StG 44 influence on German tactics

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by gjs238, Nov 13, 2013.

  1. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2009
    Messages:
    1,710
    Likes Received:
    107
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Did the introduction of the StG 44 change German tactics?

    For example, I've read about how in the American military, machine guns supported the riflemen - and in the German military, the riflemen supported the machine gun.

    Did this change with the introduction of the StG 44?
     
  2. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Messages:
    1,321
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Chicagoland Area
    AFAIK no, it just made infantry more effective in their role. Also your above is at best a misunderstanding of German doctrine:

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CltNkdyykmw

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kz0a_QGifPM
     
  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Messages:
    6,418
    Likes Received:
    64
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    Pre-1944 Heer infantry squad leaders were armed with MP40 SMG. Automatic fire with distinctive sound allowed him to easily direct the fire of his squad.

    Did squad leaders still carry SMG when their infantry company converted to StG44 assault rifle?
     
  4. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2008
    Messages:
    10,679
    Likes Received:
    676
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Urban Design/Strategic Studies Tutor
    Location:
    Orange NSW
    even today, the standard procedure for the squad once it engages, is for each member of the squad, to get his share of the GPMG ammunition to that gun. Most squads today have reduced to 8 men or less, whereas back in 1945 it was 11 or 12 men. A well trained squad will have some men putting down a suppressive fire whilst others in the team are getting the ammo to the MG. once thatelement of the squad has done that, the roles are revers, and the remainder of the ammo from the other element of the squad.

    Then the squad would break into teams, usually three teams. One team might just be the MG, the other are the rifle teams. Whilst one team is laying down covering fire along with the MG, the other team is moving (either forward or back, depending on what the squad is trying to do). SMGs would be with at least one element, and really did not provide a lot of help until the enemy was engaged at close quarters.

    During Vietnam, the US and Viet forces were equipped with automatic fire assault weapons, the armalite and the AK47. Australian forces were equipped with the semi automatic SLR. The SLR was, in the opinion of the Australian Army superior to both these weapons. Human nature, being what it is, soldiers equipped with a 20 round mag switched to auto fire tended to empty their magazines in short, uncontrolled burst. Most soldiers only carried a very limited supply of ammo, so in a short space of time were out of ammo. SLR equiped squads had a far superior and more accurate weapon, that could deliver less firepower, but at a more sustained period. Long after the auto fire equiped grunt was left fumbling for a reload, or screaming he was out of ammo, the better trained, better equipped Australian were still advancing and still delivering good levels of fire in the direction of the enemy

    Assault rifles are useful, more because they combine the roles of the SMGs to that of the traditional Infantry side arm, the rifle. They dont displace or substitute the role of the MG.

    A more fundamental change of German origin was their development oif true GPMGs. Thir FG42 and its predecessor are really revolutionary in terms of squad tactics, and german squads would often have two such weapons attachedso that one of the weapons could advance with one of the squad elements in a direct support role.
     
  5. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Messages:
    23,053
    Likes Received:
    994
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Animal Control Officer
    Location:
    Southern New Jersey
    Where is Soren when you need him?

    :)
     
  6. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2008
    Messages:
    10,679
    Likes Received:
    676
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Urban Design/Strategic Studies Tutor
    Location:
    Orange NSW
    yep, he was a pain but he knew this stuff backwards
     
  7. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2008
    Messages:
    10,679
    Likes Received:
    676
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Urban Design/Strategic Studies Tutor
    Location:
    Orange NSW
    In 1946 there was a lengthy conference in the Us Army to discuss the implications of the recent war. A written report was prepred rom that confernece, which is summarised as follows:


    The third critical factor concerning the infantry squad was firepower. As with the other three points, the Conference members based this conclusion on their combat experience. They agreed that WWII had demonstrated that the
    infantry squad needed an organic light machine gun. rather than an automatic rifle. The conferees felt that only a
    squad LMG could provide the squad with the requisite fire suppression to accomplish its mission in attack or defense.
    Furthermore. the members felt that the US standard rifle, the Ml "Garand*. although reliable, was too heavy and too
    limited in firepower, particularly during the assault. Likewise, the BAR was also too heavy and too limited in
    firepower."

    Like the majority of US infantrymen, the members were particularly impressed by the performance of the German
    Army's squad LMG. the MG42, and the SG44 *assault* rifle.

    The MG42 had a quick barrel change capability which allowed it to provide sustained-fire support. Additionally, thi
    MG42 weighed only twenty four pounds, compared to the US LMG, the M1919A6, which weighed thirty three pounds and had no quick barrel change capability. The assault rifle, as the name implies, gave the German infantryman additional firepower during the assault. The German SG44 had the capability to fire in both semiautomatic and full auto modes. Additionally, it had the added benefit of a twenty round magazine. This prevented the constant reloading as
    with the US Army's eight round Ml rifle. As a result of these weapons' performance against US troops, the Conference
    members felt an American version would be id6al for the infantry squad of the future.'
     

    Attached Files:

  8. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2009
    Messages:
    1,710
    Likes Received:
    107
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Wonder how the Bren light machine gun compares.
     
  9. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2009
    Messages:
    1,710
    Likes Received:
    107
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Wonder how the US would have fared in Korea and Vietnam with StG 44's and MG 42's.
     
  10. DonL

    DonL Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2007
    Messages:
    986
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Occupation:
    IT
    Location:
    Niedersachsen
    Much better, the important weapon would be a MG 42 or MG 3 instead of the US crap at this time.
    I think the M 14 was a good weapon, but the M 60 at the Vietnam timeline, has not a single chance compare to the MG 42 or MG 3.
    I know that today it is much better, but at the timeline of Vietnam it was simply crap compare to a german MG
     
  11. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2008
    Messages:
    10,679
    Likes Received:
    676
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Urban Design/Strategic Studies Tutor
    Location:
    Orange NSW
    The US GPMG for Vietnam was the M-60. this MG was derived from the FG 42, and continued in service until very recently. It doesnt stack up to claim it was crap in 1965, and not crap in 1995. it was literally the same design. Im not saying it doesnt have some serious problems, it does, but overall, it was rated as a very good weapon for its time.

    The design drew on many common concepts in firearms manufacture of the period, such as stamped sheet metal construction, belt feed (a modified mechanism for belt feed from the MG42 with a single pawl), quick barrel replacement, a pistol grip and stock, and a Semi bullpup design similar to the FG42 (much of the action occupies the weapon's stock). The M60's operating system of an operating rod turning a rotating bolt was inspired by the FG42, which was based on the much earlier Lewis Gun. The M60 was even constructed with a secondary assisting firing pin spring that is used in the FG42 in semi-automatic mode even though it is actually unnecessary in the M60 (which operates only in full automatic mode). The M60's gas operation is unique, and drew on technical advances of the period, particularly the White "gas expansion and cutoff" principle also exploited by the M14 rifle. The M60's gas system was simpler than other gas systems and easier to clean. but it needed more regular cleaning as well....

    The M60 was designed for mass production, just like the MG42 it was based on. While the M1919 required much machining for its large, recoil operated internal mechanisms, the M60's stamped sheet receiver had a gas operated, carrier-cammed bolt mechanism; the same type of mechanism was used on the Lewis machine gun.

    The straight-line layout allowed the operating rod and buffer to run directly back into the buttstock and reduce the overall length of the weapon. This was both a good and bad design feature of the gun

    As with all such weapons, it can be fired from the shoulder, hip, or underarm position. However, to achieve the maximum effective range, it is recommended that a bipod-steadied position or a tripod-mounted position be used and fired in bursts of 3–5 rounds. The weapon is heavy and difficult to aim when firing without support, though the weight helps reduce the felt recoil. The large grip also allowed the weapon to be conveniently carried at the hip. The gun can be stripped using basic field equipment such as a bayonet or even a a live round of ammunition as a tool.

    The M60 is often used with its own integrated bipod or with the M122 tripod. The M60 is considered effective up to 1,100 meters when firing at an area target and mounted on a tripod; up to 800 meters when firing at an area target using the integral bipod; up to 600 meters when firing at a point target; and up to 200 meters when firing at a moving point target. United States Marine Corps doctrine holds that the M60 and other weapons in its class are capable of suppressive fire on area targets out to 1,500 meters if the gunner is sufficiently skilled. Having seen it in action persoanally, its weight in my opinion makes it easier, not harder. the extra weight makes it a stable gun platform

    Originally an experimental M91 tripod was developed for the M60, but an updated M2 tripod design was selected over it which became the M122. The M122 would be itself replaced in the 2000s (decade) by a new mount, in time for the M60 to also be used with it.

    So what are its flaws. There are quite a few, but none of them put it in the category of crap, i can assure you

    At the time of the M60's development, other designs, like the still unproven Belgian FN MAG and the proven German MG1 (MG42 derivative) had yet to enter production. In Army tests, the M60 proved fairly effective, but in the jungles of Southeast Asia in which it was soon used, it displayed a number of troubling issues.

    A common complaint was the weapon's weight; though M60 was among the lightest 7.62 mm machine guns of the era, the weapon was poorly balanced, and thus awkward to carry for long periods. The single most common complaint was that the M60 was unreliable in extreme conditions and prone to jamming and other malfunctions during heavy firing, especially when it was dirty. The humidity and mud of the jungles combined with powder fouling and grease/oil in the action of the M60 to produce severe stoppages unless kept dry and thoroughly cleaned with solvent after each engagement, a difficult proposition for many units.

    The M60 did best in aerial and static-defense roles where it could be stored in controlled conditions and regularly maintained by skilled personnel. US Marines especially disliked the M60 and were among the last units to be issued the weapon; many Marine units held onto their BARs in the squad automatic weapon role until 1967–68 officially, and longer unofficially.

    The M60 sometimes (depending on the version) tore the rims off from fired cartridge cases during the extraction cycle, causing a jam that required a cleaning rod be rammed down the barrel to extract the torn cartridge, a potentially deadly procedure while under fire in combat. The barrel latch mechanism (a swinging lever) could catch on the gunner's equipment and accidentally unlatch, causing the barrel to fall out of the gun. On new M60s, the lever was replaced with a push button mechanism that was less likely to be accidentally released, but few of the older M60s were modified due to expense, with many of the extant weapons still bearing them.

    The grip/trigger housing assembly is held in place with a rather fragile leaf spring clip instead of the captive pins used in other designs. The spring clip has been known to be prone to breakage since the first trials at Aberdeen Proving Ground. Duct tape and cable ties have been seen on M60s in the field, placed there by their crews in case the spring clip breaks. The sear in the trigger mechanism gained a reputation for wearing down and a malfunction could cause the gun to "run away".[9] A second sear notch was eventually added to the operating rod to reduce the chance of this happening.

    Several critical parts of early production M60s, such as the receiver cover and feed tray, were made from very thin sheet metal stampings and were prone to bending or breaking; sturdier parts were eventually available in the early 1970s. Early M60s also had driving spring guides and operating rods that were too thin and gas pistons that were too narrow behind the piston head (part of an attempt to save weight), leading to problems with breakage. Metallurgical problems also played a part, (blamed by some on low-bid contractors), but after 1970 a slightly heavier part was designed and slowly put into the supply chain. High-round-count weapons were also susceptible to stretching of the receiver and other parts.

    A major criticism of the M60 was the inseparability of the barrel from the gas system regulator and the bipod. The sole advantage of the fixed regulator was preventing the operator from inadvertently damaging the weapon by setting the gas pressure too high, though this actually proved to be a major disadvantage in combat; the lack of an adjustable regulator also prevented the gunner from combating progressive fouling of the gas system by increasing the pressure to compensate. The result was insufficient gas power to operate the action after lengthy periods of fire, a situation only remedied by a full field strip of the weapon and cleaning the gas system with solvent and pipe cleaners, a virtually impossible procedure in a combat environment. The non-adjustable front sight is welded to the barrel, causing the weapon's sight calibration ("zero") to be ruined every time a barrel was changed. This design error was recognized early in the weapon's service, but was ignored due to financial reasons; every barrel in service would have needed to be replaced, and given the cost involved, the Department of Defense decided the loss in accuracy was comparatively unimportant given the weapon's role. Australian M-60s did not have this problem I might say.

    Perhaps the most convoluted and unnecessarily complex aspect of the M60 was the quick barrel change procedure, a critical aspect to any machine gun used for suppressive fire. Although equipped with the same quick change lever as the MG-42, each barrel on the M60 had a permanently mounted bipod and no carrying handle to grasp during combat barrel changes. The gunner was thus forced to come out of his prone supported firing position, retract the bipod, lay the entire weapon on the ground and don a large asbestos glove before he could even begin to handle the red-hot barrel to remove it. No other machine gun in history used such a cumbersome system; this system caused the M60 to take far longer to change barrels than other comparable GPMGs. The predictable loss of the glove under combat conditions was also a consistent problem.

    The U.S. rejected the improved M60E3 and adopted the M240—a licensed version of the FN MAG—as their standard general purpose machine gun in 1995; this followed torture tests in which the veteran MAG proved more reliable than the M60E3 of the late 1980s that was designed specifically to fix the original design's reliability flaws. The U.S. Navy special operations forces continued to use the M60E3 for years because of its portability and low weight for its caliber, with a number of upgrades, including a change in feed system and barrel configuration, and fitted with optical sights and other modern accessories
     
  12. kettbo

    kettbo Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Messages:
    435
    Likes Received:
    14
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Occupation:
    US Army (Ret)
    Location:
    Western Washington, USA
    Parsifal,
    EXCELLENT essay there!
    I used the M-60 from 1986 until the were phased out, Cavalry Scout. I'll add that the low use units (no NEW ONES) were pretty fair shooters. Dead-on re your comments on barrel changes. Then there were some weapons that malfunctioned, went in for repairs, no better afterwards. Really loved the M-240C, co-ax weapon on the Bradley M2 and M-3s. Pleased and relieved to turn in the M-60s for the M-240 series. For my role, The SAW was much handier to carry at night, long missions, in difficult terrain, inclement weather...perfect RECON TIME. Beat lugging A PIG (M-60 pet name). I liked the 5.56 SAW though it lacked the 7.62 penetration.

    Re changing tactics? Most late 44-on pictures you see the German squad having a wide assortment of weapons; still many Kar 98K, and some STG and G43, but always a MG-42 and a Panzerfaust by every foxhole. Rather doubt the STG changed much, just added weight of fire when the action got close, an awkward situation for a bolt action rifle with 5 rounds. STURMGEWEHR, Assault Weapon, bit of a misnomer when retreating on all fronts. Widespread service of the STG for Kursk could have been a revolution.
     
  13. silence

    silence Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    579
    Likes Received:
    54
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Occupation:
    Masters Candidate in History
    Location:
    Yuba City, California
    Just as an aside, if I recall correctly US ground troops in Vietnam preferred the shotgun over all other personal weapons. As one might expect, though, they and ammo for them were hard to get hold of.

    The wiki article says few FG42s were made. Were they difficult to make, expensive, or just another Nazi manufacturing screwup?

    And just as a fun little aside for me when I was playing "Return to Castle Wolfenstein" the FG42 was far and away my favorite all-around weapon. Even sounded real cool.
     
  14. DonL

    DonL Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2007
    Messages:
    986
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Occupation:
    IT
    Location:
    Niedersachsen
    #14 DonL, Nov 14, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2013
    The FG42 was a special weapon only for paratroops and also very expensive and complecated to produce compare to the MG 42. It was developed mainly for less weight with optimal firepower.
    In summary 7500 weapons were produced between 1942-1945

    Edit:

    Parsifal you have provided an execellent post and mostly I agree, but I can't understand that you are talking at one side, of the very serious problems of the M60, which it had at the early years (here timeline of Vietnam), but also claim it was a very good weapon at the same timeline (again timeline of Vietnam)

    When the M60 was at Vietnam a very good weapon, what name calling you would give the MG 42?
    To reconstruct the MG 42 to 7,62mm and to equip it with a heavier breech to reduce the firerate was very easy and well known at the late fiftys.
    The MG 42 and all it's "derivates", were and are compat proven at every extreme climatic terms and it had no problems with rain, snow, ice, mud, dirt and wet conditions, it was and is a very very reliable weapon or MG.
    Also from my knowledge from german veterans (WWII) and today BW soldiers, it is a very accurate weapon/MG in the hands of a skilled crew, the barrel change also cost only 4-5 seconds for a skilled crew.

    I stand to my point, at the timeline of Vietnam the M60 with all it's serious- or kindergarden problems was miles away from the reliable and accurate MG 42.
     
  15. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2009
    Messages:
    1,710
    Likes Received:
    107
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Other than the caliber difference, as there particular reasons why the US could not simply adopt the MG42 as-is post war?
    It seems other nations did so with minor changes.
     
  16. DonL

    DonL Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2007
    Messages:
    986
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Occupation:
    IT
    Location:
    Niedersachsen
    I can't see any reason and indeed it was pretty easy to reconstruct the MG 42 to an other caliber and also reduce the firerate a bit.
     
  17. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2005
    Messages:
    6,160
    Likes Received:
    128
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Consellor
    Location:
    Lincolnshire
    The paper that was referred to is first class and shows up the indecision at the higher ranks of the US Army which as ever was paid for in the lives of those on the front line. Having identified in 1946 that the US army needed an LMG, there is no excuse for the delay before the M60 came into service.
    Re the comment about the FN being untested in the Vietnam era, I thought that it was in use from the late 1950's certainly in the British Army so it at least as proven as the M60.

    I have a book on the fighting in Vietnam written by an Australian member of their recce unit. His favorite weapon was the Owen, it was light, fast firing and very reliable. Range wasn't an issue in the jungle but if you came across the enemy the ability to fire a lot of ammo in their direction often gave you the time to act. They were then issued with M16's which they got rid of as fast as they could and relied on modified SLR's.
     
  18. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Messages:
    6,418
    Likes Received:
    64
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    That comes down to national doctrine. Many nations preferred a magazine fed LMG. ZB vs.26 LMG (Bren was a variant) compares well to BAR, RPK, Madsen LMG etc.

    Germany preferred (and still prefers) belt feed LMG with an exceptionally high rate of fire. Difficult to argue with the results. MG-42 might be the best all around LMG in history.
     
  19. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Messages:
    1,321
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Chicagoland Area
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T24_machine_gun

     
  20. DonL

    DonL Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2007
    Messages:
    986
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Occupation:
    IT
    Location:
    Niedersachsen
    #20 DonL, Nov 14, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2013
    And to forward some interesting new news,
    the good old G3 is back in town.
    Inofficially the BW started a major reinstallment of the G3 at their action forces, because of the many experiences (bad) of the war in Afghanistan.

    Reasons.

    1. The G36 has massivly heat problems at long (hours and day long) fire fights. The barrel is overheating under specific circumstances, which leads to massive dispersion. Accurate point fire isn't possible after the overheating, only if the barrel would be cooled.
    2. Also the 5.56 caliber is regarded as insufficient by the experiences in Afghanistan.

    Also the planed successive withdrawal from service of the MG 3 (to forward the MG4) is totaly of the table, now the BW will plan with the MG3 for the next 20 years.
     
Loading...

Share This Page