Hope everyone reads the entire excerpt linked below – it shows the determination of the American GI to get on with the war and has, in Pyle’s great style, a heart tugging finish.
Gives me a whole new perspective on the historical accuracy of mixed parts on M1 Garands:
And, believe me, during the first few days of our invasion men at the front needed those rifles desperately. Repairmen told me how our paratroopers and infantrymen would straggle back, dirty and hazy-eyed with fatigue, and plead like children for a new rifle immediately so they could get back to the front. One paratrooper brought in a German horse he had captured and offered to trade it for a new rifle, he needed it so badly. During those days the men in our little repair shop worked all hours trying to fill the need.
A stack of muddy, rusted rifles is a touching sight. As gun after gun came off the stack, I looked to see what was the matter with it – rifle butt split by fragments; barrel dented by bullet; trigger knocked off; whole barrel splattered with shrapnel marks; guns gray from the slime of weeks in swamp mud; faint dark splotches of blood still showing. I wondered what had become of each owner. I pretty well knew.