Posted 08 September 2011 - 03:31 PM
once again: The M-4 knife-bayonet (its first nomenclature) entered mass production in early 1944 -- "early" meaning the first HALF. The new parts simply were used in place of the old style, as the old ones were expended. Thus some makers took longer to convert over to the M-4. They would have ent4ered the supply system just like the M-3s had and have been issued out as needed. "As needed" would have logically been, in the main, to equip FRESH units in the States as they beared up for overseas deployment. Individual replacements headed over may or may not have been issued with knives and/or knife-bayonets before leaving. (Photo evidence welcome!)
I have "the earliest known M-4 issued in Europe". I got it from Glider Pilot Iredell K. "Ike" Dye, who got it on 14 August 1944, as part of his field gear issue at an airfield outside Rome, for the DRAGOON operation, the invasion of S France. (NOTE: EUROPE, by not the ETO!) He carried it for S France, Holland and VARSITY, its only "mods" being he sharpened it and added OD riser cord as a tie-down.
There are several clear photos of the 17th in VARSITY (NOTE: ETO) that, if examined closely, show the M-4 in use. These include the much-published one of a 57mm RR team.
The 30-round mags and the bayonet studs took longer, longer to make, longer to distribute into the system and longer to get overseas. The First Army after action reports for Normandy/France, in the Ordnance section, mentions that selective fire carbines were field tested in the Normandy campaign -- but makes no mention of "M-2" nomenclature, quantities, units, mags, etc. Per 17th FA vets, in VARSITY they had selective fire carbines, but no 30-rd mags; they habitually fired 15 rds on full auto in one or two bursts, then reloaded.