May 8 is victory in Europe Day, VE Day. A device that contributed considerably to the outcome of that war was the M-1 rifle, called the Garand after its inventor. Canadian John Garand was hired by Springfield Armory in the aftermath of WWI to design a rifle that would replace the sturdy Springfield 1903 bolt action rifle. Criteria were issued by the Army in 1926, and Garand had plans prepared and ready to submit for a gas operated semi-automatic rifle.
The design of the rifle used the gas from a fired cartridge to load the next cartdige in the magazine into the firing chamber. There a small tube that carried gas from the front of the barrel to the magazine, and the gas expelled the spent casing and reloaded the next cartridge. Bullets were fed in by an eight cartridge clip from the underside of the rifle. The stock was walnut, weight about 10 pounds, effective range 440 yards. With the Garrand, called the M1, the U.S. Army entered WWII as the only Army with a semi-automatic rifle as the standard issue firearm. The British, Japanese, and the German Army were all equiped with bolt action rifles. The Garand was adopted as the Army's main rifle in 1936, and is covered by a number of patents as it was improved. This patent is from 1939.
General George Patton said of the M1, "In my opinion, the M1 Rifle is the greatest battle implement ever devised."
General Douglas MacArthur reported on the M1 to the Ordnance Department during heavy fighting on Bataan that: "Under combat conditions it operated with no mechanical defects and when used in foxholes did not develop stoppages from dust or dirt. It has been in almost constant action for as much as a week without cleaning or lubrication."