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Spit109
05-09-2015, 02:04 PM
Just visited the Imperial War Museum at Duxford England. There was a D-Day exhibit where they had some common weapons for the public to handle: M1 Garand, Thompson .45, hand grenade, helmet, etc. They were all chained to the table.

I found the Tommy gun quite heavy. I would find it very draining to lug that around all day, not the mention all the other gear a soldier needs to have with him.

That WW2 helmet isn't light either.

leccy
05-09-2015, 07:35 PM
Rifles have got smaller but the weight has stayed around the same (for the British at least) Lee Enfield No 3 > Lee Enfield No 4 > SLR > SA80 all weighed in at around 9 to 9 1/2 lb

The weight you carry now (or when I left in 2007) has actually increased over what used to be carried, modern technology has not managed to make much of it lighter.

The M1928 'Thompson' was a heavy beast even without the drum magazine for a SMG - it was also complicated to build so many armies adopted a simple SMG - like the Sten

tankgeezer
05-09-2015, 08:13 PM
The Garand Rifle weighed in between 9.5, and 11 Lbs, The Thompson both the 1928, and the M-1A1 came in about 10.5 Lbs. (unloaded.) A Patrol loadout was much less than that of something like the D-Day invasion. (but still heavy)

Rising Sun*
05-10-2015, 08:29 AM
Our Vietnam era SLR (=FN) was about nine and half pounds.

I didn't find it unduly heavy to carry. For transport, it had a carry handle about the mid-point for weight, but I don't recall anyone using it much, probably because it was a useless position from which to get the weapon into quick action and wouldn't be used in the field anyway. [Then again, I don't recall much from that long ago. :( ] No doubt useful for non-combat transport marches.

As for modern Western soldiers, they probably carry far too much field kit, but a lot of that comes from protection against IEDs and wearing ballistic vests etc, along with stuff like night vision and personal communications gear.

Whether that gives them much of an advantage over more lightly equipped and equally well trained troops is debatable. For example, more lightly equipped North Korean and Chinese troops in the Korean War and North Vietnamese Army troops in Vietnam weren't routinely massacred by more heavily equipped Western troops when they were equal.

The major advantages of Western troops in conflicts such as Vietnam, recent Iraq and Afghanistan are, in random order, armour (whether AFV or troop transport); artillery; air support; and communications. If the NVA had had equivalent artillery and air support in Vietnam, that war would have come to an earlier end.

Body armour etc is more in the nature of occupational personal protection equipment than anything which gives the soldier a field advantage over his enemy, apart from a reduction in deaths and injuries which is, of course, an advantage to any army.

Comparing my son's current standard infantry field weight with our WWII equivalent, he's carrying about two thirds more to twice the weight, despite lighter basic weapon and ammunition for Steyr. I doubt it makes him two thirds more or twice as efficient or effective as his WWII forebears.

I'm also fairly confident that enemies hit by my son's generation of .223 rounds would prefer that to being hit by my generation's and WWI/WWII weapons around .30 to .308. I know which one I'd rather be using to stop someone, or to penetrate solid cover etc.

Rising Sun*
05-10-2015, 08:44 AM
That WW2 helmet isn't light either.

It was made marginally lighter in WWII by some Australian troops who sharpened the edges of the outer rim to use a weapon of last resort.

Possibly done by British and other soldiers using the same helmet design.

Kilroy
05-14-2015, 02:05 PM
I do a bit of Airborne reenacting (A 82nd unit), I am usually a standard rifleman and so I carry around the M1 Grand for the most part. I never realize how much of a drag it is to carry that around all day and hold it up properly while firing. Haha it's quite the experience!

JR*
05-15-2015, 04:03 AM
Sharpened edges ? That is an advantage of the old "Brodie pattern" helmet I had not thought of. Would have made a reasonable slashing weapon, I suppose ... or perhaps a discus ... Best regards, JR.

Rising Sun*
05-15-2015, 04:50 AM
Sharpened edges ? That is an advantage of the old "Brodie pattern" helmet I had not thought of. Would have made a reasonable slashing weapon, I suppose ... or perhaps a discus ... Best regards, JR.

The former.

Odd Job in Goldfinger nailed the latter.

Trenching tools were also sharpened for close quarter desperation.

leccy
05-15-2015, 08:20 AM
It was interesting to us old sobs who used the 7.62mm SLR before changing to the 5.56mm SA80, in Afghanistan they re-introduced a 7.62mm rifle to each section as a 'Sharpshooters' weapon, not sniper just a good shot to be able to counter the long range sniping against the foot patrols as the 5.56mm were not very effective.

L129A1 Sharpshooter rifle / LMT LW308MWS (LM7)

7453

Now they are looking again at an intermediate round between the 7.62 and 5.56 - very similar to what Britain proposed in the 1950's for the EM2 originally.

On foot we would carry up to 120lb for jobs (as Sappers we had tools and breaching charges as well as our usual kit, I also carried the LMG and later the LSW (after a brief spell as the Charlie G gunner).

Our minimum fighting kit (for 24 hours - food, water, ammunition etc) was 40lb in webbing, 4lb helmet, 15lb body armour, 9lb rifle - it got heavy pretty quickly

tankgeezer
05-15-2015, 09:27 AM
Having the edge of one's helmet sharpened is a good idea if doing any close fighting, adds a new dimension to the "Welsh Kiss" . I had heard of sharpening the entrenching tool in the first War for use in trench fighting, probably more effective than a regular pistol. Then there were these additional weapons.

JR*
05-15-2015, 10:28 AM
The typical weapons used in the classic British nighttime trench raid in WW1 were sharpened entrenching tools, trench knives (and combined trench knife/knuckledusters as shown above), hammers, bayonets - anything that could kill or disable without making much noise. Presumably the revolver fitted with the spike bayonet is based on the notion that, given the choice between shooting or stabbing, one should stab. Immediately before the raiders withdrew from the enemy trench, the use of pistols to finish off any surviving enemy, and hand grenades to destroy any enemy dugouts, machine-guns etc. was usual. Interesting photos, tg, Best regards, JR.

Rising Sun*
05-15-2015, 10:39 AM
Pistol with bayonet seems most unwieldy, and potentially more of a risk to the user than the intended victim.

Pistol grip with one hand has to be close to the worst grip for a stabbing weapon.

Gripping the hilt of the bayonet has the weight of the pistol dragging behind one's hand.

Blade puts user at risk when reversing pistol to use as a club (which was reputedly one of the great virtues of the famed Colt .45, that it made a great club when out of ammunition), whether from the user's hand slipping onto the blade or being stabbed with the blade by the enemy.

I wonder whether this was a contribution by someone not in the trenches rather than a weapon actually used?

Rising Sun*
05-15-2015, 10:48 AM
Clubs were the simplest weapon.

https://www.google.com.au/search?q=wwi+trench+raid+club&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=ohNWVYHnEIuO8QXGm4IY&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=1525&bih=704&dpr=0.9#imgrc=_


http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2012/11/12/3614692/the-martial-chronicles-in-the-trenches

leccy
05-15-2015, 11:43 AM
Having the edge of one's helmet sharpened is a good idea if doing any close fighting, adds a new dimension to the "Welsh Kiss" . I had heard of sharpening the entrenching tool in the first War for use in trench fighting, probably more effective than a regular pistol. Then there were these additional weapons.

Although not the first bayonet fitted to a pistol by a long way here is some information on it, it was often used with a stock.

7458


Designed by Lt. Arthur Pritchard of the 3rd Royal Berkshire Regiment these were originally produced by the arms company W.W. Greener in Birmingham for Private Purchase by Officers serving on the Western Front. Constructed with a custom brass hilt which attaches to the standard .455 cal Webley Mk VI Revolver these utilized the front portion of the "T" cross section French Gras Model 1874 Bayonets which were very available during WW1. Each Brass Hilted Bayonet comes complete with steel Scabbard and leather belt frog.

JR*
05-18-2015, 07:01 AM
Speaking from a viewpoint of genuine ignorance ... a question. The fact that modern assault rifles may not be much lighter (if at all) as compared to their predecessors, does their relatively short length make it easier to handle the weight in firing positions ? I can't remember where I read this - but I have read that the length of, say, a "Brown Bess" or a "Charleville" made it more difficult to handle in leveled/firing position due to leverage. The same would remain true of the only slightly (if at all) lighter Martini-Henry, Lee Enfield, Mauser 88 and 98 and their company. Is this a valid question ? Best regards, JR.

Rising Sun*
05-18-2015, 07:40 AM
Speaking from a viewpoint of genuine ignorance ... a question. The fact that modern assault rifles may not be much lighter (if at all) as compared to their predecessors, does their relatively short length make it easier to handle the weight in firing positions ? I can't remember where I read this - but I have read that the length of, say, a "Brown Bess" or a "Charleville" made it more difficult to handle in leveled/firing position due to leverage. The same would remain true of the only slightly (if at all) lighter Martini-Henry, Lee Enfield, Mauser 88 and 98 and their company. Is this a valid question ? Best regards, JR.

All sensible questions are valid. Many answers are not.

Undeterred by my last sentence, I'll offer my answer.

Length isn't the factor so much as balance and purpose.

A shortish assault rifle with a large metal magazine with, say, 30 brass rounds has a different point of balance along its length to a Lee Enfield of similar calibre with a 5 round magazine.

Fix a bayonet to either and the point of balance changes.

Go Hollywood with two taped 30 round magazines on the assault rifle and the point of balance changes again, as well as making it even more difficult to fire in the prone position while hugging the ground, as well as jamming dirt into the upside down mag taped to the primary mag, which rather defeats the intention of being able to maintain a high rate of fire as the first round or two will probably result in a jammed round, assuming the dirty mag could be fitted.

However, as long as both weapons have been designed to be balanced in the hands of the soldier using them for their intended purpose, barrel length doesn't matter much by itself.

As a general proposition, long barrels reflect the purpose of some armies to emphasise long range musketry and accuracy up to about WWII / Korean (not) War (but only Police Action) which has not been finished as there is still only an armistice in force pending resolution of peace terms. Shorter barrels reflect the reality that most infantry combat occurs at short to very short ranges where long range accuracy is irrelevant and where long barrels, notably in dense jungle and some urban environments, can be an impediment to effective use of the weapon. This is illustrated by what was commonly called the Lee Enfield Jungle Carbine, which was about four inches shorter and a couple of pounds lighter than the standard SMLE then in service in WWII and soon after. Also "The Bitch", a cut down 7.62 SLR (FN) used by Australian special forces in Vietnam in contrast to the standard SLR used by the rest of the Australian Army in Vietnam.

Whatever advantages are obtained by sacrificing accuracy for rate of fire are offset to some extent by the logistical and personal weight problems of supplying and carrying more rounds for each soldier.

leccy
05-18-2015, 08:47 AM
Switching from the SLR to the much shorter SA 80 did pose a few problems as well as resolving others -

Safety was terrible with the new SA80 initially as the shorter weapon was much easier to accidently point in an unsafe direction, hard to explain but with the elephant gun (SLR) you move the muzzle and you knew you were moving, the SA80 did not feel like it.

Due to the Bullpup design the barrel length on the SA80 and SLR were very similar - the lower recoil of the 5.56 coupled with the very balanced design meant that most people could shoot out to 300m much more accurately and quicker.

The shorter length meant that we could replace Stirling SMG's as well as the SLR's with a common weapon that was easier to handle in confined spaces or woods (the muzzle when carried at the ready does not protrude much outside of your body frame).

The LSW (Light Support Weapon version of the SA80) was supposed to replace the LMG and GPMG in sections but in the event the Infantry got two LSW per section and ended up keeping the GPMG (later gaining the FN Minimi as replacements) while other arms had one then later two LSW (spares from the infantry) for operations per section (8 men), it was used more as a heavy barrel rifle much like the Browning BAR than a true machine gun

Rising Sun*
05-18-2015, 09:35 AM
The shorter length meant that we could replace Stirling SMG's ...

I think your Stirling was similar to our F1 SMG.

If so, there is nothing that could, or should, have replaced that nasty little excuse for a firearm.

If anyone wanted to cause anxiety in a range safety officer, or instructors, the F1 wasn't far below grenades for recruits. And with good reason. During recruit training on one of the only few times I fired it a bloke near me got a runaway and did exactly what the instructors had told us not to do if we got a runaway, which was start to turn towards the firing line in his quest for help. Enfilade par excellence but, alas, on his own troops. Memorable panic among instructors, and others. The scariest, and funniest, few seconds I ever spent on a range.

leccy
05-18-2015, 10:47 AM
I think your Stirling was similar to our F1 SMG.

If so, there is nothing that could, or should, have replaced that nasty little excuse for a firearm.

If anyone wanted to cause anxiety in a range safety officer, or instructors, the F1 wasn't far below grenades for recruits. And with good reason. During recruit training on one of the only few times I fired it a bloke near me got a runaway and did exactly what the instructors had told us not to do if we got a runaway, which was start to turn towards the firing line in his quest for help. Enfilade par excellence but, alas, on his own troops. Memorable panic among instructors, and others. The scariest, and funniest, few seconds I ever spent on a range.

Had a runaway with a Stirling once - 32 round magazine - I was b####cked for not carrying out the runaway immediate action drill which was to remove the magazine - blow that I just held onto it pointing down the range for the 3 1/2 seconds it takes to empty a full mag - thing used to point up in the air even just firing a 3 round burst while holding with both hands.

Funniest though has to be when one of my mates was using an LMG (7.62mm Bren) on the firing point next to me - I heard one round from his double tap and saw the barrel sailing down the range - he had not secured the barrel locking lever properly.

imi
05-18-2015, 03:11 PM
the precision is better if a rifle is heavy and the recoil transmission is much smaller
most of the ww2 sniper rifles are heavy, or recommend to attach a bayonet to made a better precision

leccy
05-18-2015, 05:28 PM
the precision is better if a rifle is heavy and the recoil transmission is much smaller
most of the ww2 sniper rifles are heavy, or recommend to attach a bayonet to made a better precision

I only know about the Lee Enfield and later British rifles, a heavy weapon will absorb recoil better so helping to prevent the round being 'snatched' by movement of the rifle before the round has left the barrel.

Adding a bayonet shifts the already heavy rifles centre of balance further forward (fulcrum/pivot action) and caused a tendency for the barrel to drop, better precision is done by supporting the length of the barrel fully - we used to adopt lots of firing positions to hold the weapon firmly and allow it to naturally point to the target, for longer ranges though you really need a forward support which is why nearly all sniper rifles now have bipods to support the end - a bayonet would have just made it harder to hold and I doubt the added weight would have made much difference for recoil purposes

Rising Sun*
05-19-2015, 06:35 AM
Funniest though has to be when one of my mates was using an LMG (7.62mm Bren) on the firing point next to me - I heard one round from his double tap and saw the barrel sailing down the range - he had not secured the barrel locking lever properly.

Another attempt. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Px0wErIeJI

Frankly Dude Really
05-28-2015, 05:35 AM
HA, found it:
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/1992/EWL.htm

A study on what the "optimum" carry weight is for the footsoldier, how every top brass understands that it should be less than the current state, but that over the years, effectively, the soldier had to carry more and more...




And a bit more on topic; the first time I (as a kid) learned of the Thompson SMG was in comics and movies where heroes fired the thing from one hand.
Not until I finally laid hand on a real Thompson SMG in a(nother) museum that I felt cheated by these entertainment industries (this was before all the internet & youtube ability to search all kinds of info..).
Example: http://www.misterkitty.org/extras/stupidcovers/stupidcomics171.html

Rising Sun*
05-28-2015, 06:48 AM
More on soldiers' carrying loads.
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=399906