The Springfield M1903, formally the United States Rifle, Caliber .30, Model 1903, is an American magazine-fed, bolt-action rifle used primarily during the first half of the 20th century.
It was officially adopted as a United States military service rifle on June 19th 1903, and saw service in World War I. It was officially replaced as the standard infantry rifle by the faster-firing, semi-automatic M1 Garand, starting in 1936. However, the M1903 Springfield remained in service as a sniper rifle during World War II, the Korean War, and the early stages of the Vietnam War. Despite being replaced by the M1 Garand, the Springfield M1903 remained the standard-issue rifle of the US Army and Marine Corps during WWII until sufficient numbers of M1 Garands were made available to US soldiers and Marines.
M1903 Springfield in Days of Infamy
Fletch Armitage made comparisons between the M1903 and the Japanese rifles during the Battle for Hawaii in late 1941 and early 1942. Later, during the second attempt by the US to reclaim the islands, a massive bombing raid destroyed the Japanese armory, forcing the Japanese soldiers to use the M1903 instead, causing some surprise to the American Marines who fought them. Corporal Takeo Shimizu didn't care too much for the rifle as he found it gave a harder kick, and was larger and heavier than the Arisaka; while Yasuo Furusawa thought it to be well made.
M1903 Springfield in The Hot War
When the Soviet Union invaded West Germany through Fulda, Gustav Hozzel and Max Bachman enlisted in the German Emergency Militia and were issued Springfield rifles along with uniforms and American style helmets. Hozzel didn't worry that he received a cast-off rather than a M1 Garand semiautomatic since it was similar to the Mauser he had used in the previous war.
M1903 Springfield in Southern Victory
The M1903 Springfield was the standard infantry rifle of the US Army during the Great War and Second Great War. The Springfield was a bolt-action rifle, firing the standard .30-06 cartridge. It weighed eight pounds and eleven ounces. Ammunition for the Springfield was loaded in five-round clips. Overall, the Springfield was a reliable infantry weapon with an effective range of around six hundred yards.
During the Great War, the Springfield compared favorably with its Confederate counterpart, the Tredegar rifle. Both performed at about the same level on the battlefield. The Springfield was often fitted with a bayonet for close combat.
However, by the Second Great War, the Springfield was far outclassed by the new standard infantry weapon of the Confederate Army, the Tredegar Automatic Rifle. The Tredegar Automatic Rifle fired at full automatic, giving the average Confederate soldier far more firepower than his US counterpart. Despite this firepower gap, the US Army had yet to develop an automatic rifle of it's own by the end of 1943. Instead, US infantrymen used captured Tredegar Automatic Rifles or submachine guns in order to narrow the firepower gap. Springfields were used by Confederate forces during the Battle of Pittsburgh due to ammunition shortages.
In conclusion, the Springfield was a fine weapon in its time. However, when its time was over, it proved to be more of a burden than a blessing.
M1903 Springfield in The War That Came Early
M1903 Springfield in Worldwar
The M1903 Springfield was the standard infantry rifle of the US Army during the war with Germany and Japan when the Race arrived in mid 1942. Although it had been superseded by the M1 Garand, it was still kept in combat until the Peace of Cairo in 1944, and performed admirably against the Race.
- Bombs Away, pg. 120, HC.