Arm Your Army

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by bowfin, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. bowfin

    bowfin Member

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    Okay, here is an exercise in whimsy. If you were to have a pick of all the small arms used during the Second World War to arm your army, which weapons would you take and why?

    As for me:

    Rifle: M1 Garand The sights on this rifle and the M1 carbine are great, and semiautomatics are easier to fire multiple shots from the prone position.

    Sniper Rifle: Enfield No.4 MK I (T) Sniper Rifle There's a lot to be said for testing for accuracy and then handing the rifle over to such a prestigious firearms maker as Holland Holland to finish it up right.

    Machine Gun: MG-42 After 70 years, this machine gun still holds its own against the state of the art machine guns.

    Sidearm: Flip a coin, heads, 1911 and tails, Browning Hi Power.

    Submachine Gun: Steyr MP-34 Extremely well made and the 9mm Mauser cartridge was superior to the 7.62x25 or 9x19.

    Anti-tank weapon: Panzerschreck What the 2.36" bazooka was hoping to be

    Hand Grenade: ??? Definitely like the stick grenades for throwing, but would be a pain to carry.
    In a class all by itself: Japanese Type 89 Grenade Launcher. A lot of Pacific Soldiers and Marines said this weapon worked great in woods or jungles, since the grenade had a timed fuse that didn't go off when it hit a tree branch on the way up or way down.
     
  2. MacArther

    MacArther Active Member

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    Handgun: Toughie....I like the Steyr Hammer before the German's switched it to 9mm parabellum. At the same time, the Browning Hi-power is a great contender. Finally, there is something to be said about the Colt 1911 (what can I say, .45 rounds are prettiful)

    Rifle: This is a tough choice. While the SVT-40 definately gets my award for handling just about everything thrown at it, as well as a detachable box magazine. The M1 Carbine is fine for rear line troops and light infantry/specialists (i.e. paratroops, tank crews, artillery crews, etc.), although I would try to change to a cartridge with a bit more stopping power than the .30 Carbine round.

    Machine gun: On the LMG/Automatic rifle front, I would equip with the Johnson LMG. For a GPMG, I have to concede that the MG42 seems to be the stand out weapon.

    Hand Grenade: Gammon Bomb for specialists and paratroopers. The Mk.2 frag grenade or the Mills Bomb seem to be the best defensive grenades.

    Submachine gun: The Owen for sheer reliability, the M3 for ease of production and compact design.

    Anti-tank: The PIAT, although I would be investing more time into it to make the PIAT more user friendly (i.e. no 90lb re-cocking pull). It has the advantage of little to no smoke and it can be fired safely from inside buildings and confined areas.
     
  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    2005-01-05_132325_MG42.jpg

    Panzerfaust150.jpg
     

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  4. bowfin

    bowfin Member

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    That magazine on the Stg 44 makes it hard to fire from prone.

    I know of a guy whose uncle sent him one home from Germany when he was just a kid. A couple of weeks later, the FBI showed up and said, "Either weld up the chamber or we're taking it." (Feds were nicer back then, I guess.) Anyhow, he took it to a family friend who said he would "weld it up real good" and laid a big bead of weld in the chamber. After the inspection, the G-men went on their way. The kid then took out a rat tailed file and at the first poke, the weld popped right out of the chamber. It seemed the welder's idea of good meant preserving the gun.

    My long ago Scoutmaster swore by the Thompson submachine gun, which was what he carried when he dropped out of a C-47 on D-Day. He fell down a flight of stairs when a grenade went off, and a German soldier came down after him firing an MP-40, but kept letting bursts off over his head. It probably didn't help to be shooting while skipping down the stairs. Anyhow, you know how that all ended if I am telling you what my Scoutmaster told me.

    That veteran also showed me a P-38 pistol that he had taken in France. His first P-38 was lost with his gear when he was wounded. That particular one came from a major who he almost shot because the major was loathe to hand his sidearm over to a sergeant, wanting to surrender to at least an officer. My scoutmaster also took his belt buckle, which was a silver and turquoise number with the SS on it. I asked him if he had the belt buckle yet, and he said no, he traded it back in England for a fish paste sandwich at a pub.
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    That magazine contains 30 cartridges. Most soldiers considered it a worthwhile trade off. But nothing prevents you from using 10 round magazines in the StG44.

    Anyway if the war had continue a few more months the StG44 would have been superseded by the StG45.
    StG45_2.jpg


    Personally I think the Browning High Power chambered for 9mm was the best pistol available during WWII. That's a German weapon also as they continued production at the Belgium FN plant during 1940 to 1944.
    300px-Browning_High-Power_9mm_IMG_1526.jpg


    I wouldn't want to carry a Thompson SMG. Both weapon and ammunition were heavy compared to other submachineguns. IMO the German MP40 was probably the best of the bunch. However the British Sten and U.S. Grease Gun were also ok.
    mp40.jpg
     
  6. bowfin

    bowfin Member

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    I'll take your word for it. I haven't talked to most of them, and I've never been in combat with hordes of Russians.

    I do know that prone is the most stable position in the field from which to shoot, and a guy is a lot less likely to collect metal when horizontal rather than vertical.

    I always thought the Thompson too heavy for what it offers as well. M1 carbines are a delight to shoot, M1 Garands are heavy but shoot well, and are chambered for a good all around cartridge, though there isn't much difference between it and the 8x57, 7.62x54r, and .303 British.
     
  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I like the M1 carbine concept. It gives artillery crew members, communications personnel etc. something lighter to carry on their back then a .30cal rifle yet more effective then a pistol or SMG. IMO they should have all been issued with folding stocks (not just paratroop model) to make carry as easy as possible.
     
  8. bowfin

    bowfin Member

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    #8 bowfin, Feb 18, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012
    I know talking about the M2 carbine is out of bounds for this thread (The fully automatic version of the M1 carbine wasn't available until the Korean War) but I have a friend who carried the M2 when he was on patrol, and when they bumped into a Chinese patrol, he would shoot it with the magazine parallel to the ground (gangsta' style, if you will) as everybody dashed for cover. He did this because the M2 had so much muzzle jump that half of the magazine would end up being fired over the heads of the intended targets. Flip the carbine as mentioned before, and the muzzle climb becomes muzzle swing.

    This vet said they carried the 1919 Browning .30 on their shoulder with a short enough belt (about 25 rounds) that it wouldn't snag or drag on the ground. Again, when they bumped into a Chinese patrol (these were night patrols, so "bumped" was very close to being literally just that) the guy carrying the .30 cal would swing it off of his shoulder and hit the trigger as the barrel arced down towards the general direction of the enemy while he looked for a good place to take cover and hook up with the gunner and other assistant gunner.

    When this guy got home, he used an M1 carbine to drop a cow elk for winter meat back on his parents' ranch out west. I asked him if he really thought it was a suitable elk rifle. He said no, but it wasn't suitable for breaking up a human wave assault either, but he learned to make do with whatever firearm he had in his hand, either Korea or Montana.
     
  9. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    I love the M1 carbine its such a sweet gun to fire. Nothing spectacular about its preformance the designers just hit the sweet spot and built a gun that anyone could fire without a long training programme. Try that with a sidearm any sidearm and someone is going to lose a toe. It is reckoned more people died from self inflicted or blue on blue incidents than aimed shots at the enemy.
     
  10. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    The M2 and M3 ( a M2 with a infrared scope) were used in the battle of Okinawa, and even in Europe late in the war. The M2 was adopted late 44, but production didn't start till Apr. 45, before production on the finished rifles started, they sent out conversion kits to convert M1's to M2.
    The M1 carbine was what I qualified with in USAF basic in 1965, but soon as I got orders for Asia, I had to requalify with the M-16. I've owned a couple of carbines, had a M2 as a backup in Nam, but I wanted something with more close range punch, I traded it for a greasegun.
     
  11. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    My choice:
    -Browning HP
    -PPSh-41
    -SVT-40
    -MG-42

    Not bad, 4 different cartridges :)
     
  12. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    My choice:
    -1911 .45acp
    -Thompson gun
    -M-1 Grand (there is no second choice)
    -Bren gun.
    - Sniper rifle- star gauge Springfield with good scope.
    -1917 water cooled Browning (or Vickers gun)
     
  13. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Browning High Power
    Owen Stanley SMG
    M1 Garand
    Bren Gun , in 30.06 , for lmg
    MG-42 in 30.06 for hmg
    Springfield for sniper

    That would be easy on the supply guys, just 9mm and 30.06 .
     
  14. vinnye

    vinnye Member

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    I kinda remeber that the German stick grenade had a safety issue - could detonte if dropped? Not sure?
    So would go for Mills bomb - good frgmentation and ease of use.
     
  15. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Mills Bomb No.36 (WWII version.)
    .....772.5 grams total weight.
    .....60 grams explosive filler weight.


    The WWII Heer used two different fragmentation grenade types. I suspect the modern Eihandgranate was more common after 1941.
    FallSchirmJäger Regiment 2- Heavy infantry weapons
    Stielhandgranate 24 / 43 (i.e. stick grenade).
    .....An old design which dates back to the WWI era.
    .....81 million produced.

    Eihandgranate 39 / 41.
    .....A modern egg shaped hand grenade.
    .....84 million produced.
    .....230 gram total weight.
    .....112 gram explosive filler weight.

    As you can see, the German Eihandgranate had 1/3rd the weight of a Mills bomb while containing almost twice the HE filler. It was a more advanced hand grenade then the Mills Bomb, which was essentially just an updated WWI weapon.
     
  16. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    WW1 and WW2 grenates were designed for different purposes.

    WW1 grenades were in general for defensive use. To throw from the protection of a trench against unprotected troops, they produced a lot of shrapnel. If you were unprotected you might get wounded by your own grenade.

    WW2 grenades leaned more toward offensive use, to throw into positions. They needed more explosive power, and had less metal to keep the overall weight down.


    I've thrown a dummy stick grenade, I could throw it noticably farther than I could any type of US grenade. The German stick grenade had a time fuse also, 4-6 seconds more or less like ours, just you pull a string out of the handle instead of the pull a pin and letting the lever go on US grenades. I've never heard of a drop hazard with them, but even I don't know everthing. ( bet that'll come back to haunt me)

    Maybe someone got them confused with the Japanese grenade, pull the pin, and strike the top on a hard object to start the time fuse.
     
  17. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    #17 Shortround6, Feb 28, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
    The german grenade had a detachable fragmentation sleeve which will run up the weight. There was no all purpose grenade. The US grenade which looks like a mills bomb, contained "blank powder" rather than TNT as it gave a better fragmentation effect. TNT tends to shatter a cast iron body into several large fragments and a lot of dust/powder. Those grenades almost never broke up along the scored lines.

    Some armies had both types of grenades. Defensive and offensive, Offensive depended on the blast to incapacitate the victims and so needed more explosive. The kill/wound radius was substantially less than the defensive grenade. The US had an Offensive Grenade that had 8 oz of TNT in a fiberboard body. only the normal mousetrap igniter had any metal to produce fragments. This does not make it an "advanced" design. Defensive grenades (fragmentation) just need enough explosive to break the casing up and propel the fragments at the desired speed. Extra explosive doesn't do much.

    Unlike the movies, none of these grenades are mini demolition charges. The Germans needed 6-7 grenades in a bundle to do much demolition/anti-tank work.
     
  18. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    That's probably part of the reason the Heer continued to produce stick grenades even after adopting a modern egg shaped grenade.

    Modern U.S. fragmentation grenades use high explosive mixtures such as Composition B (TNT RDX). If U.S. Army grenades used some other explosive filler during WWII it was probably due to a shortage of high explosives. Just as Germany used old fashioned black powder for Panzerfaust propellent to conserve diglycol propellent for R4M FF rocket production.
     
  19. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    modern US Grenades use a pre-notched spiral of spring steel for fragments. A bit different than cast iron with notches on the outside (which were primarily intended for a better grip in muddy conditions). The smokeless blank powder did was required of it and did it rather well, propel an number of cast iron fragments with enough speed to kill or wound a man at a range of several dozen yds. The old US grenades that did use TNT used 2 oz. AS A RESULT OF TESTING it was found that TNT charges broke the grenade body into 2-4 very large pieces and a lot of iron dust which wasn't very dangerous. The Blank powder gave more optimum fragmetation even if not along the external lines.

    The German grenade was a sheet metal can filled with explosives using an igniter almost identical in concept to the friction igniter used on muzzle loading artillery since about the time of the civil war. It may have been effective but calling it advanced or innovative is more than guilding the lily.
     
  20. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    History
    2.5 RM per U.S. dollar.

    If the above web site is correct a P38 pistol cost only $2.24. About 1/6th the price of a .45cal M1911 pistol. Was the P-38 pistol really that inexpensive to manufacture?
     
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