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Only semi-OT Macine guns... - 12/7/2017 2:10:40 AM   
Big B

 

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An interesting vintage Signal Corps film.
Of course one can point to biases and purpose of the film, but nevertheless it is food for thought visa-vi the value of accuracy (rounds-on-target) vs Rate of Fire (psychology) ....
In any case - food for thought for those who are interested.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_2UxfIFg-c

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RE: Only semi-OT Macine guns... - 12/7/2017 4:28:38 AM   
BBfanboy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Big B

An interesting vintage Signal Corps film.
Of course one can point to biases and purpose of the film, but nevertheless it is food for thought visa-vi the value of accuracy (rounds-on-target) vs Rate of Fire (psychology) ....
In any case - food for thought for those who are interested.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_2UxfIFg-c

11 vs 18 rounds on target is moot when the first three hits kill you. The real disadvantage of the German MG 42 was that the barrel got red-hot very quickly and would probably cook off rounds in the chamber without the trigger being pulled.

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RE: Only semi-OT Macine guns... - 12/7/2017 2:30:06 PM   
crsutton


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Rate of fire is a theoretical number. More important is reliability. I really does not matter how fast a MG can fire if it is prone to jam or its ammo is suspect. I think American MGs and the MG 42 were fairly reliable weapons. Don't really know about the ammo.

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RE: Only semi-OT Macine guns... - 12/7/2017 3:25:11 PM   
Chickenboy


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The MG42 was a very capable weapon and it's 'bark' was not worse than it's 'bite'. That bit was nonsense. The high rate of fire from multiple massed MG42s would bring an advancing foe to a halt until the guns could be neutralized. But the prodigious use of ammunition was a problem at the front lines occasionally.

The German philosophy of a very heavily armed infantry squad served them particularly well on the defensive and the MG42, with its stamped metal manufacturing process could be made in quantity. It's not really about the accuracy. It's about as many guns spraying as much lead at the enemy as possible.

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RE: Only semi-OT Macine guns... - 12/7/2017 5:01:58 PM   
offenseman


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Chickenboy

The MG42 was a very capable weapon and it's 'bark' was not worse than it's 'bite'. That bit was nonsense. The high rate of fire from multiple massed MG42s would bring an advancing foe to a halt until the guns could be neutralized. But the prodigious use of ammunition was a problem at the front lines occasionally.

The German philosophy of a very heavily armed infantry squad served them particularly well on the defensive and the MG42, with its stamped metal manufacturing process could be made in quantity. It's not really about the accuracy. It's about as many guns spraying as much lead at the enemy as possible.


I agree. In war it is not so much about Minutes of Angle type of accuracy. The Soviets used to say it was about Minutes of Man. 12" accuracy at 100m was good enough. Hence the Mosin, SKS, AK47/74 and other variants held to that standard. Belt fed machine guns are of course different as there is an element of "spray and pray" to it.

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RE: Only semi-OT Macine guns... - 12/7/2017 8:49:50 PM   
LargeSlowTarget


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quote:

ORIGINAL: BBfanboy


quote:

ORIGINAL: Big B

An interesting vintage Signal Corps film.
Of course one can point to biases and purpose of the film, but nevertheless it is food for thought visa-vi the value of accuracy (rounds-on-target) vs Rate of Fire (psychology) ....
In any case - food for thought for those who are interested.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_2UxfIFg-c

11 vs 18 rounds on target is moot when the first three hits kill you. The real disadvantage of the German MG 42 was that the barrel got red-hot very quickly and would probably cook off rounds in the chamber without the trigger being pulled.


The MG42 had a quick change mechanism for the barrel and was provided with several barrels per MG and asbestos gloves for the assistant gunner who was responsible for the barrel changes. The barrel had to be changed after about 150 rounds of sustained fire. I have been trained on the MG3 the Bundeswehr still uses, which is basically a MG42 chambered for NATO standard 7.62, and I could change a barrel in 4-5 seconds.

< Message edited by LargeSlowTarget -- 12/7/2017 8:50:45 PM >


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RE: Only semi-OT Macine guns... - 12/7/2017 10:09:31 PM   
Zorch

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: LargeSlowTarget

quote:

ORIGINAL: BBfanboy


quote:

ORIGINAL: Big B

An interesting vintage Signal Corps film.
Of course one can point to biases and purpose of the film, but nevertheless it is food for thought visa-vi the value of accuracy (rounds-on-target) vs Rate of Fire (psychology) ....
In any case - food for thought for those who are interested.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_2UxfIFg-c

11 vs 18 rounds on target is moot when the first three hits kill you. The real disadvantage of the German MG 42 was that the barrel got red-hot very quickly and would probably cook off rounds in the chamber without the trigger being pulled.


The MG42 had a quick change mechanism for the barrel and was provided with several barrels per MG and asbestos gloves for the assistant gunner who was responsible for the barrel changes. The barrel had to be changed after about 150 rounds of sustained fire. I have been trained on the MG3 the Bundeswehr still uses, which is basically a MG42 chambered for NATO standard 7.62, and I could change a barrel in 4-5 seconds.

The start of Saving Private Ryan has a good example of what an MG42 could do.

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RE: Only semi-OT Macine guns... - 12/8/2017 3:25:46 AM   
Gregg

 

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I normally would not jump into a thread like this, but I have to put my 2 cents worth in.
The training film was just that, a biased US Army training film.
Its purpose was to instill confidence in the American weapons, and to downplay the the German weapons.

I'm very fortunate to own seven of the eight machine guns shown in the first part of said training film: the M1917, the M1919a4, the MG-34, the MG42, the MP40 and the Thompson M1a1, and the BAR.
I wish to note here, that all thirteen full auto machine guns I own, are registered and totally legal!
The only one shown in the training film that I do not personally own is the M3 Grease Gun, but I did fire one, many years ago.
I intend to talk about the firearms only, not their use doctrine.

First the submachine guns.

Of the tree, my choice to carry into combat would be a toss-up between the MP-40 and the M3.
All three are very reliable guns, very controllable at full auto, but the Thompson is too heavy to lug around.
The MP-40 and the M3 are much lighter to carry; but the advantage has to go to the M3 due to the 45 ACP cartridge rather than the MP-40's 9mm Parabellum cartridge, as the 45 ACP is just a better man stopper.

Now the light/medium machine guns.

The M1917 is a very good medium machine gun, reliable and correctly maintained will shoot shoot tens of thousands of rounds before maintenance is required, as long as the water jacket is kept full of water. It is primarily a defensive weapon, as it is heavy and is not easy to lug around. Also, it was intended to be fired off a tripod, and was a failure when used as a bi-pod mounted weapon. It required a five man crew; the gunner who carried the gun, an assistant gunner who carried the tripod, a loader who carried the water cans, and two ammo carriers.
The M1917 from personal experience is accurate due to the steady (heavy) tripod and the slow 450 rounds per minute rate of fire. At 300 yards, I can place an entire 100 round belt of ammo, fired in one long burst, into a 3 ft by 3 ft cardboard target. But this is cheating, due to the elevation and traverse locks available on the tripod (the T&E). Once you have it sighted in, and locked down, you can fire an unlimited number of rounds through a normal house sized window at 300 yards.
I love my M1917 (really a Colt M28) and its British cousin, the Vickers; but they are both too heavy to carry out to the shooting club I belong to, thus I seldom shoot either.

The M1919a4 (and its cousin the M1919a6 shown it the film) are really nothing more than a M1917 minus the water jacket on the barrel, and in the M1919a4's case, a much lighter tripod with a T&E. The M1919a6 has a shoulder stock and a bi-pod in place of the tripod. Both are a bit faster firing than the M1917, at about 600 rounds per minute. The aircraft gun versions had lighter barrel extensions and bolt assemblies, boosting their rate of fire to about 1000 rounds per minute. GI's during WWII would "acquire" aircraft MG internal parts to make their M1919's fire faster, thus I would guess the GI's also thought faster was better in combat!
The M1919a4 from personal experience is accurate enough, but with the much lighter tripod, it does tend to jump around at full auto with long bursts. To get around this, and to improve accuracy, machine gunners normally fire in short 3, 4 or 5 round bursts, "the so called gunners trigger finger twitch".
The big draw back to the M1919 is the barrel, that is not easy to change under combat conditions. The barrel is 100% air cooled, and the M1919 has a effective rate of fire of only about 150 rounds per minute, and even at that rate of fire, you will burn/erode out the rifling in the barrel, in only 10 to 15 minutes.
Because spare barrels are expensive, I normally fire a 100 round belt in short bursts and then let the gun cool off for 10 to 15 minutes before shooting off another belt.
The M1919A4 normally had a four man crew, as there was no one needed to carry the water cans.
The M1919a6 had a three man crew, as no one was needed to carry the tripod. But the M1919a6 was not an accurate weapon, as with just a bi-pod, it jumped all over the place during long bursts, requiring it be shot with short bursts to get rounds on target.

The MG34 was the Cadillac of the light/medium machine guns, period. Very well made, very versatile, and a easy one man carry. its only drawback was that it was expensive to manufacture, as it used a lot of finely machined parts. It has about a 750 rounds per minute rate of fire, and can be equipped with a 50 round drum magazine or a 75 round saddle drum magazine. This makes the MG34 a good defensive weapon, but also a great "Walking Fire" offensive weapon. The MG34 is equipped with a bi-pod for normal operations. But there is a clever tripod call the "Lafayette Mount" that turns the MG34 into a defensive medium machine gun, just like the M1919A4. Additionally the Lafayette Mount can also be used as an anti-aircraft mount, something a normally equipped M1917 or M1919 could not do.
Yes, the MG34 was also air cooled, but the MG34 had a quick change barrel setup, and normally 3 or 4 spare barrels were with every MG34 in the field. With this setup, you could quickly fire 250 or so rounds, and the in about 15 seconds change out the hot barrel for a cool one, and give the bolt assembly a quick shot of oil; and quickly shoot another 250 rounds. By time you used all 4 or 5 barrels, the first one was cooled off enough to repeat the cycle, over and over. This gave the MG34 an effective rate of fire of about 250 rounds per minute in combat conditions, for as long as the ammo held out.
The MG34 crew was 3 or 4 men, depending if the tripod was in use or not.
The MG34 from personal experience is accurate enough from the bi-pod if fired in short bursts, and nearly as good accuracy wise as a M1917 when fired from the tripod (it also has a T&E). The MG34 is my favorite belt feed machine gun, hands down. Again because spare barrels are expensive, I normally fire my MG34 with a 100 round belt in short bursts and then let the gun cool off for 10 to 15 minutes before shooting off another belt.

The MG42 was the Ford Pickup Truck of light/medium machine guns, cheap to build, reliable and accurate enough to do the job. It was also very versatile, and was used as a light machine gun with its attached bi-pod, a as a medium machine gun when used with the Lafette Mount. The MG42 also could be equipped with the 50 or 75 round drums that the MG34 used, to make it a good walking fire weapon.
The MG42 did have a high rate of fire due to its light weight bolt assembly, at about 1100 rounds per minute. A "High Rate" bolt assembly was available for use in the anti-aircraft mode, that resulted in a 1400 to 1500 round per minute rate of fire.
It can be argued that high rate of fire was detrimental to the guns performance, but it was normally fired in short 10 to 12 round bursts to improve accuracy, and not waste ammo.
The West German Army built and used a slightly modified MG42 post WWII, called the MG1 then the MG3, that used the 308 cartridge (7.62x51 NATO), and had a buffered bolt assembly that slowed the rate of fire to about 800 rounds per minute. The Yugoslavians made a copy of the MG3 they called the M53, and the Spanish made a sub scaled version that fired the 223 cartridge. Even the US Army used the MG42 as the bases for the M60 machine gun. So, the world thought the MG42 was a excellent Machine Gun Platform.
Additionally the MG42 has a much improved quick change barrel setup, over the MG34. The barrel on the MG42 could be changed out in 5 seconds by a trained and experienced loader. The MG42 crew was 3 or 4 men, depending if the tripod was in use or not.
The MG42 from personal experience is accurate enough from the bi-pod if fired in short bursts, and nearly as good accuracy wise as a M1917 when fired from the tripod, again equipped with a T&E. I like the MG42 as a belt feed machine gun, but it takes second place to the MG34. Again because spare barrels are expensive, I normally fire my MG42 with a 100 round belt in short bursts and then let the gun cool off for 10 to 15 minutes before shooting off another belt.

Finally, the M1918 BAR was ahead of its time for WWI, which it arrived too late to have any real impact in WWI combat. All in all the BAR is adequate as a squad automatic weapon, but that is all it was. It was heavy to carry, and the ergonomics of the magazine location was an issue. With the magazine sticking out the bottom of the gun, it made getting into a really low prone position difficult. A larger capacity magazine only would make that worse. Also, 20 rounds is a small magazine for a full auto weapon.The rate of fire was about 500 rounds per minute, but the BAR did not have a changeable barrel assembly. That limited the BAR to an effective rate of fire to about 100 rounds per minute for about 5 minutes at very best.
The BAR did have some good points; as it could be fired semi-auto and when shot so, it was very accurate, like a heavy barrel target rifle. But even with the attached bi-pod, it was not accurate when fired in long bursts at full auto. Thus short bursts were required to get accuracy. The BAR was a good walking fire weapon, with its only drawback being the 20 round magazine.
The BAR crew normally 2 people, the gunner who carried the BAR, and an assistant who carried ammo.
Now I do not own a M1918 BAR, I own a Colt Monitor, the civilian version of the BAR. Mechanically it is identical to a BAR, but has a carbine length barrel, a "Cutts Compensator" at the muzzle to limit barrel climb at full auto, a lighter stock and no bi-pod.
I have fired a M1918 BAR frequently over the years, and from personal experience it is accurate enough from the bi-pod if fired in short bursts. Again because spare barrels are expensive, I normally fired just a magazine or two in short bursts and then let the gun cool off for 10 to 15 minutes before shooting off another magazine or two.

Some parting thoughts.
In a totally defensive position, by myself, I would take the M1917 or the Vickers hands down.
In a combination defensive/offensive position, by myself, I would take a Mark I Bren Gun or a Japanese T99 hands down.
Here are the reasons for what many of you will consider a insane choice.
Both the Bren Gun and The T99 are relatively light weight, are extremely reliable, have a cyclic rate of around 450/500 round per minute, and are very accurate out to 300 yards. Both have an effective rate of fire of around 120 rounds per minute. Both have changeable barrel assemblies, but the Bren Gun has the advantage of a lever to change the barrel over the T99's screw out slide. The T99 has the advantages of being a bit lighter, and having less recoil than the Bren Gun. But in my opinion and experience, it would be a toss up as to what one is better.

As to cooking off cartridges in a hot barrel.
True machine guns, with few exceptions, fire from a open bolt.
There is no cartridge in the chamber until the trigger is pulled. So unless you have a dud in the chamber that failed to extract, there is zero chance for a round to cook off in any of the above discussed machine guns.

As to overheating barrels.
That is not an issue for water cooled machine guns or machine guns with a quick change barrel capability.

Lastly, that German MG42 machine gun nest shown in the film.
First, there were only two men in the nest.
Where were the other two crew members?
The other two would gave been to the sides of the nest, giving flanking cover with their MP40's.
Then, where were the other six riflemen of the German squad?
They would have been in three two's: Two to the left, two to the right and two behind the nest, to give flanking cover and rear cover to the MG42, with their K98 rifles.
Taking out that nest would not have been as easy as the training film indicated!

Thats enough.

Regards;
Gregg

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RE: Only semi-OT Macine guns... - 12/8/2017 9:12:40 PM   
Rusty1961

 

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If you haven't heard of the "Beast of Omaha Beach" you owe it to yourself to learn about it. Here is a WP story about the Beast's exploit with the superlative MG42 and K43 carbine.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A10191-2004Jul23_2.html

Unquestionably, this illustrates why the MG42 was the weapon of the war.

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RE: Only semi-OT Macine guns... - 12/8/2017 9:40:24 PM   
GetAssista

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Gregg
I normally would not jump into a thread like this, but I have to put my 2 cents worth in.
...

That was a very informative post, thank you very much, sir!


quote:

ORIGINAL: Rusty1961
..
Unquestionably, this illustrates why the MG42 was the weapon of the war.

Russians would probably disagree, being subject to MG34 for several years before that, and employing human wave attacks frequently early in the war.

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RE: Only semi-OT Macine guns... - 12/10/2017 7:59:09 PM   
Big B

 

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I'll put my two cents in for fun.

The film was a training and familiarization film for U.S. Infantry, it's primary purpose being to instill confidence in their own equipment and at the same time to De-mythologize German automatic weapons.
I trained as an infantryman 37 years ago. I trained on and fired the 'then - GP machine gun' M-60 (spending some time as my squads M-60 machine gunner), as well as the HBM2 Browning .50' (it was on all of our tracks..M113).

Later in the 1980's & '90s, in the course of doing WW2 reenacting, I got familiarized with the M1919A4 Browning .30, M1A1 Thompson, the B.A.R. 1918A1, and the MP-40, MG-34, & MG-42.

So I'm not a stranger to these or the many other military rifles and pistols of the 20th century (U.S, British, German, and Soviet).

Germany still uses the MG-42 in it's NATO cartridge MG3 version, though curiously the US military and the Soviets(and later Russians) - the two greatest Armies in the world since 1945 - chose NOT to adopt a variant of the MG-42,...they stuck with squad automatic weapons that fired in the 600-650 rounds per minute category (10 to 11 rounds per second, as opposed to 15 to 20 as the German guns do). I find this curious.

As a U.S. Army machine gunner, when engaging a body of enemy infantry in depth - we were trained to fire our machine guns low - at the nearest targets, while the riflemen worked from back to front...the idea being the rounds that miss the front will basically flatten out and soar through the ranks behind still retaining lethal spraying fire carrying to the rear...wasting less lead, while the squad's riflemen suppressed the following echelons simultaneously.

I would state that the U.S. WW2 weapons pretty much categorically have the edge in accuracy, being very well manufactured (as only an industrially rich nation like America could do on a mass scale), and the .30 cal M2 Ball having a velocity of 2800-2900 feet per second, as compared to the Mauser 7.92mm Ball ammo which has a velocity of 2400 to 2500 feet per second.... (but both of course are effective on what it actually hits).
When it comes to true Heavy Machine guns - water cooled - the M1917 Browning (and the Vickers/Maxim types) are without peer, and were used through the Korean War.

The obvious impression of superiority of the German MG42 is it's high rate of fire - but rounds that don't hit the target cause no damage...so the only other value in combat will be suppressive fire (which, by the way - is the greatest value of a machine gun).
But, given ammunition loads and rate of ammo expenditure, the German guns will spend a lot less time firing... and a lot less time suppressing - than the American and Soviet/Russian guns will, and as the film demonstrates - will cause a lot fewer casualties - round for round.

So, either the two Super Power Armies to come out of WW2 were ignorant of this...or - they knew that lesson very well (being on the receiving end of that German fire) and were quite happy to retain squad machine guns of lower rate of fire - for the next 70+ years.

So the last question remains - "well then, why did the Germans create the MG34- MG42 types?" Actually, because the Treaty of Versailles forbade the Germans from having a heavy machine gun at all...so they had to develop a stop-gap hybrid to try to do both roles.

Anyway, just my observations.

B

< Message edited by Big B -- 12/10/2017 8:01:35 PM >


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RE: Only semi-OT Macine guns... - 12/13/2017 1:25:22 AM   
WMitty


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So what is the best practical machine gun - I'm confused?

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RE: Only semi-OT Macine guns... - 12/13/2017 11:41:52 PM   
Gregg

 

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What is the best MG?

That totally depends upon exactly what you are doing with it.

Defence, offence, or both?

Gregg

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RE: Only semi-OT Macine guns... - 12/22/2017 1:35:29 AM   
Big B

 

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I re-watched this film again, and it certainly is a film who's purpose is to make new infantrymen have confidence in their army's weapons.
but on a more personal note...I remember training with M-16A1's on full auto fire.
They had us set up with clip-on by-pods to fire our M-16's at targets (shoulder and head silhouettes) from 75meters, at Fort Benning. The order was to try to fire a brief 3 round burst on target to demonstrate the accuracy of full-auto fire (minimal burst at full auto). Guys my age who were infantrymen should remember similar exercises.
The upshot was that no-one hit the target more than once (I assume the first round) - all other rounds missed.

So that has forever remained in my mind as a waste of fire. They told us (as infantrymen) that full-auto was only good for very close range - meaning in general about 10 yards or less for all the rounds to count. I think they proved their point to me....I'm not surprised that later M-16's had that ridiculous 3 round burst fire setting instead of full-auto like ours did back in the day (1962 -1984).

I know the Germans still have the MG3, and the newer US GPMG M240 has ROF up to as much as between 650 to 950 rounds per minute, but I still think that the Russians and US Military's had a good reason for not goosing up rate of fire too high.

Rounds that miss - still just waste lead...IMHO

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