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The History of the

Springfield Armory, Springfield Mass.

During WWI


A permanent installation, located in Springfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts. Reservation acquired by purchase, 1795-1870. Magazine established by direction of the Continental Congress, 1777. Arsenal construction established, 1794.

During the Spanish-American War, it was recognized that the Spanish Mauser, Model of 1893, exhibited characteristics superior to the "trapdoor" Springfield and Krag rifles carried by the United States troops. On August 15, 1900, Springfield Armory completed an experimental magazine rifle which they believed to be an improvement over the Krag. They fashioned a clip loading magazine rifle in which the cartridges were contained within the stock, preventing damage to an otherwise exposed magazine. It was approved for production in 1903 hence the nickname "The Springfield '03".

By the time that the United States entered World War I, approximately 843,239 standard service Model 1903 rifles had been manufactured. However this was insufficient to arm U.S.troops for an undertaking of the magnitude of World War I. During the war Springfield Armory produced over 265,620 Model 1903 rifles. In addition, the War Department contracted for production of the M1917 Enfield Rifle to help aid American troops. These, along with the additional 47,251 rifles produced by the Rock Island Arsenal and the weapons already in service, were enough to supply the war effort.

Arsenal: Manufacturing activities: Output from April 6, 1917 to November 9, 1918, amounted to 265,627 U.S. rifles caliber .30, model of 1903 (popularly known as the Springfield rifle). A total of 142,697 were produced during the 1918 fiscal year, in addition to 134,834 bayonets. Originally equipped to produce 450 rifles per 8-hour shift day, a production capacity of 1000 per day was attained by November 1, 1917. By November 11, 1918, production had increased to 1,500 rifles per day; thereafter, output dropped to a daily rate of 300.

General Supply Ordnance Depot, Reserve: General Supply Ordnance Depot Springfield. Personnel: 9 Officers, 30 Enlisted men, 159 Civilians.

Metallurgical Laboratory: Increased production of rifles by more accurate control of heat treatment. Ordnance

Machine-Gun School:
The course of instruction for machine-gun instructors, given at Springfield Armory for several years, was continued until April 1918, when this machine-gun school was transferred to Camp Hancock, GA.

Ordnance Depot "A". Ordnance Depot "B".

Cost of construction to June 30, 1919-About $518,670. Area-About 306 acres.

Troops
NONDIVISIONAL UNITS
Air Service: Det. 3 A. S. P.
Coast Artillery:
6th, 9th Companies, Coast Defenses Portsmouth;
14th, 15th, 20th Companies, Coast Defenses of Narragansett Bay;
25th, 27th Companies, Coast Defenses of Boston.
U. S. Guards: 8th Battalion.


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