Thor Ronningen's '03 Springfield

posted on December 16, 2011
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I was classified as a sniper at the time, although I never functioned as a sniper," Ronningen wrote. "I was armed with a 1903 Model Springfield bolt-action rifle, which had a scope mount over the breech of the rifle. Because of the scope mount it was impossible to use a regular '03 five-round [stripper] clip, so the right hand pocket of my field jacket was full of loose rounds of .30-caliber ball ammunition. As has been well recorded, on the morning of 16 Dec. '44, the roof fell in on us. I was surrounded by guys who were all equipped with semi-automatic or fully automatic weapons, Americans to my sides and back and Germans to my front."

"There was firing all around me and I was the only soldier in the world able to fire only one round at a time. I would shoot, pull the bolt back to eject the spent round, reach in my pocket to get a bullet, put it in the breech, ram the bolt home and fire once again. I don't think I have ever been so frustrated in my life. As soon as possible, I swapped my '03 for an M-1 so I could fight like a real soldier does—spray bullets all over the place."


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