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Why did Britain have bad guns compared to the rest of the world???

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ChaseZachary, Mar 22, 2020.

  1. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    At least the Germans after winter 1941-42 had to start replacing men losses with more fire power of which MG42 is a great example. So more effective guns for less troops.
     
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  2. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Bren guns in wartime had a similar reputation for stoppages,. and the fault was filling Magazines to capacity and leaving them lying around for days with the springs fully compressed. There was an Army Training Memorandum ordering a maximum of 28 (?) rounds in the 32 round magazine. We didn't experience this problem on peacetime because magazines were never left filled.

    The big failing of the Sten was that if could fire if dropped. The working parts would go far enough to the rear to chamber and fire a round, but not far enough to engage the sear that held the bolt open. Standing orders for the artillery of 1st British Corps in Normandy were that the Sten was never to be loaded with a magazine unless in forward areas or on sentry duty.
     
  3. James Stewart

    James Stewart Active Member

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    Alan take your point on the MP38and Mp40 and would agree some of the British arms were not beautiful but nor were they bad, yes one of them was more complex from a production point of view than the other. ( Going from memory here ).
    Another point about German arms they were forced sometimes by the superior quality of enemy weapons to adopt them for use and often by necessity.


    I collect WW2 binoculars and see the same from many friends who see German optics as being way better than anything GB or America produced and whilst this may be true in terms of engineering. ( You would be amazed how complicated they could make the ocular tower of a binocular, over complicating it).
    Yet I find this hard to believe on the basis of my own experience and the British gear of the time was certainly not second rate nor did it leave the RN "blind" compared to their opposite numbers.
    A few years ago I put a set of Barr and Stroud (CF42, 7x50) in the hands of a friend of mine who has a hugely significant Kriegsmarine Zeiss Collection he was astounded by the plasticity and colour contrast as well as the sharp image, he had based his views more on what he had heard than what he had " looked through". He revised his views and tentatively asked me if I would part with the set.
    Leitz late war ( rubber topped) 7x50's (often described as "U Boat binoculars" as a good marketing technique) are inferior to the underrated Barr and Stroud.
    ( The Leitz really only does well on a bright day in low light conditions they are not at their best ).

    Germany was haunted by the desperate search for "wonder weapons", not all that was researched was reasonable and few actually bore fruit.
     
  4. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    That is the pattern for most of the armies of WW2. Manpower falls and is replaced by firepower. The British Division of 1944 had about 950 men fewer than the 1941 establishment, and 800 fewer rifles but 6,000 more machine carbines. 400 more Bren Guns, 150 more mortars, 62 more (and much better) anti tank guns and 71 close range 20mm AA guns that it had never had in the past. Russian changes were even more dramatic http://ww2f.com/threads/soviet-infantry-squad-composition-and-doctrine.74477/#post-851206
     
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  5. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    Yes, two valid points.

    The Bren had a similar magazine feeding problem propensity as the Sten. Standard practice (unsure of how "formalized" this was) was to load 27 or 28 rounds of the 30 round magazine (and the same for the 32 round Sten). I was unaware that there was an Army Training Memoradum about this for the Bren -- did the same exist for the Sten? Going from memory, the primary issue was (as you said) compressing the magazine spring and to a lesser extent deforming the magazine feed lips.

    Yes, the Sten had the same problem that many other open-bolt submachine guns had. With an open-bolt (fixed firing pin) SMG, the "safe" way to carry it is generally with the bolt closed. The issue with this is if the SMG does not have a device to lock the bolt closed, the bolt is kept in the forward position only by spring pressure. When the SMG is dropped or bumped rigorously the shock can cause the bolt to move rearwards against spring pressure. In some cases the bolt can move rearwards not far enough to engage the sear (which would lock the bolt open), but far enough to move past the magazine. When this happens, the bolt will return forward under spring pressure, strip a live cartridge from the magazine, and slam closed onto a live cartridge which will result in an accidental discharge. This is likely the basis of the notorious "British soldiers used to throw a Sten with a full magazine through the window and let it fire until empty to kill the occupants" myth. This was not a problem isolated to the Sten -- notably, the M3 "Grease Gun" and MP38/MP40 also had a propensity for this (although the MP40 would later be retrofit with a simple sliding stop to lock the bolt closed).
     
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  6. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Extract from War Office Army Training Memorandum No 26 dated 13th November 1939, Paragraph 5

    i Bren gun magazines

    (a) The magazine will be loaded with 28 rounds only
    This precaution prevents a stoppage which is sometimes experienced as a result of certain magazines failing to feed the first round when loaded with 30 rounds.
    (b) When magazines have to be kept loaded for any length of time they will be loaded with 20 rounds only.
    This prevents the spring becoming weak (and in extreme cases fracturing) owing to its being kept fully compressed.
    Still a very good Light Machine Gun.


     
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  7. Brutal Truth

    Brutal Truth Active Member

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    Today German-Americans are still the major ethnic group in the US. The percentage was certainly much higher at the time of WW2, considering the immigration laws of the time, which were changed in 1965. So if Germans were so good I suppose they should have passed their qualities to their American descendants. While I don't doubt that German engineering was, and still is, of very high standards they are not the only ones to enjoy these qualities. Swiss are even more renowned for their precision (and they don't consider themselves "Germans", even those who speak the language). Regarding work ethics, I think it's difficult to beat Japanese, Finns, and those raised under the Calvinist (i.e. Reformed) tradition, which include many people in Europe and in the States. However I expect that in the present Western world those kinds of work ethics are in decline everywhere.
     
  8. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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    MP-40 could jam. One complaint was that one had to prop themselves up and be exposed ot use it when firing from a foxhole. Why? Tall stick magazine. I'm reading Marching From Defeat and the author had too many "clicks" (failure to fire) with his MP-40..

    As for Great Britain, after WW I, what money for weapons development? Great Britain wasn't immune from the Great Depression either. Pre-war Britain and the Commonwealth were diassembling their sniper rifles too and selling the scopes as surplus. So did Germany and the United States.
     
  9. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    Of course the MP40 could jam (just as any magazine-fed firearm can jam). Such failures were primarily attributed to the single-feed, double-stack magazine. This was a design shared with many other firearms including the Sten and M3.
     
  10. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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    Neglect.
     
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  11. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

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    The OP doubtless banned due to his lack of appreciation for style.

    1lanchy-027475.jpg large_DI_2011_0166.jpg
     
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  12. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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    I have that pig sticker for the Webley. I need to make a brass grip and stock for it. Need to carve one out of wood and then brass cast it.

    Also have a 22 LR Webley that was made that way as a trainer.
     
  13. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    It is becoming more common in the UK to hire German work crews to build houses...its not only cheaper to fly them to Britain and put them up in a hotel than hiring local companies, but they get the job done in a matter of weeks instead of months...German efficiency is alive and well. Australia has a healthy German population, especialy in South Australia SA...
    "It is said that in 1839, the first group of German immigrants from Deutsche Prussia took the family to the South Australia and settled here. The name of the town of Handorf is named after their leader, Hahn, who has been named for more than 170 years.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  14. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Early in war I recall reading two things that could have made some difference. In BoB several German bombers returned home with lots of bullet holes. Considering the huge Luftwaffe losses, If the RAF had also cannons instead mg's think of the even bigger Luftwaffe bomber crew losses. Also the British wondered why the German bombs were more effective compared to the British ones. I recall it was the aluminium that Germans added to the explosive that gave it extra punch. Correct me please if I recall Something wrong.

    ------------

    Unfortunately the site for this info has been deleted from the net. But anyway, here it goes.

    Bf 109 and Spitfire and weapons

    The Spitfire had eight Browning machine-guns spread out along the wing. These each had 300 rounds of normal bullets, tracer, incendiary or armour-piercing (the last type only effective against the thinnest of armour). The guns were configured so that the bullets converged on a single point some distance in front of the aircraft. At first this distance was over 400 yards, however pilots soon found that the best results were obtained if they made it 250 or 200 yards instead. The use of eight machine-guns meant that even the novice fighter-pilots thrown into the battle by the British had a chance of hitting something if they could get into firing position. On the other hand the 109`s armament favoured the marksman. The 109 had two machine guns of similar performance to the British Brownings, but mounted in the nose and synchronised to fire through the propeller. These had magazines of 1,000 rounds each, which meant the German could keep his finger on the trigger over three times longer than his British counterpart, but after that time he would have still expended 400 less rounds than the Spitfire pilot. The Messerschmitt was also equipped with two 20mm cannon, but they had a low velocity, poor rate of fire and only 60 rounds per gun. Against British bombers they were devastating, but the manoeuvrable and swift Spitfires and Hurricanes were a difficult target.

    The incendiary bullets used by the British in the Battle of Britain gave the RAF a great advantage. They could cause the fuel-tank of a target aircraft to explode and the flash of light they gave off showed the British pilot his bullets were striking home (the tracer used at the time followed a different trajectory to the other bullets). The incendiary bullet had been developed in secret at Woolwich Arsenal and was only just ready in time for the Battle of Britain. Named "de Wilde" ammunition by the British this was a ruse to make the Germans think it was based on the work of a Mr de Wilde in Switzerland. In fact it had been found that "proper" de Wilde bullets could only be made by hand, whereas the British design could be mass-produced. The British "de Wilde" bullets were the invention of C. Aubrey Dixon, a Captain in the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment (he retired with the rank of Brigadier), one of the unsung heroes of the Battle of Britain.

    --------

    The use the Germans made of their excellent radio sets was crude compared to the British. There are even stories that in 1940 high ranking Luftwaffe officers such as Adolf Galland wanted all radio equipment deleted from the Bf109 to save weight!
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2021
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  15. Takao

    Takao Ace

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  16. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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    Aluminium powder in bombs? Interesting. Wouldn't magnesium be better?
     
  17. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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  18. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    German Ordinance

    Found this but like said there could be more to this:

    In addition to type and weight designations, HE bombs sometimes carried a suffix to indicate the type of fuse or zünder employed, i.e,. mV = mit Verzögerung (with short delay action) and LZZ = LangZeitZünder (long time delay). Thus, for example, the designation SC250 LZZ identified a general purpose, high explosive bomb, weighing 250kg and fitted with a long delay fuse. The thin-cased general purpose was called the sprengbombe cylindrich (SC. Used for blast effect, they had a relatively high charge ratio of 55%. Used primarily for general demolition, something like 80% of German high explosive bombs dropped on the UK were of the SC type.

    The bomb is actually 64.5 in. Its filling is either 60/40 Amatol/TNT, or TNT with a variety of additives including wax, woodmeal, aluminium powder, naphthalene and ammonium nitrate. The weight of the filling is 287lbs, making 52% of the total weight of 548lbs.
     
  19. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    1. cultures change .....the US geography/size/ethnics/etc were very different from Germany = affecting culture ..the US was very new compared to very old Germany
    2. ''''The long rifle was the product of German gunsmiths who immigrated to new settlements''''
    Long rifle - Wikipedia
    etc
    3.yes, I've said it many times on WW2F, I admire the Japanese and Germans for their work ethics/etc ..they are 3rd and 4th in GDP--so, Germany is way up there = so they have to be good at something [hahah ]
    GDP by Country - Worldometer
     
  20. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    we did the same with the M16s = never loaded to the max
     

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