Military Review

M1E5 and T26. Carbines based on the M1 Garand rifle


The first version of the M1E5 carbine (below) compared to the base M1 Photo by

By the beginning of World War II, the US Army had mastered the newest M1 Garand self-loading rifle well. it weapon showed high technical and combat characteristics and was an excellent replacement for old magazine rifles. However, the characteristic dimensions of this product in some cases made it difficult to use. The troops needed a carbine with similar combat qualities, but smaller dimensions.

Initiative from below

The M1 Garand rifle had a length (without bayonet) of 1,1 m and weighed (without cartridges) at least 4,3 kg. This was normal for infantry weapons, but gunners, tankers, etc. needed a more compact weaponry. In 1942, the US Army adopted the new M1 carbine. It was compact and lightweight, but used a less powerful cartridge and was inferior to the Garand in terms of fire performance.

In 1943, new inquiries and wishes from units began to arrive at the relevant bodies of the military department. Troops actively working on the front line would like to get a promising rifle with ergonomics like the M1 Carbine and combat characteristics at the level of the M1 Garand. Such a model could help in the fight against the enemy in all theaters.

At the very beginning of 1944, the Infantry Commission of the Ministry of Defense received a more specific proposal of this kind. The officers of the 93rd Infantry Division, on the basis of the accumulated experience, drew up a project for converting the regular "Garand" into a lightweight carbine. Such a product was made and tested with very interesting results.

Modified carbine - added a pistol grip. Photo

Created by professionals

Based on the results of tests of the "handicraft" carbine, the Infantry Commission instructed the Springfield Arsenal to study the proposal of the 93rd Division. Then they had to develop their own project, taking into account the specifics of mass production and weapons in the army. It is curious that the work on the carbine was personally led by John Garand, the creator of the M1 base rifle.

The carbine was supposed to make the most of the units of the serial rifle. Only individual elements have undergone refinement, primarily the fittings. As a result, the work was completed in just a few weeks. Already in February 1944, an experimental carbine with the working designation M1E5 was submitted for testing.

The stock barrel was 24 inches (610 mm) long and replaced with a new 18-inch (457 mm) barrel. The chamber and the base of the front sight remained close to the muzzle, and also retained the influx for installing the bayonet. The design of the gas engine as a whole remained the same, but some parts were shortened. The shutter did not change. The return spring was replaced in accordance with the change in gas pressure due to a decrease in barrel length.

The second version of the carbine with a folded stock. Photo

The shortened barrel required the removal of the front element of the stock. The upper barrel pad remained in place. The stock itself was cut off behind the receiver, removing the butt. In place of the cut, a reinforcing metal casing with axles was installed for installing a new butt. The butt itself had a folding design and consisted of two movable frames and a butt pad. If necessary, it folded down and forward and was placed under the box. It was suggested to hold the weapon when firing beyond the frame "neck" of the butt.

Taking into account the new characteristics of the barrel and other ballistics, the standard sight was redone. In addition, a separate sight for rifle grenades has appeared. Its main element was a rotary disc with a notch - it was installed on the hinge of the butt on the left.

The M1E5 carbine with an unfolded stock was 952 mm long - almost 150 mm less than the original rifle. By folding the stock, you could save approx. 300 mm. The weight of the product without cartridges did not exceed 3,8 kg - the savings amounted to a whole pound. Some drop in fire performance was expected, but this could be an acceptable price to pay for greater convenience.

Carbine at the range

In February 1944, Arsenal assembled an experimental M1E5 carbine and tested it in May. The results were mixed. In terms of compactness and lightness, the carbine was superior to the base rifle, although it was inferior to the serial M1 Carbine. In terms of fire characteristics, the M1E5 product was close to the Garand, but slightly inferior to it.

M1E5 drawing from patent

The folding stock performed well, although it needed some work. The carbine was supposed to retain the ability to fire rifle grenades, and the proposed frame butt could not withstand such loads and needed reinforcement. In addition, the carbine needed a separate pistol grip. The carbine turned out to be inconvenient to hold, and shooting with the stock folded was virtually impossible.

The shortened barrel made it possible to maintain accuracy and accuracy at ranges up to 300 yards. At the same time, the muzzle flash and recoil increased. This required the development of a new muzzle brake and flash suppressor, as well as taking measures against a weak butt.

In general, the new project was considered interesting and promising, but in need of improvement. As a result, according to the results of the first tests, the M1E5 project received a new Rifle M1A3 index, indicating the imminent adoption into service.

Development and decline

At the beginning of the summer of 1944, a group of engineers led by J. Garand began to finalize the carbine. The first step in this direction was the installation of a pistol grip. This part had a specific shape and was mounted on the butt stock cover. An existing prototype was used to test such a handle.

Butt design described in the patent

Then work began on a muzzle device and a reinforced stock. However, during this period, the M1E5 / M1A3 project faced new difficulties, this time of an organizational nature. Springfield Arsenal began development of an automatic version of the Garanda, designated the T20. This project was considered a priority, and it occupied the bulk of the designers. Work in other areas slowed down sharply.

Due to such difficulties, the M1A3 project could not be completed by the end of 1944, and it was decided to close it. They did not have time to make a full-fledged carbine with a handle, a muzzle brake and a reinforced butt. After the war, in 1946, J. Garand applied for a patent describing the design of a folding stock with a built-in sight for rifle grenades.

Nicknamed "Tankman"

For several months, the idea of ​​a folding version of the M1 Garand faded into the background. However, the troops still expected such a weapon and sent more and more requests. In July 1945, a new project of this kind was initiated by officers from the command of the Pacific theater of operations.

They instructed the US 6th Army (Philippine Islands) armory shops to urgently produce 150 Garand rifles with a shortened 18-inch barrel. These rifles entered military trials, and one sample was sent to Aberdeen for official checks. In addition, they sent a request for the early start of production of such rifles. The Pacific Ocean required at least 15 thousand of such products.

Experienced T26 carbine and experimental T27 automatic rifle. Photo

The "Pacific" carbine differed from the base M1 Garand only in the length of the barrel and in the absence of some fittings; he kept a regular wooden stock. The carbine was accepted for testing, assigning it the T26 index. The characteristic purpose of the weapon led to the emergence of the nickname Tanker - "Tanker".

The request for a carbine came too late. In just a few weeks, the war in the Pacific was over and the need for the T26 was gone. No later than the beginning of autumn 1945, work on this project was stopped. However, according to various sources, such a weapon managed to take part in battles. Several carbines made by the 6th Army ended up at the front.

Two failures

For all the time, almost 5,5 million M1 Garand self-loading rifles were produced. M1 Carbine production exceeded 6,2 million. The carbine J. Garand M1E5 / M1A3 was made in just one copy for testing. It is now in the Springfield Armory. The T26 product turned out to be more successful, but the experimental batch of 150 units also left no noticeable mark.

Thus, the two projects of carbines based on the "Garand", created in 1944-1945, did not lead to real results, and the US Army had to end the war only with samples mastered in a series. However, this was not the fault of the carbines themselves. They were abandoned for organizational reasons, but not because of fatal technical problems. Perhaps, under a different set of circumstances, these projects could have reached their logical conclusion, and the customer would have received a compact, but powerful and effective weapon.
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  1. Mister X
    Mister X 17 October 2020 10: 46
    Forever young Garand!
    Modifications to the carbine from the article are still in production
    M1A SOCOM 16, chambered for 7.62 NATO
    The barrel is now even shorter 16.25 "(41,27 cm)
    but the butt is only fixed

  2. Alf
    Alf 17 October 2020 19: 03
    Garand has already created a real masterpiece - neither add nor subtract.
  3. Saxahorse
    Saxahorse 17 October 2020 20: 00
    An interesting article, thanks to the author! But the carbines from Garand are, frankly, miserable .. It's hard to believe that such a powerful cartridge can be successfully fitted into a stripped-down and even more lightweight design. But the famous M2 Baby Garand is the most correct decision! good
    1. irontom
      irontom 18 October 2020 18: 44
      I completely agree that the excess power of the cartridge nullifies all the reliefs, a good example is the domestic attempt to create self-loading carbines for the Mosin cartridge, which ended with military trials of the Simonov carbines in the 44th. the miracle did not work.
      1. saygon66
        saygon66 20 October 2020 18: 55
        - Here. by the way, the SKS version with a short barrel ...

        - Produced in China for parachutists.
        1. irontom
          irontom 20 October 2020 22: 17
          In RI, SKS in 44 was under the Mosin patron, this is not at all the SKS that we know.
          1. gross kaput
            gross kaput 21 October 2020 22: 17
            Quote: irontom
            In RI SKS

            Excuse me where? In the Russian Empire? in 1944? Did you take the exam this year? laughing
            1. irontom
              irontom 22 October 2020 14: 51
              don't be rude - boy, you have to be aware of the abbreviations generally accepted in the network, RI is in reality, like AI - Alternative Reality.
              Often many people here write solid AI.
              1. gross kaput
                gross kaput 22 October 2020 20: 04
                Quote: irontom
                boy, you need to be aware of the abbreviations generally accepted in the network, RI is in reality

                Probably this is some kind of a separate network of yours, in all other "networks" concerning the history of the Republic of Ingushetia it is unambiguously deciphered - the Russian Empire.
        2. gross kaput
          gross kaput 21 October 2020 22: 16
          For paratroopers, it was never produced, in fact, this is a purely commercial feature of the mid-80s, the Chinese Type 56 never cut off, as well as its production for the needs of the PLA was curtailed in 64, for export supplies to the armies of other countries Type 56 was produced up to 72 th. Already in the 80s, when the export market opened in the USA and Canada, they began to give birth to similar purely export-commercial projects, first by filing the Type 56 warehouse, and then setting up their production again - including there were variants - SKS-D - adapted for AK stores, SKS-S - a shortened carbine - type for parachutists, SKS-M - the same cut but for AK stores, a pseudo-sniper SKS-sniper (the second name for the Canadian market SKS-sporter), and even a chrome-plated SKS-honor guard ...
    2. gross kaput
      gross kaput 21 October 2020 22: 19
      Quote: Saxahorse
      And here is the famous M2 Baby Garand

      I still will upset you to Garand, he has nothing to do, both in terms of creator and design.
      1. Saxahorse
        Saxahorse 21 October 2020 22: 49
        Quote: gross kaput
        I still will upset you to Garand, he has nothing to do, both in terms of creator and design.

        Of course he didn't. That's why they called it that in the troops.
        1. gross kaput
          gross kaput 22 October 2020 20: 01
          Quote: Saxahorse
          That's why they called it that in the troops.

          Have you been banned from Google? Baby Garant is a nickname because of the external similarity and nothing more, at the same time, strangely enough, it is not found in the homeland of the M1 carbine, laughing the M1 carbine and the .30 M1 cartridge are developed on a hard drive, common between the M1 carbine and the rifle, locking the bolt by turning two stops and the lower location of the gas piston, with the lower location of the magazine, which in both cases forced the use of a long external rod to connect the piston and the frame on the right side.
          at the same time, Garand himself participated in the competition for the carbine with a design with an upper store location, because by that time he understood that a long side thrust was not optimal, but the Winchester company lost the competition. wink
          The development of the Garand rifle was the experienced T20 for detachable magazines, the T33 for the .308 cartridge, and the final version of the T44 adopted for service as the M14.
          There are carbines that can really be called baby guarantors - Ruger mini 14 and Ruger mini 30, a scaled M14 rifle in the first case chambered for .223 Rem, and in the second case under the Soviet 7,62X39.