The data in the table below is restricted to the original WWII U.S. Ordnance contract carbines the United States provided to other countries. The sources for each line of data are indicated in the column to the far right of that data. An explanation of each source is indicated at the bottom of the chart. The exact number of carbines provided worldwide will probably never be known, for a variety of reasons.
Sources that do not provide a reliable source for their data have been excluded from this chart.
Carbines obtained via a loan were to be returned to the U.S. Dept. of Defense and U.S. inventory whereupon some were likely provided to yet another nation. Many of these countries have sold, traded, destroyed, and/or donated these carbines to other countries and/or private gun brokers.
(1) Covert U.S. aid to insurgents in Angola began in 1974 and continued until 1992. Former CIA operative John Stockwell wrote that in the early phase of the operation, the CIA provided 7,771 7.62mm rifles, 12,215 .30-caliber carbines, 4,210 66mm light antitank weapons, and 410 grenade launchers. [John Stockwell, In Search of Enemies (New York: W. W. Norton, 1978), pp. 265–68]
(2) Carbine Club Newsletter 181-3 November 1, 1991; source indicated for China as OSS run U.S. Navy Sino-American Cooperative Organization (SOCO) Document 25156, October 6, 1953, document indicates SOCO storage facilities in Chunking (330 M1 carbines), Kunming (30 M1 carbines), Worhat (30 cases of M1 carbines), the latter not indicating how many carbines per case it was left out of the above quantities; source indicated for France as the report “Statistics Furnished by OSS Paris, Nov 45, to Fr. Gp. Hist. Sec., ETOUSA” (European Theater Operations, United States of America), courtesy of the U.S. Army Office of the Chief of Military History (OCMH)
The British Special Operations Executive (SOE) provided the French Gaullist Resistance with 2595 U.S. carbines and the independant French Resistance groups with 6770 U.S. carbines. The SOE based in Algiers provided an additional 6 U.S. carbines to French Resistance fighters. From SOE in France by M.R.D. Foot p. 424, from a table compiled postwar by Charles W. Cowie, head of the statistal section of the Service Historique des Armees de Terres at Vincennes, detailing arms provided to the French Resistance by SOE (SHAT 13P60). These numbers are not included in this chart as these were carbines provided by the British and it is not known if SOE obtained the carbines from their Lend Lease carbine numbers, or directly from OSS. SOE and OSS operations for the French Resistance operated out of the same HQ in London, however, each maintained separate supply facilities and operated from separate airfields.
(3) Issued to Civil Defense school guards
(4) Total U.S. Production provided by U.S. M1 Carbines, Wartime Production by Craig Riesch, 5th edition
(5) Figure for total U.S. M2 production does not include M1’s converted to M2. The 417,500 were manufactured as M2 carbines.
The Lend-Lease Act was signed into law on March 11, 1941. This act empowered the president to "sell, transfer title to, exchange, lease, lend, or otherwise dispose of, to any such government [whose defense the President deems vital to the defense of the United States] any defense article." The program was administered by the newly created Office of Lend-Lease Administration. The program continued through August 1945. Lend-Lease items were loaned, leased, traded and/or provided for free.
Data for the carbines provided by Lend-Lease was obtained from:
(a) U.S. Export Statistics Under the Lend-Lease Program, 1944 and 1945, Foreign Trade Commission, Bureau of the Census
(b) Table 17, International Aid Statistics, WWII (thru 31 Dec 1945), Army Service Forces, War Dept. (undated)
(c) Table LL-14, U.S. Army in WWII Statistics, War Dept. Lend-Lease shipments 1941-1945, Office of the Chief of Military History (15 Dec 1952)
Data from the U.S. Export Statistics Under the Lend-Lease Program by the Bureau of the Census (a) is absent or less than most of the data provided by the other two sources. With one exception. It indicates Canada received 3,505 carbines under Lend-Lease. The other two sources indicate Canada received 230 carbines.
U.S. Army in WWII Statistics by the OCMH (c) indicates 241 carbines were provided to the "American Republics". The website of the Hyperwar project quotes International Aid Statistics (b) as indicating Cuba received 5 carbines, Ecuador 1, and Mexico 235 (241 ttl). International Aid Statistics (b) included data thru 31 Dec 1945. A supplement updated this data thru 30 Jun 1946. We have been unable to locate the supplement. Since we could not confirm the Hyperwar project numbers they were not included.
The Office of Strategic Services was established by a Presidential military order issued June 13, 1942. The OSS was the predecessor to the CIA and among many things helped arm, train and supply resistance movements in areas occupied by the Axis powers during World War II. While best known for their parachute drops of weapons and supplies to resistance movements in France (Operation Carpetbagger) they smuggled personnel, weapons and supplies to groups in other countries.
Given the secretive nature of their work the quantities, locations, and dates remained secret during the war. A few documents have been located after the war but these should be viewed as a minimum. These carbine are believed to be separate from Lend-Lease due to the secretive nature of the operations.
Statistics Furnished by OSS Paris, Nov 45, to Fr. Gp. Hist. Sec., ETOUSA (U.S. European Theater Operations) courtesy of the U.S. Army Office of the Chief of Military History (OCMH)
As the majority of U.S. Forces worldwide began returning home most surrendered their weapons to Ordnance Department personnel as they boarded the ships or planes. Some of the U.S. Carbines were returned to the U.S.A., some were stockpiled in U.S. Supply Depots in forward staging areas in various countries (France, Italy, U.K, South Korea, etc) in case they were needed.
The first official military aid program after Lend-Lease and WWII was the U.S. Department of Defense Military Assistance Program (MAP) in 1951. However, between 1945 and 1949 the U.S. Office of Military Government provided 21,819 U.S. Carbines to German police agencies within the American Zone of Occupation. Each German land/state whose police used these carbines eventually purchased them. In 1956 the police and gendarmerie of Austria located within the areas of the American Occupation received 24,500 M1 Carbines, 1,885 M1A1 Carbines and 500 M2 Carbines. Only 12,620 of these carbines are indicated the records of the Military Assistance Program. Additionally, the Austrian gendarmerie purchased an additional 4000-5000 U.S. Carbines from the Bavarian government 1955-1956. The history of these carbines are the subject of the website BavarianM1Carbines.com. Many of these carbines were sold or traded between and within these countries, though many were eventually sold to private gunbrokers. They are not included in this table.
Congress has required DoD to provide yearly summaries of what aid was provided to which country. During the period October 1950 through December 1963 this reporting requirement was apparently piecemeal. In 1963 Congress demanded yearly reports and has received them since 1964. According to the National Archives the data for the period 1951-1963 the data is accumulative for that time period and indicated in the records collectively as "1963".
Over the years since WWII the DOD has had various agencies and programs, often evolving into other agencies or programs or changing names as part of organizational restructuring that have provided U.S. Carbines to other countries.
Post WWII the U.S. Government struggled with itself on whether or not to provide military assistance to other nations. Not until War in Korea did they reach an agreement with one another resulting in the Department of Defense Military Assistance Program (MAP) in 1951. The MAP data in the table above was obtained from the U.S. National Archives in Bethesda, MD.
Foreign Military Sales (FMS)
Not long after the the starts of the Military Assistance Program the Dept. of Defense was authorized to start Foreign Military Sales (FMS) for the purchase of defense materials by foreign nations. MAP data from the National Archives did not include data of Foreign Military sales. FMS data was obtained from the book "Small Arms Today", Volume II, by Edward Ezell. Ezell was the military firearms curator for the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.. Ezell did not indicate his sources for his information but given his position within the Smithsonian he likely had access to a variety of original records. His book also includes partial data from the Military Assistance Program. As his MAP data often conflicted with and/or provided partial quantities, for the purpose of the tabe above the records of the Military Assistance Program maintained by the National Archives were used instead.
Excess Defense Articles (EDA)
Excess Defense Articles (EDA) are defense materiel, other than construction equipment, in excess of Approved Force Acquisition Objectives and Approved Force Retention Stock levels at the time such articles are dropped from the DoD inventory. EDA articles may be sold to eligible countries and international organizations under the Foreign Military Sales program, or transferred on a grant basis under Section 516 of the Foreign Assistance Act. A central source for EDA statistics has yet to be located. Data provided by the State Department to the Office of Senator Frank Lautenberg, 26 September 1996 to the Armed Services Committee provided the EDA statistic for Mexico.
Like the OSS of WWII, American intelligence agencies are known to have provided M1, M1A1, and M2 carbines to various countries and groups. How many and to whom will likely never be known. The data for Angola in footnote 1 (above) has been the only data located. In addition to surplus military weapons the CIA is known to have arranged sales of commercially manufactured post WWII carbines for various insurgencies (think Cuba at various times).
The DoS can authorize the direct sale of small arms from American manufacturers to foreign nations. The manufacturers of the U.S. GI carbines ceased production in 1945. The DoS approved sales are known to have included carbines manufactured by Plainfield, Universal, National Ordnance. As the chart above is for original U.S. Ordnance contracted carbines only, DoS exports are not included.
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