U.S. Carbines in Germany and Austria

The U.S. Carbines

during and after

The American Occupation

of Germany and Austria

Introduction to the U.S. M1 Carbine

The U.S. M1 Carbine's history is like no other rifle in the history of the United States. From June 1942 through August 1945 ten primary contractors and dozens of subcontractors, established manufacturing facilities, tooled up, and produced over six million M1 carbines. Eight of these ten had no gun manufacturing experience. When the supply exceeded the demand, all but two of the contracts were canceled in mid-1944. The remaining two companies completed their carbine production runs by August, 1945.

Most of these six million M1 carbines were used by American soldiers in the Pacific European, and North Africa theaters of WWII. At the end of WWII the majority of the M1 carbines returned home to America, where they were inspected and rebuilt to the updated standards set for the carbine at that time. These rifles are identifiable from the markings left by the companies that rebuilt them. These rebuilt rifles went in many different directions and some are still in use today by the armed forces of America's allies, and foes.

Some of the M1 carbines remained in Europe. Some came home inside the duffel bags of individual soldiers.

1945: Germany & Austria

During the last weeks of WWII Russian forces entered Austria from the east as American forces rolled through Bavaria and entered Austria from the west. Austria had been "annexed" by Germany in 1938. Austrians were considered Germans by Germany, so they were integrated into the German forces, as opposed to Austria having it's own military. While technically Allied Forces had decided Austria was Germany's first victim of WWII, Austria, like Germany, was divided into four zones of occupation, with Vienna in the Russian zone. Like Berlin, Vienna was also divided into Allied zones of occupation, surrounded by the Russian occupation zone.

The U.S. M1 Carbine in Germany & Austria

Allied occupation forces immediately started a reconstruction plan for both Germany and Austria. Control of Germany was restored to the Germans, as was Austria to the Austrians. Meanwhile, one of the first plans was to establish a civilian police force in both Germany and Austria. The Germans and Austrians who became the police had, more often than not, served in the German Wehrmacht. The need to protect their country and its citizens realigned their focus. The police needed to be supplied with the equipment to do their job, and thus was born what is now commonly referred to as the Bavarian Carbines.

The M1 carbines that served in the German lands of Bavaria were clearly marked on the receiver in English with the name of the agency that the rifle was assigned too. This made them easy to identify as Bavarian. The configuration of the Bavaria M1 carbines was similar to M1 carbines that had been provided elsewhere in Germany and Austria, so the term "Bavarian Carbine" became unofficially recognized for M1 carbines that followed the pattern of some of Bavaria's markings on various parts of the carbine.

However, these M1 carbines were provided to two separate nations, each having its own very different history with their M1 carbines. Within each country, the M1 carbines were provided to a number of agencies, not just Bavaria.

The U.S. M1 Carbine comes home from Germany & Austria

The "Bavarian" carbines have been a footnote in the history of the U.S. M1 carbine. The Austrian carbines even more so. Many of these carbines eventually returned to America via one of various means, most via one or two importers. This literally marked these rifles as "imports". "Imports" have typically held less value to collectors, and have been less expensive than the rebuilt carbines. There is good reason for this. M1 carbines have traveled the world. Many nations have used and abused them. When they have been returned to America by an importer, their reliability and condition have merited the lesser value. This has given birth to classifying any M1 carbine with importer markings as of lesser value amongst the M1 carbines now in America.

One description does not fit all.

America isn't the only country these carbines were imported too. Canada, New Zealand, Denmark, Switzerland, Italy, and others also received quantities. The majority of these countries did not require import marks.

The condition of the M1 carbines used in Germany and Austria runs from one extreme to the other, a common trait of all M1 carbines. Some were modified by the Germans and/or Austrians, some were not. Many of the M1 carbines from both countries are in excellent shape. These issues are discussed further throughout this website.

About this Website

This website exists to help owners of the U.S. M1 carbines that served with the Germans and/or Austrians to recognize what they have, to encourage owners not to change or alter them and destroy their history, and to encourage the sharing of information about their carbines so we may establish a much higher baseline of knowledge regarding these rifles and their history. Throughout the website you will find much more detailed information about M1 carbines in general, relative to the receiving, use, and selling of M1 carbines by Germany and Austria, identifying German and Austrian M1 carbines, their return to America, their existence worldwide, and resources for further information.

There are many questions and mysteries about these rifles that remain unanswered and unsolved. If you own a German or Austrian M1 carbine, much of the information on this website can be attributed to the assistance of many people who have volunteered information. Without their help, and your help, this website's information would be greatly diminished. I cannot do this alone. Fortunately, many owners have shared information and deserve the credit for what you find here.

Enjoy, and feel free to e-mail me with suggestions, corrections, information, or any questions you might have.

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