Springfield Armory Museum - Collection Record
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|Title:||RIFLE, MILITARY - U.S. RIFLE MODEL 1903 MkI .30 SN# 1172913|
|Date of Manufacture:||1920|
|Catalog Number:||SPAR 6292|
|Measurements:||OL:110.4CM 43 1/2" BL: 60.9CM 24"|
U.S. RIFLE MODEL 1903 MkI .30 SN# 1172913
Manufactured by Springfield Armory, Springfield, Ma. in 1920 - Standard bolt-action Model 1903 modified for the "Automatic Pistol Model of 1918 Mark I." Blued receiver. Straight handle bolt. Parkerized buttplate, bolt and upper band. Slot milled into receiver to act as ejection port for use with semi-automatic bolt insert. This is one of 91,750 M1903 MkI rifles manufactured in fiscal year 1920.
Receiver: U.S./SPRINGFIELD/ARMORY/MODEL 1903/MARK I/1172913.
Barrel: SA/Ordnance bomb/4-20.
Bayonet lug: H.
Stock: W.E.S. in rectangle. 77/P in circle. WES = W.E. Strong.
Weapon transferred to the Museum on 14 June 1931.
Washington, D.C, April 30, 1932, United Press - A secret military device which would have enabled the American army in France to pour a deluge of bullets into German ranks, was revealed today.
This deadly invention was being preserved by the War Department for a surprise attack planned for early 1919.
The contrivance, invented by J.D. Pedersen, arms expert, was an automatic bolt for the ordinary Springfield rifle. It weighed only two pounds and two ounces and could be instantly placed in the rifle as a substitute for the regular bolt.
For Firing at Trenches - Magazine holding forty pistol size cartridges could then be attached and fired automatically in less than a half minute.
Each soldier was supposed to carry his regular bolt and his regular supply of full size ammunition in addition to the Pedersen device and also magazines containing 400 rounds of the small size cartridges.
'It was intended,' the War Department said, 'to use this attachment for firing on the enemy trenches or for defense against close assault by the enemy.
Not Used Before Armistice - 'A large number of Pedersen devices and ammunition for them were on hand at the end of the war, but they had not yet been put to use when the Armistice was signed.
'A short range weapon of this type is judged to have a very limited usefulness and for this reason on the secrecy it has been removed.'"
Springfield Daily News, 5/2/1932 - "AUTOMATIC RIFLE DEVICE DISCARDED BY WAR OFFICIALS. A contrivance known as the Pedersen device, an attachment to be used on the United States rifle to make it automatic, has been discarded, according to war department dispatches from Washington. Great secrecy has surrounded the development of this adaptor for .276 caliber ammunition. J.D. Pedersen was employed by the United States government soon after the outbreak of the war to develop this device, but extensive tests by infantry and cavalry experts proved that it would not be a practical small arm for their branches of the service.
Soon after Pedersen was hired by the government John Garand was also employed to develop an automatic device for infantry and cavalry use. At present time these branches of the army are proving the Garand rifle, and the expectation is that this model eventually will be adopted. Neither the Pedersen nor Garand rifle is automatic in the same sense as the Browning automatic rifle. Although the only manual action required for firing both pieces is pulling the triggers, they will not fire a burst of ammunition in the manner possible with a Browning.
It was realized early in the last war that any nation having troops armed with rifles that gave them an increased firing power would have a great advantage in any attacking maneuvers. As a result of this belief machinists and designers were set to work by almost every nation to develop new automatic or semiautomatic rifles. If the Garand rifle is adopted by the government it will mean that individual squads will have their firing power increased seven fold.
At present but one automatic rifle is issued to each infantry squad. The present automatic has a firing power equal to that of seven rifles, and therefore is one of the deadliest weapons used either for defensive or aggressive maneuvers. Because of the cumbersomeness the Browning automatic rifle has lost favor among military leaders of this country, and is thought
Springfield Daily News, 5/10/1932 - "PEDERSEN DEVICE DROPPED LONG AGO. Commandant Indicates Contrivance Impractical, Garand Has New Automatic. The Pedersen device, invented by John Pedersen during the World War for use on the United States rifle, making it automatic, has been discarded, according to press reports from Washington. Col. John W. Joyes, commandant at the Armory, said this morning that the device had been discarded several months ago and had not been replaced. It is understood that the contrivance was impractical as regards use as a small arm for infantry and cavalry.
Army experts have been at work for years experimenting with a view to developing a small automatic rifle that would not be as cumbersome as the so-called Browning. One of these experimenters is John Garand, who is said to have developed a small automatic rifle which has increased firing power over the present army rifle."
Notes: "During the World War a special development was undertaken at Springfield Armory - an automatic rifle attachment in the form of altered mechanism for the Springfield rifle. This was purely a military secret and none of these devices were ever released or saw service. At the close of the war, for some peculiar reason, a group of semi-intelligent officials in Washington ordered the complete destruction of all of these devices. Today they are a complete mystery, only a few individuals ever having seen them.
Great mystery always surrounded this Pedersen Device. Officially, it had an odd name, a name designed to confuse any investigator. Believe it or not, this was called 'Automatic Pistol Caliber .30 Model of 1918.' A total of 65,000 of these were manufactured up to the end of the war, and for the fifteen years following it is doubtful if more than fifty individuals, including those who experimented with the device knew anything about it.
The Pedersen Device was actually an automatic bolt replacing the standard bolt and to which a magazine containing 40 tiny .30 caliber cartridges were fitted.
This cartridge was very similar to the .32 automatic pistol number except that it was rimless rather than semi-rimmed, slightly longer and slightly more powerful.
The development was a product of the ingenious brain of J.G. Pedersen of semi-automatic rifle fame who, while employed with Remington, developed many special devices including the Remington slide-action shotgun, the Remington automatic pistol and various Remington slide-action rifles, in both .22 caliber and high power.
In the summer of 1917 Pedersen came to Washington and informed the people of the Small Arms Division of the War Department that he had developed a new invention which he wished to have examined secretly. This was arranged because of Pedersen's prominence and only a few high officials of the War Department saw the demonstration when it was conducted on the Congress Heights rifle range in the District of Columbia.
Pedersen began the demonstration by shooting a Springfield rifle he had brought with him. After firing a few standard shots he suddenly jerked the bolt out of the rifle, and dropped it into a pouch he had with him.
He then removed from a special scabbard a peculiar-looking mechanism, essentially shaped like the standard bolt, but larger and more bulky. This was quickly inserted into his rifle and a long black magazine slide into a port in the top side dangling off to the right where upon Pedersen went into action.
Each time he moved his trigger finger, Pedersen threw one of the tiny high-velocity bullets down the range.
This new development was actually a form of automatic pistol of special shape without the customary handle. It fired the bullet through the standard Springfield barrel but had its own barrel located within the mechanism.
The forward end of the bolt was shaped like a dummy cartridge case but hollow. This was actually an auxiliary barrel and had very fine shallow riflinThis development was locked in place in the receiver of the Springfield rifle by means of the regular bolt stop and magazine cut-off combination. The long magazine slanted upward to the right at an angle of 450.
The only major alteration in the rifle was that on the left side of the receiver a slot or ejection port was cut for the discarding of the fired cartridge cases. In addition, the Springfield rifle was altered but slightly in that it had two grooves in the magazine cut-off and a little tripper in the sear to function with the mechanism.
The Springfield as thus modified was called the 'Mark I.'
A special cartridge designed by Pedersen for this device used an 80-grain bullet, driven by about 3 1/2 grains of Bullseye powder and delivering a velocity of 1300 f.s. It was found that the device had sufficient energy to kill a man at a range of 500 yards. There was no recoil to it and demonstrations indicated that it could be fired very rapidly with reasonable control.
This was not designed as a new rifle but as an attachment. The regular bolt could be instantly replaced, turning the automatic rifle back to the standard Springfield caliber. The ammunition being light, the soldier could readily carry 400 rounds of this without excessive discomfort in time of battle.
One of these was secretly sent to General Pershing in France, and the General immediately ordered 100,000 of these to be built, requesting that it be kept a complete secret, thus the 'automatic pistol' name which would not excite extreme curiosity in factories constructing either the attachment or the ammunition.
With the war underway the United States Government was making extensive plans for the manufacturer of this device. They planned by the spring of 1919 to have 500,000 of these ready for front-line duty.
We can only wonder what would have happened if an advance had been called with one half million soldiers slipping out of the trenches for an attack on the German line, each man armed with an individual machine gun readily portable and 400 rounds of ammunition.
Military authorities decided to discontinue and destroy all manufactured equipment of the nature because experience indicated that the average battle range was from 400 to 600 yards and the little Pedersen Device was sufficiently accurate to hit a man only at ranges up to 350 yards although velocity and consequent high trajectory made it useless for long-range work.
What happened to the Pedersen Device a few years ago on orders from Washington? All of these devices were carefully removed from storage and the new equipment, still packed in its original cases, was piled into one huge mound and thoroughly soaked with gasoline and fuel oil. It was then touched off to flames and permitted to burn for several days, completely destroying all equipment by melting and fusing it together.
Armed guards were stationed around the flaming pile so that not even high-ranking officers could salvage a sample.
The 65,000 altered rifles with the ejection port on the left side of the receiver?
These were issued to National Guard units for the most part. Some of them were destroyed when the Government commenced to gather all receivers having a serial number under 800,000.
A great many went into National Guard service and this author has seen these rifles handling standard Springfield ammunition on the range. Not one of the soldiers to whom it was issued had the slightest as the reason for that ejection port and not one of them knew that any other parts of the rifle had been tampered with in any way.
Thus died the Springfield rifle automatic attachment officially known as 'Automatic Pistol Caliber .30 Model of 1918.'" - Philip B. Sharpe
"The question of providing the American infantryman with 'marching fire' produced another solution in 1917 when a designer at the Remington Arms Company named J.D.Although the bullet was small and the velocity low - about 1,300 ft/sec - it was considered lethal out to 500 yards, and it was envisaged as being issued to every soldier, together with ten 40-round magazine. The soldier, when required to attack, would remove his rifle bolt, slip in the Pedersen Device, put a magazine on, and then clamber out of his trench and advance, spraying bullets as fast as he could operate the trigger, changing magazines as he went, and finally arriving at the enemy trench unscathed.
The whole device was kept highly secret - it was officially called the 'Automatic Pistol, Cal .30, M1918' in order to conceal its true identity, and an officer was sent to France to show it to Gen Pershing. 100,000 devices were ordered and manufacture commenced, while the Springfield rifle production was interrupted and re-tooled to cut the ejection slot in the receiver. The order was later increased to 500,000, and of this some 65,000 had been made when the Armistice brought everything to a halt. In the calmer postwar atmosphere, the Pedersen Device was re-examined and the army came to the conclusion that it wasn't quite such a good idea after all. In the first place, the soldier could easily lose the bolt of his rifle during his traversing in No Man's land; secondly, ten 40-round magazine placed a fairly heavy additional load on the soldier; and thirdly, the low-velocity near-misses failed to make as much of an impression on the enemy as did a high-velocity bullet whipping past his ear. The verdict went against it and almost every one of the 65,000 were scrapped in conditions of complete secrecy; so secret that very few people ever knew it existed until well after World War II." - Ian V. Hogg
Army #4870 - Weapon loaned to Mr. Joseph H. Dudek, Adjutant, Polish American Veterans of Mass., Chicopee, Mass. Loan returned on 21 May 1956. Loan included 30 blank firing cartridges, cal..30.
Army #4870 - Weapon loaned to Thaddeus Konarski, Acting Commander, Polish-American Veterans, Chicopee, Ma. from 27 June 1958 to 30 June 1958.
Clark, David C. ARMS FOR THE NATION. Scott A. Duff. Export, Pa. 1992.
Hogg, Ian. THE STORY OF THE GUN. A&E Books. St. Martin's Press. N.Y, N.Y. 1996.
Poyer, Joe. THE MODEL 1903 SPRINGFIELD RIFLE AND ITS VARIATIONS. North Cape Publications, Inc. Tustin, Ca. 2001.
Sharpe, Philip B. THE RIFLE IN AMERICA. Fung and Wangalls. N.Y., N.Y. 1947.
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