Air Service 1903 Springfield: C&Rsenal vs. Forgotten Weapons

    If you’re not following both C&Rsenal and Forgotten Weapons you are missing out on some of the best gun history videos around. With C&Rsenal’s current World War One focus, systematically working their way through the weapons of the Great War, and Ian’s impressively prolific output the two occasionally cover the same subjects.

    Springfield M1903 Air Service (RIA)

    The latest overlap came in the shape of the fantastically rare and very cool Air Service Springfield 1903, a rifle built from cut down M1903s and fitted with a 25-round magazine for the US Army Air Service fighting in France. What has historically caused some contention, however, is just what the Air Service was using the cut down 1903s for.

    One school of thought suggested that they were intended to be used as survival rifles if a pilot had to crash land behind enemy lines. Another theorised they were to be issued to observation balloon crews for self defence. In a recently published Forgotten Weapons video Ian explained the survival rifle theory, check out the video below:

    Fans of the two channels were quick to point out the Othais over at C&Rsenal had already discussed the use of the Air Service 1903 in an in-depth hour and a half long episode on the history of the 1903 up to 1918. C&Rsenal’s video included some new primary source material, found by¬†Andrew at the Archival Research Group, proved that the rifle was indeed intended to be fired from American aircraft at enemy aircraft! Check out the video below:

    This is when some controversy arose. Not realising Ian had filmed his video weeks before, some fans thought there might be disagreement. Luckily, Othais & Ian cleared up any misunderstanding in a combined video explaining the situation and sharing the primary source documents C&Rsenal had unearthed during research for the episode. Check out the collaborative video below:

    Matthew Moss

    Matthew Moss – Assistant Editor.

    Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written for a variety of publications in both the US and UK he also runs www.historicalfirearms.info, a blog that explores the history, development and use of firearms. Matt is also co-founder of www.armourersbench.com, a new video series on historically significant small arms.

    Reach Matt at: [email protected]


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