What if an AK-47 chambered for the .223 Remington had existed in 1933?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Solomonson, Jan 12, 2021.

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  1. DocRock

    DocRock member

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    Let us remember that with the AK47 and Stg44 in existence, with the benefit of WWII ordnance use analysis, and with the vast purchasing power available in the mid 1950s, the US military mind still rejected the "intermediate cartridge". They rejected the FAL. They rejected the .270 British. And they insisted on a cartridge with 30-06 equivalent ballistics in a a glorified M1 Garand (sorry M14 lovers). So the idea that they would have been open to 5.56 and an AK rifle in 1933 simply has no basis in the historical record.
     
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  2. tark

    tark Member

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    I have heard that more soldiers are killed by artillery than by any other method. It used to be disease, but not so much anymore. Artillery is known as "The Queen of Battle" for a reason. Think chess...... What is the most powerful piece??
     
  3. lysanderxiii

    lysanderxiii Member

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    Why do armchair tacticians always assume that individual infantry weapons only need to kill or incapacitate other infantrymen?

    For the same reasons that .45-70 was favored in the 1870s (effective against horses) held true in WW2, only not horses but APCs. The M2 AP round can perforate 0.42 inch of armor plate at 100 yards, that makes just about all APCs (halftracks) vulnerable to attacks on the sides inside that range. And, in the immediate post war situation the US faced the largest armored force in the world. The need to force Soviet infantry to dismount their APC early would reduce the speed of the armor advance, because only a fool advances tanks without infantry support.

    Also, there are things like gun shields of towed AT guns that need perforation by infantry weapons.

    That is the reason the British 7mm round was disliked by the US, it was ineffective at perforating Soviet APCs, and that is the reason the .30 caliber bullet was insisted on. A caliber .22 rifle would be even less effective, and even less desired by a WW2 infantryman.

    It isn't until the more thickly armored Soviet BTR-60 and BTR-70 are fielded in the late 1950s and early 1960s that the infantry caliber round become "man-only" killers, and the reduction in caliber becomes a viable option.

    And one last thing, what weapon was the MP-44 really intended to replace, the submachine gun. Doctrinally, the primary infantry weapon of the Germany squad was the MG-42 (or MG-34 in the early war). The individual rifle and submachine gun were only intended to be used in the final stage of the assault, i.e., under 100 meters, and 100 meters is a bit of a stretch for a 9mm Parabellum weapon.
     
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  4. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    There is a major flaw in this premise.
    First off, die stamping as a machining process really did not mature until about 1950-55. The Soviets were milling '47s until the AKM came out (1959).
    In 1933, the War Department was not even entirely set on the Garand as a solution.

    Again, flawed premise--you do not make major changes in wartime production unless there is a huge advantage. The Italians tried changing from 6.5 carcano to 7.5 in the middle of a war--this did not work out well at all.
    The Japanese also tried changing from their 6.5 to the 7.7 in the middle of a war, this fared even worse.

    The US War Production Board was a huge, cumbersome beast with a turning radius measurable in astronomical units. But, it was relentless. It's rigidity and procedure turned out millions of identical parts, all utterly interchangeable to the point that they did not need to be serialized to a given arm.

    The US M1/2 37mm gun was largely pointless in 1940, and by all sensible arguments ought to have been replaced with the British 57mm 6 pounder. Other than it would not have fit in the various turrets and mounts the 37 did. (This is why the US kept using a satisfactory 75mm gun that fit well in Sherman turrets--it worked, and was workable.) That M1/2 37mm was being fielded well into 1945, where it was only good against trucks or similar soft-skin vehicles. The Gun you have is better than the superior one on the drawing board.

    The Carbine was originally intended to be a PDW, the complete replacement for all handguns in TOE. It was hugely successful in this role, too.
    The Naming of it suggested that it was meant as a shorter version of the main battle rifle is part of the reason it became a Company/Platoon leader arm, and then being used as s Squad leader's arm.

    The War Department had some very specific methodology in mind. They were more than well aware that artillery & MGs produce far more casualties than rifles (around 25x for arty, 10x for MGs). Therefore, the ammo ought suit the MG first. MGs were expected to range out to 2800-3200 yards--this in no possible way describes 5.56nato.
    It was desired to have MGs and rifles use the same ammo, despite the ammo being set up differently (belts versus clips) when boxed and crated.
    That dis-commonality is what doomed the 7x53, despite the Pederson round being a better rifle round. American excellence in logistics negated the issues of clips an belts getting forward to troops. But, no one could expect that in 1935.

    In addition, while we had the Garand in 1936, they were not as forward-deployed as people might imagine. There were very few in the Philippines for example, almost none at Pearl. The Marines did not commit to the Grand until 1942. So, the war in the Pacific would not have changed so very much. And logistics and strategy would win that war (the Marines were still using the 1917 Browning in 1945.
     
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  5. lysanderxiii

    lysanderxiii Member

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    Well, it really depends on what we are stamping, by 1943, GM did a great job of stamping out car fenders, flash light bodies and M3 submachine guns. But your point is quite valid, just because a design is based on stampings, does not equate to "a snap to start into production."

    1.00 astronomical unit (AU) to be exact. It took about 6 months to make a major change. (One AU is the average distance from the earth to the sun, so in the time it take the Earth to change direction of movement 180 degrees is half a year.)

    The British QF 6 pounder did replace the US 37mm gun in the towed AT role in the middle of 1943. It never replaced the 37mm in armored vehicles because a) the vehicle was intended for scouting and the 37mm was adequate, and a bigger gun would reduce mobility, or b) a new design was in the works with a bigger better gun (T24/M24 light tank).[/QUOTE]
     
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  6. 3Crows

    3Crows Member

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    What if the USS Nimitz was sucked through a blackhole into the Pacific of WWII fully fueled, decked out, loaded and locked for battle? Oh, wait, uh, I think they made a movie like that?
     
  7. lysanderxiii

    lysanderxiii Member

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    In 1940 the 37mm was still viable as an AT weapon. Even as late as winter 1941/spring 1942 it was adequate, if just barely. It definitely wasn't as good as the German 37mm or British 2 pr, but it could still defeat most German and Italian armor found in North Africa about this time.
     
  8. Tommygunn

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    THE FINAL COUNTDOWN. 1980, with Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen, Katharine Ross and James Farantino. Great dogfight between two Japanese Zeroes and two U. S. Navy F-14 Tomcats. Only time ever I felt bad for WW2 Zero pilots. They were a "bit" over matched by the Tomcats.:p:D
     
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  9. caribou

    caribou Member

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    What they did NOT have back in 1933 was the technology to build firearms in mass production using sheet metal.

    The Allies, following the Germans, found they could make low pressure submachine guns with stampings and did so very well.

    They Germans were the first to get that down pat, and then higher pressure, locked breech firearms followed; Stg44 being the more significant firearm.

    As for the AK, the Soviets couldnt get that done satisfactorily with sheet metal and had to revert to milled in AK production until they understood and mastered the technology.
    Fact is, after the war, the Soviets kept the famous German Engineer Hugo Schmeisser , from the Hanel company, in captivity a bit longer than his fellow engineers working as a small arms consultant and were stymied that Schmiesser wasnt able to help them with sheet metal forming
     
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  10. MistWolf

    MistWolf Member

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    America's heaviest hitter, once it was spun up, was production. Second heaviest hitter, was delivery. The heavy hitter for putting ordnance on target was Aviation. The heavy hitter for delivering supplies was the Merchant Marines and the Navy.

    However, until we wised up and sent Liberty ships to Britain in convoys instead of singly, we couldn't deliver the goods to Europe.

    None of this would have done a bit of good without boots on the ground. Without men with infantry rifles, other men with infantry rifles would have overrun our airfields, artillery bases, supply points and wreck our armor.

    The rifle we should have had was the M14 in 30-06. Our infantry put the penetrative power of the '06 to good use.
     
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  11. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Administrator Staff Member

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    I read through to see if anyone was going to mention this.

    The Russians weren't able to properly produce stamped receivers for several years after the AK was invented. I suspect that we would have been in the same boat--certainly in 1933.
     
  12. caribou

    caribou Member

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    Historys developments take time and thought....
    The first models of AK-47 were made from sheet metal stampings. 1947-1949

    The first was a trial of the first model receiver, the second the production run itself.,
    Made from a single sheet, but the rejection rate was enormous due to various off dimensional geometry and therefore not able to 100% guarantee its regularity for mass production.
    In 1949 the change to drop forged and milled was approved and commenced.
    The quest for a simple, lightand much cheaper AK reciver kept on untill the AKM was approved.

    Besides Hugo Schmeisser, the Soviets also had Werner Gruner, inventer of the sheet metal made MG-42 and Luis Stange, of FG-42 fame and design. Stange help develop the FG-42 into a sheet metal rifle from the first models milled, and his ideas and patents helped Hugo Schmeisser and his team take the prototype MKb-42 that was crafted by milling and turn it into a mostly sheet metal design, that evolved into the Stg-44.

    Schmeisser's design concepts and development of a 'short" Kutz round were ahead of their time, and the sheet metal mass production techniques of the Germans were too.

    One reason that Guide Lamp Co. made Guns in WWII was their complex working with sheetmetal rivaled that of the aircraft industry.
     
  13. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    Sadly, that's all artistic license. One of the things discovered in dealing with the Kamikaze threat was that both 20mm & 40mm rounds were too light to reliably detonate when hitting Japanese aircraft. They would punch a hole and sail on through. That is unless they hit the engine or pilot. So, the 20mm Vulcan on a Tomcat might have turned a zero into a cheese grater, but not necessarily dropped them. Heat signature of a Zero would probably be below the "gate" values on Sidewinders. The radar cross section might be high enough for a Sparrow.

    The real issue would be the engagement speed differential. The F-14 stall speed is going to be significantly above the range of the Zero's maximum speed. Which is going to be an issue if everyone is in visual range, as the Zero was a very nimble a/c (for not having pilot armor and the like). Which means highly-skilled pilots (recall the historical setting in 1941, these are the top pilots available) will be able to snap roll, dodge and juke about the sky. All in values not built into the computing gunsights of the F-14.

    The "smart" dogfight maneover for F-14 facing Zeros would be to haul the wings back and pull the throttles back to the stops and break them up using the Mach-level jet wash. But, that would not "look cool" on screen.
     
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  14. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    It's an important point, too. The US stamping industry was oriented around sheet metal, to create parts that would be bolted together, or bolted to a structural frame. Or, to make shovels or the like. Simple parts in light scantlings.

    Which is significantly different from weapons-level stampings. Which often require die stamping perforations out of heavy-gauge sheet, then a striking die to form the bends. Which is often in several steps to leave the bent parts ready for welding. Trunions and the like have to be inserted during this process, which takes considerable industrial planning and machine precision. Even designing the stamped parts to have riveted in reinforcements took a lot of trial and error.

    There are a number of arms people assume are stamped but are not. The "Tube" SMGs often lead this list.
     
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  15. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    OK, snow day from work so I'll play. Metal stamping technology was still "new," the bugs weren't 100% ironed out, and it would not have been widely trusted by anyone in ordnance department (likely for good reason). As far as caliber, I could see an intermediate .27-30 caliber round gaining some interest, but the inertia behind the 30-06 in terms of existing stock, tooling and supplies was too great as we saw with the .276 Peterson cartridge.

    Had the gun somehow been developed, pushed through acceptance and procurement, and fielded in this time period, I think it would have been well received and used to great effect by our troops, only in the original 7.62 chambering, probably designed around a .308" M2 ball projectile in a heavier round resembling the .300 Savage or .308 Win and in a semi-automatic configuration. Your AK would have looked more like a CETME or FAL. There would have been zero love for the .223. I think if a gas-operated carbine suitable for conversion to a weapon of war had existed in this timeframe, we would have seen that rushed to service rather than the M1 carbine.

    It has always bewildered me, that the M1 Garand was not developed from the get go with a detachable magazine as in the BM59, or product improved to something resembling the M14 from the start. They had the operational template for such a rifle in the BAR.
     
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  16. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    "The AK-47 would have been far easier and cheaper to produce than the Garand."

    And OC was quoted as saying, "muh stopping power."
     
  17. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    "There’s other, deeper issues too. What if the Axis got hold of a cheap/easy to produce design like the AK-47 when Lend/Lease began, near the beginning of the war? What would have been the impact to Allied losses? What would have been the real impact to ammo consumption? Would such a rifle best be released as a semi-auto and not a select auto?"

    Both the Germans and Italians had them ready to, but "muh stopping power".

    Allied losses? Marginal, if any. Emma Gee did the killing.

    Now, jet aircraft, whole another kettle of fish.
     
  18. 3Crows

    3Crows Member

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    Well, just saying, I would rather the Indians have had the M16s if you do not mind ;).
     
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  19. GEM

    GEM Moderator Emeritus

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    Don't forget the classic Turtledove book: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Guns_of_the_South

    There's a whole genre of time displacement military. The Shield is about modern Israel in 1941. The Japanese have an anime of a Kongo Aegis ship in WWII. Sterling had modern Nantucket in the Bronze Age. I read a crappy one about a USN nuclear ship (think it was the California) in the Civil War.

    Of course, Turtledove's Lizard series with Alien Lizards invading Earth in 1940 with below speed of light starships and military tech equivalent to ours now (except for the ships).

    There's another (I forget) with a carrier a few years ahead of now (the Hillary Clinton , oops) and a bunch of various allied missile destroyers popping into Midway.

    One problem is that all modern ships run out of ammo quickly. Israel being an entire country pulls it off with some clever diplomacy and manipulation rather than just fighting.

    For the native Americans, I read one where a new version of the Bubonic plague clobbers Europe at the time of the Spanish conquests of the New World. The Aztecs learn the tech and eventually conquer Europe.
     
  20. lysanderxiii

    lysanderxiii Member

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    Not really.

    The average life of a JUMO 004 turbine disk was less than 25 flight hours, half that if the pilot didn't handle the throttle with care, as was the case with novice pilots. Now, factor in the time required to remove/replace two engines on a Me 262 or Arado 234, the time and resources needed to refurbish said engines, and total number of engines available, and you find you operational rate (number aircraft available for tasking vs total number of aircraft) is miserably low. Then couple that with the high fuel consumption of jets, and their short endurance, so fewer targets can be engaged per sortie. Then, to top it all off, you have the fact that you still have to slow down to land.

    Ultimately, the jets were hampered by the same factors as their piston engined counterparts, lack of fuel,and lack of spare parts.
     
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  21. kBob

    kBob Member

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    Random 8

    "It has always bewildered me, that the M1 Garand was not developed from the get go with a detachable magazine as in the BM59, or product improved to something resembling the M14 from the start. They had the operational template for such a rifle in the BAR."

    The original .276 primer activated Garands did have 20 round removable magazines. They were trashed in favor of the "Packet" type Garand clip we all know and love.

    So but for old man "Fade Away" we might have started WWII with a .276 twenty round magazine loading shorter and lighter Garand even if the gas system had been added. I read somewhere that the thought at the time was that GI Joe with be issued only three magazines and a boat load of stripper clipped ammo. It interested me that the M14 had a stripper clip guide on the rifle that could be used to top off magazines. I liked using it better than the stamped spoons (except for size like the ones on the M16 Ammo) used directly on magazines.

    I think the logistics folks have it though all the Company level Infantry guns used the same cartridge only the packaging changed. Stripper clips of 1903 series rifles, Enblocs for the Garand, 20 round boxes for the BAR. cloth and metal belts for the 1919 series on the other hand is one had a round of .30-06 there was something to shoot it in. You really can pick up fired 1919 metalic links and load individual rounds into links to make "new' Belts, or take 20 round boxes and load up strippers or enbloc clips ( like many of us do today)

    no one wanted to give up that capability.

    -kBob
     
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  22. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    1.) The rate of fire of the Vulcan cannon would seem to be high enough to shred the Zero. In the movie, the engine was taken out and the pilot was later removed off a wing via chopper.

    2.) The second Zero received an air-to-air missile. Shredded Zero went everywhere. Pilot was D. R. T.

    3.) In the opening of the dogfight, pilots were only cleared to "draw the Zeros off" the American survivors of a Gatsby-esque boat the Zeros had blown up. Their opening move was pretty much exactly as you suggest; they pushed the wingsback, hit ABs, and buzzed the -- er, uh, and it absolutly WAS COOL!!!!!. The disruption tossed the Zeros around and they wound up on opposite sides. Poor Zeke pilots didn't know what hit 'em.

    The problem for the Zeros was the pilots couldn't fathom the acceleration and speed of the jets. The Zeros were more nimble, but the when they lined up on the F-14s they didn't lead enough. The Tomcats vertical acceleration seemed to be insurmountable for the Zero.

    Oh, and 4.) It's only a movie. In the dvd extras the Tomcat pilots were interviewed and pointed out the Zeros were flown by the Confederate Air Force, and were really AT-6 Trainers, a WW2 plane that resembled in some ways the Zero. The maximum speed of the T6 is above the stall speed of the Tomcat. Everything was, of course, carefully designed and choreographed.
    The T6 Texan was also used to mimic Japanese planes in the earlier movie, TORA TORA TORA.

    If you can get the dvd I highly recommend it. It's a fun movie .... not really great, but it has its moments.

    The author, Martin Caidin, who wrote MAROONED, MARY JANE TONIGHT AT ANGELS TWELVE, and CYBORG wrote a novelization of the movie which IMHO was superior to the movie. Caidin was a NASA employee, an expert in much aeronautics, and cybernetics, and does a great job depicting in writing the dogfight. If a Tomcat pilot could see a Zero, I'm pretty darn sure he could blow it out of the sky with 20 MIKE MIKE or a missile.

    I'm pretty sure our WW2 planes that went up against the Zeros didn't have 20mm., which was developed in the jet age. The Corsair, the Mustang, The P-38 Lightning had .50 caliber (the P-38 might have had some heavier guns in that nose). These planes, when used right, brought down Zeros pretty well.
     
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  23. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    Actually the P-39 had a 37mm down the drive shaft of the propeller. A 40mm in the version sent to the Soviets.
    The Brits used the 20mm Hispano-Suiza pretty extensively, which the US used sparingly (the preference was to have 250-300 cal..50 instead of 75-125 20x110).

    Because the Vulcan fires at an absurd rate (circa 5-6000 rpm), the "gun trigger" in US a/c has a 10, 50, or 100 round setting, to help conserve ammo--middling critical at 100 rounds per second.
     
  24. lysanderxiii

    lysanderxiii Member

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    Don't forget:

    The F4U-1C, introduced in 1943 was armed with four 20mm AN/M2 cannon (a variant of the Hispano-Suiza HS.404)
    All F4Us aircraft from the F4U-4B to the end of production had four AN/M3 20mm cannon (another variant of the HS.404)
    The F6F-5N with two 20mm AN/M2s and 4 AN/M2 Caliber .50s
    The F7F (all variants) - four 20mm AN/M3s and four AN/M2 Caliber .50s
    P-61 (all variants) - four 20mm AN/M2s (another variant of the HS.404) and four AN/M2 Caliber .50s

    B-29s also had a single M2 in the tail.

    The Navy, by 1943 was of the opinion that the Caliber .50 was too small to reliably bring down enemy aircraft in a single pass, and therefore began planning to arm all future variants of fighters with at least four 20mm cannon. The biggest difference between 20mm and Caliber .50 is the 20mm has about 3-1/2 ounces of HE in it, so when it hits, it does a lot more damage.
     
  25. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    Probably could have got one with a Pheonix, as they were designed to intercept Soviet cruise missiles (amongst other things). I think their terminal seekers could probably discriminate a Zero doing 250-300kt.

    IIRC the first US production fighter to carry a 20mm cannon was the P-38, in 1941.
     
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