Did GIs “Fake Out” German and Japanese Soldiers with False M1 *PINGS*? Bloke Explains Why Not

If a Garand pings in the woods, and no one is around to hear it, did it make a sound? The answer is “yes”, because German super-hearing allows them to detect high-pitched noises from up to a kilometer away!

The funny thing about myths is that sometimes debunking them simply leads to the creation of more and wilder myths in response. Bloke on the Range discovered this fact after the release of a video in which he tackled the legend of the M1 ping which supposedly gave dastardly German and Japanese soldiers the edge over brave US GIs armed with Garand rifles during World War II. In a follow on video, Bloke takes a look at some of the wilder explanations his commenters gave for how GIs would use this ping against their opponents, which range from the plausible but not practical to the outright silly. Take a look below:

Ultimately, this seems like one of those myths that almost certainly isn’t true, but which will probably never die, either. It’s too intuitive – especially with the video games of today that do not simulate batte noise – to imagine that the ping would have been a cue for the enemy, even though upon closer examination the theory just doesn’t hold up. On top of that, despite being wrong, the idea that GIs and Germans went back and forth using the “ping” to get one up on each other just makes for a fun story!





Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Jonathan Ferguson

    Yet the evidence shows that, true or not, plenty of GIs really did believe that the clip noise was an issue. I’ve just written a piece for the ARES blog; should be up soon.

    • Harry’s Holsters

      Do you know what the exact origin of the myth was?

      • Nope. The “faking out the enemy” version of it seems to have come later, the “ping gets you killed” was probably hearsay that Dunlap repeated. I suspect that he’s the first written version of it, so guilty of popularising it, as it appears in a 1952 Korean War lessons learned document too.

    • Earliest written trace as of today (31.12.16) is still Roy Dunlap, writing in 1948. We’ve gone through a whole bunch of WW2-era “lessons-learned” type documents and not found any reference to it. A 1952 lessons-learned document mentions it in a leading question of the questionnaire they used, but the soldiers questioned were more worried about the noisy safety catch. I’m really really interested if we can get anything written down earlier than ’48.

  • Harry’s Holsters

    I remember seeing a Tac TV show where they covered this. Ken Hackathorn stood down range and listened for the ping while Larry Vickers fired the gun off. Ken couldn’t here a ping. They may have even gone into the origin of the myth.

  • Russell W.

    So Larry Vickers did a video on this long time ago where he went downrange and had a guy fire an m1. Guess what old Larry heard, a gun shot but no ping. The ping is only audible to the shooter and anybody in the vicinity, fairly close. So it is easy to believe that the soldiers hearing the ping might think it was signaling the enemy when in fact it was not. Also, do we think that they were so stupid as to wait for the ping from one of however many soldier that they were in contact with. This myth is not repeated by any German ww2 vets and is perpetuated by those who regurgitate the history channel.

    • jay

      pretty much this.

      This is one more of those made up ww2 stories, that gets perpetuated by stupid people, just like the “P-47’s blowing up Tiger tanks by bouncing off .50cal bullets, off the road, in the underside armor.
      Just because, someone said this on “discovery” channel, doesn’t mean is true, or even possible.

      • Black Dots

        “P-47’s blowing up Tiger tanks by bouncing off .50cal bullets, off the road, in the underside armor.” I’ve never heard that before, but I wish I had because that is hysterical.

        • jay

          I’ve seen it with my own eyes on “discovery channel”. I laughed my ass off for a week. then I’ve seen morons arguing about it on advanced flight sim forums and I laughed even harder.

    • Banana Xango

      The Germans never repeated stories about it because they all died, duh.

  • Gregory

    Who cares?

    • John A. Smith

      Exactly. This is the second article about this – an irrelevant and unresolvable question – in as many weeks.

      • Bill

        Yeah, but we all clicked and read it.

        • Gregory

          I only clicked to post “who cares”, I did not read it.

          • A bearded being from beyond ti

            But you still clicked on it. Also, if you don’t care, then why even bother commenting on it?

          • It’s good we have at least oneTrue Hero in here, congratulations.

    • Don Ward

      Because this is The Firearm Blog and not The Knitting Doilies Blog?

      • Tassiebush

        Which is a perfectly fine blog in it’s own right.

    • Swarf

      I care. Because it’s interesting.

      You know what I don’t care for on this blog? The gazillion and oneth AR15 variant to come out this year. Know what I do about it these days?

      Generally nothing. I don’t go in the thread.

    • nadnerbus

      Nathaniel! Gregory doesn’t care for your post, remove it immediately!

  • kevin77355

    Poorly done video, this guy don’t know crap! Wrong canteen cup, it was a canteen not a water bottle and yes guys under fire will tap a ar15 mag before inserting it, especially in dusty or muddy areas and if they have been loaded awhile. This guy sucks!!

    • Bill

      I smash AR magazines into my head until my vision blurs, it gets me out of having to be the first guy in the stack.

      • I dunno, man– I’m not sure I’d want to put the crosseyed guy at the back of the stack.

    • McThag

      Garands don’t use AR15 magazines, or 5.56; regardless of dust or mud.

      • kevin77355

        That’s why I refered to the ar15, I know that.

    • nadnerbus

      Considering he is in Switzerland, he probably can’t just go down to the surplus store and pick up stuff to make you happy with the period correctness.

      • kevin77355

        Considering his ascent and having a m1grand I would say he is another bloke telling us about, American, history. I would also think if he could get a m1 garand he could find the correct gear as well. He just comes off as a gun nut wanna be fruitball. And since the Gov spent thousands of dollars to make me into a well oiled and preped instructor, with many instructional videos under my belt I think I have the background & experience to comment.

        • nadnerbus

          You can say whatever you want. You can even make your own YouTube channel to tell him how wrong he is. But he is a Britt living in Switzerland who shoots for fun, and likes to share what he has learned. You can politely correct him, or you can be a tool about it. How you choose to do it says more about you than it does about him.

          • kevin77355

            You nailed it, it my call to comment and I did. I just like to see things done properly thats all. I have never demonstraighted how to load and shoot an ar15 by using a garand.

          • Nor did I, strangely enough. If I’d wanted to do that, I’d have used my AR15.

          • kevin77355

            ya I confused your comment with the “McThug” commenter, my bad.

        • CommonSense23

          Well oiled and preped?

          • kevin77355

            spell corrector or check. Throw the first stone if that has not happened to you, because it know it won’t be my last.

          • Paul White

            Well, I mean, tightasses need to be lubed

        • Banana Xango

          They should have spent ten bucks to teach you English then.

          • kevin77355

            sorry my English is in proper gramatical text, not common core. sorry you miss understood.

          • Graham2

            ‘sorry my English is in proper grammatical text, not common core’- don’t make me laugh! You then blame your rather ‘interesting’ use of English on spell check! You do realise that you can actually read what you type before you post a comment, or do you type blind?

          • kevin77355

            Please cast the first stone if you have not made the same mistake when posting comments. Other than that my dramatics is correct if not please point out the error rather than critisizing.

          • Banana Xango

            Marine Corps? There seems to be an IQ limit and you fit the criterion.

          • kevin77355

            Is that you best insult? You must be bottom of the barrel! I would be proud of serving in any service but if you must know I was AF, you know the one that requires the highest score of ASVAD test to get in. You should go back to grammars school if you can’t read what I posted in its correct gramatic context.

          • imachinegunstuff

            *grammars* school is the best school

          • kevin77355

            It’s grammar, and yes that was a typo, big deal. Point out just where I made a gramatical error upon which you keep harping on.

          • imachinegunstuff

            Small canteen error cup in video – Video is complete crap!!!! KEVIN RAGE

            Small error made in grammar – So what? No big deal!

            Kevin logic is inconsistent.

          • kevin77355

            Put your money where your mouth is, point out the grammatical errors and stop with the inmature elementary school rhetoric.

          • imachinegunstuff

            You said grammars school. Grammars is not a word.

          • kevin77355

            Like I said, typo. My fingers are large and I typed 2 “s” for the word school and missed deleting one. Believe me I know “grammars” is not a word nor correct gramatic text, but is that all you have. As much as you have carried on and whined one would think I butchered the whole grammatic structure of a paragraph. So what else? Oh, and you are so perfect that you have never made a typo?

          • kevin77355

            Talk about grammatical errors: Author here, this grips are amazing, and I found them on Amazon for 18 bucks with free shipping. You should read your own comments a little closer. You know what they say about those who live in glass houses.

          • imachinegunstuff

            Uses wrong canteen cups = Diatribe about how crap the video is.

            Uses poor grammar, asks people to point out where he used poor grammar and gets mad when they do = Everyone makes mistakes

            Kevin logic = it is only consistent about being inconsistent.

          • kevin77355

            You really love in your own mind, don’t you?

          • kevin77355

            I meant “live” not love, amazing how auto correct screws thinhs up. You know I was thinking, you and I should not argue, we are on the same side and there is more at stake.

          • imachinegunstuff

            things*

        • “And since the Gov spent thousands of dollars to make me into a well oiled and preped instructor, with many instructional videos under my belt I think I have the background & experience to comment.”

          I, for one, can’t wait for your instructional video showing how you get your mug out from out of your water bottle in your pouch under fire, and how the period-correct US mug (and are we talking about the aluminium one or the steel one here? Or both?) makes a “ping” like an ejecting M1 clip when you hit it on your helmet. I’ll feature it on my channel. Noduff. Seriously.

          • kevin77355

            sorry to rain on your parade but I’m retired and don’t do them anymore. if I did I would do my research, since I don’t know everything, and would use the period correct props. Its all part of the systematic approach to training or ADDIE, not that you would know about that. Look it up, it might help you in your day to day life.

          • Lol. It’s a metal mug. It goes “dunk” not “ping”, irrespective of where it was made, when it was made, and what exact shape it has. I can send you a PO box for you to send me a genuine one to, and I’ll hit it on my head for you. It’ll go “dunk” like mine. Otherwise, would you prefer a shovel or a spade for your hole there?

          • kevin77355

            I never said it goes “ping” don’t know wher you get that from. The US WW2 mug has handles, his does not. so you are wrong.

          • kevin77355

            After watch you video on principles, you have appeared to have violated your own principles: 1. Self discipline – I always make sure my videos and propps are correct to include the sequence and flow. 2. Be honest with yourself – I am, the video suck. The terminology is incorrect, the propps are wrong and what some do in combat is the view of an arm chair quarter back. You even mention doing your research if you don’t know. 3. Don’t make excuses- I’m not the film suck, I’m making a comment. You should walk the walk & talk the talk. I can understand why you are upset, your an Aussie and you really don’t know all about American firearms and gear even though you drill with an ar15, the evalution of A.J. Stonersbrifle, an American invention. I would never seek to challenge an Aussie or Grit on things in their Country, because I don’t know.

        • Paul White

          You’re this butthurt over a detail utterly irrelevant to the issue at hand; people like you make the internet a worse place.

          • kevin77355

            Not butt hurt just making an observation. That is what the comment section is for as you have so immaturly demonstrated.

        • Graham2

          How do you know what is, or what isn’t available in Switzerland? Just because an item is available near you, it doesn’t mean it’s available somewhere else, on a different continent!

          • kevin77355

            There was no handle, Look for yourself, it was wrong!

          • Graham2

            It may have been wrong but you criticise the guy for not using the correct equipment and say that if he can get hold of the rifle, he can get the cup. You have no idea what is, or what isn’t available where he lives.

          • kevin77355

            Ever hear of mail, ggoogle, Amazon or eBay? its amazing, you can order things from all over the world.

          • Graham2

            If only the guy making the video knew that there would be some individual out there getting fixated about the minutiae of drinking mug handles, I’m sure he would have put his video on hold until he had the correct type of cup.

          • kevin77355

            You are fixsating on that and I said there we’re other problems with the video. In comparison to other videos on “firearms blog” this video sucked and you know it. Now if you will excuse my I’m going to exercise my 2nd Amendment rights and shoot my AK47& AR15 using pmags not m1 garand clips, I might add my glock 23 in with the fun mix. You should try the same to blow off stream…..oh that’s right you guys let the Government take your guns! Well nothing like rolling over to be a Gov beitch!!!

  • Major Tom

    This beaten horse sure looks dead! Better hit it some more just to be sure!

    • tts

      Persistent myths need busting though.

      Unless someone puts in the time and effort they just stick around for years or decades. Look at how long all the myths about the M16/AR15 have persisted.

    • Paul White

      This is ground control!

  • Up next: “Did German Landsers drop empty stripper clips on the pavement to lull American GIs into thinking they were in reloading?”

    • Riot

      No, but we all know the Brits did whistle like a kettle!

    • schizuki

      Well, that would just be silly. A stripper clip only hits the ground after you’ve already loaded.

      What the Landsers did was yell, “Ach, I’m out uff der boolits!”, then shoot the GIs who popped out to attack.

      • Bro, but there’s a tactical milisecond between a newly loaded magazine and closing the bolt.

        • Is a Tactical Millisecond like a regular millisecond but with a rail-mounted laser/VFG/flashlight/monopod?

        • schizuki

          I hadn’t considered that! That’s probably why I’m a medium-speed/medium drag Tier 2 operator.

      • Zebra Dun

        Ach Du Liber Mein Earschplittenloudenboomber ist pinging!

    • John

      I thought a “stripper clip” was something you used to keep all your strippers together. They tend to wander off if the dolla’ bills stop flowin’

  • VeriAeq

    Much more entertainment is watching family being hit on the top of their head when the clip is ejected from the magazine (EnBlock noggin ;-)…

    • Hinermad

      I saw a video of a guy at an Appleseed shoot and the kid behind him had a full clip pop out of his Garand and land on his head.

  • Bill

    Next: Cops killed when bad guy hears magazine hit ground! Jeff Cooper said DA/SA shooters should fire the first DA round in the dirt to slide-cock the pistol into SA mode! This airplane can land on the water – once! How to make money being pointless! I have too much free time!

  • McThag

    Everyone knows it’s the Russians who ping. Check the documentary “The Hunt For Red October” for confirmation.

  • Don Ward

    Just like the Sherman “Ronson” myth and M1 Carbine-couldn’t-penetrate-Chi-Com-jacket myth, it is great that the Garand *ping* myth has been demonstrably debunked.

  • Charles Meredith

    The “PING” sound is TRUE.
    I grew up taking ROTC in High School for 4 years with 5 summer camps at a Military Base training with this rifle. Then onto Texas A&M for 4 more years with this rifle.
    Then onto Viet-Nam for 2 tours teaching the Hmong how to shoot this rifle.
    YES,,, I am an authority of the Garand M-1 Rifle. KA-PING.

    • iksnilol

      Yeah, we all know it done make a PING sound, but can that sound be heard by your enemy and used against you. I honestly doubt the latter.

  • Wetcoaster

    Sounds like another one of Grampa’s old drinking stories gone viral.

  • Nashvone

    When the Hoover dam was being built, the favorite practical joke was to put old boots up against the concrete forms. When the forms were pulled away, the guys would think someone was buried in the block. I can believe the Garand “ping” myth to be either a practical joke or a teaching tool to get the newbies to keep their heads down when reloading.

  • Nagurski

    Nowadays, we just loudly shout reloading because our rifles don’t make the ping sound. Seriously though, when you are in a squad, your teammates knowing you are empty is way more important than the enemy finding out. Even if the German trooper can hear the ping, how does he use that knowledge to his advantage? There are still 10 other Americans with loaded guns.

    • charlesrhamilton

      Great point. Soldiers today are taught to let others know they are empty. Yelling “reloading” at the top of your lungs is today’s *ping*.

    • iiaja

      Damn so true, it would allow those around hi to cover him as he reloads. This could have been a great advantage, maybe they can put it into new rifles? Also they go even further than yelling reload, in the film “tears of the sun”, they kneel and yell reload.

  • Evan

    But when my ex-girlfriend’s friend’s cousin’s grandpa’s brother was fighting the Germans on Saipan, he reported that they like, totally used that trick. I know, because I heard it fifth hand.

    • Larry Ray

      Evan, he wouldn’t have been fighting Germans on Saipan. They would have been Japanese. Saipan is in the Pacific Ocean. The Germans were in Europe.

      • Evan

        I thought that the sarcasm there was obvious enough that it went without saying, but apparently it didn’t.

  • Oldtrader3

    My guess is; that on the islands in WWII, the noise was deafening. Oh, and by the way, by the time the ammo clip hits the ground in combat, most GI’s or Marine’s would have a new one half-way down the magazine throat of the M-1?

  • I figured out that this silly myth was exactly that the first time I went along for a dove hunt at around age eight and spent the afternoon near several active shotguns, where I only heard the first half dozen or so empty shells hit the ground. Here’s what you can hear after a couple magazines’ worth of firefight with .30 caliber battle rifles:

    .

    • Friend

      lol.

  • Badwolf

    Yes, it’s all true. Very few people know about WW2’s greatest heroes, the super secret 108th synchronized shooting infantry division.

  • Simcha M.

    The American Rifleman debunked this myth several years ago. I also saved another great article on the myth of the M-16 having parts manufactured by Mattel.

    • Did we ever figure out who killed JR?

      • Paul Epstein

        There was a certain former Marine who traveled to the USSR who I think was highly suspicious, but the authorities never really got his story.

        • Bob

          must’ve been the Russians!

      • nadnerbus

        TV’s Patrick Duffy.

  • Bob

    strictly “hollyweird”

  • Thanks, I saw that earlier today. Excellent article!

  • @jonathan_ferguson:disqus can you contact me via my facebook page please?

  • Sgt. Stedenko

    This same piker did a similar video in November Nate covered.
    Do you two get a juice box each time you get a page click?

    • Don Ward

      Hey guys. I think we have an actual believer in the *PING* myth. Let’s all gang up and make fun of him! 🙂

  • schizuki

    Battle of Oriskany. Central New York, 1777. Close-in woods fighting, Patriots vs Loyalists & Indians. Do you know how the soldiers knew their enemy was out of ammo? His gun fired (single-shot muzzleloaders.) Did they rush out with tomahawk and bayonet while the enemy soldier was reloading? Sometimes. But the soldiers paired up, one covering while the other reloaded.

    If that was effective when reloading was a ten-to-twenty-second operation, I’m sure our guys figured it out when reloading was a three-second job.

  • idahoguy101

    I’m thinking in the middle of a fire fight, with multiple soldiers shooting their Garand rifles, that it German or Japanese soldier could pick out an individual “ping”. Loud noises make it difficult to hear. Could be cases of it but on the whole it can’t be that common.

  • Mikial

    Total drek, and amazingly foolish drek at that. Anyone who would even begin to try to promote this idiocy has never actually been in a firefight of any kind.

  • Jalen Byon

    Anybody who believes this needs to spend more time getting shot at by garands

  • bruce Cambell

    Try Firing 6 rounds from a garand or K98 without hearing protection, then see how your hearing is for awhile. I doubt you would hear much, especially the ping of a garand from 100 yards away.

  • Old Vet

    Here’s one that did work. An acquaintance of mine was a Korean War Vet. He carried a Browning 9mm instead of the issue .45, hence more shots. He said on several occasions he was able to dispatch those that thought he had fired his 7 rounds of .45 and charged his position only to find a 13 shot Browning staring them in the face.

  • Erik in Texas

    I see your listening skills need polishing. The pilot stated he was shooting at towed fuel tanks, that were unarmored.

  • Zebra Dun

    After shooting weapons in real time even with ear plugs I would not have been able to heart twenty Garand pings. How ever I just like the Japanese Grunts can count up to eight.

  • Sean Heihn

    Because that’s unsafe, but using a gun with no safety is perfectly safe.