80th anniversary of M1 Garand rifle marked at Springfield Armory

SPRINGFIELD – In 1936, the United States Army enlisted the help of the Springfield Armory’s Garand M1 rifle – a decision that would go on to help win World War II.

To commemorate the 80th anniversary of the rifle’s production, the Springfield Armory Alliance will be sponsoring a virtual tour of the M-1 rifle’s production at the Springfield Armory on Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to noon.

Admission to the event is $15 for the general public and free for Springfield Armory Alliance members, Smith & Wesson employees and Smith & Wesson Collectors Association members.

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Appearing at the event will be researcher and author Bruce Canfield, author of “The M1 Garand Rifle” and other titles chronicling U.S. military weapons throughout history, leading a discussion about the design and adoption of the M1 Rifle during World War II.

The virtual tour will be presented by Alex Mackenzie, curator of the Springfield Armory Historic Site. Included within the virtual tour will be the locations used in the design and manufacturing of the rifle at the armory.

Visitors to the Armory will also be able to view other programs and exhibits, including “A Century of Service,” dedicated to the 2016 centennial of the National Park Service and the Armory’s contributions to their sites throughout the 20th century.

Delivering more than 3.5 million rifles over the course of World War II, the Springfield Armory was one of the Pioneer Valley’s top employers of the time. The Armory employed more than 14,000 area residents at its peak of wartime production.