2 USMC rifles documented to the 4th Marine Regiment (China Marines)!

USMCSGT0331

Sergeant of the Hide
Mar 23, 2013
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#1
Last year I started a thread that had a jumble of information pertaining to this Springfield 1903 and sight covers. Since then, some of the pics in that thread were lost, while the remaining images were somehow resized and became useless. I decided to trash the other thread and create this new thread (organized and has updates).

The SRS hit for this Springfield Model 1903 goes back to a unit inventory that was taken on March 1, 1926. On February 2, 1927 (11 months after the inventory), most of the 4th Marine Regiment sailed from San Diego, CA to Shanghai, China aboard the USS Chaumont. By the summer of 1927, all of the 4th Marines were in China. This rifle was witness to the start of the Chinese Civil War in 1927 and probably traveled throughout the country. It may also have been used in the shooting matches, such as the one in which Gunner Orr won a set presentation sight covers (pics and info on these are in the next post). In order to stay competitive in these interservice matches, the 4th Regiment drilled/tapped their rifles for Lyman 48 sights (I have these archival records, but I've been asked not to share them). This rifle is drilled/tapped on the right side of the rear bridge, which matches records for the rifles from this unit (the stock is a replacement and isn't notched). If only this rifle could talk!

It's extremely impressive that this rifle still exists because the 4th Marine Regiment was completely decimated by the Japanese at the beginning of WWII (May 1942, Corregidor Island, Philippines). There were only a handful of surviving Marines and all of the Regiment's equipment had been captured or destroyed. I have no idea how this rifle survived, but it could have been purchased by the Marine it was issued to at the end of his enlistment, before WWII, and taken home with him. I visited Corregidor in 2016 and it was unbelievable! As a member of 1st BN 4th MAR (1/4), it was sort of a pilgrimage for me, and I was in complete awe seeing the ruins that were left on the island. As an Iraq War veteran, I can't even imagine fighting through those jungles and suffering those brutal losses. Those who came before me were truly great men and Marines! I highly recommend that you guys visit the island if you ever find yourself on that side of the world!


Same unit, but almost 100 years apart! This Springfield 1903 saw service in Shanghai, China in the 1920-30's and my Scout Sniper platoon had this actual IBA XM3 in Fallujah, Iraq in 2008-09! I purchased the XM3 from a CMP auction last year. The paint job looked familiar, but when I looked at the cover of the log book and saw my buddy's name, it all made sense. My platoon was issued 4 XM3's during our deployment and another one of our rifles actually came up for sale right around the time I visited Corregidor! I missed that auction, but this rifle popped up a few months later and I had to have it! I am truly honored to have both of these amazing rifles in my collection, they mean a great deal to me and this unique pair will never be split apart.


The first pic is my XM3 in a hut at Camp Baharia, just outside Fallujah, Iraq. The picture was taken by a sniper from a previous unit (the XM3's we had were regional assets and were left in country for the next unit to use). This is how the rifle looked when it was first issued to my friend and he immediately gave it a new paint job. The second pic is in my apartment, I just wanted to get a similar shot of the rifle.

 
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USMCSGT0331

Sergeant of the Hide
Mar 23, 2013
335
46
28
#3
You probably noticed that the Springfield 1903 in the previous post was wearing some sight covers, but these aren't any run of the mill covers. These beautiful silver sight covers were awarded to USMC Gunner Emmett Orr in 1932 after he won a rifle/pistol match in Peking, China! Gunner Orr was stationed in China in the 1930's when he was with the 4th Marine Regiment. I put these presentation covers on my documented rifle for obvious reasons, they belong to the same unit and my rifle may have even been shot in the very match where these were awarded!


These sight covers are also pictured in Norm Chandler's Death From Afar volume 4, page 100:


This is a picture of the actual range in Peking, China where the match was shot, Death From Afar volume 3, page 58:


Here's some information on Gunner Orr, Death From Afar volume 1, pages 51 and 52:


The last thing I'd like to add are a few links to more information about the 4th Marine Regiment. Please take a look when you have some time, 4th Marine Regiment is a very interesting unit!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_Marines
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1st_Battalion_4th_Marines
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2nd_Battalion_4th_Marines
 
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pmclaine

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 6, 2011
7,348
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MA
#8
The problem with military service is that it is wasted on the young and worldly immature.

I spent some time in the PI on the taxpayers dime.

It was a small unit move pretty much lead by a Gunny and we had a lot of free time.

Sadly I spent a lot of that free time in Olongapo rather than taking advantage of great opportunity.

It was 1987 and the events of WWII were relatively recent memory and the debris of battle still existed.

I remember one point we were in the field and I was "recycling" a fighting position on the shore of Subic Bay.

The fighting position was full of jungle debris which I cleaned out but what struck me was the walls were formed from sandbags as evidenced by the "cakes" of almost concrete solid sand that retained the sandbag shape though the bags had rotted away.

Being young and dumb I figured the firing pit was perhaps 5-10 years old not ancient history like 47 years.

Its likely it was a WWII position possibly American, possibly Japanese. If I was smart a little archeology would have found debris to identify it.

I spent a lot of time in Europe. In 1988 Russia I could probably taken a short ride outside Moscow and been on battle fields untouched since WWII. Commie Russia never valued that war debris and its only in the last few years they have been picking that stuff up and selling the "relics".

Trips to Normandy, the scene of the Bulge or even a short bicyclce ride across the Swiss border into France would have taken me to where the Armies of Operation Dragoon fought the Germans. I did stand where Guderian stood in the Jura on La Dole and viewed from on high into Switzerland. He did it while conquering France in 1940 noting the moment in "Achtung Panzer", I did it while hiking between periods of standing post.

Good history @USMCSGT0331. Sucks to realize the guys involved creating it are almost all gone and with it kind of reminds ourselves that we will one day, relatively quickly, be joining them.
 

jbailey

Gunny Sergeant
Jul 27, 2010
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#12
USMCSGT0331-

Thanks for this great story and awesome pictures.

So I have been touched by this battle in a very small way. I have met and know one of the few remaining survivors of the battle and the POW experience that would follow. His name is Dan Crowley and he lives in my hometown of Simsbury CT. Dan has been involved with Boy Scouts over the years and that is how I met him. There are few finer examples of what makes USA great than Dan.

Here is a brief article on him and the dedication of a bridge he worked hard to get:

https://patch.com/connecticut/simsbury/bataan-corregidor-bridge-dedication-route-185

Next time I see Dan, I will tell him about your rifles.
 
Likes: pmclaine

Temper

Sergeant of the Hide
May 29, 2011
592
44
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FL
#13
Awesome! I recently started my XM3 project. This is motivating for sure to finish it. Already got a lot of the hard parts like optic, NV rail, recoil lug, fh and the stock is on order with McMillan.
 
Jan 14, 2012
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Left Hand, WV
#14
Those sight covers are amazing. Handmade, it's almost a wonder that people were capable of making such things by hand.

That XM3 looks to be a very handy rifle in tight spots. Definitely had to be easier to pack around. It's awesome you were able to get one of the rifles that served with you in the sandbox. Thanks for the great pics and history.
 
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