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Did the Germans have better small arms and a fire power advantage over the Allies?

Discussion in 'Small Arms and Edged Weapons' started by DaveOB, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Those both had some issues but I don't think I'd call them "bad". Indeed the Grease Gun was quite good if you are looking at price to performance some marks of the Sten were also good from what I've read. Now as a military weapon the Liberator Pistol is very questionable but then it wasn't used or intended as such.

    Other possibilities the 1.1" AA MGs had some issues from what I recall but given adequate care and training (sort of like the stabilization on the Shermans) they apparently performed at least adequately.
     
  2. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

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    The Sten and the Grease Gun were cheap weapons made cheaply. But they work and their bullets were as deadly as the ones from a MP 40.
     
  3. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    The grease gun was reliable, simple and fairly accurate. It was well liked and used extensively by Special Ops types early in the Vietnam War.
     
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  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    My understanding is the Grease Gun was pretty reliable as well. The Sten varied between Marks as to reliability again from what I've read. You also didn't want to hold it by the magazine. I've heard that the MP 40 had some reliability problems but that may have been due to using 9mm rounds other than the ones it was designed for. I'll let others detail any lethality differences between a .45 and a 9mm. The Sten did give one a remote room clearing option that neither of the other two had.
     
  5. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    The original grease gun had some serious issues. They were cleared up quickly and within months the new variant was out and worked pretty well.
     
  6. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    I had read the "claim" about the additional BAR many times in many different accounts and sources. So, a long time ago I went looking for the answer. I found some hard data, some information that didn't quite make sense, and used my own personal experience/understanding of how the US Army does things, to reconcile what I knew as fact, with what I'd read in accounts. This is the answer as I came to reconcile it in my mind.

    This is convoluted, but this is my understanding of the change and why it is sometimes termed "unofficial". In the TOE 7-15 (26 February, 1944) Infantry Battalion the company rated nine BAR's. 1 per squad x 3 squads=3 per platoon x three platoons=9 BAR's per Infantry Company, 27 per Infantry Battalion.

    The War Department issued Changes #1 to TOE 7-15 on 30 June 1944. In the changes for line #28 Rifle, Automatic, caliber .30 the total per company was changed from 9 to 15, 45 per battalion.

    Look at the TOE Von Poop posted in reply #3. Line 63 shows the 6 additional BAR's carried in the Company Headquarters. Why the Company Headquarters?

    The same change bumped the .30 caliber light machine gun M-1919 (line 21) up from two per company,=6 per battalion. To 12 per battalion with the additional six guns attached to the Headquarters Company. I knew why that was. Due to continual personnel reductions to shave manpower to form additional formations, to save on shipping requirements, to concentrate personnel in the offensive portions of units, to cut duplication of effort, etc. General McNair advocated a number of principles. One was "..keep all units lean, because, when extraordinary needs arose, those units could draw upon pools maintained at the next higher level." Also, one of the doctrinal precepts that was developed when transitioning from the square to triangular structure was the employment of elements two forward one back. The battalion would deploy two companies forward with the third as it's reserve, the company would deploy two platoons forward one as a reserve. This didn't always work out in the real world due to combat exigencies, but good commanders always tried to keep some sort of tactical reserve, even if it was of an ad hoc type. They were necessary to blunt counter attacks, restore broken lines, reinforce lines where threatened, exploit opportunities, etc.
    So the six extra .30 cal MG's were to be parceled out to the forward deployed companies as needed based upon the operational requirements/situation. I reasoned the same was probably true for the six additional BAR's carried in the company HQ section, the company commander could augment the two forward deployed platoons by one automatic rifle per squad (six guns). Since no additional personnel were authorized the augmentation at the platoon/squad level was not "official" per TOE. However, the TOE 7-15 1 June 1945 did increase the enlisted strength of the infantry company from 187 to 235, and in that TOE the second BAR man became official.

    Not enough info to know precisely what they were referring to. Did they lack the nine BAR's from the pre-June TOE? Did they have the nine but lacked the 15 called for in the June increase? Did they have the 15 but desired more? Then all things are relative, at the same time there was a BAR shortage there were severe shortages in other areas as well. In September, 1944 the army was only able to issue one pair of overboots to every four men. In the same report they cited severe shortages of rubber ground sheets, shelter halves, tanks, light armored cars, 60 mm mortars, tires, tubes, gasoline, socks, and BARs.
     
  7. Terry D

    Terry D Active Member

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    I have a question about that. Where in the TOE did the infantry get the personnel to man the .50s from? Each rifle company had a .50 as a vehicular AA weapon, but no dedicated gunners so I always presumed they were manned in an AA situation by drivers or other HQ personnel. Was that also the case when the guns were used in the ground role?
     
  8. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    That isn't the "unofficial change" that's the "official change", which is why it has a number and date. :cool:

    Seriously, Change 1 of 30 June 1944 had about as much effect for the T/O&E 7-15 units in the line in Normandy as the Change 5 of 21 November 1944 had on the T/O&E 7-25 units in the line. The first added the six BAR to the Infantry battalion rifle companies, the second changed the M8 75mm HMC in the AIB for M4 105mm Medium Tanks. So how many AIB actually accomplished that change do you think by the end of the year? By VE Day? It's the same for the Parachute Infantry Battalion changes of 1 August 1944...by December, some of the units were starting to achieve the changes.

    So here's how it works. By 30 June 1944, eight infantry divisions were committed to Normandy. To make the change, they required 1,296 BAR. Another five were waiting commitment. So another 810. And then there were 52 others. Another 8,424. On top of the 15,795 already required. 5,000 were manufactured in June. Meanwhile, losses in action were running much higher than the planned replacement factor allowed for, which meant existing reserve stocks were depleted and the pipeline was essentially bare (same problem with tanks). By 1 August, one of the top items, along with tanks, on the ETOUSA G-4 "Critical Shortage" list was the lowly BAR.


    Yes, the shortage was to the TO&E they went into Normandy with, which was the February 1944 one. The shortfall was, IIRC (not digging through the files to find it) was circa 1,000 to the TO&E plus reserve allowance (c. 3,159 + 790)...the shortfall was approaching 25%, just at a time when the divisions all suddenly required one-third more...so they were actually looking at a near 60% shortage. So "relatively" it was a disaster. I suspect divisions were still making the changes in the winter of '44.
     
  9. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    I suspect they made them up with the few "Basic Privates" left as fillers, under the tutelage of an experienced man. The US Army was pretty good at that sort of improvisation if they had the materiel to manage it. For example, C Company, 103d Engineer Battalion of the 28th ID on the Skyline Drive added a lot of oompf to the defense when the 26th VGD came calling in December. they had found a wrecked P-47 earlier and scrounged its eight still functional .50 caliber MG, mounting them on extemporaneous ground mounts and adding them to the firing line with whoever they could find to man them.
     

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