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Thread: Why U.S. Govt Still Making 03/A3's in 1944?

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  1. #11
    Really Senior Member old tanker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammer View Post
    ...I think you are saying is that the War Planners in 1944 didn’t think they had enough rifles produced for the numbers they potentially may need before the war ended.
    The planners didn't even have a good idea of how long the war was going to last. The 'Home by Christmas' optimism after D-day was knocked into a cocked hat in the Ardennes. Then there was the prospect of invading the Home Islands of Japanicon. Planners feared the fighting might last until at least 1947. Among all the "beans and bullets" needed for the invasion they ordered Purple Hearts. They expected so many casualties that 75 years later, Purple Hearts made for an invasion of Japan are still being awarded

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    Contributing Member mmppres's Avatar
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    The crazy part is how many items made for the war are still in government stores. logged into government books an rolls. Been told by vets that to this day machine guns from that time are still being used. Not sure if in combat or just for training.

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  6. #13
    Really Senior Member old tanker's Avatar
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    Certainly machine guns from WW2 and earlier are still in use. Most of the M2 cal 50 machine guns in use are still WW2 vintage. Of the 167 known manufacturers only SACO Defense and RAMO are post war, and those contracts weren't let until the Eighties.

    During WW2, in addition to the government arsenals at Springfield and Rock Island, gun makers like Colt, Savage, and High Standard, many commercial firms were producing Browning machine guns. GM alone had three divisions, AC spark plug, Browne Lipe Chapin, and Frigidaire building guns. Kelsey Hayes Wheel Co., IBM (International Business Machines), Saco-Lowell and Wayne Pump were also making machine guns.

    Now guns in service you will also see ANAD stamped on receivers for rebuilds done at Anniston Army Depot. In fact S/N 324 arrived in Alabama for rebuild to M2A1 configuration not long ago..




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    Really Senior Member m1903rifle's Avatar
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    Also, early on, the M1icon rifle had "growing pains" and it had not been "battle proven"......... thus Remington and SC were given contracts to produce the M1903 just in case the M1 developed problems in the heat of battle.

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    Contributing Member fjruple's Avatar
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    I have read that there was always a shortage of .30-06 rifles in WWII. If you think about the real numbers needed plus "wastage". A term used in the Great War on combat losses. If you take one end item that uses a weapon and figures in combat losses the numbers are unbelievable. Just take the B-17. In WWII 4,735 planes were lost in combat. Each plane had 13 .50 caliber AN/M2 machine guns each. That would mean that 61,555 guns were lost in combat and that just for the B-17. On the human side that would be an average of 10 crew member per aircraft which means that 47,350 crew members were KIA, POWs or MIA. or if each is carrying a pistol that's 47,350 Model 1911 pistols.

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    Contributing Member Hammer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Durango56 View Post
    There's an article in American Rifleman that says Remington made 707,629 and Smith-Corona made 234,580 03A3 in WWII
    I just read that outstanding article that Bruce Canfield did some years ago. His article says Remington stopped making 03A3s in February 1944, but my Remington barrel is marked August 1944?

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    Really Senior Member m1903rifle's Avatar
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    Remington received a contract to make replacement parts including barrels. Most of the replacement barrels were dated later in 1944.

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    Really Senior Member firstflabn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammer View Post
    I’m just a simple 37 year combat infantry Marine and what I think you are saying is that the War Planners in 1944 didn’t think they had enough rifles produced for the numbers they potentially may need before the war ended.
    You're asking the right questions and show the ability to tell broad questions from narrow ones. That puts you way ahead of most. Stay at it - and ask for evidence. Several good examples in this thread of briefly describing their source (not long rambles like mine). If someone fails to at least give a nod at a source, you probably know more than they do.

    They had a system to calculate future demand (so production and distribution decisions could be made). Set up the formula, then feed in data. The answer comes out the other end. Not as easy as it seems. Long lags in getting updated numbers from the field increased uncertainty as, of course, did the changing fortunes of war. Remember, the WD is doing this for thousands of items. Early on, loss rate data from WWI records was used - they couldn't sit on their hands until current data started rolling in from overseas. Loss data only starts to become a major factor to planners after everybody receives initial issue. That's why production was cut back early in '44 on many items - the Army was close to being totally mobilized - for small arms, monthly loss rates were mostly single digit percentages. One thing about planning, a perfect estimate is not necessary for success - get in the neighborhood and your adjustments can be smaller and, thus, more manageable.

    Unfortunately, the U.S. Army tracked all types of '03s (excepting the '03A4) as a single line item, so no way to know where '03A3s in particular went. If you want another confusion factor: from scattered examples, in early 1945, service forces requirements seem to be replacing '03s with Garands (implementing this change is impossible to track, long delays would come as no surprise - several thousand company size service units served in the ETO alone whose records would have to be looked at).

    The forms kept evolving, making it difficult to track quantities month to month, but I'll mention one point in time. In the first four months of 1945, the '03 report shows about 60k as 'Returned Stock - After Repair.' I don't know the date, but there was a late war parts contract (presumably including your barrel). With production long over, that's probably where your date mismatch comes from.

    As I am extremely dubious that any significant quantities of small arms were returned stateside during the war, I would suggest yours stayed at home and was used for training during '43 when carbines and Garands were both short of requirements.
    Pushing back the frontiers of ignorance, one post at a time.

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    Really Senior Member cplstevennorton's Avatar
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    In 1945, the Army history division recorded the history of all weapon platforms so the history of how it happened would be recorded for all future generations. So they basically did a field report on everything you can possibly think of that was made during the war weapon wise. These were top secret till recently.

    So this is what I'm seeing when I look at the 1903/A3/A4 field report from 1941 to 1944.

    Ordnance basically had to order enough rifles in numbers that would be worth it for these manufacturers to actually gear up to build the rifles. Otherwise the cost incurred by Remington and LC Smith Corona was substantial enough that that they had to produce at least so many rifles to be economically worth the investment to set up the tooling to manufacture them.

    So the orders were usually in 100,000 or 200,000 in number.

    Just a few of the first contracts, a time line. Though there were more contracts in 1943 that I didn't take the time to include them below. But just a few contracts to show how it went down.

    11 Sept 1941 208,000 rifles to Remington
    24 Nov 1941 74,000 rifles from Remington
    13 Dec 1941 100,000 rifles from Remington
    March 1942 100,000 rifles from LC Smith Corona
    Dec 1942 Orders are authorized to ship either M1903 or O3A3
    Nov 43, 175,000 to Remington
    Nov 43, 56,274 to LC Smith Corona

    23 Nov 1943 Remington and LC Smith are notified that they are nearing the end of their allotted contracts and because there isn't an need for anymore they will cease production on completed rifles at the end of Feb 1944.

    Remington is ordered at the end of Feb 1944 to start on spare parts production for any and all parts that will be needed for the foreseeable future. The spare parts order was massive and was called the "all time buy" or "end buy." So anything built after Feb 1944 at Remington was intended as spare parts.

    LC Smith never made spare parts and ceased all production at the end of Feb 1944. Their production line was tore down, tooling and equipment was distributed to facilities that needed the equipment for the war effort.

    In this 1941 to 45 field report by Army Ordnance they also break down spreadsheets off all production of rifles during the war by month and year.

    So I'm just going to detail it by year.


    1941

    Remington 1,273

    1942

    Remington 337,399 (it details 1903 and 03A3)
    LC Smith 5,540

    1943

    Remington 658,457 (03A3)
    LC Smith 209,958
    Remington 17,045 (03A4)

    1944

    Remington 59,147 (03A3)
    LC Smith 18,500
    Remington 9,608 (03A4)


    These counts counter what I have seen other places, but these were are done by the Small Arms Branch- Industrial Division and they break it down literally by each and every month of the war. So I think this would be the most accurate as it details production all 12 months of each year, then tallies it up for each year.
    Last edited by cplstevennorton; 10-13-2021 at 08:42 PM.

  16. #20
    Contributing Member Hammer's Avatar
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    I sincerely appreciate everybody’s information and education. This all may be long known news for y’all, but it’s all new to me and it’s fascinating information for me.

    I purchased this Remington in 1990 from an Army officer who said he had bought it years earlier from a national guard armory sales to military members transfer type program if I remember correctly.

    So it looks like the receiver was made in late 42 or early 43 and then it got one of the replacement barrels that was made in August 1944. Of course now I wonder why they had to replace the barrel? Either it was used stateside for training and its original Barrel just got worn out from firing so many rounds at training ranges, or it was damaged or worn out from use overseas in wartime use. I think it was probably the former, but will never know.

    Last edited by Hammer; 10-13-2021 at 09:39 PM.

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