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Old November 17, 2017, 11:16 AM   #1
stonewall50
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STG44 impact

Just curious how others think the STG44 could have impacted the second world war had it come into service in 1939 rather than much later.


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Old November 17, 2017, 12:17 PM   #2
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Considering how the Blitzkrieg stomped over nearly all of Europe and a good portion of Soviet Russia without it, I think the effect would have been to change some details of some battles, and increased the butcher's bill for finally defeating Nazi Germany, but the final outcome would have been the same.

Probably, the war would have gone on longer and more people would have died, but in the end, Germany still would have been defeated.

Wars are not won just by the rifle soldiers carry alone...
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Old November 17, 2017, 12:44 PM   #3
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Axiom: being shot at always sucks
Axiom: being shot at by fewer bullets sucks only slightly less.
Axiom: A person can only shoot as fast as a rifle mechanism will allow.

Theorem1: Probably the rifle would have been more useful when fewer German soldiers were trying to hold a long line against the advance of numerically superior Allied forces (Examples: Africa or anywhere on the Eastern/Western fronts after 1943).

Theorem2: Advancing into a mass of semi-auto fire would have made life even crappier the the average Allied soldier on account of having many more bullets coming down range.

Conclusion: probably the war would have lasted a bit longer, and killed more Allied foot soldiers, but it would have ended the same way for logistical reasons.
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Old November 17, 2017, 01:26 PM   #4
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Impact of Stg 44

I have to agree with Doofus about logistics. Overwhelming allied air superiority also made a huge difference in armored warfare. If Hitler had invaded and seized England that would have made things very difficult, as would have a Soviet alliance. Those would have been game changers.

The German infantry squad was built around the MG42. Riflemen supported the machine gun which created the firepower of the squad. I think Wehrmacht infantry armed with the Stg 44 instead of bolt action rifles have shifted the odds in small unit combat against US forces, but wouldn't have been a game changer.
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Old November 17, 2017, 03:35 PM   #5
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Always thought the impact of the M-1 Garand was overrated. A combination of tactics that emphasized firepower over manpower, an Army where initiative by junior officers and NCOs-even EM-was encouraged, and a superior logistical system gave us the advantage. The Marines in Guadalcanal weren't too handicapped by by having only M1903s. Introducing another small arms round...I read that on the Eastern Front the Soviets found the Germans didn't like close combat, hence their tactics emphasized keeping a grip on the enemy.
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Old November 18, 2017, 02:10 AM   #6
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I think the other technology they had in the pipeline would have made a much bigger difference than a rifle Hitler didn't even want. Picture Panthers and Tigers against Lee and Grant tanks, ME262s against P-40 Warhawks and Brewster Buffalos, etc. I think the end would have been the same, given a madman at the helm of the Axis, but it would have been even bloodier and longer.
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Old November 18, 2017, 03:27 AM   #7
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agreed

Germany was not quite ready for war when it all started. The early Blitzkreig used early Mk. Panzers, there was still a lot of horse drawn equipment, etc.
Hitlers direct involvement with tactical decisions, Dunkirk, Battle of Britain Barborossa, "to the last bullet" orders, led to defeat as much or more than anything.

An upgunned Wermacht would have taken a toll, victory longer in coming and more costly, but major tactical blunders could not be overcome.

One staggering "what if" is the radio proximity fuse. Had Germany developed same, flak, heavy and daunting anyhow, would have been devasting against both night and day allied bombing.
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Old November 18, 2017, 06:57 AM   #8
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When my father was fighting the squareheads at the Battle of Falaise Gap, in the hedgerow country, he did not think the impact of the Garand was “overrated”.
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Old November 18, 2017, 04:02 PM   #9
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An individual small arm/infantry weapon might have an influence but is rarely decisive. The Spanish use of Mauser rifles in 7mm, though superior to the Krag rifles issued to US troops during the Spanish American War, was not a decisive factor in the outcome

The Germans were wore down by the attrition of the Eastern Front. Their "wonder weapons" such as the MK V Tiger the Panther and Koenigs Tiger as well as their use of rocketry and jet engines in the West was not enough to turn the massive tide arrayed against them. Had THOSE weapons appeared earlier, they would have made a bigger impact than an earlier appearance of the world's first "assault rifle"

I doubt if the STG 44 would have made an appreciable difference if in use in 39'/ 40'. But the bigger, technologically advanced weapons? who knows?
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Old November 19, 2017, 08:18 AM   #10
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Another point of view - it likely would have been a good bit more expensive to arm more soldiers with the STG44 and to give them an appropriate number of rounds. Might have actually hurt them to some degree.
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Old November 19, 2017, 08:10 PM   #11
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"Weapons affect tactics." - Heinz Guderian.

The German army would have to develop tactics to use these new arms. Remember the base of manuever was always the light machine guns for the Germans. Squads were ten men strong with a squad leader, asst. squad leader, machine gunner, asst. machine gunner, ammo carrier, and five riflemen. With exception of the machine gunner, everyone had a rifle (OK, sometimes squad leader had a MP-40). Squads didn't operate alone and generally fought in coordination with the other squads of the platoon.

Riflemen were not expected to use their ammuntion to achieve domination of the enemy. That was the machine gunner's job. The riflemen were expected to manuever to seize positions and consolidate them against counterattack.

The real value of the Stgw44 would be in the defensive role against infantry attacks - especially on the Eastern Front.
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Old November 20, 2017, 12:12 AM   #12
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A quick web search about the number of number of casualties caused by weapons shows that around 65% were caused by artillery.

https://www.quora.com/What-caused-mo...-or-small-arms

Small arms fire between 14 and 32% depending on theater. The break down between rifles and machine guns is not made, but based on what I have read, light machine guns and heavy machine guns caused more fatalities than rifles. Anyone down stream of a MG42 firing 90 rounds a second was in real danger.

German infantry tactics were based around machine guns and the infantry were to support the machine guns. While I would agree that the STG44 was a major development in a service rifle, it would not have turned the war around if it was adopted in 1939.

I do think if the ME262 had been available in large numbers in 1939, we all might be writing in German right now.
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Old November 20, 2017, 03:09 AM   #13
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It does seem that the Germans were very adept at the arms race, however, there were a couple of serious blunders that doomed them. If I remember correctly, they had a pretty good deal going with Russia to divide eastern Europe between them. If Germany hadn't attacked Russia and thus did not have an Eastern Front, that would have made a huge difference. Also, if I recall correctly, the United States declared war on Japan, not Germany. It was the Germans that declared war on the US. If they had maintained neutrality with America and kept their bargain with Russia, then maybe, mind you, just maybe, they might have been able to take England.

If only Kings were Aces.....but they ain't!

If the STG44 had come out much earlier, the likely impact would have been the development of countermeasures by allied powers. Such is the nature of an arms race. One must either make more weapons faster than his opponent, or better weapons, but preferably both; and these weapons must be produced faster than they are being destroyed. In that conflict, I think it was the contest for air superiority that decided the inevitability of the outcome.
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Old November 20, 2017, 06:19 AM   #14
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"Weapons affect Tactics"...the nature of warfare changed from defending trenches, firing from the lines, bayonet charges across no man's land into withering machine gun and artillery fire...

The Blitzkrieg introduced massed armored attack, coordinated with air and artillery, spearheaded by tanks accompanied by motorized infantry (Panzer Grenadiers)...the adoption of the STG 44 was a result of the Russian deployment of the PPsh 41 in large numbers. Sometime entire Soviet rifle companies were armed with the weapon. Compact, cheap to build, high volume suppressive fire, etc.....although technically a machine pistol, chambered for a pistol cartridge (7.62X25 Tokarev), it was more suited to this type of warfare.

Hitler was originally against the idea. He did not like the concept of the intermediate cartridge (7.92 Kurz) for which the weapon was chambered, also, a veteran of some 25 trench battles during WWI, his perspective was shaped by that experience.

Development and issue of the STG was generally hidden from Hitler. It is said, at a pow wow with his officers on the Eastern Front in 1944, at the end of the conference Hitler asked "what else do you need?" An officer replied "more of those new rifles" Hitler replied "what new rifles?'....he was shown a STG 44 and his reply was "a real assault rifle!", or in German, Sturmgewehr (storm or attack weapon)...hence the term "assault rifle" was born! First coined by non other than Adolf Hitler.
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Old November 20, 2017, 10:43 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JJ45
The Germans were wore down by the attrition of the Eastern Front. Their "wonder weapons" such as the MK V Tiger the Panther and Koenigs Tiger as well as their use of rocketry and jet engines in the West was not enough to turn the massive tide arrayed against them. Had THOSE weapons appeared earlier, they would have made a bigger impact than an earlier appearance of the world's first "assault rifle"
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kvon2
Another point of view - it likely would have been a good bit more expensive to arm more soldiers with the STG44 and to give them an appropriate number of rounds. Might have actually hurt them to some degree.
Excellent points, and I would also surmise that had the StG44 been deployed in large numbers earlier, the Soviets would have correspondingly reverse-engineered it earlier, with the net result being the same—the Germans being overwhelmed by superior Soviet war materiel production capacity.
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Originally Posted by Slamfire
I do think if the ME262 had been available in large numbers in 1939, we all might be writing in German right now.
Not necessarily, given that its very limited range—a drawback shared by all first-generation jet fighters—rendered it primarily useful as a defensive weapon. As such, it could have had a serious effect on the Allied strategic bombing campaign, but this leads into yet more debate about whether said campaign really affected the outcome of the war and/or achieved its stated purpose, a discussion that has been ongoing since 1945 with no end in sight... and we digress.
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Old November 20, 2017, 03:42 PM   #16
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"...might be writing in German right now..." Might be doing that if the 262 was available in large numbers in 1943. Except that the day light bombing offensive was halted in 1943 due to massive USAF causalities caused by Me-109's and FW-190's anyway. American and Brit jet fighters just would have been put into service earlier. P80 first enter service in January of '45. The De Havilland Vampire first flew in 1943. The Gloster E.28/39(looked a lot like a Sabre) flew in 1941.
A rifle would not alter anything. Neither would a select fire weapon. Especially as it's well known how few troopies actually fire their rifle in combat.
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Old November 20, 2017, 05:07 PM   #17
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The tremendous achievements of the German armaments industry generally hides the fact that it was tremendously complex and hugely wasteful. The advanced designs, particularly in the second half of the war were not able to over come the difficulty producing enough of them to actually matter.

Without the Sturmgewehr and the Sturmvoegel Germany, at one point owned or was allied with, all of Europe west of Moscow (other than the British Isles), and the Mediterranean, being stopped just short of the Suez canal. It is entirely possible that even with their wonder weapons being available in quantity at the start of the war, that the political and strategic errors they made that cost them the real war would cost them the hypothetical war, as well.

Hitler declaring war on the US was a mere technicality, which saved us from having to declare war against Nazi Germany at that time. Make no mistake, it was going to happen though. If he hadn't, we would have.

Though it would have been a distinction without a difference, just like the fact that Nazi Germany did not start WWII with the Sept 1 1939 invasion of Poland. WWII started on Sept 3, 1939, when Britain and France declared war on Nazi Germany.

The only weapon I can see that MIGHT have changed the outcome of the war would be to give the Axis the A-bomb (and the ability to make as many as needed) significantly before the US developed it. And, even then, the only change to the outcome might be a Germany made up of overlapping radioactive craters, instead of a nation capable of moving forward, rebuilding and rejoining the international community as a peaceful productive nation.
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Old November 20, 2017, 05:26 PM   #18
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If the Germans had the STG44, and didn't renege on their pact with Stalin and attack The USSR they would have won the war.
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Old November 20, 2017, 06:08 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OzeanJaeger
If the Germans had the STG44, and didn't renege on their pact with Stalin and attack The USSR they would have won the war.
Perhaps, but I would argue that war with the USA or the USSR was inevitable, and I'm not sure Germany could have defeated either country together or separately, StG44 or no, unless one imagines additional advantages in weaponry that verge on pure fiction (e.g. the Kriegsmarine having a larger surface fleet than the Royal Navy and the U.S. and Canadian Atlantic Fleets combined).
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Old November 20, 2017, 06:21 PM   #20
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No the STG 44 would not have defeated the Allies. The Allies best weapon against the Nazis was the upper leaderships egos. The tactical errors, political errors, and even executions were made because the giant egos. Rudolph Hess parachuted into England reportedly to pursue peace but had embarrassed Herman Gering shortly before turning up in England.
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Old November 20, 2017, 08:31 PM   #21
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Hitler wrote as early as 1923 in Mein Kampf of his designs on Russia. It was no secret from anyone half paying attention. The fertile Black Earth, the industrial heart of the Don Bas, unlimited natural resources, especially oil, etc. were by rights of the "master race" their's for the taking. Hitler was a sworn, bitter enemy of Bolshevism just as much as International Jewry. By contrast, Stalin had ideological goals to expand his brand of Communism into Europe and beyond...just wait it out until Germany and the Western Allies beat themselves up enough.

War between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union was as inevitable as the sun coming up tomorrow. This was not lost on Stalin....The 1939 Non Aggression Pact was just a maneuver by two wolves to buy time before getting at each others throats. Whether or not the Germans had the STG 44 earlier wouldn't have made a lick of difference in the final outcome.
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Old November 21, 2017, 03:14 AM   #22
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The war between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia was particularly bitter and brutal. Because it wasn't just a war between nations, it was also a war between ideologies, both Socialist. Both sides held the other to be a heretical interpretation of the "holy word", and like other religious wars, the enemy was not only to be defeated, but was to be punished for their false beliefs.

Technical disparity between opposing forces does matter, but what matters more is how weapons and troops are organized and used. It is little known, outside of historians and hobbyists that when the Blitzkrieg was launched against France and the Low Countries, the Germans had fewer tanks than the combined French and British forces, and the bulk of Germany's tank were light tanks, armed with only a couple machine guns, or a machine gun and a 20mm cannon. But they used them differently than the Allies. Concentrated with some of their infantry close at hand, and with the Luftwaffe being their "flying artillery". It was the first use of combined arms and the Allies were unprepared for the speed of the new form of combat.

German communications also gave them a huge advantage. Nearly every German tank had a radio so information and orders flowed more easily in their armored formations.

It is axiomatic that democracies (the defending nations) go into battle superbly equipped to fight the last war. The Blitzkrieg was enough of a leap forward in both technology AND tactics that France, who had fought Imperial Germany essentially to a stand still for years in WW I, was defeated in six weeks. Germany attacked on May 10, and France signed the surrender June 22, 1940.

Think about that.

Do you think France would have fallen significantly sooner if every Landser had been carrying an StG 44 instead of a Kar 98k??
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Old November 21, 2017, 07:15 AM   #23
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Good post Amp...another related... Do you believe US forces would have got within striking distance of Japan, as soon as we did, without the M1 Garand?

Not an assault rifle like the STG but the only general issue auto loading battle rifle at the time.

Certainly, the decisive weapon in the Pacific war was the fleet aircraft carrier which enabled us to get close enough to deliver the ultimate decision makers, the B29 and the nuclear bombs and related fire bombing of Japan's industries and population. Of course, overwhelming US industrial capacity enabled this.

That said, and emotional patriotism aside and considering Japanese tactics, I can't help but believe that the mighty Garand was a significant factor in defeating the Japanese in the island war. I think General MacArthur would agree
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Old November 21, 2017, 11:15 AM   #24
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I read once where Patton said that having soldiers advance while firing their M1 Garands gave the troops a psychological boost.

The semi-auto M1 might have had a broader impact on success in many ways.
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Old November 21, 2017, 12:22 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JJ45
Do you believe US forces would have got within striking distance of Japan, as soon as we did, without the M1 Garand?
I'm not 44 AMP but I'll play.

IMHO the Garand helped the USA win a few land engagements a little faster and with fewer casualties, but we would have eventually won all of those battles even if our troops were armed with Krags, because the Japanese military's #1 mistake in WWII was their lack of a practical and coherent strategy to protect their supply lines. It doesn't matter if your troops have bolt-actions, semi-autos, or submachine guns when there's not enough ammunition (not to mention food).

Japan's strategy in WWII was almost completely predicated on rapid and decisive victory over the US Navy, and their leaders monumentally failed to come up with a workable alternative after it became clear that this wasn't going to happen. They tried to wage a war of attrition over the largest geographical theater of operations in world history with an almost totally ad-hoc resupply system. It was only a matter of time before they lost.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JJ45
Certainly, the decisive weapon in the Pacific war was the fleet aircraft carrier which enabled us to get close enough to deliver the ultimate decision makers...
Aircraft carriers get the credit for winning most of the big battles, but IMHO an equal but less glamorous part was played by the USN submarine force, PT boats, and USAAF long-range air patrols. Popular military histories don't talk about them as often because they were mostly attacking sparsely defended supply vessels, which superficially seems like fighting dirty, but Japan's failure to protect these ships is ultimately one of the main reasons that the USA won.
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