Maj. Gen. James M. Gavin, shown here suiting up for the Operation MARKET GARDEN jump on the morning of Sept. 17, 1944, was armed with an M1 Garand rifle and a M1911A1 .45 ACP pistol. The commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division, Gavin preferred the punch of the M1 rifle to that of the M1 and M1A1 carbines. (Photo courtesy of the 82nd Airborne Museum via Phil Nordyke)
The semi-automatic, gas-operated, eight-shot M1 rifle, popularly known as the “Garand” after its inventor, John C. Garand, was the primary American service rifle of World War II. Developed at the venerable government-owned Springfield Armory and adopted in 1936, the M1 rifle was chambered for the standard .30 caliber cartridge (.30-'06 Sprg.). It had a 24" barrel and weighed 9.5 lbs. When the war ended in August 1945, more than 4 million M1 rifles had been produced. (Photo courtesy of the Bruce N. Canfield collection)
The Germans facing the Allied airborne assault were armed with a typical mix of that nation's small arms, including the kar.98k Mauser. Despite the fact that the kar.98k was not designed for use with scopes, more than 130,000 were ultimately retrofitted with various scope-mounting systems during the war, such as the late-war JP Sauer Turret mount shown here.
Four British paratroopers moving through a shell-damaged house in Oosterbeek to which they had retreated after being driven out of Arnhem. They are armed with a pair of Sten Mk V submachine guns, a Colt Government Model .45 and an Enfield No. 2 .38/200-cal. revolver.
A British staff captain fires his Enfield No. 2 Mk I* revolver from the 1st Airborne Division’s headquarters in the Hartenstein Hotel at Oosterbeek during the battle for Arnhem. (Imperial War Museum photo)
British troopers from the 89th Field Security Section pose with a German prisoner in Arnhem. Note their Sten Mk V submachine guns and the Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk I rifle at far left. (Imperial War Museum photo)