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WW1 Marine Corps grouping


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Another relative grabber those but I do have a Waltham pocket watch with the USMC insignia engraved on the back along some of my fathers sharpshooter medals from ww2 plus a box of pics from Iwo some of them are pretty grisleydad was in a flame throwing battalion he dosent talk much about it

Oats that have already been through the horse are always cheaper than oats that haven't.

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Your relative had a interesting career. Did you know he went to France for a month during the war (temp foreign exp shore service)? He may have attended the OSD Sniper School, as he was there; but if he did, it was probably as an instructor. If so, that sniper rifle may have been issued to him at Guantanamo or OSD. Interesting that he managed to hang on to it. You might want to look around for a russett scope case. If he retained copies of his orders, you might want to read them. They moved him around almost on a monthly basis - there had to be a reason. He seemed to follow Major William D. Smith, who had a serious hand in the sniper program. Both men were competitive shooters. Do you know if he was Distinguished? I just checked - he went Distinguished (rifle) in 1920. The man was one hell of a shooter. Look for his Distinguished Badge and put it with those rifles.

 

Jim

 

USMC-DistMarksman.jpg

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Here's a medal my father says belonged to uncle Frank

Sorry for quality took this with phone my camera needs batteries

post-129374-0-70750500-1439770026.jpg

Oats that have already been through the horse are always cheaper than oats that haven't.

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This could be uncle Franks pocket watch or it could be my grandfathers my father couldn't say for sure but it most likely is my uncles as my grandfather was an enlisted aide to uncle Frank. According to Walthams serial # it was made in 1913

post-129374-0-71194300-1439772990.jpg

Oats that have already been through the horse are always cheaper than oats that haven't.

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Talked with dad today he said Uncle Frank was given guns to try out and test for Springfield and the Corps. These Springfields could be prototypes I will have to look at the lands and grooves IIFRC there were some 8 groove barrels made but I don't have the resources to find the production dates. Any help out there?

Oats that have already been through the horse are always cheaper than oats that haven't.

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I doubt they gave rifles to individual enlisted men to test, as Springfield's testing schemes were well organized and involved multiple shooters. Don't worry about prototypes, as those rifles are not prototypes. Those rifles were ordered by the Corps and modified by WRA for special purpose use (I am surprised the unscoped rifle has no scope, which technically eliminates it as part of the first group - it is just a sales rifle). Both rifles came from WRA's stockpile of sales rifles.

 

Your uncle was issued the scoped rifle either at Guantanamo or OSD, and since he was at both locations at the right time, he could have gotten it at either place. It appears he may have taken the course and traveled to France, probably to assist in starting up a sniper school in France. If that is true, he had darned little time to do so, since the trip was almost two weeks one way. It is possible, and probable, he may have gotten the rifle after the war as a target rifle. Who knows. I suggest you get a copy of his military records (cost - $60), which may shed some light on the situation.

 

Good luck.

 

Jim

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks for sharing this truly wonderful piece of History. He had quite a series of promotions during WW1 for a Marine not sent to France. Would be interesting to see what this part of his career looks like.

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I know I'm late to the thread, but WOW!! Fantastic grouping and what a great career he had. Glad to see these in the family....but should you ever want to sell, just PM me. ;)

-Gene

 

“The English fight for Honor, the French for Glory, but the Americans fight for Souvenirs!"

 

Roy S. Durstine, 1918

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Talked with dad today he said Uncle Frank was given guns to try out and test for Springfield and the Corps. These Springfields could be prototypes I will have to look at the lands and grooves IIFRC there were some 8 groove barrels made but I don't have the resources to find the production dates. Any help out there?

 

 

I commented on this post back in 2015, and received an email today that someone commented. I had sort of forgot about this rifle and went back and reread the comments. Since I commented back then, we have pulled out thousands of Army and MArine documents on the Army and Marine Sniper rifle and NM team programs from 1900 to the 1950's. Almost all is new and unpublished.

 

I just want to clean up my comments from back then, as I only knew what I had read in books and online, and my comments are not correct.

 

I think now, what you were initially told by your Uncle that this was a test rifle from Springfield Armory is actually CORRECT.

 

The blocks on the rifle and the mounts on the scope do not match the Marine Corps style that you see in Marine photos from WWI, and also on existing Marine examples today.

 

What I did not know in 2015. Is the Army actually did trial Mann Niedner style rifles post WWI.

 

What happened is basically this. In 1918, the Army had 900 A5 scopes mounted on Army rifles provided by SA. These mounts were called Springfield Marine. But this is a play on words as WRA did not use the tapered block design. It just was a nickname coined of the mounts after the Marines had the same orders in 1917. After the Army received the first shipment of these rifles, they wondered if they should have chose the taper block desing of Mann. But decided it was not needed. The only issue that the Army had with the WRA Marine mount A5 scopes was that they lost the thumbscrew that attached the scope to the blocks in the field. So the Army ordered 500 replacement thumbscrews off WRA in the summer 1918 for their Marine mounts.

 

A couple years after WWI, the Army decided to experiment with the Mann Niedner style tapered block design. They detail that the MArines Corps had mostly switched to the tapered block design in the early 20's rifle competitions. So the Army began to experiment with taper block test rifles which they detail were trialed at Fort Bening Georgia among other places.

 

Looking at the schematics of the Army designs for the blocks and mounts of these Trial rifles, they seem to have similar traits to what you have here. Otherwise your rifle much more matches the Army version than the Marine version. What I'm guessing you might have an earlier or later design that was adapted from the Army design.

 

My best guess is what your uncle said it probably true. This was a test rifle by Springfield Armory. It seems to fit the official documentation much more likely than another explanation. This is also why this is the only version of this style mount that I know that exists. I do believe this to be the only existing example.

 

It could be possible this is some kind of test rifle by the Marines, but I do not believe so. I have photos of the test rifles used by the Marines in the 1920's, and they don't match this one at all. This one does not match the ones done by the Marines in WWI as well. Another likely answer could be this is a civilian mounted scope as well. As so many civilian gunsmiths were experimenting with the taper block Design at this time.

 

But given that your family history details that is an Army test rifle from SA, and not one person knew these Army test rifles even existed till a year ago when Andrew Stolinski pulled the documents. I would say this is probably the most likely solution to what this rifle actually is.

 

How else would your uncle had known this was an Army trial rifle from SA, when no one else even knew an SA Army Mann Niedner even existed? That is pretty compelling to me.

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Oh just so I don't confuse anyone, many of the Springfield trial rifles were not built by springfield. A commercial company would take one of the M1903 rifles provided by the Army, and they would mount their version of the scope on it, and send it to the Army to trial, trying to win a govt contract.

 

The Army would conduct trials on the rifle which many times were very informal and nothing like today. For instance on the Warner Swasey they took it on a Deer hunting expedition in Michigan to trial. Many trials conducted by both the Army and Marines were conducted by one individual at a range who was a very good marksman. He would shoot the rifles thousands of times and then write his findings in a report of what he thought of it. So it very much makes sense that a trial rifle such as this would have been given to such a distinguished Marine to trial.

 

Also since this is a STeven's scope, it is very possible this might have been built by Steven's themselves. Steven's was very much trying to get a Govt Contract at this time. They submitted several trial rifles I can document. But very little info on these rifles still exists. See the 1898 Krag that had a Govt Contract to the Cataract scope company, Steven's bought that Cataract company when they went under. Some of the people who got the govt contract for Cataract went to work for Steven's. So the guys at Steven's had people who were very familiar with govt contracts.

 

It's impossible to say who built this, but it could have even been Steven's for all we know, and submitted for Army Trials. The Army and the Marines were constantly working together in the early 20's on many trial programs such as this, so a Marine trialing a Army scoped rifle is common as well.

 

Honestly the whole story as the OP is telling it fits this rifle exactly. Which makes it very interesting to me. Because it is most likely exactly as he thinks, some type of prototype and another doesn't exist.

 

One more thing to add, the rifle has #10 sights. These are often said to be MArine Corps only. The very first #10 sights were developed by a Commercial maker. The Marines saw them on Army NM rifles in compeition in 1918 I believe. Then the Marines ordered I think 35,000 #10 sights off Springfield Armory in 1919. So even though this rifle has #10 sights, that is not definite Marine. Also they are easy to switch and the Marines adopted the #10 sight in 1919.

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Steve,

I have the personal test notes of an ordnance Sgt who was assigned to WRA to work on the BAR in WWI. In his paperwork are notes where they tested various scopes on rifles. Ill have to check when I get home later this week if any are pertinent to this discussion. CC

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Steve,

I have the personal test notes of an ordnance Sgt who was assigned to WRA to work on the BAR in WWI. In his paperwork are notes where they tested various scopes on rifles. Ill have to check when I get home later this week if any are pertinent to this discussion. CC

 

Now those would be very interesting to me. I've pulled all the available WRA docs from the WWI timeframe from Cody, and I have the Ordnance docs from the other side at the same time period as well.

 

I would be very curious to see how those documents you have fit into all of this. Especially from an Odnance Sgt. His notes would have never been archived in a traditional ARchives. Which means they are most likely new. I will be very curious to see what you have. :)

 

WRA even in 1917 knew the A5 was obsolete, so they focused all their development on a new 2.6X scope they were developing that was a copy of the German Goerz Design. They were putting these scopes on sporterized M1917 rifles. But WRA GREATLY oversold their ability to go into production on that scope and over promised a huge amount to the Govt. But they never could get a working model that didn't fly apart under recoil. So the contract was cancelled at wars end, with Ordnance really frustrated they never got them.

 

If I had to guess I bet a lot of what you have is revolving around that Georz design scope they called the model of 1918. But that is only a guess.

 

Is there anything you collect research wise? I would gladly exchange documents for a copy of those. :)

 

Those WWI documents about Telescopic sights, especially from WRA are of great interest to me. It's one of my favorite topics.

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