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Old July 7, 2019, 02:31 PM   #45
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Join Date: April 10, 2008
Location: Alaska
Posts: 6,246
One of the lessons learned by the front line guys in WWII was that a mix of weapons works in a mix of terrain and situations. Between M1 Garands M1 Carbines, Thompsons or the Grease Gun, and the BAR, somebody was packing something suited to what ever came along in infantry vs infantry combat. When more was needed, it was time for support weapons, belt fed, or arty or air. I think we still pretty much do that today.
WWII was not deliberate, it evolved and a lot of Horse trading went on. At the end you saw about half a rifle company would have Thompson or M3. While the M1 was an effective open field weapon, it was a hindrance in city fighting.

The problem is even belt fed might not be there, mortars/arty and air support is not always there when you need it and in a large battle was overtasked - The BAR was just a compromise as the US did not have a good belt fed setup (Bren was better wiht more rounds and on top feed). Certainly better than nothing but not as effective and round limited as a bipod 30 caliber belt fed would have been ak MG42.
After Korea, the military really focused on trying to reduce the needed arms to one (if possible) that did everything short of belt fed support. For some things that can work, for others, not so much.

IS this really that important, today?? dealing with various "terrorists" is a bit different from facing the Afrika Korps at Kasserine Pass. And its different from Khe San, Chosen, or Guadalcanal, or the Normandy bocage or ...or... or...
China particularity is going to be an issue and to ignore Russia is a really bad thought considered their actions of late. US is re-building the Armored Combat Brigades and looking for a light tank to support the Infantry.

I don't know what it is in our system (other than perhaps greed) that causes us to re-invent the wheel every time someone notices we need something that rolls, but we do it, over and over.
We used to be deliberate until M16, we are again and too much so. There is a compromise in between. Keep in mind the M1 was an anathema to the Army with its single load selector on the 1903. The stupid Nam era mad minutes proved a point. Select fire for the most part wastes ammo. They get that now and its semi auto most of the time save the SAW which is suppression.

Am I saying we should still be using WWII weapons and tactics? No. not ALL of them, at any rate. I just think that if we did use them, they would still work. We still use the M2 .50 BMG don't we??
Nothing has changed. WWII set the standard for Combined Arms that the Brits set in the 1800s. Tools have changed of course (all from 1800s and some from WWII) but the concept is the same. It works right for the macro, just not the micro all the time.

One last point, if we equip everyone with the "wonder weapon that does it all" and they do get into a situation where its not the best tool for the job, then nobody handy has the best tool for the job.
We aren't talking wonder, no such thing exists. But it should be the best of what we can offer.

Currently its gone to all Tommy guns.
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