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"Best" individual infantry weapon of WW2?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Bwana John, Jun 29, 2020.

  1. AlexanderA
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    AlexanderA Member

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    The BAR carry handle never saw combat in WW2. Introduced too late. (This is one of my peeves with the movie "The Longest Day." It shows carry handles on BARs.)

    Actually the bipod, although poorly designed, was a major improvement over the original BAR. Although troops discarded it, that was not a good idea.
     
  2. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    I like the FG42:

    Semi & full auto capable

    20 rd detachable box mags

    Full power 8x57mm

    Straight line stock for controllability.

    Good sights.

    Unfortunately, NOT good for a left-hander like me...
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
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  3. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    I know the M1 Carbine is real handy and light but the reports of reliability I've heard/read about would keep me sticking to the Garand.

    ETA I've had a lot more first hand success with the Garand:
    _GuyFDspMwG8N2hZIcnq_-0Ftsj64Y1vf89UNxRbXQ2WmQ_RMj0zRi2FLD-J7fUev2w5Ajg=w1010-h758-no?authuser=0.jpg

    kAvtzBwhz4QQt4ee4nyWWqyS32_6XBr_nNewR2dtkywXWRy5r0u9DrxFRkqBSC85kGy5lDRg=w829-h758-no?authuser=0.jpg
     
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  4. mcb

    mcb Member

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    M3 Grease Gun has to rank up there somewhere in the sub-gun category.
     
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  5. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    Thompson
     
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  6. mondocomputerman

    mondocomputerman Member

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    I would think the M1 Garand. I would also consider the SKS.
     
  7. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    While technically used in WW2, the SKS was still experimental on VE Day. It was never “issued” in any sense so it’s presence in WW2 is highly debatable.
     
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  8. Mauser lover

    Mauser lover Member

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    You know, I looked into this with my highly.... well, limited, resources and I couldn't find a credible source that said the SKS was actually even in steel during any part of WWII. I found a few references to some rifle from Simonov, but no indication that it was actually an SKS prototype.

    I'm not a professional historian, so I don't have the time/money to chase that rabbit down exhaustively, but I couldn't find anything about it.


    I'd prefer an M1 Carbine, but the best was probably the M1 Garand. I think the M1 Carbine may have even been better than the Stg 44, simply because it was a little more mature design with a little more time (and other resources) for development. Definitely would say (in my completely subjective opinion) that the Garand was a better design than the German autoloaders, again, more mature design with more time for R&D.

    Worst? Still going with a Mosin. I know we discussed this ad nauseum in the other thread, but...

    All the SMGs were basically the same, except the Thompson, so I'm saying the Thompson was the worst. Sten, M3, all the Soviet SMGs, they all cost basically nothing and worked well enough.

    Best pistol was probably the Hi-Power. I guess the Germans get that one. And Canada! Don't know of anyone else who used it extensively. Walther P38 was double action, so that's cool, but who actually likes DA/SA?
     
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  9. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    My impression is that M1 Garands tended to be issued to dedicated infantry troops who were well drilled in the maintenance of their weapon system. So the best individual infantry weapon of WWII was the infantry rifleman (Army or Marine) with his M1 Garand.

    In my not so humble historically only opinion, the worst individual infantry weapon of WWII had to be the Model 50 and Model 55 Reising submachine gun for one reason above all others: I read a WWII Aberdeen Proving Ground report on submachine guns that tested the time required by reasonably adept users to disassemble and reassemble the M1928 Thompson, the Marlin UD42 (an OSS smg), Sten Mark II, and M50 Reising, with users sighted and with users blindfolded, plus separate parts count on ordinary disassembly for cleaning. No one could disassemble or reassemble the M50 Reising blindfolded, they could do the M1928, UD42, MkII, but not the M50.

    AND disassembly of the M50 had the largest number of separate parts on disassenbly for routine cleaning. In my NSH opinion issuing that weapon to the USMC as a general issue combat weapon was a war crime against our own troops. The Reising was a police weapon at best maintained by a factory trained armorer.

    An Army Ranger wrote American Rifleman that the Reising was a good weapon for an overnight raid if kept "barracks inspection clean"; I think he liked it because it was six or so pounds lighter than a Thompson (the other raid option) which meant less weight to be bothered with or weight that could go to stuff more useful on a raid, like explosives or first aid equipment.
     
  10. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    The Reising had two things going for it- reliability and handling, but I concur on the disassembly nightmare, along with frequent non-interchangeability of non-serialed parts from one gun to another. However, they do seem to make good guns for the entry level NFA enthusiast, probably from the reputation keeping prices at the lower end of the scale.
     
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  11. Robert

    Robert Administrator Staff Member

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    No1 MkIII is often forgotten, but served very well in North Africa and the Pacific
     
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  12. rbernie
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    rbernie Contributing Member

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    The lost beauty of the Enfield is that it was actually designed to be kept in service under the most austere battlefield conditions. Its rear locking lugs couldn't get clogged with mud/grit and were easy to clean if it got muddy (unlike every competing rifle design rifle with forward locking lugs hidden up inside the front receiver ring), it didn't need grease anywhere to ensure its continued operation (looking at you, Garand), its cock-on-close design arguably made it one of the easiest bolt guns to keep on target with sustained rate of fire, it had a control round feed design with a user replaceable bolthead, it fired a decent round which was relatively intolerant of battlefield dust/dirt (that tapered case and big rim aren't favorites of modern interior ballisticians, but they help keep the rifle firing when the ammo isn't perfectly clean and conditions are hot), it had a decent box ammo capacity, and it had a safety that was functional and unobtrusive.

    It may not have had the rate of fire of, say, the M1 Carbine or PPSh-41 or MP40, and that would be relevant in urban or jungle operations. But as an all-rounder suitable for combat on any continent under any conditions - I gotta run with the Enfield (with props and favors to the No4Mk's for their upgraded sights).
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
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  13. Terry G

    Terry G Member

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    The M-1 Garand of course. Crew served the MG-42. The M-1 Carbine was handy but lacked range. The M-3 fired way too slow for my taste, but the springs were worn on the one I had. The MP-40 and PPSH were better, but were HEAVY!
     
  14. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    If I was selecting what I would want as the best individual infantry weapon then it would be the M1 Garand. Other weapon choices would include the M1 Thompson submachine gun, the M1 Carbine, and the M1911A1. As much as I like the BAR I would have to go with the Bren Gun as the best light machine gun.
     
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  15. brunowbe

    brunowbe Member

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    Fg42 for me as well. I’m surprised it took that many posts for it to get mentioned. M1 would be a very close 2nd.
     
  16. Gladius

    Gladius Member

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    For rifle, I'd go with the M1 Garand, of course, unless it's bolt-action, in which case I'd vote for the Lee Enfield No. 4. For carbine, here's a dark horse: Lee Enfield No. 5 Jungle Carbine (yes, despite its "wandering zero"). That being said, the M1 Carbine is an underappreciated weapon. For SMG, I'd choose the following: 1. MP40. 2. Suomi. 3. PPSH41.

    Now, what did dad say (considering he was actually there)? He was a tanker. He'd be driving along in his M5A1 and think "Boy, I'm glad I'm not infantry". Of course, he did have access to various small arms for sentry and defense duty. He did not actually like the Thompson because it was heavy and awkward. He preferred the M1 Carbine, even though he never used it in action. When he did need a weapon, he used an M3 Grease Gun. It kept him alive, and he didn't have much negative to say about it. In terms of enemy small arms, he didn't seem to have an opinion (other than he didn't like being shot at with them).
     
  17. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    People carried M1 Carbines because they were light. But having used one in combat, I would not carry one. The M1 was head and shoulders the best infantry weapon of WWII. It had the range, power and penetration needed to dominate a firefight.

    I was issued an M2 carbine on my first tout in Viet Nam, and it got wrapped around a tree. I got an M1 rifle from the ARVN unit I advised and used it from then on.
     
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  18. tark

    tark Member

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    The second model FG42 had a case deflector so lefties could shoot it. You can see it in the first picture. As for being the BEST.....Not so sure. Because the Luftwaffe ( And Paratroopers were part of the Luftwaffe, not the Army.) insisted that the gun weigh no more than the Kar-98, everything on the gun is designed and manufactured to be just strong enough to do the job, but no more. There is nothing on the gun that is "overbuilt" to any real degree.

    The gun did meet the weight limit.....until you loaded it.....
     

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    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
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  19. tark

    tark Member

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    My pick for the best is..... well....

    I guess I'm headed to the Eastern Front....
     
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  20. tark

    tark Member

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    This Marine did, at some place called "Iwo Jima." And "Woody" is barely over 5'2" They gave him a medal.....
     

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  21. tark

    tark Member

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    The problem with the PPSH 41 isn't the gun, its those drum magazines. If you found one that worked well in your gun, it might not work at all in a different gun. A high rate of fire does not automatically make a gun more effective, but it will help you run out of ammo faster. When the soldiers got down to their last drum, I'm guessing they switched to semi auto and left it there until they found more ammo.
     
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  22. DocRock

    DocRock Member

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    It is conceivable that the drum magazines weren't perfect. But given how complaints were dealt with in the Red Army, we'll never know :p
     
  23. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    M1 Garand gets my vote.
    And the worst? Type 94 Nambu pistol.
     
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  24. Mn Fats

    Mn Fats Member

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    If I had the choice, I'd choose to have 20/10 vision and a 1903A4. Otherwise I like my Garand. BAR sounds good to me but I've never fired one or hauled one around all day.
     
  25. Pat Riot
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    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    My choice for best: M1 Garand

    Worst? I have no experience with any of the weapons I have heard folks, including my great uncles, talk about, like; the Carcano and Arisaka so I will leave this to those that know.
     
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