Garands on Parade
The M1 Garand Rifle was developed in the 1920s and 1930s, and it is still carried in parades and by honor guards. Here are some pictures from a parade in New York and a national monument in Greece.
The M1 Garand rifle was based on an experimental design from 1926. John Garand's T1E2 design was accepted and designated as the U.S. Semiautomatic Rifle, M1, in August 1933. Production started in 1937.
A little over 843,000 had been produced by the start of World War II, and just over four million by the end of that war. Another 1.5 million were built by the time production ended in 1957, when the M14 took the place of the M1 as the standard service rifle.
Replacement took a while — the active-duty component of the U.S. Army did not complete its transition from the M1 to the M14 until 1965, and the M1 continued to be used by other U.S. military components (U.S. Army Reserve, National Guard, U.S. Navy) into the 1970s.
It continued in use in a few other countries, used for training in Greece until the late 1990s, and as the standard rifle of the Haitian military until that was disbanded in 1994.
While it is no longer used as a national military service rifle, it is used by many drill teams and honor guards.
New York's Saint Patrick's Day Parade is one place where you can see the M1 Garand rifle carried.
The parade marches north up 5th Avenue (against the normal one-way direction of traffic), from 44th Street to 86th Street.
We're standing in the middle of 5th Avenue just south of 86th, looking south in the direction of the approaching parade.
Here we're further south, near the Metropolitan Museum of Art at 80th-84th. An active-duty Army unit is approaching!
This New York Police Department unit is carrying the M1 Garand.
Some active-duty military units march in the parade carrying the M1 Garand.
Here comes a U.S. Marine Corps unit.
When does the parade happen?
March 17th, obviously!
Oh, you mean what time?
5th Avenue is blocked off very early in the morning. The parade starts maybe around 9 to 10 AM, and reaches 79th Street about an hour later.
How long does it continue?
The day is a major blow-out in the city. As far as I can tell, it continues until no one remains able to walk north on 5th Avenue.
The Hellenic Army used the M1 Garand as its standard service rifle until the late 1970s, and continued using it for training into the late 1990s.
That's impressive for the M1, although not so impressive for the Hellenic Army, given that the Haitian military was the only national force still using the M1 when it was disbanded in 1994.
It is still carried by the ceremonial unit guarding the Greek Tomb of the Unknown, the Greek Parliament, and the Presidential Mansion.
The guards are known as the Evzones or Evzoni to be more accurate (or the Εύζωνοι to be even more accurate). Colloquially, they're also known as Tsoliades or Τσολιάδες.
The Tomb is just below the Parliament building on Πλατεία Σίνταγμα, Plateia Syntagma or Constitution Square.
Their tradition uniform is based on that of the klephti, the mountain bandits from the Peloponnese who fought as anti-Ottoman insurgents when they weren't busy killing each other and other Greek mountain villagers. "Klepht" and "kleptomania" are derived from the same root.
The rear wall of the memorial lists places where Greek forces have fought, going back to the wars with the Persians.
If you're looking for more examples of older rifles in the hands of honor guards, see The SKS Rifle on Parade.