Were the MG17 and MG42 too heavy for the SAW role?

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by gjs238, May 18, 2015.

  1. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Weren't they more GPMG?
     
  2. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    Its not that they were too heavy for the SAW role, although I wouldn't like to be lugging them around at 11-12 kg + ammo, its that there really wasn't a SAW role in German infantry doctrine of WW2.

    As I understand it, German infantry tactics were based around the machine gun acting as the foundation of the infantry killing power. The basic formation was a 9-12 man unit, comprised of a three to six man MG squad and a five to six man rifle squad. The infantry unit was basically there to support the MG's base of fire, keep it protected and fed with ammunition.

    German paratroops, emphasising infantry movement more, did get a kind-of SAW, in the form of the FG42.
     
  3. razor1uk

    razor1uk Well-Known Member

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    I think the MG17 (and MG15) are the non infantry versions of the MG34 (for usage in aircraft personal mountings a remotely charged fired mountings), but of them being the Heer's version of SAW/SSW/LSW, then that is correct albeit with the reversal of the Squad to MG relationship as Jabber pointed out.

    In a ways the FG42 in all its versions was more like an LSW than a SAW in design vs. the MG15/17/34 family MG42, as it looked like a(n assault) rifle with usually a 20 box magazine like an L86A1 LSW or Automatic M14 than the others which are closer in style to the modern M249/Minim SAW.
     
  4. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    FG42 had same problem as USA Johnson LMG. Chambered for cartridges too powerful for such a lightweight automatic weapon. I suspect both weapons would have performed the SAW role just fine if chambered for something like 5.56mm NATO or 7.92mm Kurz.
     
  5. Koopernic

    Koopernic Active Member

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    Still, it introduced one feature of modern shoulder weapons: the barrel lined up with the stock so that any barrel lift, even though from a full cartridge, was minimised. It does seem to have been used effectively in the full auto mode. So despite dispersion from the hefty recoil the lift was minimised and it was a lot better than nothing when full auto was required. I wonder how it compared in the full auto dispersion department with say an M14 that had a conventional stock.
     
  6. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    SAW variant of M14 had a heavy barrel and a special recoil pad. Never fired that version but I've fired hundreds of rounds from accurized semi automatic M14 rifles at National Guard rifle matches.
     
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