Lessons Learned from Our WW II Squad Live Fire

The overall point of the WW II Live Fire, apart from creating an episode for our Youtube Channel, was to gain information and knowledge about these small arms that were used in World War II in ways that we couldn’t have gathered from shooting them on a square range or individually. Something that I think we really need to focus more on from a researcher or historians outlook is that these weapon systems weren’t developed and used in isolation. Sure, the M1 is a fantastic rifle for CMP matches but in all honesty that was very far from John Garand’s mind when he worked on the design. These weapons were designed to used by units of men, working very closely with each other, to accomplish an objective of overcoming an enemy force. Reenactments accomplish this well, but they don’t simulate the treatment these firearms would have gone through in combat due to the presence of live ammunition and actually trying to hit an enemy target at a distance. Bear in mind that we didn’t stage a reenactment, we staged a recreation, because we were literally trying to recreate history. If you haven’t seen the episode yet, please give it a look and then continue to read the article because it will make much more sense.

 

The “Ping” Myth has finally been put to rest

Bloke On the Range has done an excellent job of showing that even under prime conditions at close range the “Ping” Myth was probably just that, a myth perpetrated by people who have probably not been in mass proximity to these rifles in the way that they were used, by squads and platoons of GIs and Marines firing back at the enemy. If you listen to the audio in the episode, granted you will hear a few “Pings” but it will be just barely. And just as Bloke on the Range showed, even when those “Pings” did occur, there was substantial firepower going downrange to compensate for the lack of a rifle in the fight. At the same time you’ll hear Marines screaming, “RELOADING!” to communicate to others that the rate of fire needs to compensated. This is a tactic that is still practiced today. However I will say that when we came up online, and everyone started firing their M1s at the same time, there was a small bit of a lull in the volume of fire when everyone’s rifles emptied out at roughly the same time. This would have been a small issue to deal with as a squad leader if his entire squad began firing at an enemy location at the same time.

M1 Thumb was not as prevalent as perceived

In fact, there were absolutely zero instances of M1 Thumb happening at all throughout the day. And this was happening with the M1 shooters going through at least a cartridge belt and a bandoleer of ammunition. Also bear in mind that the overwhelming majority of the Marines present had never fired an M1 in their lives until this very day. If a group of Infantry Marines with absolutely minimal experience in operating the M1 could conduct a Live Fire attack and experience no instances of “M1 Thumb”, I’m quite confident in declaring that soldiers in WW II with months of basic training and experience in combat probably didn’t either. This is of course not to say it didn’t happen at all, but to be honest it was probably more of an issue stemming from recruits who didn’t realize any better in their basic training than an actual phenomena that happened during combat in Europe and the Pacific. Similar to the “Ping” myth, I believe both of these issues probably stemmed from training in the States with raw recruits and worried officers and SNCOs that had also never used the M1 in combat. Many of these same SNCOs and officers might have risen to positions where their word was taken as truth and that’s how it became disseminated into modern day enthusiasts and historians.

M1 Round Seating Malfunction

To be completely honest, this was the most fascinating discovery of the entire event in my eyes. Watch the above portion where I have saved the time reference to this malfunction happening. Essentially what happens is that during the course of an en bloc clip being tossed around in a cartridge belt or bandoleer, then hurriedly ripped out and jammed into an M1 in the interests of time, one or more of the rounds can become unseated so that their tips protrude further than the rest of the rounds. Now, below the chamber of the M1 there are a number of grooves and ledges where this protrusion can become stuck. Effectively jamming the clip into place wherein it can no longer be pushed into the magazine of the M1, or ejected and taken out. The best way to remedy the jam is to strip the rounds single handedly out of the clip from the top, until the offending round can also be stripped and the clip can then be ejected or pushed out.

I have only found one instance of this occurring on the internet and the shooters there blamed it on bullets being loaded differently. However, this was a problem that soldiers in WW II had to know how to fix, and fix very quickly if they were to get back in the fight. The malfunction happened to us twice, on two different rifles in the same run. Ammunition used was Greek surplus .30-06 so I don’t think it was badly loaded ammunition or else the problem would be more frequent. This particular revelation is astounding to me because through it, we literally recreated a problem that WW II soldiers had to deal with, but our knowledge of it had gotten lost in the years since WW II and the Korean War. Shooting an M1 on a square range would rarely ever see the same problem if at all. In fact even replicating the malfunction on a square range is quite tricky as well.

Machine Guns are just as heavy in 1944 as in 2017

Despite all our advancements in technology today, the machine gunners of our current military are probably humping just as much weight as their previous generation were humping in 1944. Although the M240 has decreased in weight from the 1919A4, the remainder is taken up by extra ammunition and a spare barrel. To test this, we had the machine gun team run 100 meters to get to the consolidation line, and the machine gun team was pretty much out of breath by the time they reached us due to the heavy weight of the gun, tripod, and ammunition. That was even without a full combat load of .30-06 and personal gear!

Volume of Fire

You’ll notice in the video that participants are almost screaming for their lives every time they open their mouths during the live fire. This isn’t for cinematic effect. This is because to make yourself heard over the live rounds going off, you have to burn your lungs out just to get simple commands forwarded. As for me, my voice was done for at the end of the day. There is a reason why Marine recruits are trained to “Scream for your Lives” and this is to acclimate them to communicating effectively under live fire conditions. Whether or not the actual decibel level was louder than our current 5.56x45mm weapon systems I cannot say, but I feel that the M1s produced much more volume than an M16A4 or M4. Let me also add that no one wore ear protection throughout the attack.

You can imagine just how incredibly difficult commanding a squad or platoon under these conditions is, never mind maneuvering an entire company or battalion. Simple communication becomes extremely difficult, and complex commands become impossible. In fact, in the Infantry of today, often times key leaders have to physically rush over to another key leader and scream right into their ears just to get things across. Factoring in enemy fire, artillery and vehicles such as tanks and half-tracks, and you just compound the situation even more.

Bandoleers Versus Cartridge Belts

From what we found out, loading from a bandoleer was a tremendous effort. You’re trying to pull an 8 round clip out of a piece of fabric that isn’t anchored down at all, in addition to being wedged in between two flaps of more fabric that can easily catch on the clip. Once you have accomplished that, you might also have to deal with the cardboard piece that sometimes come out with the clip (this protects the bandoleer from holes caused by the friction of the bullet). If the bandoleer has become wet, the cardboard sticks to the clip even easier. Whereas pulling a clip from a cartridge belt is drastically simple.

What I believe WW II Infantrymen would have done is similar to how we do things today. I think they would have primarily used the cartridge belt as a primary source of ammunition, and then during a lull in the fighting, take clips out of their bandoleers (secondary source of ammunition), and replaced the ones they had used in the now empty cartridge belt. However, the bandoleer does have some legitimate advantages in that it can been issued en-masse to a unit straight from the ammo spam cans it would have come with. In addition it facilitates passing off large amounts of ammunition on a battlefield that would have been time consuming with taking clips out of a cartridge belt and handing them off.

Safety? What Safety?

Working with the M1 in this setting gave us a real appreciation of the instant On-Off thumb safeties of many modern firearms. We discussed the M1’s safety catch at the start of the day and quickly realized that actuating the safety could easily lead to a negligent discharge by fumbling with a lever so close to the trigger. Thus we ran the entire attack with safeties off, and very stern trigger control. I believe WW II Infantrymen would have done the same, probably only pausing to engage the safety once fighting was over or in an extended lull.

Carbines ran out of ammunition before Garands

Despite our Carbine armed guys being issued 5 magazines of .30 Carbine (75 total), which would have put them on similar grounds with an M1’s combat load of 88 rounds, the M1A1s still ran out of ammunition faster than the Garands did. This was documented by S.L.A Marshall in his study of Infantry small arms at the end of WW II and Korea. Most likely this is due to the Carbine being a softer shooting round and the soldier using it not actually realizing how much ammunition he was burning through. Indeed, in the video you see the M1A1 armed rifleman transitioning to his 1911 because he was out of ammunition.

Rifle Grenade Employment

The largest bit we learned about rifle grenades is that we used the wrong cartridges to propel them. Rifle grenades were propelled with a special load during WW II, using a blank cartridge filled to the max with powder. Normal blank rounds would not propel the dummy rifle grenade we used to the ranges that it would have truly been effective at. In fact the standard blanks only pushed it around 50 meters!

Regardless of the effectiveness, prepping the rifle grenade took time that was much needed to return fire. We started with the launcher mounted, but soldiers in WW II would probably have had to take that time to first mount the launcher, clear the rifle (or switch to magazine cut-off on the ’03), extract a blank round, aim in and only then fire the device. And if it doesn’t have good effectives on target, repeat the process to try again. All this time, the squad has to increase the rate of fire to cover the grenadier, in addition having a rifleman out of the fight.

Command and Control at the Fire Team/Squad Level

A WW II Paratrooper Table of Organization (T/O) squad called for a maneuver element of seven men with the assistant squad leader, two scouts, and a gun team. Command would have been much larger than what we know of today at least in the Marine Corps Infantry T/O with a squad utilizing three fire teams of four Marines a piece being supported by a light machine gun. Having the flexibility of three teams drastically cuts down on the amount of control a leader has to take charge of. It is much easier to tell one team leader to push his team to the right, than to try and get seven individuals to do that same action. In our scenario the scouts and squad leader stayed with the gun team as security because the gun team on by itself cannot hold a position effectively because all of its members should be either firing, feeding ammunition, directing the fires, or bringing up ammunition.

It should also be mentioned that these three elements, the scouts, gun team, and maneuver element form the basis of small unit tactics organization. That is Assault, Support, and Security. Doctrinally speaking, security is set in place for the support element to begin suppressing an objective while the assault team moves into position to actually overtake that objective. This is exactly how the Marine Corps squad functions today in a textbook employment, and this is how WW II squads would have been trained to do as well. In addition with the gun team being placed in the middle of the squad, it allows a pivot point for the squad to maneuver with, added ease of command because leaders can easily direct it, and it is protected to the front by the scouts and squad leader, and to the rear by the maneuver element.

Suggestions for further Recreations

I really hope we can bring more of these recreations to the blog, and in addition I would absolutely love to see other enthusiasts, historians, and reenacters conduct their own as well. It just adds to the canon of knowledge that we can gain on researching just what these guys went through and how their weapon systems were effectively employed. In addition, this sort of historical recreation could be done with almost any era, to include the muzzle-loaders of the Civil War. Me personally am much more fascinated with what the guys at the lowest portion of the totem pole were going through, than anything above a company level of strategy. It ties in very well with my interest in small arms and honestly is why I chose to enlist in the Marine Corps rather than commission.

That being said, putting this event together was a logistical nightmare. It was all-volunteer, which was both a blessing and a curse. All the guys who came out to the event were extremely motivated and passionate about what needed to be done, from the reenacters, the Infantry Marines, photographers, and even the range safety officers. However at the same time I had to work on their schedule to make sure the event could fit their timeline. I had multiple participants outright cancel even up to the days leading to range day, to include two key photographers I was really counting on. On range day cameras failed because of the cold, guys had to familiarize themselves with the weapon systems, wind drowned out audio, even our pyrotechnic device that was supposed to signal the effects of the rifle grenade suffered a technical error. Probably the most annoying bit was that we had plastic “Ivan” targets set up on the steel so we could actually measure hit ratios after the attack. All of these were promptly shot off the steel because our mounting system was insufficient.

So my best advice would be to test every single point of the recreation, from the rest rooms on-site to photographers understanding what angles need to be filmed at. In addition, the safety aspects need to be adhered to religiously. We actually hired an active EMT to be on stand-by inside a warm and running safety vehicle with a separate driver just in case of a negligent discharge. Having an all Infantry veteran crew to conduct the maneuver and buddy rush portion was absolutely essential to conducting it safely. Infantrymen are very well versed in the nuisances of “Buddy Rushing” and understand the fundamentals of staying in your lane, the 15 degree “Cattle Horn” arc, and other such factors that come with experience. This is not to say it couldn’t have been done without Infantry veterans, but the safety aspect would have been much more difficult to keep a handle on due to the lack of experience with this particular activity.

The other key factor to this is the dry runs. We only ran two dry runs and one range walk-through and we really should have ran at least twice that number. But, we just didn’t have the time because some of the participants had timelines to make in the afternoon. It also could have benefited being shot in the summer and not in 30 degrees, but again, the summer wouldn’t have worked because schedules just didn’t mash up.





Miles

Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at miles@tfb.tv


Advertisement

  • BattleshipGrey

    The only recommendation I would make for future projects on this scale would be to add a drone camera into the mix for wider shots and aerial footage to get the big picture. It’s not essential, but it would be nice.

    • Some Rabbit

      Yes, definitely, drone footage would’ve help understand the movement and tactics.

      • We were THIS close to having a major other Youtuber participant with his drone but he couldn’t come out due to completely separate personal reasons. But we’ll take that in for next time!

      • Madcap_Magician

        Yeah, but some Russian guy with a spear would end up knocking it out of the sky.

  • Spade

    I’m sure it would’ve been harder to find one to use, but what about the BAR and would having one (or two, whatever it should have been) added anything?

    • No Thompson or Grease guns either.

    • Pete Sheppard

      A BAR would have been more historically accurate for a normal Army infantry squad. MGs were platoon-level, pushed down for special situations.

    • The Paratroopers weren’t issued BARs so we didn’t have one, although we did look for on regardless.

      • ARCNA442

        I didn’t know that – what where they supposed to use in its place?

        • B-Sabre

          Don’t know for certain, but since mechanized infantry were mounted in half-tracks (with .50 machine guns) and accompanied tanks (75mm guns, .30 and .50 machine guns) I suspect that vehicle-mounted firepower was supposed to make up for the lack of BARs.

          • gunsandrockets

            They kept tinkering with standard equipment allotted for the U.S. Mechanized Infantry squad throughout the war. Later on adding BAR, rifle-grenade launchers, and even a Bazooka.

            But at first it was a 12 man squad armed with eleven M1 rifles and one M3 SMG (for the driver), plus one halftrack with a dismountable .30 caliber M1917 HMG. The thinking seemed to be if the squad had semi-atomatic rifles plus a heavy machine-gun that the BAR was superfluous.

        • kyphe

          I believe the Paras rejected the BAR as it is not a true light machine gun like a BREN and is not able to provide adequate suppression. At the start of the war the US did not have a light MG and they shoe horned the BAR into that role as it was available in numbers when nothing else was. Fortunately the US had the Garand which made up for the lack of a true light MG for general infantry. The Paras much preferred the Johnson due to both a the light weight and that it could be easily loaded by an assistant gunner for sustained fire. But nothing beats a belt fed MG so that’s what they went with as that’s what they needed.

        • gunsandrockets

          M1919a6 version, adapted in 1943, with bipod and buttstock and lighter barrel. Not the tripod mounted M1919a4.

          • I believe you are incorrect about the 1943 adoption because looking through historical photographs of the Airborne troops, you really don’t even see the A6 model until Market Garden or at the least December 1944 during the Bulge.

          • gunsandrockets

            Just because the US Army officially type classified the M1919a6 as the substitute standard in 1943, doesn’t mean it would get into everyones hands right away.

            From January 1944…

            A real demand exists in both theaters for the M1919A6 machine gun. This weapon is entirely acceptable as a light machine gun until such time as a weapon meeting all the requirements of a light machine gun is available.

            http://weaponsman.com/?p=15706

            M1919a6 history

            http://www.m1919tech.com/23934.html

      • gunsandrockets

        Interestingly, for much of WWII, US mechanized infantry squads were not allocated BAR either.

      • Ron

        Best I could find (and it may not be right) for both glider and PIR for D Day was the follwing

        501st Parachute Infantry Regiment: (Col. Howard R. ‘Jumpy’ Johnson)

        Regimental HQ Company
        1 Antitank Company (12 57mm AT guns)
        1 Cannon Company (6 105mm Howitzers)
        1 Service Company
        1 Regimental S-2 platoon (Served as Reconnaissance)

        3 Battalions Infantry, each with:

        Battalion Headquarters Company.( 7 Officers and 165 men.)
        8x .30cal LMG
        4x 81mm mortars
        9x Bazookas

        3 Rifle Companies (8 Officers and 168 men.), each with:

        Headquarters and 3 Rifle Platoons.

        Each Rifle Platoon:
        1 Mortar squad (1 60mm mortar)
        3 Squads (12 men each). Composition:
        Squad weapons:
        1 BAR
        1 .30 cal LMG
        2 .30cal carbines
        10 M-1 Garand Rifles

        327th Glider Infantry Regiment: (Col. George S. Wear, Lt. Col. Joseph H.
        ‘Bud’ Harper from June 10, 1944)

        Regimental HQ Company
        1 Service Company
        1 ATk Company (9x 37mm towed ATk guns, 9x Bazookas)
        2 Battalions Infantry (each):
        (1st bttn, 401st Glider Infantry Rgt was attached as a third battalion)
        Battalion Headquarters Company (3 37mm AT guns, 6 81mm mortars, 4 .30cal HMGs
        6 .30cal LMGs, 8 Bazookas). HMGs were officially removed in September 1944.

        Battalion Weapons Company (6 81mm mortars, 8 .30 HMG)

        3 Rifle Companies (each) of HQ, 2 Rifle Platoons and a Weapons Platoon

        1 Weapons Platoon. Weapons:
        2 .30 Browning LMG
        3 60mm Mortars (1 was in Company HQ)

        2 Rifle Platoons (each):

        3 Squads (12 men each). Composition:
        1 Sergeant
        1 Lance Corporal
        2 Corporals
        8 Men.

        Squad weapons:
        1 BAR
        1 1903 Springfield Rifle
        10 M-1 Garand Rifles

  • Pete Sheppard

    Thanks for all the work. It should give those who haven’t had the training or experience a glimpse at how hard war really is. Something else that could not be replicated is a group of defenders just as determined to stop the attack, themselves with live ammo.
    The cold hopefully also gave a bit of the reality of how miserable infantry combat can be. Try to imagine being exhausted, hungry, filthy AND cold while playing this game…

  • Kovacs Jeno

    Thanks, great job.

  • gatorbait

    Absolutely and incomparably outstanding. I dance the dance of Tremendous Admiration for getting this thing on and having the nerve to set into motion a very deadly entity, the American Infantry squad, and study it live. You have created a unique and valuable historical document.

  • Big Daddy

    More BAR.

    • Anonymoose

      You’d probably pay more for a BAR than the semi-auto .308 1919A4…

      • Hanover Fist

        Ohio Ordinance.

        • 2805662

          *Ordnance.

        • Anonymoose

          It seems they lowered their prices, and discontinued their M240-SLR (not seeing it on their website anyway). Their M1918A3 used to be like $6000 iirc. Even if M1918A3s are going for $4300 now, I found a semi-auto .308 M1919A4 for $2500 on Atlantic, but they are sold out at the moment.

        • Dude, I only realized yesterday that we really should have contacted Ohio Ordnance to see if they could have lent us a semi-auto T&E BAR for the shoot…. 🙁
          Previously we had a connection within the reenactors wherein two of them were going to bring their BARs but time didn’t allow it, and they didn’t want to lend their rifles out.

  • Tom – UK

    No hearing protection? I can understand from a comms point of view but wow that just seems like a short cut to hearing loss. Be sure to protect yourselves against law suits.

    I would definitely second a drone, and maybe some knock down metal targets?

    • Erik Davis

      they’re volunteers, bringing their own guns. Who would they sue? themselves?

      • Tom-UK

        Given someone successfully sued a large company for not telling them coffee was hot nothing is beyond the realm of sueing possibility.

        I believe that those who organise gatherings and events are legally responsible for those who attend them to some degree.

    • Most of us are already suffering some sort of hearing loss from the actual Military… it wouldn’t have degraded most of our hearing to levels they weren’t already at before….

      • Sid Collins

        WHAT?

      • CommonSense23

        Thats not how hearing loss works.

        • We wanted to feel what the guys back then were hearing. Loss be damned.

          • CommonSense23

            That’s understandable, and you ears not mine. But the way you wrote that comment can give the sense to someone who doesn’t know better that once you achieve a certain amount of hearing loss, you won’t achieve more from comparable or less noise levels.

          • Tom – UK

            I appreciate the desire to feel what they felt but I can only imagine that if you asked them whether in your position they would put hearing protection on they would all say yes.

            In the UK at least within the military hearing protection is very much a point of importance.

        • Ron

          Unfortunately it is a Marine Corps practice still that won’t go away. When I went through the enlisted and later officer training pipeline, we were not allowed to wear hearing protection on life fire and maneuver ranges under the belief it inhibited the ability to command and control. When CAEBs started to be issued you saw, some wavering on it but occasionally you will see it pop up again.

          • Tom-UK

            We learned a long time ago that someone who can’t hear is a lot worse than someone who can’t hear things perfectly and hence ear defence became common practice. Each inidivdual soldier is expected to use ear defence, damage or lose your hearing when you had the choice to wear ear defence – kicked out the army.

  • MrBrassporkchop

    LARPing with guns?

    • phuzz

      LFRPing? Live Fire rather than Live Action…

  • ARCNA442

    Absolutely amazing work and I hope you continue this series with other eras (I would love to see something with bolt actions or single shot rifles).

    Do you have any detailed information on ammo expenditure and accuracy?

    • We went through around 600 rounds or so, don’t have the exact numbers. And I would have been able to give you accurate hit ratios and how many times our rounds actually impacted the targets, but we shot ALL the plastic targets off at the very start!! Very frustrating, but if we do this again, we’ll without a doubt insure that the targets can’t get shot off, no matter how much fire is going through them.

  • Tyree

    Question with regards to maneuvers. Would it not be beneficial to move the machine gun element up to the line upon initial contact to establish fire superiority, allowing the maneuver element to immediately begin to pivot? Especially in this scenario where the platoon had no automatic riflemen.

    I understand the effectiveness from the elevated position, but would riflemen solely be able to establish fire superiority against a fixed emplacement, given the amount of time it took to the rear element forward, signal machine gun element to move?

    This did seem to happen with the extended engagement of the machine gun position where as the line immediately called for the MG to move up on the line.

    Truly interested

    • So the distance to run for the MG team to either being online or on that elevated stage was relatively the same, so why not go for a position of much more advantage?

      In addition, and more importantly, that initial online return fire would have been MUCH too crowded to have the gun team in there as well. Guys would have had less than a meter between each other if the gun team had moved up. Think of it from the German Perspective, that’s a beautiful target rich environment, troops in the open clustered together, a machine gunners wet dream. One well aimed mortar could have taken out the entire squad before the firefight even truly began.
      Dispersion was key back then, and is key today as well, nowadays more so with IEDs than small arms fire. Some things never change…

      • gunsandrockets

        It’s interesting to contrast the standard German tactics. One big difference is the Germans never seemed to contemplate breaking up a rifle squad during an attack, as fire and maneuver was for multiple squads acting in cooperation. That might have also eased the command and control stress placed upon the squad leader and assistant leader.

        • Paralus

          Try it with K98s and five-round stripper clips, trying to keep the firing going, screaming in German.

          You understand why you can’t re-create US tactics with German weapons and why the MG-42 was the base of fire for the squad. Get the MG into position, let it do the work while the riflemen carry ammo forward and watch the flanks.

          • Brother, if you can get me a squad’s worth of Mauser K98s and their combat loads of 7.92, you’ve got yourself a German Live Fire….

          • Paralus

            Ok, but we get to use MP-40s and an MG-42, too

            Actually, check with the reenactors in your area…..there are bound to be German reenactors complete with gear and rifles….some may even have an MG42 or MP40 as well.

      • Tyree

        thanks for the responses, very interesting!

  • bobro

    All combat soldiers armed with M-1’s knew to bang the clip nose first on their helmets before trying to load them. I guess that bit of lore has been forgotten. Also, it is almost impossible to get an M-1 thumb while inserting a magazine. With no magazine, it is a lesson that once learned is never forgotten–I got one and never forgot how to avoid the problem.

    Otherwise good article.

  • Erik Davis

    I want to know how to get in on this stuff. I have all my own gear: M1 rifle or carbine, pistols, web gear, both Marine and Army (M1923 cartridge belts, 782 gear, M1936 suspenders & musette bag, or M1945 combat pack), shotgun (if needed). I don’t have the helmet yet, but I have This is how I 3-gun!

  • Fox

    I really enjoyed this Segment, and the After Action Review. This is “Run and Gun” in it’s best form. From my perspective, you guys did this correctly. Kudos on the M1 safety SOP. You focused on the employment of the weapon systems, and the movement by teams to the objective. I have more respect for reenactment after watching this. Looks like you had a few Active and Vets in the mix. Outstanding! These cultures (Civilian shooters/MIL/LEO) have been on the merge for some time, and it needs to continue to flourish. I look forward to the next installment.

  • Joe Moore

    This is fantastic, I’ll be watching the video when I get to WiFi.
    Where was this and are you accepting volunteers for future events?

    • Panther Ridge Training Center outside of Bloomington, IN. And yes, we’ll keep you posted!

  • Joe

    You really raised the bar with this exercise, thank you for exceeding the standard!!!

  • patrickkell

    M1 thumb was a result of trying to load the rifle with your left hand while holding the rifle with your right. If you load with your right hand the bolt will push your thumb out of the way as it goes into battery. Do to the mechanics of loading it with your left hand your thumb would get pushed into the breach and crushed. Learned this lesson an a 1942 M1 at the age of 12 as my father watched and giggled as I was doing it wrong. When I was able to free my bloodied thumb you could hear the delight in his voice as he stated ” Welcome to M1 thumb” This happened to him as well with his DI at boot camp in the early 60’s so he was happy to share this experience.

  • ozzallos .

    Wait, thumb safeties are still relevant? Who knew? 😉

  • Freelancer

    Never see an article like this before, Great Job!
    FYI, M1 Thumb only happens on an empty rifle, and rarely happens more than once.
    Thanks again, very entertaining.

  • Nicholas C

    Role playing of the Live Action variety! Looks like fun.

  • nate

    cool story and good insight. glad no one was killed by the “germans” from the infamous M1 “metallic ping” when you guys reloaded!

  • Madcap_Magician

    Wouldn’t the major reasons for the carbine guys running through ammo faster simply be the greater capacity of the carbine’s magazines and the speed of reloading detachable box magazines compared to en-bloc clips?

  • Great write-up Miles, and some really interesting results as well. Looks like everyone (except maybe the machine gun toting guy) had a great time.

  • Rock Island Auction

    Cool! I dig the whole concept of learning through doing and re-discovering things that were forgotten. Hope that the lessons learned here make for some great educational pieces later. Keep up the great work.

  • Ben Pottinger

    Neat. But did I read that correctly that no one wore ear pro? If that’s true it was stupid. Everyone there did permanent damage to their hearing for what? So they “looked” more “realistic”. How far is it worth taking for realism? Tinnitus is one of the number one most common injuries from military service and some people have gotten tinnitus so bad that it drives them to suicide.

    You can’t know ahead of time if this bit of damage will be “the” damage that pushes over into actual noticeable tinnitus or frequency loss, or if you’ll get lucky and it won’t be noticeable this time around. But never forget, you *are* causing damage every single time you skip hearing protection.

    It doesn’t seem like a big deal until your asking people to repeat themselves all the time or being in a quiet room sounds like sticking your head inside a running diesel engine.

  • Ben Rogers

    No hearing protection? You all damaged your ears permanently. Not a good idea at all. Hope you don’t get tinnitus and hypercusis like me.

  • That isn’t a bad idea 🙂

  • Ark

    Anyone have reccomendations for videos covering small unit tactics like this?

  • Offtopic: I am sorry, but I wanted to say I’m almost forced to block the ads and scripts on TFB completely. Without any blocking, each page takes almost a minute to load the insane amount of scripts, frames and ad / monitoring boondoggles (from more than a dozen services, not counting the social ones and your CDN), completely freezing the browser, hogging processor time, and after that it keeps querying servers and loading new ad pictures constantly.

    Honestly, TFB at this moment is the worst performing website I’ve ever seen. Of course it must be noted that it is in my experience, and on my machine / browser, – but it is still, compared to otherwise almost flawless browsing of the heaviest webpages.

  • Ben Pottinger

    A suggestion for the future, try and keep the same frame rate between cameras, or at least do a pull-down in post so they match in the final film. It looks like one is being shot at 24-30fps and another at 60fps which is pretty jarring. Id probably also considering finding someone with some decent color grading software to try and match the clips coming from different camera’s but that’s not quite as noticeable as the frame rate issue is.