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In 1990 the Beretta M9 replaced the venerable Colt 1911 as the main pistol of choice for the US Army. At the time the decision was controversial particularly because it was perceived that a smaller caliber weapon such as the Beretta would lack the necessary stopping power and range in comparison to the .45 caliber Colt. The situation was not helped by the rumour that the adoption of this Italian designed pistol was in exchange for the creation of US missile bases within Italy. Nonetheless, the Beretta, although not a perfect pistol, has since proved many of its distractors wrong with widespread use in Iraq and Afghanistan. Written by a leading pistol expert who currently trains US Special Forces in the use of this weapon, this book is an honest appraisal of the successes and failings of the Beretta design. The volume traces the Beretta designs, which preceded the M9 as well as its use on the battlefield, including the impact it has had on close combat training due to the larger magazine capacity. It also details the adoption of the Beretta by US law enforcement agencies and the impact this has had. This is a fascinating history of a classic pistol and its future use.From the Trade Paperback edition.
First used in combat during the Punitive Expedition into Mexico and then extensively during both World War 1 and World War 2, the Colt Government Model (1911) pistol remained the standard issue handgun in the US armed forces for nearly 80 years and has continued in service with some units to this day. In fact, the M1911 has seen a resurgence among US Special Operations units, as US Marine MARSOC and MEUSOC personnel are issued current generation 1911-type pistols. In addition, the pistol has seen service with famous law enforcement agencies such as the Shanghai Municipal Police, LAPD Swat and Texas Rangers. Nearly a century after its introduction, the M1911 Pistol remains a popular design and is now produced by virtually every major firearms manufacturer doing business in the USA.In this new volume, handgun expert Leroy Thompson sheds new light on the development, history and use of this revolutionary handgun, complete with specially-commissioned artwork depicting the firing process and cutaway profile of the gun, as well as its use in various theaters of war.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Fairbairn-Sykes Commando dagger has become iconic as the most widely recognized fighting knife in the world. The origins of the dagger can be traced to Shanghai in the 1930s where W. E. Fairbairn and US Marine officers including Sam Yeaton carried out experiments in developing what they considered the perfect knife for close combat. When Fairbairn and Sykes became instructors for the Commandos, they refined the design which would evolve into the classic Fairbairn-Sykes dagger. The dagger was first used during early Commando raids into occupied Europe but saw action in every theatre of World War II. US Rangers and Marines who had trained with the Commandos took their Fairbairn-Sykes daggers home which also influenced the development of American Special Forces daggers. The Fairbairn-Sykes remained in use with many units after the war, and has become a symbol of commando and special forces units throughout the world.
The M1 Carbine was produced in more numbers than any other US small arm in World War II (1939-1945). In 1938 the US Chief of Infantry requested that the Ordnance Department develop a carbine or light rifle to be used by service and support troops, artillerymen, machinegun crews, tankers, mortar crews and other troops not needing the power of the M1 Garand rifle. The development of this new weapon was given an added impetus by Germany's successful use of airborne and glider troops early on in World War II. This caused a fear amongst US officers that troops normally considered "behind the lines" personnel might have to fight elite German troops and would therefore require a more effective weapon than their standard pistols. The resulting M1 Carbine was a not a shortened version of the standard service rifle but instead a brand-new design chambering a new cartridge. This new weapon would see service in every theater and with all US service arms as well as American and Allied special units including the OSS, Merrill's Marauders, the SAS and the SBS. Eventually numerous manufacturers would combine to produce over six million M1 Carbines before the end of the war. This new title provides an in-depth analysis on this crucial, trailblazing weapon.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The M1 Garand gave US infantrymen a marked edge during World War II. It shot faster and further than enemy infantry rifles and hit harder. No less an authority on killing the enemy than General George S. Patton called the Garand, "The greatest battle implement ever devised." At a time when opposing forces were armed with bolt action rifles, US troops had a highly reliable self-loader. It was the US Army's principal infantry weapon in World War II, beloved of troops for its ability to withstand hard use and be ready when needed. In most battles the Garands speed of fire combined with the powerful .30-06 cartridge gave US troops a distinct advantage. The eight-round clips which were used to load the M1 Garand were, however, viewed with mixed emotions by the troops on the ground. Eight rounds was not much magazine capacity for a self-loading rifle, thus requiring frequent reloading in combat. Some Army and Marine Corps troops allegedly felt that the distinctive "twang" as the Garand's clip was ejected when empty alerted the enemy that the soldiers were reloading and resulted in an attack. But this problem may have been overstated as experienced troops did not all empty their weapons at the same time. It was also a particularly heavy weapon in contrast to the much lighter M1 Carbine. But the Garand became the defining mankiller of the war, despite its weight and magazine problems, and many US combat veterans consider it one of the key reasons they survived the war, as one veteran succinctly commented, "I let my Garand do the talking."
Developed to replace the Model 1892 Krag-Jørgensen rifle, the Model 1903 Springfield was a five-shot bolt-action rifle that introduced the .30-06 cartridge - the standard US round until the introduction of the 7.62mm NATO cartridge - and gave the US infantryman a durable, magazine-fed weapon so renowned for its accuracy that it remained in service as a sniping rifle for decades after it was superseded by the M1 Garand in 1937. Extensively used in World War I, the M1903 Springfield saw widespread combat in World War II and Korea. During World War I, US troops developed a formidable reputation for marksmanship aided by the accuracy of the M1903 Springfield. World War II saw the introduction of the M1903A3, which changed the rear sight so that it was closer to that of the M1 Garand, to allow easier training of troops who might be issued either rifle. Illustrated with specially commissioned color artwork and drawing upon veterans' recollections, this is the engaging story of the M1903 Springfield, an iconic rifle prized for its lethal accuracy that equipped US and other troops for much of the 20th century.
The Sten submachine gun - officially the 'Carbine, Machine, Sten' - was developed to fulfil the pressing British need for large quantities of cheaply produced weapons after Dunkirk, when German invasion was a very real possibility. Over four million were built during World War II, and the Sten was widely used by airborne troops, tankers, and others who needed a compact weapon with substantial firepower. It proved especially popular with Resistance fighters as it was easy to conceal, deadly at close range, and could fire captured German ammunition. Using stamped-metal parts that required minimal welding, the Sten's design was so simple that Resistance fighters were able to produce them in bicycle shops.The Sten influenced the development of other inexpensive, easy-to-produce submachine guns, such as the Australian Austen and the US M3 'Grease Gun', while copies of the Sten were produced in Argentina, France, Norway, Denmark, Poland, and even Nazi Germany. In the years after World War II, the Sten was used in Korea and in counterinsurgency campaigns in Malaya and Kenya. During the 1948 Palestine War, locally produced Stens were employed by Israeli forces; in 1984 Indira Gandhi was assassinated by one of her Sikh bodyguards using a Sten.Its postwar successor in British service, the Sterling, owed much to the Sten; early examples saw combat at Arnhem in 1944 and it remained in service as late as 1988. Suppressed versions of the Sterling were used by British, Australian and New Zealand SAS forces, and the weapon even saw action with US Special Forces troops until the early days of the Vietnam War.Featuring vivid first-hand accounts, specially commissioned full-colour artwork and close-up photographs, this is the fascinating story of the mass-produced submachine gun that provided Allied soldiers and Resistance fighters with devastating close-range firepower.
Winchester, Remington, Ithaca Gun Company, Stevens, Savage, Mossberg, Benelli, and other gun manufacturers have produced a range of combat shotguns for US armed forces. When a soldier must face multiple opponents at close quarters, few weapons can match the shotgun. From World War I to the War on Terror, the shotgun has been a devastating weapon in the hands of US troops. For urban combat, prisoner control, and shipboard operations it remains as deadly today as it was a century ago.Early combat shotguns were basically sawed-off versions of the double-barreled shotguns used for sporting purposes. The Winchester Model 97 slide-action shotgun, first used in 20in-barreled "riot gun" form during the Philippine Insurrection, would remain in service in one form or another at least until the Vietnam War. During World War I shotguns were obtained in "riot gun" versions and also in "trench gun" versions (trench guns had a ventilated handguard added that allowed the mounting of a bayonet; riot guns did not have this feature). Joining the Model 97 as trench guns were the Winchester Model 12 and Remington Model 10, while these slide-action weapons plus the Remington Model 11, a semi-automatic, also served as riot-guns. So effective was the trench shotgun that Germans claimed it was inhumane and violated the "Rules of War", threatening to execute troops captured carrying a shotgun.The various Banana Wars saw the use of World War I military shotguns still in the armories. During World War II, Winchester Model 12 and Model 97 trench and riot guns were joined by the Ithaca Model 37, Remington Model 11 and Model 31, Stevens Models 520-30 and 620A, and Savage Model 720. The US Marines found the shotgun useful for the close combat they encountered in the jungles during World War II, in humid conditions that necessitated the development of military brass-case shotgun shells, while OSS agents found single-shot shotguns useful for arming guerillas in Burma, the Philippines, and elsewhere.During the Korean and Vietnam Wars the same types of shotguns deployed during World War II were used, though some additional models were acquired as riot guns, including the Remington Model 870, Savage Model 77E, Winchester Model 1200, and Winchester Model 25. In Vietnam shotguns were used by point men and others on patrol, while members of the US Navy SEALs especially liked shotguns for launching ambushes in the Mekong Delta.During the period since the First Gulf War new combat shotguns have been adopted by the US military, such as the Mossberg 500 series, including one trench-gun model, and the Benelli 1014. More recently during the War on Terror, shotguns have been used to clear cave complexes in Afghanistan and buildings in Iraq, but especially to blow doors open during entries and searches.Featuring specially commissioned full-color artwork, this is the story of the origins, development and use of the combat shotgun in US service, from the trenches of World War I to the cave complexes of Afghanistan.
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