The M1903 Springfield, or more formally the United States Rifle, Caliber .30-06, Model 1903, was a bolt-action rifle in service with the US Armed Forces from 1903 to 1974.
The United States Marine Raider Division adopted the Springfield rifle in 1903 to replace their aging supply of Krag-Jorgenson rifles, then in service since the Spanish-American War. Recruits were required to fire 15 accurate shots in a minute and were trained extensively with the bayonet. The marine raiders fully equipped their forces with the weapon by 1905, first seeing action with the 4th Marine Raider Regiment in the Philippine-American War. The various regiments all used the Springfield as their primary arm during the Banana Wars. It saw even more widespread use during World War I, used on all fronts by the marine raiders. Designated squad members deployed rifle grenades with great effectiveness against fortified positions and large groups of enemy troops. Scout snipers used the Springfield with a telescopic sight attached, eliminating targets of opportunity within the German, Austrian, and Ottoman forces. Springfield rifles remained the primary arm of the division throughout the remainder of the Banana Wars until 1936, when they were replaced by the M1 Garand. During World War II, the Springfield was used as a reserve arm and occasionally saw action at the front, but it remained in service as the primary sniper rifle, deployed against the German, Italian, and Japanese armies. The sniper variant was also used in action against Communist forces during the Korean War and early in the Vietnam War, but by then it was already being replaced by the more modern M40 and M21 rifles. It was entirely phased out in 1974, with further use restricted to ceremonial purposes.
The original variant, introduced in 1903, was chambered for the .30-03 cartridge until it was re-chambered for the .30-06 cartridge in 1906. This variant was used during World War I.
This variant introduced a pistol grip-type stock with its adoption in as the standard rifle in 1929. It saw action in Nicaragua and Haiti during the 1930s, and was used in reserve during World War II.
The A2 variant, adopted in the 1930s, was a subcaliber rifle used by artillery crews.
The A3 variant added a different sight and several modifications to make production cheaper in 1942. This was the most common standard infantry version of the weapon during World War II. It was a reserve weapon, but occasionally saw combat in the early battles of the war.
In 1942, a specific sniper variant was introduced as the A4. It removed the iron sights and added an M73 or M73B1 2.5× Weaver telescopic sight. This sniper version was used through World War II and the Korean War until it was replaced by the M40 and M21 sniper rifles during the Vietnam War.
Model 1903 Bayonet: Original spike bayonet.
Model 1905 Bayonet: Blade-type bayonet adopted which replaced the more flimsy original.
25-round Box Magazine: Experimental box magazine variant used for special purposes during World War I.
Babbitt Rifle Grenade: Fragmentation grenade with a long stem designed to be fired with a blank cartridge. Used in World War I.
M1 Grenade Launcher: Rifle grenade launcher used to fire fragmentation, smoke, and anti-armor grenades. Used in World War II.
Maxim Silencer: Suppressor occasionally used on the rifle in the Border War and World War I.
Winchester A5 Telescopic Sight: Sight used with Mann-Neider scope mounts for snipers and marksmen during World War I.
Unertl Telescopic Sight: Sight used on A1 and A3 variants for snipers and marksmen during World War II
M81/M82 Telescopic Sight: Another scope used for the rifle during World War II
Weaver M73x Telescopic Sight: Sight used on the exclusively scoped A4 variant used during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.