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Danish M1

 

DANISH M1

Brief Danish Garand History
Posted by: Mike Gingher

The Danish M1s were U.S. M1s Springfields or Winchesters, mostly WWII production that went to Denmark after the War.  They were not "Lend Lease" because Denmark was occupied during the War.  There were two distinct groups of rifles, one lot of approximately 20,000 were loaned to the Danes and the other lot of possibly 40,000 were purchased by Denmark.  The rifles that the CMP has are of the first lot.  Since these rifles were on loan to Denmark the Danes simply gave them back.  The kits that are advertised are coming out of Canada,  a Danish Import/Export Co. called Top Mark purchased all the remaining rifles, U.S. made, Beretta and Breda.  Topmark sold them to a Canadian company that stripped the parts for sale in the U.S.  Unlike the Brits the Danes did not stamp proof and acceptance marks all over the rifles and since the rifles were not imported there are no import marks.  The only marks the Danes used were the anchor and three or four digit number (possibly five) on the sight cover (Navy Issue), and stamped serial number of the rifle on the bottom area of the stock above the toe.  The rifles may have a mixture of U.S., PB (Beretta), BMB (Breda) parts and VAR (Danish) barrels.  There are three definite groups of barrel and receiver combinations.

1.    The barrel date and serial number of the receiver match.

2.    The barrel date is from the Springfield rebuild period after WWII.  A lot of the barrels are stamped XX-47 (various months.)

3.    The VAR barrels are Danish made and most of them have barrel dates in the 1965 range and many of these appear to have been installed on the receivers before the rifles went into storage. (good breach bore readings.)  Note:  I have also seen on some barrels with a 51-52 year date, I do not know if spare barrels were sent to Denmark or if some rifles were sent there in the 1950's.  The stocks are well used and are a mix of U.S. and Danish wood.  Some of the U.S. stocks are original and have cartouches of WWII vintage.  Many of the rifles with Danish wood had U.S. walnut or birch hand guards.

Barrel Markings

  • VAR - with a crown above it stands for Vaabenarsenalet, meaning Arms Arsenal, closed 1970 (sound familiar), three or four digit number with hyphen in center example 2-65 production month and year just like the U.S. used.

  • HTK - Haerens Tekniske Korps (ArmyTechnical Corps)

  • FKF - Forsvarets Krigsmaterial Forvaltning (Defence Warmateriel Administration)

  • HMAK - Haerens Materiel Kommando (Army Materiel Command)

The Danish army put the M1 into service as the G M/50.  Gevaer Model 1950 (1950-model rifle).  This would indicate that Denmark received their first shipment of M1's sometime in 1950.  The Italian designation was 'Rifle Model 1951' indicating it's year of adoption in Italy.

In 1952, the privately owned Italian firm Beretta was chosen by NATO as the new offshore European producer of new M1's and spare parts for the NATO countries.  Ex-Winchester machinery was provided to Beretta from the U.S.   Breda, then state-owned enterprise, was also brought into M1 production for the Italian army.

In the mid 50's Denmark bought a quantity of Beretta and Breda rifles from Italy.

Sometime in the 60's, Denmark manufactured their own barrels (VAR) also manufactured their own stocks, slings, and possibly bayonets for the M1.

The M1 was in service with the Danish military from 1950 to the early 90's. Consequently, these rifles would have been re-built, refinished and parts replace in the last 40 years.  This would explain the mixture of U.S., Italian and Danish parts now found in these rifles or their parts kits.

Information as to the numbers of rifles acquired by Denmark from the U.S. and Italy is not known.

 

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Updated: Monday January 10, 2011