View Full Version : Marines or Soldiers? On the Firing Line with the M1917
To add to previous discussions about the use of the M1917 by Marines, here is a pair of photos of three shooters on the firing line with M1917 rifles. These are from Bolo Badge's collection.
In Photos 1 & 2, we see that Shooter 1 (right foreground) has no cord on his hat, suggesting that he is an enlisted Marine. In contrast, Shooter 3 (far left in Photo 1 and in detailed Photo 3) does have a hat cord, suggesting that he is either a soldier or an officer. Furthermore, Shooter 3 appears to be wearing lace-up boots of the type worn by officers in the WWI era (Photo 4).
I think that we are seeing another example of Marines with the M1917.
What do you think -- Marines or Soldiers?
Note: For an interesting previous discussion, see the following:
The tall height of the crown on the campaign hats, and no visible EGA emblems or rolled edges on the brims, makes me think Army. - On the other hand, the closest shooter's shirt has a pointed pocket flap, and the shoes worn by several appear more USMC than Army.
I'm uncommitted on this one, though I really like the picture !!
Klamath Falls, Oregon
I think only the Army was issued 1917's.
Just happened to see this discussion and thought I would throw this into the mix. Photo is of my great-uncle, Private Peter George Green, USMC. He was at Parris Island in the summer of 1918, went overseas September 1918. He was in the Port Royal Band in July and August 1918 and this photo dates from then as he is wearing the band insignia under the EGA on his campaign hat. This is one of two photos showing him with the Model 1917, the other was taken at the same time. All other photos I have of him with a rifle shows the Model 1903 and his scorebook shows he qualified with the 1903.
Marine A5 Sniper
Sgt. York stole his rifle.
In pictures #2 and #4 in the first set; they are fixing to drop into sitting rapid. Last night I was aiming in and doing steady hold exercises with mine and although CMP matches usually eliminate sitting, I tried sitting. Man, I could not get a good one. The best one I got was shooting right handed, but using my LEFT eye to aim. I shot a 30 rd. CMP 10 yard short course with that old gun today over lunch and that thing kicked my A$$. I had a 90-1 in prone slow, 85-1 prone rapid, and 82 offhand at 100. I swear this gun is the most un-ergonomic weapon the U.S. ever used, and that cock on closing is "Heck" on "ragged fire." God bless these shooters, Army OR Marine. They were all equally disadvantaged.
Yep, can imagine those who were used to 'rapid' with the '03 suddenly trying to do the same with the '17. Not only that, but Sharpshooters and Experts got extra pay. That was one reason for so much resistance in the Corps when the M1 first came out. The impact on the individual Marine's paycheck.
Of course there is no way (that I know of) to confirm it but I believe that these pictures may very well show a mixed US Marine Rifle Team doing what they do best.
If it is the Marine Corps National Match team I would guess the site as Quantico, VA and, since the 1918 National Matches were to be fired using the M1917 rifle, I would bet they are getting in as much range time, with the then new rifle, as possible.
Hopefully someone with more National Match knowledge than I will contribute some facts regarding the 1918 National Match. I don't remember the exact finishing order of the teams but I believe the Marine Team, if they did not win the match, had some very high scores using this rifle.
Did they have ear plugs back then?
The guy without the hat appears to have something in his ears if you look at him in sitting. I have heard of cigarettes and .38 rounds being used. I think in those days the pros used some kind of wax that lasted a few times; that man looks like a pro (note his recoil pad). I'm kind of thinking I read something like that in Whelen's MISTER RIFLEMAN. Use of hearing protection on the range seems to have been thought by some to be "sissy" and there are all kinds of accounts of recruits being run through shooting programs WITHOUT them as late as the early 60's. I have an older acquaintance who was on the DD USS MELVILLE and he showed me his WW2 stuff. In it was a typical GI clear plastic case with earplugs and he wore them on a 5"/38 mount. I might note kids coming back from Iraq are having all kinds of hearing loss from heavy fire in combat and they can't or don't want to compromise their hearing in a tactical situation by wearing earplugs.
I have always taken fairly good care (I thought) of my hearing. Finally after 42 years of shooting, a single episode of shooting next to a guy with one of these heavy .50 pistols, and me with earplugs only, kicked my left ear (side next to him) over into tinnitus. WHEEEEEEEEEEEE... and so on, forever.
Powered by vBulletin™ Version 4.0.2 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.