Olive-Drab.com Military HQ
What's New? | Olive-Drab Directory | Adv Search  
  Home >> Firearms >> Rifles & Carbines >> BAR

Vehicles Weapons History Uniforms/Gear Rations War Dogs Photos/Video Info/Intel FAQ Store Facebook/Blogs

Military Theme
T-Shirts & Stuff
Visit Olive-Drab.com's sister site for
over 9,000 free military vehicle photos!

M-1918 Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR)

John Browning designed the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) to provide a squad-level automatic rifle for use during World War I. The M1918 saw service toward the end of World War I. The M1918A2, adopted by the Army in 1940, saw extensive service during World War II and Korea.

BAR armed soldier moves out of Schneidhausen, Germany, to cross the Rhine River. Company B, 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, U.S. First Army, 25 February 1945. Note BAR cartridge belt.
BAR armed soldier moves out of Schneidhausen, Germany, to cross the Rhine River. Company B, 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, U.S. First Army, 25 February 1945.
Note BAR cartridge belt.

More photos and videos of the M-1918 Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) are available at the linked page.

Today in WW II: 25 Oct 1943 American and New Zealand troops land at Mono and Stirling, Treasury Islands, south of Bougainville [25-27 Oct].  More 
25 Oct 1944 First operation by the Japanese Kamikaze Special Attack Force: 55 kamikazes strike 7 carriers and 40 other ships, sinking six, off Leyte, Philippines.
25 Oct 1944 Battle off Samar [Leyte]: US Admiral Sprague skillfully prevents a loss to the stronger Japanese force under Japanese Admiral Kurita.
25 Oct 1944 Battle off Cape Engaño (Leyte): lopsided naval battle resulting in the loss of most of Japanese Northern Force to US Admiral Halsey's carrier planes and battleships [25-26 Oct].
25 Oct 1944 Soviet Red Army enters Kirkenes, the first town in Norway to be liberated from the Germans.
Visit the Olive-Drab.com World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

M-1918 Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR)

The M-1918 Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) was an intermediate weapon, heavier than a rifle but lighter than a machine gun. It was intended to provide a high rate of fire with a rifle cartridge (machine-gun like) for at least one man in each infantry squad. But the BAR was so heavy it was difficult to fire from the shoulder while at the same time being too light to control in full automatic mode. Usually the largest man in the squad was assigned to the BAR since considerable physical strength was needed to manage it.

Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR), Cal. .30 M1918A2
Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR), Cal. .30 M1918A2.

Despite the shortcomings of the weight of the weapon, the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) was beloved by the infantry for its massive firepower, available on the spot within the squad. The Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) was often loaded with AP ammunition to increase its effectiveness against vehicles, fortifications or ad hoc cover. It was widely and successfully deployed by U.S. forces in WW II and the Korean War.

The BAR used .30-06 cal. rifle cartridges in 20-round magazines. The BAR provided an effective rate of fire of 550 rpm, and proved to be a very reliable weapon during adverse operating conditions. The BAR weighed 16 to 19 pounds (7.2 to 8.8 kg) empty, depending on model, and was just under 4 feet long (47.8 inches / 1,214 mm).

The versions developed and manufactured for U.S. forces were:

  • M1918 (adopted 1917) was selective to fire either semi- or fully-automatic. The M1918 did not have the shoulder support plate or bipod that was characteristic of later models. The M1918 had a blade front sight and a leaf with aperture battle sight with aperture rear sight.

  • M1918A1 (adopted 1937) was selective to fire either semi- or fully-automatic. It had a shoulder support plate hinged to the buttstock and a spike type bipod. The M1918A1 had a blade front sight and a leaf with aperture battle sight with aperture rear sight.

  • M1918A2 (1940) was fully-automatic, but selective at either Slow (300-450 spm) or Fast (500-650 spm) rates of fire. The M1918A2 was originally issued with a spike based removable stock rest which fitted in a hole in the buttstock. It had a shorter hinged shoulder support plate and a skid type bipod. Later modifications included a plastic buttstock and the addition of a carrying handle. The M1918A2 had a blade front sight and a leaf with aperture rear sight adjustable for windage.

Marine Infantryman with BAR, Camp Lejeune, New River, NC, May 1942
Marine Infantryman with BAR, Camp Lejeune, New River, NC, May 1942.

Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR), Cal. .30 M1918A2
Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR), Cal. .30 M1918A2.

Recommended Books about the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR)

Find More Information on the Internet

There are many fine websites that have additional information on this topic, too many to list here and too many to keep up with as they come and go. Use this Google web search form to get an up to date report of what's out there.

For good results, try entering this: "browning automatic rifle". Then click the Search button.

Find at Amazon:  Military Issue equipment, clothing, boots, MREs, MOLLE gear and much more.

  Home >> Firearms >> Rifles & Carbines >> BAR What's New? | Olive-Drab Directory | Adv Search