Best guns of WW2

Discussion in 'Polls' started by Soren, Sep 11, 2007.

  1. Soren

    Soren Banned

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    Hi I'm back after some really hard working weeks, anyways back on topic:

    Who made them ?

    What features attributes made it/them the best in their field ?

    How did it/they compare to others in the same field and of the same category ?


    This should make for an interesting debate :)

    Best regards;
    Soren
     
  2. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
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    Man...... ! You opened up a Pandora's Box here. Everybody will jump in
    from the BAR to the Sten, Bren, and heaven only knows what.

    Charles
     
  3. SoD Stitch

    SoD Stitch Banned

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    Yeah, this is a pretty broad category; you're gonna get all kinds of guns, from railroad guns to .303's.

    I'm gonna cast my vote for the Rheinmetall-Borsig MG 34/42, and the good ole' Browning M2 HB.
     
  4. Soren

    Soren Banned

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    Yes its broad, but like I pointed out its within different catgories, for example:

    IMO the 8.8cm Kwk43 L/71 was the best AT tank gun of WW2. It fired a 10.2 kg Pzgr.39/43 (APCBC) projectile at a muzzle velocity of 1,000 m/s, being capable of penetrating 132mm's of armour laid back 30 degree's from vertical at 2,000m. Accuracy was phenominal in part because of the unusually high quality of the gun projectile but also because of the excellent high precision sights provided by Carl Zeiss Optik.

    While it wasn't the most powerful gun to be mounted on a tank during WW2, that honour belongs to the 12.8cm Pak44, it nonetheless is the most powerful AT gun to be mounted on a tank with a rotatable turret during WW2. The anti personnel effectiveness of the 8.8cm round was more than satisfactory, but compared to a 12.2cm or 12.8cm round it was lacking, its real strenght lay in armour penetration where the high kinetic energy coupled with the narrow surface area ensured great armour penetrative performance.


    The above was strictly about tank guns and my opinion on which is the best of WW2.

    The next could be which fighter armament was the best ? Which infantry LMG or HMG was the best ? Which rifle, SMG or handgun was the best ? Artillery? etc etc...
     
  5. SoD Stitch

    SoD Stitch Banned

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    You are absolutely right about the "dreaded" 88 . . . it is widely considered by many armament experts to be the best all-around tank gun of WWII. In particular, the KwK 43 L/71, as mounted on the PzKpfw VI Ausf. B, was probably the best tank gun of the War.
     
  6. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    The reason I would vote the 88 as the best all around artillery piece is its versatility as AA, AT and Infantry support. The US 90mm with its proximity fusing is a worthy consideration for AA but rarely needed in comparison to 88.

    I would go with the Mg42 as best LMG and M2 as best heavy MG..

    As and air to air weapon, against anything except US bombers, I would go with the M2 once again with due consideration to Mg131/20 depending on mission.. The M2 was an exceptionally reliable and powerful aircraft machine gun while the 20mm had more lethal one round punch. A matter of personal taste when strafing and air to air fighter vs fighter or light/medium bomber is concerned... but the 50 had basically 2x ammo.

    Don't know where exactly to put the Bren and BAR but would subordinate to mg 42 for most uses except where a lot of show leather is used. In those cases I would give the edge to Bren over BAR as squad weapon

    Battle rifle - M1. The German '44 and the Johnson Rifle deserve consideration but neither made a particular impact on the war.. I wouldn't want to hear much about SMLE, Mauser or Springfield in context of WWII other than good ballistics and fought everywhere.

    Sub Machine gun - Mp40 or Thompson - matter of taste although Thompson expensive in contrast with M3 (or Sten) or the Russian favorite - but hardest hitting of them all with 45 ACP round.

    Large Naval Rifle - Japanese 18" with close second to US 16"

    Small Naval Gun - US Navy 5" as dual purpose AA and beach close support with good rate of fire and fusing flexibility but a lot of very high quality choices available from Japan and Germany and GB.

    Shipboard AA - Bofors 40

    Medium Artillery - US 105 or Russian 122 with consideration to 155mm for mobility and firepower and versatilty.. 88 strong but top of range velocity reduced its plunging fire flexibility but a matter of taste.

    Anti Tank - 88 hands down... with Russian 76 and US 90 worthy of consideration as distant seconds.

    Stricly opinion.
     
  7. Aussie1001

    Aussie1001 Member

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    I'll go for the bren....
    Just perfect......:)
    i have spoken to many vets and none have said they disliked it....
     
  8. Soren

    Soren Banned

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    I agree with about everything except:

    Air to air - I would always choose the 20mm MG-151/20 over the M2 as fighter vs fighter armament because of the much larger amount of damage caused on the target, a single hit from a 20mm MinenGeschoss being enough to rip an entire section of a wing apart. The 15mm MG-151 with its high velocity round (960 m/s) excellent ballistics penetration power was a very effective fighter vs fighter armament as-well. The M2 was nonetheless a very effective weapon for fighter vs fighter combat, benefitting from excellent ballistics and good penetration power. The 20mm Hispano deserves to be mentioned as-well, being a very effective fighter vs fighter armament.

    As an anti bomber weapon nothing beats the 30mm MK108 MK103 though, with the MinenGeschoss it didn't take many hits to permanently down any US bomber.

    Battle-rifle - The StG.44 hands down! To say it had no impact on the war is just plain wrong. The Sturmgewehr was many times the single reason some German units made it through the day alive, once saving an entire regiment from certain extinction, enabling the infantry to accomplish the otherwise impossible, punching through a USSR pincher made up of millions of russian troops. This was made possible only because of the huge firepower the StG44 provided the individual soldier.

    This having been said the M1 Garand is definitely the runner up, with the G43 as a close third.

    Bolt action rifles - the K98k hands downs because of its superior 7.92mm FMJ-BT projectile ingenious bolt design and top strength. The SMLE is the runner up and the Swiss K31 as third.

    SMG - The MP-40 simply because it was as effective as the Thompson with the added benefit of being cheaper to produce. But in the ned its a matter of taste as the Thompson shoots faster while the MP-40 shoots slower but more accurately. It is debatable wether the .45 ACP packs a bigger punch than the 9mm Parabellum, but nomatter what both do their job well.

    LMG - MG42 MG34

    HMG - M2 no doubt. The MG42 MG34 both get honourable mentions here as-well though because of their huge effectiveness at laying down accurate deadly long range suppression fire, being refered to as a cannons by the Allied troops in Afrika.

    Shipboard AA - The 4cm Bofors or the German 3.7cm SKC/30.

    Anti Tank - The 8.8cm Kwk/Pak43 L/71 hands down, with the 7.5cm Kwk/Pak42 L/70 as a very close second, the 8.8cm Kwk36/Flak18 L/56 17 pdr sharing the third place.

    IMO the Russian 7.62cm doesn't deserve a place on the list because it didn't prove effective enough from 1942 and onwards, and the US 9cm M1 3 hardly saw any service as an AT weapon during WW2.

    Medium Artillery - I'll go for the Rheinmetall 10.5cm leFH 18(M) with its excellent accuracy, long range and high RoF. The US 10.5cm M2 howitzer is the close runner up. The 8.8cm Flak18 gets an honourable mention as it proved very effective as medium artillery, and the plunging angle wasn't an issue as it depended on the firing angle.

    Heavy Artillery - The 17.3cm Kanone 18 Mörserlafette, with the US 15.5cm Long Tom as the runner up.
     
  9. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Air to Air - Hispano V excellent combination of gun weight, ROF, MV and weight of shell
    Battle Rifle - Stg44 nothing came close and it would hold its own in many armies today
    Bolt action - Lee Enfield
    SMG - MP40
    LMG - Bren for its additional mobility
    MG - MG42, the first true GPMG
    Naval Gun US 5in L38 best DP gun of the war by far
    AA - 40mm Bofors probably used by more nations than any other heavy weapon.
    Anti Tank - 75L70
    Medium Art - 25pd its mobility, range and ROF
    Heavy Art - Long Tom
     
  10. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    We are close, Soren - and I think personal preference, without great distinction on performance, is a separator. I like the StG 44 as a great design but do not classify the weapon as a 'battle' rifle, nor would I have a separate category for 'bolt action'

    If there is an 'asault rifle' category then the StG 44 is hands down over the M-2 Carbine, but in retrospect I lump the 44 in with Thompson and Mp-40 and give it the edge there also.

    My comment about effectiveness was that only 8% of the total number of M-1s were built.. and didn't show up until 1944.

    Last, I would go with the 1911A1 for personal sidearm. If the SiG 220 existed then I would favor it due to double/single action feature as well as de-cocking. I've never 'lost' a round in the .45 due to manually releasing the hammer - but the SiG/H&K features are outstanding... 70 years later.

    The Browning 9mm Hi Power and P-38 would be close seconds for me.
     
  11. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
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    I've been reading about the StG 44. I've seen it in the hands of German's
    in documentarys but didn't realize just what it was.

    Wiki says this (in part):

    "The Sturmgewher 44 was the world's first true assault rifle and
    was introduced by the German army late in WWII. It was the direct
    inspiration for the Russian AK47, the most prolific gun in the world.
    If the war had continued another year, the SG44 would have
    replaced every other rifle, light machine gun, and submachine gun
    in the Wehrmacht, including the antique Karabiner 98k and anemic
    MP38.


    The SG44 was revolutionary in that it combined the best elements
    of both rifles and submachine guns. It fired an intermediate cartridge
    that was powerful enough to hit targets accurately at long ranges,
    yet not so overwhelming that automatic fire became impossible."

    Guess it gets my vote as the best (assault) rifle.

    And..... I agree that the German "88" was the best for AA and
    anti-tank. I didn't realize it was used as anti-personnel too.

    Charles
     
  12. SoD Stitch

    SoD Stitch Banned

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    Totally agree with you about the M1911A1; I think it's the best personal sidearm in history. As much as I like the P08 Luger for it's looks, it wasn't terribly reliable, and it only fired a 9mm round (not much stopping power). To this day, certain branches of the US unconventional warfare armed forces prefer the 1911 over any other sidearm, even the newer 9mm jobs (like the SiG-Sauer 250).
     
  13. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    I have a Wilson 1911A1 which is unbelievably accurate and I replaced it with the SiG 220 only for the reasons I mentioned above plus it was almost a one holer at 15M with factory rest - I would not give up either willingly.

    The Wilson is sub 1" at 25 yards with 5 and the 220 about 1 1/2 (Machine rest - I don't shoot pistol THAT well)

    The other reason I favor the 220 is ability to keep one in the chamber, hammer down, and use it in double action- essentially as safe as a double action revolver.
     
  14. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Since this is a thread about WW2 guns I have a question that some of you may be able to answer. At the beginning of the war for the US, our navy had an AA gun called, I believe, the 1.1 inch hose gun. Often they were mounted in quads. I figure that was about a 25mm caliber. I heard somewhere a long time ago that they were unsatisfactory in some way. I believe they were still in action at Midway. In fact some of the underwater photos of the Yorktown seem to show these guns. At a family reunion years ago one of my uncles who was a CGM on Salt lake City asked another who was a CGM on Chicago about an incident where a 1.1(Ibelieve) continued to fire when depressed below the edge of the gun tub and that is all I remember and now they are both gone. Sometime after Midway those guns disappeared and the Bofors and Oerlikons took over. Does anyone know the story on that gun?
     
  15. SoD Stitch

    SoD Stitch Banned

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    Sweet! You've got a Wilson? Is it the Pro model? I like the simplicity of the Wilson 45's, as compared to other units.
     
  16. Soren

    Soren Banned

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    I choose the 10.5cm LeFH 18/40 over the 10.5cm M2 because it possesses a longer range according to reports better accuracy than the M2 howitzer. I choose the 17.3cm Kanone 18 over the 15.5cm Long Tom for roughly the same reasons and because the Kanone 18 fires a more potent shell further while hthe weight of the two guns are quite similar.

    The StG44 can be considered a battle rifle as its effective range is beyond 700m at which range steel helmets were easily penetrated, and the fact that it can be fired controllably at full automatic (500rpm) makes for alot of firepower.

    The reason the MP-40 is more accurate than the Thompson is because its far more controllable at full automatic fire, the MP-40 is infact one of the most controllable SMG's on full auto even to this day. And when I say that its debatable wether the .45 ACP packs a bigger punch than the 9mm arabellum it is because the KE of the 9mm is infact higher, giving the 9mm parabellum better penetration capability. In terms of stopping power with expanding bullet the .45 ACP is the best, hence the SOCOM reports, there's simply more surface to immediately dump the energy of the round inside the target. There's no difference between a .45 ACP FMJ bullet and 9mm FMJ bullet in terms of stopping power, the 9mm just possesses slightly better penetration power.

    The M-2 Carbine doesn't qualify as an assaukt rifle though, its round isn't intermediate and features far poorer ballistics than the 7.92x33mm Kurz round, plus the M-2 Carbine couldn't fire full automatic. You'll have to consider that the StG44 fires a 8.1 g FMJ Spitzer bullet at 686 m/s while the M-2 Carbine fires a 7 g FMJ round nosed bullet at 580 m/s.

    Very understandable. Though I would personally prefer the Belgian Fabrique Nationale (FN) Browning "High Power" over the M1911A1.
     
  17. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    A matter of choice - I still like the .45 ACP, and today the .40 S&W would be second with the 158gr Hydro shock - I just don't like the 9mm. How much experience do you have with the 1911A1?
     
  18. Soren

    Soren Banned

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    The M-2 did feature selective fire, I was thinking of the M-1 Carbine, but the M-2 didn't arrive until 1945 and I'm pretty confident it didn't see action in the ETO.
     
  19. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    It was introduced in Oct 1944 and replaced the M-1 Carbines issued to US Airborne troops.. I don't think either 82nd or 101st had them at the Bulge but they did on the 24 March, 1945 Rhine jump. It saw service with USMC and USA all during 1945 in PTO.

    Irrelevant - it was designed more to replace the Thompson, the M3 and the M-1 Carbine. It was found to jam in extreme cold weather in Korea but worked well in Viet Nam. It had a MV of 600m/s with a 110 grain bullet and a cyclic rate of 850 rpm. More like an Mp40 with the collapsible stock

    From an accuracy standpoint, in semi auto, I had an M-1 Carbine that would group 4 inches at 200 yards with 5 shot groups but I bedded it and polished the sear to get a 4 pound trigger pull. When the AR-15 became available for civilian use I got rid of the M-1.

    I would choose an StG 44 every day
     
  20. Soren

    Soren Banned

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    Sorry I forgot to answer your question.

    Yes I have plenty of experience firing the M1911A-1, a very nice but abit heavy sidearm (Heavy as in by contrast to other sidearms) The P-38 is also a very nice sidearm, very reliable and accurate. The Luger, well haven't shot it many times but the times I did it performed beautifully, being very comfortable to aim and shoot with, and pretty darn accurate - nt sure where the rumor that it was unreliable comes from, according to veterans it never jammed, not even in extreme cold (Most likely because it was always very well wrapped up when carried)

    The Howitzer report is on the way, its from an allied intelligence bullitin where they interviewed US troopers at the front.
     
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