The US Marines fought mainly in the Pacific zone of World War Two. The US Marines found fame at battles such as Guadalcanal, Okinawa, Iwo Jima etc. A Marine, nicknamed a ‘Leatherhead’, carried a variety of personal weaponry, which was modernised as the war progressed. By the time Guadalcanal had been fought for, those Marines landings on the Pacific beaches were equipped with the following weapons:
M-1941 Johnson rifle – this was a semi-automatic infantry rifle that was similar to the Garand but with a different magazine design. The barrel-shaped magazine gave the Johnson a rotary action and it carried two more rounds than a Garand. It had a calibre of .30-inch and the barrel magazine had a maximum capacity of 10 rounds. The M-1941 Johnson was only in use for a limited period.
M-1 Carbine – this weapon was introduced to ‘weigh little but hit hard’. Initial assessments among those who were armed with the M-1 were favourable and the M-1 remained a favoured weapon throughout the war. Troops were impressed by the M-1’s reliability and by its high rate of fire. The M-1 had a .30-inch calibre and a magazine capacity of 15 rounds. It was effective up to 300 metres.
M-1 Garand rifle – General George Patton called the M-1 Garand “the greatest battle implement ever devised”. It had a high rate of fire and a very good record of reliability. The M-1 Garand had a calibre of .30-inch and a magazine capacity of 8 rounds.
The M-3 submachine gun – this replaced the Thompson machine gun in both the US Marines and the US Army. The M-3 was produced in very great numbers and for the European war zone it could be fitted with a different barrel to allow captured German ammunition to be used. It had a calibre of .45-inch and a magazine capacity of 30 rounds. The M-3 had a rate of fire of 400 rounds a minute.
.45 Automatic – this had been used in World War One but by the time of World War Two it was used as a personal defence weapon and was not really seen as an offensive weapon as the carbine had taken over this role. The .45 had a maximum capacity of seven rounds.
Smith and Wesson .38 revolver – as with the .45, this was for personal defence as opposed to being used in an offensive capacity – a role that had been taken by the M-1 Carbine.