brigade was then moved to support U.S. I Corps in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive on September 26. He personally led a troop of tanks through thick fog as they advanced 5 miles (8 km) into German lines. Around 09:00, Patton was wounded while leading six men and a tank in an attack on German machine guns near the town of Cheppy. His orderly, Private First ClassJoe Angelo, saved Patton, for which he was later awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.Patton commanded the battle from a shell hole for another hour before being evacuated. He stopped at a rear command post to submit his report before heading to a hospital. Sereno E. Brett, commander of the U.S. 326th Tank Battalion, took command of the brigade in Patton’s absence. Patton wrote in a letter to his wife: “The bullet went into the front of my left leg and came out just at the crack of my bottom about two inches to the left of my rectum. It was fired at about 50 m so made a hole about the size of a [silver] dollar where it came out.”
While recuperating from his wound, Patton was promoted to colonel in the Tank Corps of the U.S. National Army on October 17. He returned to duty on October 28 but saw no further action before hostilities ended with the armistice of November 11, 1918. For his actions in Cheppy, Patton received the Distinguished Service Cross. For his leadership of the brigade and tank school, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. He was also awarded the Purple Heart for his combat wounds after the decoration was created in 1932.
Patton left France for New York City on March 2, 1919. After the war he was assigned to Camp Meade, Maryland, and reverted to his permanent rank of captain on June 30, 1920, though he was promoted to major again the next day. Patton was given temporary duty in Washington D.C. that year to serve on a committee writing a manual on tank operations. During this time he developed a belief that tanks should be used not as infantry support, but rather as an independent fighting force. Patton supported the M1919 tank design created by J. Walter Christie, a project which was shelved due to financial considerations.While on duty in Washington, D.C., in 1919, Patton met Dwight D. Eisenhower,who would play an enormous role in Patton’s future career. During and following Patton’s assignment in Hawaii, he and Eisenhower corresponded frequently. Patton sent Eisenhower notes and assistance to help him graduate from the General Staff College. With Christie, Eisenhower, and a handful of other officers, Patton pushed for more development of armored warfare in the interwar era. These thoughts resonated with Secretary of War Dwight Davis, but the limited military budget and prevalence of already-established Infantry and Cavalry branches meant the U.S. would not develop its armored corps much until 1940.
On September 30, 1920, Patton relinquished command of the 304th Tank Brigade and was reassigned to Fort Myer as commander of 3rd Squadron, 3rd Cavalry. Loathing duty as a peacetime staff officer, he spent much time writing technical papers and giving speeches on his combat experiences at the General Staff College. In July 1921 Patton became a member of the American Legion Tank Corps Post No. 19. From 1922 to mid-1923 he attended the Field Officer’s Course at the Cavalry School at Fort Riley, then he attended the Command and General Staff College from mid-1923 to mid-1924, graduating 25th out of 248. In August 1923, Patton saved several children from drowning when they fell off a yacht during a boating trip off Salem, Massachusetts. He was awarded the Silver Lifesaving Medal for this action. He was temporarily appointed to the General Staff Corps in Boston, Massachusetts, before being reassigned as G-1 and G-2 of the Hawaiian Division at Schofield Barracks in Honolulu in March 1925.
Patton was made G-3 of the Hawaiian Division for several months, before being transferred in May 1927 to the Office of the Chief of Cavalry in Washington, D.C., where he began to develop the concepts of mechanized warfare. A short-lived experiment to merge infantry, cavalry and artillery into a combined arms force was cancelled after U.S. Congress removed funding. Patton left this office in 1931, returned to Massachusetts and attended the Army War College, becoming a “Distinguished Graduate” in June 1932.
In July 1932, Patton was executive officer of the 3rd Cavalry, which was ordered to Washington by Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur. Patton took command of the 600 troops of the 3rd Cavalry, and on July 28, MacArthur ordered Patton’s troops to advance on protesting veterans known as the “Bonus Army” with tear gas and bayonets. Patton was dissatisfied with MacArthur’s conduct, as he recognized the legitimacy of the veterans’ complaints and had himself earlier refused to issue the order to employ armed force to disperse the veterans. Patton later stated that, though he found the duty “most distasteful”, he also felt that putting the marchers down prevented an insurrection and saved lives and property. He personally led the 3rd Cavalry down Pennsylvania Avenue, dispersing the protesters. Patton also encountered his former orderly as one of the marchers and forcibly ordered him away, fearing such a meeting might make the headlines.
Patton was promoted to lieutenant colonel in the regular Army on March 1, 1934, and was transferred to the Hawaiian Division in early 1935 to serve as G-2. Patton followed the growing hostility and conquest aspirations of the militant Japanese leadership. He wrote a plan to intern the Japanese living in the islands in the event of an attack as a result of the atrocities carried out by Japanese soldiers on the Chinese in the Sino-Japanese war. In 1937 he wrote a paper with the title “Surprise” which predicted, with what D’Este termed “chilling accuracy”, a surprise attack by the Japanese on Hawaii. Depressed at the lack of prospects for new conflict, Patton took to drinking heavily and began a brief affair with his 21-year-old niece by marriage, Jean Gordon.
Patton continued playing polo and sailing in this time. After sailing back to Los Angeles for extended leave in 1937, he was kicked by a horse and fractured his leg. Patton developed phlebitis from the injury, which nearly killed him. The incident almost forced Patton out of active service, but a six-month administrative assignment in the Academic Department at the Cavalry School at Fort Riley helped him to recover. Patton was promoted to colonel on July 24, 1938 and given command of the 5th Cavalry at Fort Clark, Texas, for six months, a post he relished, but he was reassigned to Fort Myer again in December as commander of the 3rd Cavalry. There, he met Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall, who was so impressed with him that Marshall considered Patton a prime candidate for promotion to general. In peacetime, though, he would remain a colonel to remain eligible to command a regiment.
Patton had a personal schooner named When and If. The schooner was designed by famous naval architect John G. Alden and built in 1939. The schooner’s name comes from Patton saying he would sail it “when and if” he returned from war.
Following the German Army‘s invasion of Poland and the outbreak of World War II in Europe in September 1939, the U.S. military entered a period of mobilization, and Patton sought to build up the power of U.S. armored forces. During maneuvers the Third Army conducted in 1940, Patton served as an umpire, where he met Adna R. Chaffee Jr. and the two formulated recommendations to develop an armored force. Chaffee was named commander of this force, and created the 1st and 2nd Armored Divisions as well as the first combined arms doctrine. He named Patton commander of the 2nd Armored Brigade, part of the 2nd Armored Division. The division was one of few organized as a heavy formation with many tanks, and Patton was in charge of its training. Patton was promoted to brigadier general on October 2, made acting division commander in November, and on April 4, 1941 was promoted again to major general and made Commanding General (CG) of the 2nd Armored Division. As Chaffee stepped down from command of the I Armored Corps, Patton became the most prominent figure in U.S. armor doctrine. In December 1940, he staged a high-profile mass exercise in which 1,000 tanks and vehicles were driven from Columbus, Georgia, to Panama City, Florida, and back.He repeated the exercise with his entire division of 1,300 vehicles the next month. Patton earned a pilot’s license and, during these maneuvers, observed the movements of his vehicles from the air to find ways to deploy them effectively in combat. His exploits earned him a spot on the cover of Life Magazine.
Patton led the division during the Tennessee Maneuvers in June 1941, and was lauded for his leadership, executing 48 hours’ worth of planned objectives in only nine. During the September Louisiana Maneuvers, his division was part of the losing Red Army in Phase I, but in Phase II was assigned to the Blue Army. His division executed a 400-mile (640 km) end run around the Red Army and “captured” Shreveport, Louisiana. During the October–November Carolina Maneuvers, Patton’s division captured Hugh Drum, commander of the opposing army. On January 15, 1942 he was given command of I Armored Corps, and the next month established the Desert Training Center in the Imperial Valley to run training exercises. He commenced these exercises in late 1941 and continued them into the summer of 1942. Patton chose a 10,000-acre (40 km2) expanse of desert area about 50 miles (80 km) southeast of Palm Springs. From his first days as a commander, Patton strongly emphasized the need for armored forces to stay in constant contact with opposing forces. His instinctive preference for offensive movement was typified by an answer Patton gave to war correspondents in a 1944 press conference. In response to a question on whether the Third Army’s rapid offensive across France should be slowed to reduce the number of U.S. casualties, Patton replied, “Whenever you slow anything down, you waste human lives.” It was around this time that a reporter, after hearing a speech where Patton said that it took “blood and brains” to win in combat, began calling him “blood and guts”. The nickname would follow him for the rest of his life. Soldiers under his command were known at times to have quipped, “our blood, his guts”. Nonetheless, he was known to be admired widely by the men under his charge. Patton was also known simply as “The Old Man” among his troops.
Under Lieutenant GeneralDwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander, Patton was assigned to help plan the Allied invasion of French North Africa as part of Operation Torch in the summer of 1942. Patton commanded the Western Task Force, consisting of 33,000 men in 100 ships, in landings centered on Casablanca, Morocco. The landings, which took place on November 8, 1942, were opposed by Vichy French forces, but Patton’s men quickly gained a beachhead and pushed through fierce resistance. Casablanca fell on November 11 and Patton negotiated an armistice with French General Charles Noguès. The Sultan of Morocco was so impressed that he presented Patton with the Order of Ouissam Alaouite, with the citation “Les Lions dans leurs tanières tremblent en le voyant approcher” (The lions in their dens tremble at his approach). Patton oversaw the conversion of Casablanca into a military port and hosted the Casablanca Conference in January 1943.
On March 6, 1943, following the defeat of the U.S. II Corps by the German Afrika Korps, commanded by GeneralfeldmarschallErwin Rommel, at the Battle of Kasserine Pass, Patton replaced Major General Lloyd Fredendall as Commanding General of the II Corps and was promoted to lieutenant general. Soon thereafter, he had Major General Omar Bradley reassigned to his corps as its deputy commander. With orders to take the battered and demoralized formation into action in 10 days’ time, Patton immediately introduced sweeping changes, ordering all soldiers to wear clean, pressed and complete uniforms, establishing rigorous schedules, and requiring strict adherence to military protocol. He continuously moved throughout the command talking with men, seeking to shape them into effective soldiers. He pushed them hard, and sought to reward them well for their accomplishments. His uncompromising leadership style is evidenced by his orders for an attack on a hill position near Gafsa which are reported to have ended “I expect to see such casualties among officers, particularly staff officers, as will convince me that a serious effort has been made to capture this objective.”
Patton’s training was effective, and on March 17, the U.S. 1st Infantry Division took Gafsa, winning the Battle of El Guettar, and pushing a German and Italian armored force back twice. In the meantime, on April 5, he removed Major General Orlando Ward, commanding the 1st Armored Division, after its lackluster performance at Maknassy against numerically inferior German forces. Advancing on Gabès, Patton’s corps pressured the Mareth Line. During this time, he reported to British GeneralSir Harold Alexander, commander of the 18th Army Group, and came into conflict with Air Vice MarshalSir Arthur Coningham about the lack of close air support being provided for his troops. When Coningham dispatched three officers to Patton’s headquarters to persuade him that the British were providing ample air support, they came under German air attack mid-meeting, and part of the ceiling of Patton’s office collapsed around them. Speaking later of the German pilots who had struck, Patton remarked, “if I could find the sons of bitches who flew those planes, I’d mail each of them a medal.” By the time his force reached Gabès, the Germans had abandoned it. He then relinquished command of II Corps to Bradley, and returned to the I Armored Corps in Casablanca to help plan Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily. Fearing U.S. troops would be sidelined, he convinced British commanders to allow them to continue fighting through to the end of the Tunisia Campaign before leaving on this new assignment.
Initially ordered to protect the British forces’ left flank, Patton was granted permission by Alexander to take Palermo after Montgomery’s forces became bogged down on the road to Messina. As part of a provisional corps under Major General Geoffrey Keyes, the 3rd Infantry Division under Major General Lucian Truscott covered 100 miles (160 km) in 72 hours, arriving at Palermo on July 21. He then set his sights on Messina. He sought an amphibious assault, but it was delayed by lack of landing craft, and his troops did not land at Santo Stefanountil August 8, by which time the Germans and Italians had already evacuated the bulk of their troops to mainland Italy. He ordered more landings on August 10 by the 3rd Infantry Division, which took heavy casualties but pushed the German forces back, and hastened the advance on Messina. A third landing was completed on August 16, and by 22:00 that day Messina fell to his forces. By the end of the battle, the 200,000-man Seventh Army had suffered 7,500 casualties, and killed or captured 113,000 Axis troops and destroyed 3,500 vehicles. Still, 40,000 German and 70,000 Italian troops escaped to Italy with 10,000 vehicles.
Patton’s conduct in this campaign met with several controversies. When Alexander sent a transmission on July 19 limiting Patton’s attack on Messina, his chief of staff, Brigadier General Hobart R. Gay, claimed the message was “lost in transmission” until Messina had fallen. On July 22 he shot and killed a pair of mules that had stopped while pulling a cart across a bridge. The cart was blocking the way of a U.S. armored column which was under attack from German aircraft. When their Sicilian owner protested, Patton attacked him with a walking stick and pushed the two mules off of the bridge. When informed of the massacre of Italian prisoners at Biscari by troops under his command, Patton wrote in his diary, “I told Bradley that it was probably an exaggeration, but in any case to tell the officer to certify that the dead men were snipers or had attempted to escape or something, as it would make a stink in the press and also would make the civilians mad. Anyhow, they are dead, so nothing can be done about it.” Bradley refused Patton’s suggestions. Patton later changed his mind. After he learned that the 45th Division’s Inspector General found “no provocation on the part of the prisoners … They had been slaughtered” Patton is reported to have said: “Try the bastards.” Patton also came into frequent disagreements with Terry de la Mesa Allen Sr. and Theodore Roosevelt Jr. and acquiesced to their relief by Bradley.
Patton talks to wounded soldiers preparing for evacuation
Two high-profile incidents of Patton striking subordinates during the Sicily campaign attracted national controversy following the end of the campaign. On August 3, 1943, Patton slapped and verbally abused Private Charles H. Kuhl at an evacuation hospital in Nicosia after he had been found to suffer from “battle fatigue“. On August 10, Patton slapped Private Paul G. Bennett under similar circumstances. Ordering both soldiers back to the front lines, Patton railed against cowardice and issued orders to his commanders to discipline any soldier making similar complaints.
Word of the incident reached Eisenhower, who privately reprimanded Patton and insisted he apologize. Patton apologized to both soldiers individually, as well as to doctors who witnessed the incidents, and later to all of the soldiers under his command in several speeches. Eisenhower suppressed the incident in the media, but in November journalist Drew Pearson revealed it on his radio program. Criticism of Patton in the United States was harsh, and included members of Congress and former generals, Pershing among them. The views of the general public remained mixed on the matter, and eventually Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson stated that Patton must be retained as a commander because of the need for his “aggressive, winning leadership in the bitter battles which are to come before final victory.”
Patton did not command a force in combat for 11 months. In September, Bradley, who was Patton’s junior in both rank and experience, was selected to command the First United States Army forming in England to prepare for Operation Overlord. This decision had been made before the slapping incidents were made public, but Patton blamed them for his being denied the command. Eisenhower felt the invasion of Europe was too important to risk any uncertainty, and that the slapping incidents had been an example of Patton’s inability to exercise discipline and self-control. While Eisenhower and Marshall both considered Patton to be a skilled combat commander, they felt Bradley was less impulsive or prone to making mistakes. On January 26, 1944 Patton was formally given command of the Third United States Army in England, a newly arrived unit, and assigned to prepare its inexperienced soldiers for combat in Europe.This duty kept Patton busy in early 1944 preparing for the pending invasion.
The German High Command had more respect for Patton than for any other Allied commander and considered him central to any plan to invade Europe from the United Kingdom. Because of this, Patton was made a prominent figure in the deception operation, Fortitude, in early 1944. Through the British network of double-agents, the Allies fed German intelligence a steady stream of false reports about troops sightings and that Patton had been named commander of the First United States Army Group (FUSAG), all designed to convince the Germans that Patton was preparing this massive command for an invasion at Pas de Calais. FUSAG was in reality an intricately constructed “phantom” army of decoys, props, and fake signals traffic based around Dover to mislead German aircraft and to make Axis leaders believe a large force was massing there so as to mask the real location of the invasion in Normandy. Patton was ordered to keep a low profile to deceive the Germans into thinking he was in Dover throughout early 1944, when he was actually training the Third Army. As a result of Operation Fortitude, the German 15th Army remained at Pas de Calais to defend against Patton’s supposed attack. This formation held its position even after the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. Patton flew into France a month later and returned to combat duty.
Sailing to Normandy throughout July, Patton’s Third Army formed on the extreme right (west) of the Allied land forces,[Note 2] and became operational at noon on August 1, 1944, under Bradley’s Twelfth United States Army Group. The Third Army simultaneously attacked west into Brittany, south, east toward the Seine, and north, assisting in trapping several hundred thousand German soldiers in the Falaise Pocket between Falaise and Argentan.
Patton’s strategy with his army favored speed and aggressive offensive action, though his forces saw less opposition than did the other three Allied field armies in the initial weeks of its advance. The Third Army typically employed forward scout units to determine enemy strength and positions. Self-propelled artillery moved with the spearhead units and was sited well forward, ready to engage protected German positions with indirect fire. Light aircraft such as the Piper L-4 Cubserved as artillery spotters and provided airborne reconnaissance. Once located, the armored infantry would attack using tanks as infantry support. Other armored units would then break through enemy lines and exploit any subsequent breach, constantly pressuring withdrawing German forces to prevent them from regrouping and reforming a cohesive defensive line. The U.S. armor advanced using reconnaissance by fire, and the .50 caliber M2 Browning heavy machine gun proved effective in this role, often flushing out and killing German panzerfaust teams waiting in ambush as well as breaking up German infantry assaults against the armored infantry.
The speed of the advance forced Patton’s units to rely heavily on air reconnaissance and tactical air support. The Third Army had by far more military intelligence (G-2) officers at headquarters specifically designated to coordinate air strikes than any other army. Its attached close air support group was XIX Tactical Air Command, commanded by Brigadier General Otto P. Weyland. Developed originally by General Elwood Quesada of IX Tactical Air Command for the First Army in Operation Cobra, the technique of “armored column cover”, in which close air support was directed by an air traffic controller in one of the attacking tanks, was used extensively by the Third Army. Each column was protected by a standing patrol of three to four P-47 and P-51 fighter-bombers as a combat air patrol (CAP).
In its advance from Avranches to Argentan, the Third Army traversed 60 miles (97 km) in just two weeks. Patton’s force was supplemented by Ultra intelligence for which he was briefed daily by his G-2, Colonel Oscar W. Koch, who apprised him of German counterattacks, and where to concentrate his forces. Equally important to the advance of Third Army columns in northern France was the rapid advance of the supply echelons. Third Army logistics were overseen by Colonel Walter J. Muller, Patton’s G-4, who emphasized flexibility, improvisation, and adaptation for Third Army supply echelons so forward units could rapidly exploit a breakthrough. Patton’s rapid drive to Lorraine demonstrated his keen appreciation for the technological advantages of the U.S. Army. The major U.S. and Allied advantages were in mobility and air superiority. The U.S. Army had more trucks, more reliable tanks, and better radio communications, all of which contributed to a superior ability to operate at a rapid offensive pace.
Patton pins a Silver Star Medal on Private Ernest A. Jenkins, a soldier under his command, October 1944.
Patton’s offensive came to a halt on August 31, 1944, as the Third Army ran out of fuel near the Moselle River, just outside Metz. Patton expected that the theater commander would keep fuel and supplies flowing to support successful advances, but Eisenhower favored a “broad front” approach to the ground-war effort, believing that a single thrust would have to drop off flank protection, and would quickly lose its punch. Still within the constraints of a very large effort overall, Eisenhower gave Montgomery and his Twenty First Army Group a higher priority for supplies for Operation Market Garden.Combined with other demands on the limited resource pool, this resulted in the Third Army exhausting its fuel supplies. Patton believed his forces were close enough to the Siegfried Line that he remarked to Bradley that with 400,000 gallons of gasoline he could be in Germany within two days. In late September, a large German Panzer counterattack sent expressly to stop the advance of Patton’s Third Army was defeated by the U.S. 4th Armored Division at the Battle of Arracourt. Despite the victory, the Third Army stayed in place as a result of Eisenhower’s order. The German commanders believed this was because their counterattack had been successful.
The halt of the Third Army during the month of September was enough to allow the Germans to strengthen the fortress of Metz. In October and November, the Third Army was mired in a near-stalemate with the Germans during the Battle of Metz, both sides suffering heavy casualties. An attemptby Patton to seize Fort Driant just south of Metz was defeated, but by mid-November Metz had fallen to the Americans. Patton’s decisions in taking this city were criticized. German commanders interviewed after the war noted he could have bypassed the city and moved north to Luxembourg where he would have been able to cut off the German Seventh Army. The German commander of Metz, General Hermann Balck, also noted that a more direct attack would have resulted in a more decisive Allied victory in the city. Historian Carlo D’Este later wrote that the Lorraine Campaign was one of Patton’s least successful, faulting him for not deploying his divisions more aggressively and decisively.
With supplies low and priority given to Montgomery until the port of Antwerp could be opened, Patton remained frustrated at the lack of progress of his forces. From November 8 to December 15, his army advanced no more than 40 miles (64 km).
In December 1944, the German army, under the command of German Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt, launched a last-ditch offensive across Belgium, Luxembourg, and northeastern France. On December 16, 1944, it massed 29 divisions totaling 250,000 men at a weak point in the Allied lines, and during the early stages of the ensuing Battle of the Bulge, made significant headway towards the Meuse River during the worst winter Europe had seen in years. Eisenhower called a meeting of all senior Allied commanders on the Western Front to a headquarters near Verdun on the morning of December 19 to plan strategy and a response to the German assault.
At the time, Patton’s Third Army was engaged in heavy fighting near Saarbrücken. Guessing the intent of the Allied command meeting, Patton ordered his staff to make three separate operational contingency orders to disengage elements of the Third Army from its present position and begin offensive operations toward several objectives in the area of the bulge occupied by German forces. At the Supreme Command conference, Eisenhower led the meeting, which was attended by Patton, Bradley, General Jacob Devers, Major General Kenneth Strong, Deputy Supreme Commander Air Chief MarshalArthur Tedder, and several staff officers. When Eisenhower asked Patton how long it would take him to disengage six divisions of his Third Army and commence a counterattack north to relieve the U.S. 101st Airborne Division which had been trapped at Bastogne, Patton replied, “As soon as you’re through with me.” Patton then clarified that he had already worked up an operational order for a counterattack by three full divisions on December 21, then only 48 hours away. Eisenhower was incredulous: “Don’t be fatuous, George. If you try to go that early you won’t have all three divisions ready and you’ll go piecemeal.” Patton replied that his staff already had a contingency operations order ready to go. Still unconvinced, Eisenhower ordered Patton to attack the morning of December 22, using at least three divisions.
Patton left the conference room, phoned his command, and uttered two words: “Play ball.” This code phrase initiated a prearranged operational order with Patton’s staff, mobilizing three divisions – the 4th Armored Division, the U.S. 80th Infantry Division, and the U.S. 26th Infantry Division – from the Third Army and moving them north toward Bastogne.In all, Patton would reposition six full divisions, U.S. III Corps and U.S. XII Corps, from their positions on the Saar Riverfront along a line stretching from Bastogne to Diekirch and to Echternach, the town in Luxembourg that had been at the southern end of the initial “Bulge” front line on December 16. Within a few days, more than 133,000 Third Army vehicles were re-routed into an offensive that covered an average distance of over 11 miles (18 km) per vehicle, followed by support echelons carrying 62,000 tonnes (61,000 long tons; 68,000 short tons) of supplies.
On December 21, Patton met with Bradley to review the impending advance, starting the meeting by remarking, “Brad, this time the Kraut’s stuck his head in the meat grinder, and I’ve got hold of the handle.” Patton then argued that his Third Army should attack toward Koblenz, cutting off the bulge at the base and trap the entirety of the German armies involved in the offensive. After briefly considering this, Bradley vetoed this proposal, as he was less concerned about killing large numbers of Germans than he was in arranging for the relief of Bastogne before it was overrun. Desiring good weather for his advance, which would permit close ground support by U.S. Army Air Forces tactical aircraft, Patton ordered the Third Army chaplain, Colonel James Hugh O’Neill, to compose a suitable prayer:
Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies, and establish Thy justice among men and nations. Amen.
When the weather cleared soon after, Patton awarded O’Neill a Bronze Star Medal on the spot.
On December 26, 1944, the first spearhead units of the Third Army’s 4th Armored Division reached Bastogne, opening a corridor for relief and resupply of the besieged forces. Patton’s ability to disengage six divisions from front line combat during the middle of winter, then wheel north to relieve Bastogne was one of his most remarkable achievements during the war. He later wrote that the relief of Bastogne was “the most brilliant operation we have thus far performed, and it is in my opinion the outstanding achievement of the war. This is my biggest battle.”
By February, the Germans were in full retreat. On February 23, 1945, the U.S. 94th Infantry Division crossed the Saar and established a vital bridgehead at Serrig through which Patton pushed units into the Saarland. Patton had insisted upon an immediate crossing of the Saar River against the advice of his officers. Historians such as Charles Whiting have criticized this strategy as unnecessarily aggressive.
Once again, Patton found other commands given priority on gasoline and supplies. To obtain these, Third Army ordnance units passed themselves off as First Army personnel and in one incident they secured thousands of gallons of gasoline from a First Army dump. Between January 29 and March 22, the Third Army took Trier, Coblenz, Bingen, Worms, Mainz, Kaiserslautern, and Ludwigshafen, killing or wounding 99,000 and capturing 140,112 German soldiers, which represented virtually all of the remnants of the German First and Seventh Armies. An example of Patton’s sarcastic wit was broadcast when he received orders to by-pass Trier, as it had been decided that four divisions would be needed to capture it. When the message arrived, Trier had already fallen. Patton rather caustically replied: “Have taken Trier with two divisions. Do you want me to give it back?”
The Third Army began crossing the Rhine River after constructing a pontoon bridge on March 22, and he slipped a division across the river that evening. Patton later boasted he had urinated into the river as he crossed.
On March 26, 1945, Patton sent Task Force Baum, consisting of 314 men, 16 tanks, and assorted other vehicles, 50 miles (80 km) behind German lines to liberate the prisoner of war camp OFLAG XIII-B, near Hammelburg. Patton knew that one of the inmates was his son-in-law, Lieutenant Colonel John K. Waters. The raid was a failure, and only 35 men made it back; the rest were either killed or captured, and all 57 vehicles were lost. Another prisoner liberated from the Oflag was Lt. Donald Prell who was recaptured and was sent to a POW camp south of Nuremberg. Patton reported this attempt to liberate Oflag XIII-B as the only mistake he made during World War II. When Eisenhower learned of the secret mission, he was furious. Patton later said he felt the correct decision would have been to send a Combat Command, which is a force about three times larger.
By April, resistance against the Third Army was tapering off, and the forces’ main efforts turned to managing some 400,000 German prisoners of war. On April 14, 1945 Patton was promoted to general, a promotion long advocated by Stimson in recognition of Patton’s battle accomplishments during 1944. Later that month, Patton, Bradley and Eisenhower toured the Merkers salt mine as well as the Ohrdruf concentration camp, and seeing the conditions of the camp firsthand caused Patton great disgust. Third Army was ordered toward Bavaria and Czechoslovakia, anticipating a last stand by Nazi German forces there. He was reportedly appalled to learn the Red Armywould take Berlin, feeling the Soviet Union was a threat to the U.S. army’s advance to Pilsen, but was stopped by Eisenhower from reaching Prague before V-E Day on May 8 and the end of the war in Europe.
In its advance from the Rhine to the Elbe, Patton’s Third Army, which numbered between 250,000 and 300,000 men at any given time, captured 32,763 square miles (84,860 km2) of German territory. Its losses were 2,102 killed, 7,954 wounded, and 1,591 missing. German losses in the fighting against the Third Army totaled 20,100 killed, 47,700 wounded, and 653,140 captured.
Between becoming operational in Normandy on August 1, 1944 and the end of hostilities on May 9, 1945, the Third Army was in continuous combat for 281 days. In that time, it crossed 24 major rivers and captured 81,500 square miles (211,000 km2) of territory, including more than 12,000 cities and towns. The Third Army claimed to have killed, wounded, or captured 1,811,388 German soldiers, six times its strength in personnel. Fuller’s review of Third Army records differs only in the number of enemy killed and wounded, stating that between August 1, 1944 and May 9, 1945, 47,500 of the enemy were killed, 115,700 wounded, and 1,280,688 captured, for a total of 1,443,888.
Patton during a welcome home parade in Los Angeles, June 9, 1945
Patton asked for a command in the Pacific Theater of Operations, begging Marshall to bring him to that war in any way possible, and Marshall said he would be able to do so only if the Chinese secured a major port for his entry, an unlikely scenario. In mid-May, Patton flew to Paris, then London for rest. On June 7, he arrived in Bedford, Massachusetts, for extended leave with his family, and was greeted by thousands of spectators. Patton then drove to Hatch Memorial Shell and spoke to some 20,000, including a crowd of 400 wounded Third Army veterans. In this speech he aroused some controversy among the Gold Star Mothers when he stated that a man who dies in battle is “frequently a fool”, adding that the wounded are heroes. Patton spent time in Boston before visiting and speaking in Denver and visiting Los Angeles, where he spoke to a crowd of 100,000 at the Memorial Coliseum. Patton made a final stop in Washington before returning to Europe in July to serve in the occupation forces.
Patton was appointed military governor of Bavaria, where he led the Third Army in denazification efforts. Patton was particularly upset when learning of the end of the war against Japan, writing in his diary, “Yet another war has come to an end, and with it my usefulness to the world.” Unhappy with his position and depressed by his belief that he would never fight in another war, Patton’s behavior and statements became increasingly erratic. Various explanations beyond his disappointments have been proposed for Patton’s behavior at this point. Carlo D’Este wrote that “it seems virtually inevitable … that Patton experienced some type of brain damage from too many head injuries” from a lifetime of numerous auto- and horse-related accidents, especially one suffered while playing polo in 1936.
Patton’s niece Jean Gordon appeared again; they spent some time together in London in 1944, and again in Bavaria in 1945. Gordon actually loved a young married captain who left her despondent when he went home to his wife in September 1945. Patton repeatedly boasted of his sexual success with this young woman but his biographers are skeptical. Hirshson says the relationship was casual. Showalter believes that Patton, under severe physical and psychological stress, made up claims of sexual conquest to prove his virility. D’Este agrees, saying, “His behavior suggests that in both 1936 [in Hawaii] and 1944–45, the presence of the young and attractive Jean was a means of assuaging the anxieties of a middle-aged man troubled over his virility and a fear of aging.”
Patton attracted controversy as military governor when it was noted that several former Nazi Party members continued to hold political posts in the region. When responding to the press about the subject, Patton repeatedly compared Nazis to Democrats and Republicans in noting that most of the people with experience in infrastructure management had been compelled to join the party in the war, causing negative press stateside and angering Eisenhower. On September 28, 1945, after a heated exchange with Eisenhower over his statements, Patton was relieved of his military governorship. He was relieved of command of the Third Army on October 7, and in a somber change of command ceremony, Patton concluded his farewell remarks, “All good things must come to an end. The best thing that has ever happened to me thus far is the honor and privilege of having commanded the Third Army.”
Patton’s final assignment was to command the Fifteenth United States Army, based in Bad Nauheim. The Fifteenth Army at this point consisted only of a small headquarters staff tasked to compile a history of the war in Europe. Patton had accepted the post because of his love of history, but quickly lost interest in the duty. He began traveling, visiting Paris, Rennes, Chartres, Brussels, Metz, Reims, Luxembourg, and Verdun, as well as Stockholm, where he reunited with other athletes from the 1912 Olympics. Patton decided he would leave his post at the Fifteenth Army and not return to Europe once he left on December 10 for Christmas leave. He intended to discuss with his wife whether he would continue in a stateside post or retire.
On December 8, 1945, Patton’s chief of staff, Major General Hobart Gay, invited him on a pheasant hunting trip near Speyer to lift his spirits. Observing derelict cars along the side of the road, Patton said, “How awful war is. Think of the waste.” Moments later his car collided with an American army truck at low speed.
Gay and others were only slightly injured, but Patton hit his head on the glass partition in the back seat. He began bleeding from a gash to the head and complained that he was paralyzed and having trouble breathing. Taken to a hospital in Heidelberg, Patton was discovered to have a compression fracture and dislocation of the cervical third and fourth vertebrae, resulting in a broken neck and cervical spinal cord injury that rendered him paralyzed from the neck down. He spent most of the next 12 days in spinal traction to decrease spinal pressure. All non-medical visitors, except for Patton’s wife, who had flown from the U.S., were forbidden. Patton, who had been told he had no chance to ever again ride a horse or resume normal life, at one point commented, “This is a hell of a way to die.” He died in his sleep of pulmonary edema and congestive heart failure at about 18:00 on December 21, 1945. Patton was buried at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial in the Hammdistrict of Luxembourg City, alongside wartime casualties of the Third Army, per his request to “be buried with [his] men”.
Patton deliberately cultivated a flashy, distinctive image in the belief that this would inspire his troops. He carried an ivory-gripped, engraved, silver-plated Colt Single Action Army .45 revolver on his right hip, and frequently wore an ivory-gripped Smith & Wesson Model 27 .357 Magnum on his left hip. He was usually seen wearing a highly polished helmet, riding pants, and high cavalry boots. Likewise, Patton cultivated a stern expression he called his “war face”. He was known to oversee training maneuvers from atop a tank painted red, white and blue. His jeep bore oversized rank placards on the front and back, as well as a klaxon horn which would loudly announce his approach from afar. He proposed a new uniform for the emerging Tank Corps, featuring polished buttons, a gold helmet, and thick, dark padded suits; the proposal was derided in the media as “the Green Hornet”, and was rejected by the Army.
Historian Alan Axelrod wrote that “for Patton, leadership was never simply about making plans and giving orders, it was about transforming oneself into a symbol”. Patton intentionally expressed a conspicuous desire for glory, atypical of the officer corps of the day which emphasized blending in with troops on the battlefield. He was an admirer of Admiral Horatio Nelson for his actions in leading the Battle of Trafalgar in a full dress uniform. Patton had a preoccupation with bravery, wearing his rank insignia conspicuously in combat, and at one point during World War I rode atop a tank into a German-controlled village seeking to inspire courage in his men.
Patton was a staunch fatalist, and believed in reincarnation. He believed that he might have been a military leader killed in action in Napoleon’s army in a previous life, or a Roman legionary.
Patton developed an ability to deliver charismatic speeches, in part because he had trouble with reading. He used profanity heavily in his speech, which generally was enjoyed by troops under his command but offended other generals, including Bradley. The most famous of his speeches were a series he delivered to the Third Army prior to Operation Overlord. When speaking, he was known for his bluntness and witticism; he once said, “The two most dangerous weapons the Germans have are our own armored halftrack and jeep. The halftrack because the boys in it go all heroic, thinking they are in a tank. The jeep because we have so many God-awful drivers.” During the Battle of the Bulge, he famously remarked that the Allies should “let the sons-of-bitches [Germans] go all the way to Paris, then we’ll cut them off and round them up.” He also suggested facetiously that his Third Army could “drive the British back into the sea for another Dunkirk.”
As media scrutiny on Patton increased, his bluntness stirred controversy. These began in North Africa when some reporters worried that he was becoming too close to former Vichy officials with Axis sympathies. His public image was more seriously damaged after word of the slapping incidents broke. Another controversy occurred prior to Operation Overlord when Patton spoke at a British welcoming club at Knutsford England and said, in part, “since it is the evident destiny of the British and Americans, and of course, the Russians, to rule the world, the better we know each other, the better job we will do.” The next day news accounts misquoted Patton by leaving off the Russians. On a visit home after the war he again made headlines when he attempted to honor several wounded veterans in a speech by calling them “the real heroes” of the war, unintentionally offending the families of soldiers who had been killed in action. His final media blowup occurred in September 1945, when goaded by reporters about denazification, he said “[d]enazification would be like removing all the Republicans and all the Democrats who were in office, who had held office or were quasi Democrats or Republicans and that would take some time.” This caused Eisenhower to relieve Patton from command of the Third Army.
Patton’s well-known custom ivory-handled revolver
As a leader, Patton was known to be highly critical, correcting subordinates mercilessly for the slightest infractions, but also being quick to praise their accomplishments. Although he garnered a reputation as a general who was both impatient and impulsive and had little tolerance for officers who had failed to succeed, he fired only one general during World War II, Orlando Ward, and only after two warnings, whereas Bradley sacked several generals during the war.Patton reportedly had the utmost respect for the men serving in his command, particularly the wounded. Many of his directives showed special trouble to care for the enlisted men under his command, and he was well known for arranging extra supplies for battlefield soldiers, including blankets and extra socks, galoshes, and other items normally in short supply at the front.
Patton views on race were complicated and often negative. This may have been cultivated from his privileged upbringing and family roots in the southern United States. Privately he wrote of black soldiers: “Individually they were good soldiers, but I expressed my belief at the time, and have never found the necessity of changing it, that a colored soldier cannot think fast enough to fight in armor.” He also stated that performance was more important than race or religious affiliation: “I don’t give a damn who the man is. He can be a nigger or a Jew, but if he has the stuff and does his duty, he can have anything I’ve got. By God! I love him.”Addressing 761st Tank Battalion Patton also said, “Men, you are the first Negro tankers ever to fight in the American Army. I would never have asked for you if you weren’t good. I have nothing but the best in my army. I don’t care what color you are, so long as you go up there and kill those Kraut sonsabitches! Everyone has their eyes on you and is expecting great things from you. Most of all, your race is looking forward to you. Don’t let them down and, damn you, don’t let me down!” Likewise, Patton called heavily on the black troops under his command. Historian Hugh Cole notes that Patton was the first to integrate black and white soldiers into rifle companies.
After reading the Koran and observing North Africans, he wrote to his wife, “Just finished reading the Koran – a good book and interesting.” Patton had a keen eye for native customs and methods and wrote knowingly of local architecture; he once rated the progress of word-of-mouth rumor in Arab country at 40–60 miles (64–97 km) a day. In spite of his regard for the Koran, he concluded, “To me it seems certain that the fatalistic teachings of Mohammad and the utter degradation of women is the outstanding cause for the arrested development of the Arab … Here, I think, is a text for some eloquent sermon on the virtues of Christianity.” Patton was impressed with the Soviet Union but was disdainful of Russians as “drunks” with “no regard for human life”. Later in life he also began to express growing feelings of antisemitism and anticommunism, as a result of his frequent controversies in the press.
A statue of Patton at the US Military Academy at West Point
On February 1, 1945, Eisenhower wrote a memo ranking the military capabilities of his subordinate American generals in Europe. Bradley and Army Air Force General Carl Spaatz shared the number one position, Walter Bedell Smith was ranked number two, and Patton number three. Eisenhower revealed his reasoning in a 1946 review of the book Patton and His Third Army: “George Patton was the most brilliant commander of an army in the open field that our or any other service produced. But his army was part of a whole organization and his operations part of a great campaign.” Eisenhower believed that other generals such as Bradley should be given the credit for planning the successful Allied campaigns across Europe in which Patton was merely “a brilliant executor”.
Notwithstanding Eisenhower’s estimation of Patton’s abilities as a strategic planner, his overall view of Patton’s military value in achieving Allied victory in Europe can best be seen in Eisenhower’s refusal to even consider sending Patton home after the slapping incidents of 1943, after which he privately remarked, “Patton is indispensable to the war effort – one of the guarantors of our victory.” As Assistant Secretary of WarJohn J. McCloy told Eisenhower: “Lincoln‘s remark after they got after Grant comes to mind when I think of Patton – ‘I can’t spare this man, he fights’.” After Patton’s death, Eisenhower would write his own tribute: “He was one of those men born to be a soldier, an ideal combat leader … It is no exaggeration to say that Patton’s name struck terror at the hearts of the enemy.” Carlo D’Este insisted that Bradley disliked Patton both personally and professionally, but Bradley biographer Jim DeFelice noted that the evidence indicates otherwise. President Franklin D. Roosevelt appeared to greatly esteem Patton and his abilities, stating “he is our greatest fighting general, and sheer joy”. On the other hand, Roosevelt’s successor, Harry S. Truman, appears to have taken an instant dislike to Patton, at one point comparing both him and Douglas MacArthur to George Armstrong Custer.
For the most part, British commanders did not hold Patton in high regard. Field MarshalSir Alan Brooke noted in January 1943 that “I had heard of him, but I must confess that his swashbuckling personality exceeded my expectation. I did not form any high opinion of him, nor had I any reason to alter this view at any later date. A dashing, courageous, wild and unbalanced leader, good for operations requiring thrust and push but at a loss in any operation requiring skill and judgment.” One possible exception was Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery. Although the latter’s rivalry with Patton was well known, Montgomery appears to have admired Patton’s ability to command troops in the field, if not his strategic judgment. Other Allied commanders were more impressed, the Free French in particular. General Henri Giraud was incredulous when he heard of Patton’s dismissal by Eisenhower in late 1945, and invited him to Paris to be decorated by PresidentCharles de Gaulle at a state banquet. At the banquet, President de Gaulle gave a speech placing Patton’s achievements alongside those of Napoleon. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin was apparently an admirer, stating that the Red Army could neither have planned nor executed Patton’s rapid armored advance across France.
While Allied leaders expressed mixed feelings on Patton’s capabilities, the German High Command was noted to have more respect for him than for any other Allied commander after 1943.Adolf Hitler reportedly called him “that crazy cowboy general”. Many German field commanders were generous in their praise of Patton’s leadership following the war,[Note 3] and many of its highest commanders also held his abilities in high regard. Erwin Rommel credited Patton with executing “the most astonishing achievement in mobile warfare”.GeneraloberstAlfred Jodl, chief of staff of the German Army, stated that Patton “was the American Guderian. He was very bold and preferred large movements. He took big risks and won big successes.”GeneralfeldmarschallAlbert Kesselring noted that “Patton had developed tank warfare into an art, and understood how to handle tanks brilliantly in the field. I feel compelled, therefore, to compare him with Generalfeldmarschall Rommel, who likewise had mastered the art of tank warfare. Both of them had a kind of second sight in regard to this type of warfare.” Referring to the escape of the Afrika Korps after the Battle of El Alamein, Fritz Bayerlein opined that “I do not think that General Patton would let us get away so easily.” In an interview conducted for Stars and Stripes just after his capture, Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt stated simply of Patton, “He is your best.
* His troops use to say about him. “Our Blood and his Guts!” But then I have heard this alot also from the old timers. When they would say proudly, “I rode with Patton!”
So far I have been able to shoot the civilian model of the M-14 i.e The M-1a. (Since the Army had “retired” the m-14 before I showed up at Ft. Dix.)
Now frankly I had put off getting one. Because of the huge price tag on it. But due to a very nice raise* I got due to the election of a certain Governor of California.
Here is what I found out. That putting the magazine into it. Is not the same as my the Ak-47. It took me a while & the Range Master on how to do it properly. The video below will help explain it better than I could.
Now let us move on to how the Rifle functioned. When I first used the iron sights. I frankly was very disappointed at my score. Granted I am not Annie Oakley. But I thought it could do better.
But then I had a stroke of luck! I got my hands on the scope mount for it. That and I had a spare High End Scope that was unemployed.
Now as my Dear Dad would say. “This is cooking with gas!” As my scores quickly helped massaged my battered ego. Since I started shooting patterns of a inch or so at a 100 yards.
So I recommend this rifle? I give it a qualified yes. The only issue is the initial high price for this rifle. Otherwise I have nothing really to complain about it .
Here is some more technical information about America’s Last Main Battle Rifle
The M14 was developed from a long line of experimental weapons based upon the M1 rifle. Although the M1 was among the most advanced infantry rifles of the late 1930s, it was not an ideal weapon. Modifications were already beginning to be made to the basic M1 rifle’s design during the last months of World War II. Changes included adding fully automatic firing capability and replacing the eight-round en bloc clips with a detachable box magazine holding 20 rounds. Winchester, Remington, and Springfield Armory‘s own John Garand offered different conversions. Garand’s design, the T20, was the most popular, and T20 prototypes served as the basis for a number of Springfield test rifles from 1945 through the early 1950s.
In 1945, Earle Harvey of Springfield Armory designed a completely different rifle, the T25, for the new T65 .30 light rifle cartridge [7.62×49mm] at the direction of Col. Rene Studler, then serving in the Pentagon. The two men were transferred to Springfield Armory in late 1945, where work on the T25 continued. The T25 was designed to use the T65 service cartridge, a Frankford Arsenal design based upon .30-06 cartridge case used in the M1 service rifle, but shortened to the length of the .300 Savage case. Although shorter than the .30-06, with less powder capacity, the T65 cartridge retained the ballistics and energy of the .30-06 due to the use of a recently developed ball powder made by Olin Industries. After experimenting with several bullet designs, the T65 was finalized for adoption as the 7.62×51mm NATO cartridge. Olin Industries later introduced the cartridge on the commercial market as the .308 Winchester. After a series of revisions by Earle Harvey and other members of the .30 light rifle design group following the 1950 Fort Benning tests, the T25 was renamed the T47.
In contrast, the T44 prototype service rifle was not principally designed by any single engineer at Springfield Armory, but rather was a conventional design developed on a shoestring budget as an alternative to the T47. With only minimal funds available, the earliest T44 prototypes simply used T20E2 receivers fitted with magazine filler blocks and re-barreled for 7.62×51mm NATO, with the long operating rod/piston of the M1 replaced by the T47’s gas cut-off system. Lloyd Corbett, an engineer in Harvey’s rifle design group, added various refinements to the T44 design, including a straight operating rod and a bolt roller to reduce friction.
Infantry Board service rifle trials
Experimental T47 rifle
The T44 participated in a competitive service rifle competition conducted by the Infantry Board at Fort Benning, Georgia against the Springfield T47 (a modified T25) and the T48, a variant of Fabrique Nationale‘s FN FAL (from “Fusil Automatique Leger”, French for “light automatic rifle”). The T47, which did not have a bolt roller and performed worse in dust and cold weather tests than both the T44 and the T48, was dropped from consideration in 1953. During 1952–53, testing proved the T48 and the T44 roughly comparable in performance, with the T48 holding an advantage in ease of field stripping and dust resistance, as well as a longer product development lead time. A Newsweek article in July 1953 hinted that the T48/FAL might be selected over the T44. During the winter of 1953–54, both rifles competed in the winter rifle trials at U.S. Army facilities in the Arctic. Springfield Armory engineers, anxious to ensure the selection of the T44, had been specially preparing and modifying the test T44 rifles for weeks with the aid of the armory’s cold chamber, including redesign of the T44 gas regulator and custom modifications to magazines and other parts to reduce friction and seizing in extreme cold. The T48 rifles received no such special preparation, and in the continued cold weather testing began to experience sluggish gas system functioning, aggravated by the T48’s close-fitting surfaces between bolt and carrier, and carrier and receiver. FN engineers opened the gas ports in an attempt to improve functioning, but this caused early/violent extraction and broken parts as a result of the increased pressures. As a result, the T44 was ranked superior in cold weather operation to the T48. The Arctic Test Board report made it clear that the T48 needed improvement and that the U.S. would not adopt the T48 until it had successfully completed another round of Arctic tests the following winter.
In June 1954, funding was finally made available to manufacture newly fabricated T44 receivers specially designed for the shorter T65 cartridge. This one change to the T44 design saved a pound in rifle weight over that of the M1 Garand.Tests at Fort Benning with the T44 and T48 continued through the summer and fall of 1956. By this time, the T48/FAL rifles had been so improved that malfunction rates were almost as low as the T44.
In the end, the T44 was selected over the T48/FAL primarily because of weight (T44 was a pound lighter), simplicity with fewer parts, the T44’s self-compensating gas system, and the argument that the T44 could be manufactured on existing machinery built for the M1 rifle (this later turned out to be unworkable). In 1957, the U.S. formally adopted the T44 as the U.S. infantry service rifle, designated M14.
Springfield Armory produced 6,641 new M14 NM rifles in 1962 and 1963, while TRW produced 4,874 new M14 NM rifles in 1964. Springfield Armory later upgraded 2,094 M14 rifles in 1965 and 2,395 M14 rifles in 1966 to National Match specifications, while 2,462 M14 rifles were rebuilt to National Match standards in 1967 at the Rock Island Arsenal. A total of 11,130 National Match rifles were delivered by Springfield Armory, Rock Island Arsenal, and TRW during 1962–1967.
Production M14 rifles made by Springfield Armory and Winchester used forged receivers and bolts milled from AISI 8620 steel, a low-carbon molybdenum-chromium steel. Harrington & Richardson M14 production used AISI 8620 steel as well, except for ten receivers milled from AISI 1330 low-carbon steel and a single receiver made from alloy steel with a high nickel content.
A U.S. soldier with an M14 watches as supplies are dropped in 1967 during the Vietnam War.
After the M14’s adoption, Springfield Armory began tooling a new production line in 1958, delivering the first service rifles to the U.S. Army in July 1959. However, long production delays resulted in the 101st Airborne Division being the only unit in the army fully equipped with the M14 by the end of 1961. The Fleet Marine Force finally completed the change from M1 to M14 in late 1962. Springfield Armory records reflect that M14 manufacture ended as TRW, fulfilling its second contract, delivered its final production increment in fiscal year 1965 (1 July 1964 – 30 June 1965). The Springfield archive also indicates the 1.38 million rifles were acquired for just over $143 million, for a unit cost of about $104.
The rifle served adequately during its brief tour of duty in Vietnam. Though it was unwieldy in the thick brush due to its length and weight, the power of the 7.62×51mm NATO cartridge allowed it to penetrate cover quite well and reach out to extended range, developing 2,560 ft·lbf (3,463 J) of muzzle energy. However, there were several drawbacks to the M14. The traditional wood stock of the rifle had a tendency to swell and expand in the heavy moisture of the jungle, adversely affecting accuracy. Fiberglass stocks were produced to resolve this problem, but the rifle was discontinued before very many could be distributed for field use. Also, because of the M14’s powerful 7.62×51mm cartridge, the weapon was deemed virtually uncontrollable in fully automatic mode, so most M14s were permanently set to semi-automatic fire only to avoid wasting ammunition in combat.
A rare M14 presentation model, serial No. 0010
The M14 was developed to replace seven different weapons—the M1 Garand, Springfield M1903, Enfield M1917, M1 carbine, M3 Grease Gun, Thompson M1928/M1, and M1918 Browning automatic rifle (BAR). The intention was to simplify the logistical requirements of the troops by limiting the types of ammunition and parts needed to be supplied. However, it proved to be an impossible task to replace all four. The M14 was also deemed “completely inferior” to the World War II M1 Garand in a September 1962 report by the U.S. Department of Defensecomptroller. The cartridge was too powerful for the submachine gun role and the weapon was simply too light to serve as a light machine gun replacement for the BAR.
The M14 remained the primary infantry rifle in Vietnam until it was replaced by the M16 in 1966–67, though combat engineer units kept them several years longer. Further procurement of the M14 was abruptly halted in late 1963 due to the U.S. Department of Defense report which had also stated that the AR-15 (soon to be M16) was superior to the M14. (The DOD did not cancel FY 1963 orders not yet delivered.) After the report, a series of tests and reports by the U.S. Department of the Army followed that resulted in the decision to cancel the M14. The M16 was then ordered as a replacement for the M14 by direction of Secretary of DefenseRobert McNamara in 1964, over the objection of the U.S. Army officers who had backed the M14. (Other factions within the Army research and development community had opposed the M14 and the 7.62×51 mm round from the start.) Though production of the M14 was officially discontinued, some disgruntled troops managed to hang on to them while deriding the early model M16 as a frail and under-powered “Mattel toy” that was prone to jam. In late 1967, the U.S. Army designated the M16 as the “Standard A” rifle, and the M14 became a “Limited Standard” weapon. The M14 rifle remained the standard rifle for U.S. Army Basic Training and troops stationed in Europe until 1970.
The U.S. Army also converted several thousand M14s into M21sniper rifles, which remained standard issue for this purpose until the adoption of the M24 SWS in 1988.
In 1969, tooling for the M14 was sold to Taiwan and later many rifles were exported to Baltic countries and Israel.[verification needed]
Post-1970 U.S. military service
An Army marksman in Fallujah, Iraq, using an M14 with a Leupold LR/T 10×40 mm M3 scope
In the mid-1990s, the Marine Corps chose a new rifle for Designated Marksman (sniper) use, an M14 modified by the Precision Weapons Shop in Marine Corps Base Quantico called the Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR). It is intended for use by security teams (SRTs, FAST companies), and Marine Scout Snipers in the cases where a semi-automatic rifle would be more appropriate than the standard bolt-action M40A1/A3 rifle. The USMC Rifle Team uses the M14 in shooting competitions. Although the M14 was phased out as the standard-issue rifle by 1970, M14 variants are still used by various branches of the U.S. Military as well as other armed forces, especially as a sniper rifle and as a designated marksman rifle, due to its accuracy and effectiveness at long range. Special active units such as the OPFOR units of the Joint Readiness Training Center use M14s. Few M14s were in use in the Army until the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars. Since the start of these conflicts, many M14s have been employed as designated marksman and sniper rifles. These are not M21 rifles, but original production M14s. Common modifications include scopes, fiberglass stocks, and other accessories. A 2009 study conducted by the U.S. Army claimed that half of the engagements in Afghanistan occurred from beyond 300 meters (330 yd). America’s 5.56×45mm NATO service rifles are ineffective at these ranges; this has prompted the reissue of thousands of M14s.
A SEAL operator with an M14 rifle participating in maritime interdiction enforcement during Operation Desert Storm.
Various sniper variants have been used by the United States Navy SEALs, often mistaken with M21 in the overt literature, only one of them has received a standard name in the U.S. military designations system: the M25, developed by the Special Forces. SEALs also use the Mk 14 Mod 0 Enhanced Battle Rifle (EBR) for close-quarters battle and in a designated marksman role. “Delta Force” units are known to have used M14 sniper variants. According to Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War, the well-known account of the Battle of Mogadishu, Sergeant First Class Randy Shughart, used an M14 for sniping from helicopters to provide support fire to ground troops.
The U.S. Army Special Forces (“Green Berets”) have made some use of the M25 “spotter rifle”. The M25 was developed in the late 1980s within the 10th Special Forces Group, which was charged to support Special Forces sniper weapons as well as the Special Operations Target Interdiction Course (SOTIC). The M25 was first planned as a replacement for the old M21, but after the Army adoption of the M24 SWS as its standard sniper rifle, the M25 was intended to be used by spotters of the sniper teams, while the snipers would use the bolt-action M24.
The M14 has remained in service longer than any U.S. infantry rifle surpassing that of the Springfield M1903 rifle, it also holds the distinction of serving as the standard infantry rifle of the U.S. Army for a second shortest span of time than almost any other service rifle, only surpassed by the short lived US Krag–Jørgensen rifles and carbines.
Service with other nations
The Philippines issues M14 rifles, M1/M2 carbines, M1 rifles, and M16 rifles, to their civilian defense forces and various cadet corps service academies. The Hellenic Navy uses the M14.
The M14 production Springfield tooling and assembly line was sold in 1967 to the Republic of China (Taiwan), who in 1968 began producing their Type 57 Rifle. The State Arsenal of the Republic of China produced over 1 million of these rifles from 1969 to the present. Other than the surface finish it is essentially a US rifle. It is used by the reserves and as a backup defense weapon, and used by airport guards.
In Mainland China, Norinco has produced an M14 variants for export, which were sold in the U.S. prior to the importation ban of 1989 and the enactment of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. Rifles made by Poly Technologies were imported to the US in the 1980s but were banned from further import in 1989 by the first Bush Administration. They are currently being sold in Canada, Italy and New Zealand. They have been marketed under the M14S and M305 names.
Stamped into receiver heel:
Springfield Armory (or commercial contractor name)
M14 with magazine
The M14 rifle was first furnished with a walnut stock, then with birch and finally with a synthetic (fiberglass) stock, which was adopted for use in damp jungle environments in Vietnam, since the wood versions would often become warped and swollen with moisture. The stock was also fitted with a hinged shoulder rest for improved user comfort when firing from a prone position. Original equipment walnut and birch stocks carry the Department of Defense acceptance stamp or cartouche (an arc of three stars above a spread-winged eagle). These stocks also carried a proof stamp, a P within a circle, applied after successful test-firing.
Rifles manufactured through late 1960 were provided with walnut handguards. Thereafter synthetic, slotted (ventilated) hand guards were furnished but proved too fragile for military use. These were replaced by the solid synthetic part still in use, usually in dark brown, black or a camouflage pattern.
Standard M14 rifling has right-hand twist in 1:12 inches with 4 grooves.
Although M14 rifle production ended in 1964, the limited standard status of the weapon resulted in the continued manufacture of accessories and spare parts into the late 1960s and beyond.
M2 Bandoleer (Has 6 pockets, each containing 2 × 5-round Mauser-type clips for a total of 60 rounds, and a pouch for a magazine filler. The sling was adjustable and was held in place with a matte-black steel safety pin). Standard Operating Procedure was for the operator to use up the ammunition in the bandoleers before using the loaded magazines in the ammo pouches. The pockets’ stitching could be ripped out to allow the bandoleer to carry 6 pre-loaded 20-round magazines.
Sling [The service rifle used a one-piece cotton or nylon webbing sling and the competition and sniping variants use the standard M1907 two-piece leather sling]
Cleaning kit (contained in the stock’s butt-trap) included: a combination tool, ratchet chamber brush, plastic lubricant case, brass bore brush, four cleaning rod sections, cleaning rod case, and a cleaning rod patch-holding tip.
M5 winter trigger and winter safety
M12 blank firing attachment and M3 breech shield
Cartridge charger clip (holds five cartridges)
Magazine filler (or “spoon”) for charging detached magazines externally. (The M14 has a groove over the action that allows the operator to place a loaded clip and top off the attached magazine internally through the open action).
M1956 Universal Small Arms Ammunition Pouch, First Pattern (could hold 2 × 20-round M14 magazines horizontally).
M1956 Universal Small Arms Ammunition Pouch, Second Pattern (could hold 3 × 20-round M14 magazines vertically).
M1961 ammunition magazine pouch. (Could carry 1 × 20-round M14 magazine. The bottom of the pouch contained eyelets for attaching a First Aid Pouch or 3-cell (6 pocket) Grenade Carrier that could tie down around the thigh.)
M76 rifle grenade launcher
M15 grenade launcher sight
Mk 87 Mod 0/1 line (rope) throwing kit
Types of sights
Rear peep, front blade, metric
Rear National Match peep with hood, front National Match blade, metric
Variants and related designs
A U.S. Border Patrol Agent, armed with a M14 rifle, tracking someone in harsh winter conditions on the northern U.S. border.
The M15 Squad Automatic Weapon was a modified M14 developed as a replacement for the .30-06M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle for use as a squad automatic weapon. It added a heavier barrel and stock, a hinged buttplate, a selector switch for fully automatic fire, and a bipod. The sling was from the BAR. Like the M14, it was chambered for 7.62×51mm NATO.
Firing tests showed that the M14, when equipped with the selector switch, hinged buttplate and bipod, performed as well as the M15. As a result, the M15 was dropped and the modified M14 became the squad automatic weapon. Accuracy and control problems with this variant led to the addition of a pistol grip, a folding rubber covered metal foregrip and a muzzle stabilizer. However, it was a poor suppressive fire weapon owing to 20-round magazines and it overheated rapidly.
The M14E1 was tested with a variety of folding stocks to provide better maneuverability for armored infantry, paratroopers and others. No variant was standardized.
Selective fire version of the standard M14 used as a squad automatic weapon. Successor to the full-automatic M14 with a bipod and the never issued M15. The developmental model was known as the M14E2. As a conceptional weapon developed by the Infantry School, it was known as the M14 (USAIB) (United States Army Infantry Board). It was issued in 1963 and redesignated as M14A1 in 1966.
It had a full pistol-gripped in-line stock to control recoil, a plastic upper forend to save weight, a muzzle compensator, the BAR sling, an M2 bipod, and a folding metal vertical foregrip mounted under the forend of the stock. Although an improvement over the M14 when in full-auto, it was still difficult to control, overheated rapidly, and the 20-round magazine limited its ability to deliver suppressive fire.
M14M (Modified)/M14NM (National Match)
The M14M is a semi-automatic only version of the standard M14 that was developed for use in civilian rifle marksmanship activities such as the Civilian Marksmanship Program. M14M rifles were converted from existing M14 rifles by welding the select-fire mechanism to prevent full-automatic firing. The M14NM (National Match) is an M14M rifle built to National Match accuracy standards.
The M14M and M14NM rifles are described in a (now-obsolete) Army regulation, AR 920-25, “Rifles, M14M and M14NM, For Civilian Marksmanship Use,” dated 8 February 1965. Paragraph 2, among other things, stated that the Director of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division, Internal Revenue Service, Department of the Treasury (predecessor to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) had ruled that M14M and M14NM rifles so modified would not be subject to the 1934 National Firearms Act (NFA) and, as such, could be sold or issued to civilians. However, with the passage of the Gun Control Act of 1968, the NFA was amended to prohibit sales of previously modified automatic weapons such as the M14M and M14NM to civilians.
Stand-off Munition Disruption, used by Explosive Ordnance Disposal personnel to destroy unexploded ordnance. Essentially an M14 National Match rifle with scope.
Mk 14 EBR
A soldier using a M14 EBR-RIequipped with a Sage M14ALCS chassis stock provides security in Iraq, 2006.
From 1987 to 1994, Armscorp of America or Armscorp USA produced investment-cast semi-auto M14 receivers. During the first year of production, Armscorp receivers were supplied by Smith Manufacturing of Holland, Ohio, which were heat treated and finish machined by Armscorp. From 1988 to 1994, a few receivers with an ‘S’ serial number prefix were made of stainless steel. From approximately 1994 until 2008, Armscorps receiver castings were supplied by the Lamothermic Corporation of Brewster, New York.
A product of Troy Industries the CAR 14 (Carbine Assault Rifle 14) is a smaller and lighter tactical version of the M14. Its barrel is 12.5 inches long and it weighs 7.9 pounds. The rifle has select fire ability, a threaded flash suppressor for a suppressor, a tactical rail on top for sights and other attachments, and the operating rod cover.
From 1984 to 1991, Federal Ordnance of South El Monte, California sold a semi-auto version of the M14 rifle. Initially named the M14 or M14A, the rifle utilized an aftermarket semi-auto receiver fitted with surplus USGI M14 parts. All receivers were machined from castings of AISI 8620 alloy steel. Except for the first fifty receivers, the castings were supplied by Electro Crisol Metal, S.A. of Santander, Spain, then imported to the US for heat treatment, finish machining, and exterior phosphate treatment. M14 and M14A receivers were heat-treated using the carburizing process by a firm in Santa Ana, California, followed by finish machining on a CNC machine at Federal Ordnance in South El Monte. Federal Ordnance M14 and M14A receivers were heat-treated and carburized according to USGI M14 requirements. Each completed production rifle was proof fired, then tested for functioning by firing three rounds. USGI parts and bolts were used extensively in Federal Ordnance rifles through at least serial number 88XX. In 1989, Federal Ordnance renamed the rifle the M14SA and M14CSA. Rifles in the 93XX serial range and higher have modified receivers designed to accept Chinese-made bolts, barrels, and other parts owing to a shortage of original USGI components. Approximately 51,000 complete Federal Ordnance M14 rifles and 60,000 or more receivers were manufactured before production was halted in late 1991.
La France Specialties M14K
The M14K is a commercial version of the M14 designed and built by Timothy F. LaFrance of La France Specialties of San Diego, California, most using forged receivers produced by Smith Enterprise of Tempe, Arizona. This rifle has a custom-made short barrel with a custom-made flash suppressor, shortened operating rod, and employs a unique gas tube system. Fully automatic versions have a removable flash suppressor. Semi-automatic versions (of which very few were made) have a silver-brazed flash hider to comply with the requirement that Title I firearms have a 16″ barrel. Most M14Ks employ the M60 gas tube system. Some late-model M14Ks employ a custom-designed and manufactured gas system. Both are intended to control the rate of fire in fully automatic mode. The rear sight is a custom-made National Match type aperture, and the front sight is a custom-made narrow blade, wing-protected sight to take advantage of the additional accuracy afforded by the special barrel.
The stocks and handguards on M14Ks are shortened versions of the GI birch or walnut stock, but make use of the original front ferrule. The front sling mount is relocated slightly to rear, to accommodate the shortened stock. Most handguards are of the solid, fiberglass variety (albeit shortened), but a limited number were made with shortened wood handguards. The steel buttplate was deleted in favor of a rubber recoil pad, which greatly reduces perceived recoil. A limited number of M14Ks were manufactured with the BM-59 Alpine / Para folding stock. These too had the shortened stocks and handguards, making for an extremely compact package especially suited to vehicular and airborne operations. A couple of M14Ks were built for SEAL Team members using the tubular folding stock assembly on a cut-down M14E2 stock found on some of the Team’s full-size M14s prior to adoption of the Sage International EBR stock for M14 applications. These are by far one of the rarest variants of the M14K.
The Chinese firm Norinco manufactures two versions of the M14 rifle known as the M14S or M305. These rifles have been banned from importation (1989 for all Polytech rifles) and (1994 for Norinco rifles) to the U.S., due to a Clinton era prohibition on Chinese made firearms. They are commonly sold and are popular in Canada for hunting and target shooting.
Polytech Industries of China made an unlicensed version of the M14 rifle known as the M14S. Polytechs, unlike Norinco rifles, were all banned in the 1989 firearm importation ban by the President George HW Bush administration.
Smith Enterprise, Inc
Smith Enterprise Inc. was founded as Western Ordnance in 1979 by Richard Smith in Mesa, Arizona and the company made numerous types of rifles, but specialized in the M1 Garand and M14. In 1993, Western Ordnance reformed as Smith Enterprise and has built and rebuilt numerous M14 rifles for the US Military and the militaries of Colombia, Canada and other nations.
The U.S. Department of Defense has contracted Smith Enterprise to build and modify M14 rifles for use by soldiers, Marines and sailors in Iraq and Afghanistan. Smith Enterprise played a major part in the M14 rifle modernization projects for various US military units which resulted in the development of the U.S. Navy Mark 14 Enhanced Battle Rifle. The company’s history included originally making forged receivers for M14 rifles and briefly switching to investment casting. Smith stopped making receivers for a few years, but reentered the market with receivers machined from bar stock in 2002.
In 2003 Smith Enterprise Inc. created its version of the M14 Enhanced Battle Rifle known as the MK14 Mod 0, type SEI. The rifle used a medium heavy weight 18.0″ barrel and was used as a basis to create the US Navy’s Mark 14 Mod 0 with Springfield Armory, Inc. being tasked to supply the necessary machinery in cooperation with the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division. SEI builds an improved M14 gas cylinder as a component of their specialized rifles and a part for the military to upgrade older rifles. The gas cylinder is assigned the NATO Stock Number: NSN 1005-00-790-8766.
Springfield Armory, Inc. of Geneseo, Ill., produces a semi-automatic-only version of the M14 rifle. The standard rifle is known as the M1A. The company produces several variations of the basic rifle with different stocks, barrel weights, barrel lengths, and other optional features. The Springfield M1A and its model variants have been widely distributed in the U.S. civilian market and have seen use by various law enforcement agencies in the U.S. Springfield Armory, Inc. also produce the SOCOM series and the Scout Squad Rifle, based on the short-barreled version of the M14. The SOCOM 16 comes with provisions to mount a red dot sight and the SOCOM II adds railed handguards to the package. Springfield Armory’s M21 tactical is a civilian version of the M21 Sniper Weapon System currently in use by the U.S. military.
Australia: small quantities of XM21 sniper variants were issued by the Australian Army in the Vietnam War. M14 EBRs were also fielded by Australian special operations forces in Afghanistan.
Estonia: Adopted by Estonian military as marksman’s rifle, modified by E-Arsenal called the Täpsuspüss M14-TP(Precision Rifle M14-PR), with heavy barrel, bipod, synthetic stock, and optical 4× sight.