Small Arms Smokeless Powder

Discussions on the small arms used by the Axis forces.
Duncan_M
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Small Arms Smokeless Powder

Post by Duncan_M » 12 Oct 2018 15:27

I've read "United States vs. German Equipment: As Prepared for the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force," a collection of reports written by US Army armor commanders to GEN Eisenhower addressing equipment concerns and praises. One subject that was repeatedly mentioned was the powder used by the Germans for their small arms (specifically rifles and machine guns) had less smoke and flash than those used by the US Army, making it harder to spot the Germans. Does anyone know which powders they were using?

Also, I'm wondering if anyone knows how many factories the Germans had running that were making 7.92x57 ammunition. Of all supplies that the German seemed to lack, they never seemed to lack for 8mm Mauser ammo, and I'm wondering how much they cranked out pre- and during the war.

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Re: Small Arms Smokeless Powder

Post by CroGer » 28 Jul 2019 17:12

To answer a little history of german gun powder:

before WW1 smokeless GP was made from Guano, which had to be imported from South America. That was problem 1. Problem 2 was that Guano-based GP was very unstable. The british used Cordite and at least 5 UK-ships blew up during WW1 because the Cordite on board had become unstable. Because of the naval blockade Germany couldn't import Guano anymore, so they started making GP using the Haber-Bosch-Method. Initially the british thought they can make the germans run out of ammo within 3 months. The new german powder did not only solve the problem of import-dependency, but resulted in a much more stable and in general better GP.

Primarily the germans used a GP simply called Nz.Gew.Bl.P (Nitrozellulose Gewehr Blaettchen Pulver = Nitrocellulose rifle flake powder). From 1941 they started using NP.Gew.R.P (NitroPENTA Gewehr Roehrchen Pulver) in aircraft MGs or MG in general used against armor (like 7,92 with iron or steel core). The resulting V-Munition (V = verbessert = improved) was developed in secrecy since the late 30's.

I don't know what gun powder the americans used. Because governments often put convenience over utility, they probably still used someting based on guano
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Re: Small Arms Smokeless Powder

Post by CroGer » 31 Jul 2019 20:03

Duncan_M wrote:
12 Oct 2018 15:27
Also, I'm wondering if anyone knows how many factories the Germans had running that were making 7.92x57 ammunition. Of all supplies that the German seemed to lack, they never seemed to lack for 8mm Mauser ammo, and I'm wondering how much they cranked out pre- and during the war.
Second answer, because somehow I overlooked this: you are wrong here. The germans did have small arms ammo-issues. That was both the reason why they rejected the idea of issueing self-loading rifles (they knew the results of US-testing) and of course the Sturmgewehr. I forgot where I read it, but in mid-44 the wehrmacht only had 30 rounds per small arm.
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Re: Small Arms Smokeless Powder

Post by Duncan_M » 02 Aug 2019 18:34

CroGer wrote:
31 Jul 2019 20:03
Second answer, because somehow I overlooked this: you are wrong here. The germans did have small arms ammo-issues. That was both the reason why they rejected the idea of issueing self-loading rifles (they knew the results of US-testing) and of course the Sturmgewehr. I forgot where I read it, but in mid-44 the wehrmacht only had 30 rounds per small arm.
I'd love a source on any of this. From my understanding they rejected self loading rifles in the mid 30s because it meant a whole new cartridge (they weren't being designed to fire 8mm Mauser, which they still had mountains of), and there were major production issues related to arming a newly growing Wehrmacht in a pre-war timeframe. During the war, especially after the Eastern Front started, the Heer pushed for manufacture and issuing of self loading rifles as hard as they could, despite some major rifle design flaws (especially with the G 41) and manufacturing limits. The only thing that seemed to cut into G 43 manufacture was the design and issuing of the StG44, a better infantry rifle.

And the Heer reorganized the infantry gruppe numerous times throughout the war, the only time they ever removed the lMG from the gruppe was with the sturm zug KStN in the 44 Panzergrenadier organization, and only because the 7.92k sturmgewehr was mass issued (and that one we definitely know they were highly limited on 7.92k ammo). If 8mm ammo was such a major concern, why did they also continuously issue gruppe level lMG?

More so, why purposely design an increased rate of fire? The MG 42 was quite faster than the MG 34, and the MG 42V/45 was even faster than the standard MG 42. 1,500-1,800 rpm means a burst that starts and ends as soon as the brain even registers the weapon is firing is still close to 20 rounds in the blink of an eye, with the attending recoil no matter how well the bipod is loaded (meaning lots of muzzle climb and misses high).

If ammo supply was an issue, the logical solution would be to cut back not only issuing machine guns, but also limiting their ammo issue to bare minimum, as well as trying to mechanically limit its rate of fire. Instead they still heavily promoted the gruppe lMG, often turned the rest of the schuetzen into ammo bearers for the lMG with extra 300 round boxes (at least as far as anecdotal stories go), and more so, dramatically increase the rate of fire of the next generation of lMG, purposefully.

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Re: Small Arms Smokeless Powder

Post by CroGer » 02 Aug 2019 23:21

Hello,

The ammo issues are addressed in "Kennblätter fremden Geräts" by Dr.Thorsten Heber, 2008. I've got this book in german, so I'd have to type and translated whole passages.
The book starts with a 35 page-long article about how the Wehrmacht severely lacked both ammo and firearms for the entirety of the war.


I'll just paraphrase:

On april 15th 1939 the OKW told Hitler, that 34 infantry divisions had no weapons at all, and that the ammo supply would only last for 15 days. (page 14)
In 1944 only 58-26% of the soldiers in Northern Germany had a firearm, and statistically only 30 rounds per weapon. (Page 34)

Then I also have the entire collection of Waffen Revue. I don't know if you know what this was, but it was a magazine by a former employee of the Wehrmacht's special weapons departement, and it's primarily about WW1&WW2-weapons, with articles written by veterans, original documents, and articles and letters from the third Reich.

There is an interesting article about the ammo-problems, and how they constantly had to develop new 8mm Mauser-variations. From the very beginning, soldiers were told to only use sheet steel case ammo in their K98's and keep the brass case ammo for the MGs. They also had to collect and return the cases. Then they started running so low on brass and eventually even lead, that they had to use waxed steel case and iron bullet (not iron core)-ammo in their MGs, but they even had quotas on iron and were running low on it as well.

About the selfloading rifle:

As far as I understood it, the Reichswehr didn't go with a selfloading rifle because they lacked the funds. So instead, they came up with the universal machine gun, which (in case of the MG 13 and MG 34) has this two-stage-trigger, so you basically shoot semi-automatically.

The G41 has a pretty bad reputation, but Karl and Ian of InRange-TV tested the G41 and found out that it is actually a very good rifle. But it's expensive (150 RM vs 70 RM for a K98k) and time-consuming to make (32 manhours vs 20 manhours).

In one of the Waffen revue's (no 17) there is a copy from a 1942 article in a Wehrmacht specialists Magazin, where they basically justify that the Wehrmacht won't give their soldiers selfloading rifles. In this Wehrmacht-magazine, a Dr.Gloede writes:

"A selfloading rifle just eats bullets, without the expense producing an appropriate outcome. Every hunter, who has used the browning rifle, knows this. Fast shooting is rarely commanded in the field, instead slower shooting frequently has to be advised. Especially with this weapons, the training would have to emphasize the importance of every bullet. So it has to be considered, that with a firepower 2,5x superior to a repeater - as the americans have calculated - the ammunition supply would have to be increased accordingly."

The soldiers in the field were not the one's that made the decisions, and there was a lot of infighting about who would get what resources.
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Re: Small Arms Smokeless Powder

Post by Poot » 05 Aug 2019 16:48

CroGer wrote:
02 Aug 2019 23:21

On april 15th 1939 the OKW told Hitler, that 34 infantry divisions had no weapons at all, and that the ammo supply would only last for 15 days. (page 14)
In 1944 only 58-26% of the soldiers in Northern Germany had a firearm, and statistically only 30 rounds per weapon. (Page 34)

From the very beginning, soldiers were told to only use sheet steel case ammo in their K98's and keep the brass case ammo for the MGs.

About the selfloading rifle:
The G41 has a pretty bad reputation, but Karl and Ian of InRange-TV tested the G41 and found out that it is actually a very good rifle. But it's expensive (150 RM vs 70 RM for a K98k) and time-consuming to make (32 manhours vs 20 manhours).


"A selfloading rifle just eats bullets, without the expense producing an appropriate outcome. Every hunter, who has used the browning rifle, knows this. Fast shooting is rarely commanded in the field, instead slower shooting frequently has to be advised. Especially with this weapons, the training would have to emphasize the importance of every bullet. So it has to be considered, that with a firepower 2,5x superior to a repeater - as the americans have calculated - the ammunition supply would have to be increased accordingly."
There are a number of problems with this.

Not having enough small arms in April of 1939 is kind of irrelevant, considering that the Wehrmacht was still processing the very considerable stocks of seized Czech rifles, carbines, MGs and pistols taken in 1938. They would go on producing these under German supervision at Brno and Povasca-Bystrica. Germany augmented it's inventory of small arms once Poland was subjugated, and put those to use, too. The real date of importance for readiness was not 15 April 1939, but 22 June 1941. Several divisions of combat troops were equipped with Czech small arms during Barbarossa, and their use continued in multiple theaters.

In 1944, almost 100% of the German troops in northern Germany were not in active combat zones. The vast majority of those would have been second and third tier troops with no need for standard or new German produced weapons, and instead used captured small arms for their duties. Captured arms had become an integral part of the logistics and supply system well before that. 1944 was the year of greatest K98k production, IIRC.

7.92X57 ammunition was purposely issued in two ways: on stripper clips for intended rifle/carbine use, or packed loose in boxes for MG use. Steel cased ammunition didn't see widespread use until later, and certainly not 'from the very beginning.'

G41: One example of a particular rifle tested in sterile, non-combat conditions doesn't constitute a 'good rifle,' which is why multiple rifles are tested over the course of days and weeks in varying conditions and with different ammo types to determine fitness for issue. Even then, real world results count, and the G41 was found to be lacking by those who stood the most to gain or lose by using it.

Emphasizing accuracy is fine, but a soldier can't establish fire superiority with careful, precisely aimed shots from a bolt action rifle unless he has significantly more troops with him than the enemy, for a start. Supplying the proper quantity of ammunition is necessary to maintain the operational tempo and should not be subordinated to theories by accountants and logisticians of what ammo expenditure 'should' be.
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Re: Small Arms Smokeless Powder

Post by Duncan_M » 05 Aug 2019 19:01

CroGer wrote:
02 Aug 2019 23:21
As far as I understood it, the Reichswehr didn't go with a selfloading rifle because they lacked the funds. So instead, they came up with the universal machine gun, which (in case of the MG 13 and MG 34) has this two-stage-trigger, so you basically shoot semi-automatically.
The Reichswehr never had the opportunity to get a self loading rifle, poor funding comes with its own struggles. The first serious attempt to try for a self loading infantry rifle came in 1935, when the arms developer Volmmer submitted a few prototype rifles to be tested by the Heer, including new calibers too.

The MG 34 was designed earlier (hence name), the universal part of the name had nothing to do with rifles, it had to do with one machine gun that the Heer could use for all purposes: LMG, HMG, AAA, fortress mount, vehicle coax, etc. It simplified production and logistics immensely, and not only for infantry branch's use as a LMG.

The Heer had already in 1934 decided to put a LMG in every squad, the MG 34 replaced the preexisting variants, I believe there were 3-4 completely different variants of machine guns in the Heer inventory being used just for the LMG role, let alone the other roles. The semi auto ability was so machine gunners wouldn't have to reveal their firing position with automatic fire, which is a major fear of all machine gunners and why they often fire the least, they are too valuable to fire unnecessarily, which draws enemy fire (including heavy weapons) in response.
The G41 has a pretty bad reputation, but Karl and Ian of InRange-TV tested the G41 and found out that it is actually a very good rifle. But it's expensive (150 RM vs 70 RM for a K98k) and time-consuming to make (32 manhours vs 20 manhours).
Inrange mud test aside, it was a renown failure on the Eastern Front, which is why they replaced them with the updated G 43, which while not terrible were at least more reliable. And they wanted even more G 43 than they had, but manufacturing issues prevented mass issue (and was why many captured Soviet SVT were used by the Heer). The only reason more G 43 weren't made was the StG 44 was developed and fielded, which took precedence.
In one of the Waffen revue's (no 17) there is a copy from a 1942 article in a Wehrmacht specialists Magazin, where they basically justify that the Wehrmacht won't give their soldiers selfloading rifles. In this Wehrmacht-magazine, a Dr.Gloede writes:

"A selfloading rifle just eats bullets, without the expense producing an appropriate outcome. Every hunter, who has used the browning rifle, knows this. Fast shooting is rarely commanded in the field, instead slower shooting frequently has to be advised. Especially with this weapons, the training would have to emphasize the importance of every bullet. So it has to be considered, that with a firepower 2,5x superior to a repeater - as the americans have calculated - the ammunition supply would have to be increased accordingly."
I've read similar:

"Von Taysen's advocacy in 1923 of an infantry semiautomatic assault rifle shows the quality of tactical and technical thought coming from the branch inspectorates of that period. Unfortunately for the Germans, the assault rifle idea lay stillborn within the Weapons Office [of the Heer] because of the stockpile effect. Despite its disarmament, Germany had large stocks of 98 Mausers, which equipped the army, police and paramilitary groups and of which the army had several hundred thousand more hidden in storage sites throughout Germany." - The Roots of Blitzkrieg, Hans von Seeckt and the German Military Reforms, James S. Corum

Like many decisions, it came down to logistics. Its the same reason that MacArthur turned down the .276 Pedersen caliber for the new Garand, it would mean abandoning everything that was in 30 cal rifle.

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Re: Small Arms Smokeless Powder

Post by Duncan_M » 05 Aug 2019 19:03

Poot wrote:
05 Aug 2019 16:48
In 1944, almost 100% of the German troops in northern Germany were not in active combat zones. The vast majority of those would have been second and third tier troops with no need for standard or new German produced weapons, and instead used captured small arms for their duties. Captured arms had become an integral part of the logistics and supply system well before that. 1944 was the year of greatest K98k production, IIRC.
Besides the Ersatzheer, mobilizing and doing basic training, what other major command of the Heer was in Germany in 1944?

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Re: Small Arms Smokeless Powder

Post by CroGer » 06 Aug 2019 02:08

Poot wrote:
05 Aug 2019 16:48


There are a number of problems with this.

Not having enough small arms in April of 1939 is kind of irrelevant, considering that the Wehrmacht was still processing the very considerable stocks of seized Czech rifles, carbines, MGs and pistols taken in 1938. They would go on producing these under German supervision at Brno and Povasca-Bystrica. Germany augmented it's inventory of small arms once Poland was subjugated, and put those to use, too. The real date of importance for readiness was not 15 April 1939, but 22 June 1941. Several divisions of combat troops were equipped with Czech small arms during Barbarossa, and their use continued in multiple theaters.

In 1944, almost 100% of the German troops in northern Germany were not in active combat zones. The vast majority of those would have been second and third tier troops with no need for standard or new German produced weapons, and instead used captured small arms for their duties. Captured arms had become an integral part of the logistics and supply system well before that. 1944 was the year of greatest K98k production, IIRC.
I was paraphrasing a few short examples from a long article in the beforementioned book, I did not say that the troops in northern Germany were active combat troops.
The article is about the problematic arms and ammunition-supply. The article has a clear political connotation, though.
If you want to dispute that claim: write a complaint to the author Dr.Thorsten Heber.
Poot wrote:
05 Aug 2019 16:48
7.92X57 ammunition was purposely issued in two ways: on stripper clips for intended rifle/carbine use, or packed loose in boxes for MG use. Steel cased ammunition didn't see widespread use until later, and certainly not 'from the very beginning.'
Steel case ammo did see use from the very beginning. In general they had programs for "Sparstoff-freie Munition" ("scarce material free ammunition") for the entirety of the war.

See the attachments. These are only a few pages from a long article, this time written by Karl Pawlas, an austrian veteran of WW2.

The first mentioning of steel case ammo in the Wehrmacht can be found in an order from 1936, and in 1942 waxed steel case ammo was approved for the MG34, while the order presages that beforehand steel case ammo was already used in K98's and MG08/15's.
Poot wrote:
05 Aug 2019 16:48
G41: One example of a particular rifle tested in sterile, non-combat conditions doesn't constitute a 'good rifle,' which is why multiple rifles are tested over the course of days and weeks in varying conditions and with different ammo types to determine fitness for issue. Even then, real world results count, and the G41 was found to be lacking by those who stood the most to gain or lose by using it.
First I never said that Ian and Karl have tested the rifle on eastern-front-conditions, but they did their usual "run-and-gun"-thing and found that it's a very pleasant gun to shoot. The G41 has a very low recoil and 10 rounds in the magazine, no oiling of cartridges required. That sounds good enough for the soldier that has to use it in battle. Problems with fouling and maintenance are a different thing, unfortunately they announced to test for how long the G41 would run reliably, but didn't do it.

Even then, real world results count, and the G41 was found to be lacking by those who stood the most to gain or lose by using it

Do you have any proof for that? The G41 was exchanged - according to the documents I have seen - because it was cheaper and faster to produce, easier to clean, and you could use the Schiessbecher on it.

There is a lot of strange lore around german weapons in general. For example, that the G41 only came about because the high command insisted on a rifle without gas ports. That can't be correct, though, the development of rifles with gas-piston systems started in 1938, but for some odd reasons the first results were semi automatic tank rifles, like the Walther PzB 40 (see the attachments), which looks like an oversized Sturmgewehr, chambered for the 7,92x94-cartridge. Gustloff, Kriegshoff and Mauser also provided prototypes for similar tank rifles.

It's complicated to translate all of this with all those technical terms. An additional problem is that they did a lot of the development of arms and ammo in secrecy. But as you might see from the attachments, they were very aware that they might run into the same problems as in WW1 - running out of non-ferrous metal.

@Duncan M

No, the Reichswehr tested semi-automatic rifles in the mid 20's, and eventually they went with the universal machine gun-concept. I know what makes a universal machine gun "universal", but the MG13 and MG34 also could fire semi-automatically (at the time of development most lMG's had a selective fire function), while the MG42 couldn't.
A semi-auto-function for machine gunners "to hide his position" makes no sense. If a machine gunner is afraid of being discovered, he should not shoot at all, or he should get a different gun.
But it makes sense to fire single shots if full auto is not required - hence use it as a semi automatic rifle, which gives you the advantage of quick follow up shots. This is what I meant, and this is what the two stage trigger was made for.

At the time of the design most lMG's were also automatic rifles, for example the Madsen (which started as a semi-automatic rifle, see https://www.arma-dania.dk/public/timeli ... editid1=88 ), the Chauchat or the BAR.

So my point is that the concept of an automatic rifle was part of the universal machine gun.
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Re: Small Arms Smokeless Powder

Post by Duncan_M » 07 Aug 2019 20:30

CroGer wrote:
06 Aug 2019 02:08
First I never said that Ian and Karl have tested the rifle on eastern-front-conditions, but they did their usual "run-and-gun"-thing and found that it's a very pleasant gun to shoot. The G41 has a very low recoil and 10 rounds in the magazine, no oiling of cartridges required. That sounds good enough for the soldier that has to use it in battle. Problems with fouling and maintenance are a different thing, unfortunately they announced to test for how long the G41 would run reliably, but didn't do it.

Do you have any proof for that? The G41 was exchanged - according to the documents I have seen - because it was cheaper and faster to produce, easier to clean, and you could use the Schiessbecher on it.
Its the gas trap on the end of the muzzle of the G 41 that was the biggest problem. It was a very inefficient means of diverting gas because, for some reason, the Germans didn't think it was wise to drill through the barrel, which turns out is the best way to do it, simpler, far easier and more reliable, with no actual negatives. Besides that, they made a bunch of other fixes learned in the harsh Eastern Front.
No, the Reichswehr tested semi-automatic rifles in the mid 20's, and eventually they went with the universal machine gun-concept.
I already provided the quote about why the Reichswehr didn't go with an autoloader, logistics.

Besides, a rifle and an LMG are two completely different programs inside infantry branch, unrelated.

The universal machine gun concept is not meant to replace a self loading rifle with an LMG, its to replace all the existing machine guns in the Heer with one single model. Only one of those roles, as an LMG, is for an infantry gruppe, the rest are HMH, AAA, coax, fortress mount, etc. The MG 34 was selected because it could do EVERY SINGLE ROLE IN THE HEER with a single machine gun. (See below for more info)
I know what makes a universal machine gun "universal", but the MG13 and MG34 also could fire semi-automatically (at the time of development most lMG's had a selective fire function), while the MG42 couldn't.
A semi-auto-function for machine gunners "to hide his position" makes no sense. If a machine gunner is afraid of being discovered, he should not shoot at all, or he should get a different gun.
But it makes sense to fire single shots if full auto is not required - hence use it as a semi automatic rifle, which gives you the advantage of quick follow up shots. This is what I meant, and this is what the two stage trigger was made for.
Without ample military experience serving in the infantry, someone can agree that a machine gun firing has a "unique" signature, yes? And that firing one alerts everyone in the neighborhood that there is a machine gun is firing, right?

A MG fires with a very unique sound, and creates very specific sights too. The byproduct of that is everyone, including the enemy, hearing the automatic fire sound (and giving them a ballpark direction), seeing muzzle signature, or following tracers, knows that an MG is firing. Then what? What happens after the MG's machine gun position is located from the enemy? They shoot at it, right? They prioritize targeting to put that gun out of action, because its the greatest threat, right? I think that we can also all agree that inside a German rifle platoon gruppe, the LMG was the most effective weapon they possessed, right? Nobody is very enthusiastic about bolt action rifles or a few SMGs, right? Which means the LMG fire will draw ALL ENEMY RETURN FIRE, because its the biggest threat, and it needs to be neutralized or destroyed.

However, having a feature to fire on semi auto, what does that make the LMG sound like? A rifle. Even with tracers, it doesn't scream LMG. Because of that, it doesn't give away the gun position, so it can actually shoot more, especially at longer ranges, without catching the same level of return fire than a machine gun without semi feature opens up on full auto and even firing short bursts still quickly gives away its position.

What I'm stating wasn't just pretty much machine gun doctrine back in the day for most countries, it is followed even to this day. A MG shouldn't ' fire until you maximum number of enemy are in the kill zone/engagement area, because to fire it prematurely gives away its position for no good reason. It needlessly endangers the crew, puts a spotlight on the most effective weapon system in the unit, gives away the MLR if on the defensive, and doesn't even rack up many kills.

The Germans only got rid of the semi feature on the MG 42 for the sake of expediting production and cutting down down on parts. They actually liked the feature.
At the time of the design most lMG's were also automatic rifles, for example the Madsen (which started as a semi-automatic rifle, see https://www.arma-dania.dk/public/timeli ... editid1=88 ), the Chauchat or the BAR.

So my point is that the concept of an automatic rifle was part of the universal machine gun.
And what about the MG 08/15? Was that an automatic rifle? Because before the MG 34 was developed that was actually the primary LMG in the infantry, because they had a bunch left over from WW1.

What else did they have? What about the Bergmann 15A, was that an automatic rifle? The Dreyse MG 10? The Parabellum 1914? On top of that, add in the Madsen.

All of the above light machine guns were replaced by a single one. The MG 34. Add in the MG 08 "maxim", serving in HMG roles among others, which they had a ton of. Tens of thousands of MGs from six different models of machine guns, all replaced by a single one, one basic one design, with one supply of parts, that could do all the roles of all previous machine guns...

Even the MG 42 couldn't do that, it only dominated three of the roles of the MG 34, it couldn't act as a coax nor in fortress mount role,which is why they were still making MG 34 till the end of the war.

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Re: Small Arms Smokeless Powder

Post by Poot » 07 Aug 2019 20:42

Duncan_M wrote:
05 Aug 2019 19:03
Poot wrote:
05 Aug 2019 16:48
In 1944, almost 100% of the German troops in northern Germany were not in active combat zones. The vast majority of those would have been second and third tier troops with no need for standard or new German produced weapons, and instead used captured small arms for their duties. Captured arms had become an integral part of the logistics and supply system well before that. 1944 was the year of greatest K98k production, IIRC.
Besides the Ersatzheer, mobilizing and doing basic training, what other major command of the Heer was in Germany in 1944?
Hi Duncan,
My point was that with the exception of a relatively small area, there were no troops in northern Germany involved in active combat operations, and thus necessitating the use of standardized weapons and a reliable supply-re-supply chain. That's why troops can be issued, even on a short term basis, secondary and tertiary weapons for training and uncontested assignments.

Best,
Pat
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Re: Small Arms Smokeless Powder

Post by Poot » 07 Aug 2019 20:54

CroGer,
What Duncan_M said.

'Having fun' with an old rifle on a flat, one way range is very different than fielding the same weapon in sustained combat in varying operational environments and weather conditions.

Weapons designers and ordnance staff officers can come up with all kinds of reasons why one weapon system 'should' be better than another. There is only one laboratory that has final relevance and authority, and that is the field.
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Re: Small Arms Smokeless Powder

Post by CroGer » 08 Aug 2019 01:02

Duncan_M wrote:
07 Aug 2019 20:30


for some reason, the Germans didn't think it was wise to drill through the barrel,
I just provied you with evidence that they had programs for gas piston-rifles.


Duncan_M wrote:
07 Aug 2019 20:30
Besides, a rifle and an LMG are two completely different programs inside infantry branch, unrelated.
No, it's not. The Reichswehr tried to enhance the "Stoßstärke" in the 20's. When you only have 100K men and your enemys have millions, the obvious thing to do was to increase the firepower. Option 1 was arming them with selfloaders. Option 2 was more machine guns. 100K selfloaders was more expensive than 20K Machine guns. So the universal machine gun programm was born out of the same problem-situation as an armament with selfloaders would have been. The new Stange-MG's were the best option because they were cheap. An MG08 costed more than 5000 RM (1940 RM). An MG34 was 312 RM. A G41 150RM. So if your goal is to increase firepower, but your budget is limited, the UMG is a no-brainer.

Duncan_M wrote:
07 Aug 2019 20:30
The universal machine gun concept is not meant to replace a self loading rifle with an LMG, its to replace all the existing machine guns in the Heer with one single model. Only one of those roles, as an LMG, is for an infantry gruppe, the rest are HMH, AAA, coax, fortress mount, etc. The MG 34 was selected because it could do EVERY SINGLE ROLE IN THE HEER with a single machine gun. (See below for more info)
I already told you I know what a universal machine gun is.

Duncan_M wrote:
07 Aug 2019 20:30
Without ample military experience serving in the infantry, someone can agree that a machine gun firing has a "unique" signature, yes? And that firing one alerts everyone in the neighborhood that there is a machine gun is firing, right?
Dude, I have MG-manuals from WW1-WW2 here. The MG was supposed to "alert" the enemy of it's exsistence, because then they wouldn't attack. In WW1 the germans even,after shooting salves, carried machine guns from one position to another to make the enemy believe that there were more MGs then there actually were. What's the point of having a machine gun if you don't use it?
Duncan_M wrote:
07 Aug 2019 20:30
A MG fires with a very unique sound, and creates very specific sights too. The byproduct of that is everyone, including the enemy, hearing the automatic fire sound (and giving them a ballpark direction), seeing muzzle signature, or following tracers, knows that an MG is firing. Then what? What happens after the MG's machine gun position is located from the enemy? They shoot at it, right? They prioritize targeting to put that gun out of action, because its the greatest threat, right? I think that we can also all agree that inside a German rifle platoon gruppe, the LMG was the most effective weapon they possessed, right? Nobody is very enthusiastic about bolt action rifles or a few SMGs, right? Which means the LMG fire will draw ALL ENEMY RETURN FIRE, because its the biggest threat, and it needs to be neutralized or destroyed.
You seem to have this "Enemy at the gates"-Imagination of war...
1) Who will try to engage an MG? That's pretty suicidal. The gunner can also change position. Stick your head out and you've got 5 bullets coming your way
2) The soviets used snipers and mortar fire against MG's, but the MG13/30/34 were designed in hindsight of WW1, not the eastern front 1943.

Do you have any document about your scenario being the idea of the select fire option?


Duncan_M wrote:
07 Aug 2019 20:30
What I'm stating wasn't just pretty much machine gun doctrine back in the day for most countries, it is followed even to this day. A MG shouldn't ' fire until you maximum number of enemy are in the kill zone/engagement area
Right.
But you seem to think that the riflemen were just supposed to fire away. Ideally, an MG would fire at close formations of opponents. But an LMG has the advantage that, because of the bullet spread, you could hit targets that riflemen couldn't (small, moving targets only visible for a short time). So the MG has a longer effective range. The whole squad of riflemen were basically just support, that means they would also act like spotters, finding targets/threats, allowing the gunner to change position, and so on...


Duncan_M wrote:
07 Aug 2019 20:30
And what about the MG 08/15? Was that an automatic rifle?
No. And? Should I go on another tangent and explain how the MG08/15 came about?
Duncan_M wrote:
07 Aug 2019 20:30
Because before the MG 34 was developed that was actually the primary LMG in the infantry, because they had a bunch left over from WW1.
The MG13 was the predecessor of the MG34.
Duncan_M wrote:
07 Aug 2019 20:30
What else did they have? What about the Bergmann 15A, was that an automatic rifle? The Dreyse MG 10? The Parabellum 1914? On top of that, add in the Madsen.
LOL What are you trying to prove? What version of the Madsen do you mean?

Btw: the germans were deeply impressed by the Madsen. But as far as I know, the only one's they had were captured russian one's.

Duncan_M wrote:
07 Aug 2019 20:30
All of the above light machine guns were replaced by a single one. The MG 34. Add in the MG 08 "maxim", serving in HMG roles among others, which they had a ton of. Tens of thousands of MGs from six different models of machine guns
None but the MG08 and MG08/15 were in the arsenal of the Reichswehr . They also didn't have "a ton" of it. 1134 MG08/15 and 831 MG08, on top a secretly build stock of 12k MG08/15. After WW1 they could hide rifles and pistols from the allies, but MGs... Not so much.
In 1933 they had 663.700 rifles and 22.024 MG's. In Czechoslovakia, they captured 1.090.000 rifles and 44.000 MG's (without what they left for Slovakia). Just as a comparism of how much this is worth.

Duncan_M wrote:
07 Aug 2019 20:30
Even the MG 42 couldn't do that, it only dominated three of the roles of the MG 34, it couldn't act as a coax nor in fortress mount role,which is why they were still making MG 34 till the end of the war.
I don't know what a coax is, but what exactly were you trying to prove? All Louis Stange-Infantry-MGs could fire semi-automatically for similar reasons the Chauchat, BAR, or Lahti Saloranta could - precise single shots. There is a great value to it - especially, when you don't have semi-auto-rifles
Of croatian blood. In Internet-parlance, you can call me an "autist". I love numbers.

CroGer
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Re: Small Arms Smokeless Powder

Post by CroGer » 08 Aug 2019 19:15

Second answer:

Ok, before this turns into a b***-fight, I'll rephrase my point:

I do my own research, and when it comes to german weapons, I am very sceptical about anglo-saxon or soviet lore, and I rather go with real veterans accounts and original documents. The americans were rightfully proud of their Garand and especially my favorite US-WW2-weapon, the M1 carbine, and they were biased about the german emergency-selfloaders. On top of that, they had to interprete german documents - complicated by the fact that all german developments of armament and ammuniton were done in secrecy.

So

1) "The G41 came about because they didn't want gas ports" - documents prove that they were developing gas piston- rifles from 1938. The first results were tank rifles (as provided) and the Maschinenkarabiner. I think they tried out various ideas, and they just didn't want gas ports in gas-trap-rifles.

2) "The G41 was a failure" - I have not yet seen a document about the rifle being deemed a failure. I read that german soldiers were content when they finally had one, though. But it was difficult to maintain and considering the high casualties on the eastern front, the G41 might have ended up in the hands of someone not familiar with it. Also, from 1942 the germans were more concerned with the high number of tanks, and the G41 couldn't fire rifle grenades, while the G43 could. The G43 was also cheaper and easier to maintain.

3) "The germans only started seriously developing a selfloader from 1935" - your claim. Clearly wrong.

4) "They only issued steel case ammo from 1944 on" - your claim, also disproven.


Now the MG-part:

5) In WW1 the germans only used two indigenous infantry-LMGs. The Bergmann MG13/15nA (called "Dreyse Muskete") and the MG08/15. The Bergmann was a stop gag, provided by a private company, just as the airplane-MGs Bergmann and Parabellum MG13/14 initially were. Prior to that the Bergmann MG was used on airplanes. 5000-8000 were they pressed into infantry service, because they had no other light MG's but captured one's.

The MG08/15 was not really - despite it's designation - an LMG, it was a Maxim machine gun transferable by a single soldier, pretty much a first attempt of an all-in-one-MG.

Here is an excerpt from an letter by a Dr.Wesemann to some Reichswehr-General, written in 1925. I translate some more of it:


"rigid adherance to theoretic principles (....) led to the rejection of the Dreyse-gun (...), which today is acknowledged as superior to the Maxim-gun by all departements. It has been ascertained, that the cartridge in the new german Dreyse gun is held savely by the spring operated organs, the functionality of this firearm is considerably improved due to this functional configuartion, especially under difficult circumstances like coagulated oil, sand or bad waling. (....)Similar disagreements of fundamental nature can be spotted in the entire sphere of army-weaponry. The only explanation for these difficulties has to be a lack of necessary expertise and engineering-wise adaptability on the part of the judging revisers. (...) When the manufacturing of the Maxim-guns created problems, temporary supply with Dreyse guns were a welcomed avenue of escape. Instead of letting the factory continue the production after the adjustments had been made, (...) they were forced to end the fabrication of the Dreyse gun in favor of the Maxim gun. The demands from the front for light machine guns were answered by lightening the heavy Machinegun 08 into the MG 08/15 with pistol grip and shoulder stock. To which negative outcome in regards to durability this led to is well known. (...) The war ministry at that time even went so far to ban all trials with the Dreyse-weapons, especially those with the Dreyse-tank-maschine guns, and to threaten the withdrawal of all craftsmen working on these weapons. The offer, to deliver 50 Dreyse-tank-MG's for free was rejected. "

But you shouldn't forget that in the late stages of WW1, the germans also used steel case ammo, and the Maxim deals very well with it.

5) relation between selfloading rifle & UMG

In the mid-20's the Reichswehr was looking to enhance their firepower. Selfloading rifles, machine guns, and submachine guns were all considered. Since all selfloaders provided at that time were too complicated and expensive, Louis Stange's designs (MG29 & MG13) provided cheap all-in-one-solutions, so they went with that.
The Mg13 was chosen over the MG29/30, because you could easily change the barrel from inside a tank.
MGbc.jpg
Since they lacked the funds to give all soldiers a special weapons, they went with teams centered around a specialist.
The single shot-function was not there to "hide the gunner", but for precise single shots. If it is enough to kill a target with one shot, why waste ammo?
7,92x57 is heavy ammo (27grams per cartridge) and they were trying to save ammo made from non-ferrous metals from the beginning.
So in the first generation of UMGs, the "automatic rifle-concept" was also built in. Stange later developted the FG42.

(As an comparism: at the same time the Finnish developed the Lahti Saloranta (which has some similarities to the MG13). Among the biggest shortcomings of the LS were the tight tolerances. But they were supposed to make the weapons accurate in single shot mode. Finnland also couldn't afford arming their soldiers with semi-automatics.)

You compared the tactics back then to the infantry tactics now. First of all: in the 1930's, the other riflemen didn't have assault rifles. Second: does an M249 SAW have a select fire-mode?

So, I hope that settles the dispute.
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Of croatian blood. In Internet-parlance, you can call me an "autist". I love numbers.

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