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M3 M3A1 Grease Guns in Vietnam?


SergeantMajorGray
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My Favorite :D

 

 

post-633-0-07421300-1360881477.jpg

I have that picture saved in my files as well as I had all theree weapons at some point. a wuestion on the M3: The first one I fired, did not have a cocking handle. You opened the dust cover and inserted a finger into the bolt (hole for that) to cock it. Was that a model or simply missing a part? I never carried that one, but later did carry the one with the cocking handle regularly in my Kiowa.
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a question on the M3: The first one I fired, did not have a cocking handle. You opened the dust cover and inserted a finger into the bolt (hole for that) to cock it. Was that a model or simply missing a part? I never carried that one, but later did carry the one with the cocking handle regularly in my Kiowa.

 

 

That was the second model of M3, introduced in December of 1944 and designated as M3A1. It was even simpler to manufacture, slightly lighter and it was easier to field strip.

 

 

Regards,

 

 

Gus

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That was the second model of M3, introduced in December of 1944 and designated as M3A1. It was even simpler to manufacture, slightly lighter and it was easier to field strip.

 

 

Regards,

 

 

Gus

Thank you Gus,

 

I had incorrectly assumed the cocking handle was an improvement, but it makes sense to keep it simple. The sling I used to hang it on the armored door plate did occasionally hang up on the handle. I did not carry it aloft long, but it was in my locker when I turned my area over to the new guy, who ever he was. I'm sure he was shocked if he was new in country at the ordinance I had in that locker. Thank goodness my roomy was into weaponry as much as I was.

 

Roger

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A neighboring PD, where I have several friends, has an M3A1 in new condition. Seems in the 1990s a little old lady came into the station with a bag and said her husband had brought home a gun from when he was in the service (WWII or Korea - the officer couldn't remember which). Since he had died, she didn't want it any more and wondered if the PD would take it... It was in new condition, quite obvious it had never been fired and barely cleaned as there was still cosmoline in a lot of the crevices.

 

We decided to take it to the range and try it out. I must say, I was a little apprehensive after reading and hearing about all the poor quality of the Grease Gun, but apparently those problems only cropped up once the gun was well-used, because this one in new condition shot like a champ! After using it close-up (10-15 yards) to find out it worked great and was quite accurate, I moved back to 25 yards, inserted a full magazine, and with an appropriately aggressive stance to counter recoil, cut loose with a full-mag-dump. Every single round was inside the 8-ring of the B-27 police qualification silhouette target.

 

For the $7 investment the government paid for them, they were real good guns. The govt. just held onto them and kept them in service WAY too long for a $7 gun!

 

Another buddy of mine was a Heavy Transportation officer in ODS, and he was issued an M3A1 in 1990!! 45 years later and still issuing them... No wonder they have a bad reputation!!

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The unreliability and lack of robustness in the M3 (and the STEN for that matter) comes from early production guns. You need to keep in mind that these were the first guns to use stamped steel construction thoughout. Consequently, the first examples off the production line were not made as well as they should have been, with problems ranging from ill-fitting parts to welds breaking apart completely when the gun was dropped. Once those difficulties were properly ironed out, the M3 and STEN became perfectly robust, servicable, and reliable guns. But as often happens, once a bad reputation is earned, it can take a long time to get rid of.

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Annihilator - you can have all the Mausers, if I can just have TWO of the BARs! (My favorite and my grail gun... Does anyone have a few thousand to loan me so I can get one of the Ohio Ord. Semi-Autos??)

 

 

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M-3s were actually issued -- in the ETO -- before Normandy, in late 1943. At least the 82nd and 10-1st Abn Divs got some for field/troop testing. As said before, these were early-production guns, and they suffered from lots of glitches. The major problem was improper heat-treating, making ejectors and extractors prone to failure (breaking off or losing shards or bending), and mag catch springs were too weak (mags dropped out at inconvenient times, most especially on the opening shock of a parachute, or being dropped or slammed into the ground). Magazines also had issues. As a result, during the cycle of spring 1944 field exercises, any M-3 that seemed iffy was withdrawn, and all were checked over by ordnance techs before being returned to the troops. Thus, you can find a few pictures of them in use in Normandy, but not many.

 

The M-3A1 changes (such as eliminating the cocking handle that caught on things, and using the stock as a disassembly tool and mag loader) had all (IIRC) been suggested during Stateside troop tests (AFTER General Motors and the Ordnance Test Board), but set aside to get the guns made and fielded sooner rather than later.

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While researching for another post I ran across this photo. It is of Co E (Recon), 2nd Bn, 3rd Inf, 199th LIB, in 1969. Sorry for the small size - there are several interesting weapons in this photo, among them an M3.

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439th Signal Battalion

Another Redcatcher in D/2-3, 199th Infantry Brigade, carrying a grease gun in July 1969. Note the extra mags in his trouser pocket.

 

GreaseGun_zps29a8a1e1.jpg

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  • 4 weeks later...

According to Jane's Infantry Weapons, as of April, 2001, the US Army still had 12,637 M3's in storage or deployed (135 deployed). 707 M3's were sent to Macedonia in 1999.

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That Thompson is a load to hump. I loved shooting the one I had in those times, just impractical with the other geear and the operating scenario.

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Years ago, I took my 15yr old, 90lb daughter out to a gun range to fire a full auto Thompson. It sure was fun watching her :) Later that night she was complaining about her arms and shoulders hurting.

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  • 1 year later...

The M3A1 Submachine gun (Grease gun) was removed from service in 1992. They were used as a tankers weapon from Nam to the end of its service life.

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aussie digger

Need to see if I can find the pics but we captured a M3 in Afghanistan along with nagants, K98s, .303s and even a 1890s tower rifle!

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  • 2 years later...

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