M1/What do you think..


October 8, 2004, 11:43 AM
Hi all,
...caused the United States War Dept., and Ordnance Dept., to start their work on a Semi-automatic Rifle right after the end of World War 1 which, had been called the War to END all Wars?? I also understand that during WW1 Ordnance was looking for a semi-auto rifle. But by doing this it let the U.S. Army be the ONLY country to enter into WW2 with a Semi-automatic Rifle as standard issue. Thanks for your input.
Thanks for taking the time and effort to open and maybe reply with your reason.

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October 8, 2004, 01:43 PM
I haven't yet found out what prompted work on a semi-auto rifle after WW1, but I do recall some of what I read on development of the Pedersen (sp?) device (turned the '03 into a submachinegun) during the war. I also recall seeing a 20rd "trench magazine" for the Gew98 in shotgun news. The only answer I can think of right off is greater firepower, but at the same time, the top brass saying anything with a higher rate of fire would encourage the troops to waste ammo, which IIRC, was why they didn't originally want a 20rd box magazine under a semiauto.

October 8, 2004, 04:06 PM
Silly--They had ALL that ammo to shoot up!

Okay, I remember nothing about this from my past readings and rumor-exchanging, but how about the advent of aircraft and an optimistic belief that ground troops should engage them? Continuation of part of the Pederson Device rationale.

Next *guess* -- Adoption of the "fire and maneuver" doctrine?

October 8, 2004, 04:10 PM
I don't ever get involved in these because, well I'm stupid but I will have to go with the Pederson device answers here and aircraft.

Trench warfare really showed the superiority of the machine gun and large volumes of fire so I am guessing the making a man portable rifle capable of a high volume of fire was high on the list of lessons learned. Could it also be the engaging of aircraft or observers shooting from unarmed aircraft.


October 8, 2004, 05:55 PM
Well, in WW1 we used a semi auto pistol and probably saw advantages to it over a revolver. this was translated to rifles. I'll also say that in Duffs book, there is a quote by ordinance in 1920 I think saying that the idea was to go Semi auto to reduce the loss of sight picture due to manipulating the bolt. The BAR was issued and this would suppliment it in units.

October 11, 2004, 08:26 PM
Whats the answer?

October 11, 2004, 08:50 PM
The Army was looking for the ability to have soldiers shoot from a trench or prone position without the shooter losing the sight picture between shots or exposing themselves to enemy fire while working the bolt.

Jim K
October 11, 2004, 08:53 PM
After the turn of the 20th century, the idea of a semi-auto rifle was "in the air" and it was only a matter of time before a suitable one became available to one or another nation. Several inventors were working on designs but none were rugged or reliable enough at that time for military use.

The U.S. was not the first nation to adopt a semi-auto rifle for general issue, though it was the first to actually issue one to the majority of its troops. The first semi-auto to be used in war and to be thought of as a general use rifle was the Federov Automat, Model 1916, which Russia used in limited numbers in WWI. It was chambered for the 6.5x50 Japanese rifle cartridge, which was chosen for low recoil and less impact on the mechanism, the same reasons behind adoption of the .276 Pedersen.

Unlike the Pedersen and Garand rifles, the Federov was selective fire with a 30-round magazine, making it also the first "assault rifle." Mass production never materialized, though, and only small quantities were ever delivered even after the war.

While much has been written about the increase in firepower available from a semi-auto, many military officials, remembering the mass infantry charges of WWI, felt that the major advantage would be the ability to keep up a continuous aimed fire without fatigue. Anyone who doubts the fatigue factor is welcome to fire, say, 50 rounds from a Model 1903 or Mauser 98 as fast as possible. It is not easy, and most shooters will crap out before getting to 50 rounds.

The Pedersen device (officially the U.S. Pistol, Cal. .30, Model of 1918) was not a submachine gun; it was semi-auto only. Nor was it intended for use in the defensive role. The main claim of the inventor was that it could be used in marching fire to cover the advance of troops. The problem was that in order for the enemy to "keep their heads down" they first have to know they are being shot at. With the low report of the little round and the subsonic velocity of the bullet, defenders would simply have ignored the firing and slaughtered the attackers with machineguns. That was the reason the devices were ultimately scrapped.


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