Category Archive 'Garand'

01 Oct 2018

1LT Waverly Wray and his Garand Rifle

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1st Lt. Waverly Wray, 82nd Airborne.

Guns America pays tribute to an American hero.

1LT Waverly Wray was born in 1919 and raised in the wooded hills around Batesville, Mississippi, perhaps a forty-five minute drive from where I sit typing these words. An expert woodsman steeped in fieldcraft from his youth, Wray was described by his commander, LTC Ben Vandervoort, thusly, “As experienced and skilled as an Infantry soldier can get and still be alive.” At 250 pounds Wray was an intimidating specimen, yet he was also a committed Christian man of character. He fastidiously eschewed profanity and sent half of his Army paycheck home each month to help build a church in his hometown.

Immediately after jumping into Normandy with the 82d Airborne, 1LT Wray set out on a one-man reconnaissance at the behest of his Battalion Commander. Wray’s mission was to assess the state of German forces planning a counterattack against the weakly held American positions outside Ste.-Mere-Eglise. Wray struck out armed with his M1 rifle, a Colt 1911A1 .45, half a dozen grenades, and a silver-plated .38 revolver tucked into his jump boot. Hearing German voices on the other side of a French hedgerow, Wray burst through the brush and shouted, “Hande Hoch!” Confronting him were eight German officers huddled around a radio.

For a pregnant moment, nobody moved. Then seven pairs of hands went up. The eighth German officer reached for his sidearm. 1LT Wray shot the man between the eyes with his M1.

A pair of German soldiers about 100 meters away opened up on Wray with MP40 submachine guns. 9mm bullets cut through his combat jacket and shot away one of his earlobes. All the while Wray methodically engaged each of the seven remaining Germans as they struggled to escape, reloading his M1 when it ran dry. Once he had killed all eight German officers he dropped into a nearby ditch, took careful aim, and killed the two distant Wehrmacht soldiers with the MP40’s.

Wray fought his way back to his company area to report what he had found, blood soaking his ventilated jump jacket. His first question was to ask where he could replenish his supply of grenades. When American forces eventually took the field where Wray had waged his one-man war against the leadership of the 1st Battalion, 158th Grenadier Regiment, they found all ten German soldiers dead with a single round each to the head. Wray had completely decapitated the enemy battalion’s leadership singlehandedly. Wray stopped what he was doing and saw to it that all ten German soldiers were properly buried. He had killed these men, and he felt a responsibility to bury them properly.

Waverly Wray survived the savage fighting in Normandy only to give his life for his country at Nijmegen, Holland, during Operation Market Garden later in the year. He has a granite marker in Shiloh Cemetery in Batesville, Mississippi, near the church he helped build. 1LT Wray was, by all accounts, an exceptionally good man who died six days before his twenty-fifth birthday.


09 Feb 2015

Barack Obama Blocking Import of Surplus Garands

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Walt Kowalski had an M1 Garand in “Gran Torino” (2008), but he must have somehow managed to bring his home from Korea personally.

The Garand rifle was the primary US long-arm used in WWII, making it a favorite of collectors. Garands are also favored for high power rifle match shooting. High demand makes Garands fairly expensive.

You have to jump through the hoop of belonging to certain gun clubs and participating in certain kinds of target match competitions before you can buy a Garand from the Civilian Marksmanship Program, and a decent one will still cost you over a thousand dollars.

Mr. Mosin Crate offers some Garands for sale from time to time. He just posted a new batch of mostly post-Korean-War 1950s examples which looked generally well-used, and they were all going for $800+.

Meanwhile South Korea is sitting on nearly a million Garands and M1 carbines supplied by the American taxpayer as military aid during the 1950s and 1960s, and Century Arms in Vermont is eager to import them to sell to American target shooters and collectors, but Barack Obama in August of 2013 issued one of his famous executive orders banning the importation of surplus military weapons by private companies.

The White House announced:

Today, the Administration is announcing a new policy of denying requests to bring military-grade firearms back into the United States to private entities, with only a few exceptions such as for museums. This new policy will help keep military-grade firearms off our streets.”

I seriously doubt that a Garand has ever actually been used in the commission of crime anytime in several decades.

Last summer, Century Arms laid off 41 employees as a direct result of the Korean deal falling through.

Let’s hope that the Republican Congress will do something about all this.

19 Aug 2010

Obama Administration Blocks Import of Korean Surplus Garands and M1 Carbines

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M1 Garand

The Korea Times reports that the Obama administration is blocking the sale to US importers of tens of thousands of surplus M1 Garands and M1 carbines, avidly desired by American target shooters and collectors on grounds that they might find their way into the hands of terrorists (!).

The U.S. government opposed South Korea’s bid to sell hundreds of thousands of aging U.S. combat rifles to American gun collectors, a senior government official said Thursday.

The ministry announced the plan last September as part of efforts to boost its defense budget, saying the export of the M1 Garand and carbine rifles would start by the end of 2009.

The U.S. administration put the brakes on the plan, citing “problems” that could be caused by the importation of the rifles.

The problems the U.S. government cited were somewhat ambiguous, said an official at the Ministry of National Defense on condition of anonymity.

“The U.S. insisted that imports of the aging rifles could cause problems such as firearm accidents. It was also worried the weapons could be smuggled to terrorists, gangs or other people with bad intentions,” the official told The Korea Times. …

The Seoul government sought to sell the outdated U.S guns back to the United States.

A total of 86,000 M1 rifles and another 22,000 carbines were to be sold, as the weapons have been mothballed for about five decades in military warehouses. The per-unit price of the M1 rifle is about $220 and the carbine is more than $140, according to the ministry.

M1s were made first in 1926 and used in World War II and the 1954-1975 Vietnam War. The carbines were first produced in 1941 and used during the 1950-1953 Korean War.

Hat tip to David Kopel.

22 Sep 2008

Son Finds Father’s Korean War Garand

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Minneapolis Star-Tribune

For Virgil Richardson’s 79th birthday, his son Jim searched Internet gun offerings and successfully located, via a dealer in Kentucky, the M1 Garand his father had carried during the Korean War, reuniting the aged rifleman with his rifle.

20 Jan 2007

Humorous Comparison of Military Arms

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Mouseguns has an anonymous humor item comparing the AK-47, the AR-15, and the Mosin-Nagant.

It reads to me like it was written from a Russian perspective. An American would use the Garand as the older comparison. A really sophisticated connoisseur (i.e., somebody old, like me) would compare the 1903 Springfield.

Hat tip to Steve Bodio.

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