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Browning Automatic Rifle in the First World War

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Miles of TFB TV presents the Browning Automatic Rifle, which the boys say was used in actual combat during World War I, contrary to popular belief. These rifles were held by the AEF Forces to defend the Western Front.

With Miles is Corey, who is decked out in what an AEF soldier would have worn during World War I, complete with helmet. The guys only had a semi-automatic M1918 BAR on hand, but they say that a working BAR is better than no BAR at all. It’s the self-loading A3 version, a replica.

They’re celebrating the first army of American troops in WWI. The stereotype during the war was static trench warfare, which took thousands of lives at short distances, Corey relates. John Browning saw the situation and came up with a solution to give soldiers more mobile firepower that had a full-powered cartridge.

By July 1917, Corey says there was an estimated 17,000 BARs in use in the European Theater, and every division that came after that would have been armed with them. During its time, this was a revolutionary weapon, although the design needed plenty of improvements. They always gave the BAR to the shortest man in the squad, who happened to fall at the end of the line.

A BAR had to be serviced by three men: main gunner, assisting gunner and ammo bearer. Gunners had a special belt that had a cup where they could fit the butt of the rifle and shoot from the hip. The other two carried their service rifles — mostly a 1911 — and fed the main gunner with more ammo, as needed. Most reports praised the BAR’s performance on the field.

Corey goes into the parts of the BAR they have, pointing out the gun’s features. They also point out some issues they had with the rifle.

The BAR appears to have captivated the imaginations of many American shooters, especially during the sudden rise in popularity of Second World War history movies such as “Saving Private Ryan,” the “Band of Brothers” series, or even video games such as Medal of Honor or Call of Duty.

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