What if Hitler sped up development and production of the STG-44 assault rife?

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Plain Old Dave
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Re: What if Hitler sped up development and production of the STG-44 assault rife?

Post by Plain Old Dave » 26 Nov 2017 15:16

the huge failure of the M14 in combat in Vietnam.
Major Culver and a good majority of GIs that served in-country would take considerable exception to that assertion. I'll find them later today; for now, it will have to suffice to say that "The M16 is a superb combat weapon" was the official DoD company line in the Vietnam era, and combat reports of the ratgun's numerous and glaring deficiencies were heavily suppressed. The M16A1 and the forward assist were only adopted after at least one Congressional investigation IIRC.

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Re: What if Hitler sped up development and production of the STG-44 assault rife?

Post by stg 44 » 26 Nov 2017 15:36

Plain Old Dave wrote:
the huge failure of the M14 in combat in Vietnam.
Major Culver and a good majority of GIs that served in-country would take considerable exception to that assertion. I'll find them later today; for now, it will have to suffice to say that "The M16 is a superb combat weapon" was the official DoD company line in the Vietnam era, and combat reports of the ratgun's numerous and glaring deficiencies were heavily suppressed. The M16A1 and the forward assist were only adopted after at least one Congressional investigation IIRC.
Don't get me wrong that the M16 had serious problems in Vietnam that the military did not want to acknowledge, which wasn't due to the underlying concepts or designs, but faulty choices made to cut corners (not chrome lining the barrel for tropic environs (a mistake make in the Pacific in WW2 too), the manufacturer changing the type of powder used in the bullets).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M16_rifle#Reliability

But we digress heavily from the point at hand: the utility of the StG44, which was very high in WW2, especially given the nature of conscript marksmanship in a high casualty conflict, which eroded training standards.

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Re: What if Hitler sped up development and production of the STG-44 assault rife?

Post by Plain Old Dave » 26 Nov 2017 19:14

Don't get me wrong that the M16 had serious problems in Vietnam that the military did not want to acknowledge,
Modest clarification. DoD didn't want to acknowledge the Emperor was running laps in his birthday suit. Combat officers regularly made report of the piece's many deficiencies, which were suppressed at the Puzzle Palace (Pentagon)
which wasn't due to the underlying concepts or designs, but faulty choices made to cut corners
There were two flawed principles in the ratgun: First, the "war only happens at less than 300 yards/meters" delusion which should have been put to bed after Iraq and Afghanistan and the US military's recall of M14s 'leased' to police departments for funeral honors and color guards to build "Squad Designated Marksman" rifles from to be able to engage the enemy before Supporting Arms could come to bear. Second, the direct gas impingment system Eugene Stoner had an inexplicable fixation on. Where the Garand system keeps the gas port well away from the mechanism, the AR dumps fouling directly into the mechanism, and this wasn't discovered to be a serious issue until GIs started getting killed in combat with inoperable weapons in hand.

But we digress heavily from the point at hand: the utility of the StG44, which was very high in WW2, especially given the nature of conscript marksmanship in a high casualty conflict, which eroded training standards.
The StG was of very questionable utility specifically for Germany for several reasons.

1) Exterior ballistics. Wars happen within 300m, except, as I have already discussed, when they don't. A battle rifle should be capable of mankilling accuracy and power to the limit of visual range, roughly 800 yards/meters. For our purposes, interchangeable. Or, half a mile and 3/4 of a click if you prefer. Neither the StG nor the 7.92 Kurz had this capability.

2) Logistics. Changing the main shoulder weapon of your nation's armed forces presents logistic challenges on its own even in peacetime. The M1 was intentionally retained in the 1903's 30-06 caliber instead of the .276 Pedersen caliber the original prototype was chambered for specifically and consciously to avoid this complication. Major Hatcher discusses this at length in "The Book Of The Garand." The M1 was procured in 30-06 by direct order of then-Chief of Staff Douglas MAcarthur, specifically citing the large stocks of "Caliber .30 Ball" ammunition then on hand. It must also be remembered that Hitler took the Reich to war on a fairly ratty shoestring; I'm sure everybody here has seen the pictures of German soldiers riding to war on horseback and using horsedrawn carriages to transport supplies. Japan had difficulties with two standard issue cartridges, the 6.5 and 7.7, which share no commonality. (The 6.5 is NOT a necked down 7.7) Germany could reasonably be expected to have similar challenges transitioning to a brand-new caliber in wartime. The 7.92 K's case head is .460 while the 8mm's is .473. That's enough difference to make case head seperations from firing brass formed from 8mm Mauser in an StG a concern; StG shooters mostly use .35 Remington if they can't find Prvi Partizan brass to reload for the arms.


3) Reliability. Every shoulder weapon goes through some amount of teething pains in its first few years in service. The Japanese replaced the hook safety Arisaka for specific reason, the US Krag, 03 Springfield and M1 all underwent fairly constant upgrades through their service lives, The Canadian Ross went through continuous upgrade, and especially early on the British went through a bewildering array of "sealed pattern" Lee-Metfords and Lee-Enfields. The StG was never widely enough issued to compile a reliable statistical model of weapons in actual service and not just pre-adoption testing. As I said before, the gas impingment system of the ratgun wasn't discovered to be a life and death issue until troops took them into battle.

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Re: What if Hitler sped up development and production of the STG-44 assault rife?

Post by Sheldrake » 26 Nov 2017 22:05

Brian_Ghilliotti wrote:If Hitler sped up the development of the STG 44 assault rifle, so it's final version was introduced to the battlefield earlier than 1944, could it have affected the outcome of the Eastern Front? If so, how?
Well If the Germans focused on infantry small arms the most likely impact would have been delays in some more important technology. ;)

Individual small arms had limited impact on the outcome of land battles in WW2. Aircraft, tanks and artillery were far more important as was the humble military truck. Even within a German infantry platoon the main firepower was the MG34 and MG42. You only needed one well sited machine gun surviving a Red army bombardment could stop a battalion. STG 44 may have improved the morale of the soldiers who used it but it wasn't going to win the war.

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Re: What if Hitler sped up development and production of the STG-44 assault rife?

Post by stg 44 » 27 Nov 2017 00:24

Sheldrake wrote: Individual small arms had limited impact on the outcome of land battles in WW2. Aircraft, tanks and artillery were far more important as was the humble military truck. Even within a German infantry platoon the main firepower was the MG34 and MG42. You only needed one well sited machine gun surviving a Red army bombardment could stop a battalion. STG 44 may have improved the morale of the soldiers who used it but it wasn't going to win the war.
That's the thing, the German army found that they could generate more firepower with a smaller squad just equipped with StGs and leaving MGs in a weapons squad at the platoon level. They found the MG34/42 too heavy for offensive operation and the ammo expensive and wasteful at the squad level, generally limiting squad level engagement to ranges better served by assault rifles. They also found that MGs were exceedingly vulnerable to being knocked out by enemy snipers, tanks, artillery, etc. and any downtime in their firing crippled the firepower of the squad; knock out the MG and the German rifle squad is nearly useless. So when it started up everyone focused their fire on suppressing or destroying the MG team and thereby neutralized 75% of the squad's firepower. The StG allowed a squad to fight without a pressure point that could be knocked out, thereby disabling the squad, AND have greater overall firepower output, while at the platoon level the weapons squad with 2-3 MG42s could engage from further back against threats materializing against squads where their range was actually utilized and they didn't have to be as maneuverable as the rest of the infantry riflemen (plus they could concentrate their fire).

In terms of the effectiveness of the StG and it's impact on the battlefield:
http://www.smallarmsreview.com/display. ... icles=2549

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Re: What if Hitler sped up development and production of the STG-44 assault rife?

Post by Plain Old Dave » 27 Nov 2017 02:19

as was the humble military truck.
Didn't somebody say the three most important items in the US military inventory in WW2 were the M1, the fleet submarine and the 2 1/2 ton truck?

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Re: What if Hitler sped up development and production of the STG-44 assault rife?

Post by stg 44 » 27 Nov 2017 02:26

Plain Old Dave wrote:
as was the humble military truck.
Didn't somebody say the three most important items in the US military inventory in WW2 were the M1, the fleet submarine and the 2 1/2 ton truck?
Missing the rather vital Liberty Ship.

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Re: What if Hitler sped up development and production of the STG-44 assault rife?

Post by Sheldrake » 27 Nov 2017 10:13

stg 44 wrote:
Sheldrake wrote: Individual small arms had limited impact on the outcome of land battles in WW2. Aircraft, tanks and artillery were far more important as was the humble military truck. Even within a German infantry platoon the main firepower was the MG34 and MG42. You only needed one well sited machine gun surviving a Red army bombardment could stop a battalion. STG 44 may have improved the morale of the soldiers who used it but it wasn't going to win the war.
That's the thing, the German army found that they could generate more firepower with a smaller squad just equipped with StGs and leaving MGs in a weapons squad at the platoon level. They found the MG34/42 too heavy for offensive operation and the ammo expensive and wasteful at the squad level, generally limiting squad level engagement to ranges better served by assault rifles. They also found that MGs were exceedingly vulnerable to being knocked out by enemy snipers, tanks, artillery, etc. and any downtime in their firing crippled the firepower of the squad; knock out the MG and the German rifle squad is nearly useless. So when it started up everyone focused their fire on suppressing or destroying the MG team and thereby neutralized 75% of the squad's firepower. The StG allowed a squad to fight without a pressure point that could be knocked out, thereby disabling the squad, AND have greater overall firepower output, while at the platoon level the weapons squad with 2-3 MG42s could engage from further back against threats materializing against squads where their range was actually utilized and they didn't have to be as maneuverable as the rest of the infantry riflemen (plus they could concentrate their fire).

In terms of the effectiveness of the StG and it's impact on the battlefield:
http://www.smallarmsreview.com/display. ... icles=2549
#1. Thanks for posting the link, which I would recommend reading. This is an article in a small arms magazine which has been very selective with its history to exaggerate the importance of a particular small arm. (CF article ad nauseum about military shotguns) e.g I am familiar with the actions by 3rd FJ and 5th FJ and lead battlefield tours and studies to their actions in the Ardennes campaign. I don't recognise the actions from the description or the importance attributed to the STG ion their outcomes. It is not true that the high weight of fire from the STG 44 blew away the 99th infantry at Lanzerath. Despite overwhelming numbers and firepower the 9th FJR struggled for hours to dislodge the weak recon platoon of the 99th under Lt Bourck. Most accounts of the operations by KG Peiper state that Peiper took the parachute battalion with him because he was short of infantry, not because they were better armed than his own. The 14th Cav were mal-deployed under a commander of questionable competence facing overwhelming numbers. It is far from clear that their defeat can be attributed solely to the STG44. The detailed study of 4AD in the relief of Bastogne is noticeable for not attributing the difficulties of the operation on the STG 44. ;) Do you have any sources apart from this article which supports your argument?

#2 A reorganisation to squads of STG44 and a Platoon heavy weapons squad is quite a radical change. It would have repercussions on training programmes across the armed forces. Is there any contemporary evidence to suggest that as a matter of policy the German armed forces organised the 1945 platoon on the basis you describe? Are there German documents or allied intelligence briefings that support this contention?

#3 The argument that giving every soldier an automatic weapon made the section MG redundant is not new. Its the argument that was picked up in the US Army in the 1960s. Its the idea behind issuing only the M16 at the section level. IIRC two solders per squad were to have the M16 set to autoimatic. It bit the dust in Vietnam. No serious modern army relies on assault rifles alone at section level. So the evidence of operational evolution suggests the idea has been tried, tested and discarded.

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Re: What if Hitler sped up development and production of the STG-44 assault rife?

Post by stg 44 » 27 Nov 2017 15:18

Sheldrake wrote: #1. Thanks for posting the link, which I would recommend reading. This is an article in a small arms magazine which has been very selective with its history to exaggerate the importance of a particular small arm. (CF article ad nauseum about military shotguns) e.g I am familiar with the actions by 3rd FJ and 5th FJ and lead battlefield tours and studies to their actions in the Ardennes campaign. I don't recognise the actions from the description or the importance attributed to the STG ion their outcomes. It is not true that the high weight of fire from the STG 44 blew away the 99th infantry at Lanzerath. Despite overwhelming numbers and firepower the 9th FJR struggled for hours to dislodge the weak recon platoon of the 99th under Lt Bourck. Most accounts of the operations by KG Peiper state that Peiper took the parachute battalion with him because he was short of infantry, not because they were better armed than his own. The 14th Cav were mal-deployed under a commander of questionable competence facing overwhelming numbers. It is far from clear that their defeat can be attributed solely to the STG44. The detailed study of 4AD in the relief of Bastogne is noticeable for not attributing the difficulties of the operation on the STG 44. ;) Do you have any sources apart from this article which supports your argument?
Got any sources to back up your claims? :milwink:
In the case of the 9th FJR vs the recon platoon the 'paratroopers' were mostly combed out rear area personnel without military training.
https://books.google.com/books?id=X2v1A ... ge&f=false


Also the Intel Platoon had .50 caliber MGs and had zeroed the battlefield with extreme long range weaponry.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of ... an_advance
The German infantry deployed and about two platoons of the 2nd Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Fallschirmjäger Regiment, 3rd Fallschirmjäger Division then attacked[19]:81 the Americans head-on, bunched together in the open and charging straight up the hill, directly at the platoon's hidden and fortified positions. The Americans were surprised at the inexperienced tactics. For the Americans, it was like "shooting clay ducks in California at an amusement park."[2]:99 Several attackers were killed trying to climb over the 4 feet (1.2 m)-high barbed wire fence that bisected the field, often shot at close range with a single shot to the heart or head. Lt. Springer used his jeep-mounted SCR-610 radio to call in coordinates for artillery fire.
Sheldrake wrote: #2 A reorganisation to squads of STG44 and a Platoon heavy weapons squad is quite a radical change. It would have repercussions on training programmes across the armed forces. Is there any contemporary evidence to suggest that as a matter of policy the German armed forces organised the 1945 platoon on the basis you describe? Are there German documents or allied intelligence briefings that support this contention?
All the points about that came from the book "Sturmgewehr!" which is citing original German military documents:
http://www.collectorgrade.com/bookshelf10.html
Apparently it dramatically simplified command and control within squads with one weapon type and gave the platoon commander much greater and easier control over platoon firepower, which make life a lot easier for less skilled platoon leaders.
Sheldrake wrote: #3 The argument that giving every soldier an automatic weapon made the section MG redundant is not new. Its the argument that was picked up in the US Army in the 1960s. Its the idea behind issuing only the M16 at the section level. IIRC two solders per squad were to have the M16 set to autoimatic. It bit the dust in Vietnam. No serious modern army relies on assault rifles alone at section level. So the evidence of operational evolution suggests the idea has been tried, tested and discarded.
When the majority of your enemies are still using bolt action rifles (British and Soviets) or are able to carry and fire less rounds per minute (US squad with Garand and BARs) it is viable. The issue is when the enemy also has assault rifles then you cannot simply rely on all assault rifle squads especially when they are sub-6mm caliber rounds of light weight designed to fragment, which causes problems in the jungle, as the US found out in Vietnam. It is the reason the Russians carry a PKP 7.62mm MG in their squads after adopting the 5.45mm caliber. Prior they had the RPK and AK-47s only, which were all 7.62 intermediate rounds. Battlefields change with technology, so when an StG only squad was viable in WW2 it was not viable once the AK-47 showed up and NATO adopted a GPMG at the squad level. Just as the BAR aged out, there was a period where it was viable as a SAW.

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Re: What if Hitler sped up development and production of the STG-44 assault rife?

Post by Plain Old Dave » 27 Nov 2017 16:53

"When the majority of your enemies are still using bolt action rifles (British and Soviets) or are able to carry and fire less rounds per minute (US squad with Garand and BARs) it is viable. "

Again, you're not considering external ballistics or Mr. Newton. Wars happen within 300 yards, except when they don't. And the StG armed German platoon will be under fire for several hundred yards before they can close in to their weapons' effective range.

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Re: What if Hitler sped up development and production of the STG-44 assault rife?

Post by stg 44 » 27 Nov 2017 17:04

Plain Old Dave wrote:"When the majority of your enemies are still using bolt action rifles (British and Soviets) or are able to carry and fire less rounds per minute (US squad with Garand and BARs) it is viable. "

Again, you're not considering external ballistics or Mr. Newton. Wars happen within 300 yards, except when they don't. And the StG armed German platoon will be under fire for several hundred yards before they can close in to their weapons' effective range.
You're forgetting things like aiming errors, lack of training on the part of conscripts, rate of fire, ability to take follow up shots, how much more ammo someone could carry, automatic fire, etc. There is a reason the Battle Rifle and bolt actions all were phased out for assault rifles. Wars happen at less than 300m over 90% of the time. For the other times you have designated marksmen and machine guns, who can actually connect at those ranges...plus mortars and artillery. Repeated experience from all major combatants of the 20th century demonstrated that combat happens at much lower ranges than full powered cartridges were able to reach and when it did happen at >500m hits were minimal except for machine guns. That's assuming you could even see someone, which more often than not was a huge impediment to successful engagement; even leaving aside the smoke factor and flashes of explosions, camo and soldiers using cover plus aiming errors made engaging beyond 300m very difficult. Beyond that you have to remember that WW2 and really prior to the 1980s widespread optics use for infantry rifles was not common, so sighting the fall of shot with 20/20 vision in clear conditions with iron sights is pretty much impossible beyond 300-400m depending on terrain.

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Re: What if Hitler sped up development and production of the STG-44 assault rife?

Post by Sheldrake » 27 Nov 2017 17:21

stg 44 wrote: Got any sources to back up your claims? :milwink:
In the case of the 9th FJR vs the recon platoon the 'paratroopers' were mostly combed out rear area personnel without military training.

Also the Intel Platoon had .50 caliber MGs and had zeroed the battlefield with extreme long range weaponry.
I think you exaggerate

#1 Even rear area Germans had initial military training.

#2 the IR Platoon of the 99th A single 0.50 mounted on a jeep, which they dug in. I dare say that they had completed range cards but what was the "extreme long range weaponry"

Image
Image

The range from the foxholes to Lanzerath was about 200m. I think the action demonstrates that massed STG44 are no substitute for proper section machine guns.

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Re: What if Hitler sped up development and production of the STG-44 assault rife?

Post by stg 44 » 27 Nov 2017 17:48

You're right, an assault rifle cannot do what a dug in MG can, which is why they were retained as platoon weapons under the STG platoon schema. However an MG cannot do what an assault rifle could either due to weight and awkwardness trying to fire on the move or from the shoulder (even with the German method of having one guy toss the barrel over his back and probably destroy his hearing when it fired).
As to the .50 caliber MG, that is the 'extreme long range weapon' I was talking about, as it was a 2.5km range.
Based on your maps I'm reading the US platoon was dug in and immune to mortars while being on a hill looking down on the advancing enemy with wide open fields of fire. Assault rifle or not that is a tough position to assault frontally and would require combined arms and probably artillery, as well as flanking maneuvers (which was the ultimate way that the platoon was captured).

As to FJ training...again rear area personnel in the Luftwaffe did not have infantry training. Basic training was minimal in 1943-44 for them and taught them no actual skills about how to work together. Even the Americans remarked about how stupid the attacking German tactics were, indicating a complete ignorance to infantry methods. Beyond that I'd recommend you look at the Luftwaffe field divisions to get an idea about the quality of Luftwaffe basic training translating to making rear area personnel into infantry. The FJ divisions of late 1944 were basically Luftwaffe field divisions with some combat experienced surviving paras as a nucleus.

BTW thanks for the maps, they are quite interesting and help make the situation more clear.

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Re: What if Hitler sped up development and production of the STG-44 assault rife?

Post by Plain Old Dave » 27 Nov 2017 17:59

stg 44 wrote:
There is a reason the Battle Rifle and bolt actions all were phased out for assault rifles. Wars happen at less than 300m over 90% of the time.
Except when they don't, like in Afghanistan and Iraq. The US Army has been actively looking for a replacement for the M16 battle carbine for over a decade; this is why we have the 6.8SPC. It was intended to replace the 5.56 due to the well-documented poor terminal effect of the 5.56. I would think combat experience in the last 15 years or so would have conclusively ended the assault weapons fetish...

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Re: What if Hitler sped up development and production of the STG-44 assault rife?

Post by stg 44 » 27 Nov 2017 18:16

Plain Old Dave wrote:
stg 44 wrote:
There is a reason the Battle Rifle and bolt actions all were phased out for assault rifles. Wars happen at less than 300m over 90% of the time.
Except when they don't, like in Afghanistan and Iraq. The US Army has been actively looking for a replacement for the M16 battle carbine for over a decade; this is why we have the 6.8SPC. It was intended to replace the 5.56 due to the well-documented poor terminal effect of the 5.56. I would think combat experience in the last 15 years or so would have conclusively ended the assault weapons fetish...
In Iraq the average combat range is under 100m. It is only in Afghanistan that the Taliban engages in long range harassing fire, but with very poor results. The solution has been to bring an extra modernized sniper M14 variant or two on patrols. Again long range fire is for MGs and designated marksman rifles. The US has been failing to replace the M16 for a lot of very good reasons: the caliber isn't the problem and the 'solutions' in terms of weapon systems really aren't significantly better. The 6.8mm SPC was dropped very quickly because it broke the bolt of adapted ARs:
http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2015 ... 6-8mm-spc/

Plus upgraded ammo in 5.56mm has fixed any number of it's issues:
https://usarmorment.com/pdf/M855A1.pdf

You say that the assault rifle 'fetish' has been proven wrong, when the military has done nothing of the sort other than test out 6.5mm weapons to replace the 7.62! They plan on keeping the 5.56mm
http://www.popularmechanics.com/militar ... mmunition/
http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2016 ... s-program/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LSAT_light_machine_gun

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