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U.S Small Arms of WW2.."Semi-Auto Kings"

Discussion in 'Small Arms and Edged Weapons' started by JJWilson, Dec 9, 2017.

  1. JJWilson

    JJWilson Well-Known Member

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    Hello Everyone, I felt the urge to make a post about American small arms in WW2.....well, because I wanted to. I know quite a bit about small arms used in the second World War, particularly those used by the U.S. I've had the unique privilege and opportunity to shoot a few of the weapons listed below, so for those I know first hand how they perform and handle. I am not going to list every gun used by the U.S on here, but I will list most.

    Pistols
    • Colt Model 1903- Used in small numbers, yet effective weapon
    • Colt M1911A- One of the greatest pistols made in my opinion, Used in very large numbers
    • M1917 revolver- A great and reliable double-action platform using the great 45 acp rounds
    • Smith & Wesson Mp- used in smaller numbers, mostly by MP, and others behind frontlines
    Rifles
    • M1903 Springfield- The main battle rifle of U.S forces in the beginning of the war, Used as a sniper in all theaters
    • M1917 Enfield rifle- Used sparingly mostly in the Pacific, replaced rather quickly by the M1 Garand
    • M1 Garand- One of the Greatest rifles of all time, 8 round stripper clip made it a magnificent weapon
    • M1 Carbine- A rifle my family owns, smaller caliber, light weight, easy to maintain, and little recoil.
    • M1941 Johnson Rifle- Largely overshadowed by the M1, used solely in the Pacific by USMC
    • Winchester Model 70- Used as a sniper in small amounts throughout the war
    Shotguns
    • Winchester Model 1897- Used in small numbers mostly by MP
    • Winchester M1912- Most extensively used shotgun in U.S forces
    • Browning Auto-5- Few numbers of these shotguns used
    • Remington 31- This is the only conflict the weapon participated in
    • Ithaca 37- Probably the most successful shotgun in the war, used through Korea and Vietnam
    Sub-Machine guns
    • Thompson- One of the most successful Sub-Machine guns of the war, light and reliable
    • M3 "Grease Gun"- Cheaper make than the Thompson used in all theaters by mostly Armor and artillery crews
    Machine Guns
    • M1917 Browning- Despite being an outdated design, used extensively in the war
    • B.A.R- A great close support weapon for infantry, but also very heavy and barrel had a tendency to overheat
    • M1919 30.cal Browning- Very reliable and simple design, also had overheating issues
    • Johnson M1941 LMG- Used sparingly in the war, unique but effective design.
     
  2. harolds

    harolds Member

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    1903 Colt pistol: effective? It's a 32acp chambering for the most part, using fmj bullets. I would question it as being something anyone would take over a 1911. I believe it was used as an accouterment for senior officers and perhaps by agents slipped in behind the lines.
     
  3. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    The 1903 was a badge of office. Effective? Possibly, it has good penetration. One must remember that all FMJ pistol rounds are pretty feeble until you get up to the .45, and even that isn't a sure stopper in FMJ configuration.

    As for 1911s, they should be rendered as 1911A1, but there were undoubtedly actual WWI 1911s still in service.

    .
     
  4. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    "M1 Garand- One of the Greatest rifles of all time, 8 round stripper clip made it a magnificent weapon"

    En block clip, not stripper clip.
     
  5. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Actually, I consider the en block clip arrangement to be a design weakness in an otherwise excellent weapon!
     
  6. JJWilson

    JJWilson Well-Known Member

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    Sorry USMC, block clip
     
  7. KMZgirl

    KMZgirl Member

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    image.png My favorite vet (Dad) training rangers how to use a Tommy Gun.
     
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  8. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    It's not much of a weakness really, especially when measured against other rifles in the late 1930s that used stripper clips. They did consider a box magazine, but the weaknesses of the BAR mag was one of the deciding factors (the BAR had occasional troubles with its rather flimsy magazine). One issue that came up was shooting from prone. It was considered that most combat shooting would be from that position and the 30.06 being a heavy recoiling round led to the bottom of the mag being damaged when firing, creating a stoppage. This was noted in the BAR when the bipod was not used. Another factor is speed of reloading, and by this I don't mean reloading the rifle itself, but reloading the magazine. They were thinking of the cost-saving doctrine of issuing just two or three magazines which the soldier would reload as needed from a separate ammo supply. If you've ever reloaded a box magazine it's a thumb-straining pain in the ass and quite time consuming, especially when somebody is shooting at you. The depression era army just wasn't ready to consider just issuing 8 or 10 expensive mags that might be discarded by a soldier. En bloc clips were cheap, big box mags weren't. Consider too, that box mags are heavier than clips for the same number of rounds.

    In hindsight, the cost of box mags vs C clips seems penurious, and the other reasoning weak. But, in the early/mid thirties when all of this was new and experimental it seemed cutting edge. In practice, the C clips worked very well. They were reliable, quick to reload and light to carry.

    .
     
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  9. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

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    KB, nice answer to a number of old questions I had. Understand better now..

    Gaines
     
  10. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    A small addendum. Springfield rifles affixed with rifle-grenade launcher muzzle devices were retained for a bit, until the Garand-compatible devices were fielded.
     
  11. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    I've a question on the 1911A1. What's the deal about never letting the slide close on an empty chamber? Plays havoc with the extractor and shear spring.
     
  12. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Only partially correct, you should never slingshot the slide closed at full force on an empty gun by depressing the slide release, but close it in a controlled manner with your fingers dampening the force. None of that matters if you're closing the slide on a loaded gun, the cartridge rim dampens that final slap and no harm will ensue.

    .
     
  13. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    Thanks. I had that drummed into my head by my dad years ago but the only explanation was , "Because" ! Should have put a "?" mark behind the last sentence.
     
  14. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    But most often in the military you don't load magazines round by round, in he thumb staining method, but use a stripper clip. The BAR had a loading tool that fit around the magazine to properly align the stripper clip. The M1 carbine, the M14 and M16/M4 series are/were set up to do the same, so a magazine fed M1 would most likely have a stripper clip notch, and/or a stripper clip guide/loading tool. The standard cartridge belt for the service rifle, M1 had ten pouches that held ten, 8-round enbloc clips, for a total of 80 rounds. I would think that had the military adopted the magazine fed version of the M1, they would most likely have issued four, 20 round magazines for a total of 80 rounds so that the basic load didn't change. At the time; the .30-06, M2 ball, that came in bandoliers was packaged as either boxed loose, boxed w/stripper clip. or in the 8-rd enbloc clip. Using the ammunition packed in 5-rd stripper clips it would probably take all of 10-15 seconds to reload a magazine.
     
  15. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    All that is surely true, but the 1935 army was not the 1942 army. Really, it wasn't till the big purge after the Louisiana maneuvers, and the similar Eisenhower/Bradley purge in Normandy that you saw the last of the dinosaurs cleared out. In the thirties you still had people in important positions arguing that semi-auto rifles would waste ammo, and the same argument was used against (relatively) expensive box magazines that might be discarded when empty. That wasn't unique to the American army, the British had their own brass that hadn't kept up, and Hitler was famous for blocking (or attempting to block) rifles like the G43, the FG42 and the STG44. He got outmaneuvered, but the war would have been a much bloodier one had those rifles been produced earlier and in greater numbers.

    There's wisdom in the truism that senior officers are always preparing for the last war.

    .
     
  16. harolds

    harolds Member

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    What you seem to be saying in your last post KB, is that due to long-held beliefs of the military bureaucracy (similar to the ones in our Civil War against repeating cartridge guns) the M1 was saddled with an adequate but less-than-optimum loading system. This is pretty much what I stated in my post above. As we were tooling up for war in the second half of the 1930s we could have made all the damn box magazines in the world! We could have filled warehouses with them and be damned if the "crunchies" threw 'em away! I appreciate you agreeing with me.:D
     
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  17. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The US sent 1/2 million Lee-Enfields to the Brits after Dunkirk. Would it have been better to keep them in the US and send something else?
     
  18. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    I wouldn't argue with anything you say here. I just don't buy the, from the initial post; "Another factor is speed of reloading, and by this I don't mean reloading the rifle itself, but reloading the magazine. They were thinking of the cost-saving doctrine of issuing just two or three magazines which the soldier would reload as needed from a separate ammo supply. If you've ever reloaded a box magazine it's a thumb-straining pain in the ass and quite time consuming, especially when somebody is shooting at you." Three magazines per soldier is still a 60 round ready load, and reloading magazines is not the torturous exercise you describe (unless you're using loose rounds). 1.) The M2 ball already came in stripper clips, and continued to be produced in that form after the enbloc clip was adopted 2.) They were already using stripper clips as the method to load BAR magazines 3.) They used stripper clips for other WWII era magazines such as the M1 carbine and have continued the practice through the current day 4.) It does not take much time to load mags using a stripper clip. I just don't think speed of reloading magazines was a factor that figured into the decision.
     
  19. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Since the Lee-Enfield was the official battle rifle of the British Empire it made perfect sense. After all, that's what they had ammo, manuals, instructors and spare parts for! What would you replace it with? The '03 Springfield? What would we do with the dang things? We had the M1!
     
  20. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I was wondering about American options. I know the SMLE was a good weapon, I know a certain national police force that still uses it.

    AND ... regarding my BAR/SMG comment, you'll have to wait until March 14, 2022 AD before you get an explanation for that one.
     

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