Wednesday, June 3, 2009


So I'm reading this book, Battle Cry, by Leon Uris.

It's about a communcations platoon/company in the Pacific. 6th Marine Regiment. I just found it in the pile in the basement and started reading it. It's pretty good. The narrative arc is very 1953, and feels like he wrote it with Hollywood in mind. It's got a 40's movie tempo to it.

I was very pleased because my Grandfather was in the HQ company of the 7th Regiment and died on Peliliu. Now I know a little bit about what he was doing, day to day, to support the rest of the Marines around him.

But the Marine minutiae is pretty good. You can tell the author actually served in the Corps, even without reading the biographical blurb at the end of the book.

One of the gun related items was the issue weapon given to this platoon. They learned on Springfield 03's, of course, just after Pearl Harbor, but wanted to shoot Garands. For battle, this non front-line unit would have something lighter. Something the M1 Carbine would excel at. The thing is, they weren't given M1 Carbines when they landed on Guadalcanal to be be involved in the final push to rid the island of Japanese.

They were issued the Reising. And they hated it. It was a submachine gun that fired .45 ACP. It was sort of a poor mans Tommy gun. Wikipedia says the rifle jammed alot because of the complexity of the mechanism, but was accurate on semi-auto because of the closed bolt. The fictional Marines in the book hated it because it was innacurate, on full auto due to muzzle climb, and it would corrode if you looked at it funny. And corroding is no joke in a coastal environment anyway. At Guadalcanal they quickly dumped the Reising when they could steal a replacement from well stocked, but lightly guarded, USArmy arsenals.

Before their second campaign at Tarawa they were issued the M1 Carbine.

Only 100,000 Reisings were made, but I was thinking a semi-auto version of the same might suit my personal carbine requirements. But that would assume they were cheap surplus ones available, and since so many were lost, and so few were made, and they were machine guns anyway... It is unlikely I'd find one at a cheap enough price to justify living with it's flaws.

It's not the Reisings fault it was regarded so poorly. It was designed for civilian police use, not Marines in the Pacific.


Paladin said...

Hey.. here's one:

Reising on Guns America

The good news, is its a semi auto version in "excellent condition".

The bad news, is that its almost (gulp)...$3000.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

And that's the .22LR training variety.

TheAxe said...

I know a shop up 83 that has a full auto one for 5K.