How would WWII personnel react?


February 28, 2009, 01:39 AM
Considering what I know about old timer or old school shooters (retired ex-cops or soldiers), they are quite fixed in their ways. I don't mean this in a derogatory way as I too am quite old fashioned (am in my early 30s but strongly prefer older revolvers and reliable/tough bolt action rifles). However, as i mainly associate with the more senior (white haired) shooters at my range, their comments can be quite amusing.

For example, there is the retired commandant of the police academy who thinks that revolvers are king and that his last issued service semi-auto handgun (in 1992) which was a browning high power was a "new fangled toy best suited to snot nosed rookie cops". Also, a retired navy captain that I shoot smallbore with frequently says that any gun with plastic parts is "trouble" and that only all steel/metal guns should be issued to service members.

My question to you wise THRers is, if you went back in time to the battlefields of WWII or Korea, and showed hardened GIs (or even their axis/chi com counterparts) the following guns...

1) Glock 21
2) SIG P220
3) H&K USP45
4) Mod 96 Beretta
5) H&K G36
7) Steyr Aug/Famas/Tavor....any wonder 5.56mm bullpup

how do you think they would react? Of course, the pistols would be shown to officers while the rifles passed to enlisted men.

More realistically, do you have old male relatives (in their 70s and older) who have seen your modern service type weapons? What did they say? This would perhaps be an indicator of how old school servicemen regard todays wonder guns.

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February 28, 2009, 02:33 AM
the hk 36 would be laughed at for not being able to be used as a crowbar/door ram

the beretta would be chastized for lack of cocking hammer and that its missing part of its slide

the glock would be called a plastic squirt gun

the sig is probably the only one that might pass. who knows.. in times of war you shoot whatever you have. you dont get to choose from a catalogue in the comfort of your home

February 28, 2009, 03:10 AM
" do you think they would react?..." If it helped keep them alive without adding to the weight or it'd reduce the weight they had to hump and it's reliable, they'd jump all over any of 'em.
Mind you, a handgun they wouldn't care one way or the other. Regular PBI troopies didn't fight with handguns. Handguns were for officers.

February 28, 2009, 03:16 AM
As Clint Eastwood would say...with a Garand leveled....


February 28, 2009, 05:52 AM
Hang Out with an 87 year old, "active" shooter-WWII vet, all the time. I'm 47. It was like torture to him to see my AR or SKS or whatever the gun of the day was until he started to take a turn with em at the range. We are both huge Garand fans as well but his coment was " wow you could have mowed down 30 of those dogs instead of 8 without reloading!"

Tom S.
February 28, 2009, 10:26 AM
I'd rather show them a Dillon Mini Gun...

February 28, 2009, 11:36 AM
I was at the range once and got to talking with an old, old guy, a Korean war veteran. He said that he thought that the newer stuff the military uses (5.56) was more practical in that it was easier to hit one's target. He hated Garands (too heavy and too much recoil.) He told me that younger folks would have a different opinion of a Garand if they had to lug it and the ammo around every day and everywhere. He loved my Norinco SKS Paratrooper.

February 28, 2009, 12:28 PM
WWII seen all the basics in combat, what we have today mostly existed back then in a less sophisticated form.
i have been told that US GIs and English Tommys droped Garands and Enfields when ever they could get there hands on a MP44 with enough ammo, so they where not reluctant to new gear once they seen or expirianced its effectivnes.

it would be more intresting if we could show WWI personel the gear we have today and see there reaction.

February 28, 2009, 12:49 PM
Do some research as to what the opinion of the M3 "Grease-gun" was when it was introduced.

I suspect that the reaction to this cheaply-made stamped metal firearm would be similar to the reaction to any you mentioned.

(Edit: I don't know if the reaction to the M3 was postive or negative, but I can see some parallels in what the reactions may be.)

-- John

February 28, 2009, 01:05 PM
My basic answer to a gun-grabber that the Founders couldn't have imagined 'assault weapons' when writing the 2nd is 'you mean if someone had shown up at the Battle of New York with an M16 Washington would have sent them home?

My Gramps fought in WWII, his comment on my Uncles' AR-15 was simple. 'Damn right I would have liked to had one like it then.'

February 28, 2009, 01:20 PM
Steyr Aug/Famas/Tavor....any wonder 5.56mm bullpup

They would probably say they are a lot more useful than a Grease Gun/Sten/Tommy Gun/M-1 Carbine.

As for a Sig P220 or a Beretta M96 they are designs that are similar to or direct off shoots of handguns that go back to WWII.

To people who think WWII vets would not like the M-16 remember that it was Curtis LeMay, a major military figure in WWII who brought the M-16 to the US military's attention. He apparently fell in love with it the first time he shot it.

I would imagine they would also have learned to respect the polymer guns in the island battles they fought in the Pacific.

Jorg Nysgerrig
February 28, 2009, 01:26 PM
I have no doubt it would be like other people view the same guns now. Some people would think they were technilogical marvels, some would want to know why they are messing with something that works.

February 28, 2009, 01:30 PM
Don't mistake USGIs from WWII as rubes and simpletons, they were probably more well-read than most Americans today. They lived in an era of as many changes as we do today.

American soldiers loved gadgets and hunted battlefields for war souvenirs, as such I think that they'd immediately grab and hold onto any newfangled firearm that they managed to get their hands on. With the world at war, there were all sorts of new & different war gear available.

You have to understand that WWII was a transition period that changed from bolt rifles to semi-auti rifles like the Garand, machineguns went from heavy water-cooled to LMGs like the German M42s. Biplanes to jets and nukes.

The realm of pistols had always been Officer-territory, and there were always different pistols being touted as the newest & best - no change from today.

February 28, 2009, 01:33 PM
+1 Jorg

February 28, 2009, 01:41 PM
my gramps was in the air force for a time...

he hates recoil (calibers on all his rifles begin with a 2...), and thinks mag-fed semi-autos are "dangerous" because you don't know that they're loaded. tube fed guns are bad, too, because you can't remove all the ammo at once (like a mag-fed...) he doesn't seem to have an issue with internal or removable magazine bolt-actions, though.

don't ask me for his justification, because i have no idea.


February 28, 2009, 01:42 PM
I don't think you can fairly ask an 80 year old guy to compare an M-1 to an M-16.
Memories are fickle things

When I was 19 or 20 and lugging around M-1's and M-14's for Uncle Sam, they felt like nothing but a powerful, accurate combat rifle.
I never once considered them too heavy.
And recoil? What recoil?

A Browning BAR has kinda heavy.
A Browning .30 cal machinegun WAS heavy!
An 81mm Mortar tube or base-plate was really heavy!
Heck, even an M-60 machinegun after 12-14 hours was a little heavy.

Now that I'm 65, and not getting any stronger, an M-1 Garand feels heavy!
By the time I'm 80, it will feel really heavy I betcha!

I imagine that WWII combat in European cities & forests, and even the South Pacific, would have been a totally different ballgame without the power of the 30-06 & .45 ACP.

And one I wouldn't have wanted to play with a 5.56 & 9mm!


February 28, 2009, 01:51 PM
Probably the way a WWII tank veteran would feel when he took a turn in an Abrams... WHOOOeee!

February 28, 2009, 03:53 PM
I trust that the reaction to some plastic peashooter would be much like Gen. McAuliffe’s one-word reply to the Germans after they demanded his surrender during the Battle of Bastogne--“NUTS!”

February 28, 2009, 04:02 PM
My pops is 89, he has shot an AR and an Ak, his reaction was to pick up his M1 after saying "forgetaboutit"
Thats pops

February 28, 2009, 05:01 PM
My father, an 83 year old WW2 vet ( secured his citizenship by enlisting after Pearl Harbor);had a LOT of fun with me ayt the range when I still had a Polytech Legend me ;he also highly regards the SKS as a "grabbit and go!" rifle.
He was a medicin infantry units,went from North Africa up the boot of Italy (looking in on relatives)...he told me he liked th eM1 carbine for its "handiness"(carried a lot of other gear,but outside of "bush range" he preferred ( as he put it ) a "real rifle"-actually carried an '03 Springfield initially ( Garands were not always in sufficient supply for non-grunts.

March 1, 2009, 10:39 AM
Of course, there's also the utter look of disbelief on a WWII GI's face if you were to hand him the G36 in late 1944 and tell him that "this is the latest german made service rifle" and that "it can accurately hose down an entire rifle squad at 250 yards".

Alternatively, I would love to be able to present SGT Mikhail Kalashnikov with an AK-74 while he was still recuperating on his hospital bed and tell him that he will one day invent this gun.

Lastly, it does look awfully strange to see GIs invading Normandy, taking part in operation market garden and standing up to the germans at Bastogne....all while carrying HK 416s or the latest bullpup rifles.

March 1, 2009, 11:00 AM
The Ordnance corp would blow a cork. They did not believe in fast firing guns that promoted ammunition wastage.

That's why Garand was forced to remove his box magazine and design using an eight round clip.

The Army Officer Corp had some rather fixed opinions. After receiving an American boy whose parents spent 18 years growing into early manhood, they spent months training him to salute sharply and march in formation. Following that they outfitted the lad in the latest in military gear, then transported him and thousands more across the world. Having spent all that money in training, gear, and transport, they thought it the height of fiscal folly to allow the lad to waste pennies by shooting too much ammunition at the enemy.

The anti ammunition wastage group lasted well after WWII. On page 65 in the book "The FAL Rifle", read the recommendation from the Infantry board, in 1952, stating that detachable box magazines were undesirable.

Incidentally I have read documentation that indicates that this group was active well before the Civil War. They made similiar anti ammunition wastage arguments against the Colt Revolver Rifle, Sharps rifle, and Spencer carbine.

March 1, 2009, 11:31 AM
More realistically, do you have old male relatives (in their 70s and older) who have seen your modern service type weapons? What did they say? This would perhaps be an indicator of how old school servicemen regard todays wonder guns.
Wonder guns. I spent over 24 years in the military from the 03 days to the guns of today. The weapons that I used all served their purpose well. I believe the The M4 Carbine traces its lineage back to earlier versions of the M16, which was based on the original AR-15. It is a shorter and lighter version of the M16A2 assault rifle. Does it perform better or is more reliable than the M1, M2 carbine, M14, AR15 and the M16. No, they are only as good as the soldier that is trained to use it. In the jungle of Vietnam the shotgun was the weapon of the day for our patrols.

March 1, 2009, 11:40 AM
Food for thought for you guys under 70 years of age, We had the wisdom to design the Wonder Guns of yesteryear, you guys only improved on them. Just think if it had not been for us old guys you might still be trying to improve on the crossbow.

March 1, 2009, 01:53 PM
The Ordnance corp would blow a cork

Historically since the Civil War they have been the most closed minded people ever in the armed forces. Or is that Quartermaster?

I think there would not be much reaction, since a large amount of them were grabbing MP-40's and MG's and shipping them back, It a basic thing, f you can grab cool stuff and keep it you do, sad the military does not allow that now.

March 1, 2009, 02:15 PM
I'm sure the Americans on the battlefield during WWII would have welcomed some modern weapons. They picked up DA/SA handguns as spoils of war and take-homes when they were carrying SA autos...P38 vs. 1911. I wonder how many actually used them from that point?

Duke of Doubt
March 1, 2009, 02:18 PM
I've noticed that while a lot of us consider full-powered battle rifles like the .30-'06 Garand and Springfield '03A3 the preferred weapon of the old codgers who fought WWII, and that therefore they'd look on modern "wimpy" guns with disdain, in reality most vastly preferred the M1 Carbine, with its utterly inadequate .30 Carbine cartridge. To many of them, bullets were bullets, and at the ranges they seemed to find themselves fighting at in the Hurtgen Forest or the streets of Duisberg-Essen, it didn't really matter how big the bullet was or how much powder was behind it; probably you'd get killed by artillery anyway, and when the other guys came at you, you kept shooting at them until the dropped, ran away or surrendered. QUANTITY mattered. Lots of guys sending lots of lead into the woods where the Germans were, not one guy slow-firing his Garand. The most feared enemy round was the .25 Japanese, not the 8mm Mauser. Our imaginations can become skewed by groupthink. I think Willie and Joe would have loved the M16A2.

March 1, 2009, 04:54 PM
... most vastly preferred the M1 Carbine, with its utterly inadequate .30 Carbine cartridge.

Ouch there, Duke. I wouldn't call the .30 Carbine "utterly inadequate," unless I'd just tried to take down a Bull Elephant on the other side of the savannah.
It did it's job within it's design parameters.

March 1, 2009, 05:10 PM
Ouch there, Duke. I wouldn't call the .30 Carbine "utterly inadequate," unless I'd just tried to take down a Bull Elephant on the other side of the savannah.
It did it's job within it's design parameters.

ofcourse, the .30 carbine was a fine round for what it was intended to do, however, for someone that claims the 5.56 NATO round as 'wimpy weak toy', the .30 carbine must indeed be "utterly inadequate", otherwise i smell bias.. :P

March 1, 2009, 05:24 PM
Audie Murphy thought the M1 Carbine was just fine for what we now call urban warfare

There are M1 Carbine specific threads on THR...

March 1, 2009, 07:21 PM
Well, I've heard stories of people who disdained the carbine because they tried to use it long ditance, and I have heard stories about soldiers who disliked the Garand because it was too heavy ... too much recoil, or other reasons.
To each his own I guess.
Given it's performance I think calling it "utterly inadequate" is hyperbole.
There's no way of course, that it will match the .30-'06 power wise.
I have always suspected that had it been refered to as something other than "M-1 ..." then that might have altered the opinions of some who disliked it, since it might be natural to compare it to the Garand.

I have also read stories of soldiers who had the chance to use the Carbine in the opening years of the VietNam War, and from what I've read, they generally seemed to think it worked atleast as well as the M-16 sans jamming.

I wonder how many people disdain the .22 rimfire for being "utterly inadequate" and who DON'T use it to hunt moose .... because it was never intended to be used on moose in the first place .....:rolleyes:

March 1, 2009, 07:23 PM
The bias against high ammo usage was not based only on pennies per round. It was based on supply restrictions. One can move only so much stuff up to the front. Increased ammo usage = reduced food or fuel or medical supplies or personnel or whatever.

They will always be with us.


March 4, 2009, 08:45 PM
I was in Vietnam in the 60's and the M2 carbines were in use by our air crews and I rotated my last time in 1971 and there were crews still using M2carbines. My sidearm was a Ruger Blackhawk 7 1/2" .30 caliber which was about as useful as the chopped M2 carbines

March 4, 2009, 09:00 PM
I'd "wow" them with a Trijicon 4x ACOG on an AR-15 and what it can do at 300 yards.

Better yet, a short barreled FAL with some goodies like an ACOG.

For close in, an MP5 in 10mm and red dot.

March 4, 2009, 09:28 PM
My dad saw a lot of combat in NW Europe in WWII, and was horribly wounded in fighting along the border between France and Germany (the Siegfried Line near Saarbrucken). We've had some good discussions about infantry weapons. His primary was a Browning 30 cal MG and he carried a 1911 as his sidearm. He has high praise for the BMG, the M1903 and the Garand. Not so much for the BAR (froze up in cold weather) or the M1 carbine (popgun with no useful range). His primary concerns with any weapon were reliablility and accuracy at long range. But he also praised the M3 grease gun as a good room clearing weapon for in-town scrapes and said that's what they were often issued when house-to-house fighting was expected.

I think he'd probably be very interested in some of our modern day weaponry.

March 4, 2009, 09:53 PM
My dad is a die hard, old style person. He to this day says semi-auto handguns are evil things. But during his twenty years in the army he got to shoot the British SA80, a gun with many noted flaws. He loved the bullpup design immediately and wants to get an civilian AUG. A friend of mine who’s younger than me thinks anything made after Vietnam is useless junk. Guess you never know.

March 4, 2009, 10:03 PM
The M-1 was quite popular in the Pacific where it was used at close range against 100 lb. Japanese soldiers wearing no jackets. It was much less popular in Europe where it was used against larger German soldiers at greater ranges wearing heavy winter coats.

My dad spent a year+ in Europe. From January 1945 to April 1946. He is quite impressed with the AR-15.

March 4, 2009, 10:15 PM
I think you forget that those old codgers weren't old codgers at the time. They were young men, watching technology jump forward at an amazing rate (cavalry charges to atom bombs), and probably wouldn't have batted an eye at being issued an M-16 or SAW, as long as it was light enough to ease up on their shoe leather.

Some of them may have objected to the rollmarks, but as long as they were supplied with plenty of that German 9-em-em ammo, and that newfangled .223, they'd have used them all to great effect.

March 4, 2009, 10:47 PM
The same as today. The majority would see the weapon (ex: M16) for what it is (improved control, greater load out, higher rate of fire, replacing 3 of their current weapons with 1) and be happy and use it to great effect. A few will b*tch it's not powerful enough, waste too much ammo, has to be cleaned more often, etc; and ask for the good ol' whatever back. A few others will b*tch it's too heavy, too powerful, doesn't have a high enough rate of fire and ask for "something better".

Some things have always been and always will be.

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