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World War II Grenade Launchers


nicolas75
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Hello to all,

 

It’s undoubtfull that the m-1 Garand is THE rifle of the 1942-1945 GI

 

I was asking myself some questions about the M-1Garand & M-1903 Springfield dispatching among US combat troops in ETO.

 

First question : We sometime see some Springfield among troops on combat. Sharpshooters use to have it but the weaver sight. But most of the time those soliders have been given regulars Springfields because of a lack of Garands (replacements & overstrengh troops). I was also said the Springfield was more accurate and powerfull than the Garand. Not being a shooting guy, i’m asking for your opinons ?

 

Second question : “The semi-automatic M1 Garand rifle, just beginning to be issued to troops, proved to be a bit more difficult to adapt. A suitable launcher design (M7) was not in production until late 1943. A negative feature of the M7 grenade launcher was it disconnected the semi-automatic function of the rifle. This made the M1 rifle a less than desirable platform for launching grenades. The M1903 Springfield remained the preferred weapon for that. It wasn't until 1945 that the problem was solved with the adoption of the M7A1, too late to see service in WWII. (taken from Inert-ord.com)”

 

What’s your opinion on it, is the Springfield more suitable to launch grenades ? to my opinion during ww2 we oftently see Garands but no Springfield as grenade launcher rifles ?

 

Thanks

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I was also said the Springfield was more accurate and powerfull than the Garand. Not being a shooting guy, i’m asking for your opinons ?

 

I don't know about any of the grenade launcher stuff, but to the question above, both rifles shot the same round, so the question of the '03 being more powerful, is not really true. The only argument in that realm is that as the bullet passes the gas port, the gas begins to siphon off to actuate the operating rod in the M1, thus diverting energy away from the bullet, however, this is so negligible that without sophisticated equipment, the average soldier would never know the difference in terminal ballistics at any real distance.

As for more accurate, that also depends on the barrel condition and the shooter. If the barrel is shot out of a 03' or the throat is eroded, then it doesn't matter how good the shooter is. A lot depends on the training of the shooter. New gun to new gun, same quality shooter behind each, the 03' will typically outshoot a Garand due to the longer sight radius, better sights, and being a bolt gun. With that being said, I got a video the other day where a guy with a M1D was hitting a two foot square steel plate at 1000 yards.

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When firing rifle grenades from an M1903 or an M1, the soldier would have to unload the ball or AP ammo that is in the weapon and replace it with the grenade cartridges. In a bolt action it would be easier to unload 1 round and replace it with 1 round since the M1 used 8 round en bloc clips. It wouldn't be any easier to fire multiple cartridges from either weapon. In the M1903, the soldier would have to load multiple grenade cartridges. After each firing of a grenade, they would have to manually cycle the action. In the M1, the soldier would also have to load multiple grenade cartridges. After each firing of a grenade the action would short stroke, and they would have to manually cycle the action. I don't think the M1903 was any better suited than the M1 at firing grenades.

Dustin

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Nicolas,

 

The M1 Grenade Launcher for the M1903 Rifle was adopted in late 1941 and was quickly placed into service. There was a substantial bit of trouble designing a grenade launcher for the M1 Rifle. Early attempts resulted in damage to the M1's operating parts and a way to bleed off excess gas pressure was needed. After numerous tests the T14 Launcher was adopted and standardized as the M7 Grenade Launcher. In order to use this launcher the gas lock screw on the M1 had to be changed to a new design that opened when the launcher was attached and bled off the excess gas pressure when the grenade was fired. The stud on the launcher kept the valve open as long as it was attached and that is why the Garand would not function semi-automatically with the launcher in place. A lot of M7's were lost when they were quickly removed by GI's after they had fired a grenade. Further development resulted in the M7A1 Launcher which was adopted in June 1945 too late to be of any use during WWII. The M7A1 allowed for semi-automatic fire even with the launcher attached to the rifle.

 

The M1903 continued to be used as a grenade launching platform along with the M1 throughout the war. I don't necessarily think it had anything to do with the M1903 being a better platform it just depended on what was available. Even with the M7 launcher attached, you can manually cycle an M1 just as fast if not faster that working the bolt on an M1903 and you've still got 8 rounds instead of 5.

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I think that per TOEs that the M1903 was issued due to the grenade launcher issues with the M1 Garand. I don't think it was because there were too many GIs and not enough Garands. Also even though TOEs say one thing there was some lattitude given.

 

It is a rule of thumb that a bolt action rifle will be more accurate than a semi-auto rifle due to more moving parts and associated tolerances needed for a semi-auto to operate. Bolt actions can be tighter and therefore tend to have better accuracy. But that is just a rule of thumb and you'd have to have two new rifles side by side for a proper comparison.

 

Finally, I don't believe that the solution to the semi-auto issue with the M1 Garand and the M7 launcher had anything to do with the M7A1 launcher but rather with the type of vented gas cylinder lock screw. The first vented screws did not have springs in place to force them closed after the launcher was detached. Once pushed open it stayed open. The second type, called the poppet valve screw, had a spring in it that closed vent valve when the launcher was detached. It is the type of screw that prevented semi-auto action. I believe that the screw had to be removed and pushed closed by hand to return to sem-auto action, but I am not sure of that, it is just my suspicion. Perhaps it is possilbe that by removing the launcher and returning to normal ammuntion that the vent could have been pushed closed by gas alone.

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I think that per TOEs that the M1903 was issued due to the grenade launcher issues with the M1 Garand. I don't think it was because there were too many GIs and not enough Garands. Also even though TOEs say one thing there was some lattitude given.

 

It is a rule of thumb that a bolt action rifle will be more accurate than a semi-auto rifle due to more moving parts and associated tolerances needed for a semi-auto to operate. Bolt actions can be tighter and therefore tend to have better accuracy. But that is just a rule of thumb and you'd have to have two new rifles side by side for a proper comparison.

 

Finally, I don't believe that the solution to the semi-auto issue with the M1 Garand and the M7 launcher had anything to do with the M7A1 launcher but rather with the type of vented gas cylinder lock screw. The first vented screws did not have springs in place to force them closed after the launcher was detached. Once pushed open it stayed open. The second type, called the poppet valve screw, had a spring in it that closed vent valve when the launcher was detached. It is the type of screw that prevented semi-auto action. I believe that the screw had to be removed and pushed closed by hand to return to sem-auto action, but I am not sure of that, it is just my suspicion. Perhaps it is possilbe that by removing the launcher and returning to normal ammuntion that the vent could have been pushed closed by gas alone.

 

Paul,

 

The M7A1 did solve the problem of semi auto fire with the grenade launcher attached. The differences in the gas cylinder lock screw that you mentioned only related to the closing of the valve once the M7 was removed. The early vented screw did not have to be removed to be closed but it did require a few rounds to be fired before it would close on its own. The later poppet valve screw would close as soon as the launcher was removed as you mentioned.

 

The differences in the M7 vs the M7A1 that fixed the problem of semi auto fire was that the M7 had a fixed latch which held the launcher in place and the stud on the launcher held the valve on the gas cylinder lock screw open constantly. The valve would only close after the launcher was removed from the rifle allowing semi auto fire.

The M7A1 was designed with a spring mechanism in the latch. The spring pushed the launcher forward which resulted in the stud on the launcher not opening the valve on the gas cylinder screw until the rifle grenade was fired. When the rifle grenade was fired, the inertia would force the launcher to the rear thus opening the valve long enough to vent the gases necessary. Once the grenade was fired the spring mechanism would then push the launcher back forward closing the valve and allowing semi auto fire from the Garand.

This solved the semi auto problem but also resulted in some broken poppet valves and some launchers becoming wedged in place on the rifles. These problems resulted in the design of the M7A2 launcher along with the "high hump" gas cylinder lock. The latch on the M7A2 worked the same as the M7A1 but the high hump lock along with the projection on the rear of the M7A2 restricted the rearward movement of the launcher. The launcher could move far enough back to vent gases but not far enough to break the valve spring or become wedged.

The M7A3 was exactly the same as the M7A2 except that the barrel of the launcher was longer to accomodate the newer heavier anti tank grenades adopted in the 1950's

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Ah OK so it is an issue of semi-auto function with the grenade launcher attached using grenade cartidges, not after it was detached and normal ball/AP/etc. ammo was used. I was confused. My apologies.

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Paul,

 

We're all here to share and to learn about US Militaria and we all have our "special" areas that we know a little more about. Here are a few links to excellent articles concerning the Grenade Launchers for the M1 and the Gas Cylinder Lock Screws.

 

Best regards,

Steve

 

 

http://www.popernack.com/library/library.p...ID=10&xID=1

 

http://www.billricca.com/m7a3_gren_launch_history.htm

 

http://www.billricca.com/lockscrews.htm

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Thanks all for your answers

 

looks like the gernade launcher device was in charge of the Assistant squad leader sergeant (according to the rifle squad team organisation)

 

it's a question for me as i oftently see some PFC or PVT (or shown without the stripes) with this device

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Thanks all for your answers

 

looks like the gernade launcher device was in charge of the Assistant squad leader sergeant (according to the rifle squad team organisation)

 

it's a question for me as i oftently see some PFC or PVT (or shown without the stripes) with this device

 

 

You may just be seeing someone in HBT's or outher outter garment ....no stripes.

 

As far as the 03 (my favorite US arm) it indeed was favored as a grenade launching arm:

 

1) the M1 launcher allowed follow up shots without having to remove the launcher.

2) When shooting live ammunition there indeed is a huge difference hand cycling an M1 (small steel tab) and an 03' with a bolt handle, the chamber pressures created by shooting a live round are far greater than a blank, the brass will grab the chamber walls making it almost impossible to get out by hand.

3) weight factor, the 03 is lighter than an M1 by at least 2 pounds.... when you are carring the extra grenades every little bit counts

4) known vs. unknown factors - in gerneral early war, there were lots of vets that would take reliable over the new rifle (late war when some M1 bugs were ironed out, and guys got to see what the M1 could do, favor went strongly over to the M1)

 

Put it simply, you are 100 yards from a german position in the hedge rows, you and two others are assigned to launch grenades into the german position prior to an advance. With your 03' you load 4 live rounds, the top being a crimped launching round. At this close range would you like to have to fiddle with getting an M7 launcher off of your rifle, working the M1 action to chamber a live round orrr would you like to pull the trigger on the grenade launcher and then be right in the game with a bolt gun? If I were tasked with Grenede launching I would stick with the 03....hands down.

 

That being said, all of the US Rangers at Point Du Hoe, were issued M7 launchers.... I think that this may also be due to the fact that the Army had committed to the M1 rifle as the primary weapon and the M7 launcher was being produced in far higher numbers than the M1 was. Heck today M7's are still all over the place ....try to find an origional M1 launcher..... if it is for sale get ready to mortgage the house!

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M1903 Mag cutoff no need to unload rounds. Turn cutoof to off open bolt and load grenade cartridge.

 

When firing rifle grenades from an M1903 or an M1, the soldier would have to unload the ball or AP ammo that is in the weapon and replace it with the grenade cartridges. In a bolt action it would be easier to unload 1 round and replace it with 1 round since the M1 used 8 round en bloc clips. It wouldn't be any easier to fire multiple cartridges from either weapon. In the M1903, the soldier would have to load multiple grenade cartridges. After each firing of a grenade, they would have to manually cycle the action. In the M1, the soldier would also have to load multiple grenade cartridges. After each firing of a grenade the action would short stroke, and they would have to manually cycle the action. I don't think the M1903 was any better suited than the M1 at firing grenades.

Dustin

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  • 1 year later...
dartheric1
Nicolas,

 

The M1 Grenade Launcher for the M1903 Rifle was adopted in late 1941 and was quickly placed into service. There was a substantial bit of trouble designing a grenade launcher for the M1 Rifle. Early attempts resulted in damage to the M1's operating parts and a way to bleed off excess gas pressure was needed. After numerous tests the T14 Launcher was adopted and standardized as the M7 Grenade Launcher. In order to use this launcher the gas lock screw on the M1 had to be changed to a new design that opened when the launcher was attached and bled off the excess gas pressure when the grenade was fired. The stud on the launcher kept the valve open as long as it was attached and that is why the Garand would not function semi-automatically with the launcher in place. A lot of M7's were lost when they were quickly removed by GI's after they had fired a grenade. Further development resulted in the M7A1 Launcher which was adopted in June 1945 too late to be of any use during WWII. The M7A1 allowed for semi-automatic fire even with the launcher attached to the rifle.

 

The M1903 continued to be used as a grenade launching platform along with the M1 throughout the war. I don't necessarily think it had anything to do with the M1903 being a better platform it just depended on what was available. Even with the M7 launcher attached, you can manually cycle an M1 just as fast if not faster that working the bolt on an M1903 and you've still got 8 rounds instead of 5.

 

 

Id like to know if the M7 grenade launcher could be attached to the M1903

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  • 2 weeks later...
strangepair03
Id like to know if the M7 grenade launcher could be attached to the M1903

 

 

Nope.

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