The Winter Line Stories

Real-life accounts of the unheralded heros of the Italian Campaign of WWII


Marines Ready for Action - Soldier with a BAR on the left
(Image courtesy of Al Perry - RIP Marine)


The Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) was designed in 1917 and was first used during WWI. The standard issue weapon of the infantry in WWII were the semi-automatic M1 Garand weighing about 9.5 lbs (4.3 kg) and an effective range of about 500 yards (457 m). The Marines and at least one member of each US Army 12-man squads were equipped with the BAR offering the shear brute force of 500 rounds per minute capability and 1500 yard (1400 m) range. It was classified as a light machine gun despite weighing 16 lbs (17.3 kgs). Each BAR required at least one support soldier to carry 20 round capacity magazines of .30-06 ammo - the same caliber used for the M1 Garand.

The Garands were designed intentionally to have about a 50-60 round per minute rate of fire. This gave the soldier the ability to aim at the target. The BAR was less discriminate with the high rate of fire it could effectively wipe a nest of enemy combatants with a single burst. While certainly powerful and important as a first use weapon. The average combat lifespan of a BAR man was estimated to be 30 minutes.

In my grandfather's story about the BAR, based on soldiers experiences, refers to it as "A Killer."

This scanned page is taken directly form the original story. The entire transcript of the story along with commentary will be in the published version of "Winterline Stories"

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