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Was the STG-44 the best infantryman's rifle of the war?


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#1 Hummel

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 10:19 PM

I realize that there are plenty of esoteric weapons out there, but I am thinking of general issue rifles. The Enfields, the Garands, Springfields, Mausers, and, this reveals the depth of ignorance, the Russian and Japanese weapons (The sign I have up in my classroom reads "Ignorance is a disease that can be cured by asking questions".). So, here I am asking questions. Please consider:
Weight
Accuracy at short and long range
Ammunition capacity
Ease of reloading
Ease of cleaning
Ease of use
Ease of production
Cost to produce weapon and ammunition
Please feel free to add in additional categories. Thank you very much. I really am looking forward to a good discussion on this. And please keep the language clean, as these posts will probably be going to my Military Club Students.

#2 formerjughead

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 11:11 PM

Accuracy at short and long range
Ammunition capacity
Ease of reloading
Ease of cleaning
Ease of use
Ease of production
Cost to produce weapon and ammunition
Please feel free to add in additional categories. Thank you very much. I really am looking forward to a good discussion on this. And please keep the language clean, as these posts will probably be going to my Military Club Students.


I would compare the StG44 more closely to the M-1 Carbine than I would the Garand or any of the other full size service rifles of the period. The StG fired the 7.92x33MM "Kurz" round that was specifically designed for that weapon. Much the same as the M1 Carbine firing a 7.82x33MM round and both bullets preform about the same(ish).

Both had 30 round detachable box magazines.

Had the StG44 been introduced early enough to be a standard issue weapon production cost and time would have been reduced as the war progressed. Unfortunately it was introduced too late and did not recieve the full development of the weapon system.

As far as main service rifles the M-1 Garand is by far the leader of the group in all but magazine capacity and ease of reloading. The Garand was first adopted as the main service rifle in 1936 and about 6 million were built during the life of production.

#3 Hummel

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 11:58 PM

Gotcha, thanks for responding. I have a couple of questions though.
Wasn't the carbine round more of a beefed-up pistol cartridge? I used to own a carbine, and that is what it always seemed to me. I know the STG-44 was more an Assault Rifle rather than a full-on Battle Rifle, but it sure had the range to compete with the Garand, no? The range, especially when you consider the ranges in Western European battles -- most were under 400 meters, right? I mean, it wasn't like Vietnam, but it wasn't like the American Civil War either where you could (IF you had the weapon, shoot across a field for kilometers and kilometers).
Finally, didn't Hitler himself ask a soldaten about the STG? Something like, "What do you need to win the war?" And the private responded "A million of these . . ." while he hefted his Stg.
Please understand I am NOT trying to start an argument. Inflection is completely lost in posts, obviously. I am just working at a civil conversation.
Thanks
Hummel

#4 formerjughead

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 02:08 AM

Wasn't the carbine round more of a beefed-up pistol cartridge? I used to own a carbine, and that is what it always seemed to me.


Not really, there is a fine line between an beefed up pistol cartridge and a scaled back rifle cartridge; I think it just depends on what you start with.

compare the two:
7.92x33mm Kurz - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
.30 Carbine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

and if you want to throw the .30-o6 in there:
.30-06 Springfield - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The other thing to remember about the Garand is that there were a lot of weapons in all theaters that took the same round. IF you ran out of rifle ammo you could always rob the machine guns and if you ran out of machine gun you could rob the rifle ammo, very easy on the supply chain.

I know the STG-44 was more an Assault Rifle rather than a full-on Battle Rifle, but it sure had the range to compete with the Garand, no?


No....the Garand had a max effective range of about 800yards and it's most effective range was in the 200-500 yard neighborhood.

The StG...probably did it's best work at around 150-200 yards and might keep heads down at 3-400 yards using well aimed single shots.

Finally, didn't Hitler himself ask a soldaten about the STG? Something like, "What do you need to win the war?" And the private responded "A million of these . . ." while he hefted his Stg.
Please understand I am NOT trying to start an argument. Inflection is completely lost in posts, obviously. I am just working at a civil conversation.
Thanks
Hummel


The last thing Germany needed to win the war was a new weapon. I think if they would have concentrated on the G41/43 series they would have gotten a lot more done.

The thing to remeber is that the little corporal was distracted by shiny objects.

#5 Proeliator

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 09:18 PM

The StG44 could've potentially won the war for the Germans, or atleast prolonged it quite a bit had it been introduced in 1942 as planned, as proven by the first unit who recieved them as they completely cut through and outfought a Soviet encirclement force over 10 times their size. Hitler however didn't like the weapin contrary to what jughead says, and dismissed the weapon. Hitler thought a 2000+ m effective range was crucial, and didnt realize most combat rarely took place at ranges greater than 200 to 300 m. The weapon would've no doubt been a great asset in Stalingrad.

Furthermore the 7.92x33mm Kurz & .30 cal carbine round cannot at all be compared, the 7.92mm Kurz is a far more lethal round with a far longer effective range. The 7.92mm Kurz will penetrate steel helmets at 600m, the .30 cal carbine wont. One fires a heavier more aerodynamic pointed bullet at a higher velocity (7.92mm Kurz) while the other fires a light round nose bullet at a lower velocity.

Weapons Expert Larry Vickers on the StG44:


Various historians & experts discuss the StG44:


StG44 & A´K47, side by side:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRYm11j3wwA&feature=related

Edited by Proeliator, 31 May 2010 - 09:43 PM.

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#6 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 11:14 PM

The SG 43/44 was an interesting compromise in weapons development. It was intended to give the infantry more firepower at shorter ranges while retaining some of the long range fire capacity of a full cartridge rifle. The execution however showed several problems that were serious for the Germans with this weapon:

First, the gun itself was made largely from stampings and had a crudity of manufacture compared to other German small arms. This led to problems in the field with reliability and the ability to clean and service the weapon.

Then there was a problem with the magazines and ammunition. There were insufficent pouches to hold the magazines manufacturered so troops often had to improvise. The introduction of a new cartridge (the Krutzer cartridge) added to supply and interchangability problems.

The SG 43/44 also couldn't fit the standard German rifle grenade launcher.

For the most part this weapon was issued to troops as available. In most units it was mixed into squads on about a 50 -50 basis with the K98. The squad machinegun remained. So, this does give a squad a bit of a boost in firepower but at the expense of sustainability. That is, the squad is far more likely now to fire off its load of ammunition more quickly leading to a reduction in firepower in a sustained firefight.

The SG 44 was hardly some überweapon that would have changed anything. Small arms rarely do in modern warfare. Yes, it was better than the US M1 carbine but, that weapon was intended for a different purpose. The carbine was intended as a self-defense weapon for crews not normally in infantry combat. It was essentially a greatly improved pistol rather than a short range combat assault weapon. Comparing the two is kind of silly.

#7 formerjughead

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 05:16 AM

....Furthermore the 7.92x33mm Kurz & .30 cal carbine round cannot at all be compared, the 7.92mm Kurz is a far more lethal round with a far longer effective range. The 7.92mm Kurz will penetrate steel helmets at 600m, the .30 cal carbine wont. One fires a heavier more aerodynamic pointed bullet at a higher velocity (7.92mm Kurz) while the other fires a light round nose bullet at a lower velocity.


There are only 15 grains difference in the round......less than an ounce. And the the comparison was made with bullet size and compatability or other weapons in use at the time; so at ease. The StG 44 and the Carbine are considerably more similar than the StG 44 and the Garand.

#8 lwd

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 03:34 PM

The StG44 could've potentially won the war for the Germans, or atleast prolonged it quite a bit had it been introduced in 1942 as planned, as proven by the first unit who recieved them as they completely cut through and outfought a Soviet encirclement force over 10 times their size. ...

Such hyperbole weakens rather than strengthens your case. No individual weapon was going to win or even prolong the war by a significant amount of time. Much less one that would likely increase the strains on an already over stressed log system.

#9 Proeliator

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 03:52 PM

The SG 43/44 was an interesting compromise in weapons development. It was intended to give the infantry more firepower at shorter ranges while retaining some of the long range fire capacity of a full cartridge rifle. The execution however showed several problems that were serious for the Germans with this weapon:

First, the gun itself was made largely from stampings and had a crudity of manufacture compared to other German small arms. This led to problems in the field with reliability and the ability to clean and service the weapon.


That is however not true. The weapon proved quite reliable & rugged in service, and cleaning the weapon wasn't the hassle you make it out to be. The weapon was non other than worshipped in all reports, which is what finally had Hitler accept it.

In short the StG44 is very similar to the AK-47 in terms of performance, with a similar rate of fire (550-600 rpm) and ballistic performance while at the same time being slightly more accurate according to Larry Vickers who directly compares to two in one of his shows.

Then there was a problem with the magazines and ammunition. There were insufficent pouches to hold the magazines manufacturered so troops often had to improvise. The introduction of a new cartridge (the Krutzer cartridge) added to supply and interchangability problems.


This can hardly be described as a flaw in the design of the weapon as this has to do with logistics. Having 3 different small arms calibers in use was neither extraordinary for any country during WW2. The biggest logistical problem plagueing the Germans was more that of providing enough spare parts for combustion engines as-well the fuel to run them and the oil to lubricate them.

The SG 43/44 also couldn't fit the standard German rifle grenade launcher.



Is this really a problem, honestly?

For the most part this weapon was issued to troops as available. In most units it was mixed into squads on about a 50 -50 basis with the K98. The squad machinegun remained. So, this does give a squad a bit of a boost in firepower but at the expense of sustainability. That is, the squad is far more likely now to fire off its load of ammunition more quickly leading to a reduction in firepower in a sustained firefight.


First of all the increase in firepower the StG44 added to any unit which carried it on a 50/50 basis was massive, the gun was a full out assault rifle. Secondly the expense in ammunition would be less than with a similar amount of SMG's as each round had more effect.

Finally your last theory is completely shot to pieces when you look at the amount of automatic weapons soldiers are equipped with today. This wouldn't be the case if the massively increased firepower didn't more than make up for the increase in ammunition expenditure, and it does, big time!.

The SG 44 was hardly some überweapon that would have changed anything. Small arms rarely do in modern warfare.


And this is based on what? History says otherwise. We can go all the way back to the introduction of the flintlock musket if you wish.

#10 Proeliator

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 03:55 PM

Such hyperbole weakens rather than strengthens your case. No individual weapon was going to win or even prolong the war by a significant amount of time. Much less one that would likely increase the strains on an already over stressed log system.


Had the StG been introduced as the std. military service rifle in 1942 it could've very well proved decisive. Call it hyperbole if you wish, but I'm just citing what seems to be the consensus amongst most historians on the subject.

#11 Proeliator

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 04:07 PM

As Larry Vickers puts it:

"But what if, the Sturmgewehr had been widely distributed to the German army in 1943? It would've negated the advantages of the M1 Garand, had a major impact on the Russian front, and would've provided a dramatically different level of response to the Normandy invasion"

"The earlier adoption of the Sturmgewehr would've most certainly rsulted in far greater allied casualties, and could've tipped the scales in close battles such as Monte Cassino, Bastogne and Stalingrad."

And he's spot on.

Larry Vickers:

Larry Vickers is a retired career special operations soldier with 20-plus years of service to our country. A longtime 1st SFOD- Delta operational member, he was a key player in the small arms marksmanship expertise and weapons selection of that Unit. He brings a very unique set of skills to the market, and has a wide and varied background in the firearms industry.

Select Special Operations, Military, and Law Enforcement Units seek him out on a regular basis for expert combat marksmanship training. Considered one of the best combat marksmanship instructors in the U.S, he has become one of the most sought after instructors in the Worldwide Special Operations community.

#12 formerjughead

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 04:26 PM

As Larry Vickers puts it:

"But what if, the Sturmgewehr had been widely distributed to the German army in 1943? It would've negated the advantages of the M1 Garand, had a major impact on the Russian front, and would've provided a dramatically different level of response to the Normandy invasion"

"The earlier adoption of the Sturmgewehr would've most certainly rsulted in far greater allied casualties, and could've tipped the scales in close battles such as Monte Cassino, Bastogne and Stalingrad."

And he's spot on.


All due respect to "Larry" , but the only way the StG would have effected the outcome is if it was used to shoot down B17's & B24's.

The only "Wonder Weapon" that effected the outcome of the second world war is the Atomic Bomb.

The Garand, in and of it's self, may not be a better weapon than the StG44; but, there we 6 million of them produced between 1936 and 1954. Add to that the Billions of rounds of ammunition were produced that could be used in the Garand and everyother .30 Caliber platform from rifles to machine guns.

Simply put the German logistical infastructure was not capable of supporting another weapon system in large scale production. The best battle rifle in the world is only a club if there are no bullets.
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#13 lwd

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 06:16 PM

Had the StG been introduced as the std. military service rifle in 1942 it could've very well proved decisive. Call it hyperbole if you wish, but I'm just citing what seems to be the consensus amongst most historians on the subject.

Well one opinion doesn't a consensus make. Care to name even a few other historians that think that?

Oh by the way looking up Larry Vickers at such sites as: http://en.wikipedia....i/Larry_Vickers
Military Accomplishments of Larry Vickers
and
Larry Vickers Home Page
I don't see much in the way of claims that he is a historian.

Furthermore if you look at the way Germany infantry was organized the LMG was the focal point of the squad. It's not clear what impact these weapons would have on that organization. The Garand may have given an edge to the US infantryman but the highly responsive artillery gave a much bigger one. So far your opinion is not very well supported and it's not clear it's even supportable.

#14 Proeliator

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 07:11 PM

I never said Larry Vickers was an historian, he is a weapons specialist and knows more than anyone else how big a difference a weapon like the StG would have made on the battlefield amongst the other weapons availabel at the time.

In his show "Tactical Impact" Larry discusses the virtues of the StG44 design, and how it made every other rifle on the battlefield obsolete the day it was first fielded. With a weapon like the StG44 you could successfully engage 10 times the amount of targets in the same time it took to engage just a single one with a bolt action rifle. And at the same time the StG's high rate of fire gave the shooter the ability to lay down highly effective suppressing fire, keeping the enemy pinned down. 10 men armed with assault rifles that fire 550 to 600 rpm is A LOT of firepower, and represents a massive increase over 10 men armed with either bolt action or semi automatic rifles. And things like these make a difference on the battlefield.

It however makes no difference to the StG's effectiveness that German squad & platoon tactics revolved around the MG. There was a reason for this; They had the two best MG's in the world, light, beltfed and packing massive fire power they were quick to set up and once they were they were unrivalled in their ability to keep the enemy pinned down. The addition of the StG instead of the bolt action rifle acting as support would've only massively increased every squads firepower, and made section to section support much easier as each man was now running around with the ability to unleash massive suppressing firepower on his own. This would make each squad/platoon much less reliant on the MG, and allow for much more swift & effective responses to any possible threat on the battlefield.

And as for Historians, well it doesn't get any better than what Ian V. Hogg (RIP) one of this centuries highest regarded weapons historians had to say; He regarded the StG44 as the best smallarm of WWII and the most influential smallarm of the 20th century.

#15 Jaeger

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 08:54 PM

It however makes no difference to the StG's effectiveness that German squad & platoon tactics revolved around the MG. There was a reason for this; They had the two best MG's in the world, light, beltfed and packing massive fire power they were quick to set up and once they were they were unrivalled in their ability to keep the enemy pinned down. The addition of the StG instead of the bolt action rifle acting as support would've only massively increased every squads firepower, and made section to section support much easier as each man was now running around with the ability to unleash massive suppressing firepower on his own. This would make each squad/platoon much less reliant on the MG, and allow for much more swift & effective responses to any possible threat on the battlefield.


I am taking a SWAG here and say that you haven't done much infantry tactical training in real life.

There is no way that any weapon issued to the grunt would lessen the importance of the MG.

I am currently doing an analyze on the structure and equipment for our squads, and the conclusions all point to the same direction. More MG's to the infantry section increase the fighting power of the unit. We are not talking Lanc's square law, but damned close.

Lately we have tested out the 13 man section with three fire teams each with a MG (Yes like the USMC) and the results have been impressive. With the smaller calibres the added ammo plays less role.

During the second world war, all protagonists added more LMG's to increase firepower. Panzergrenadiere would end up with 3 MG's to the squad giving them a powerful punch, so did the tommies and yanks.
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'We march. The enemy is retreating in transport. We follow on foot.' Lt.Neil McCallum 5/7 Gordons 19th November 1942

#16 Proeliator

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 10:17 PM

I didn't say that the MG would become less important, don't put words into my mouth. The MG would still lay down the bulk of the firepower by far, and would also still be the weapon around which all tactics are shaped. I said that the squad/platoon would become less reliant on the MG. With only bolt action rifles at your disposal you are VERY reliant on the MG to do most of the work, that burden is lessened by giving each supporting soldier an automatic assault rifle. Heck if it didn't make a damned difference then the assault rifle would've never been made, but fact is that it DOES make a difference, a big one.

Are we really in disagreement on this?

Edited by Proeliator, 01 June 2010 - 10:28 PM.


#17 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 11:40 PM

Had the StG been introduced as the std. military service rifle in 1942 it could've very well proved decisive. Call it hyperbole if you wish, but I'm just citing what seems to be the consensus amongst most historians on the subject.


If it was and it proved anything close to decisive I could see the US quickly modifying the M1 Garand by simply extending the magazine to say, 15 to 20 rounds... A semi-automatic M 14 if you will. So much for the superior firepower at anything over 50 yards. Full auto is pretty much worthless beyond that and much of the time under it. That is why today virtually all military automatic small arms use a burst selection on the automatic setting.

An incremental technology introduced gradually as the SG 43 would have been rarely, if ever, is decisive in warfare. There are literally thousands of examples of this with every type of weapon.

Oh, and the grenade launcher thing is important. This gave a US, British or, German squad a very compact and usually pretty deadly antitank capacity by mid war. It also gives a means of indirect fire to about 100 yards on an enemy. Losing that capability and having nothing to replace it is a big hit on a squad.

#18 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 11:52 PM

I am taking a SWAG here and say that you haven't done much infantry tactical training in real life.

There is no way that any weapon issued to the grunt would lessen the importance of the MG.

I am currently doing an analyze on the structure and equipment for our squads, and the conclusions all point to the same direction. More MG's to the infantry section increase the fighting power of the unit. We are not talking Lanc's square law, but damned close.

Lately we have tested out the 13 man section with three fire teams each with a MG (Yes like the USMC) and the results have been impressive. With the smaller calibres the added ammo plays less role.

During the second world war, all protagonists added more LMG's to increase firepower. Panzergrenadiere would end up with 3 MG's to the squad giving them a powerful punch, so did the tommies and yanks.



I'd go further. The US WW 2 infantry company has several other weapons at its disposal of importance that many German companies lack. The most important of these is the 60mm mortar. This is a weapon a German infantry company cannot counter with firepower alone. It can be used to suppress the German unit's machineguns and, be used on targets in enflade. A good infantry company well supplied with mortar bombs could plaster its front with alot of HE firepower. Veteran companies often sent one or more jeeps to the rear almost continiously to haul more mortar bombs forward.
The rifle grenade was another important weapon. This could fire a standard Mk II grenade to about 100 yards. It could be used from cover. It also could be used in direct fire from the shoulder. With a 60mm mortar bomb attached (yes, this was done alot) it could fire to about 30 yards and was frequently used for house busting in urban combat by firing the round through a window.
With machineguns, only the German heavy (eg., tripod mounted) guns can be set up to lay down a blind fire, a fire on a previously set bearing and elevation, and indirectly. The US machineguns are all set up to perform these tasks. Again, these are far more important than you might think particularly in night actions and in ones where the enemy might approach along covered or partially covered axies of advance.

The only distinct advantage a mid- to late war German infantry company has is their machineguns. Replacing bolt action rifles with the SG 43 just gives them more "machineguns" of a sort. This doesn't fix the problems of the company

#19 lwd

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 11:59 PM

I never said Larry Vickers was an historian, he is a weapons specialist and knows more than anyone else how big a difference a weapon like the StG would have made on the battlefield amongst the other weapons availabel at the time.

Well you certainly implied it with your previous post stating a similar opinion for historians. In any case it looks like he has concentrated on tactical use of firearms which is not the same as saying he's an expert especially the leading expert. Indeed I don't see much mentioned about his knowledge or skill in armored warfare a fairly critical factor in WWII.

In his show "Tactical Impact" Larry discusses the virtues of the StG44 design, and how it made every other rifle on the battlefield obsolete the day it was first fielded.

Indeed in my book TV shows are hardly a plus. To easy to get in the self promotion trap. And statements like the above are just plane wrong. Bolt action rifles are still not obsolete on the battle field much less semi automatics and in an environment like Afganistan for instance the StG44 would be at a disadvantage to say a Garand.

With a weapon like the StG44 you could successfully engage 10 times the amount of targets in the same time it took to engage just a single one with a bolt action rifle.

Where did you come up with that number? It sounds very suspect to me.

And at the same time the StG's high rate of fire gave the shooter the ability to lay down highly effective suppressing fire, keeping the enemy pinned down.

Depending on the numbers and weapons the same can be said about bolt action or semi automatic rifles. A high rate of fire also limits the time you can do it for.

10 men armed with assault rifles that fire 550 to 600 rpm is A LOT of firepower, and represents a massive increase over 10 men armed with either bolt action or semi automatic rifles. And things like these make a difference on the battlefield.

But not as much as the ability to get an artillery barrage on target in less than 10 minutes or having plenty of armored support when you needed it.

It however makes no difference to the StG's effectiveness that German squad & platoon tactics revolved around the MG.

But of course it does. Now you can't share ammo so you have to make sure you don't run out of either and with full auto capabilty for the rifles your going to burn through a lot more. It helps that it's smaller but it's still a problem.

They had the two best MG's in the world, light, beltfed and packing massive fire power they were quick to set up and once they were they were unrivalled in their ability to keep the enemy pinned down.

That's one opinion. In some rolls and circumstances it's even pretty supportable but not all by any means.

... This would make each squad/platoon much less reliant on the MG, and allow for much more swift & effective responses to any possible threat on the battlefield.

You are talking about a pretty significant change in doctrine here. That means pulling troops out of line and training to get anywhere near the full use of it. It also means a trial and error period. Note that the US and many other countries went to a 3 round burst setting rather than full auto.

And as for Historians, well it doesn't get any better than what Ian V. Hogg (RIP) one of this centuries highest regarded weapons historians had to say; He regarded the StG44 as the best smallarm of WWII and the most influential smallarm of the 20th century.

He may have but that doesn't mean he agrees with your position.

#20 Proeliator

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 02:32 AM

Besides from the US which country uses burst as std. setting for their assault rifles? Also the US seem to be reverting back to full auto once more in their planned future std. issue rifles, so they've probably realized the use of full automatic fire once again. Heck US Spec Ops have been equipped with full auto carbines throughout their history, and for good reason.

Furthermore most european armies also equip their soldiers with fully automatic assault rifles.

Anyone else see a trend here?

#21 Proeliator

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 02:44 AM

I'd go further. The US WW 2 infantry company has several other weapons at its disposal of importance that many German companies lack. The most important of these is the 60mm mortar. This is a weapon a German infantry company cannot counter with firepower alone. It can be used to suppress the German unit's machineguns and, be used on targets in enflade. A good infantry company well supplied with mortar bombs could plaster its front with alot of HE firepower. Veteran companies often sent one or more jeeps to the rear almost continiously to haul more mortar bombs forward.
The rifle grenade was another important weapon. This could fire a standard Mk II grenade to about 100 yards. It could be used from cover. It also could be used in direct fire from the shoulder. With a 60mm mortar bomb attached (yes, this was done alot) it could fire to about 30 yards and was frequently used for house busting in urban combat by firing the round through a window.
With machineguns, only the German heavy (eg., tripod mounted) guns can be set up to lay down a blind fire, a fire on a previously set bearing and elevation, and indirectly. The US machineguns are all set up to perform these tasks. Again, these are far more important than you might think particularly in night actions and in ones where the enemy might approach along covered or partially covered axies of advance.

The only distinct advantage a mid- to late war German infantry company has is their machineguns. Replacing bolt action rifles with the SG 43 just gives them more "machineguns" of a sort. This doesn't fix the problems of the company


Again your posts puzzle me as German companies frequently had a 81mm mortar squad in two sections attached, or three 50mm mortar sections.

#22 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 03:39 AM

Again your posts puzzle me as German companies frequently had a 81mm mortar squad in two sections attached, or three 50mm mortar sections.



The 50mm was abandoned as an issue item by the end of 1940. Its use was generally discontinued. By 1942 it only remained in serivce with secondary and rear area units where it continued to be issued. The problem with the 5cm mortar is that it is little more effective than a grenade launcher although it does have a bit more range. This is why it was abandoned in front line service.
The 81mm mortar is issued at battalion (as it was in US service and the 3" was in British service) level in non-mechanized / motorized infantry units to the heavy weapons company at an issue of 6 tubes. In mechanized formations each company received 2 of the shorter Kurzer 8.1cm GW 42. But, since mechanized formations are the exception not the rule in the German military the general commentary stands; a line German infantry company has no mortars in it.
Depending on the orgainzation, the standard German infantry company from about 1942 on has 3 platoons of either 3 or 4 squads and a heavy weapons section with 2 tripod mounted mg giving 9 to 12 line machineguns. A supply section would have an additional mg assigned as this unit also serves as a first line replacement pool and manpower reserve. Thus, the typical line German infantry company has 2 HMG and 13 LMG with a line strength of about 140 to 160 men.

Now, in some cases the battalion mortar platoon was broken up and distributed by section to the line companies on a 2 per company basis. But, this is an ad hoc improvisation and not TO&E.

#23 TiredOldSoldier

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 05:16 AM

IMO the StG was the most advanced mass produced infantry weapon of the war, modern rifles are all "logical descendents" of the StG, the M14 and the other full power round automatic rifles proved to be a dead end.

Whether it would have been a war winning weapon is a different story, IMO rifles are not, the Chassepot was much better than the Dreyse but the Germans still won in 1870.

Comparing it to the M1 carbine is interesting, does anyone have tables on the relative performace of the two? I read lots of complaints about the M1 ammo being underpowered, In Italy it was issued to the police because of the low chances of "collateral damage" by stray bulllets, which doesn't speak well for it, the Korea era complaints about the kapok winter coats of the NK stopping the bullets are also well known. I never heard anything similar about the "short" bullets but I prefer hard data over anedoctes.

The economics/logistics of the StG are also worth looking into, does anyone have comparable costs of the StG, K98K and MP40 and for their ammo? I expect the kurtz to be cheaper than the rifle round but have no data.

The K98K was intended to replace the SMG as well so the main rounds in the squad would still be two (handguns are emergency use only so have very limited normal ammo expenditure, don't think the Colt M1911 was a logistical nightmare though it's incompatible ammo was a procurement hassle that ultimatly led to it's replacement).

The late Vietnam era squad with the MG firing a different cartrige from the rifle is similar to what the Germans wanted to do, and it was a result of meeting in combat the AK47/AKM that is heavily inspired in concept to the StG though it's inner workings are more different than the external similarity would make you think.
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#24 lwd

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 01:17 PM

Besides from the US which country uses burst as std. setting for their assault rifles?

Indeed most seem to have both burst and full auto modes. I remember that the caseless rifle the Germans were developing was to use the 3 round burst as the standard setting. Not to sure about others.

Heck US Spec Ops have been equipped with full auto carbines throughout their history, and for good reason....

The problem with full auto is fire discipline. Spec Ops troops don't usually have a problem with that. Looks like the US in general doesn't have as much of a problem with it as they did at one time. Indeed some of what I've read indicates that it was easy to tell the difference in Iraq bettween US fire and that of our oponents as single shots were the rule for US troops.

#25 Proeliator

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 03:27 PM

IMO the StG was the most advanced mass produced infantry weapon of the war, modern rifles are all "logical descendents" of the StG, the M14 and the other full power round automatic rifles proved to be a dead end.

Whether it would have been a war winning weapon is a different story, IMO rifles are not, the Chassepot was much better than the Dreyse but the Germans still won in 1870.

Comparing it to the M1 carbine is interesting, does anyone have tables on the relative performace of the two? I read lots of complaints about the M1 ammo being underpowered, In Italy it was issued to the police because of the low chances of "collateral damage" by stray bulllets, which doesn't speak well for it, the Korea era complaints about the kapok winter coats of the NK stopping the bullets are also well known. I never heard anything similar about the "short" bullets but I prefer hard data over anedoctes.

The economics/logistics of the StG are also worth looking into, does anyone have comparable costs of the StG, K98K and MP40 and for their ammo? I expect the kurtz to be cheaper than the rifle round but have no data.

The K98K was intended to replace the SMG as well so the main rounds in the squad would still be two (handguns are emergency use only so have very limited normal ammo expenditure, don't think the Colt M1911 was a logistical nightmare though it's incompatible ammo was a procurement hassle that ultimatly led to it's replacement).

The late Vietnam era squad with the MG firing a different cartrige from the rifle is similar to what the Germans wanted to do, and it was a result of meeting in combat the AK47/AKM that is heavily inspired in concept to the StG though it's inner workings are more different than the external similarity would make you think.


Good post TiredOldSoldier,

While I agree that any rifle in itself wouldn't prove a war winner I believe that the StG44 might very well have provided that extra push needed for victory at important battles such as Stalingrad, Monte Cassino etc etc.. Lets not forget how close the Germans really were to winning in the first place during the first two years of the war.

As for the price of 7.92x33mm Kurz ammunition, it was cheap, esp. since it was simply a necked down 7.92x57mm round, thus the production line didn't need any big modifications to start mass production. It was pretty much done overnight.




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