Military Biography Gunmaker John Garand and the M-1

About the Canadian gunmaker John Garand who invented the famous M-1 rifle for use by the Allies in World War II.


JOHN GARAND (Canada and U.S., W.W. II)

Canadian-born John Cantius Garand (1888-1974) invented the semiautomatic Garand, which works on the principle of expanding gas, while employed as a civilian ordnance engineer at the U.S. Armory in Springfield, Mass., in the early 1930s. The famous M-1 was adopted in 1936 as the official U.S. Army rifle. The .30-caliber, 8-shot, slip-loading weapon proved to be a great improvement on the old standard Springfield, firing up to four times as many shots at 100 rounds per minute, and contributed greatly to the Allied victory in W.W. II.

Garand was never paid a cent in royalties for his invention, never earning more than $12,000 a year in his 34-year service with the U.S. Ordnance Corps. "I guess they think I'm dead," he was once quoted as saying. "I don't think I want too much. I would like to be able to take the wife around the country and put my grandson through college."

The Garand had far less recoil than the Springfield, making it an ideal weapon for the average soldier, and delivered much greater firepower. General Douglas MacArthur was a strong supporter of the M-1. From the battlefields of Bataan, he sent word that the rifles "were performing in outstanding manner" and that they operated "without malfunctions under combat conditions as much as seven days consecutively without attention."

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