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Worst Weapon?

Discussion in 'Weapons & Technology in WWII' started by skunk works, Nov 20, 2005.

  1. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    I think 'we' are mixing up the courage of the individual soldier with the general performance of the entire armed forces apparatus, over which personal courage has little influence.
     
  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Yes, and on German soldiers a very sad example: the SS-Nord division in 1941 in Lapland was known for running like mad from battle and being afraid of the forests. It is true they had no training to mention but still Waffen-SS men all the same.

    :eek:
     
  3. Ted

    Ted Member

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    The Reising M50 Submachine gun. Mostly used by the U.S. Marines. About 100,000 made. Some given to the Soviets.

    The Grease gun (M3). Mostly used by U.S. Army. Everything about it was bad. But it made a terrific sound when fired! :D
     
  4. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Pardon my ignorance (honest!), what was so bad about the Grease Gun? Unreliable? Jam prone?
     
  5. skunk works

    skunk works Ace

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    Many things, but they're all subjective.
    It looked cheap (was to manufacture) and so was thought to be.
    The spring in the clip tended to lose power if kept loaded without being fired (as with most spring magazines).
    No wood (that comfortable feeling)
    Stamped construction (Sten, MP-40, PPSH? as well), not milled to perfection like the Thomson.
    Ugly (told you...subjective)
    The safety was clumsy, let dirt/weather in (ejection port cover)
    No replacement parts (disposable)(jerry-rigged repairs only) which added to malfuctions.
    Could be chambered and barreled for both 45 cal, and 9 mm. (within minutes)(needed new clips though)
    Considered a tankers' weapon because of folding stock, short length.
    Efective range...eh...50 yards (for a rookie)
    Like a sports hero, some like him, some don't.
    For house-house stuff, guarding prisoners, why not?
     
  6. Ted

    Ted Member

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    That pretty much hits the nail on the head. The gun was adequate, I guess. But from people I've spoken to who were issued one in WWII and Korea, they hated it. It was bad, but better than the M50. It worked. It could kill someone. And in combat that's all that matters...most of the time. Here are some of the main problems with it.
    Magazine: feed problems
    Materials: broke way too easily
    Cocking Mec.: it was a little crank handle that often jammed or broke off.

    All in all, the U.S. didn't really have a whole lot of bad guns during WWII. But the two that were the lowest on the list were the M50 and the M3. The M3 was practicle and cheap, which was all that was asked of it. But still, I sure as heck wouldn't want one!
     
  7. Seadog

    Seadog Member

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    Worse weapon is often subjective. I think the Russian T-35 was a major mistake. The U.S. M6 was worthless, but you can learn from your mistakes. The M4 was a good tank for its purpose, but it would have been great if they had brought out the M26 earlier. It would have been a lot better if they could have put more of the 76mm guns in the Shermans. The big problem with the Shermans was their using gasoline engines, It had advantages, but was a lot more hazardous for the crews.
     
  8. Seadog

    Seadog Member

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    Well after digging out an old book, I find that the fire hazard was more due to ammo storage than the fuel. Also, the big problem with the 76mm guns was the lack of the ammo needed. Over 50% of the M4s in 1945 had the 76mm. When compared with the medium tanks of other nations, it compares well. It must be remembered that the Panther and Tiger were Heavy tanks by most standards. With the right ammo, the Panther was vulnerable to the Shermans. Interesting, more tanks fell to mechanical problems than combat. The t-34 was 5 times more likely to brak down than a Sherman, and the German tanks were ten times more likely to breakdown. And in most cases, the parts needed for repairs were much more available for the Shermans.
     
  9. Karjala

    Karjala Don Quijote

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    This particular SS-division (a "kampfgruppe" at first, c. half a division) was formed from SS-Toptenkopf -regiments of Allgemaine-SS members, who didn't have the usual Waffen-SS -training. Therefore their first performance was as you stated - sad.
     
  10. Panzer4000

    Panzer4000 New Member

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    The Sten MK II because there was many reports of it bouncing off a THICK JACKET
     
  11. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Could you provide a source for this statement?
     
  12. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

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    Tell you what.
    Put this wet greatcoat on and I'll fire one round from a Sten at you from a distance deemed acceptable for any SMG...

    Any chance you could explain how a 9MM fired from a Sten at broadly the same Muzzle velocity as a 9mm fired from an MP5 is somehow magically ineffective?
    Poor batches of ammunition. Not hitting the target. Sheer one-in-a-million fluke. Those I can accept as possibilities for the origins of such tales, but other than that they are soldier's myths - pure & simple.

    A start.
    The Rags O'truth

    ~A
     
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  13. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    I've never heard of this Sten complaint before, but I have a feeling it stems from complaints about the M1/M2 Carbine bouncing off KPA and PVA troops in Korea when engaged at long ranges (several hundred meters + ). If you try to engage a target at long ranges with a pistol calibre, it will likely not have enough power or accuracy to do any damage (this is assuming that you even hit it to begin with). This simply is not what the sub machinegun was designed for.

    As Von Poop said, at any acceptable distance, a cartridge in good condition will lead to a penetration.You cannot confuse pistol ammunition and rifle ammunition, either in form or in function.

    There are many complaints about the Sten, but this isn't one of them, and it certainly is not one of the 'worst weapons'.
     
  14. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Pistol rounds are notoriously ineffective killers in themselves, no matter the weapon they are delivered from. In the US, several studies over the last few years show that the mortality rate from handgun wounds is about 15%, and much of this with modern hollow point rounds designed to maximize damage. In one study it was shown that 43% of people shot with a handgun were not even hospitalized - they were released from the ER to go home or to jail, depending on the situation.

    The same rounds in WWII in full metal jacket configuration would be even less lethal. One can excuse soldiers who think the bullet "bounced off" when they shoot somebody who reacts, but then continues to fight.

    Rifle rounds are closer to 3000 fps and at those velocities, even a peripheral hit can quickly kill or incapacitate.
     
  15. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Without a doubt, the worst weapon in WWII was the V-2 rocket.

    1) It caused no real military damage.
    2) More people died constructing it, than it killed when deployed.
    3) It cost more money to develop and manufacture the V-weapons, than the entire Manhattan project, with far less impressive results.
    4) At a time when food was scarce, 30 tons of potatoes were used to distil enough fuel alcohol for a single launch.
    5) Cost per Unit: approx. 100,000 RM. Slightly less expensive than a Panther. approx. 6,000 were built.

    Nothing else suggested is in the slightest any near as inefficient, wasteful, and so costly.
     
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  16. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    1) The V-1 nd the V-2 were not meant to cause military damage, the were revenge/retaliation weapons meant to kill and frighten the British public when German bomber were unable to accomplish the task.

    2) The forced laborers were not killed constructing the V-Weapons, they died because the Germans let them di, they would have died just the same doing other work. Beside by killing off the British and Germany's "unwanted" populance is a "bonus" - Two for the price of one.

    3) Does that also include the cost of design and production of the B-29 "Superfortress" delivery system for the atomic bomb. IIRC, the cost and production of the B-29(around 3 Billion US) was more than the cost of the Manhattan Project(2 Billion US).

    4) AFAIK, the credible sources I have seen say that the alcohol was derived from petroleum-based feedstock

    5) 120,000 RM was just the cost of the hull, engine, and mechanicals. With weapons, radio, and optics, the cost of a Panther was closer to 250,000 RM.
     
  17. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I would not think that you could necessarily include the B-29 specifically as the program to develop this aircraft began before the Manhattan Project. I do not think it was thought of at the time as being the aircraft that would carry the bomb, it was just a longer distance conventional bomber.
     
  18. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    True, but you should have to include the cost of the delivery system as well, as the weapon will not be of much use just sitting at whatever airfield you had it delivered to. Just as green slime's stated cost of the Panther not being much more than the cost(100,000 RM) of the V-2(IIRC, the contract price was for 40,000 RM per V-2, so, the 100,000 RM is likely for a V-2 ready to launch), although, the 120,000 RM is for a Panther that is not capable of combat - as it lacks weapons, ammunition, optics, and radios.

    Figuring out the "true" cost of a weapon gets quite complicated at times...
     
  19. green slime

    green slime Member

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    So you agree that the V2 was a weapon with a goal that did absolutely nothing for Germany's war effort. Most countries spend money and time developing weapons, that, you know, aim to win the war.

    Even if you accept that those that died would have died anyway (I'd argue the case that the conditions in the subterranean V-2 factories were pretty darn atrocious, and not all factories were that bad), there is still the case to be made that they would've been better employed digging tank traps. As there was an enormous shortage of workers, they weren't really as expendable to the war effort as the Nazis would like to believe. The fact that they had to resort to slave labour proves just how short of labour they were.

    At least the unequipped panther could be used as a training unit or for spares. Even at 2 or 3 V2's for the price of 1 equipped, panther, the V2 stands at poor comparison. It was a really bad use of time, effort, money, and scarce resources. Regardless of other practicalities (lack of Oil, lack of Men, etc), there were other things they should've been doing than developing grandiose wunderwaffen without potential to actually change the outcome.

    The B-29 actually has other uses than "just" an A-bomb delivery platform, so no, you don't get to add that cost. The V2 has no military use, whatsoever. It did nothing beneficial for the German war effort. It did not slow the Allies down. It did not shake resolve on the Home Front. It did not strike at any vital factories, it did not cause production shortages. If anything, it shortened the war, allowing Germany to be defeated faster. Which isn't really the aim of most weapons manufacturers.

    So instead of the V1 and V2 program (3 Billion USD), the Germans could've had a fleet of B-29's the same size as the USAAF... not that it was B-29's they needed either, nor are the costs and strategic resources available directly comparable. Still, it goes to show just what an enormous waste of effort the V-program was.
     
  20. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

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    I appreciate that you refer in passing to the comparative resource issue, but there is perhaps significantly questionable logic there.

    The existence of the V2 is as much a function of Germany's rather limited resources as anything else.
    A lead reason there was a Wunderwaffen programme at all was because more conventional means of winning the war were increasingly not available to them.
    Though they'd have loved to meet conventional weapon & manpower requirements, they simply could not, and this is what led to 'last roll of the dice' thinking such as the V2.
    It may not have succeeded (thankfully), but there were entirely reasonable thoughts behind the V-Weapon strategy, given what was known at the time.

    I'd strongly dispute that they had no morale effect (probably their primary strategic purpose). The V2s put the fear of God into their targets.
    No warning, vast and semi-random destruction, no counter at the target end, government & population genuinely shaken by them (eg. the attempt at news control of V2 strike information that the British Government indulged in was most unusual. They saw the potential if the launch sites weren't overwhelmed as fast as possible).

    There were worse weapons; and it's often impossible to directly trade in resources spent on one programme for another one - such comparisons have to be infinitely more complex.
     

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