Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Why wasn't the BAR given an extended magazine?

Discussion in 'Small Arms and Edged Weapons' started by superbee, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Messages:
    17,433
    Likes Received:
    2,060
    Location:
    Alabama
    I'd like to have that and hang it in the study.
     
  2. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2006
    Messages:
    6,187
    Likes Received:
    1,787
    Location:
    Perfidious Albion
    As would anyone with any taste or discernment.
     
  3. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    Messages:
    3,145
    Likes Received:
    1,096
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    von Poop likes this.
  4. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2006
    Messages:
    6,187
    Likes Received:
    1,787
    Location:
    Perfidious Albion
    Always had a soft-spot for red-edged engineering cutaways. That M2 is superb.
    Saw a cutaway Vickers HMG and Bren for sale at Beltring, but sadly very much beyond my price range.

    I like the look of the Four foot long Browning pistol here:
    https://industrialanatomy.wordpress.com/2011/07/18/1152/

    Another BAR with some detail shots:
    http://www.nrablog.com/post/2012/11/27/Oversized-Browning-Automatic-Rifle-trainer-donated-to-the-National-Firearms-Museum.aspx

    Very pleasing Garand & .30:
    http://industrialanatomy.wordpress.com/2012/06/24/these-to-double-sized-training-guns-just-came-in/
     
  5. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    6,329
    Likes Received:
    1,704
    Location:
    The Arid Zone
    The answer to this is very simple. The BAR was designed as the squad automatic weapon. The 30.06 generates a lot of recoil even in a heavy rifle like the BAR, so it was most effective fired from the prone position off the bipod. Fired from any other position, the recoil pulled the muzzle up off the target and it became much less effective. If you lengthen the magazine, it becomes much more difficult firing from prone.

    The British solved the problem with the Bren by simply mounting the magazine from the top. You see the same solution in the Japanese type 96 light machine gun, and for the same reason.
     
  6. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,543
    Likes Received:
    743
    Looks like the BREN was a very versatile gun. Wonder what the cost per unit compared to the BAR was- maybe BAR is the KISS way to go- maybe BAR and BREN were not meant to fill the exact same roles?
     
  7. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2010
    Messages:
    6,459
    Likes Received:
    1,061
    Give me a bren anyday...plenty of shots of Aussies walking through the jungles firing from the hip...looking for tree stumps to sit it on...it had a short and banana mag, no probs with the prone position...The Owen followed suit for the same reason...
     
  8. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2006
    Messages:
    6,187
    Likes Received:
    1,787
    Location:
    Perfidious Albion
    And then, of course, there's a 100rd drum magazine for Brenda too.

    [​IMG]

    Wouldn't really work with a BAR, the thing's heavy enough as it is.
     
  9. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    2,597
    Likes Received:
    481
    The BAR was conceived as an individual weapon, to fired from the shoulder or from the hip or sling to sweep the ground ahead of a line of troops, which was thought to be a useful tactic at the time. As posters have mentioned it and its recoil were a bit heavy for individual use, so it was repurposed as a squad support weapon. Something designed for that role would probably be more like a Bren. The top-mounted magazine is a particularly good feature for a support weapon, since it can be changed without taking the gun or the gunner's attention off the target.
     
  10. Pacifist

    Pacifist Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    Messages:
    406
    Likes Received:
    90
    While I agree the Bren had several advantages over the Bar weight wasn't one of them.

    Bar
    8.4 kg (19 lb) (M1918A1)

    Bren
    10.35 kg (22.83 lb) (Mk1 and Mk2)

    8.68 kg (Mk3 and Mk4) These not being available until 1944 and then intended for jungle and airborne troops.



    2 thing the Bar did very well for it's time was quick redeploy inside a firing line. Allowing you to repel attacks from multiple avenues in quick succession.

    The other being crawling up and suppressing enemy machine gun positions. A job the belt fed Browning 1919 was often too bulky and difficult to conceal to accomplish.
     
  11. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2006
    Messages:
    2,267
    Likes Received:
    661
    Location:
    Auburn, Alabama, US
    Did other soldiers in a squad carry extra magazines for the BAR or was that the job of the shooter or one support man ? I see pictures of many troops carry belts for a LMG but wondered about the BAR.

    It is interesting that in the 309's BARs were carried by bad guys as well as the Feds.....Were those full auto too ?
     
  12. Pacifist

    Pacifist Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    Messages:
    406
    Likes Received:
    90
    Initially it was 1 man carrying extra ammo. Over time as squads became built around the bar gunner more soldiers carried spare magazines.


    As several were stolen from national guard armories I'd say they were.
     
  13. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,543
    Likes Received:
    743
  14. Pacifist

    Pacifist Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    Messages:
    406
    Likes Received:
    90
    It's not like they were walking for days through the mud carrying a full kit bag. Cars are definitely the way to go.


    Looking up the B & C gangs weapons led me to the Texas Ranger Museum.
    Only in America can you go into a museum gift shop and purchase working 24k gold plated Tommy guns. :)

    http://www.texasranger.org/store/ProductPages/AmericaRemembers.htm
     
  15. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    2,597
    Likes Received:
    481
    Didn't go very far from their cars, like mechanized infantry.

    Or they might have been carrying: Remington Model 11 .20 Ga. Semiautomatic Shotguns, Browning Auto-12s and at least one [reported] .10 Ga. Lever Action

    Those .20s and .10s are pretty handy! ;)
     
  16. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Messages:
    4,617
    Likes Received:
    1,658
    Location:
    God's Country
    Gaines, in a full strength squad, a rifleman was normally assigned as the assistant BAR man. He might carry extra mags in a BAR bandolier, but more commonly would refill the emptied magazines using .30-06 ammunition carried in 60rd cloth bandoliers.

    The BAR man himself carried 240 rounds in his BAR riflemans belt, quite a bit of weight, plus the mag in his weapon.

    [​IMG]
    6 pockets-2 x 20rd magazines per pocket.

    .30-06 ammo came packaged numerous ways, boxed, belted, and in bandoliers, either 48 rounds per bandolier in 6 x 8rd en-bloc clips or in 10 rd cardboard sleeves, each holding 2 x 5rd stripper clips, 60rds per bandolier. You've seen the cloth bandoliers in many war time photos, they were ubiquitous.

    [​IMG]

    Cloth bandolier with M2 ball ammunition in 8rd en-bloc clips.

    [​IMG]

    US Army soldier on right has a bandolier slung across his chest.

    [​IMG]

    Marine at Tarawa with two bandoliers slung across chest, note he has hand grenades and ready en-bloc clips hung on the bandoliers.

    It is/was SOP in an infantry company for each man in the company to carry additional ammunition for the crew served weapons, machine guns an extra 50 or 100 round belt and an extra mortar round or two. In WWII and Korea the US Army and Marine Corps considered the BAR a crew served weapon and assigned two or three men to a team. (US Army TOE automatic rifleman, assistant auto rifleman and ammo bearer--USMC TOE automatic rifleman, assistant auto rifleman) In combat however, more often than not it was employed by one man. The US Army on paper rated one BAR per infantry squad, as did the Marine Corps initially. Later war Marine Corps TOE's expanded BAR use to one per 4 man fire team, three fire teams per squad. Late war US Army practice was to assign a second BAR to the rifle squad.
    The BAR's greatest strength was as an offensive weapon due to it's mobility (as it was designed for). On the defense or as a supporting weapon the company had the M-1919 browning machine gun and the M-1917 watercooled heavy machine gun. The BAR could and did, add additional, supplemental firepower in the defense, but was not intended as a sustained fire weapon, that function was best filled by the belt feds.
     
    Carronade likes this.
  17. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2006
    Messages:
    2,267
    Likes Received:
    661
    Location:
    Auburn, Alabama, US
    USMP, Carry that weight is impressive but taking 20 30-06 rounds out and thumbing them into a magazine does not sound fun either. I guess the magazine was not considered expendable.

    Which brings up another question along similar lines, if one fired a Garand , say 4 times, was it possible to top it off or did you have to finish and then reload. ? The blocs are pretty tough.

    Gaines
     
  18. Pacifist

    Pacifist Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    Messages:
    406
    Likes Received:
    90
    Reloading the Garand
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GdTKm4eBAs

    To sum it up there are ways to load a single round. Generally used for riflenades.
    You can place a partial or empty clip in the rifle then refill it a bullet at a time.
    You can remove the partial clip and refill it but in combat it was much faster to finish your clip and replace it.
     
    Poppy and Triple C like this.
  19. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2006
    Messages:
    2,267
    Likes Received:
    661
    Location:
    Auburn, Alabama, US
    Perfect ! Answered my question. I have shoot one 8 times but never thought about partial reloads. At 5-6 and 130 at the time it was too heavy and kicked a bit for me. I thought the M-1 Carbine had been designed just for me. and I suspect the enemy prefered to be shot by a Carbine as well .

    Many thanks.

    Gaines
     
  20. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Messages:
    4,617
    Likes Received:
    1,658
    Location:
    God's Country
    Looks like Pacifist beat me to the answer, and with a good explanatory video to boot.

    I called my dad this morning to get more info on the BAR, he was a BAR man early in his Marine Corps career. We talked for quite a while about the BAR and the M1. He said, SOP during the time he served in that billet was for the assistant BAR man to carry six loaded magazines (120 rds) and four bandoliers for an additional 240 rounds or another one and a half times the automatic rifleman's base load. The assistant would spot for the gunner and provide security or reload the empty magazines depending upon how they were engaged.
    As for magazines being expendable? It's not a yes or no question. They are and were expendable in that you weren't beat up administratively for losing one in combat like you are with a piece of serialized gear. However, they were not expendable in the practical sense because you were/are expected to retain them for reloading. With the M1 the en-bloc clip came with the ammo, no need to retain them. A magazine however was/is filled with loose boxed ammunition or ammunition affixed to a stripper clip in a bandolier. Loose your magazines and you soon make yourself combat ineffective, you might but probably will not get additional replacement ones with your ammo resupply.
     
    gtblackwell and Poppy like this.

Share This Page