If you ask most history buffs to name an iconic weapon from the Second World War, most would probably answer by naming the M1 Garand rifle — famously carried by American soldiers during the world-changing conflict.
But, there was another rifle who’s memory is just as closely linked to images of American troops storming the beaches of Normandy and islands in the Pacific. And that is the M1 Carbine — a lightweight rifle that actually saw considerably more production during the time.
Here’s a little bit of essential trivia: the M1 Carbine is not simply a lightweight alternative to the M1 Garand, although the Garand’s bulkiness did lead to calls for a more agile weapon for support troops. The two weapons use different types of ammunition, despite having a similar appearance. But there’s no mistake: the development of the M1 Carbine changed the way American troops were able to fight and move throughout the war.
It wasn’t just the Nazis that found themselves on the wrong end of this rifle either. The M1 Carbine’s legacy extends beyond the Second World War, remaining in service long into the Vietnam War — before the M16 eventually replaced it as the standard service rifle.
What was it that made this rifle so impactful?
Here’s Forgotten Weapons with a history lesson you don’t want to miss.