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the mg 42...

Discussion in 'Weapons & Technology in WWII' started by denny, Oct 25, 2015.

  1. Triton

    Triton New Member

    Mar 21, 2015
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    The MG42 guzzles ammunition when used the same way as other machineguns. But usually you pull the trigger not as long as you would with a slower weapon. You see a target and release a quick burst.

    The Wehrmacht had different philosophy according machineguns. The MG 34 and 42 were universal weapons, there is no separation in light and heavy machineguns. They are not intended to be fired when walking, which was important for the trench warfare. Therefore, they aren't magazine fed.

    Anyway, the rate of fire wasn't reasonable. Even if the sound and the effect were impressive, a little bit less would have been the better choice. I shot the MG 3 in the Bundeswehr and it was fast enough and the barrel change is very simple, but you need the glove.
  2. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

    Aug 5, 2003
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    Phoenix Arizona
    Exactly. The MG 42 really had too high a rate of fire. It was an ammunition hog. Even with a squad built around the gun it became problematic in many instances to keep it fed with ammunition.

    By comparison, the British squad with a BREN gun had each squad member carrying several clips for it (a major reason for those large ammunition pouches on each man). This was done in the same vein as the German squad to feed the squad automatic weapon. It was expected that individual riflemen would still produce a considerable volume of aimed fire using their Enfield rifles.
    For the US the squad firepower was distributed more evenly between the men. The Garand was expected to produce a considerable volume of individual fire along with the BAR thickening that up. Rifle grenades were also expected to be used regularly in combat as part of a squad's weapons.

    Then there was a different philosophy in terms of how smaller infantry units were to be employed between armies. The Germans and to a lesser extent the British expected to use squads as individual maneuver units in combat. For the Germans each squad was looked at as an assault and infiltration unit built around their machinegun. This mirrored WW 1 Strosstruppen tactics.
    The British adopted this in part for assaulting enemy positions but didn't adopt the infiltration portion of them.
    The US likewise saw the squad as a unit for assaulting immediate enemy positions to their front not as a deeper maneuver unit.
    The result is that Britain and the US were using platoons and companies as their primary infantry maneuver units on a battlefield not squads and platoons like the Germans.

    When you account for that, you start to see major differences in organization and equipment and why they exist. Sticking with just the US infantry company for a moment, you see that the HQ of the company held considerable "extra" weapons like several bazooka, 14 submachineguns (usually Thompsons), etc., for distribution to the line platoons as needed.
    The platoons themselves weren't necessarily supposed to fight on their own but rather fight as an integrated unit within the company. This contrasts with the Germans using platoons and even squads as maneuver units on their own.
    The US rifle company has several big advantages particularly as a defensive unit. The 60mm mortars in the weapons platoon have on counterpart with the Wehrmacht. Yes, the Germans early in the war issued 5 cm mortars but these were really more like improved grenade launchers and fell out of regular service by 1942 in most cases. The US 60mm on the other hand was almost as vicious as an 81mm but having about half the range.
    These could lay down a considerable barrage on an enemy position. It was a weapon that the Germans couldn't counter at the company level. The US Army also intended to employ their machineguns at company level like they were used in WW 1. As support weapons giving coverage by cross fire covering the company's frontage in the defense.
    All of this left the US infantry company weak on the attack but stronger on defense than their German counterpart.
    Otto, Poppy and Dave55 like this.
  3. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

    Apr 9, 2008
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    Excellent. Great thread. Voted.
    100lbs of ammo in a minute. Never really considered that.
    What if they made the 42 in a much smaller calibre. It would still kill, keep heads down, and the quantity of ammo carried could increase.
    Would post a video (except am leary because of recent issues) of a .22 smg used by some police/SWAT teams. Has a huge volume of fire meant to keep heads down, is still easily wielded.
    Welcome back MrG.
  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Apr 27, 2010
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    Reading, PA
    Probably the American 180...Although, there have been a few conversions of AR-15s to full-auto 22LR, but I don't think the Police/SWAT use those.

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