We wanted to try and recreate an organizationally correct U.S. Army Paratrooper squad, with the same small arms and live ammunition that squad would have used in 1944. Recreating World War II small arms has so far been done through reenactments and in the film industry, but these only involve blanks. Shooting World War II small arms at a square range goes very far in understanding how these weapons functioned. But neither is truly using these small arms as intended. These M1 Garands, M1A1 Carbines, and 1919 LMGs were created to be used by American soldiers in accomplishing their task of assaulting Fortress Europe and conquering the Pacific. They were adopted and issued to be used by entire units of men, working together to neutralize an opposing enemy force.
For us today, that leaves a number of questions unanswered. Such as how did the actual rates of frame pan out among a group of advancing soldiers? What were the reload times under stress? What kind of malfunctions did those soldiers have to deal with? Just how accurate were these weapons while out of breath? You can’t research this through converted blank firing rifles, nor can you research this holistically through a calm setting on a square range.
To accomplish this task, we partnered up with a local reenacter group dedicated to bringing that Greatest Generation to life, and re-enlisted the skill sets of Infantry Marines who understood squad level fire and maneuver tactics, in addition to the ever present safety aspect of an entire group of men advancing while laying down suppressive fire.