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Old November 21, 2017, 01:12 PM   #26
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Do you believe US forces would have got within striking distance of Japan, as soon as we did, without the M1 Garand?
Sure. We did get US forces within striking distance of Japan, BEFORE the M1 was in service in the Pacific. The Doolittle raid was definitely US forces, and they did strike Japan, though the attack was not significant in terms of damage caused by the bombs, it was very significant on the political and morale fronts of both the US and Japan.

Marines went ashore on Guadalcanal Aug 7, 1942. With the 1903 Springfield as their infantry rifle. The M1 Garand didn't show up in numbers in the Pacific until 1943. The M1 Garand was absolutely a benefit to our riflemen, and did give them an edge over the bolt actions of our enemies. But it didn't win battles, or the war all by itself. Before the introduction of the M1 Garand, (and a little later the M1 Carbine) and after, our riflemen were also supported by BARs, the Tommygun, and one of the better machineguns ever fielded, the Browning .30 cal. Even the "lowly" 1911A1 .45 pistol played an important part. Many of the veterans I have spoken with made a point of saying how they were able to speak to me only because the .45 pistol saved their butts.

Ground combat in the Pacific didn't offer terrain for large scale battles of movement like what happened in Europe or North Africa. There were few instances where long range rifle fire was an important factor. Some, of course, but nothing close to the scale of what happened in Europe.

What got US forces to Japan was the Navy, and the Marines, supported by airpower from all services. Army forces did play a significant part later in the war (retaking the Philippines, and other places)

Don't underestimate the role played by our submarines, either. Once we finally got most of the bugs out of our torpedoes, our submarines success sinking Japanese tankers and supply ships effectively strangled Japan's ability to use the heavy units of their surface fleet aggressively, due to lack of fuel.

Ground combat on the Pacific islands was mostly to secure a location for an airbase, and deny the Japanese the same, and to liberate former US held territory conquered by the Japanese. Much different than ground combat in the European Theater.
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Old November 21, 2017, 03:12 PM   #27
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carguychris...excellent point about the subs. Their role very much goes unsung
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Old November 22, 2017, 05:51 AM   #28
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Getting way off subject but since we are talking strategic can't minimize our cryptographers that broke the Japanese naval and diplomatic codes. Instrumental in the crucial victory at Midway.

Ultra (not fully revealed until the 70s) and Soviet spys (Lucy, Werther come to mind) Stalin knew what the Germans were up to even before the German command in the field knew...although he didn't always trust it.
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Old November 22, 2017, 10:18 AM   #29
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To bring this thread back on topic (kinda), I think another interesting debate is the possible impact of the FG 42 or Fallschirmjägergewehr (say that 10 times fast ) had it been distributed more widely.

Of course, I've heard it argued that the FG 42 was somewhat analogous to the Tiger tank or Heinkel He 177—awesome when used properly, but so complex and expensive that its development and deployment may have actually been counterproductive overall.
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Old November 22, 2017, 10:39 AM   #30
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To bring this thread back on topic (kinda)
Thank you, Chris. Submarines and cryptography, while fascinating, aren't really our thing.
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Old November 23, 2017, 01:08 AM   #31
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So, what caliber when hunting a cryptographer on a submarine?

Sorry, couldn't help it....
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Old November 23, 2017, 12:14 PM   #32
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So, what caliber when hunting a cryptographer on a submarine?
No idea, tis an Enigma, to me...

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I think another interesting debate is the possible impact of the FG 42 or Fallschirmjägergewehr (say that 10 times fast ) had it been distributed more widely.
Ah, the FG 42, the "Umbrellahunter's Rifle" further proof of the fact that the Germans make wonderful toys.

Look at all the desirable "modern" features in that rifle (especially the "2nd model").

Straight line stock
pistol grip
select fire with both open and closed bolt operation
bipod as part of the rifle
optical sight, and "light weight", compared to a standard machine gun.

Complex (and expensive) to make, I don't think it would have had a significant impact on the outcome of the war, even if it had been the standard infantry rifle. Rifles alone, don't win or lose wars.

But they can make a big difference to the guys shooting them and the guys getting shot at by them.
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Old November 23, 2017, 12:51 PM   #33
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The 8X57 FG42 is strikingly similar to our own 30-06 BAR. I don't think it was as reliable as the BAR.

The BAR seems to have been very highly regarded by our own troops as well as the enemy....Chuck Taylor once opined that it never should have been dropped from issue as a SAW...logistically, it's obvious that supplying 30-06 would be impractical.
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Old November 23, 2017, 01:01 PM   #34
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If the Germans had made better decisions on weapons, strategies, and politics, don't you think they would have been sorry? Say about August 6th?
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Old November 23, 2017, 03:29 PM   #35
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I think if they had made better choices on politics, they wouldn't have anything to be sorry for.
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Old November 24, 2017, 04:08 AM   #36
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1. I think if they made better choices in politics, we wouldn't be having a conversation about Nazi wonder weapons/strategies

2. I always find it funny that it was assumed that Stalin was going to fully uphold the non-aggression pact. Though taken by complete surprise (reportedly locked himself in a room for a week after the initial invasion and not seen in public for said period), there is no way either one of them (Hitler/Stalin) would have kept that pact and both knew it, it was just a matter of when and Stalin misjudged that vastly. And as said previously, Hitler was watering at the mouth for the area of Ukraine and the Caucuses (sp?) for his Liebenstrom and all the oil that the Caucuses produced.

3. I've also read accounts that one of the major military blunders for the Japanese, were their ties to their weapons due to tradition. The top brass drastically dragged their feet implementing a heavy bullet submachine gun into service, like the Thompson. According to the some books I've read during my studies (so many of them, I'd have to go back and look for specific references) The submachine gun and specifically the heavier bullets, were ideal for jungle fighting due to the slower, heavier bullet not being deflected as much from twigs and leaves as a lighter bullet. And of course putting 500 rd/min of those down range helps as well. Of course tactics come into play as well, but Marines were issued Thompsons and 1911s that helped penetrate foliage better than a Nambu pistol and the like. Again I'd have to look up my references on that again but that was something that really stuck with me.

4. I'm a strong believer the M1 Garand had a large impact in the war and I think people here underestimate the influence the STG44 had. It is a lot easier to fire and move and fire while moving with a semiauto rifle than a bolt action. Now put yourself in the shoes of the Germans engaging Americans with M1 Garands. You aim your rifle at at the soldier behind the wagon and take a shot, miss... Instantly you are being peppered with semiautomatic rounds and you need to take cover. By the time you aim to take another shot, your target and his friends have just closed the gap while you were seeking cover and you may have never seen it coming! Now you have to fall back because you don't have the fire superiority and now you lost that terrain. The implications of that were huge, especially during the days immediately following D Day. I think if the STG44 was implemented prior to D Day, the Allies' all out gamble would have been vastly more costly and possibly a failure just due to Germans being able to compete with fire superiority and maneuvers.


Note: I apologize for spelling mistakes and ramblings, been sitting in my patrol car for 7 hours on a full Thanksgiving Day meal belly. Its rough....
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Old November 24, 2017, 10:34 AM   #37
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1. I think if they made better choices in politics, we wouldn't be having a conversation about Nazi wonder weapons/strategies
I shouldn't have mentioned politics meaning international geopolitics when it could be taken as internal politics and the possibility of the Germans not giving ol Adolf power.

Should have just left it technology and strategy. If the Germans had dragged out the war a few months longer, they might have met "Little Boy."

I am influenced by having just read 'Berlin Project' by Gregory Benford. A counterfactual history/alternate probability assuming the Manhattan Project had made some tech decisions that would have accelerated U235 production.
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Old November 24, 2017, 12:25 PM   #38
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I wound up watching part of one of those "10 Best" show late last night, the one on combat rifles, and while they got some facts wrong, and I disagree with their rating system and rankings there were some interesting things.

One was a comment about the M1 Garand made by a British historian, speaking about the M1 vs bolt actions. He said (in essence),
"the major advantage of the M1 was its semiautomatic action. You had 8 shots without needing to break your point of aim. When you turned that corner, or broke through that door, you had 8 shots instantly available, your enemy had one,"

That's a big thing, when you think about it.

The Sturmgewehr had the same advantages, but with 30 shots, and full auto fire on demand.

As far as the Japanese, their military leadership (Army and Navy ground forces) knew their small arms were not cutting edge tech. It didn't matter. The Japanese footsoldier was expect to win victory because of his "warrior spirit". They never fielded any SMG in quantity, let alone a big bore one.

One "Tales of the Gun" episode covered Japanese WWII small arms. It was interesting, particularly the firing of them. Using Japanese ammo, they fired one magazine from pistols, rifles, SMG (yes the rare Japanese SMG), and some of the machine guns. The ONLY weapon that didn't jam, at least once, was the Arisaka bolt action rifle.

As to using the A bomb on Germany, had the war gone on longer, I am uncertain. I think arguments against using the bomb on Germany would have carried more weight than those against using it on Japan. Germans understood, and accepted the concept of negotiated surrender, for one, and for another, there were "innocent" people in Europe (entire nations,), something that was not believed about Japan...

True, or not, it was believed that the German people would have surrendered, if the Nazi leadership was taken out of the picture, while the Japanese people would have resisted to their last breath, no matter what. This belief was one of the reasons that the Atomic bombing of Japan specifically EXCLUDED Tokyo as a target. The point was to minimize the risk of killing the Japanese Emperor. Only the Emperor had the authority to order a surrender, and if the hated enemy had killed him, nothing would have convinced the Japanese to surrender.
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Old November 24, 2017, 03:00 PM   #39
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The Bomb was not used on Germany because they surrendered before it was ready. V-E Day was May 7, (May 8) for the Soviets, the Day of Trinity was July 16, 1945.
In the Pacific War especially we outbuilt the Japanese. IIRC for every carrier they commissioned after Pearl Harbor we built 4 or 5, including the big fleet carriers. And we had the planes and the men to man them.
Again, I think the STG44 would have complicated their already strained logistics system. Also would have required major tactical adjustments.
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Old November 24, 2017, 06:13 PM   #40
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The Germans would have a adapted as they did with the "Kriegsmodell" K98...towards the end of the war, made cheaper with no bayonet lug, cleaning rod, take down disk, etc. to cut costs and production time. But no less effective a weapon. Make extensive use of stampings, etc., and eliminate unnecessary frills....I once read that the Soviet PPsh machine pistol cost about $1.50 (US) a piece to produce and in some of the production runs, the select fire option was even eliminated.

Lucky for us (and the world) Hitler nearly ignored the most revolutionary weaponry of the 20th century, nuclear fission, which was discovered by German physicists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann in Germany in the 30s. Although working on it somewhat half-heartedly....Hence the famous Einstein letter to FDR..

Had he emphasized the bomb, and was successful, just use your imagination
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Old November 27, 2017, 03:19 PM   #41
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Strategies, logistics, and tactics had a overwhelming role to play in not just WWII, but all wars for that matter.

The Japanese garrisons facing the US onslaught in the islands of Guadalcanal, Tarawa and Okinawa, for example, were already facing critical shortages of troops and materiel by the time US ships appeared over the horizon. The reason for that is because throughout various periods in 1942, 43 and 44, Communist guerrillas, lone wolf operatives, and peasant resistance organizations in China have launched Tet Offensive-style raids in Japanese occupied enclaves like Shenyang, Shanghai, Nanjing and Guangzhou. Over 20 high ranking commanders and generals have been assassinated in their headquarters or blown up by bombs during this period. And the losses to troops and equipment were far more serious. Over 30,000 Japanese troop deaths in just one year in the Shanghai area resulting from clandestine attacks, night raids, bombings, and subsequent missions into the countryside pursuing fleeing assailants.

Because of this, the Japanese high command have shifted a large number of troops from the Pacific Islands to China to try to quell the insurgency, and by the time the US military began arriving in the Pacific en masse, Japanese troop strength have been whittled away and bled to the point of serious injury. Still very formidable and highly dangerous, but slowly bleeding out from multiple wounds.
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