Sunday, August 27, 2017

"Hyde-Bendix" General Motors Prototype Semi-Automatic Carbine

Following WW1 there was some controversy in the Ordnance Department regarding developing a suitable light rifle (carbine) for use by the infantry support personal. The issue was that the standard handgun (including the favorite M1911) was only designed for short range self-defense use and then only used effectively by highly skilled individuals.

In 1939/40 Congress funded the Ordnance Department to develop and issue a request for prototype testing of an M1 Carbine sample from industry. The basic requirement was that this new carbine had to have: 1) an effective range of 300 yards, 2) weight not to exceed 5 lbs, 3) have a sling for easy carrying and 4) it had to fire the new .30 M1 carbine round developed by the Winchester-Repeating Arms Company.

Several companies developed and submitted test samples, i.e. Winchester, Harrington & Richardson, Savage Arms Company, Springfield Armory, the Woodhull Company and the Bendix Aircraft Corp. Of those tested only the Winchester and Hyde-Bendix design, met the basic requirements and were determined to be the best designs that required minimal improvements to be suitable for further testing.

Consequently both companies were requested to redesign their initial submissions, eliminating the original noted shortcomings in their designs and resubmit new test samples.

The Hyde-Bendix original design was developed by George J. Hyde an engineer who worked at the Bendix Aircraft Corp. 

It was gas operated that had a gas block mounted on the underside of the forward section of the barrel which was connected to a side mounted operating slide. It had one-piece receiver, magazine well with a detachable trigger group. The outward configuration looked more like the Thompson SMG in that it had a separate and distinct pistol grip mounted to the rear underside of the trigger housing with a separate buttstock and forend.

The operation of this example was very similar to the aforementioned initial prototype, although it had an improved operating slide so that the bolt could be forced closed by hand in adverse conditions, a stronger recoil spring, and redesigned buttstock assembly with an improved one-piece (integral) pistol grip stock and separate forend. They also redesigned the internal components accordingly. It is estimated that approximately 5 of these were ever produced and submitted to the Ordnance Dept for further testing.

Although it was improved in accordance with the recommendation of the Ordnance Department, the second model proved to be less-reliable than the first model, and the trigger group was actually more difficult to disassemble. Consequently, the Winchester Repeating Arms Company was awarded the new contract to develop the M1 Carbine.

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