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The War Baby! Books

The War Baby! Books
The Chronicle Of The Little M1 Carbine
Is Brought To Life In Three Volumes.

Elsewhere in this issue I mentioned how various books helped me identify M1 Garands by maker and vintage. There were only four manufacturers of M1 Garands. Now consider the M1 Carbine: There were 10 manufacturers of M1 Carbines during World War II alone. Collectively their production totals amounted to 6-1/4 million in a mere 4-year period. And there have been other civilian makers of M1 Carbine clones right until this day, and their production totals can only be guessed about.

With such history it is no wonder the complete story of the M1 Carbine can’t be told in a single volume—or even two. Author Larry L. Ruth has now added a third volume to his history of M1 Carbines. Volume I is titled War Baby! Its initial copyright date is 1992 with updated reprints dated 2001 and 2006. It begins with the rationale for the US Army wanting a “light rifle” and continues through detailed information concerning all 10 manufacturers’ production during WWII.

Volume II is titled War Baby! Comes Home and is copyrighted 1993 with a second printing in 2001. This volume begins with a focus on WWII and Korean War combat usage of M1 and M2 Carbines including Medal of Honor citations for Americans who used the little rifle in their outstanding acts of bravery in action. Included is quite a bit of little-known information concerning M1 Carbine usage by other nations, both ones given to friendly countries as foreign aid and ones captured and turned against American soldiers by enemy troops. This volume also contains specialized collector details such as carbine flash hiders, grenade launchers, bayonets and so forth.

Volume I of War Baby! goes to page 496. Volume II begins with page 497 and ends at page 846. In 2013, after a long hiatus, War Baby III finally appeared. It begins at page 847 and continues to an awesome length at page 1,757. In Volume III, author Larry L. Ruth actually goes back to the beginning and adds more information on M1 Carbine development with chapters such as “More on The Inland M1 Carbine” continuing through all 10 manufacturers.

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Duke has absorbed many facts pertaining to his own M1/M1A1/M2 .30
Carbines from research in the War Baby! volumes.

Volume I of War Baby! goes to page 496. Volume II begins with page 497 and ends at page 846. In 2013, after a long hiatus, War Baby III finally appeared. It begins at page 847 and continues to an awesome length at page 1,757. In Volume III, author Larry L. Ruth actually goes back to the beginning and adds more information on M1 Carbine development with chapters such as “More on The Inland M1 Carbine” continuing through all 10 manufacturers.

In Volume III Ruth includes in-depth information about commercially made carbine clones from both domestic and foreign factories. There is also information on manufacturers of .30 Carbine ammunition worldwide. For instance, did you know that .30 Carbine ammunition has even been made in Ethiopia?

Also in this new volume is coverage of other firearms made to fire .30 Carbine ammunition. Most readers are aware that Ruger still makes their Blackhawk single-action revolver for this caliber and older readers perhaps remember the now-defunct AMT Company’s semi-auto .30 Carbine pistol. But did you know that Smith & Wesson actually made several prototype revolvers chambered for .30 Carbine? I’ve owned both Ruger and AMT .30 Carbine handguns and while they are more than adequately accurate they are also very loud.

Here are a few more tidbits taken from all three of Ruth’s War Baby! volumes. Today’s shooters and collectors might be excused for thinking that M1 Carbine development arose because US Army officers witnessed how badly troops fired .45 ACP Model 1911 pistols. It didn’t happen exactly like that. After WWI, army researchers scanned Germany’s medical records regarding wounds their troops experienced. The researchers found that remarkably few German soldiers had been wounded by .45-caliber projectiles. (We must wonder if so few were actually being hit or if more were hit but were killed instead of wounded.)

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War Baby! is a 3-volume set totaling 1,757 pages of M1 Carbine information.

Anyway, these findings lead to the search for a “light rifle” with which to replace handguns and also, for that matter, submachine guns such as the Thompson. The “light rifle” concept did occur as the M1 Carbine but, of course, it never replaced handguns entirely.

Another bit of sad trivia included in Volume III is that at least one worker involved in M1 Carbine assembly at the Inland plant was accidentally killed with one. Mrs. Edna C. Layton was shot through the heart in November 1942 because someone else left a chambered round in a carbine after its proof firing.

Here is one other minor fact I personally find interesting pertaining to .30 Carbine ammunition. Initially the smokeless propellant used with test ammunition was DuPont’s IMR4227. It gave substandard velocity and left considerable fouling. Next the testers tried a relatively new development: Western’s ball powder. It gave the required velocity and burned cleaner. Most (if not all) World War II US military ammunition was loaded with ball propellant. After the war, surplus stocks were sold to a fellow named Bruce Hodgdon and it then was labeled H110. Incidentally, in a time when as a rule military ammunition carried the so-called “corrosive” primers, all US military .30 Carbine loads used non-corrosive primers.

These few minor facts have been pulled almost at random from the three volumes of War Baby! There are literally thousands more in their 1,757 pages.
By Mike “Duke” Venturino
Photos By Yvonne Venturino

Collector Grade Publications
P.O. Box 1046, Cobourg, Ontario
Canada K9A 4W5
(905) 342-3434
www.gunsmagazine.com/collector-grade-publications

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