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Rifle Grenade Sights?

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I was talking with a fellow collector the other day and was told that the sights for rifle grenade launchers were never actually fielded in WWII, is their any truth behind this? There are tons of “NOS” 1944 sights on eBay and online vendors, and I’ve definitely seen stocks from the CMP come with the disks, or at least holes from the disks.

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It is difficult to find photos of them for sure. But I have seen one taken in the ETO late in the War. A jeep full of GI's, and while you don't see the rifle grenade sight, the base for it is attached to the side of his M1 rifle.


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It is difficult to find photos of them for sure. But I have seen one taken in the ETO late in the War. A jeep full of GI's, and while you don't see the rifle grenade sight, the base for it is attached to the side of his M1 rifle.

Glad to hear there’s at least ONE photo out there. If you happen to come across it again, send it my way please!

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Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Of course they made them and some were used. There was usually only one guy assigned to a rifle with a grenade launcher out of every so many (1 per squad is the most I've read, probably it was less). And they didn't start making the launchers and sights in bulk until 1944, so there weren't that many out there.

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I was talking with a fellow collector the other day and was told that the sights for rifle grenade launchers were never actually fielded in WWII, is their any truth behind this? There are tons of “NOS” 1944 sights on eBay and online vendors, and I’ve definitely seen stocks from the CMP come with the disks, or at least holes from the disks.

 

Using an ETO example - 12th Army Group comprised somewhere around 80% of ground forces in that theater. In its official history it noted that it provided facilities to process an average of 10,000 press photos per week during its 10 month history. Unless you executed an organized plan to randomly sample from that horde, then your observations are anecdotal and thus useless. Anecdotes are mostly for entertainment, but can occasionally lead to asking a better defined question.

 

If your interest was in a major item, you could find periodic reports tracking expenditures and replacement quantities. With a minor item like this, that is less likely, but you might ask NARA for a copy of the following Infantry Board report:

 

https://catalog.archives.gov/id/1751469

 

Though it is a technical report (rather than logistics), since it is late war and concerns design modifications, it might contain field usage comments that established the need for mods.

 

Until recent times, WWII rations were available all over the place. Considering how widely available they were, ask your friend if that means none were eaten during the war. :P

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I think most of the sights that actually went overseas were the early models marked T59E3. They are otherwise almost identical to the M15 but the carrying pouch is shorter and lacks the belt hook of the later type.

 

I should have some production data in my files but am away from home for the SOS.


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I've seen auction carbines with the launcher sights installed. But haven't come across any pics in the ETO or PTO.

I have extra M1 carbine stocks showing they had been fitted for the mounts, most all of these are heavily damaged.

Links here, but no idea if these carbines were fitted during WWII or Korea.

 

https://www.icollector.com/Winchester-M1-Carbine-with-Side-Mounted-M15-Marked-Grenade-Launcher-Sight-Sling-and-Bayonet_i10496881

 

https://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=1426063

 

https://auctions.thegunrunner.com/lots/view/1-PKWLB/us-m1-carbine-30-cal-military-underwood-mfg-grenade-launcher-1943-wwii

 

 

Charlie-Painter777


Living FREE because of those that served.

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My first M1 Garand from the CMP had the holes for the sight in the stock, but it was a post-WW2 stock. I best guess is that they were available and used after WW2 more than during.


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Big Thanks to The Carbine Collector's Club for preserving the reports written by Mr. Bill Ricca.

I was able to find Bill's report about GL's.

 

In his 'History of the M7A1, M7A2, and M7A3 Grenade Launchers, The Recoiling Grenade Launchers' article.

Bill wrote about the problems with grenadiers carrying a M1 rifle having to take the GL off to have semi-auto capabilities.

 

Early 1945

" As long as the M7 remained on the rifle, the gas system remained opened. To re-gain semi-automatic capability the operator had to remove the launcher, which disabled it in its role as the rifle squad's grenadier. The constant removal and mounting of the M7 led to high losses. According to ordnance documents between 15% and 20% of M7's in inventory were being lost each month."

 

You can read the complete article here:

 

http://www.uscarbinecal30.com/Ricca_M7_Grenade_Launchers.html

 

 

Maybe with estimated losses of 15-20% of M7 GL's per month, may indicate not nearly as many were used as we may think (?)

 

I Thank The Club and MR. Ricca,

 

Charlie-Painter777


Living FREE because of those that served.

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Big Thanks to The Carbine Collector's Club for preserving the reports written by Mr. Bill Ricca.

I was able to find Bill's report about GL's.

 

In his 'History of the M7A1, M7A2, and M7A3 Grenade Launchers, The Recoiling Grenade Launchers' article.

Bill wrote about the problems with grenadiers carrying a M1 rifle having to take the GL off to have semi-auto capabilities. 

 

Early 1945

" As long as the M7 remained on the rifle, the gas system remained opened. To re-gain semi-automatic capability the operator had to remove the launcher, which disabled it in its role as the rifle squad's grenadier. The constant removal and mounting of the M7 led to high losses. According to ordnance documents between 15% and 20% of M7's in inventory were being lost each month."

 

You can read the complete article here:

 

http://www.uscarbinecal30.com/Ricca_M7_Grenade_Launchers.html

 

 

Maybe with estimated losses of 15-20% of M7 GL's per month, may indicate not nearly as many were used as we may think (?)

 

I Thank The Club and MR. Ricca,

 

Charlie-Painter777

 

Just got done reading through this, what an awesome article, thank you for sharing!

 

Thanks for all the comments guys. I’m continuing to look for photos and references!

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Maybe with estimated losses of 15-20% of M7 GL's per month, may indicate not nearly as many were used as we may think (?)

 

That sounds like the Yogi Berra story where he declined an invitation to eat at a highly regarded restaurant: "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded." :D

 

And what loss rate did "we" think was normal before reading Ricca's article? The loss percentage may have come as a surprise to you, but leaping to a conclusion from an absence of info seems a wee bit of a stretch (same wet noodle used on OP will be ruthlessly applied to your hide).

 

Oversimplifying, loss estimates were used to plan operations; actual losses were used during operations. An estimate helps get you in the ballpark and provide reserves while avoiding wasting resources (production, shipping, storage, etc.) by piling up unneeded items.

 

The classic case for this not working is the invasion of north Africa. In the early stages of an invasion, resupply was automatic - item quantities were predetermined from estimates - in the chaos it was known that accurate, timely loss info was just not going to be available.

 

Well, somebody forgot to flip the switch to change item replacement from automatic to a requisition basis after the initial phase. By the time of the invasion of Sicily less than a year later, one billion rounds of small arms ammo had accumulated. For perspective, that's almost 40x expenditures for the month of June, 1944 in France.

 

Ricca is referring to a range - actual losses which varied from month to month - not an estimate. The estimate was the baseline established by the WD for planning purposes. IIRC, it was 5% initially for M7s. By Sep 44 it had only risen to 8% for the ETO. Even with loss data in hand, the WD was exceedingly slow to allow big increases in replacement factors (lots of hungry mouths to feed).

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firstflabn,

NO not the Wet Noodle !!!

I've always appreciated your input. I envy your knowledge and ability to research the records. And I have enjoyed your posts on many different forums for quite a few years now.

But as far as crowds go... I try to stay away from them. If I do find myself in one for some reason the strangest SOB there will find me... :unsure:

Thanks for the info.

 

Cheers,

Charlie-Painter777


Living FREE because of those that served.

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It is difficult to find photos of them for sure. But I have seen one taken in the ETO late in the War. A jeep full of GI's, and while you don't see the rifle grenade sight, the base for it is attached to the side of his M1 rifle.

 

I've got a copy of that pic somewhere. M1 definitely has the grenade sight disk installed.

 


You must prepare your mind for where your body might have to go.

 

 

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There is a thread on the forum somewhere and there are a couple of photos I believe.

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NO not the Wet Noodle !!!

 

.

 

You're safe. I got hongry and ate the noodles.

 

Here's a section from an ETO loss report. Note that M7 GLs were not the only ordnance item that was expended at a high rate in the first third of the campaign. Unfortunately, I don't have data for the entire campaign, but M7 losses were still high in the Dec 44 and Jan 45 reporting periods.

 

I've often wondered if the high M7 losses in the ETO led to temporary shortages and those shortages required the use of the M1903 and its GL as a substitute. It's impossible to tell from theater-wide reports because service troops had oodles (not noodles) of M1903 rifles and M1 GLs.

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I've read some Germans discarded their rifle grenade sights as well as Japanese discarded the level bubble sights on their knee mortars.....In the chaos of battle, some deemed it pointless under these conditions to accurately aim a round, when it may cost the user their lives....Perhaps some of the American GI's came to the same conclusion.....Bodes

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I think the sight would snag on things and it was just another appendage on the rifle/carbine. We are not talking really long range, mostly line of sight, so I suspect after firing a few rounds it was very easy to apply kentucky windage and let 'er rip. While I have only fired a few practice grenades I don't believe it would be that difficult. They taught you how to use the sling for various distances too, so I thnk that most GI's just thought it was something extra that got in the way and as a result was not used. There is also a table or report of launchers lost in the Report of Operations for either 7th or 1St Army but I cannot seem to put my finger on it now to corroborate FirstFlaBn's chart (maybe the same source). It was a lot. You have to account that it was a later launcher design that allowed repeated fire with the launcher attached. As a result I expect many were simply lost in the heat of battle because they had to be removed to resume firing.

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