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Why wasn't the BAR given an extended magazine?

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

  1. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    My suggestion above was a BREN and 2 BAR's that gives you two maneuver teams and a fire support team in a squad.
     
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  2. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry guys, but I'm in Meknes right now, so won't be setting anyone straight for a while. But you're on the right track.
     
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  3. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    You already have. Found some old post of yours that told us a lot of what we wanted to know. Wouldn't mind at all if you have some more info though.
     
  4. Andy235

    Andy235 Member

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    I saw that you advocated for at least two BARs. I thought only one would be necessary. And if I was doing the Army/USMC procurement, I would have looked for a better company level machine gun than the Browning for sustained fire. Maybe something like an MG42 with a lower rate of fire. 1200 RPM would exhaust huge supplies of ammo for an Army on the advance. The Germans in 1944/45 were largely on the strategic defense, operating close to their supplies. Americans had to ship everything across an ocean for both theaters. Much of that space in shipping that the extra bullets that a MG that fired at such a rapid rate would be better spent on artillery and mortar shells.
     
  5. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I thought the Browning worked pretty well for sustained fire. I know the water cooled version did.

    As for the BARS I'd rather have two maneuver elements than one. Indeed I think a good case could be made for 3. Of course the BREN is light enough that in a pinch it can be a maneuver element as well.
     
  6. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    The Marine Corps hit on the optimal squad structure with the Series F TOE, remained unchanged with the Series G, post war, Korean War up through today. The M27 IAR now replaces the BAR.
     
  7. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    The M27 will also be replacing the Garand, only the squad leaders will not have M27s.
     
  8. Andy235

    Andy235 Member

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    I was thinking that with the BREN being the main squad level automatic, it might be kind of bulky to have too many people in the "maneuver" team to be carrying the bulky BAR. Also, you would need to have extra magazines being carried by the other squad members instead of them carrying extra grenades, or other equipment or carry less at all to be able to move more quickly. The BAR is really cumbersome for an automatic rifle. Now, if the BAR was a significantly smaller weapon, I might agree. Perhaps adding another BREN or two at Platoon level to increase small group firepower might be a better solution. The BREN was simply better as a LMG and as a base of fire weapon.

    As far as the Browning, the air cooled 1919 was not a great machine gun, at least compared to what the Germans were using. It just wasn't as good or versatile as what the Germans had (MG 34 and 42, although I would suggest a lower rate of fire). It was too heavy. the attempts to modify it into an LMG weren't all that effective.

    The water cooled version was good for sustained fire, but it might have been better to organize groups with those very heavy and not easy to maneuver weapons into their own companies for fire support. Or just drop them and use .50 cal M2s
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2018
  9. Terry D

    Terry D Active Member

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    This has taken an interesting turn. I spend time designing a notional WWII army with a mix of British and US equipment and organization, and in the standard rifle section I have a Bren and a BAR. They can sometimes serve slightly different functions, with the Bren as a base of fire and the lighter and fixed barrel BAR either joining in support or moving with the assault element. For some situations you could add a third section automatic from the battalion ordnance pool. I have a support section at the platoon level with an M1919A6 to back up the box-fed guns. OK, the M1919A6 wasn't great, but you go with what you've got. The alternative would be captured MG34 or 42, but that brings up the problems of different calibers and the 'note' of the guns. Maybe the above layout wouldn't really be practical, but I like to toy with TOEs
     
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  10. Andy235

    Andy235 Member

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    In this scenario, i am imagining that the US Army would rechamber them in standard .30 cal ammo. I know the BREN was designed originally to fire 7.92 mm ammo by the Czechs, but the UK adapted it for the .303, and postwar they modified it to fire 7.62 NATO. Postwar German MGs were similar in design to the MG42 but chambered for 7.62 NATO. So in my imaginary scenario, the Garand, the BAR, the BREN, and the modified MG42 in US service would all fire the same ammo.
     
  11. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    Thanks for remembering and fishing up Rich old post. That explained a few things. Sometime during Overlord, the US Army authorized additional and but unallotted BARs and M1919s. This should have lead to all rifle squads being armed with two BARs, or one each of BAR and M1919. Regardless, the unit history of the 106th ID noted that, unlike veteran divisions, its squads did not have "extra BARs" when it entered the line to attack the West Wall.
     
  12. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Change 1, dated 30 June 1944, allocated six additional M1919 LMG to the battalion and six additional BAR to the Rifle Company, when requested by the theater. However, by the end of June 1944, First U.S. Army Ordnance recorded the loss of 836 BAR, approximately one-third of the total authorized for the Army, BEFORE Change 1 took effect. From there on it was a continuous race to catch up. By the end of August, 12th Army Group (14 ID, 6 AD, 2 ArbD) was short 2,400 BAR against a requirement of about 7,800. Worse, the replacement rate was only 15% of TO&E...and the 2,400 authorized at the end of June included the replacement reserve, calculated as two and a half months of replacements (37.5% of the total T/O&E). By December, the replacement factor was increased to 28%, but it is unclear when, if ever the backlog was cleared.

    It was always a mystery to Mac MacDonald where the notion that "veteran divisions" had "extra BARs" ever came from. At least in the 2d ID there were none, and they were the division the 106th ID relieved on the Schnee Eifel.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2018
  13. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    A further note. As of 4 October 1944, Third U.S. Army had a backlog on orders of the BAR of 750. By the end of the month it decreased to 152.
     

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