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RE: Evaluating Squad Automatic Weapons - 1/12/2007 6:52:10 PM   
Steve Wilcox

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: KG Erwin

I'm quoting from Mark Flowers' WWII Gyrene weblog for Dec 29 about the merits of the Browning Automatic Rifle vis a vis the MG34/42 as a squad automatic weapon.

"The BAR was never intended to be a light machine gun. It was designed as an automatic rifle, and employed as such in the US armed forces. Virtually every rifle squad in the US Army and Marine Corps was equipped with at least one BAR. No other Army in World War II came close to this ratio of issue for a squad automatic weapon. During its production, over 200,000 BARs were manufactured. The other major combatants on the war used bolt action service rifles, giving them a much lower volume of fire in comparison with our Soldiers and Marines. The infantry of the US Army and Marine Corps could produce a much higher rate of long range fire than any other infantry. When you consider the M1 rifle, the BAR, the M1919 machine gun and the M1917 at battalion level, the infantry battalion had an incredible amount of firepower. You have to factor this in when discussing infantry support weapons."


Seems weird to me that he's comparing the BAR to bolt-action rifles instead of comparing it to other SAWs when he says the part that I've put in bold. At least one automatic weapon per squad is a very typical ratio of issue, not unique to the US Army or Marine Corps. Does he not consider the LMGs in German, British, or Soviet rifle squads to be squad automatic weapons?
If he was talking about the M1 rifle, I'd agree the issue of semi-auto rifles was outstanding compared to other countries.


< Message edited by Steve Wilcox -- 1/12/2007 7:05:54 PM >

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RE: Evaluating Squad Automatic Weapons - 1/13/2007 2:09:43 AM   
KG Erwin


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Steve Wilcox

[Seems weird to me that he's comparing the BAR to bolt-action rifles instead of comparing it to other SAWs when he says the part that I've put in bold. At least one automatic weapon per squad is a very typical ratio of issue, not unique to the US Army or Marine Corps. Does he not consider the LMGs in German, British, or Soviet rifle squads to be squad automatic weapons?
If he was talking about the M1 rifle, I'd agree the issue of semi-auto rifles was outstanding compared to other countries.



Hmm -- well, I don't consider most LMGs as squad automatic weapons, as they are crew-served weapons, correct? I suppose the Bren is an exception to that. The implication is that a SAW is operated by one man. I think that's how "Doc" Flowers defines it. He's one of my best buddies, so I won't argue the point with him.


< Message edited by KG Erwin -- 1/13/2007 2:22:37 AM >

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RE: Evaluating Squad Automatic Weapons - 1/13/2007 2:26:19 AM   
Goblin


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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squad_automatic_weapon

quote:

A squad automatic weapon (SAW, also known as section automatic weapon) is a light or general-purpose machine gun, usually equipped with a bipod and firing a rifle-caliber bullet. A SAW is used to provide suppressive fire for an infantry squad or section.


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RE: Evaluating Squad Automatic Weapons - 1/13/2007 2:29:12 AM   
Goblin


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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_purpose_machine_gun

The upper right of this one shows a clear example of a light MG34 compared to a M/H MG34. Note the box holding the rounds for the MG34 (the round 'clip'). Easily operated by one man.



Goblin

< Message edited by Goblin -- 1/13/2007 2:41:27 AM >


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RE: Evaluating Squad Automatic Weapons - 1/13/2007 2:48:09 AM   
KG Erwin


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Goblin

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_purpose_machine_gun

The upper right of this one shows a clear example of a light MG34 compared to a M/H MG34. Note the box holding the rounds for the MG34 (the round 'clip'). Easily operated by one man.



Goblin


Well, maybe I should e-mail Mark after all. Interesting info, Goblin. BTW, each USMC rifle squad had a man designated as an "assistant BAR man". What did this guy do, tote the BAR man's mess kit?

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RE: Evaluating Squad Automatic Weapons - 1/13/2007 3:21:10 AM   
Goblin


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Spotter/security back-up, I would imagine. In practice he also probably carried as much ammo for the BAR as he could after his own ammo load. Just a guess. The German's had two on the LMG also, IIRC. One spotted/provided security/humped ammo.

Goblin

< Message edited by Goblin -- 1/13/2007 3:31:46 AM >


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RE: Evaluating Squad Automatic Weapons - 1/13/2007 4:15:49 AM   
vahauser


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I think this was mentioned earlier, but it bears repeating.  In the German Army, the squad machingunner was considered to be the squad's best soldier and, as such, the rest of the squad tended to be support.

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RE: Evaluating Squad Automatic Weapons - 1/13/2007 4:21:17 AM   
FlashfyreSP


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The German LMG team within the Grenadier Squad had an assistant gunner, whose job was to spot for the primary gunner and change the ammo magazines, and take over if the gunner was incapacitated. Some of the other riflemen were tasked with carrying extra ammo, which they would drop off near the MG team, then deploy to the flanks to provide security.

In the Marine and US Army squads, the assistant BAR man's job was very similar; help the BAR operator with ammo resupply, spot for him, and pick up the weapon if he was incapacitated.

The big difference, I believe, between the LMG and the BAR was in the mobility; the BAR was lighter, and could be fired like any other rifle, whereas the LMG usually required a brace of some sort, either the bipod, a convenient wall or windowsill, or even the shoulder of a comrade. This made the BAR capable of being used in confines the LMGs could not be used, as well as being fired in ways the LMGs couldn't be fired, very well, such as from the hip.


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RE: Evaluating Squad Automatic Weapons - 1/13/2007 4:24:27 AM   
FlashfyreSP


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quote:

ORIGINAL: vahauser

I think this was mentioned earlier, but it bears repeating. In the German Army, the squad machingunner was considered to be the squad's best soldier and, as such, the rest of the squad tended to be support.


Wouldn't "the best soldier in the squad" be the Squad Leader?

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RE: Evaluating Squad Automatic Weapons - 1/13/2007 4:32:07 AM   
Orzel Bialy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: KG Erwin
Well, maybe I should e-mail Mark after all. Interesting info, Goblin. BTW, each USMC rifle squad had a man designated as an "assistant BAR man". What did this guy do, tote the BAR man's mess kit?


Glenn, the Poles utilized their version of the BAR (the rkm wz28) as the squad light machine gun. Their MG squad consisted of a 4 man squad. The first was a squad leader (usually a corporal) then one soldier lugged the BAR itself and then two more gunner assistants lugged extra ammo for the BAR as well as their own rifles.

Goblin is also correct in the assumption that the assistants acted not only as ammo handlers but also acted as a spotter and flank support for the actual BAR gunner.

< Message edited by Orzel Bialy -- 1/13/2007 4:45:39 AM >


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RE: Evaluating Squad Automatic Weapons - 1/13/2007 5:06:50 AM   
vahauser


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FlashFyre,

It certainly makes sense that the squad leader would be the squad's best soldier, but here is what the BattleWire website has to say:

Maschinegerwehr 42
Machine Gun
by Devin Cooley

Caliber 7.92mm
Cartridge: 7.92mm x 57mm Mauser
Length: 48 in (1219mm)
Weight : 25.25 lbs. (11.5 kg)
Muzzle Velocity: 2478 ft. (755m) per second
Effective Range: 1100 yds. (1000m)
Rate Of Fire: 1200 rounds/min. (cyclic)
Magazine: 50 round link belt

The MG-42 machine gun was designed to replace the German MG-34. The MG-42 was to be mass produced and to be more rugged in the field than the hand-crafted MG34 which demanded more maintenance and care. The result of these efforts created perhaps the world's best machine gun with a unique delayed blowback system of firing. Durable, dependable and possessing an incredible rate of fire made this weapon the pride of German infantry and the scourge of the Allies.

Its distinctive firing sound of ripping canvas punctuated the battlefield and was easily recognizable by Americans for the MG 42 fired three times as fast as any machine gun in the American arsenal.

By 1944 the German squad and its tactics revolved around the MG-42. The squad's main focus in a firefight was to get the MG42 up and firing on the enemy as quickly as possible, with the rest of the squad ready to bring more ammo to the gun if need be. In addition, the gunner of the squad's MG-42 was the unit's best and steadiest soldier. [emphasis by vahauser] The MG-42 may be fired from its bipod (Light MG), on a tripod (Medium) or from a tripod and with a heavy barrel (Heavy).




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RE: Evaluating Squad Automatic Weapons - 1/13/2007 5:21:45 AM   
Goblin


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Makes sense, since you don't want your MG running away first. Since the squad leader had other duties, they may mean of the other soldiers in the squad, excluding the squad leader. Otherwise in one squad you might have a soldier running the gun, and the next squad the squad leader running the gun, etc. Maybe the squad leader picked his best guy and gave him the job.


Goblin

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RE: Evaluating Squad Automatic Weapons - 1/13/2007 5:23:54 AM   
m10bob


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quote:

ORIGINAL: FlashfyreSP

quote:

ORIGINAL: vahauser

I think this was mentioned earlier, but it bears repeating. In the German Army, the squad machingunner was considered to be the squad's best soldier and, as such, the rest of the squad tended to be support.


Wouldn't "the best soldier in the squad" be the Squad Leader?




An interesting theory..ah, but if it were true....


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RE: Evaluating Squad Automatic Weapons - 1/13/2007 5:25:39 AM   
Orzel Bialy


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This refers to the squads most steadfast non-NCO soldier...which means its excluding the squad leader himself.

It did make very good business sense to have the most capable man handling one of the squads most effective means of firepower.

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RE: Evaluating Squad Automatic Weapons - 1/13/2007 8:01:44 AM   
FlashfyreSP


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Ok, I can agree with the assessment of non-NCO, or at least the best soldier other than the squad sergeant/leader.
But I believe this could also be said of just about any nation, if they included a LMG in the squad makeup. You can't very well give the "squad slacker" the MG and expect him to do a bang-up job, right?




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RE: Evaluating Squad Automatic Weapons - 1/13/2007 9:27:37 AM   
Mike Wood


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Hello...

Some .50 calibre machine gun operators might disagree. Only one third rate of fire, but bigger, badder projectiles.

Bye...

Michael Wood

quote:


...The result of these efforts created perhaps the world's best machine gun...


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RE: Evaluating Squad Automatic Weapons - 1/13/2007 9:51:28 AM   
Mike Wood


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Hello...

Game makes following assumptions.

Squad or section as called in Europe was 8 to 15 men and based around a light machine gun. Pretty much true for most armies of period. The machine gun provided most of the fire power and all others in squad supported that gun. Bren gun, DP LMG, MG-34 and MG-42 are all assumed to be light machine guns. Squad size was large, because it was believed that with only 4 or 5 men were in squad, one casualty could eliminate squad (the LMG) as fighting force. With 10 or 12 men they would not feel as threatened by the loss of a man or two.

U.S.A. never developed a real light machine gun, before the war and had different philosophy. It was planned that by arming all troops with semi-automatic gas operated weapons, a squad would be able to place as much fire as a platoon of regular troops. Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) was added for use against recalcitrant targets and given armor piercing ammunition. Later in war, most squads ended up with two or three BARs, as the need for a light machine gun became apparent, even with semi-automatic rifles. Later in war, some units were armed with .30 MMG and bipod in LMG role.

U.S.M.C. found that they could actually base fire around automatic weapon, with only four men. This was the beginning of the fire team and three were formed in each squad. They started around the BAR. When I served, the fire team was composed of the M-60 operator, the rifle man, the radio man and the fire team leader. The M-60 could be used as a light machine gun with bipod or medium machine gun, with tripod and a three man crew. It was based on the MG-42, which was also used as a light or medium machine gun.

Bye…

Michael Wood


< Message edited by Mike Wood -- 1/13/2007 10:05:10 AM >

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RE: Evaluating Squad Automatic Weapons - 1/13/2007 1:31:43 PM   
264rifle

 

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This is from "Ammunition" by Johnson and Haven. Extracted from the "The Infantry Mailing List" volume XXII, July,1941,pgs 203 et seq.

there are several tables dealing with the Ammunition with an infantry regiment.

For the BAR in a rifle company equipped with M1 rifles the loadout is 320 rounds," 80 by the the automatic rifleman, 120 by the assistant automatic rifleman and each ammunition carrier, all in 20- round magazines: 40 by each ammuniton carrier in 5- or 8-round clips (see ammunition for the rifle)."

another 820 rounds is carried on the unit ammunition train "468 to issued prior to combat-- 100 to each automatic rifleman and 80 to each assistant automatic rifleman in 20-round magazines; 96 to each assistant autimatic rifleman in 48-round bandoleers; 192 to each ammunition carrier in 48-round bandoleers (see ammunition for M! rifle); 384 retained in ammuniton train as reserve."

There are numbers that differ a little bit for companies equipped with M1903 or M1917 rifles because their bandoleers held 60 rounds.

A further 576 or 540 rounds (depending on rifle type in unit) were held on the train of higher unit. This gives totals of 1748 rounds and 1720 rounds for the automatic rifles in companies equiped with the M1 and the bolt guns.

Ammo mix is given as 5% AP; 10% tracer: 85% ball. The mix for the rifles is given as 10% AP; 20% tracer; 70% ball. The same mix is given for the belt fed guns.

The ammunition for the rifles is listed as 328 rounds total ( on individual, on unit Am Tn, on Train of higher unit) for the M1 and 220 rounds for the Bolt guns. The air cooled Browning is listed as having 3000 rounds on prime mover or truck, 2000 rounds on unit ammunition train and 1000 on train of higher unit for 6000 total. The water cooled Browning is listed as 6750 on prime mover or truck with 1500 on train of higher command for 8250 total.

Remember that these are pre-war ammunition allotments and could very well have changed by the time American troops saw action but they do point out the thinking of the time.
Two examples of that thinking are a 200 round allotment (all in magazines) per automatic rifle (BAR) "organically assigned to pedestal mount (AA on vehicle)...." and that the Browning Machine Gun, Caliber 50, HB, M2, Ground. is listed as an "Antitank Machine gun".

Also no listing for any sub-machine gun.



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RE: Evaluating Squad Automatic Weapons - 1/13/2007 7:10:44 PM   
m10bob


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quote:

ORIGINAL: 264rifle

This is from "Ammunition" by Johnson and Haven. Extracted from the "The Infantry Mailing List" volume XXII, July,1941,pgs 203 et seq.

there are several tables dealing with the Ammunition with an infantry regiment.

For the BAR in a rifle company equipped with M1 rifles the loadout is 320 rounds," 80 by the the automatic rifleman, 120 by the assistant automatic rifleman and each ammunition carrier, all in 20- round magazines: 40 by each ammuniton carrier in 5- or 8-round clips (see ammunition for the rifle)."

another 820 rounds is carried on the unit ammunition train "468 to issued prior to combat-- 100 to each automatic rifleman and 80 to each assistant automatic rifleman in 20-round magazines; 96 to each assistant autimatic rifleman in 48-round bandoleers; 192 to each ammunition carrier in 48-round bandoleers (see ammunition for M! rifle); 384 retained in ammuniton train as reserve."

There are numbers that differ a little bit for companies equipped with M1903 or M1917 rifles because their bandoleers held 60 rounds.

A further 576 or 540 rounds (depending on rifle type in unit) were held on the train of higher unit. This gives totals of 1748 rounds and 1720 rounds for the automatic rifles in companies equiped with the M1 and the bolt guns.

Ammo mix is given as 5% AP; 10% tracer: 85% ball. The mix for the rifles is given as 10% AP; 20% tracer; 70% ball. The same mix is given for the belt fed guns.

The ammunition for the rifles is listed as 328 rounds total ( on individual, on unit Am Tn, on Train of higher unit) for the M1 and 220 rounds for the Bolt guns. The air cooled Browning is listed as having 3000 rounds on prime mover or truck, 2000 rounds on unit ammunition train and 1000 on train of higher unit for 6000 total. The water cooled Browning is listed as 6750 on prime mover or truck with 1500 on train of higher command for 8250 total.

Remember that these are pre-war ammunition allotments and could very well have changed by the time American troops saw action but they do point out the thinking of the time.
Two examples of that thinking are a 200 round allotment (all in magazines) per automatic rifle (BAR) "organically assigned to pedestal mount (AA on vehicle)...." and that the Browning Machine Gun, Caliber 50, HB, M2, Ground. is listed as an "Antitank Machine gun".

Also no listing for any sub-machine gun.





I love this post. BTW, your assumption the "round mix" changed during was is correct..The AP rounds for the M1 went up closer to 15-20%, and the BAR up to as much as 60%. (This was one of the reasons the designers of the Armelite AR 15 were so keen on showing what the .223 could do to a concrete block wall, the BAR was commonly used to eliminate enemy hiding places.)


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