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Old September 24, 2008, 06:30 PM   #26
King Ghidora
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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.
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Old September 24, 2008, 06:31 PM   #27
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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.

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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.
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Old September 24, 2008, 08:25 PM   #28
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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

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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.
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Old September 24, 2008, 09:14 PM   #29
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M1 v. k98

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.
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Old September 24, 2008, 10:44 PM   #30
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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.
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Old September 24, 2008, 10:48 PM   #31
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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.
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Old September 24, 2008, 11:01 PM   #32
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Depends on the comparison

Over the K98? A significant advantage

Over the Lee-Enfield? Not so much.
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Old September 24, 2008, 11:28 PM   #33
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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.
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Old September 24, 2008, 11:33 PM   #34
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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.
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Old September 24, 2008, 11:37 PM   #35
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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 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. 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.
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Old September 25, 2008, 12:13 AM   #36
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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.
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Old September 25, 2008, 12:46 AM   #37
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Interesting thread

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.

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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.
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Old September 25, 2008, 04:00 AM   #38
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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.
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Old September 25, 2008, 05:53 AM   #39
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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.

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Old September 25, 2008, 07:42 AM   #40
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If not for the US Europe would still be speaking German.
I think they would be speaking Russian.
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Old September 25, 2008, 08:30 AM   #41
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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.
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Old September 25, 2008, 09:00 AM   #42
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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.
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Old September 25, 2008, 10:30 AM   #43
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Everyone needs to read : "Shots fired in Anger", by John George. http://www.amazon.com/Shots-fired-an.../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.
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Old September 25, 2008, 11:19 AM   #44
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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.
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Old September 25, 2008, 11:52 AM   #45
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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.
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Old September 25, 2008, 03:30 PM   #46
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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!!)
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Old September 25, 2008, 03:53 PM   #47
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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.
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Old September 25, 2008, 07:10 PM   #48
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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.
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Old September 25, 2008, 07:50 PM   #49
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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.
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Old September 25, 2008, 10:41 PM   #50
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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.
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