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Firearm History: D-Day

Today is the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy, better known as D-Day. After Soviet pressure for the first three years of World War II, the Western Allies finally invaded northern France on June 6, 1944, which led to another successful attack on southern France. These attacks resulted in the liberation of Paris and the defeat of the German Army units in France.
 
D-Day was the turning point of World War II, a day that changed the course of history. Later in June, the Soviets successfully pushed German troops from both the Western Ukraine and Eastern Poland and American soldiers were able to press back Japanese forces in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. The sacrifice of D-Day soldiers paved the way for Nazi Germany’s surrender little under a year later.
 
What firearms were used on D-Day? The American, British, and Canadian forces had an assortment of weapons at their disposal, including M1 Garand Rifles (this precursor to the modern assault rifle was most prevalent on the Normandy beach), Thompson sub-machine guns (nicknamed the “Chicago typewriter”), Springfield .30 sniper rifles, Browning Automatic Rifles, and Sten guns, which were much lighter and more accurate than the built-for-speed Thompson. Although the Lee-Enfield .303 rifle fired at a slower rate than the Garand Rifles, these magazine-fed bolt-action rifles held ten rounds and were quite accurate.
 
German forces defended the beach using many fine firearms but most notably, the KAR 98k, a bolt-action rifle with great accuracy but equipped with not much ammunition. Many German infantrymen also used the MP40, which could accurately fire at twice the range of the American Thompson. The Germans also used one of the best light machine guns in history: the MG42, which could hit its target up to 1,000 meters away and fired approximately 1,200 rounds per minute.
 
If you stop into the range today, we hope you will take a moment to honor the fallen on the anniversary of this critical day in history.