The M1 Garand semi-automatic rifle was described by General George S. Patton as, “the greatest battle implement ever devised.”
Designed by John Garand, an engineer and inventor working at the US government’s Springfield Armory, it first entered service in 1936. Garand worked on perfecting the design itself for many years beforehand, and that long process resulted in an incredible weapon that was powerful, accurate, reliable, and hard-hitting.
During World War II, Springfield Armory employed more than 7,500 people, and at peak output was producing around 3,900 Garand rifles every 24 hours, between three different shifts working around the clock. By the end of the war, over three million rifles had been produced there, with over five million total built to serve the needs of the US military.
Besides arming millions of line troops in the US Army and Marine Corps, Garand rifles were among the many weapons carried by members of the Office of Strategic Services during the war. They were provided to Chinese soldiers who were trained in small unit tactics by OSS Detachment 101 personnel on the ground in central China.
And in November 1944, a team of Garand-armed OSS men were dropped into Norway from converted B-24 Liberator bombers on a mission to blow up the Grana railway bridge so as to prevent German troops from leaving occupied Norway to reinforce their homeland against the Allied forces pushing east from France. Despite hardships and setbacks, they performed their mission admirably and stayed one step ahead of the pursuing Germans all the way until the end of the war in Europe.
The patent application, signed by John Garand, was filed on April 21st, 1930, and awarded on December 27th, 1932. Despite the incredible success of his design, Garand never derived any financial success from its widespread adoption. He signed over the patent to Springfield Armory and never received any royalties. But his legacy lives on, even decades after his passing.