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The Training Rifle, Mark 1, USN

 Made by the Parris-Dunn company, of Clarinda, Iowa.  Probably the best discussion of the history of these trainers is at the eponymous Parris-Dunn Training Rifle website, from which I pulled this bit:

"In July of 1942 the Army let contract 271 ORD for 35,000 training rifles of their pattern at a cost of $166,000. In August the Navy let contract NROS 10993 for 190,000 training rifles having their changes at a cost of $903,000. In October of 1942 the Army contract was completed and in November they finished the first Navy contract. In January of 1943 the Navy let contract NORD 808 for 110,000 additional training rifles and in June that contract was completed. The total cost of the 300,000 rifles produced for the Navy was $1,384,000. The cost per rifle for the first contract was $4.75 and for the second contract $4.37. By the time of the second contract,"  

Judging by the weight and feel of the trainer in the stores of Castle Argghhh! this is one of the later ones produced with pine, vice walnut.   Woe betide the boot trainee who dropped one, much less dropped one with it's plastic Mark 1 USN bayonet attached (a subject already covered here at the Castle).  This thing *feels* fragile.  I rather imagine though that midshipmen and cadets at their respective service academies would prefer to shoulder this thing in place of their lead-filled M14s when walking off punishment tours...

The Army and Navy versions were different, with the Navy being the more complex.  Again, borrowing from the PDTR website:

The stock and the bolt mechanism are identical on both models and both models have two sling swivels and a stacking swivel.The following differences will help identify each model.

The typical Army Model

1.It have a simple trigger that does not move.
2.It has a sheet metal trigger guard.
3.It either had no middle barrel band or it had a painted black stripe to simulate this band.
4.It has no bayonet lug.

The typical Navy Model buttplate looks like this.

1.It has a movable trigger that makes an audible click when pulled.
2.The trigger guard was made of cast iron
3.It has a metal middle barrel band.
4.It has a bayonet lug on the metal front barrel band."

In the study of military history, most people focus on the battles, operations, and strategy, all of which are important.  Few study training or logistics, without which the other stuff is academic.  Most military people spend the bulk of their careers... training.  Logisticians are among the few who actually get to practice their craft all the time, albeit usually at less-than-war throughputs.  But one reason that the US military has been able to pull off what it has these last couple of decades is because of all we learned supporting the REFORGER exercises, which involved moving a division or so to Germany, and the various simliar large scale exercises in the Pacific involving the Marines all over and Army units earmarked for Korea.  I can think of no other nation which practices logistics, especially on a strategic scale, like the US has since WWII.

As for the importance and value of training, look at the performance of Third World armies (and arguably a number of "second world" armies).  They sometimes have great kit and accompanying kaboodle, but they never get to shoot it, much less practice maintaining it in service.  Which means that not only is much of their initial contact poor (unless fighting another army of similar stripe) they start falling apart after a week because they can't sustain the pace in terms of maintenance and supply.

Hence my interest in training-related items.  Napoleon, using his own Marshals, would not have beaten up Europe had he tried to do so with a Saddamite Iraqi Army.  Even an expert chef can't push a cooked noodle uphill.


I will never forget the briefing that I gave during REFORGER 1988 to a group of Warsaw Pact officers, including two Soviet Colonels.  I briefed them on the movements of my battalion over the previous 24 hours from a screen along the Corps flank into an attack launched in the center of the Corps sector. Listening carefully through their interpreters and following closely on the map, the Russians remarked that I, was of course, talking about a simulated move.  No, I replied.  My battalion had moved as briefed and closed into the attack position without the loss of a single vehicle.  They didn't believe me because they knew that their army could do no such thing, they weren't trained to do so.

We were.  We had been to the NTC and had many years of REFORGER practice and could do such things as a matter of routine.  I think that the Russians knew that the jig was up, and so it came to be about 1 year later.