A couple weeks ago I finished a book entitled Hell to Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945—1947, by D. M. Giangreco (Naval Institute Press, 2009) that covered and analyzed the planned, but later canceled, invasion of the home islands. While a tad dry, it was a otherwise fascinating read. There was some coverage of weapons development on both sides in preparation for the operation. However, nearly all of it was on much heavier equipment, and little on small arms.

I vaguely seem to recall experiments with making the M1 Garand box fed and select-fire in preparation for said, but my recollection may be in error. Ditto some tweaks to the M1919. Years back, I remember a Guns & Ammo article reference experiments with the Mondragón rifle in .30'06 in preparation of said; I was and remain skeptical of this claim, particularly in light if the arms already in service at that time.

Anyone know of any R&D work on small arms in preparation for Operation Downfall?

Thanks. :)
 
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I believe experiments were done converting Garands to accept BAR mags. It is my understanding that they had to remove too much metal. Check the Springfield Armory (the real one, not the new one that sells cheap plastic guns ;)) are you at work right now) collection. If one exists, it’s likely to be there.

I know some civilian gunsmiths still did this postwar, but the practice died out.
Today, most conversions seem to be to .308 mags ala the BM59.
 

bbbass

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IDK. Conversion was referenced in the Youtube vid on Garands that I watched last night, but they didn't specifically say it was in prep for invasion of Japan. Nor did they give any other specifics. It was mentioned that the Garand is the parent of the M14 but I know nothing about the comparison of the working parts of the two.

Something new to me was the muzzle activated early M1s before they started making them with a gas port. The vid said those are super-collectible now. I'm not a collector, but for some reason I've got this urge to get a Garand now. Oh my!
 
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Boboclown

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I believe experiments were done converting Garands to accept BAR mags. It is my understanding that they had to remove too much metal. Check the Springfield Armory (the real one, not the new one that sells cheap plastic guns ;)) are you at work right now) collection. If one exists, it’s likely to be there.

I know some civilian gunsmiths still did this postwar, but the practice died out.
Today, most conversions seem to be to .308 mags ala the BM59.
The understanding is correct they did try to use BAR mags. The problem was the action just wasn't long enough to use BAR mags so reliability was....

Well it did well with the 8 round clips soldiers ended up using.
 
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IDK. Conversion was referenced in the Youtube vid on Garands that I watched last night, but they didn't specifically say it was in prep for invasion of Japan. Nor did they give any other specifics. It was mentioned that the Garand is the parent of the M14 but I know nothing about the comparison of the working parts of the two.

Something new to me was the muzzle activated early M1s before they started making them with a gas port. The vid said those are super-collectible now. I'm not a collector, but for some reason I've got this urge to get a Garand now. ?????

The rifle you are referring to at the end of your post is called a gas trap Garand, and they are rare and very collectible. I’ve seen them in museums, but not in person (yet)...
 
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Besides the large number of war ships amd aircraft, small arms developments were not really taken up as seriously as most would think. Most small arms were deemed sufficient enough IF they could be supplied in large enough quantity.
There was always some experiments going on through out the war, but nothing really bore fruit! Much of the "Arsenal of Freedom" was halted and or scrapped emediaty after the Japanese surender! It wasnt until after about 1947 that the U.S. started to look toward new small arms developments based on WWII experiences that we saw any meaningful changes, ultimatly leading to the M-14 and later M-16, and the american conversion of the German MG into the M-60!
Lots of controversy over what was chosen as im sure every one knows, but we got by and still do!
 
The winning large and small arms development pre-invasion was.... Fat Mat & Little Boy

:s0069:

True that. I had a good idea of how the invasion of the home islands would have been a bloodbath. After reading the volume referred in the original post, holy cow, it would have been a mess for all concerned. The allies would have eventually won, but at a very high price for both sides.
 
The Pedersen rifle that competed with Garand was interesting. They did all kinds of testing, including shooting goats and a marksmanship challenge, but in the end the availability of 30-06 ammo already in production won out over gearing up to supply the .276 Pedersen round.

Pedersen rifle - Wikipedia

Pardon the tangent, but the Japanese copy of the Pedersen might be of interest.



As well as the Japanese Garand copy.


Cheers.
 
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True that. I had a good idea of how the invasion of the home islands would have been a bloodbath. After reading the volume referred in the original post, holy cow, it would have been a mess for all concerned. The allies would have eventually won, but at a very high price for both sides.


They estimated one MILLION U.S. casualties, and somewhere between five to six MILLION Japanese casualties to invade and subjugate the main island... although absolutely HORRIFIC, in the larger scheme of things those atom bombs were more humane than most give them credit for... :oops:
 
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They estimated one MILLION U.S. casualties, and somewhere between five to six MILLION Japanese casualties to invade and subjugate the main island... although absolutely HORRIFIC, in the larger scheme of things those atom bombs were more humane than most give them credit for... :oops:
There were Naval estimates based on invasion plans that every battle wagon, cruiser and destroyer the allies had would be used to bombard the main island for weeks on end, and that it would have taken hundreds of thousands of naval shells to "Prep" and landing areas! They promised it would have greatly surpassed the bombardment of the Normandy beaches by a yuge factor! Then the there was the planned air attacks, fire bombing every city, town, village, and neighborhood and dropping High Explosives in the middle of it all to make it spread the fires much further, like General Curtis Lemay had been doing before the A Bombs! Japan would have been completly and utterly destroyed!
 

Boboclown

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small arms developments is not really taken up as seriously as most would think. Most small arms were deemed sufficient enough IF they could be supplied in large enough quantity.
FTFY :rolleyes:

Small arms isn't really the biggest thing now either tbh. Sure they're coming up with new stuff but its not like its priority. M4s and AKs (or variants of) still get made and issued, since they work and are readily made. Everything else is kinda what flavor a person (country) wants to be known for. Granted I feel like NIH syndrome plays a big role in some things, that doesn't change that the M4 and AK are the most prevelant small arms at this point cause they're sufficient enough. Both being decades old, not an easy feat to match.
 
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20190602_002236.jpg

THESE are the lives that were saved by nuking Japan.
 

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