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Thread: Rifles are heavy!

  1. #1
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    Default Rifles are heavy!

    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.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Rifles are heavy!

    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
    Last edited by leccy; 05-10-2015 at 05:51 AM.
    IN the days of lace-ruffles, perukes and brocade
    Brown Bess was a partner whom none could despise
    An out-spoken, flinty-lipped, brazen-faced jade,
    With a habit of looking men straight in the eyes
    At Blenheim and Ramillies fops would confess
    They were pierced to the heart by the charms of Brown Bess.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Rifles are heavy!

    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)

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    Default Re: Rifles are heavy!

    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.
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 05-10-2015 at 08:32 AM.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

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    Default Re: Rifles are heavy!

    Quote Originally Posted by Spit109 View Post
    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.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

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    Default Re: Rifles are heavy!

    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!

    Life is short... We should then cherish every sec of it.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Rifles are heavy!

    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.

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    Default Re: Rifles are heavy!

    Quote Originally Posted by JR* View Post
    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.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

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    Default Re: Rifles are heavy!

    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)

    Click image for larger version. 

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    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
    IN the days of lace-ruffles, perukes and brocade
    Brown Bess was a partner whom none could despise
    An out-spoken, flinty-lipped, brazen-faced jade,
    With a habit of looking men straight in the eyes
    At Blenheim and Ramillies fops would confess
    They were pierced to the heart by the charms of Brown Bess.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Rifles are heavy!

    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.
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Rifles are heavy!

    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.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Rifles are heavy!

    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?
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Rifles are heavy!

    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Rifles are heavy!

    Quote Originally Posted by tankgeezer View Post
    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.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    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.
    IN the days of lace-ruffles, perukes and brocade
    Brown Bess was a partner whom none could despise
    An out-spoken, flinty-lipped, brazen-faced jade,
    With a habit of looking men straight in the eyes
    At Blenheim and Ramillies fops would confess
    They were pierced to the heart by the charms of Brown Bess.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Rifles are heavy!

    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.

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