Squad level firepower comparisons

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Brady
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Brady » 10 Sep 2019 16:36

Gary Kennedy wrote:
08 Sep 2019 13:08
The British Boys anti-tank rifle was issued on the basis of one per Rifle Platoon in the standard Infantry Battalion, and one per Section in the Motor Platoon of the Motor Battalion. There were further issues throughout the Inf Bn (including one per Section of three carriers) and the Motor Bn (one per carrier in the Scout Pls). It's generally said that units of the 1940 BEF were short of much equipment, but I've never seen any figures on the likely deficits of Platoon level items such as the Boys, Bren guns and 2-in mortars. The British Army's rifle launched anti-tank grenade was the No.68 but as I understand that was introduced during 1941, so too late for the BEF.

German anti-tank rifles were to be issued three per Rifle Company, handled by a section of an NCO and six men. Actual availability is again a bit 'fuzzy' and I'm not sure there were more than a handful, if indeed any, with units by May 1940.

I'm not sure the 1940 Italian Infantry Battalion had any organic anti-tank weapons. The French Army, sadly I've not a clue...

Gary
I came across this:

Image

From: The Anti-Tank Rifle, Zaloga:

Image

yantaylor
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by yantaylor » 10 Sep 2019 20:03

Hi Brady; Would the German army use the 2cm Panzerabwehrbüchse, in the same way as they used the 2.8cm sPzB 41 ?

Yan

Brady
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Brady » 10 Sep 2019 20:09

yantaylor wrote:
10 Sep 2019 20:03
Hi Brady; Would the German army use the 2cm Panzerabwehrbüchse, in the same way as they used the 2.8cm sPzB 41 ?

Yan
I honestly don't know, I would think not, I have not seen a TOE for a unit with the 2cm Panzerabwehrbüchse

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by yantaylor » 11 Sep 2019 12:12

I have just been looking at one of my Nafziger books and in regards to the 15th Panzer division circa 1941, the PzBu41 was relatively rare with only one issued to a single Panzerjäger section in each heavy company of each Infantry regiment, but in the following year [1942], these weapons are seen more frequently with three PzBu41 issued to each Infantry and Pioneer company.

Regarding the British and their use of the Boys, in 1944 each ammunition section in each mortar detachment had a Boys, these were carried in the sections 15 CWT truck which gives a total of three per mortar platoon.

Yan

Gary Kennedy
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Gary Kennedy » 12 Sep 2019 09:31

I've posted a query about the likely 'in use' date of the No.68 grenade on another forum, with a particular emphasis on whether it might have been issued to BEF units prior to May 1940. My instinct still thinks they weren't in the hands of troops until after Dunkirk, if anything comes up I'll post it. Early opinion (quite limited from two posts mind) is pretty much 'no'. I did find a date proper here;

https://www.canadiansoldiers.com/weapon ... renade.htm

Now whether that date of November 1940 is specific to Canadian troops in the UK it does not say. The earliest I've seen the No.68 mentioned on British WE tables is March 1941.

I also had a look back at a few sources on the likely issue date of the German anti-tank rifle. Again nothing solid, a quick scan through the various Gliederung charts from sturmpanzer.com shows no mention of them on the April 1940 or November 1940 issues, and likewise nothing for February 1941. The next set of charts cover late 1942 onwards, and Inf Regts are shown with three authorised per Rifle Coy, in line with their KStN. Does not preclude use in France in May-June 1940, but there may have been a gap between them being available, and troops actually receiving them and being trained to operate them.

Gary

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Gary Kennedy » 12 Sep 2019 09:35

"Regarding the British and their use of the Boys, in 1944 each ammunition section in each mortar detachment had a Boys, these were carried in the sections 15 CWT truck which gives a total of three per mortar platoon."

Yan, I'm going to guess that you've seen that description in the old "British Army Handbook" by George Forty? There are a few reproductions of organisation charts in from British Army manuals, and the one for the Mortar Platoon is taken from the 1941 manual (which is why the Platoon strength is 46 all ranks). The Boys rifles were replaced on a one for one basis by the PIAT beginning in 1943, so the Mortar Platoon had three PIATs by 1944, and were not still lumbered with the Boys. I'd love to know if any 3-inch Mortar Detachment ever had to fire its Boys or PIAT in anger...

Gary

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by yantaylor » 12 Sep 2019 16:43

I certainly did Gary, I bought the Forty book years ago and thought his breakdowns was good, but I thought that issuing the boys this late in the war was a little odd, I thought the Home Guard would have got them all.
I will make some changes to my site, so thanks for the heads up!

Yan

Brady
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Brady » 12 Sep 2019 17:02

So pretty much the only place you might expect to find the Boys would be in the Far East in 44-45, if even then, in a front line unit ? They having been phased out in 43 ?

Btw thanks for all the great info one and all

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Gary Kennedy » 12 Sep 2019 19:22

The replacement of the Boys was across the board, though as always there would be some units with a lower priority. I am self admittedly rubbish on the Far East but I'm sure the PIAT was available and in use from at least 1944 onwards.

Brady
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Brady » 24 Sep 2019 16:30

Gary Kennedy wrote:
08 Dec 2018 14:42
This is a page from the Italian manual showing the Section in file, which nicely illustrates the format. Two such Sections made a Platoon.

Gary
Where did that come from? If I may ask, I am looking for the exact unit composition for the following:

Image

Specifically: How many men had a Squadra Genio Artieri

The assumption is there structured like your diagram shown above, but that's just a guess, From your Link above:

Image

Brady
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Brady » 25 Sep 2019 23:04

On a Lighter Note... Did the French actually use the Boys ATR in Action ? (in the BOF)

Brady
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Brady » 03 Oct 2019 15:55

British use of the M3, recently I came across a reference for the 78 Division swapping its Thompsons for M3's in late 44 while in Italy ?

This is also bait for anyone with a clue about the French Use of the Boys ATR in France in 40... :)

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Brady » 29 Oct 2019 02:16

One thing that hasn’t been mentioned... shot guns, My understanding is that these were quite rare to be found in frontline combat units, they were more commonly found in the Pacific then in Europe but I really don’t have much of a point of reference for this

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Sheldrake
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Sheldrake » 29 Oct 2019 09:59

Brady wrote:
29 Oct 2019 02:16
One thing that hasn’t been mentioned... shot guns, My understanding is that these were quite rare to be found in frontline combat units, they were more commonly found in the Pacific then in Europe but I really don’t have much of a point of reference for this
I am not certain that shotguns were a lawful weapon to be used against a "civilized" opponent. I have read accounts of British officers taking shotguns to war, but for shooting ducks or rabbits not people.

I have a suspicion that shotguns are much less effective than Hollywood and shotgun salesmen would have us believe. Shotguns might have been ideal for fighting in trenches and jungle. I have seen an American advertisment for a shotguns as a "Trench Broom". However neither the British, French nor Germans adopted shotguns. Instead a whole new class of weapon appeared: the SMG, widely adopted by all combatants post WW1.

Gary Kennedy
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Gary Kennedy » 29 Oct 2019 13:17

The only place I can recall seeing them as authorised weapons was in the Marine Division, appearing with the E-Series organisation of April 1943. That allowed for 100 per Mar Inf Regt, and 6 in the Div MP Coy (total 306 for the Div). The Army's 81st Inf Div noted they had 15 shotguns per Inf Regt (in excess of T/O&E) for the operation on Angaur in Sep-Oct 1944.

(I seem to recall that 'Clash of the Guards' fought his way through Italy with a 12-gauge, though he was of course an entirely fictional character in kids' war comic).

Gary

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