Commemorating the First World War Centennial in Kansas

Month: February 2023

Final Burial of American WW1 Dead

In 1919 the French government refused to allow the American dead to be repatriated. Among their concerns was competition for the labor that would be required when there were millions of French dead that needed to be re-buried properly – the Americans could afford to pay higher wages for this work. Eventually though, in 1922 the French government relaxed the ban. The American Battle Monuments Commission then polled the next of kin wherever possible and 59% of them opted to have their loved one returned to the U.S. for local re-burial.  Most of these remains were transported down the Meuse Canal on barges for dispatch by ship from the port of Antwerp. You can read the whole story by clicking here. more

World War One Tech

The U.S. Army’s standard issue, the M-1903 Springfield rifle, received a few technical innovations during World War I. Of course, there was the addition of optical sights, or scopes. The most unusual adaptation was the Pederson Device, a mechanism that replaced the bolt on a slightly modified 03 rifle called the Mark 1, thereby converting it into a semiautomatic weapon firing a .30 cal. pistol-length cartridge from a detachable 40-round box type magazine. In theory it would dramatically increase short-range firepower for trench fighting and assaults. Soldiers could use their weapon normally until close combat loomed, then with a simple switch of the bolt, they had a semi- automatic rifle that fired 15 rounds per minute. Although the device was invented by John Pedersen, an employee at Remington Arms, before the U.S. entered WW1 none were ever issued to the soldiers. Before the contract was cancelled about 65,000 of the devices were made, along with 1.6 million of the magazines and over 1 million of the Mark 1 rifles. These wound up being stored in depots until 1931, when the Army was seeking a replacement for the M-1903, the Pedersen rifles were destroyed so as to keep them from falling into the hands of criminals. Most of them were burned, although the devices stored at San Antonio, Texas, reportedly were broken up and scattered in freshly poured sidewalks to reinforce the concrete. A few survive in private collections and museums, some of them bearing scorch marks. Pedersen also designed bolts for the M-1917 Enfield rifles and the Moisin-Nagants held back from Russia, but neither of these made it into production. Later he designed a semi-automatic rifle called the T1E3 which lost the competition to the Garand rifle in 1932. more

© 2023 Kansas WW1

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑