PDA

View Full Version : How much of an advantage was the garand ?.


alizeefan
September 24, 2008, 06:46 AM
I must start this thread by saying that I have no military experience ( and due to my govt's laws I would refuse to serve anyway :mad: ) but I have been wondering about how much of a difference the M1 made over say the Kar98k.

The reason I ask is that from shows I have seen by " experts " the germans viewed the rifleman as being there to support the machine gun with the MG as the main tactical element as opposed to most allied armies seeing the MG as being in support of the rifleman ( squad ).

Obviously in close confines the M1 ( I WILL try one before I die :) ) will have significant advantages over any bolt gun but in the general flow of battle with an MG42 laying down 1200+ rpm would the bolt action really have been at such a disadvantage in open battle ?. Just curious to know what you guy's think.

Citizen Carrier
September 24, 2008, 07:43 AM
A group of the real "Band of Brothers" came to visit the Kuwait Naval Base on the 18th and was asked about the M1 Garand.

One old gentleman referred to it as "The best [sic] weapon ever made!"

Of course, he might have been a bit biased.

There is a film of two soldiers in the late 1930s lying in the prone and firing at targets. One of them had a Springfield, the other a Garand.

The rapidity of fire there was evident for anybody to see. The Garand was just leaving the bolt-action guy in the dust. And the M1 had quicker recovery time between shots. The Springfield shooter had to "break position" each time to work the bolt.

Against the Japanese, the M1 must have been a very nasty surprise when it started showing up at Guadalcanal.

Art Eatman
September 24, 2008, 08:21 AM
A battlefield is a fluid situation. A rifleman can move around and seek to find a way past a fixed machine gun position. Even a machine gun nest can be suppressed by return fire, and troops on the move can have an advantage if they have semi-auto vs. an enemy with a bolt-action.

Sure, the MG42 was a helluva fine piece. Still, absent opening up as ambush, it's firing from a fixed postion and a fixed position is best known as "target for artillery".

Loader9
September 24, 2008, 09:54 AM
Obviously the Garand was the superior weapon of the two but the Garand wasn't as good as folks want to make them. The biggest down fall was the clip and mag. If you had been in any kind of exchange of fire, how much ammo do you have left? So now you are going to jump up and rush a position with a rifle that you don't have a clue how much ammo is in it? And it isn't the easiest to pull out the ammo that's in the rifle and replace it with a full clip especially while somebody is shooting at you. That's why the M-14 has a clip that you can take out and either put in a full one or reload. The M-14 capacity was also increased. There was also shooter fatigue with the larger 3006. While a better rifle than a bolt action, it certainly wasn't the best rifle ever made. And our troops today are finding out that the variant of the Garand, the M- 14, is one of the finest rifles in our arsenal. But it still boils down to application, application, application.

King Ghidora
September 24, 2008, 10:12 AM
The troops were actually very ticked off that they took the Garrand away from them and gave them the M14. They saw it as inferior to the proven battlefield weapon especially if they had been using it themselves in battle.

The M1 was a huge advantage in fact. It was the factor that really changed the face of war from trench warfare to mobile battles. Even more than the tank IMO it made a battlefield fluid because the tanks weren't always around.

A single machine gun can only shoot one direction at a time. If you have enough soldiers to outflank a fixed position gun and those soldiers have enough firepower to get the job done then that machine gun loses much of it's advantage. That's why you didn't see people hiding in trenches like they did in the first world war. It was a rare exception to see a few soldiers or even one soldier flank machine guns in that war. Think Sgt. York. But in WWII you could have the main portion of your men keep the machine gun occupied while a few men with the M1 or a Thompson flanked the position of the machine gun. And when they got into position they had the firepower to take out a machine gun nest in a hurry.

Going back to the Band Of Brothers remember how Winters got his Silver Star? His men followed the German trenches and easily wiped out all the German troops that manned those trenches because they had far more firepower. They flanked the positions of the main defense force guarding those big guns and they were able to take those big guns in large part because of their Garrands. That's a perfect example of the advantage the M1 gave the US soldier. Yes of course it took exceptional strategy and courage but the fact they could fire much faster than the German troops was a big factor.

kraigwy
September 24, 2008, 10:29 AM
Advantage of the grand over the '98s???

Let me count the ways, Faster shooting, faster loading, better sights, more accurate, better ammo.

A semi would be faster to shoot then a bolt gun, talk to HP shooters who have used both in RF matches. Loading an 8 Rd clip in a grand is much faster then the 5 rd stripper clips in a bolt gun. The sights on the Garand (and M14) are the best I've seen on a standard military rifle. The Garand is more accurate then the Mauser in the standard military configeration. The 06 is a far better cart. then the 8mm Mauser. If you notice you just dont see the 8mm competing in rifle matches. The 06 is still doing it.

If you are gonna build a rifle, you can build a dern good rifle on the Mauser action, but looks like the topic is a military battle rifle compairson. I just dont want to give the impression the mauser action isnt any good, to the contrary, they make damn good, accurate rifles.

buzz_knox
September 24, 2008, 11:54 AM
The biggest advantage of the Garand was that we could build them faster and in greater quantity than the Germans could build the 98. Same goes for everything else, which is why we won the war.

p99guy
September 24, 2008, 12:46 PM
Had we built the Mauser 98(in a sense we did with the M1903, to the point Mauser sued for royalties)
But anyway, had we been producing M98's we still would have produced them faster and in greater quantity due to a greater number of factories and subcontractors that could have been brought to bear. We are bigger than Germany and have far greater industial capacity when fully ramped up.

The semi auto ment not having your sight picture disturbed for 8 shots, which is important with fleeting targets that bolt and dive and zigzag.

While the enblock clip was seen as the weak point of the rifle,with trained men, it was faster to reload than a Mauser when both went empty at the same time. While it was a difficult to do on the run, a enblock clip could be topped off while in the rifle, If of course there was no time you banged out 8 and took the approx 2 seconds to put another in.


There were a Few "Gas Trap Garands" used in the Battle of Corregidor, and yes they were a nasty shock to Arisaka Type 38 users...so much so that the captured ones went straight to Japan for testing, as well as trying to reverse engineer
the rifle at one point.

A few were still carried by choice by Advisors in Viet Nam ..alot of whom had seen combat in WWII or Korea a few years before.

While the technology of warplanes have made great leeps since WW1...and a Sopwith Camel would be no match for a F16, Small arms hasnt made that same leep. A Person with a WW1 infantry rifle can still easily kill a M16 armed soldier at an extended range.

There is really nothing that a M1 would face today that it didnt face in WW2,
Submachineguns, assault rifles, full power bolt actions, belt feds..they were all there. But yet most of the time our soldiers still bested thiers....some was luck, some was good equipment, and as today...a lot of it was the man behind that rifle that won the day.

So the M1's adversaries hasnt changed much, except in brand name and the use of more plastics, nor has a ememy combatant holding them.
So yes if you had to protect yourself with one, it would do just as good of a job as when it was THE issue rifle..the rest is up to you.

http://img154.imageshack.us/img154/6254/imgp1101sw8.jpg

King Ghidora
September 24, 2008, 12:50 PM
Germany had a war going on with the Soviets at the same time you know. They had plenty of rifles. They just bit off more than they could chew. At the start of the war they had plenty of manufacturing capability. They just lost a lot of it because we could bomb the crap out of them. That's why we could build rifles faster. They couldn't touch us. We could bomb the crap out of them. So air superiority could be said to be the reason we won the war. We shouldn't forget that much of what we built is at the bottom of the Atlantic because it didn't make it to Europe. So it could be said that controlling the air space in the Battle Of The Atlantic won the war for us because that's what doomed the U-boats and the damage they did to our convoys. Without that advantage we could have lost far more of those rifles we built. And if Hitler had succeeded in capturing England and North Africa chances are we would not have been able to gain a foothold in Europe so it could be said that Patton won the war or that the Hurricanes and Spitfires won the war. It could certainly be said that breaking the German code was the reason we won the war because it made all the difference at El Alamien in N. Africa and it allowed the Allies to be ready for German air attacks on England. Or possibly the brave Brit pilots who rammed their fighters into the big German bombers just as they parachuted out of their planes was the key moment in winning the war because when the Germans saw that they knew they could never win the Battle Of Britain.

There were many, many reasons that could be said were the factor that made the difference. Of all the choices I'd say the breaking of the code was the biggest reason we won the war. It allowed us to win the big battles when we really needed to win. It put the Bismarck in range of the Allies, for example, which allowed that lucky shot that jammed her rudder allowing the heavy British battleships to finish it off. That could have made the difference in the Battle Of The Atlantic too. It also led to the Tirpitz being kept in a dock in Norway so it wouldn't be sunk too. Yes it was a constant threat and tied up a lot of naval power but it never fired a shot at the Allies so it wasn't really much of a factor despite being just as big as the Bismarck.

I just don't think it's so easy to narrow down the reasons for victory to one thing. And, again, if I was to choose one reason it would be the Ultra intercepts.

buzz_knox
September 24, 2008, 01:10 PM
Germany had a war going on with the Soviets at the same time you know.

The US provided massive amounts of aid to the Soviets, British, and Free French. The US also was prosecuting a full-scale war in the Pacific. All the while, the US economy never went to a full war mobilization (it topped out at 50% mobilization).

Germany did bite off more than it could chew, but it wasn't invading Russia. It was carrying out actions that resulted in the US getting involved. After that happened, it was largely a done deal.

trekkie951
September 24, 2008, 01:14 PM
"So the M1's adversaries hasnt changed much, except in brand name and the use of more plastics, nor has a ememy combatant holding them.
So yes if you had to protect yourself with one, it would do just as good of a job as when it was THE issue rifle..the rest is up to you."


I dont think its adequate for today as i think about it. back then the sub machine guns were mixed in with the bolt action rifles. i dont know if theres any ratio out there to say now many there were per k98s, but i would figure they werent nearly as common. Today a 30rd mag with semi/full auto is standard, and every soldier has one.

Dont get me wrong I love the M1 and living everyday to acquire one. I always say it will be my SHTF rifle, and It will be if the SHTF. But ill be sure not to get too close to anybody.

Citizen Carrier
September 24, 2008, 01:14 PM
I don't think anybody is trying to exalt the Garand to "war winning" status all by itself.

I read somewhere that the vital inventions/equipment in WWII was the Jeep, the C-47 cargo plane, the P-51, the M1 Garand, and radar.

Ultra and the work at Betchley Park is probably the big one, as far as the ETO.

In the book "Dirty Little Secrets of WWII", the author points out that years after the war (late 1950s or 1960s, can't remember) a panel of German politicians were told about Ultra and the degree to which Germany's wartime codes and decisions were penetrated.

Even after that passage of time, the politicians were shocked and bewildered. They had no idea.

Stephen Ambrose wrote that the Germans did not particularly fear our infantrymen. Or our tanks. What they absolutely could not STAND was American artillery.

It was numerous. It was accurate. It possessed many specialized shells of high quality and very low dud rate. Any 2LT with a radio could bring down a torrent of accurate, deadly fire in minutes with little difficulty.

Wleoff
September 24, 2008, 02:01 PM
Why some still carried the Garand in Nam is since the Garand doesn't have a magazine that extends, like a M14 or M16, and one needs to get really close to the ground, nothing beats a Garand.

dresden8
September 24, 2008, 02:29 PM
Germany did bite off more than it could chew, but it wasn't invading Russia. It was carrying out actions that resulted in the US getting involved. After that happened, it was largely a done deal.

Not quite true. The Russians had started to turn the tide of the war in the east before the US got involved.

Scorch
September 24, 2008, 02:29 PM
How much of an advantage was the garand ?Immense, but it was not the only advantage we had. We had a country thousands of miles away that could turn out food, ships, planes, tanks, guns, ammo, etc, etc, without fear of Axis strikes. We delivered millions of tons of high explosives and incendiaries to targets within their industrial centers without having to fear retaliation. We sank their naval assets and destroyed their ability to stop us from delivering hardware wherever we wanted to. And yes, we had the Garand, as well as many other infantry weapons. But if you want an understanding of how we won WWII, you have to analyze the whole, not the parts.
from shows I have seen by " experts " the germans viewed the rifleman as being there to support the machine gun with the MG as the main tactical element as opposed to most allied armies seeing the MG as being in support of the rifleman ( squad )One basic difference in command and control: German army troops obeyed orders and were hesitant to act independently, American troops act more independently but occasionally lack coordination. German army troops were trained in tactics that centered around the most senior men directing platoon actions. This made the German units very difficult to break up and disperse, but made them susceptible to the death of their leaders. Squad tactics, as used by the US Army, were difficult for the Germans to control since they were so highly mobile. Different rules, different results. In general, German troops were very resilient due to the larger number of men in an operating unit, as opposed to US tactics where one or two men getting killed was difficult to deal with.
a lot of it was the man behind that rifle that won the dayNice ideal, in reality air support and artillery can be more effective in open areas than infantry, but inside a town it's the grunt that does the dirty work. Without the massive air bombing programs the Allies poured out on Nazi Germany, the Germans would have been better armed than we were. But just the sheer number of troops marshaled against the Germans spelled failure for their efforts. At the end of WWII it is estimated that 1/2 the adult male population of Germany was killed, wounded, or captured, as opposed to maybe 10% casualty rate for US troops.
What they absolutely could not STAND was American artillery.No infantryman likes artillery, even their own. In WWII, German artillery was in the front lines, very mobile and adaptable and could be directed very accurately and rapidly. Ours was more remote and had massive firepower, but often damaged the troops it was designed to help. Again, different rules, different results.
I must start this thread by saying that I have no military experience ( and due to my govt's laws I would refuse to serve anyway)Sorry if this offends you, but you are confusing the duty of a citizen soldier with self-serving politics and selfishness. It is the duty of a citizen to defend the nation, whether they agree with the particulars of the way it is run or not. For example, I served to defend this country's citizens' right to free speech so that they could insult me as I walked down the street in uniform. Ironic, isn't it? It is also your duty as a citizen to work within the political system to change what needs to be changed if you disagree with their policies and actions. If you do not participate in politics, it doesn't mean politics does not affect you.

Lots of ideas and facts that can be discussed at great length.

Citizen Carrier
September 24, 2008, 03:02 PM
Not sure I agree with the idea that German troops hesitated to act independently.

They were quite adept, no doubt out of necessity, of forming ad hoc battle groups in various situations. And they were offensive-minded and proactive. The typical German response to an attack, it was said, was to counterattack with whatever was available. The typical American response to an attack was to saturate the problem with whatever firepower was available. And usually what was available was huge.

I doubt they were allowed the freedom of action Americans were able to employ, but certainly far more than the Russians. I believe an American general commented that one of his 2LTs on the Elbe had more ability to make decisions and act than a Russian front commander.

Perhaps a bit of an exaggeration...

The Japanese, on the other hand, likely lost the war because their culture did not allow for a high degree of personal initiative in it's leaders.

The classic example is the Battle of Midway. American flight leaders took it upon themselves to make decisions on the spot where a Japanese in the same situation would more likely have asked higher for guidance. The result: our torpedo planes found their carriers because their leader decided on the spot to "go thataway".

buzz_knox
September 24, 2008, 03:44 PM
Not quite true. The Russians had started to turn the tide of the war in the east before the US got involved.

The US was "involved" long before December 7, 1941.

The US began supplying Russia not long after Germany invaded in June 1941, and was paid for doing so. Lend lease aid begain in October 1941. The German advance was stopped in December 1941 but the situation remained exceedingly precarious for the Russians until Operation Uranus kicked off in November 1942. The US was already into the third phase of supplying aid to Russia by that time.

dresden8
September 24, 2008, 04:30 PM
It was the Russians though that destroyed the German army. The army that the Americans and Brits faced in France and Germany was a mere shadow of what would have faced them if the Russians hadn't done the vast majority of the killing.

Oh, and the German advance was stopped before December '41

Siege of Leningrad Begins Sept 9 1941 – Three months before the entry of US into WWII. Germans never take Leningrad. Germans checked on Northern Front. Siege lasts until 1944.

Siege of Moscow Begins 30 September 1941 – Two and a half months before the entry of US into WWII. Germans held on Central Front. Russian counter-offensive begins on 5 December 1941. 1 Day before attack on Pearl Harbour.

Loader9
September 24, 2008, 04:56 PM
The Russians fielded over 12,000,000 men. The US fielded just over 300,000. The European war was between the Russians and the Germans. We gave the Germans another front to have to contend with, nothing more. The largest battles were between Russia and Germany. While we would like to think we were the prime source of the down fall of Germany, it was the Russians that took the heaviest losses and took back the most ground. We did supply the Russians with mega tons of supplies, most of which they still owe us for. But the Russians suffered the most at the hands of the Germans. The Jews slaughtered at the camps still don't make up the numbers of Russians lost at just Stalingrad. It's no wonder the Russians are so paranoid about anybody that they see as a threat...like us.

jsmaye
September 24, 2008, 05:01 PM
Quote:
I must start this thread by saying that I have no military experience ( and due to my govt's laws I would refuse to serve anyway

***

Before it gets too ugly, note that his location shows Australia. He might not be dogging the U.S., and who knows what Australian laws he objects to.

OJ
September 24, 2008, 05:10 PM
Despite being "raised" on bot action from age 6, I was never as enchanted with that action as my dad was with it but he was biased against semiactions - maintained they were "less safe". Personally, my thinking was "safety" was between the ears of the shooter, not the rifle action.

Consequently, when the '03 Springfield I was inirially issued (which I liked - guns are like girls in that I never met one I couldn't find some likeable characteristics in them) in WWII was replaced with the M1 Garand, I was totally sold!!

However, my favorite semi-auto now is an M1A (semi-auto M14 civilian version) which has the advantage of detachable box magazine, better sights, and easier dissassembly for cleaning. Too bad they chose select fire for the military - I think that went a long way to kill it.

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y25/kmastf/RIFLES/M1A.jpg

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y25/kmastf/RIFLES/M1AXSGHOSTRINGSIGHTS.jpg

I can sure say if I were going into combat today, I'd sure rather carry a rifle that puts a .30 caliber bullet of 168 grains than a .233 caliber bullet at 68 grains in the target - even if the rifle is heavier to carry!!:rolleyes:

:D

Abndoc
September 24, 2008, 05:56 PM
I love my Springfield, but if combat was looming, I would pick up my Garand first.

German army troops obeyed orders and were hesitant to act independently,

I must disagree with this. The Germans were noted for their battlefield ingenuity and flexibility. They would constantly probe and counter attack when given the opportunity. Only when strictly ordered to a certain course of action was this flexibility lost.

The Russians probably would have beat Germany by themselves eventually. Maybe by 1947 or1948 or so. I seem to remember reading somewhere that the Russians faced 80% of German military strength and output.

Anyone have any idea why we didn't supply M1s to the Russians?

Hkmp5sd
September 24, 2008, 06:00 PM
They just bit off more than they could chew. At the start of the war they had plenty of manufacturing capability. They just lost a lot of it because we could bomb the crap out of them. That's why we could build rifles faster. They couldn't touch us. We could bomb the crap out of them. So air superiority could be said to be the reason we won the war. We shouldn't forget that much of what we built is at the bottom of the Atlantic because it didn't make it to Europe.

Germany's war production actually increased as the war progressed (until right at the very end). Their problem was they tried too build to many different types of weapons. When the war ended, the Allies found one plant still building an engine for a Bismark class battleship. They didn't have any ships under construction to put it in.

The war was over before the US ever landed at Normandy. Russia took 20 million dead (military and civilian), but destroyed the German army in the process.

I heard an interview of a German officer after the war describing fighting the Americans at Normandy. The officer manned an anti-tank gun in the hedgerows just off the beach. When asked why the Germans lost the war he said that every time an American tank entered the hedgerows, his crew destroyed it. Another tank would enter and they would destroy it. Unfortunately, he ran out of shells before the Americans ran out of tanks.

King Ghidora
September 24, 2008, 06:02 PM
There's no doubt that the Russians were the main opponent of the Germans in WWII. The entire allied force on the western front was a fraction of what Russia put together. The Russians had almost as many soldiers killed in one day than the Americans did in the entire war including the ones lost fighting against Japan. At Kursk the Russians had 250,000 killed and another 600,000 wounded. That dwarfs the entire US involvement in the war. The Germans had 100,000 killed that day too BTW.

The US had about 290,000 killed in the entire war with about 670,000 wounded. Think about it. The Russians had almost that many casualties ON ONE DAY! People who think the US was the decisive factor in the war just don't know the story. In fact the US was barely a blip on the radar screen as far as the actual fighting went in Europe. It's no wonder the Russians got ticked when it came time to divide up Germany after the war. The western Allies got 3/4 of the pie but only did about 10% or so of the fighting. I'd be ticked if I was running Russia.

The second front helped as did the N. Africa campaign as did the Italy campaign and the southern France invasion. But by far the Russians bore the brunt of the fighting in WWII in Europe. It's not even close.

The US did bear a big part of the fight against Japan. But there were lots of other countries helping. And the fact is the US dominated Japan after Midway. Japan lost far more soldiers than the US did. They had almost a million more deaths than the US had and many of the US deaths were in Europe. Japan only had about 140,000 wounded which tells you a lot about the Japanese attitude toward life. The US controlled the air after Midway and espeically after the Marianas Turkey Shoot. The US faced green troops and the only real threat from the air was the kamikazes. The war was lost but Japan just refused to lay down and die. So they threw a lot of men to the lions and we killed them. They kept expecting another miracle like the one that stopped the Mongolian invasion of Japan. A cyclone stopped that monster army from taking Japan and the people of Japan expected to see another miracle. They saw a divine wind alright. But it wasn't blowing the right way for them. The shock wave from an atomic blast is a terrible wind indeed.

Also the idea that the Germans weren't effective if they lost their commanders is largely a myth that was created as propaganda during the war. The chain of command was followed closely by German troops so they pretty much always knew who was in charge. And the commanders in the field, even if it got down to a Sgt., had a lot of leeway in how they fought.

hps1
September 24, 2008, 06:29 PM
The biggest down fall was the clip and mag. If you had been in any kind of exchange of fire, how much ammo do you have left? So now you are going to jump up and rush a position with a rifle that you don't have a clue how much ammo is in it? And it isn't the easiest to pull out the ammo that's in the rifle and replace it with a full clip especially while somebody is shooting at you.

Reloading a garand is a quick, one handed operation. Pull bolt back w/right hand to eject round in chamber, push clip release w/right thumb (one swift motion) and partially loaded clip pops up into your (right)hand. Insert fully loaded clip and you're good to go in much less time than it takes to read the instructions.;)

While the M14 has a 20 round magazine as opposed to the Garand's 8 round clip, the fact remains that you do not necessarily know how many rounds you have left in it either. Clip can be replaced as easily as the magazine and in about the same time frame so about only advantage (other than increased mag. capacity) is that you can replace magazine w/a round still in the chamber on the M14.

The Garand may not be the greatest rifle ever invented, but it was darn close in 1936 when John Garand developed it.:)

Regards,
hps

King Ghidora
September 24, 2008, 06:30 PM
Germany's war production actually increased as the war progressed (until right at the very end). Their problem was they tried too build to many different types of weapons.

There's no doubt the Germans spent a lot of their manufacturing muscle building their super weapons. From the V1 and V2 to the ME262 they thought they could win the war with their super weapons. And maybe they could have but even the underground manufacturing sites manned by forced labor eventually fell to Allied bombing. And a lot of their super weapons, like the King Tiger, came too late or were unable to be supplied with oil etc..

I've heard the claim before that German arms manufacturing increased during the war. But there were big holes in their production needs on things like gasoline for their tanks. Other raw materials like tungsten were targeted by the Allies and I believe there was a substantial effect on the German manufacturing effort. No doubt the Germans continued to make things during the war and they were very creative in protecting their plants. And after all the bombs of the time were not nearly as accurate as they are now. But IMO the Allied war effort did reduce critical areas of German production which made a difference in the war. And of course we weren't affected at all by such things except for problems shipping war materials to Europe. My statement was that we could build rifles faster by the end of the war and I'll stand by it.

Hkmp5sd
September 24, 2008, 06:31 PM
Anyone have any idea why we didn't supply M1s to the Russians?


Only 4,000,000 Garands were made during the war and there were not enough to meet US needs until late 1943. There simply wasn't enough of them to go around. Most of the stuff we supplied to Russia were trucks, jeeps, food (tons of SPAM) and radios.

My statement was that we could build rifles faster by the end of the war and I'll stand by it.


Most definately our productivity far exceeded that of all other combatants combined in every category.

alizeefan
September 24, 2008, 08:25 PM
Quote:
I must start this thread by saying that I have no military experience ( and due to my govt's laws I would refuse to serve anyway

***

Before it gets too ugly, note that his location shows Australia. He might not be dogging the U.S., and who knows what Australian laws he objects to.

Exactly right. If my government doesn't trust me with a firearm to protect my family in my own home there's no way in hell I'm fighting for it on the other side of the planet. I would be proud to have served in US miltary and if I were younger would consider it as a way of gaining LAWFUL entry to the USA.

dahermit
September 24, 2008, 09:14 PM
The M1 had two serious designs flaws and one minor one. The invention of the M14 got rid of the problem with not being able to top up the magazine without either firing till empty or dumping the partial clip. A detachable magazine is now considered a military necessity.

Another flaw was the open hole behind the operating rod where sand could enter and render the piece inoperable...the M14 design did nothing to fix that.

Another major flaw was the weight of the ammo. You can shoot up more ammo than an infantry man can carry in a firefight in a few minutes with either an M1 or M14. Problems with using up too much ammo were noted in the Korean war. Thus the .223 rifle.

Nevertheless, the k98 had too many obsolete features to stand its own against an M1. Suppressing fire would allow a squad of M1 armed soldiers to overcome a German squad when the MG42 barrel had to be swapped for a cool one after several bursts of fire.

In short, the k98 consisted of WWI technology against the best battle instrument of the time.

Buzzcook
September 24, 2008, 10:44 PM
Just to add my two shekels. The OP mentions that the German squad or platoon tactics was for the riflemen to act as support of the light machine gun. To an extent that was true on the defense. Not quite as true on the defense, because even though the MG42 was a "light" machine gun it couldn't keep up with the riflemen in move and shoot situations.
But the statement of Germans working with the MG42 implies that the US depended solely on the Garand. That's very far from the truth. The US had lots of close support weapons. From the 60mm mortar down to the BAR, the American rifleman had more and better man portable support than any of the other soldiers in WWII.

Oh and the .30-06 almost counted as an anti-tank round in the Pacific.

Crosshair
September 24, 2008, 10:48 PM
Stephen Ambrose wrote that the Germans did not particularly fear our infantrymen. Or our tanks.
Good point, the Sherman was obsolete before it went into production. The only good things about it were that we could built a ton of them, they were very mobile, and were VERY effective against infantry. When they went against anti-armor anything (Tanks, mines, anti-rank guns, Panzershrecks/Panzerfausts) They tended to get killed quickly. Of course we responded by building more of them, faster than they could destroy them. Sucked though if you were the guy inside the tank.

The same tactic is used in modern RTSG where you build a bunch of cheap units and use them to overrun your opponent. Of course that only works if you can build enough of them.

Webleymkv
September 24, 2008, 11:01 PM
Over the K98? A significant advantage

Over the Lee-Enfield? Not so much.

MacGille
September 24, 2008, 11:28 PM
The Russian bore the brunt of the fighting in Russia. Not in Europe. The US provided war materials to half the world while arming our own armies. Then we supplied our allies with massive amounts of material while sending entire air forces, armies, and navies to do a lot of the fighting. If not for the US Europe would still be speaking German. Look at the war from a strategic viewpoint instead of tactical.

Incidentally the M1 is the finest battle rifle ever produced by any country.

King Ghidora
September 24, 2008, 11:33 PM
The early Soviet tanks biggest advantage was their numbers also. The T-26's were modern in many ways but it was their numbers that made them effective. After the deployment of the T-34 the Russian tanks were undoubtedly the best in the war in ability and numbers. In fact the Russians had a tank advantage throughout the entire war largely due to their efforts at upgrading their tanks after the Spanish Civil War and the Finnish Winter War. The result was the turning of the tide against the Nazis in the greatest battleground in the history of mankind. It was the T-26 that initially kept the Germans from capturing Moscow, Stalingrad and Leningrad. Along with the amphibious T-37 and T-38's and the medium size T-28's and early models of the T-34 the line was held at a point where the Germans were forced to face the Russian winter outside the comfort of the Russian cities. The Russian tanks weren't maintained well early in the war or it may have been even easier but by the time the perfected T-34's rolled out of the mountains the outcome of the eastern front was almost assured. It would take a lot of brutal effort and great losses of blood and treasure but the writing was on the wall. And the large number of Soviet tanks had a lot to do with the early victories that held the line against the Wehrmacht.

King Ghidora
September 24, 2008, 11:37 PM
The Russian bore the brunt of the fighting in Russia. Not in Europe.

The eastern front was fought entirely in Europe. The Germans never reached the Asian parts of Russia. In fact Hitler never even planned on taking any land outside of Europe. His plan was to advance to what was called the A-A Line which was a line drawn between the cities of Arkhangelsk and Astrakhan. If you'll look at a map you'll see both of those cities are in Europe.

If you look at this map (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7a/Battle_of_Rostov_(1941)_-_Eastern_Front_1941_06_to_1941_12.png) you'll see the furthest advance of the German army into Russia. Notice that the advance never gets past Moscow which is in Europe. The line at which Europe ends is the Ural Mountains which is where the Russians fell back in order to prepare for their breakout offensive. The Ural's are far to the east of Moscow. There is a map that shows the extent of Europe on this web page (http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/eu.htm). Notice the location of the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in relation to the extent of the German advance in the other map. Germany didn't get close to Asia in fact.

The US did play a vital role in WWII. But the war was won by Russia. The relative contributions of the two are completely one sided. As I said before Russia lost almost as many men in one day as the US lost in the entire war in both major theaters of operation. Russia lost more people than any two countries combined including Germany and Japan. In fact Russia lost a lot more people than Germany and Japan combined. Any way you look at it the war was between Russia and Germany. Their battleground was by far the largest in the history of mankind. It dwarfs all other wars. Japan for example lost only 2 million while Germany lost about and a half million. Estimates vary on these numbers. Russia lost between 10 and 12 million soldiers and another 10-15 million citizens. The USA lost between 300,000 and 400,000 soldiers in the war. There's no doubt about it. It was a Russian war.

Crosshair
September 25, 2008, 12:13 AM
The US did play a vital role in WWII. But the war was won by Russia.
The supplies we sent them kept them afloat long enough to fight off the Germans. They would have had a much harder time without that.

44 AMP
September 25, 2008, 12:46 AM
Although a number of posters have expressed what were important factors as absolute truths, which they were not. All factors combined were responsible, although some had a greater visible effect than others.

For the infantryman, the M1 rifle was a large advantage over opponents armed with bolt action rifles. But that advantage did not win the war, nor a single battle by itself.

Another major flaw was the weight of the ammo. You can shoot up more ammo than an infantry man can carry in a firefight in a few minutes with either an M1 or M14.

This is a flaw, only in light of current military doctrine. Supressive fire was the province of the BAR and the belt fed machine gun, not the individual rifleman. That was the doctrine of the day. Using the experience gained in combat, the US changed its doctrine over time, and the enhanced firepower of the M1 Garand over the bolt action rifle went a long way in helping carryout the new emphasis on supressive fire coming from the individual rifleman as well as the machinegun. Evolving over time, this emphasis has led to the need for smaller lighter cartridges in order to enable the individual infantryman to be able to carry enough ammo to carry this out.

The lack of a large magazine capacity in the M1 Garand may be considered a shortcoming compared to later designs, but I would not call it a flaw. A flaw implies that it does not work, and the M1 Garand most certainly works. A nuance of language perhaps, but that's the way I see it.

Citizen Carrier
September 25, 2008, 04:00 AM
We did supply Russia examples of the M1 Garand along with other forms of technical (not just material) assistance. Kalashnikov was supposedly very impressed with Garand's design upon inspecting it. They were certainly better than the Russia semi-automatic rifles of that conflict.

As far as Russia being able to win the war all by itself, there are some historians who believe this was possible.

One wonders how possible it would've been if German wartime production increased over the years--as it did--but also without the delays or setbacks in production supplied by American strategic bombing.

Russian bombers were not exactly raining destruction down upon German cities and production facilities.

Were that not the case, then Germany would've enjoyed the same advantages America had. A continent all to themselves, free from the threat of attacks on the means of production.

Jeff B.
September 25, 2008, 05:53 AM
Like many others, I too consider the M1 to be a significant part of and contributor to the allied victory in WWII. I also agree with many who feel that the Wermacht was very capable on a fluid battlefield and had excellent junior leadership. Unfortunately for them, (and fortunately for us) that leadership and the manpower it lead was bled down year after year as the war continued. Many German soldiers fought almost continuously for 5 -6 years if they survived that long. That and the weight of the allied forces and materiel (greatly US manufactured and delivered) ultimately did them in.

BTW, I have read that one of the deficiencies of the MG-42 was that it was difficult to supply it with adequate ammo if not in a fixed defensive position. The MG-34 was often considered a superior weapon (see the M60) but was discontinued because the -42 was chaeper and faster to manufacture.

Jeff B.

Abndoc
September 25, 2008, 07:42 AM
If not for the US Europe would still be speaking German.

I think they would be speaking Russian. :)

HorseSoldier
September 25, 2008, 08:30 AM
Back to the original topic -- I think we tend to grossly overstate the superiority of the Garand when you look at a platoon primarily armed with the Garand versus their German equivalents. On a one on one level, Garand vs the 98K, the Garand is better. At a bigger picture level it did not make as much difference.

Creature
September 25, 2008, 09:00 AM
Back to the original topic -- I think we tend to grossly overstate the superiority of the Garand when you look at a platoon primarily armed with the Garand versus their German equivalents. On a one on one level, Garand vs the 98K, the Garand is better. At a bigger picture level it did not make as much difference.


I would have to agree. While the Garand helped the individual foot soldier, it didnt really make that much of difference at the battalion level and up.

Slamfire
September 25, 2008, 10:30 AM
Everyone needs to read : "Shots fired in Anger", by John George. http://www.amazon.com/Shots-fired-anger-riflemans-Guadalcanal/dp/093599842X


Mr. George was a combat infantryman in the Pacific. He was a competitive shooter before the war, and had very interesting observations on US and Japanese weapons.

The bottom line from a Dogface’s viewpoint, having a Garand made a big difference. The Japanese service rifle (vintage term was “Japs”) was a bolt action.

The Garand was not the only weapon out there. The BAR was beloved; the Nambu light was feared. Everyone wanted more fire power.

In the big picture, it is hard to say that any one weapon system was the toppling point. I think 80% of the combat deaths in WWII were due to artillery, so it would be hard to say that any small arm was the deciding factor.

But if I were in that hole, preparing to leave that hole, or waiting on the next Banzai charge, I sure as heck would prefer a Garand to a bolt action. Any day.

King Ghidora
September 25, 2008, 11:19 AM
There's absolutely no doubt the US and the western Allies played a big part in the war. The bombing campaign was possibly their biggest contribution against Hitler. It's very true that the Russians had little in the way of aircraft that could attack the Germans at home where their factories were. And the material we shipped to Russia was a big help to them. The US did play a major role in that war. Remember when in the movie The Battle Of The Bulge the German commander realized they were defeated when he saw that the US had enough fuel to fly cake across the Atlantic. Yeah I know how horribly innaccurate that movie was but that part was pretty much on target.

I think we are overlooking the role of the Thompson in the hands of the dog face. It had a lot to do with flanking those German machine guns too. Most soldiers who fought in close combat wanted a Thompson. But at ranges over 40 or 50 yards at most it was pretty much useless and the GI's loved the long range accuracy of the M1.

M1911
September 25, 2008, 11:52 AM
One downside of the Garand is its weight -- at about 10 pounds it was a couple pounds heavier than the K98, and every ounce is important to a grunt.

p99guy
September 25, 2008, 03:30 PM
It was ok, they were real men back then...their weapons even kicked! And eveybody carried on the order of 90-150 big cartriges, rather than 600 little ones, and was taught to make them count...and they had to walk everywhere, and their only body armor was used to shave in, or poop in if they couldnt leave a foxhole because of artillery.
...walkie talkies weighed 6 pounds, everything was heavy and really sucked.
(but it worked)

None of that effect any of us that might have to pick up and use a rifle to defend themselves here and now at 3 am on the farm...My tacticooool AR15 weighs more than my M1. And we wont have 90 pounds of other equipment on our backs...and blisters from walking 20 miles, or be half starved and half frozen. (I want my mommy! No, wait I want my X-Box 360!!)

Omaha-BeenGlockin
September 25, 2008, 03:53 PM
US manufacturing and logistics is what won the war---the M1 was just part of it.

An A-bomb or two over Japan didn't hurt either.

The scary thing is we're shipping all our manufacturing capability off to China----where does that put us when Russia attacks----think about it.

alizeefan
September 25, 2008, 07:10 PM
Back to the original topic -- I think we tend to grossly overstate the superiority of the Garand when you look at a platoon primarily armed with the Garand versus their German equivalents. On a one on one level, Garand vs the 98K, the Garand is better. At a bigger picture level it did not make as much difference.


I would have to agree. While the Garand helped the individual foot soldier, it didnt really make that much of difference at the battalion level and up.

This is basically the point of my original question. I realize strategic bombing, artillery and hell even the A bomb all make a difference but I was talking in terms of platoon size units at a tactical level.

Crosshair
September 25, 2008, 07:50 PM
One downside of the Garand is its weight -- at about 10 pounds it was a couple pounds heavier than the K98, and every ounce is important to a grunt.
Of course that brings in the M1 Carbine. Longer range than a subgun, lighter than a Garand. The Germans liked it so much they type classified it.

Limeyfellow
September 25, 2008, 10:41 PM
The biggest advantage of the Garand was that we could build them faster and in greater quantity than the Germans could build the 98. Same goes for everything else, which is why we won the war.

That wasn't quite true, even if a lot were made. Thats why the US went into large production of M1 Carbines. They were quicker and easier to make and so became the most used US weapon in the war. Still we had more men, planes, tanks, supplies, arms and just about everything else than the axis had. It a bit hard to win against 10-1 advantages with standard war tactics.

radom
September 25, 2008, 11:32 PM
Keep in mind the dirt sensitive cam and lever loading link system in the M-1 too. It worked well as the troops where well trained in keeping it running and CLEAN. Also the germans had a lot of very good select fire infantry weapons too. MP-44 and such. The original nick name for the garand was "jammy jenny".

Tikirocker
September 26, 2008, 05:57 AM
Discussions such as these can be a mine field ( No pun intended ) the factors involved in defeating the Axis forces are so far ranging and complex that to boil them down to any single component answer is to totally miss the bigger picture. At the end of the day the Allies defeated the Axis nations ...

Please note Allies? This means not JUST the U.S ... it means English, Scottish, Indian, Nepalese, Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, Polish, French, Russian, Czech etc etc etc. Without the combined effort of all these nations and the brave people who fought, victory would not have come as it did and when it did.

When people state the U.S won the war ( As though single handed ) it is not only hugely ignorant but also extremely insulting to the men of the dozens of other Allied nations who watered the tree of liberty with their blood. Thankfully I can see a greater majority of Americans in this thread that understand this and know the score already without partisan chest thumping blinding them from the facts. The U.S were great allies and brought a renewed vigor to a war that Britain and Australia ( and many others ) had already been fighting for two years before their arrival. Without one you couldn't have had the other - this was truly a partnership.

It has been noted that Stephen A Ambrose is known for his historical bias towards the U.S in his own writings about the war so I while I enjoy his work I am often blown away by the injection of his own clear subjective bias with regard to the U.S forces vs anyone else. I hope with wider reading people can gain a broader and more realistic perspective and not rest on the work of Mr Ambrose alone. Many other nations had proud moments during WW2 but don't have the movie industry of Hollywood to tell their stories to the world as do the U.S. This could sometimes give an impression that other allied nations simply were not there or did not factor in at all ... how wrong this is.

Now that I have that off my chest ... a couple of points of my own.

To say that the German forces could not act independently is completely false. The German Army, both the Wermacht and the Waffen SS were renowned for being one of the few armed forces who were able to mutate and adapt in battle when units became fractured. The Germans, unlike almost everybody else, developed units where every man knew the other mans job - so that in the case of death any man regardless of rank could pick up where the other left off, regardless of rank.

Contrary to what some here have said it is well documented that German soldiers did not rely on leadership of the ranking soldier if he was killed and grunt Soldats were just as motivated and able to carry out difficult missions using their own initiative! This is what the German armed forces were famous for and much of their tactics and outlook were highly revered and respected by other nations ... they were actually the leaders of their craft in a war where the rest of the world was scrambling to catch up.

German Panzer commanders developed a system of using closed radio communications in their tanks allowing greater tactical speed and co-ordination during battle ... the list is endless in regard to their innovations including the development of patterned camouflage smocks. This brings me to the Eastern front. As many will already know the German blitzkrieg across the east went virtually unchallenged while the weather held but once the German supply lines began to stretch to deep and winter took hold that was when, just like Napoleon found out, that the Russian winter is the deciding factor in a war with Russia.

It has been noted time and time again in accounts from Russians and German soldiers on the Eastern Front that two major factors played a decisive role in the slow defeat of Germany.

1 - Vehicles - The Germans, who were not accustomed to dealing with the bitter Russian winters, could not keep their vehicles running. This meant that supply lines came to a grinding halt - the result being food, ammo, winter clothing, fuel would not get through to where they were needed. An army without vital supplies cannot do its job effectively any more than a gun can fire without ammo.

However, the Russians knew full well how to keep vehicles running in the bitter winters and would thin down their diesel fuels with kerosene and other methods which kept them rolling no matter what was happening. The Germans never cottoned on to this and simply began to freeze where they stood.

2 - Tank tracks - I have read first hand accounts of German Panzer crew members who noted that the Russian T-34's were built with a much wider track, this allowed the Russian tanks to float on the mud much like a snow shoe supports a great weight in a snow drift. This made the Russian tanks far more maneuverable in the mud and snow vs the German Panzers that were far heavier and were sporting thinner tracks. As a result, when Russian winter set in the Panzers lost their advantage and were like much of their supply lines, stuck in the mud and snow. Adding to this the fact that supplies were not reaching the Panzers and we have a German army that has lost all it's momentum.

The Russian winter and the Russian ability to keep their war machine moving in those conditions were as decisive a factor as there ever was ... not to mention the sheer war of attrition, numbers of men, that they threw headlong into the Germans onslaught. The greatest bulk of the war was won by Russia, this is entirely true but without the efforts of the Western allies in North Africa, Italy and Greece as well as western Europe things may well have gone differently.

The rifles these men carried were really small potato's in the overall picture - Napoleon had a well drilled, well trained army ... winter is a killer. I'd say Russian Winter beat the German army if we look at the big picture - rifles don't matter in the face of zero supplies and freezing to death.

M1911
September 26, 2008, 07:46 AM
2 - Tank tracks - I have read first hand accounts of German Panzer crew members who noted that the Russian T-34's were built with a much wider track, this allowed the Russian tanks to float on the mud much like a snow shoe supports a great weight in a snow drift.The T-34 had the lightest ground pressure of any of the medium/heavy tanks during WWII. This light pressure was, indeed, a great advantage in soft ground.

It also had an outstanding suspension system that was, ironically, a US design: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christie_suspension

I remember reading a quotation from a German tanker who said something along the lines of "The Panzer was worth at least 10 Shermans. The problem was you always had 11."

King Ghidora
September 26, 2008, 09:18 AM
Contrary to what some here have said it is well documented that German soldiers did not rely on leadership of the ranking soldier if he was killed and grunt Soldats were just as motivated and able to carry out difficult missions using their own initiative!

If you're referring to my depiction of the way things went when German commanders were killed I would beg to differ with your analysis. Yes the German soldiers were able to take on any job but they also recognized the advantage of acting in concert in every situation. So they deferred to the ranking soldier who had both the ability to lead because he knew every job and he had the cooperation of the soldiers who followed his lead because they knew they would be more effective when they fought as a unit.

The German soldier was not the automaton we were taught they were in school. That idea grew out of Allied propaganda that was meant to encourage our troops to believe that victory would be gained easier than it actually was. It took root in the victorious American culture which thrived on it's own bravado until Korea came along. I don't think it was bad for our leaders to encourage such thinking. It's hard to gather up the nerve to take on a fighting machine as ferocious as the Nazis. Any bit of courage they could give the men was alright by me but it's time we put that myth to bed. It's usefulness has long since passed. It was a different era and propaganda was much more effective because you only heard news from a limited number of sources. Sometimes that was a good thing and sometimes it was bad. I don't believe I want to go back to those days but sometimes I think we hear too much and make too much of things. The current war is a perfect example. We moan and cry as if the loss of 2500 soldiers is an epic disaster. Compared to most wars that's a drop in the bucket. I'm not saying that all life doesn't have great value. It certainly does. But sometimes we are called on to sacrifice all. If we don't then we will surrender all instead.

Art Eatman
September 26, 2008, 09:35 AM
And we've wandered away from the Garand...

:), Art