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1st Infantry Divisions 1st Carbines?!

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    Posted: Sep 01 2016 at 11:14am
August 2016-A


Our thanks to Don Hillhouse for uncovering correspondence from the 1st Infantry Division’s “G-3 Diary.”  Based at Indiantown Gap Military Reservation in Pennsylvania during the summer of 1942, “The Big Red One” was one of the American units that participated in the first Allied invasion of Europe (in North Africa) in November of that year.  The Division shipped out two weeks after these documents were written. Excerpts are below. Editor’s notes are in parentheses.

10 July 42.  G-3 (Division Operations) notified by G-4 (Division Supply) that 1st Infantry Division has just received 1500 carbines, cal 30. G-4 stated the Div might be completely equipped with carbines prior to embarkation.

11 July 42.  Capt. Bennett notified G-4 and DOO (most likely means Division Ordnance Officer) that Lt. Batori, Asst DOO, had asked him to notify them that a message had been received from Capt. Morgan, Washington, D.C. stating that there was going to be a production lag in manufacture of carbines.  800 delivered to us immediately, 1529 will be held up 3 or 4 days, then the full production quota will be given to us.  (In July 1942, these would obviously all be of Inland manufacture and blued/ black oxide with green/gray Parkerized slides.)

Col. Campbell, DOO, informed Capt. Bennett that the 1st Div was going to get some carbine ammunition from Raritan Arsenal today, probably about 15 rds per carbine for familiarization purposes.

13 July 42.  G-3 called DOO, re: technical information as to how much rear sight of Carbine will have to be tapped to move strike of bullet a minute of angle at 200 yards.  (Answer is .012 or 12 thousandths of an inch at 200 yards).

G-3 conferred with D.A. (possibly Division Artillery), re: distribution of Carbine. G-3 said that distribution was going to be by units and not by “driblets.” 

G-3 received notification that 25,000 rds Carbine Cal .30 ammunition was received this AM.  Col. Mason stated he would make the breakdown.

20 July 42.  DOO reported in early PM that the following carbines have been distributed to date:

16th Infantry (Regiment) 838
Div HQ Co    (Company) 220 
18th Infantry (Regiment) 219
26th Infantry (Regiment) 200

22 July 42.  DOO conferred with G-3 re: carbines issued to units of Div.  To date 1530 carbines have been issued.  

DOO conferred with a captain of 33rd FA (Field Artillery) re: ammunition for carbines as well as carbines.  G-3 advised him to borrow carbines from a rifle regiment. (It would appear that the Field Artillerymen wanted carbines for familiarization/qualification purposes.  Later in the war, the artillery units were authorized the greatest concentration of carbines in an infantry division.

27 July 42. Col. Campbell, DOO reported to Capt. Bennett that Post Ordnance had a shipping order for 4,983 carbines which have not arrived.

28 July 42.  Capt. Bennett overheard Col. Mason, Acting Chief of Staff say that a certain unit of the 1st Inf Div was going to receive 500 additional carbines on Thursday 30 July 42.  The name of the unit was not made known to Capt. Bennett.

(A related document lists the quantity of 1st Infantry Division’s small arms that were repaired by their organic 1st Ordnance Light Maintenance Company, following combat in Tunisia during the period January 18 to March 21, 1943.  Of interest to collectors, the repaired rifles included 3195 M1s, 2469 M1903s, and only 353 Carbines.  This seems to indicate that the quantity of ‘03s used in combat was quite large, while the quantity of Carbines in the hands of 1st Division troops might not have been anywhere near their authorized allowance of approximately 5000.  This could also mean that carbines saw little combat during the North African campaign.)

At the end of the North African campaign on 1 August 1943, the First Infantry Division G-4 reported “After 5 months of continuous combat, the equipment of the Division, particularly motor vehicles, weapons, and communication equipment, required complete overhaul by 3rd and 4th echelon maintenance, during which a great quantity was salvaged and replaced.”

Marty Black
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote New2brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 14 2017 at 2:48pm
According to WB 362 carbines were delivered in June 1942. In July 1942 2,642 were delivered.
I believe the earliest barrel date is 5-42. I think some 6-42 barrel dates might be in the early Cannon Company carbines.
So it is possible this is one of them. It definitely saw service right through Korea.
Feel free to share your early barrel dates with serial numbers here.
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