Who had the best machine guns? The Nazis or America? MOVIE


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PTMCCAIN
May 25, 2012, 09:11 PM
I thought you guys would appreciate this old Army movie.

I'm still trying to put my feelings about it into words, but it is apparent it was intended to bolster confidence in American machine guns in light of the overwhelming superiority of the German machine guns.

Here is the movie, see what you think.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35R2WENXMl8

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Beagle-zebub
May 25, 2012, 09:46 PM
Ours (the 1919) fired from a closed bolt and had no provision for quick barrel-change. Slam dunk, I'd say.

PTMCCAIN
May 25, 2012, 09:52 PM
Sorry...you are saying:

America's were the best?
German?

rcmodel
May 25, 2012, 09:57 PM
Ours (the 1919) fired from a closed bolt Oh??

Not the ones I used between 1964 and whenever it was I saw my first M-60.

All Browning LMG's fired from an open bolt, and always did, as far as I know.

One could give the Germans credit for the quick-change barrel on the MG34/MG42.
Our M60 used a lot of features from the MG32/MG42 later in the 1950's.

But one has to question the unrealistically high rate of fire of the MG42 if you were the one trying to pack enough ammo to feed them and keep them running during a battle.

rc

56hawk
May 25, 2012, 10:15 PM
All Browning LMG's fired from an open bolt, and always did, as far as I know.

I have heard that open bolt conversions were done to 1919s around the Vietnam era for vehicle mount, but WWII 1919's were closed bolt.

Driftertank
May 25, 2012, 10:23 PM
But one has to question the unrealistically high rate of fire of the MG42 if you were the one trying to pack enough ammo to feed them and keep them running during a battle.


...especially given that it used full-power, full-sized rifle ammo. I've heard plenty of guys complain about humping extras for SAW gunners. Imagine carting that loadout in 7.92x57...

PTMCCAIN
May 25, 2012, 10:28 PM
As my kids would say, "Word!"

R.W.Dale
May 25, 2012, 10:30 PM
As my kids would say, "Word!"

Your kids are older than me if they're saying that :p

Marlin 45 carbine
May 25, 2012, 10:36 PM
if your life depended on it I'd say franz would hump a couple links or more.
they were mostly defense weapons though.

AlexanderA
May 25, 2012, 10:49 PM
The Germans had the best LMG of WWII, the MG42.

The U.S. had the best infantry rifle of WWII, the M1 Garand.

This makes sense because the German squad "base of fire" centered on the LMG, while the American "base of fire" consisted of the individual riflemen.

A meaningful comparison would pit the firepower of squad vs. squad, taking into account ammunition supply, rather than comparing weapons of particular categories.

rcmodel
May 25, 2012, 11:45 PM
We won, so our MG must have been better! :D

Seriously we all know that had nothing to do with anything.

But still, we are still using Browning .50 MG's, and not using MG-42's, or the MG-42 derivative M60s, much.

rc

wdyasq
May 26, 2012, 12:26 AM
The reason the US won was several fold. Most important was we had OIL!

The Germans had better airplanes (ask the old pilots who flew against them). The Germans had better tanks. The Germans had better rockets ( oops, the US didn't have any rockets). And, the Germans had damn good small arms.

The Germans didn't have the fuel to run their war machine. They were fighting on two fronts and lost many troops in Russia.

But the main thing was the Germans lacked the fuel to run their war machine. This same energy 'shortage' caused manufacturing slowdowns and reduction of materials needed on the fighting front.

And all of this talk about machine guns. The US militia doesn't need machine guns. Our Congress and Supreme Court have so decided. So, it is a fact.

Ron

mgregg85
May 26, 2012, 01:19 PM
Seems like America didn't learn much from WWII, we went into the war with a powerful semi-automatic rifle and then scrambled to equip our troops with more submachine guns and intermediate weapons like the M1 carbine. After the war when looking for a replacement rifle they went to the 7.62x51 in the M14. It's only advantages over the Garand were it's detachable mag and the largely useless ability to fire in full auto.

I wonder how long it would have taken to dump the M14 if McNamara hadn't forced the M-16 adoption.

zoom6zoom
May 26, 2012, 02:50 PM
But still, we are still using Browning .50 MG's, and not using MG-42's,
We're not, but the basic design is still in widespread use. Both Germany and Italy are among those using the MG-3, which is an improved version, Austria runs a version of it, and the Swiss MG71 is basically a beefed up version.

The US tried copying it for our use during the war but the .30-06 ammo was apparently too powerful for it.

Ian
May 29, 2012, 10:06 AM
There's not necessary problem adapting the MG42/MG3 to .30-06, it's just that the guys who did the conversion (the T24) during WWII really screwed it up. I have the testing report posted on my site, if you care to read it:

http://www.forgottenweapons.com/light-machine-guns/us-t24-machine-gun-mg42

They didn't allow for the greater OAL of the .30-06 compared to 8mm Mauser. No surprise then that the guns didn't work.

tepin
May 29, 2012, 10:27 AM
If I remember correctly, one of those TV shows rated the top 10 machine guns and I believe the German Sturmgewehr was #1.

azgun
May 29, 2012, 10:47 AM
If I remember correctly, one of those TV shows rated the top 10 machine guns and I believe the German Sturmgewehr was #1.


If I am not mistaken, that was top 10 battle/ assault rifles.


Either way, both the mg-42 and 1919 have aspects which make them great machine guns.

Ranb
May 29, 2012, 12:21 PM
The Germans had better airplanes (ask the old pilots who flew against them). The Germans had better tanks. The Germans had better rockets ( oops, the US didn't have any rockets). And, the Germans had damn good small arms.

The Americans had much better planes. The P-47 and P-51 could hold their own against the Bf-019 and the FW-190 plus the American planes had a much longer range to bring the fight to Germany. Bombers; the Germans never had a bomber that could equal the B-17 and B-24. The V-1's and V-2's were much less effective than bombers.

The German leadership and oil supply sucked, that is why they lost the war.

Ranb

Mp7
May 29, 2012, 12:39 PM
+1 Ranb

.... early in the war, while the US wasnt in it, german planes, armor ... everything was better.

Later on US planes and russian armor caught up. The end was sheer
overwhelming man and material power.

And as a german i can say im glad.

Only a madman would declare war on the world.
Idiots prefer oil-rich midlle eastern countries :D

Ar180shooter
May 29, 2012, 01:26 PM
...especially given that it used full-power, full-sized rifle ammo. I've heard plenty of guys complain about humping extras for SAW gunners. Imagine carting that loadout in 7.92x57...
Only thing is both the MG34 and MG42 were 5-6lbs lighter than the M1919 Browning and M1917A1...

Ar180shooter
May 29, 2012, 01:33 PM
If I am not mistaken, that was top 10 battle/ assault rifles.


Either way, both the mg-42 and 1919 have aspects which make them great machine guns.
Nobody would argue that both aren't good machine guns that have stood the test of time (both are still in use), but the MG42 does have some better features (ease of barrel change), and is lighter.

Billy Shears
May 29, 2012, 02:06 PM
But still, we are still using Browning .50 MG's, and not using MG-42's, or the MG-42 derivative M60s, much.

rc
Actually, we are still making quite a lot of use of the M240, which was the replacement for the M60, and which fills exactly the same niche the MG42 did for the Germans, and the MG3 (a 7.62mm NATO version of the MG42) does for them to this day.

The US tried copying it for our use during the war but the .30-06 ammo was apparently too powerful for it.
Ian already covered this in his reply. It wasn't that the .30-06 was too powerful, it was that they didn't allow for the fact that the .30-06 is longer. The result was that the bolt in .30-06 copy recoiled the same distance as in the German version -- far enough to eject an 8mm Mauser case, but not enough to eject the longer .30-06 case. As a result, if memory serves, the gun would fire the first round and then jam.

One wonders, if they hadn't screwed it up, might we have actually issued an MG42 copy in Korea and Vietnam?

Billy Shears
May 29, 2012, 02:16 PM
Nobody would argue that both aren't good machine guns that have stood the test of time (both are still in use), but the MG42 does have some better features (ease of barrel change), and is lighter.
They were really different classes of weapons. The MG42, and its immediate predecessor, the MG34, were the first general purpose machine guns. They were meant to fill the roles that the Bren gun and the Vickers gun did for the British. We never really had a good light machine gun -- the BAR was designed as an automatic rifle, and was never meant to deliver sustained fire (no quick change barrel, limited magazine capacity), we just pressed it into that role for lack of anything better. And the M1919 was still meant to be a medium machine gun, just a bit more portable than the M1917 water cooled version. When the army tried to make into something a little closer to a true LMG, with the M1919A6, the result was not entirely successful -- sort of like the the WWII equivalent of the WWI German MG08/15: it was lighter than what we had before, but still a lot heavier, and not as good in the LMG role as the true LMG the enemy had, and which our soldiers envied.

PTMCCAIN
June 10, 2012, 03:15 PM
Just wanted to pop in here and thank everyone for the very interesting, and educational, comments and observations. This is the reason why gun fora such as this one are so helpful!

Thanks everyone. God bless.

Here's the video we are all discussing, in case anyone stumbles in here and wonders:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35R2WENXMl8

qwert65
June 22, 2012, 11:49 PM
75yds is kinda long for a submachine gun target trial isn't it?

WardenWolf
June 23, 2012, 03:51 AM
The MG42's rate of fire came with a significant drawback: you could not fire it for as long periods without burning through significant ammo as well as heating the barrel up enough to fry bacon on. Instead of being able to sweep an area, it had to fire short bursts in a more limited arc. In that sense, its bark really was worse than its bite. The logistics problems created by its rate of fire actually reduced its effectiveness compared to its slower-firing cousins.

VAPOPO
July 1, 2012, 07:00 AM
WW Yes and no the quick change barrel of the MG 42 pretty much negates the high rate of fire and overheating, a skilled MG crew can change that barrel out in seconds. With the heavy tripod system and interlocking fields of fire the MG 42/ MG3 was and is ferocious. Most people dont realise that our current GPMG is actually a modernised 1919 derived from the Mag 58 so in a way we have come full circle since WW2 and are basicly back where we started. I also believe that the later incarnations of the M60 are as reliable and much lighter than the 240 series that replaced them.

dprice3844444
July 1, 2012, 09:16 AM
http://www.oldmagazinearticles.com/WW2_US_Army_45_Multiple_Rocket_Launcher_Article[QUOTE]The Germans had better rockets ( oops, the US didn't have any rockets). [QUOTE]

http://www.allstar.fiu.edu/aero/rock3.htm

Ian
July 1, 2012, 09:56 AM
Actually, the M240 traces its development back to the BAR. Other than riveted construction and being belt fed, it has nothing in common with the 1919.

Carl N. Brown
July 1, 2012, 10:51 AM
One thing that gets overlooked on the diff in rate of fire between the German MG42 (1200 rpm) and the American M1919 (500 rpm) is that the Germans had a very short supply line. US ammo had to cross the Atlantic. When you have a long supply line, and resupply might be a problem time to time, you tend to want to conserve ammo.

The aircraft mounted versions of the M1919 were rated at 1200 to 1500 rpm, so it is not like they could not have produced a ground version of the M1919 to match the MG42.

Billy Shears
July 1, 2012, 11:46 AM
The aircraft mounted versions of the M1919 were rated at 1200 to 1500 rpm, so it is not like they could not have produced a ground version of the M1919 to match the MG42.
That wouldn't have been easy to do without a pretty significant redesign of the weapon. The high rate of fire was achieved with the aircraft versions chiefly by lightening the barrel (they may have lightened the bolt as well; I'm not sure). This was fine for an aircraft gun carrying no more than 200-400 rounds per sortie, all of which would be fired in relatively short bursts, and with the speed of the aircraft through the air providing a constant, cooling airflow. For a ground gun, however, the lighter barrel would have made it overheat faster, making a quick barrel change capability, which the M1919 didn't have, an absolute necessity.

Billy Shears
July 1, 2012, 11:51 AM
Instead of being able to sweep an area, it had to fire short bursts in a more limited arc.
Machine gunners don't generally sweep the gun back and forth like you see in the movies. They set it up on a tripod, make a range card defining the left and right limits of fire, and use a traversing wheel to dial in where it's aimed, adjusting the wheel to shift fire as needed. Also, given that machine guns are usually set to shoot at an area hundreds of yards away, it only takes a slight adjustment to the traversing wheel to shift fire by tens of meters. Thus, at any given moment, the gun is concentrating its fire on a specific area (the beaten zone), not sweeping back and forth in a wide arc. The aim is to set the gun up so that its field of fire overlaps with that of other guns, making it difficult if not impossible to for enemy soldiers to make it through the hail of lead these interlocking fields of fire create.

Jaymo
July 1, 2012, 03:00 PM
Funny that people still think the .30-06 is more powerful than the 7.92x57. It's not.
American commercial loadings are, but the European military loadings give up nothing to the 06.

The idea of the Garand being the best infantry rifle of the war is very debatable, also. There were a LOT of failures until the armorers started radiusing the op rods.
The #4 Mk1 SMLE was reliable and accurate to a fault, and was a very quick cycling bolt action.
The Brits were trained in rapid firing the Smelly. The .303 rifle ammo was about 300 fps slower than the 06, but did tremendous damage with it's Mk 7 ammo.
The .303 MG ammo gave up nothing in power to the 06.
We didn't win the war because of better weaponry. We won because of manufacturing capability (Something our dear leaders should keep in mind) and because Hitler got the Wehrmacht bogged down in the USSR/fighting 2 fronts.
Germany showed FAR more innovation in military weaponry/technology then we did.

Rather funny, how the military unceremoniously dumped the M60 due to jamming every 800 or so rounds, but kept the POS jammamatic 16 which had and has a higher failure rate.
I know all the Jammamatic 16 fanboys are going to get their drawers in a bunch over that, but the fact remains that no other rifle needs as frequent cleaning/lubing and/or magic coatings to keep it running. Yes, the jammamatic 16 is better than it used to be, but it's still hobbled by it's inferior gas system that poops where it eats.
BTW, I used to be a Jammamatic 16 fanboy. Then I owned an AR. Flame away.
Ma Deuce is still the shizzle, though.

Billy Shears
July 1, 2012, 03:29 PM
Rather funny, how the military unceremoniously dumped the M60 due to jamming every 800 or so rounds, but kept the POS jammamatic 16 which had and has a higher failure rate.
I know all the Jammamatic 16 fanboys are going to get their drawers in a bunch over that, but the fact remains that no other rifle needs as frequent cleaning/lubing and/or magic coatings to keep it running. Yes, the jammamatic 16 is better than it used to be, but it's still hobbled by it's inferior gas system that poops where it eats.
Funny, I carried an M16 and then an M4 in the army, as an infantryman (so it was hardly a weapon that seldom got fired) and I never had a single jam out of either one that wasn't attributable to a bad magazine.

There's nothing wrong with the M16's gas system. And it really doesn't require that much extra cleaning to keep it running. Like any system, direct impingement has its advantages and disadvantages. Its advantages are lighter weight and fewer moving parts, and greater inherent accuracy since there's no piston to interfere with barrel harmonics. The disadvantages are that it needs a little more cleaning.

My experience was the opposite of yours. When I went through basic training, I wanted to see the M16 replaced. After my tour was over, I wouldn't have traded it for anything else.

Zoogster
July 8, 2012, 11:54 PM
The aircraft mounted versions of the M1919 were rated at 1200 to 1500 rpm, so it is not like they could not have produced a ground version of the M1919 to match the MG42.


They did, sorta. In the Pacific.


They made use of some spare AN/M2 variants from aircraft and converted them. Mel Grevich made the ones with BAR bipod, Garand stocks, sights, and aluminum box magazines that would go on to be used in Iwo Jima. They had a rate of fire around 1300 RPM.
The name given to them by the soldiers at the time was "Stinger".

This appears to be a good documentation of some of the uses of this weapon:
http://www.jcs-group.com/military/war1941firearms/stinger.html


One soldier that won the Medal of Honor, Tony Stein, had just such a gun.

Here is a couple pictures of such weapons on the web:

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y67/gutkowski/27a.jpg


http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_v6Vx4TUIw6Y/SPSKnsw5_9I/AAAAAAAAAw4/7hmYV4ClgPI/s1600/tony+steins+stinger.jpg



It had no way to change out the barrel, so once it overheated... From what I can gather (though some articles seem to give the wrong info on various aspects of the gun) they had around 100 rounds of linked ammo.
These were full power rifle rounds. At over 21 rounds a second. Stein supposedly fired his in 20 round bursts, so about one second of fire at a time.

PoserHoser
July 9, 2012, 12:12 AM
^^^^^^^^^^^^ Thats what i love about guns you learn something new every day

PTMCCAIN
July 9, 2012, 07:51 AM
Very interesting, thanks for posting those pics.

Jeff White
July 11, 2012, 02:50 PM
Rather funny, how the military unceremoniously dumped the M60 due to jamming every 800 or so rounds, but kept the POS jammamatic 16 which had and has a higher failure rate.

I don't know what your personal experience with the M60 was, but I suspect it's not much.

I used the M60 from the time I enlisted in the Army in 1974 until it was replaced by the M240. It was a very poor design, a bastardization of what someone considered the best features of several different machine guns.

The gas system would disassemble itself from the vibration of firing and the fix was to safety wire it together. This made it impossible for the operator to mainain in the field as only the armorer had the safety wire pliers to wire it back together once it was disassembled. The gas piston was easily inserted backwards and if that happened you had a bolt action machine gun because it would not cycle. And of course the gas system was wired together so you had to cut the wires, reassemble the gas system correctly then get the armorer to wire it back together.....

The trigger group was inside the pistol grip that was held onto the receiver by a flat spring that fit onto two pins through the receiver. If you put the spring on upside down it was easily knocked off, then one pin would fall out of the receiver, the pistol grip containing the trigger group would fall off, get lost leaving you with an inoperable machine gun.

The flat spot on the operating rod where it engaged the sear was soft and would wear causing a runaway gun that wouldn't stop firing unless you opened the feed tray cover, broke the belt or ran out of ammunition.

The bipods were fragile and easily broken.

Towards the end of their service life the Army actually started replacing the receivers as they stretched from metal fatigue and holes didn't line up any longer.

The M60 came into the system in the late 1950s and served until sometime in the 2000s before they were all replaced. It's not fair to say they were "unceremoniously dumped" when the Army stuck with a poor design and terrible performance for over 40 years.

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