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View Full Version : Who had the best machine guns? America or the Nazis - MOVIE


Amsdorf
May 25, 2012, 07:09 PM
I thought you guys would appreciate this old Army movie.

I'm still trying to put my feelings about it into words, but it is apparent it was intended to bolster confidence in American machine guns in light of the overwhelming superiority of the German machine guns.

Here is the movie, see what you think.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35R2WENXMl8

Crosshair
May 25, 2012, 07:48 PM
That's the propaganda one I mentioned in the other thread, at least in regards to the MG34. They use it in exactly the way it's NOT used in real life. In real life, guns like the MG34 are used as long range shotguns against moving targets that are only exposed for a short period of time. Having spread is not necessarily a bad thing because rarely will your aim be perfect anyway

indy1919
May 25, 2012, 07:53 PM
This could be one of those endless threads.. So many different aspects to each gun that is a plus & Minus...

None were Failures, Each has its advantages

I think the bigger issue on the Heavy machine guns is how they were used..

The Germans used their Machine guns to attack with the rest of the squad used to support the gun

The Americans used the foot soldier to attack with the Machine guns to support them..

As someone who has played & stripped both the 1919a4 and the Mg42, When I field strip the the Mg42, I am always dripping blood from a scrap or a cut. There is a lot of sharp edges on that beast .. Never when I strip the 1919a4... The 1919a4 IMHO is a better designed creature.. (Thank you John browning)

On the other hand the quick change barrel on the mg42 is to die for...

Also on an emotional level.. The Mg42 is just beautiful with its futuristic/Art Deco look..

Amsdorf
May 25, 2012, 07:54 PM
I think the MG42 influenced, by far, the development of machine guns, much more than Browning's 1919.

Of course, the video didn't even mention the BMG .50

I wonder why not?

indy1919
May 25, 2012, 07:56 PM
Oh Mucho thanks for posting this... A great chance to hear the different barks of each gun

indy1919
May 25, 2012, 07:59 PM
I think they were featuring infantry weapons.. And the 50.. God bless it is just not an infantry weapon

Amsdorf
May 25, 2012, 08:47 PM
That was my favorite part two, really hearing the difference.

Nothing like that MG42. Hoooly crap!

armoredman
May 25, 2012, 09:22 PM
It was called Hitler's Zipper for its fast rate of fire. Wasn't the M-60 heavily influenced by the MG-42?
Thanks for the video, first time I heard them all fie together like that.:cool:
Also first time I heard an M3 Grease Gun called "new".:eek::cool:

Amsdorf
May 25, 2012, 09:25 PM
Yes, to my knowledge, it was.

Buzzcook
May 26, 2012, 12:21 AM
All of the stamped sheet steel guns were pretty similar.

I think the M3 grease gun was as good as the German MP 38/40 Schmeisser. It was accurate, relatively light, and very robust. The M 3 was also more compact than its German counterpart. Its rate of fire was 450rpm as opposed to 500 for the MP 38/40.

The M1928A1 Thompson was, except for its weight, superior to the Schmeisser.

The MG 34/42 were better than the M1919 .30. That being said the M1919 was a fine gun in its own right.

gyvel
May 26, 2012, 01:12 AM
The feed system on the M-60 was more or less copied from the MG42, and it seems that the M-60 bolt has more than a passing resemblance to a Lewis gun.

Winchester_73
May 26, 2012, 09:10 AM
As someone who has played & stripped both the 1919a4 and the Mg42, When I field strip the the Mg42, I am always dripping blood from a scrap or a cut. There is a lot of sharp edges on that beast .. Never when I strip the 1919a4... The 1919a4 IMHO is a better designed creature.. (Thank you John browning)

I assure you, that is the ONLY advantage of the 1919 design. No one during WWII designed guns around the concept of not getting cut during dis assembly. The MG 42 had a high rate of fire, was made of stamped metal, reliable, etc. You should probably talk to about it with a 88 yr old man who faced one and see what he says. Our men were terrified of the MG 42 because we knew how powerful of a weapon it was. Ever see the propaganda film where the guy is telling the American soldier not to be afraid of the sound of an MG 42. It had a specific sound because it fired so fast, the rounds fired did not report the same as other machine guns of the time. It was like the sound of dominance for Allied soldiers.

As for submachine guns, thats close. The Mp40 was probably easier to make and it was lighter. The Thompson has the better cal and was controllable. However, the MP43/44 was one of the best arms of the war IMO. It combined the semi rifle and the submachine gun, giving someone the benefits of each.

Chris_B
May 26, 2012, 02:42 PM
The tommygun was made to too high of a standard for military use, in my opinion. MP40 must have been infinitely easier to stamp out than the tommy was to make. But the Soviets made some very effective and reliable machine guns and subguns, perhaps better than either the Americans or the Germans

armoredman
May 26, 2012, 04:15 PM
The 1928 Thompson was very intricate, difficult and expensive to make. The M-3 Grease Gun was cheap, stamped, reliable and could be made very quickly. I did have a buddy who had them in his Army Reserve Tank unit in the 80s, and said it was as accurate as a thrown brick...but they weren't new any more.
The Soviet subgun that made history was the PawPawShaw, the PPsH 41. The subsequent PPsH 43 was a better gun, from what little I've been told, just didn't look as good. :)

thallub
May 26, 2012, 07:50 PM
Its a testimony to the MG 42 design that variants are used by armies of the world today. The M1919 simply went away.

Amsdorf
May 26, 2012, 07:53 PM
Thanks for all the great comments everyone, really am enjoying the feedback.

Winchester_73
May 26, 2012, 08:13 PM
Its a testimony to the MG 42 design that variants are used by armies of the world today. The M1919 simply went away.

+1. Overall, I personally think the MG 42 was the best machine gun of the whole war. While some of them may have did 1 or 2 things better, overall, it was the best.

The Germans were leading the technology race overall at the time. We are lucky that the Germans made so many mistakes strategically or they could have easily accomplished more than they did.

indy1919
May 26, 2012, 09:14 PM
Well I do agree that the mg42 In variants (Mg3) are still in use by many militaries Today..

The m1919a4 is still in use also, Portugal and the French navy come to mind..

But the design of the M1919a4 Is still being used by its bigger Sister Ma Duce..

And the US Military has spent a fortune trying to replace the M2 50 cal for years and yet she still goes strong after 90 years

Crosshair
May 27, 2012, 05:07 PM
But the design of the M1919a4 Is still being used by its bigger Sister Ma Duce..
Funny thought, MG42 scaled up to take 50 BMG with an MG42 rate of fire, then give it to infantry units.:p

indy1919
May 27, 2012, 08:34 PM
@ 1200 rounds per min with 100 linked 50 cal rounds weighing in at a Hefty 35 pounds,,

A 30 second burst would use up 210 pounds of cartridges

Each Second would eat up 7 pounds of cartridges

As per cost... @ 3 dollars a bullet that is $60 a second


Of course you are blowing the living snot out of the Target down range

Jo6pak
May 27, 2012, 09:47 PM
70+ years later it is pretty easy to see that the German MGs (34 and 42) were better weapons than the US machine guns.

But I wouldn't want to be told that before I had to go off to fight against them:eek:

BlueTrain
May 30, 2012, 09:40 AM
Most of the leaders of WWII in Europe and America had been through WWI, where the machine gun had dominated the battlefield. Yet the development of machine guns went in different directions in different places. THe MG34 and MG42 were only one countries idea of the best and there is no doubt they influenced later developments, especially the MG42. They both were produced at the same time, by the way, because the MG34 worked better in some applications.

Although the Germans used similiar light machine guns before the MG34 was adopted, they basically started from scratch because of their weapons restrictions. Everyone else carried on with the same heavy machine gun they had in the Great War, although they all also adopted a light machine gun. The thing the Germans did that was different was to use the same gun for both a heavy and a light role, whether or not it had any real advantage. However, they apparently believed in a higher rate of fire and the 7.62NATO machine gun as made in West Germany was advertisied with that as a desirable feature. But good fire discipline is necessary.

One of the disadvantages of the Browning and even the later FN machine guns, I've been told, is the necessity of setting headspace. I don't think that's required on the MG42. It is a small thing but both my father and my son mentioned it, so it must be a source of minor irritation to the user.

The MG42 was the inspiration for the M60 but from what I've read, more of the design features came from other weapons. Anyway, it always seemed to me that the designers failed in some respects. For instance, it doesn't so much have a quick change barrel as it seems to be a take-down model. At least on the ones in use when I was in (and we only had two), the bipod was attached to the barrel.

One could hardly say the MG42 made anything else obsolete and most squad automatics and light machine guns in use during WWII were still in use 30 years later and even later for some guns. Of course, some armies seem to skip generations of arms design. In the Swedish army, the M1903 FN in 9mm Browning Long was only finally replaced by the--wait for it--Glock. Technically, it was supposed to have been replaced by another pistol but it didn't seem to have the service life that it should have.

Strafer Gott
May 30, 2012, 10:56 AM
Considering the Army Air Corps contribution in WWII, I'd consider the M2
was the machine gun that one the war. Putting .50 cal in aircraft was absolutely brilliant. You can kill anything with a .50 cal. And we still do.

Amsdorf
May 30, 2012, 01:56 PM
The P47 Thunderbolt was the best platform in the war, though the P51 generally overshadows it. The 8 .50 calls in the wings, with its incredible diving capability made it the king of the air when it came to ground support.

zincwarrior
May 30, 2012, 02:24 PM
What, no love for the venerable BAR?

Amsdorf
May 30, 2012, 02:31 PM
The BAR was not a machine gun, but an automatic rifle, that only had a 20 round box magazine. It was pressed into service as a "squad automatic weapon" back in WWII.

zincwarrior
May 30, 2012, 04:01 PM
These things are all true. As other firearms have been brought besides the 1919 and MG42 I place it here as well as it filled a major role with the US forces, which relied less on the 1919.

Additionally I would add in the Bren Gun (just because its cool), and the Johnson .30 used primarily by the Marines.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M1941_Johnson_machine_gun

Buzzcook
May 30, 2012, 05:35 PM
The P47 Thunderbolt was the best platform in the war, though the P51 generally overshadows it. The 8 .50 calls in the wings, with its incredible diving capability made it the king of the air when it came to ground support.

As far as ground attack the P-38 with four .50 cals and a 20mm cannon, was imho a better platform. Mainly because all the guns were centrally placed so convergence of fire wasn't as important.

That is of the fighters, the various small bombers including a B-25 with a 75mm gun probably hit harder.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-26_Marauder
B-26B-10 through B-26B-55—Beginning with block 10, the wingspan was increased from 65 feet (20 m) to 71 feet (22 m), to improve handling problems during landing caused by a high wing load; flaps were added outboard of the engine nacelles for this purpose also. The vertical stabiliser height was increased from 19 feet 10 inches (6.05 m) to 21 feet 6 inches (6.55 m). The armament was increased from six to twelve .50 caliber machine guns; this was done in the forward section so that the B-26 could perform strafing missions. The tail gun was upgraded from manual to power operated. Armor was added to protect the pilot and copilot.

Once rockets became practical in mid 1945 the machine guns and auto cannons took a second place in ground attack.

44 AMP
June 1, 2012, 04:31 AM
But even though they often filled the same roles in combat, design philosophies are very different, as one might expect considering the near quarter century between the designs of the two guns.

The 1919 Browning is just the lightened, air cooled version of the 1917 water cooled gun. There are some minor differences, but basically its the same gun. And like ALL military small arms designed before (and during WWI) they were built like civilian guns in the fact that they were intended to be durable.

WWI changed everyone's thinking about combat, being the first war where the machine gun ruled the battlefield. Heavy built, built to last. The Maxim gun, was the main weapon, and used by both the English and the Germans.

By the closing years of WWI, some lessons had been learned, and the Browning has improved features over the earlier WW I machineguns. But there is only so much that can be done with a design, without making it into a completely different gun. We used the Browning .30 in WWII, and used it A LOT, because it was what we had, and were making.

Germany, on the other hand, as has been said, basically had to start from scratch when they rearmed. And they had a different tactical doctrine than we did. The MG 34 is a masterpiece of design, but it is also made more in the traditional manner than later arms. It was the pressure of wartime production requirements, and some lessons learned that led to the MG 42. Propaganda aside, the Nazi war machine was nearly always on the brink of being critically short of small arms, and used captured weapons, and captured weapons factories extensively to supplement the German produced arms pool.

Note that they contined to build Lugers (p.08) until 1942, when it finally became clear that cost (in terms of skilled labor time) could be better used making other arms. The MG 42 was the first hugely sucessful design that took into account the fact that the battlefield life of small arms is not very long, and its a waste to make them "the old fashioned way".

So, stampings were used for a fair part of the gun. Cheaper in cost, and much cheaper in terms of production time. For us, there was no pressing need to replace or supplement the Browning .30, because when we got going, our production capacity dwarfed all the other combatant nations. Only the Soviet Union came close to matching us in arms, and they were able to do it in some areas only because supplies of materiel from the US (Lend Lease) meant they could concentrate production on arms. The Soviets didn't build as many trucks as they needed (or used), for example because we sent them thousands of Studebakers. The capacity they would have needed to use to build trucks could instead make tanks.

We also had an unsurmountable advantage in that our supplies of raw materials were secure and nobody was bombing our factories.

The Germans built a great gun in the MG 42, but they needed to build a gun like that. The lessons of WWII meant that the Browning .30 was a luxury car, and what modern war needed was an economy car, and lots of them. When we did get around to replacing the Browning .30, we went with a gun that did borrow (or directly copy) many of the features of the MG42. The M60 was better suited for modern war, but it was NOT a better gun than the Browning. In fact as a fine firearm, the m60 was a piece of crap, with many flaws and faults. ITs true we took lots of its design from the MG42, but we didn't do it right. Many of those flaws were eventually corrected, but it took considerable time, and its still "the pig".

Amsdorf
June 1, 2012, 05:02 PM
Very interesting, thank you!

BlueTrain
June 3, 2012, 07:33 AM
I think the biggest ways the MG34 and the MG42 were different from their predecessors in German service at least was that they were lighter and that they had quick change barrels. The older water cooled machine guns, which did have some advantages, were simply too heavy and difficult to move around. They needed a whole squad to employ. Everyone has fairly similiar general purpose machine guns now but apparently a quick change barrel is not so important as it was considered then. Of course with the high rate of fire of an MG42, maybe it needed it more than other guns.

Obviously the MG42 was a redesign of the MG34 and the MG42 was obviously the inspiration for the M60, though everything I've read said that some design features actually came from other weapons. It's interesting to consider that the replacement for the M60 is actually an older design that was introduced either at the same time or a little earlier.

44 AMP
June 5, 2012, 10:39 PM
The M60 "borrowed" design features from the MG 42 (notably the feed cover mechanism and the extensive use of stampings), the Lewis gun (bolt group), and I believe the BREN gun (barrel latch).

Touted as a wonder weapon, the only thing it did really well was be lighter than previous guns, at 23.5lbs. The feed system (in the cover) was nearly an exact copy of the MG 42's, and worked pretty well, however, the feed tray itself was crap, being too thin (and a stamping), which was prone to crack and the rivets fastening the hanger constantly came loose.

The bolt group wasn't bad, but the designers choose poor angles for the cam surfaces between the bolt and op rod, resulting in the gun actually chewing up the op rod during operation. Can't tell you how many op rods I stoned to keep them running for a while, but it was more than a few.

Also, there was no secondary sear, so that when the trigger was released, the notch on the op rod would slam into the sear (and the op rod would also ride on the top of the sear as it worked, if the trigger wasn't held back enough) resulting in rapid wear of the rod, and the sear, which eventually would lead to a run away gun.

And, instead of working smoothly like the MG 42, the M60 was very jerky when feeding, the vibration was bad enough to overcome the spring detents and allowing the end caps of the gas cylinder to virbate loose. We wound up using lacing wire to keep them on, and that meant that the wire had to be cut, in order to disassemble the gas cylinder to clean it, and new lacing wire installed afterwards.'

Other flaws in the execution of the design were that the carry handle was on the gun (forearm) NOT the barrel, (unlike the Bren) so one needed the asbestos mitten (provided) in order to change a hot barrel without serious burns.

AND, the bipod was mounted on the barrel, not the gun, meaning each barrel assembly was bulkier, heavier, and more expensive than it needed to be, because every spare barrel also had its own bipod attached!

AND...the trigger group was held to the reciever by a single solid pin. The pin was retained by a leaf spring, which could vibrate off, or be brushed off, and was easily installed upside down, which meant it would remove itself due to gravity somtimes. And when it did, the pin was easly pushed, or vibrated out, letting the entire trigger group fall off the gun! If this happened with a belt loaded and the bolt back, the gun runs away and keeps firing until somthing jams the belt or it runs out of ammo!:eek::eek::eek:

All in all, the original M60 design was a fabulous gun, if you were a manufacturer interested in selling as many spare parts to Uncle Sam as you could. If you were the troops using it, at best, it was adeqate, and seldom was it at its best.

A fine example of a gun designed by a committee, taking the good features from some other guns, and putting them together in the worst possible way.

And yes, I worked on them....a lot.

I'd have to go look it up, but I don't think its correct to call the MG 42 a redesign of the MG34. The bolt groups are quite different. While there are many visual similarities overall, they are mechanically quite different at the heart of the gun. IIRC, the MG42 uses a variation of the roller lock system (actually a delayed blowback, but without the fluted chamber found in the H&K version), while the MG 34 uses rotating bolt locking lugs (might be wrong, but that what I remember. After I look it up, if I'm wrong, I'll apologize.:D)

Amsdorf
June 6, 2012, 04:32 AM
Thanks, I learned a lot from that comment.

Pilot
June 6, 2012, 06:20 AM
The P47 Thunderbolt was the best platform in the war, though the P51 generally overshadows it. The 8 .50 calls in the wings, with its incredible diving capability made it the king of the air when it came to ground support.


It wasn't only firepower, it was survivability of the P-47. It could take a lot of abuse from ground fire and still keep going. The big radial was reliable, and could keep running, even after some critical hits. The P-51's engine was liquid cooled. One hit to the radiator, and it was toast.

Someone else mentioned the P-38 which was also good a the ground attack role. It had TWO engines, so if one got it, the other could still get you home. Again, survivability was important. Doesn't hurt to have a 20MM either.

BTW, it can be argued the P-51 was a better air to air fighter than the P-47. It was generally considered the best piston fighter of WWII.

TNT
June 6, 2012, 06:55 AM
That is of the fighters, the various small bombers including a B-25 with a 75mm gun probably hit harder.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-26_Marauder
Quote:
B-26B-10 through B-26B-55—Beginning with block 10, the wingspan was increased from 65 feet (20 m) to 71 feet (22 m), to improve handling problems during landing caused by a high wing load; flaps were added outboard of the engine nacelles for this purpose also. The vertical stabiliser height was increased from 19 feet 10 inches (6.05 m) to 21 feet 6 inches (6.55 m). The armament was increased from six to twelve .50 caliber machine guns; this was done in the forward section so that the B-26 could perform strafing missions. The tail gun was upgraded from manual to power operated. Armor was added to protect the pilot and copilot.

If you talk about armament configuration the Douglas A26 was far better suited and had a far longer life in service. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_A-26_Invader

TNT
June 6, 2012, 07:17 AM
The MG42 gets allot of praise for its design as it should it is still used today but one that is overlooked is Ma Duece aka M2 .50 it was mentioned a few times but if you want to talk about dependability and reliability and firepower there is nothing that comes close you can take her faults in being heavy all you want but the MG42 had her faults as well the combat vets that have heard the God awful sound of the 42 firing knew that the machine gun pit would run out of ammo due to her high rate of fire. Regardless a great design still used today in the 240 variants that we currently use today. The M2 however is still used as well with very little if any modification to the original design. She is one of the ages, proof that John Browning is still the king. As for the BAR not being mentioned and even though it is classified as a machine gun but as a Automatic Rifle name says one thing the operation of it says machine gun just like the Thompson the Grease Gun, MP40, PPsH 43 they are not belt fed like the 1919, or the MG42 but it does not make them anything less they are still machine guns. The M2 is still the king for range, firepower, lethality, dependability she covers all the bases. The M2 is to the machine gun world as what George Strait is to country they are still the King.

44 AMP
June 6, 2012, 03:38 PM
To my mind, the undesiputed king of machine guns, and a significant factor in US success on the battlefield in WW II, and ever since.

However, the M2 is a heavy machinegun. Its in a whole different class from the 1919 Browning and the MG 42. Now, while the Germans did use the MG 42 as both the light and heavy machinegun roles, the gun is not a heavy machinegun. It is best described as a GPMG, a general purpose machinegun.

And that is something the M2 definately is not. IN infantry configuration, the M2 reciever alone weighs 84lbs! The barrel is another 23, and the tripod about 65lbs. Considering each round of .50BMG fires a bullet that weighs about 6 times that of a .30-06, and at a slightly higher speed, all that weight is needed! But you pay a price in mobility. Weight vs mobility is why ground mount use of the M2 is rare. We mounted Ma Deuce on every kind of vehicle capable of taking it, on the ground, and in the air, for mobility.

True the BAR, Thompson, Sten, PPSH, MP40 etc are legally machine guns. SO is the M16. IF it fires full auto, then legally its a machinegun, be it tripod mounded belt fed, rifle, carbine or pistol.

That's how the ATF and the law define it. However, military defintions (and the terms in common use by civilians discussing these arms) are a bit different. Automatic rifle, light MG, Submachinegun, and assault rifle are better descriptors of the arms, by both their design and tactical use.

Amsdorf
June 6, 2012, 06:21 PM
Thanks for the very informative comments!

indy1919
June 12, 2012, 09:28 AM
Came across some other comparisons for the 1919s & Mg 34 & mg 42


The 1919a4 in 1940 cost the US over $650 each ($9993.52 US$ value today)
By 1945 the cost of manufacture was reduced to $60 ($718.96 US$ value today)

The mg34 cost 150 man hours & 500 Reichmarks to make or $119 US$ ($1917.01 US$ value today)

The mg42 cost 75 man hours & 250 Reichmarks to make or $59.50 US$ ($712.97 US$ value today)

bamaranger
June 13, 2012, 03:28 AM
There is/was a youtube video taken with a camera on the berm, looking back at the MG42 while the gun dumped a belt into the berm! Pretty amazing.

The MG42 was likely the best MG of the war. Portable, high rate of fire, and replaceable barrel. Keeping the thing fed would be another matter.

Skans
June 13, 2012, 09:46 AM
The Nazis had better machine guns. Hard to beat the MG42. The BAR was an ultra-heavy 20 round automatic rifle. You'd think they would have at least made a drum for it. Seems like it would have been better if it was designed as a super accurate semi-auto long range rifle. If I recall, they were full-auto only. I've never fired one.

The BREN was finicky - I have fired one of those, and it had failure to eject problems when I shot it.....not that I got to fire it a lot, mind you.

BlueTrain
June 13, 2012, 11:00 AM
The comments about the M60 machine gun above highlights the fact that machine guns in particular do need to be durable. Whether or not there are stamped parts is beside the point and, anyway, stamped parts are really a heavy industrial kind of thing to produce, at least as far as machine guns go. But they do have to last. You can't have small arms (or other arms either) that quickly break down or wear out or are finicky in service. Some machine guns incorporated oilers for the ammo, which I can only imagine increases the critical nature of the functioning. But I'm sure the designers thought just the opposite.

The biggest differences between a military weapon and a sporting weapon are that the military weapon will (hopefully) be more robust and will have a better rust and corrosion-resistant finish. Only recently have hunting rifles been availabe that are really weather proof. If you see old weapons in museums, it is true they had better finishes than later weapons but it didn't contribute to their functionality one bit.

Jimro
June 13, 2012, 11:53 AM
The short recoil operated 1919 and 1917 machine guns are heavier, slower rate of fire, and take longer to conduct a barrel change.

That being said, machine gun math says that the gun that can put effects on the beaten zone longer is the better gun from a tactical standpoint. It isn't how much lead you can put on target, it is how long you can put lead on target.

That is why American GI's are constantly being harped on to conduct good burst control and conserve ammo.

Remember, it is never one single weapon system that wins a war, it is a proper mix of systems and combined with proper tactics to use those systems.

Jimro

indy1919
June 14, 2012, 10:34 PM
Found this on the way to other things.. And interesting light read about a wartime attempt to convert an mg42 to "talk American" so to speak..

http://ww2.rediscov.com/spring/VFPCGI.exe?IDCFile=/spring/DETAILS.IDC,SPECIFIC=11715,DATABASE=objects,

buckhorn
June 15, 2012, 01:08 PM
I love the BAR, but I don't think they ever came up with a more than 20 shot clip. The barrel replacement required more than just twist and turn, hence the 20 shot max. But I still love 'em. I know they weren't actual machine guns but they only fired 'full Auto' so else do you call them. MG42 heavily influenced the m60 so I quess it's No. 1

Crosshair
June 15, 2012, 01:21 PM
If I recall, they were full-auto only. I've never fired one.
I have shot one, though I forget if it had a semi-auto mode. I know it had a selector for two rates of full auto fire. It is very easy to do two round bursts. You have to be a bit quick to get a 1 shot burst.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KbQN-2yT0Y

buckhorn
June 15, 2012, 01:31 PM
Yes sir, you're right. I think it had 450 and 900 rpm selector switch . No single shot choice.

44 AMP
June 16, 2012, 12:51 AM
Early model BARs did have semi auto. This was dropped on later models.

Technically, the BAR is classed as a LMG (light machine gun). There are several later designs of LMG that are slightly heaver, and still feed of a 20 (or sometimes 30) rnd box magazine. Some of them have quick change barrels, but not all of them do.

Remember the BAR was basically the first, lightest automatic rifle, and while it goes 18lbs or so, its lighter than a Lewis gun. The BAR was built for the concept of "walking fire", to give fire support to the doughboys walking through no-mans land. There was even a metal belt attachment to hold the butt of the gun.
While this tactic did not work out as well as was hoped, the BAR proved very useful, even if it was not as well suited for sustained fire as a belt fed gun.

Browning virtually gave the govt the design (he accepted their first (low ball) bid, under the condition that the first of the new rifles were sent to his son's unit in France.

buckhorn
June 16, 2012, 03:21 PM
Thanks for the info, 44amp. I never realized there was a semi-auto version. Not that I could ever afford one, but it's nice to learn new stuff, even after 60 years. I used to watch "Combat" just so I could see Gage fire his BAR . It seems all the biggest guys in the squad toted the BAR's. And Browning, despite having to go to Belgium to get some of his guns made, was a heck of an American when it counted.

BlueTrain
June 16, 2012, 05:16 PM
Aren't machine guns wonderful things? Almost as nice as tanks.

I suppose you could argue all day over whether or not a BAR is a machine gun or not. It may be a rifle but it weighed around 16 pounds, depending on what was on it when you picked it up. Now the M249 is belt fed but used in the sale role and weighs around the same. In comparison, a Bren is around 20 lbs, an M250 around 24 lbs. The exact weight isn't so important because at the end of the day, it will feel like it weights twice as much. The important thing is that the users like the gun.

Here is an example of a good idea in a machine gun that didn't work out that well in practice. At least it was replaced with something more conventional. The Japanese first used a light machine gun that was neither belt fed nor magazine fed (It wasn't tube fed either). It was clip fed. In theory it sounds like a good idea. It took ordinary five-round clips for the standard infantry rifle. They were placed in a hopper on the left side of the gun and the cover was placed over the clips. I couldn't tell you how it worked but what I've read suggested it wasn't reliable. The next model had a box magazine. Something to think about next time you're designing a machine gun. Maybe you could get better results.

indy1919
June 16, 2012, 08:00 PM
Bluetrain, Nothing is as nice as tanks... Tanks are so cool they have many machine guns + more

Per the Japanese clip feed MG, not that it shows the internals, the one history show on machine guns shows one of those and if you slowmo it you can see that thing kick out that little clip.. Its a sight :D

Amsdorf
June 16, 2012, 11:18 PM
The movie that started this thread:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35R2WENXMl8

Crosshair
June 17, 2012, 12:42 AM
Aren't machine guns wonderful things? Almost as nice as tanks.
Depends on the machine gun and tank.

BlueTrain
June 17, 2012, 03:53 PM
To me, some of the most interesting tanks were the ones that performed the worst in battle, mostly German and British. The German tanks at the beginning of the war were not especially battle worthy and they lost a relatively high percentage in the invasion of Poland.

I mentioned the Japanese clip fed light machine gun. A similiar idea is how a M249 machine gun will take a standard M16 magazine. Again I suppose it was a good idea but I've been told they really are not reliable that way.

44 AMP
June 19, 2012, 12:59 AM
There is a good Tales of the Gun episode on Japanese infantry weapons, and it included the one that took the rifle stripper clips. One thing I found amusing was that every gun they shot in that show, except for the Arisaka rifle, jammed at least once before it was empty!

The Japanese machine guns of WWII were a really horrid lot. The best one they had was a copy of a Hotchkiss, and that one was neither belt or box mag fed, it used feed strips. I've had a couple of the strips over the years. Neat idea, not so good in actual use, but the did work.

Brass, with little fingers to hold the rounds in place. Each strip held 30 rnds (or so, I don't recall exactly), and could be linked together, forming a kind of rigid "belt". I believe its the type 99 machine gun that used them, we nicknamed it the "woodpecker". One really odd thing was that the gun reloaded the fired cases back into the feed strip!

Another of their LMGs used the rifle stripper clips, BUT (IIRC) the gun wouldn't run right on the regular rifle ammo! And the ammo had to be oiled! Another one used a round dimensionally identical to the rifle round, but loaded to a lower pressure to work in the machine gun. Working in supply must have been a nightmare, to get the right ammo to the right users!

On the other hand, you have to admire their determination. As far as I know, the Japanese were the only people to mount a bayonet on a light machine gun!

We've come a long way, each war producing both good and bad designs, and if modern designs weren't at least some better than the old ones, I'd have to ask, WHY THE HECK NOT?

The design teams that came up with the MG34 and the MG42 did some tremendous work. Maxim proved it could work, and work well, but I think the undisputed king of machine gun designers has to be JM Browning. True, his designs don't have all the bells and whistles we think important today, but for the era his guns were so far ahead of the curve, we're still using some of them today. And when we went to replace some of his designs, we went through one, two, or even three different designs to find something that actualy improved, or had any significant advantage over Browning's designs.

When we replaced the M1919, we went throug 4 differnt guns before finding one that would even serve as well as the old 1919! We tried to replace the M2 .50 cal, the M60 series tanks carried the M85. It worked so well, the M1 Abrams has an M2 on it!

The M60 tank also replaced the Browning 1919 in the coax position with a new design, the M73. Then the M73A1, then the M219 (all "refinements of the basic design, to try to get it to work right). Finally, we went to the M240, which is the basic Belgian MAG58 design, and it works. M240s are mounted in the Abrams too.

Browning machine guns aren't idiot proof, troops can, and do screw them up. I worked on M2s as a Small Arms Repairman, 90%+ of all the repairs I had to make were broken/bent exterior parts (charging handle, sight ears, etc) because they got dropped. Archaic dinosaurs, they didn't have quick change barrels, and you had to adjust the headspace, and timing, but Ma Duce, she just don't quit!

Kalashnikov7.62
June 19, 2012, 09:06 AM
For Troop support Hitlers buzzsaw (the Mg42) is the best. But for best Machine gun in the entire World War 2 I would be inclined to say Ma Duace (M2) is the best.

buckhorn
June 19, 2012, 12:42 PM
44AMP. Yeah, I've heard about those. The idea was the machine gunner could use Arisaka rifle clips if he ran out. I have that show on DVR and you are right, they were malfunctioning quite a bit.

BlueTrain
June 21, 2012, 02:53 PM
Ask any veteran of any army in WWII which machine gun (or any gun) was the best and most will say their own. It would take a lot of nerve to admit that someone else had a better one. But sometimes I get the impression that sometimes there's a general feeling among soldiers that their enemy has better weapons. Often as not they just have better propaganda.

The odd and unique Japanese light machine gun only used rifle clips. It sounds like a good idea but apparently it sounded better than it worked.

There are outtakes of the TV show Mail Call on youtube on which Gunny is attempting to demonstrate various weapons and other militaria but mostly achieves a very high rate of failures, followed by high quality cursing. But in defense of all of those malfunctioning weapons, virtually all were of WWII or earlier manufacture. But also, as was said of a certain French heavy machine gun (not a Hotchkiss), they worked but it required a dedicated machine gun afficianado (which all readers of this forum would be, of course).

thallub
June 21, 2012, 06:31 PM
For years i was the senior firing range advisor to the Saudi National Guard. One of the non-modernized battalions that used our ranges was the remnant of a princes private army that was integrated into the national guard: They were all from the same tribe. Their automatic rifle was an updated quick change barrel version of the BAR, the FN-D; chambered for 8mm. Their machinegun was the MG42/58. Their rifle was the FN model 1950.

The soldiers from that unit were the best military marksman i have ever seen.

Amsdorf
June 21, 2012, 08:38 PM
I have to say the comments on this thread are really fascinating.

Tikirocker
June 22, 2012, 09:10 PM
Somebody mentioned the Bren, which to me was the best Automatic Rifle of them all - I say Automatic Rifle however as it was not a machine gun, right along with the BAR.

Tiki.

Fishbed77
June 22, 2012, 10:15 PM
As far as ground attack the P-38 with four .50 cals and a 20mm cannon, was imho a better platform. Mainly because all the guns were centrally placed so convergence of fire wasn't as important.

As much as I love the "Fork-Tailed Devil," this just isn't true.

A single bullet in the right place could take out a liquid-cooled engine (Allison V-1710). And losing an engine (even in a twin-engined fighter) at low altitude was disastrous.

Also, despite the concentrated fire of the P-38, the P-47 was the more stable gun platform at low altitude.

Buzzcook
June 23, 2012, 02:17 AM
Tikirocker: Are you saying the Bren wasn't a machine gun because it wasn't belt fed?
As far as I can see that's the main functional difference between it and the MG 34.

Would the Japanese type 96 also count as an auto rifle rather than a machine gun?

Fishbed77: My point wasn't which plane was more durable or easier to fly. It only had to do with a planes ability to put rounds on target. I stand by my position.
It was another poster that argued the durability of the P-38.

Because the prototype crash landed after setting a transcontinental speed record, a lot of the planes development was stalled. The most unfortunate problem was not discovering the need for dive brakes until later models. Upgrades were on a ship that was sunk by a Uboat so that delayed improvement to planes already in Europe even further. The result was that several P-38s literally disintegrated during power dives.
Other problems plagued the P-38 all the way through its operating life. Even with these problems it was a heck of a plane. More so when later models were equipped with ten rockets.

Mike Irwin
June 23, 2012, 08:12 AM
" The best one they had was a copy of a Hotchkiss, and that one was neither belt or box mag fed, it used feed strips."

By far the best Japanese machine gun of the war was their late analog to the Bren gun, the Type 99 chambered in 7.7mm. It wasn't until this gun that the Japanese finally understood the need for slow primary extraction. Their guns prior to that, even their copies of the Hotchkiss guns, didn't have initial extraction, so they had to use either cartridge oiling mechanisms, or they had to have oiled cartridges loaded into the magazines. Horrible set up.

"Would the Japanese type 96 also count as an auto rifle rather than a machine gun?"

Nope. It was, like the Bren and most of the others, used as a squad automatic weapon.

The fact that the Browning Automatic Rifle is called an automatic rifle is really irrelevant because its primary role after World War I's "how the hell are we going to use this thing" head scratching was as a.... squad automatic weapon. Same as the Bren, same as the Types 96 and 99.


"Also, despite the concentrated fire of the P-38, the P-47 was the more stable gun platform at low altitude."

The P-47 was great, the P-38 was interesting....

But if you wanted to REALLY kick some ground ass from the air, you called in a flight of Hawker Typhoons. Four 20mm cannons, 10 Holy Moses rockets, and in some field set ups, a 500-lb bomb slung on the centerline as well (although that apparently was only done on paved or solid runways because it hung a little low to the ground).

buckhorn
June 24, 2012, 12:27 PM
Yeah, the Hawker Tempest and Typhoon were probably the best attack aircraft the Allies had during WW2. They were so fast that Britain used them to chase down V-1 rockets and shoot them down. They were originally designed as fighters, but it had handling problems and couldn't turn inside Messerschmidts. So the made attack fighters out of them. 4 20mm guns and 2,000lbs of bombs were plenty.And if the pilot ran out of ammo chasing a V-1 he would simply fly next to it and use his wing-tip to tip the V-1 over so it would crash in the sea. Britain continued to use them until 1951.

44 AMP
June 24, 2012, 12:47 PM
Shooting down V1s with the big Hawker turned out to be the least preferred option! While the Hawker was faster than the V1, it wasn't that much faster, and many times intercepts couldn't be made.

But when they were, pilots learned that the V1, while it did not maneuver, was a small fast target, and to get hits, you had to be fairly close.

And close turned out to be a bad thing when you shot at a flying bomb! V1s turned out to be able to damage, and even take out their attackers at close ranges, from the massive explosion of the warhead!

So, easing up on one, and edgeing a wingtip under the V1 wing, then flipping it out of control became preferred, and safer for the pilots. But it had to be done over the sea, or open country, not over cities, towns, or villages, for obvious reasons. If caught late, they were shot down, ...carefully.

personally, I'd give the nod for best fighterbomber to the P-47. 8 .50cal Brownings, bombs/rockets, and still a quite capable air superiority fighter, and many, many Messerschmitts and Focke Wulfs found out. A very rugged airframe, and a massive air cooled engine meant Thunderbolts could take a lot of damage and still get home. That was a bit plus, too, and one place where the P-47 was superior to the Hawkers, which used liquid cooled engines.

Mike Irwin
June 25, 2012, 08:41 AM
Over the years I've read a lot about how fighters and other aircraft using liquid cooled engines were a flying crash waiting to happen, and that a well-placed blob of spittle from an angry Nazi Gauleiter would cause a cooling system failure and an immediate engine seizure, followed by a spectacular crash.

I call B.S. and say that that "problem" was an overstated issue that was largely a non issue.

In all of the reading I've done on the air war in Europe over the years, I've found many mentions of this "problem," but I've found VERY FEW credible accounts of aircraft being downed because of their cooling systems being drained from battle damage. And in most of those it would appear that even had the cooling system not been damaged the plane still would have gone down simply because of the total damage sustained.

The cooling systems on liquid-cooled aircraft during the war were generally well protected by a combination of armor plate and other systems and in most cases were largely inaccessible to being damaged by bullets. Explosive shells were another matter, but then again, the damaged caused by explosive shells was often enough to bring an aircraft down whether the cooling system was damaged or not.

Many of the war's most successful aircraft used liquid cooled engines, including the Mustang, the Spitfire, the Typhoon, the Tempest, the Lancaster, the Mosquito, etc.

The Mustang, Typhoon, and the Mosquito (as well as the Lockheed Lightning) were well known for their low-level attack and reconnaissance missions.

Had they been as vulnerable to ground fire as is alluded, it's likely that A) their loss rates would have been much higher, and B) they simply wouldn't have been used for those kinds of missions.

BlueTrain
June 25, 2012, 10:56 AM
There is some semantic creep in this thread, although perhaps with good reason (not the reason you think). Congress got into the act now and then. In some branches of the service, automatic rifles got called "machine rifles," which follows the logic of "machine pistol" and "machine carbine." And some tanks were called "combat cars" because some people weren't supposed to have tanks. So they got combat cars instead.

Anyone want to talk about "personal defense weapons?"

44 AMP
June 25, 2012, 09:26 PM
Here's a question;

Could one define a light machine gun (vs automatic rifle) by the crew assigned? It's all a matter of semantics, really, but since they were both used as squad automatics, this gets into tactical doctrine, and each nation used the doctrine and terms they preferred.

Was there an "assistant BAR gunner"? I know other guys in the squad would hump ammo, but was there a designated guy to feed the BAR (other than the BAR gunner?)

Did the Japanese use an assistant gunner for their magazine fed LMGs? Several other nations did, and I know they Japanese did for the strip fed guns.

SO might one not make the dividing line at automatic rifle (crew:1) and LMG (crew:2)?

As to liquid cooled engines in aircraft, they are more vulnerable (one more thing that can go wrong/be damaged). However, I do agree that their vulnerability was much over blown. That being said, there are documented cases of a single bullet bringing down a fighter due to a hit in the cooling system. Rare, but it did happen. When the stars line up the right way, it happens.

IIRC, Combat cars were "tanks" (full tracked, w/turret(s)), but didn't have cannon, only medium (.30cal) and heavy (.50cal) machineguns. Yes, some people got combat cars, because they weren't authorized tanks, and congress, being what they were, would fund "combat cars", because tanks were too expensive....

Mike Irwin
June 25, 2012, 09:39 PM
Just as there are documented cases of single bullets taking down radial engine aircraft because they blow out the oil intercooler and the engine seizes due to lack of lubrication.

They call those kind of events golden twinkees for a reason...


" I know other guys in the squad would hump ammo, but was there a designated guy to feed the BAR (other than the BAR gunner?)"

To the best of my knowledge, no. The gunner changed the magazines.

I think, though, that you're going to find that there is no single answer to that question that cuts across all armed services.

IIRC the British usually had a team of three assigned to the Bren gun - gunner, assistant, and second assistant who was primarily responsible for protecting the gunner, although per the next paragraph the second assistant may not really have been considered part of the gun crew.

This comes from Wikipedia, so we know it's not true: "The Bren was operated by a two-man crew, sometimes commanded by a Lance Corporal as an infantry section's "gun group", the remainder of the section forming the "rifle group". The gunner or "Number 1" carried and fired the Bren, and a loader or "Number 2" carried extra magazines, a spare barrel and tool kit. Number 2 helped reload the gun and replace the barrel when it overheated, and spotted targets for Number 1."

The Japanese had a completely different view of how these types of guns were to be used. They made provisions to mount bayonets on their light machine guns so that the gunner could use them as a rifleman would use his rifle in a charge. Totally insane, and as I understand it, as often as not, the gunner operated independently and carried his own ammo.

Soviet doctrine usually had teams of two with the Degtyarev, the gunner and another guy who did double duty as ammunition carrier (had a shoulder-slung box with three 47-round pans in it) who was also responsible for protecting the gunner with his PPSh 41.

Amsdorf
June 26, 2012, 09:48 AM
I wonder why they didn't ever work at improving on the BAR design, giving it a larger capacity magazine, or some kind of belt feed option, and quick change barrel.

That would definitely have made it a squad automatic weapon, wouldn't it have?

Can't imagine having only a 20 round magazine with that thing on full auto. You'd be doing a ton of mag swaps, no?

Crosshair
June 26, 2012, 10:09 AM
I wonder why they didn't ever work at improving on the BAR design, giving it a larger capacity magazine, or some kind of belt feed option, and quick change barrel.
They did, what do you think the M240 is? A BAR action turned onto its side and adapted for belt feed.

http://world.guns.ru/userfiles/images/machine/mg06/fn_mag_b.jpg

Amsdorf
June 26, 2012, 10:18 AM
The M240 entered service in the 1970s, if I'm not mistaken, and has been replacing the M60 in many cases, etc.

I was just wondering why they didn't do something like this with the BAR itself, during WWII, or, before it.

44 AMP
June 26, 2012, 09:06 PM
I wonder why they didn't ever work at improving on the BAR design, giving it a larger capacity magazine, or some kind of belt feed option, and quick change barrel.


There are a number of practical reasons, not the least of which is cost. Another factor is legalitites (which also cost), and then it gets into what services think they need, what serves which purpose, best vs good enought, and did I mention, cost?

The BAR was designed, and built like all Browning's other arms, it was made to last. Designed decades before military thought moved to more "disposable" designs, the BAR was made like any sporting and contemporary firearms, built to give a lifetime of service without wearing out the major components just from use.

Other than some handguns, nothing from that era had a quick change barrel in the sense we use it today. Even Browning's designs that did feature a field changeable barrel needed to have headspace and timing set each time the barrel was changed. The modern "yank one out and slap another in" fixed headspace system common today wasn't used, most likely because there was no perceived need.

As to larger magazines, why? Sustained fire is what belt feeds (and specifically water cooled) is for. Also, try to get low prone with a 30rnd mag sticking out the bottom of the gun. Bren guns get bigger mags, but they go in the TOP of the gun.

Belt feed the BAR? OK, sounds good, but then you don't have a BAR anymore. Its not as simple as cutting a hole in the side of the receiver for the belt to go through. Other existing machinegun designs fill the need, so modifying the BAR is a waste of time, and money.

And speaking of money, note that armies buy weapons slowly during peace, budgets are tight, and even modifying existing stocks of arms (cheaper than buying new, usually) is tough to get approval for. And then there is the little legal issue of who owns the design, again, that is money...

When the fighting starts, armies buy guns, in large numbers, and existing designs get a big advantage, because they are already in production. You might have a better gun, in some ways, but if you can't deliver 1,000 next month, you will lose out to the guy who can deliver something that already is known to work.

The BAR, while not the best of all possible designs available at the start of WWII was in inventory, did work, and we could get more, starting tomorrow...

And as to getting something "better" later, well, why? We got all these BARs already....

Personality, both in the military, and in the political side (funding, etc.) also plays a big part. It shouldn't, but it does. History has many examples of someone have a good, possibly even superior design, but because the inventor ticked off somebody (bureaucrat in, or out of uniform) it doesn't get adopted. OR someone's personal prestige becomes part of the process, creating the same result, if for slightly different reasons.

Maybe the new design is just barely better, but not enough to justify the expense of changing. History is full of examples of this, to one degree or another. Even the M1 Garand design had to be modified extensively before the Army would adopt it.

We never seriously considered major changes to the BAR, there was at first, no need, and then, there was no time. And, really while decades later, some people did "built a better mousetrap" in some ways, getting US to adopt it couldn't happen until some fundamental changes in our military philosophy took place first.

BlueTrain
June 27, 2012, 07:28 AM
Your descriptions of the organizational employment of a light machine gun or squad automataic in infantry units is generally correct, Mr. Irwin. The problem that armies have when actually operational is that casualties tend to wreck such niceties pretty quickly, although they will be adhered to as much as possible. The infantry platoon is where everything happens and is the "sharp end" of the army. I hear tanks get used now and then and they also use mostly the same machine guns. A "burst" to a tanker is at least 25 rounds.

Armies have struggled, in a way, with the concept of the rifle squad or section level automatic weapon ever since WWI. They all seem to have tried all variations at one time or another. The US BAR may have been the one in service the longest, with it being used for over 50 years. It and the M1 were still in National Guard units into the 1970s. There may be another that beats that record but I can't think of one.

The basic problems are that, at least at the infantry section level, is the conflicting requirements of mobility and firepower. If firepower were not a requirement, there would be no machine gun in the rifle squad. If mobility were not a requirement, water cooled guns would still be used. So all of these guns represent some form of compromise, just as all the others do. Yet as often as not, the man on the ground, usually with his nose on the ground (literally), will probably think the enemy has better weapons. Doesn't matter which side you're on. Sometimes both sides have exactly the same weapons.

For firepower, belt fed seems to be the way to go but it has disadvantages. Mostly the answer has been to devise some form of magazine for the belt. Where that has been done, the gun stayed. Where it wasn't, it didn't. There were probably other factors but it has always seemed to work out that way unless there were more varieties of machine guns actually used, as was the case in the US Army in WWII. The squad had the BAR, the platoon or company had belt fed light machine guns. The water cooled were at battalion or even higher.

All very interesting but why am I worried about this?

bedbugbilly
June 27, 2012, 08:59 PM
My father-in-law served in the 35th Division (Red Bull) - in North Africa and Italy. He, himself, was his squad's BAR man. He saw a lot and wouldn't talk a whole lot about it. In what conversations I did have with him, he mentioned the M42 and the great "respect" (fear) they had of it. He felt it was a much better machine gun than those the Allies had. I remember being in a mall in Florida with him many years ago where there was a gun store. They had a M42 on display and he spotted it. We walked over and he took a long look at it and mentioned to me the times that they had gone up against them . . . and the carnage they created. He got real quiet and I sensed it brought back a lot of bad memories . . . even though it had been 50 years.

He also mentioned the "88s" and how they blasted the heck out of everything. He'd been caught in a number of incoming barrages . . . especially in Italy. He said that he couldn't even describe what it was like as it was one of the most horrible things that he'd ever experienced . . . the noise, explosions, shrapnel and shaking of the earth was enough to drive a man crazy. They all considered themselves lucky to survive, only to experience it time and time again. A lot of their buddies weren't as lucky.

He only mentioned it once to me and then would never talk about it again. At one time in Italy, while engaged with the Germans, he was sent as a runner to Regimental HQ. As he made his way, several Germans were "trying to dust my a** with machine pistols" as he put it. Upon his return to his squad, he came under fire from a MG43 and dove into a ditch in the area where his squad had been located as he left for HQ. When he hit the ditch, he fell on top of bloddy bodies and quickly realized they were Americans. He said he rolled one over, spotted the division patch and then realized that all of the bodies in the ditch were the members of his squad. They had been cut to shreds by M43s.

I find it interesting, how we, years later, can watch a movie and then debate the weapons. I'm not being critical . . . that's what happens when we study history. Unfortunatley, the generation of those who experienced it first hand are quickly fading away. My father-in-law has been gone for a number of years. He was lucky . . . he made it home but it affected him for the rest of his life.

BlueTrain
June 28, 2012, 07:24 AM
My father also served in Italy. That's where he was captured. He spent twelve months as a P.O.W., just miles from where I was stationed in Germany when I was in the army. His experiences as a POW were not so bad once he finally arrived at the camp, which was in Moosburg. Americans were in the minority at that camp but some prisoners had been there since the fall of France.

He was not a professional veteran and was rather busy living his life in the present. Sometimes the subject would come up but it never occurred to me to ask about anything in particular, no more than I thought to ask other WWII veterans about their experiences. Oddly enough, I have known or met more WWII veterans who served in other armies than in our own. We were friends with a man who served in the last mounted operation conducted by the British in WWII (in Palestine), another who was in the Argylls (A&SH) and yet another who was in the Household Cavalry (2HCR). Most interesting of all, thought the hardest to talk to, was a veteran of the Polish Army who was a cavalryman and had even been in the 1936 Olympics (I met he at the home of another person who rode in the Olympics).

I haven't met him (met his wife, though) but the father of a co-worker here served in Vietnam--in the Korean Army.

It seems like we are surrounded by veterans, yet where I work, only one other guy has been in the service. So maybe there aren't that many veterans after all. No wonder no one worries about wars anymore.

My father did mention the sound of German machine guns, too, come to think of it.

Amsdorf
June 28, 2012, 09:24 AM
I understand your point about "not being a professional veteran" but I found the tone of your note a bit uncomfortable.

For the men who saw intense and sustained combat over a long period of time, these experiences deeply emotionally wounded and scarred them. They all deal with it as they see best.

But there is not a single one of these men who did not pay the price: physically, emotionally and spiritually for what they went through. Their time of high stress and tension during combat shaped who they are and impacted the rest of their lives.

Just because some choose to remain silent about it, while others speak out, I am no comfortable with the somewhat sneering remark about "not being a professional veteran."

I grew up with a lot of WWII vets and had the chance to speak to literally dozens, each would open up when they were ready.

For what it is worth.

BlueTrain
June 29, 2012, 08:04 AM
Okay, here's another way to look at it. The US was involved in WWII for less than four years. How long were we in Vietnam (we're going back, I hear). How long have we been in the Middle East?

What I mean by "professional veteran" applies to those whose lives seem to be centered around their military experiences and I include those who converge on Washington for Rolling Thunder, an event I find very embarrasing and irritating. I grew up at a time when motorcyclists were not considered to be nice folks. I suppose times change. Nowadays a Harley is an old persons bike. I'm sorry if my opinions are not politically correct.

Obviously I do not subscribe to the theory that all returning veterans come home with a scarred phyche. If so, maybe we shouldn't be fighting so many wars. Alternatively, perhaps we ought to have more politicians who are veterans. Either way, I also believe veterans have as much trouble with other factors besides any experiences they may have had overseas, such as the simple fact that they went and others did not. All the right wingers that I know or are related to never served in the armed forces. No doubt your experiences and acquaintances are different. None of this is new, of course, and in the post Civil War period, all of these issues were present. In fact, where I live, it has been only recently that people have passed away who grew up in families for which the Civil War was The War.

Thank you, have a nice day. Please drive carefully.

Tikirocker
June 29, 2012, 09:00 AM
Re the Bren and Crew assigned ... Australia built its own Bren guns out of Lithgow SAF during WW2 and in the field there are many images of Aussie soldiers walking up on Japanese in various actions in Papua New Guinea, firing from the hip and using the Bren as a one man operated unit. This is more often how Aussies deployed the Bren in Jungle Warfare - it was used much like the Brits used the Thompson.

Tiki.

TNT
July 3, 2012, 07:04 AM
I am thinking the Marines adaption of salvaging the light .30s from the downed aircraft and using aircraft machine guns for ground use. A higher rate of fire to use against Banzai attacks was the ticket. Kind of like what the Germans did with their "88s"

jsmaye
July 3, 2012, 08:28 AM
All the right wingers that I know or are related to never served in the armed forces.

You just had to go there.:mad:

Amsdorf
July 3, 2012, 08:56 AM
Oh, boy...let's stick to machine guns, shall we?

sirgilligan
July 3, 2012, 09:40 AM
My friend at church was a USS Arizona survivor, swam to shore. My 1st cousin once removed was in the Battle of the Bulge. My Grand Father helped liberate the Philippines.

I watch a lot of documentaries. A "Luftwaffe" officer was asked if you could contribute the allies victory to one thing what would it be and he responded the "Browning .50 caliber machine gun." What makes this statement stick in my mind was the same question was asked of a German infantry officer and he replied the Browning BAR. I am sorry, I don't recall which of the many documentaries this was in, but I remember it distinctly, because I am a fan of John Moses Browning and I perk up and listen closely anytime I hear reference to his name.

44 AMP
July 3, 2012, 10:51 AM
Makes perfect sense, from their personal perspective, which "one thing" was most bothersome/dangerous to them.

A Luftwaffe officer could well be right, that for him, it was the .50BMG. The .50 Browning was our main aircraft armament of WWII. Fighters, bombers, you name it, if it flew, and could physically mount a .50 BMG, it did.

An Infantry officer, on the other hand, could easily have been more impressed by the BAR, carried in numbers by the infantry he opposed. .50s on tanks, trucks, airplanes etc. probably weren't a big a problem in his personal combat history as the BAR gunner and US infantry squad, so his opinion would be different.

It is my opinion that the guns of JM Browning went a long way in aiding our victory. From the 1911A1 to Ma Duece, its tough to find anything even comparable, let alone superior. I'm sure we still would have won, but I believe the cost in blood was lower because we had Browning's fine tools to use.

TX Hunter
July 4, 2012, 09:51 AM
I have alot of respect for the Soldiers,and Marines that carry the Machiene Gun. They put down a volume of fire to protect their fellow servicemen while they advance, and at the same time accept the responsiblity of being the biggest target for the Oposition. The Enemy will be firing at the continuous muzzle flash to try and take it out. Many a Machiene Gunner has given his life to protect his Fire Team.

BlueTrain
July 4, 2012, 10:19 AM
Charles Schultz was a machine gunner during the war.

And to Mr. jsmaye, I was not referring to you or your friends. I was referring only my acquaintances, all relatives, who I characterize as "right wingers," although I wouldn't characterize them as conservative. The liberals who I am related to all served, even including the radical priest. I apologize to all right wingers, conservatives and liberals for having these opinions of my relatives.

Returning again to the subject of machine guns, the Japanese, having been on the receiving end of American firepower, believed that all Americans were armed with automatic weapons and when they reopened their army for business a couple of decades later, proceeded to arm their soldiers accordingly. I don't know if they've gotten around to adopting the 5.56 or not.