Did Hitler Cancel the Sturmgewehr?

It is often said that Hitler personally cancelled the Sturmgewehr development…could that really be true?

Yes! He actually nixed the program three separate times, and the German Army General Staff continued the project behind his back. They knew the rifle was what the Wehrmacht desperately needed if it was to have any hope of victory in the East, and they were determined to bring it to fruition. He did ultimately relent, and approved it to replace the Mauser K98k in early 1944 – but by that time a great deal of opportunity had been lost. Today we will delve into the details of just how the program developed as it pertains to his approval…


    • Yes, it is a great pleasure to see Ian presenting a little known and to many very surprising fact regarding the concept we today know as assault rifle. Based on the documents in the Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv, I see several details differently, but the basic, very suprising fact that German military continued working on the concept against the strong opinion stated by Hitler is true. Thank you, Ian.
      Totally unthinkable in todays Germany, where the most serious possible consequence for a general having balls would not be facing a firing squad, but a forced retirement with monthly payment reduced to 70 percent.

      P.S. MacArthur was ill informed, because the billions of existing rounds were actually of rapidly deteriorating WW1 production, as the annual tests of stocks proved. The official history “Planning Munitions for War” mentions this, for example. The U.S. prepared for and fought WW2 with new production cartridges, which also could have been .276.

      • “(…)Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv(…)”
        I am wondering if does some documents that might indicate that they attempt to go around said limit via malicious obedience manœuvre, e.g. just slap sight scaled up to 1200m?

        • Malicious disobedience? God beware. Do you really expect that in Nazi Germany at war someone would document in official files his intention to work against what the Commander in Chief ordered? Even we Germans can be more subtle.

          At the core was that Hitler combined his rejection with a new requirement of a more powerful submachine gun with about 200 m range.
          a) This was passed on to industry and DWM proposed a powerful 10.75 mm submachine gun cartridge. What a pity that no further resources were available.
          b) The Mkb 42 was renamed MP 43. Development could continue under the pretext that it was intended to fulfill said submachine gun requirement.

          Ironically, it was Hitler himself who later decreed “to avoid confusion” renaming MP 43 to MP 44, G 43 to K 43 and keep the name of the MG 42. Then in October 1944 he decreed the name Sturmgewehr 44.

          In my opinion, un-military Himmler had absolutely no role in Sturmgewehr promotion. It was the opinion of real soldiers with combat experience, for example three Waffen-SS division commanders (at the knights cross awarding ceremony) or General Guderian (a teletype he sent Hitler still exists) that changed his mind in my view.

          • Discussing this sort of apocrypha from Nazi Germany is about like arguing esoterics of Gnosticism. If you go deep enough into the weeds, you find yourself wondering if the parties involved at the time really had any idea at all about what they were actually doing, or who was in charge.

            I’ve seen some of the German paperwork on the MG42. There’s a lot of coherent stuff in there, but then there are also some outliers that left me and the guy who’d put all that together going “WTF…?”

            You also have to factor in all the schizoid crap that was going on with parallel agencies and chains of command; the Führerprinzip mentality basically enshrined self-serving competition at every level and in every way imaginable. Look at the competition between the Abwehr and the Sicherheitsdienst, for example.

            Along with that, you have the minor problem of a.) there was a whole lot of documentation that they successfully destroyed at the end of the war, and b.) we’ve still got tons of stuff in all the various National Archives of the Allies that hasn’t been gone through, even now. It’s entirely possible that there’s a crate of documents somewhere in Whitehall, the Kremlin, or wherever the US National Archives is keeping their trove of German materials that would blow this whole discussion wide open. It’s one of those Rumsfeldian “unknown unknowns”.

        • The US National Archives in the 1960s have returned official documents to Germany. They are holding back documents from the commercial entities involved (DWM, Walther, Polte, Rheinmetall etc.). It seems these are viewed as war booty. It looks like this is also the attitude of French and British archives. I am not critizising this, just stating the fact.
          Your assessment “nobody looks at the documents held back” hits the nail on the head. Which is the really sad fact of the situation.

      • Also, the United States did a clever little “work around” the isolationist laws in June 1940–long before lend lease–to ensure that fully a quarter of the U.S. strategic stockpile of .30-06 cartridges was shipped to Raritan, New Jersey, sold at a pittance to U.S. Steel, and then duly sold to His Majesty’s gov’t. for transshipment to the post-Dunkirk U.K.

        The counter-argument, as you know, is that U.S. ammunition manufactories made mostly .30 cal. cartridges, and almost no/hardly any .25 or .27 cal. so the production lines would have to be ramped up. Imagine a snazzy little bolt-action carbine for the rear echelon troops and a self-loading .276 Garand with a ten-round en block clip for the frontline infantry, and some kind of automatic rifle variant as the squad auto?

  1. MacArthur was looking at all the 1903/1903A3, BAR, Browning m1919, Pattern 1917 Enfield, and probably something else I have forgotten about. Also, billions of rounds of30-06 loaded to 1917 issue specifications and decided that a new caliber specifically designed for one new rifle in the Garand was not feasible in light of the interwar international situation. In addition, the .276 Pedersen was a smaller, lighter round which would not have been as effective in machineguns and BARs. Probably the most practical decision to have made under the circumstances.

    • All the more so considering the political context. Except for the Civil War, the US had maintained a small constabulary army to fight frontier wars (which were basically over by the 30s). Near-zero chance of a land invasion by recent ally Canada, revolution-torn Mexico, or via the oceans. The “He kept us out of war!” guy had recently lied us into his utopian schemes in Europe, leaving a strong isolationist sentiment and a sense that our WW1 buildup had left us several generations worth of paid-for ammo.

      Also, the weight advantage of .276 was minor (nowhere close to the difference between 7.62 and 5.56), disrupted commonality as you noted, and added little given our strength in logistics.

      • Regardless of the merits (or, lack of them…) of the .276, the raw fact was that the .30-06 was too damn big a cartridge for the individual weapon role. Most of that power was unnecessary in what the real role had evolved into, which was providing local security out to about 300-400m.

        The only people that caught that fact were the Germans and Soviets who were looking into the intermediate cartridges. Everybody else was locked into the whole “Gotta shoot out to 1200m” thing, failing to recognize that a.) that range was always only really effectively addressed by volley fire, and praying that the law of averages would get some kills by sheer chance, and that b.) there were now machineguns which could serve those targets a hell of a lot better and with far more efficacy than a mass of manpower that was also getting shot at.

        I question the premise that the .276 would have been a better choice than the .30-06. I also question the premise that either one had any business being deployed on a WWII battlefield, after the lessons of WWI should have been long since digested and dealt with. The fact that they were considering either cartridge for future service for individual weapon-role use? Delusional. Handwriting was on the wall, had anyone bothered to read it without irrational sentiment and sheer fantasy about the things individual riflemen were doing in combat.

        • You’ve written before about how the infantry rifle cartridge should be light enough to control in FA and carry enough rounds for that. I agree with you, but .276 was nothing of the sort. It’s more akin to the vocal minority of 2020s online commenters who think we should replace 9mm NATO with .30 Super Carry.

          You could look on it as Macarthur indulging in the individual rifleman fantasy; I look it as more or less the opposite: no justification for a cartridge that offered no meaningful difference, and [the proven-correct judgment that] reinventing the wheel for riflemen would have made zero difference in the outcome of a 1940s war.

          • What would have made a difference for WWII would have been doing a clear-eyed examination of what had been going on in combat during WWI, then preparing accordingly. The US needed something like an actual LMG, not the BAR, and something like a plumped-up M1 Carbine that would arm the majority of the troops. Supplemented by decent indirect support like a Japanese knee mortar or a 40mm grenade launcher… Also, a man-portable AT system that worked.

            All of which would have been eminently feasible with 1920s, even 1930s technology. The Munroe Effect was known as far back as the 1890s; all that was needed was to exploit it, marry it to something like the Davis Gun or one of Goddard’s rockets, and they’d have been set for whatever came in 1939 at the beginning of the decade. Instead? They prepared for a fantasy war that they didn’t actually wind up fighting, and everything had to be improvised or worked around at the last minute.

            I don’t fault them for what happened, but I damn sure fault them for not paying attention to WWI and its combat lessons. They were there; you just had to look. Hardly anyone was actually doing the long-ranged fire thing with the individual weapons; it was all being done by machineguns, as it should have been. The fact that they insisted on keeping the .30-06 as the basic cartridge indicates how little they’d actually learned.

            Hell, logistically? It was nuts; you factor out how much excess weight in just the materials alone amounted to, then how much it cost to ship and carry into combat? For what benefit gained? Dear God, it’s insane… Figure that at least a third to half the weight of materials and propellant in every fired round from an individual weapon in .30-06 in ground combat was effectively superfluous, excess to actual need? What the hell were the opportunity costs, there? Let alone the cost of lives spent to haul all that ammo up to the front line and then which were expended because the guys doing the fighting weren’t able to dominate the firefights they got into because of overpowered individual weapons?

            You can’t go back and run an experiment to prove it, but you do have to wonder how many men’s lives would have been saved by more appropriate weapons and better tactics. Not to mention, shortening the damn war itself…

          • Oh, and lest you think I’m being “unfair” to the pre-WWII “leadership”, by accusing them of being blind?

            I’ve also been on record here and elsewhere delineating my disdain and rage at the current lot of idjit leadership we have, who’ve sequentially ignored the near-certainty of the IED war back in the 1990s, when we could have been preparing for it, and in what they’ve failed to do in response to the drone issue, which a blind man could have seen coming just as long ago.

            Hell, you’d have to be a total idiot or an American military bureaucrat to miss the potential of the cheap ubiquitous drone. The Ukrainians are doing exactly what I predicted years ago, turning a “modern” army into a bunch of burned-out wrecks via commercial hobbyist drones.

            Go look for an effective response by anyone in the US military, or even any acknowledgement that we’d be about as useless in the face of such a thing as the Russians are. They’re doing nothing at all effective to prepare for that kind of war, while everyone we might wind up fighting is spending billions on SHORAD and drone suppression.

            Meanwhile, Ukraine is integrating drone teams into every platoon, and standing up entire drone units to support their offensives. I dare say there likely aren’t any US observers even attached to those units, to learn from them. And, there damn well should be…

          • a clear-eyed examination of what had been going on in combat during WWI

            They didn’t spend much time on the stagnant and futile middle, true. They did notice the growing dominance of planes, tanks, arty, MGs, amphib warfare, naval aviation, and logistics; and then won WW2 with planes, tanks, arty, MGs, amphib warfare, naval aviation, and logistics. In that very context, they chose not to invest in a pittance in ammo savings on the infantry rifle (which not only kept logistics simple with the MGs, but was also still better than our adversaries’).

            .30-06 may be “insane” in comparison with the hindsight ideal, but then so were the cartridges used by every army in the world at the time. It certainly isn’t “insane” in comparison with the insignificant-difference alternative that was actually offered.

          • It’s only an “insignificant difference” to the dipshits doing the “one over the world” planning up in the rarefied atmospheres of the General Headquarters.

            For the poor bloody bastards stuck in doing the actual, y’know… Combat? It’s kind of a big f*cking deal. It’s also a big deal to the families of the men who don’t come home again, after the war, because they died compensating for ineffectual or sub-par weapons down at the pointy-edge of the spear.

            It’s possible to make the argument that better planes and ships were “more important”, but just how much would better rifles and machineguns have cost, and how many lives would have been saved had we bought those instead of, oh… Say any of the failed US aircraft designs of the war?

            I’d say that the small arms were at least as important as the Brewster Buffalo, ya know…?

          • Yes, the ideal rifle (which didn’t exist) might have saved lives.

            But also yes, a few-grains difference per round in the exact same rifle was absolutely insignificant. Fallacious appeals to emotion notwithstanding, we don’t need to speculate from “rarefied atmospheres” because we have ample evidence from real-world Combat that a Pedersonish cartridge didn’t confer the slightest advantage on our Pacific adversaries.

          • P.S. I know that being in the Economy of Force force sucks. I spent my entire career in the Navy’s Economy of Force force – and yet I appreciate the essentially correct strategic judgment that made it so.

          • Mike, if we carry out your logic to its conclusion, than we shouldn’t have bothered with arming anyone with anything at all. A pointy stick would have been good enough, what with all those fighters and bombers and ships… Right?

            I’m reminded of that aphorism of Ford’s, about his accountants who knew the price of everything and the value of nothing.

            The raw fact was that they had to rearm for WWII. The other fact is that when they made the choices of what to do that with, they did so in a state of obliviousness as to what was going on in infantry combat actions. The thinking you espouse was a complete betrayal of those men committed to the infantry close combat fight; you’re saying “Well, we have all this other stuff, they don’t matter…”

            Very Soviet, that. Note where that line of thinking has left what is remaining of the Soviet Union in Russia, demographically. The lives of your men matter; you give them inferior and inappropriate weapons to go to war with, then you’re betraying their trust, and the faith of the people who entrusted you with the lives of their sons and husbands.

            The sad fact is, there’s an unknowable number of men that died in combat during WWII who might well have survived the war, were they not equipped and trained for a way of war that never really existed. The War Department could have and should have done a better job of working out what was going on under fire, then equipped and trained itself to deal with that. Not the fantastic vision they had of the “American Minuteman” winning the day with his Daniel Boone-esque riflery skills…

            Instead, they set up a lot of young men to take on MG34/42 gun teams and mortars with an ideal rifle for winning at Camp Perry. They had to rearm; why couldn’t they have rearmed with something that just worked?

            One of the things Ian doesn’t get into is just how far back the work on the German project went… Like, to the early 1930s. That’s telling; there was nothing of the sort even going on in the US, just the .276 Pedersen as an option, and it was just like the damned pre-WWI British cartridge and the current NGSW one: Too damn powerful for the job.

            Fuzzy thinking, all around. Poor results. I refuse to excuse them for that.

          • the price of everything and the value of nothing. . . state of obliviousness . . . complete betrayal of those men

            If I came across as believing grunt lives don’t matter, I never meant that and sincerely apologize. I was simply factually supporting my conclusion that adopting a near-identical caliber in the same rifle wouldn’t have saved a single grunt life. I’m willing to be convinced (by facts and logic, not petty ad hominem): Show me accounts from grunts who wished they’d been issued an Arisaka (basically a .276 with a better BC) instead of a Garand. That of course is the other part that I left unsaid because it should be clear to any student of history: far from shorting our infantry to emphasize other services or arms, we were the only belligerent to enter the war without the majority of our grunts carrying a last-war bolt gun!

            I love historical speculation and “should’ve beens”, but it sure helps to temper presentism with some sense of perspective. It makes perfect sense – in light of the Germans having an assault rifle in 1942 and the Russians in 1947 – to slam US Ordnance for introducing the M14 in 1957. It makes no sense to call them “insane” in the early 30s for being one of the 100% of all militaries who did not field an StG, just because it was scientifically possible. We could have had a P365 in 1982 (maybe 1972), but it took until 20frickin18! Or, as a wise man once pointed out, we could have put little wheels on baggage hundreds (thousands?) of years ago, but struggled with carrying them until very recently. Does that mean that everyone in the 30s or the 90s was insane? Or does it simply reflect the fact that almost no one intuits the best way to synthesize all available tech into a single product until after decades of experience with it?

          • Mike,

            It ain’t “presentism” to point out where they went wrong, or that they could have done a better job.

            IED campaign. Drones. Wrong rifle/cartridge in the M1/.30-06 and the M14/7.62 NATO. NGSW. See something in common, there? I sure as hell do.

            If the same error in evaluating what is going on in combat continues to be made, down to the present day? It’s a problem that needs addressing.

            How about the Mk.14 torpedo issue of WWII? Should we ignore how that happened, how it persisted? It’s all a part of the continuing skein of essential incompetence demonstrated by actual performance. The “system” does not do a good job at any of this stuff. I keep pointing that out not because I have a thorn in my ass (which I do, really…) but because if you keep doing the same things, over and over again, you’ve got a damn problem.

            Alcoholics have to reach rock-bottom and admit they’re alkys. Our military systems need to do the same damn thing, and making continual excuses for them ain’t helping. Everything about combat in WWI was knowable; the fact that we should have been re-evaluating what we’d actually done, and working forward from there to better systems was criminal, and it cost an unknowable amount of human capital that should never have been expended in WWII and Korea. Also, Vietnam.

            I know for a damn fact that our incompetent leadership got a bunch of my guys killed out clearing IEDs in unarmored vehicles, trying to keep the routes open in Iraq until they got off their asses and got us the stuff the South Africans had had on offer since the early 1990s, when we tried getting the US Army interested in that technology. It’s the same syndrome that is going on right now with drones, and which led to the M1 and M14 programs; a lack of attention or priority on finding out what actual combat was like, and what we were doing under fire. Same sh*tshow, different decades… Time after time after time.

          • I agree with most of your points, including that it isn’t presentism to point out where someone could have done a better job like one or more of their contemporaries. Proposing effective solutions to current problems also contributes greatly to the discussion.

            It absolutely is presentism to point out where historical leaders went “wrong” (in 2023 terms) by practicing the state of the art that was universal in their time. Calling 30s Americans “insane” for doing what everyone in the 30s did is absurdity. It’s a tautological, “Nyah, nyah, I know more than 30s people did!” especially given:
            1. .30ish infantry rifles were not merely legacies, but such a pervasive idea that numerous armies who had smaller-caliber rifles were “upgrading” them to bigger bores!
            2. The 30s US put more thought and effort into its rifles than its major contemporaries who were just dressing up Victorian bolt-muskets. (I can’t deny that they failed / ignored LMGs.)
            3. Alongside this investment, the investment in creating a robust combined-arms team not only benefitted US citizens and generals, but also saved more lives among the infantry themselves than a miniscule caliber change.

            P.S. That THR thread was amazing – thanks!

          • Mike,

            Show me anywhere that the US military did any real “lessons learned” reconciliation of what was going on with small arms in combat after WWI, and I’ll shut up. They didn’t do it, that I’ve ever found.

            It’s all “Well, we won the war with the Springfield ’03 and the .30-06, that’s good enough for us!!, and zero examination of things like the Sturmtruppen.

            If there had been, there’d have been some signs of work being done to do better than the BAR and the M1917/M1919. They prioritized on a full-caliber semi-auto, in complete denial about the ranges and actual combat conditions that the individual rifleman encountered in WWI. They also didn’t bother with improving or making more portable the MG component of the combat team, and didn’t even try putting a belt-fed down to that level until late WWII with the M1919A6. Even the Brits and the French recognized the need for an LMG with some real capacity for sustained fire, which was where the BREN came from, out of the Lewis Gun’s WWI experience. The US stuck with the Automatic Rifle concept-bound BAR, and treated it as a one-man weapon. This was not how most of the fighting in WWI was conducted; marching fire was not a thing, by the end of the war: It was fire-and-movement, as two separate things. You didn’t try firing on the move, which was what that BAR was built for.

            I’ve been over as much of the literature as I can get my hands on, and the US has a paucity of anything showing real thought about small arms. It’s all “We wun, dat’s gud enuf fer us’ns…”, and that’s it. The Garand just represents more of the same, and it’s a telling thing that the Army chose to concentrate its limited resources on it, rather than a really good fire support weapon. The MG was the centerpiece of nearly all European squad-level units; only in the US did anyone treat the MG as a secondary item, an afterthought. And, we paid the price for it.

            Absent all the other arms we had, we’d have experienced some really nasty exchange rates with the Germans, less so than with the Japanese. Japan and Germany both did better jobs of providing their infantry with the tools they needed to dominate combat and survive, but then again… They had to. For every deficient rifle squad they faced, there were two or three airplanes dropping bombs on them, several artillery pieces doing their thing, and a plethora of tanks showing up.

            Which is how we’ve fought, with supporting arms doing most of the work. Which didn’t do all that badly, up until we got ourselves stuck into small-arms centric fights like those during some phases of Korea, a lot of Vietnam, and a whole lot of Afghanistan.

            You don’t have to have good small arms and minor tactics to win wars, but it sure as hell helps keep the casualties down among the infantry, and if you’re stupid enough to write ROE that tie your hands behind your back, you’d better make damn sure you know what the hell you are doing with them.

          • You are correct in the perspective of the no thought given to changes that should have been given consideration. At the start of WWII we did a hurry up build and acceptance if the M1 carbine, that should have been in consideration much earlier and had more time for development. Also when you consider that the Japanese were developing the 7.7 mm to give ballistics close to the 30-06, and that the 7.7 was a rimless version of the .303 British, with less case taper, and that the Italians decided to create the 7.35 Carcano to throw a larger bullet at greater velocity than the 6.6 mm Carcano, we see everyone suddenly trying to improve the damage capability of issue rounds that really were better suited to LMGs than to primary battle rifles, we see the distinct lack of thought concerning real usefulness of infantry rifles.

          • I didn’t say the US rifle selection was perfect, brilliant, impeccably thorough, or even good; merely that it was the least-worst of all the mass issue infantry rifles of the 30s.

            I never even mentioned LMGs (a subject on which I agree with you completely). The sole basis for your scathing accusations was my opposition to a pointless change to a cartridge similar to the Japanese and Italians’ – which not only showed zero advantage across mountains of real-world combat evidence, but which both empires were actively trying at the time to replace with cartridges more like ours!

          • The grisly so-called “pig board” tests actually did determine that the wounding power of 6.5mm and 7mm cartridges on anaesthetized swine bodies was plenty lethal. So the smaller caliber cartridges did, in fact, offer a meaningful difference: A smaller, lighter self-loading rifle. A ten-shot self loader under ten pounds in weight. Ability to carry a bit more ammo.
            Basically, a 7mm-08 before that caliber was developed. The strangest thing about the pig board tests was noting the lethality of 6.5mm cartridges but opting for 7mm as sort of a “split the difference.” Check out some of the U.S. government wound analyses produced during WWII–not for the squeamish–and see what the old 6.5x50mmSR Japanese service cartridge produced…
            MacArthur knew Congress wouldn’t fund a new cartridge, ’tis true, and he recoiled at having multiple cartridges complexifying needlessly the U.S. logistics train in the 1930s…. Only to then add the U.S. cal. 30 M1 carbine cartridge in the 1940s!

          • Dave,
            I’m well aware of the theoretical benefits of a tiny lightening of Garand cartridges, and discussed them all in previous comments – along with the fact that none of them translated to actual advantages in the hands of our adversaries who fielded near-identical cartridges (and were actively trying to replace them with something like ours).

            To summarize my other points, I agree that a true intermediate cartridge (not .276P) would have been better than .30-06 for WW2 rifles, and was scientifically possible at the time; while also believing in tempering hindsight with a sense of perspective (recognition that historical technology is generally behind not only ours, but also what is scientifically possible in their time; and that “failure” to implement advances is really only blameworthy if it lags the practices of contemporaries).

  2. MacArthur wasn’t a small-arms expert or a logistician; his decisions, as near as I can tell, were just like Hitler’s: Based entirely on emotion.

    The raw fact is that the views Hitler had about infantry combat were colored by his experiences in what we can charitably describe as a second-rate Bavarian reserve regiment; it was never more than a standard line unit, and as far as I’ve ever been able to tell, there was no penetration into that regiment of actual Sturmtruppen or Hutier tactics. Hitler’s views were formed entirely by what the Bavarians had been doing before the war, and saw little modification. He’d been told “Every rifle must be capable of 1200m shooting”, and that’s what he stuck with.

    The fact that there weren’t targets out to that range that could effectively be hit by one guy with one rifle wasn’t something he had demonstrated to him by practical experience, sooooo… Yeah. Just like MacArthur, who kept regurgitating what he’d been taught in his formative years.

    The reality that such 1200m targets were only ever really effectively addressed by volley fire of entire units was lost on these two, along with the fact that the machinegun had effectively replaced the old-school volley fire techniques. This being the case, the individual weapon no longer needed that range, nor did it need the sheer horse-killing power of the full-house cartridge. In company of the machinegun, such long-range overpowered individual weapons were ridiculous, and what they really needed were carbines for close-in short-range combat and security out to about a max of 300-400m. As such, the old-school full-power cartridges were obsolete for every purpose except machineguns, and they really should have been replaced there, the way the Swedes did it.

    It’s interesting the way that the “desire path” of actual combat experience has led to the consistent re-invention of the two-caliber solution, time and time again. It’s almost like there’s something there that would indicate, oh… I don’t know… Maybe that what is suitable in one role, isn’t in another? That the individual weapon is not effective as a long-range system, and entirely unnecessary as one, when you have a decent MG in the fire team and squad…? Could that be it?

    Nah… Clearly, the one true path is “One Cartridge to Rule Them All”, and Frodo will have to throw the damn thing into the fires of Mount Doom before anyone is willing to acknowledge that is a bad, bad idea.

    I’m willing to tip my hat to the idea that the Automatic Rifle/Light Machine Gun/Squad Support Weapon role might, just might be arguably best filled by something in the same cartridge as the individual weapon, but you’ll only pry my actual machine guns out of my cold, dead hands.

    I don’t particularly care how you arm the rest of the squad, but if you take away my One True Machinegun in a minimum of 7.62 NATO from the table of organization and equipment, we’re going to have words. Harsh ones, and I’m likely to ignore your stupid ass and scrounge as many of the things as I can from elsewhere. Outright theft ain’t off the table, either… Nor is looting, or armed robbery of the depots.

    • Remember that MacArthur started his military career when cavalry was still a viable force and rifles were considered for the ability to kill the horse at long range, since the rider would then be less of a threat to the opposing force. MacArthur graduated from West Point in 1903 and there were still units issued trapdoor Springfield 45-70 rifles, because the newish smokeless powder .30-40 Krag was in much more limited production due to cost issues. As a side note on the whole ballistics of military cartridges the Krag was loaded with a 220 grain roundnose bullet at about 2000 feet per second. the same bullet was initially issued in the 30-03 which developed into the 30-06 and then had the bullet weight reduced to roughly 150 grains at 2750 feet per second. MacArthur was one of the last class a West Point trained in Heliography, which is semaphore with mirrors and sunlight from one mountain range to another.

      • I might point out, piggy-backing on some of Kirk’s WWI points: Corporal of the royal Bavarian Army, Adolf Hitler was in a war characterized by artillery, artillery, artillery, artillery, and machine guns. His weird, almost fetishistic, fascination with railroad guns and cannon derives surely from that experience.

        By the end of WWI, the German army had to do more with less manpower. This led to Rohr and Hutier development of so-called storm trooper tactics and experimentation with trench artillery/ mortars, flame throwers “und so weiter.” Then there was the Siegried stellung/Hindenburg line: shorten the front lines, adopt defense-in-depth, standardize bunker design by late 1917, use conscripted slave labor and PoWs to pour concrete, and create all of the sundry defensive lines where islands of machine guns in a barbed wire sea would result in a relative handful of soldiers tying up the allied combined-arms offensives to the degree they were able to… “Not enough” as it turned out during the last 100 days. So Hitler’s mentality hewed to declaring one or another city as being a “festung” for fortress and that each and every place so designated should hold out to the bitter end. Small wonder that the Germans pretty much ignored rifle development and fixated on a general-purpose machine gun instead? Move over null acht fuenfzehn, now there’s the MG34! Uh, I mean MG42!

        France fought WWI with a bunch of ad-hoc improvisations. Her generals are the absolute epitome of planning to fight a war entirely unlike the war that they were handed, no? Most obsolete rifle, crummiest machine gun, most dated uniform, you-name-it. So then there’s a whole plethora of work arounds of the 8x50mmR cartridge–Chauchat, Berthier clip-loaded rifle (3-rounds!), steel helmets by 1915, the Hotchkiss begins to supplant the St. Etienne, even a self-loading rifle by 1917. Postwar, they planned a super-trench in the ouvrages of the Maginot line, and at least a decent automatic rifle. The priorities in aircraft were keenly felt in 1940, no? The nation went to war in 1939 with no less than seven different service rifles, albeit with an admirably robust and simple one for the infantry ill-equipped to communicate with their neighboring units or chain of command, into the disasters of Fall Gelb and Fall Rot.

        • Absolutely correct about leaders with outdated mindsets, however MacArthur was also not wrong in refusing to add a different caliber rifle and cartridge to the existing chain of supply for the military services. the Air Corps was part of the Army and locked into Army ordinance, the Navy used a comparatively small number of rifles and MacArthur hated the Marine Corps with a passion. As head of the Ordinance department his refusal to condone another cartridge that did not fill the intermediate role is understandable. The idea of developing a specialized intermediate cartridge and self-loading rifle did not become part of military thinking until after the Sturmgewher was developed by the Germans. If the U S had developed such a rifle/cartridge combination between the wars, it would quite likely been somewhat similar to the 8×33/7.62×39 based on a 30mm to 40mm case length and a .30 caliber bullet. Part of the problem would have been a suitable powder for the cartridge, since proven pressure tested/temperature powders were few and mostly designed for full power rounds. This lack of proper propellant stymied developers.

          • But then what is one to make of the decision taken in 1940-1941 to *add* the old Wincehster .32 SL cartridge as the cal. .30 M1 carbine cartridge to supply fully *six million* M1 carbines (by 1944)? So instead of ditching .276 Pedersen to preserve .45 acp and .30-06 as the two army and army air corps cartridges (with the addition of .50 BMG and other aircraft armament cartridges, used prodigiously), the U.S. army got .45 acp, .30-06, and .30 U.S. carbine. The adoption might have led to the elimination of .45 acp, but no… Then, as everyone knows, the pendulum swings back again, and the M14 is bandied about as the replacement for the M1 carbine, M1 rifle, and BAR! Only not so much…

            Rene Studler entirely forgot about .276 Pedersen during the replacement of the de facto Nato cartridge (.30-06), with a de jure Nato cartridge 7.62x51mm. The UK of course, had the puny and entirely unsatisfactory series of .280/7mm cartridges for the ugly EM2 and TADEN weapon system. /sarcasm.

            I’ve been long struck that the first experimentation with intermediate-power cartridges that never were adopted was by-and-large by weaker powers/ nations: Italy (7.35x32mm 135gr. bullet @ 1,970 fps), arguably the 7.35x51mm (128gr. bullet @ 2,480 fps), Switzerland (7.65x35mm 123gr. @+ or – 2k fps), and the overly complicated German Vollmer M35/II 7.75x40mm

          • U.S. carbine . . . adoption might have led to the elimination of .45 acp, but no…

            Eon has contributed some incredibly informative and thought-provoking comments about how the Army recognized that most people are much more effective with rifles than pistols, and introduced a weapon that revolutionized gun design / largely obsoleted SMGs overnight.

            OTOH, they also failed to replace pistols (I deployed to the sandbox with an M9 as my sole “PDW” in 2008 and 2009). While carbines are better than pistols in almost every practical respect, pistols also excel at staying out of the way, and many people who had been issued 8.5″ devices couldn’t easily replace them with 36″ devices. We have excellent compact PDWs (and 1911ish pistols in .30C), but that was probably too far outside the box in 1940.

          • Keep in mind that the American military mindset was also to provide allies and resistance groups with compact weapons suited for easier concealment and firepower with the M1 carbine and really did not consider the most effective round parameters in selecting an new intermediate range cartridge and simply decided to improve upon the worst rifle cartridge ever in the .32 Winchester self-loader and were inextricably married to the idea of a .30 caliber bullet for reasons I do not understand. They could have made the M1 carbine a really effective weapon by necking down the .351 WSL to .30 if they were unwilling to keep a .35 diameter bullet and greatly improved the ballistics with the gas operated carbine action.

          • necking down the .351 WSL to .30

            Or better yet, 6-7mm. Bore commonality is a false economy; with guns needing not only different chambers, but also completely different blanks and twist rates, you’re saving on, umm, drill bits?

  3. Regarding its’ early combat usage
    Operational research department, 3rd Shock Army concluded in January 1944 that
    The model 1943 carbine-machinegun is designed to be used by infantry divisions that fight in forests. Two divisions in the Volkov and Holmsk directions had these weapons. Submachineguns have proven to be ineffective in the forest due to poor penetration. Machineguns are too heavy and not maneuverable enough. It is hard to aim and see when firing from the ground, and uncomfortable to fire from trees. machinegun-carbine combines the maneuverability of a submachinegun with the penetration of a machinegun. The system is well balanced and mobile. Firing in bursts has very light recoil. It is light and comfortable to use. One drawback is that it uses a special round with a shortened casing. Despite that, it has the penetration of a rifle at 400 meters. The magazines (30 round capacity, 7 are carried by each rifleman) are comfortable to use.

    The weapon is gas-operated, tilting bolt. The effective range is 100-800 meters. Rate of fire: 500 rounds per minute.

  4. Anyone with a brain knew that the war in the East was done by late 1942 (Hitler knew it) and nothing was going to change the event. Heavy defensive weapons and v-weapons were what was needed to slow down the allies so the final solution could be completed before ultimate defeat.

  5. The StG 44 was in use with the West German Border Police in the early 1950’s replacing the US M1 Carbine and Mauser K98 (still used though by their rear echelon), until replaced by the G3 then the G53 in the 1960-70’s. The East German Army replaced the Mauser with StG 44 in the early 1950’s and replace by the SKS, then MPiKM. Photographic evidence shows their Border Guards and Reserve units using the StG 44 into the 1980’s.

    • The use of StG 44 (under designation MP 44) by East German police and later the “Kampfgruppen der Arbeiterklasse” (officially workers tasked to defend their factories, really to suppress any possibility of a repetition of the 1953 uprising).
      But I have never encountered evidence regarding use of StG 44 by WEST German forces of any kind. Border Police used the Beretta submachine gun, US Carbine M1, K98k. All were later replaced by FN FAL (G1) rifles and still much later by the G3.

      • Handrich, in Sturmgewehr! has reference to interest by the West German government in the StG44 circa 1951 on page 351 of the book. Allied approval would have been required, all the plants were in the East, and by the time of Germany’s rearmament, they were doing it in 7.62 NATO anyway, soooo… It didn’t go anywhere.

        I doubt that they’d have had an easy time of trying to build the things in West Germany, anyway… It would have been like trying to revive the MG42, which turned out to be a huge pain in the ass, because everything about the manufacture of those was basically lost, requiring reverse-engineering in a lot of cases.

  6. One thing I note missing from Ian’s narrative: The Demyansk Pocket experience that supposedly served as a wake-up call for Hitler when he was handing out awards to all the guys involved. I’ve heard apocryphal tales about this incident for years, seen some written documentation, but nothing really definitive.

    Story I’ve heard was that the MP43 test objects were delivered into the pocket at Demyansk, along with a bunch of ammo for them. Then, they were crucial to the break-out effort, enabling that to happen. When Hitler was passing out the awards to the heroes of that break-out, he asked them what they needed and they told him “More of those new machine-pistols…”, which was how Hitler found out about the subterfuge that the General Staff was pulling on him in this regard.

    Supposedly, this all happened. Actual historical documentation and verification? Haven’t seen it; it’s all apocryphal and missing from the Collector’s Grade book Sturmgewehr!

    • All the data I’ve seen (such as in John Walter’s books) says that yes, self-loading rifles were air-delivered to the 16th Army (by Ju52s, not “airdrop”), along with ammunition.

      But (surprise!) they were mostly Russian AVS36 and SVT40 rifles captured in the early stages of Barbarossa. A lot of them brand-new and never issued, because they were captured when the Wehrmacht overran the Russian army depots in the defensive hardpoint line that Stalin had moved the Russian Army’s main forces out of a month before the German attack- in preparation for invading Germany through Czechoslovakia.

      (Another example of Hogg’s Law; “Just because you’re getting ready to attack, there is no rule preventing the other fellow from having a go at you first.”)

      If you think about it, delivering Russian-issue rifles and a few million rounds of 7.62 x 54R ammunition for them makes perfect sense in the context. You already know they’re designed to work in the local climate, and resupply of ammo in combat can be as simple as taking it off dead Russians.

      Besides, Germany was chronically short of everything, even in the munitions manufacturing department. Why send at best a few dozen prototype Maschinenkarabiners (remember, Goebbels hadn’t invented the term “Sturmgewehr” for the Fuhrer yet at that point) when all those bright, shiny, unused Russian self-shuckers were just sitting in crates in warehouses along with enough ammunition to choke the Wehrmacht’s entire inventory of horses.

      I suspect that the selective-fire AVS36s were what gave rise to the myth of MKb42s being in the hands of 16th Army. From the Russian side, it might have been sort of hard to distinguish exactly what they were being shot at with.

      Plus, there’s the Russian military mentality to consider. Telling Stalin “They got away because of their new, advanced rifles, can we have something similar?” was probably safer than saying “They got away because they shot the s#!t out of us with all of our advanced rifles they captured because you screwed up our deployment, Joe”.

      Telling Stalin he was wrong about anything was generally a fast ticket to Excedrin Headache Number Seven Point Six Two.

      I suspect the myth of 16th Army’s breakout was born mainly of the Russian Army’s officer corps’ instincts for self-preservation after Stalin’s earlier purges of same.

      Just IMPO, take it for what it’s worth.



      • That makes a lot more sense, as an explanation for it all.

        That “Demyansk Pocket” myth has some staying power, though. Yet, like most of these things, it’s all apocryphal “word of mouth”, with nobody providing citations or much real detail.

        Which is one reason that today’s internet environment is helping “accurize” a lot of this stuff… Time was, you’d be sitting around BS’ing with someone, and they’d say something about how the MP43 won its spurs at Demyansk, and they’d have heard it from someone else, and you’d have no way of arguing the point or would even think it wrong…

  7. Todays Marine Corps is again pushing for a more potent round than the.223 with which the average rifleman can reach out and touch someone. Areas like Afghanistan showed the need for a longer-ranged bullet. Thus, a 6.5 MM round seems to be the future.

    • It’s all about “Taking Back The Infantry Half-Kilometer”- which is actually the title of an official Ordnance “white paper” on the subject.

      Well, you can’t “Take Back” what you never had to begin with. And beyond about 200 meters, 99.9% of the killing has always been done by the “support weapons”, artillery first historically, and then arty plus the machine guns. That was as true at Gettysburg as it was at Kasserine Pass, Changjin Reservoir- and Hue.

      The present fashion for 6.5mm/6.8mm class cartridges is simply the .276 Enfield (1913)/.276 Pedersen (1934) /0.280in Enfield (1949)/6mm GPC (U.S. 1977) brouhaha all over again. It seems like everybody keeps “ballistically” re-inventing the 7 x 57mm Mauser and calling it something else.

      It also seems that everybody but Slam Marshall overlooked the fact that in Korea, where combat was like WW2 only more so, everybody wanted (and got) M2 carbines. The M1 Garand was what everybody “wanted” at first, until they learned that (1) its extended range was largely useless, (2) it didn’t react well to Korean winter cold and summer dust, and (3) when you needed up-close, right-the-f**k-now firepower, an eight-shot en-bloc clip-loading rifle just wasn’t going to get the job done.

      The Garand worked pretty well in a Northern European summer. Several uncles of mine had a more scathing opinion of it in North Africa, Italy, the Bulge, the Pacific….and Korea.

      I still think we need a new support machine gun round. Something like .30 TC for whatever replaces the overweight M240. (Please, can we have a modernized, mostly-composite MG42/59 or [grown-up] CETME Ameli in .30TC, pretty please?)

      Next up, a replacement for the 12.7 x 99mm weapons (HMGs and rifles both) in something like .408 CheyTac (10.6 x 77mm). Lighter ammo, better accuracy, and still hits hard out to 1,000 meters. Also, better suited for high-ROF systems (shorter case and OA length).

      If you really want to keep the old Ma Deuce (and I can see why, the bugger is heavy as Hell but as brute reliable as a bloody crowbar), rebarrel it to .729 Jongmans (18.5 x 112mm). A wildcat “T-Rex killing” cartridge otherwise effectively useless anywhere but Jurassic Park, if loaded with 20mm class explosive projectiles it could turn any Browning M2 into a light automatic cannon, once more making it a viable support weapon, notably as light AA.

      And in the future drone-heavy air battlespace environment, you’re going to need all the effective light-to-medium AA you can lay your hands on.

      Just a thought or two.



      • I have to admit that I read that white paper with a sense of sheer “WTF?” echoing through the back of my mind. The main thing I left it with was a sense of unreality, realizing that a goodly swathe of what I’ve been fighting my entire career wasn’t what I thought it was, but a consistent and persistent misunderstanding about what the hell small arms are supposed to be doing.

        The first post at this link does a really good job of expressing my doubts:


        I think that what Major Ehrhart wrote in that white paper was more wrong than it was right; most of his problem is that he thinks that his riflemen are supposed to be doing the job that rightfully belongs to his machineguns.

        My take on it was and is “Duuuude… What the hell? Who taught you that the rifleman was your primary offensive small arm?”

        You read that paper, and you’re just left in a state of confusion. He talks about “taking back the infantry half-kilometer”, and he barely mentions the machinegun in any of its roles, nor does he discuss the reality that what the real problem is would be the lack of an effective tripod and fire control system within the squad.

        Sad fact is, if you’re scattering riflemen around the battlefield and then thinking that they’re going to be at all effective and influential past about 200m in front of their muzzles, you’re delusional and nuts. There are statistical outliers, but… Ain’t happening. PFC Joe Snuffleupagus ain’t Alvin York, and even York would have likely had issues in Afghanistan, as different a sort of terrain as that was from Tennessee.

        Individual riflemen with individual weapons provide local, close-in security for your other systems that range out past their effective range with individual weapons. Those “other systems” would be machineguns, mortars, grenade launchers, and whatever you have on call over the radio you’d best be carrying. Maximum effective range on your MG is going to be, at most, around 800m. WHEN YOU ARE FIRING IT OFF OF PFC SCHMEDLAP’S SHOULDER AND A BIPOD. If you are smart enough to have and carry with you a tripod+T&E mechanism, then you may be able to count on delivering effective fire out to perhaps 1800m. Also, you can effectively control and correct the MG fires delivered by your team; being able to say “Up 200, left 300, troops in the open, fire for effect…” when you’ve laid in your first ranging burst is immeasurably more efficient and much, much more effective than “Yeah, Ted… Little further out, little more left, huh? Bunch of guys moving around… You nearly got them, with that…”

        It also helps if MG team leaders have rangefinders and those all-important binoculars with reticles so as they can actually offer up useful commands to the gun teams…

        Major Ehrhart seems fixated on riflemen, to the exclusion of everything else. What he apparently was never taught was that he wasn’t supposed to be using his riflemen like that in the first damn place, so it’s no damn wonder he got sh*tty results with them.

        That issue is spread like a thick sheen of oil over all of our Afghanistan small arms problems; it infests the entire NGSW program from top to bottom, and it’s why we’re essentially recapitulating the entire flawed development process by which we came to the M14 and the 7.62mm NATO in the first damn place.

        Modern combat simply doesn’t work the way these cretins think it does.

        • it is an ancient story: The generals prepare to fight the last war over. Perhaps another take-away should be: Don’t fight a war like Afghanistan again?

          • Dave,
            You’re being too generous. Worse than preparing to refight Afghanistan, they’re planning to fight an absurd hypothetical blend of Afghanistan hand-tying COIN ROE, with a ten-foot-tall peer competitor.

      • “(…)And in the future drone-heavy air battlespace environment, you’re going to need all the effective light-to-medium AA you can lay your hands on.(…)”
        That would explain that 21-century dual Maxim AA machine gun mount https://strangernn.dreamwidth.org/1822743.html

        “(…).729 Jongmans (18.5 x 112mm)(…)”
        Would it work reliably in fully-automatic weapon? Earlier design derived from 12,7×99 for usage in machine guns seems somewhat different, see http://old.municion.org/16/16x98Vega.htm

        • The profile of the .729 is pretty close to that of the 25mm round for the XM25, so it should work through self-loading actions about as well. The major “issue” with it is whether or not being an 18.5mm puts it below the Hague Accord “legal threshold” for explosive projectiles.

          I might add that the 18.5 x 112mm is about the limit, caliber-wise, for a “bottleneck” case based on 12.7 x 99mm. Bring it up to 20mm and you have a slightly tapered straight-walled case, that would most likely have to headspace off the case mouth.

          To my knowledge, the only belted case in this class was the .55 Boys cartridge (13.9 x 99Bmm). It might bear looking at as a potential basis for a new 20mm class autocannon round adaptable to the .50 BMG and similar platforms.



    • I think that “Areas like Afghanistan…” show the need for better, more effective leadership and training, rather than a new longer-ranged bullet.

      The essential idiocy of conducting yourself such that each and every soldier and Marine is conceived of as another Carlos Hathcock or Alvin York is the primary problem here, as well as conceptually misunderstanding what the hell the weapons are supposed to be doing, what their roles are.

      Individual weapons are those that are fired off of the shoulder’s imperfect and inadequate shoulders. They’re incapable of real, repeatable precision under combat circumstances, ineffective past about 400m. That’s a reality that can’t be overcome, and when you add in the chaos, confusion, and exhaustion that battles are usually fought under, it’s flatly insane to be counting on someone consistently pulling off shots that they find challenging under ideal range conditions at home station after a full breakfast, a cup of coffee, and with nobody shooting at them.

      In “ye olden dayes”, you used individual riflemen as part of an organic machinegun, delivering mass fires upon the enemy out to the maximum range of the cartridge. That was doable; you had a hundred guys doing volley fire, they’d hit something out at 1200m, or at the least, scare the crap out of them such that you got the effect you needed. Today, that role isn’t necessary; we have machineguns for that, which do a much better job. Why the fixation on the individual rifleman doing the same, when we damn well know they are ineffective? Especially in the numbers we’re fielding?

      If you look at the old-school engagements where they were using things like long-range volley fire, you had companies doing the job where we send squads and platoons; the companies were much bigger, too.

      I would submit that the mentality of having the individual rifleman doing fires out past 400m is a vestigial hold-over from “ye olden dayes”, and not at all in keeping with modern warfare the way we fight it.

      • Third paragraph in? That first “shoulders” is supposed to be “soldiers”…

        Swear to God, I think I’d be willing to pay for an “EDIT” button, around here…

  8. Late to the party because of real life, but anyway:

    While almost all armies of WWII were using bolt-action rifles with full power cartridges at the start of the war, some had been experimenting with semi-auto or select-fire weapons using intermediate cartridges for quite some time in the interwar period – they were just not able to pull it off in time before the war started.

    Given how fast and successfully the M1 Carbine was developed, it is quite likely the U.S. Army could have had it a few years earlier had it recognized the need for such a weapon.
    As it was, the army not only did not recognize the need for it as a PDW until the war, but also not its usefulness as a frontline weapon during the war – and it did not really realize what it had with the little carbine even after WWII and Korea.

    In an ideal world, a weapon very much like the M1 Carbine would have been introduced INSTEAD of the M1 Garand.
    But even being realistic given the nature of big organizations and the kinds of people who are successful within them, you’d think the army would have learned more from WWII combat especially in the Pacific.

    The U.S. could very well have gone into Vietnam with an M4 Carbine that was a development of the M1 and M2 Carbine.

    Instead, the M1 Carbine basically was one of the almost invisible stars of WWII (and later) combat with the experiences of frontline soldiers brushed aside in favor of developing the M14.

    When did “Big Army” (instead of SF experimenting with everything that looked light it could make sense) introduce a short and light gun in an intermediate cartridge for every rifleman?
    And when could it have had, say, an M4 carbine with .30 Spitzer bullets?
    The mind boggles.

    And don’t even look at the other NATO armies that were stuck with the U.S.-imposed 7.62×51 mm for quite some time because not everyone had the budget to switch guns again right after the mistake had been realized and 5,56 was developed (with an outlier being non-NATO member Austria which dropped its FAL variant in favor of the StG77 (AUG) while West Germany chased its dream of the G11 for another 15 years and used the G3 for another 20…).

  9. Have a look at the infantry fighting in Ukraine now.

    And what does the UKR military want and need to win? More heavy weapons, long range artillery/missiles, air power.

    Also: Given how UAVs are here to stay and become so much more they are an obvious area for many many avenues of development at every scale.

    Also: Precision/guided ordnance is getting smaller and smaller.

  10. Idea that average individual rifleman needs (and is able) to engage targets on more than 300-400m in combat is as stupid today as was in ’50s when 7.62x51mm was introduced.

  11. When you hit a Elephant with a 105 mm or 155 mm shell it will not no the difference. But if you shoot it with 5.56X45 and it do not go down you going to buy the 700 Nitro Express. For 276 Pedersen (0.285 Bullet dia.) there were several variations of the cartridge. The cartridge equivalent will be about a 7mm-08 Remington. For 150 grain flat bass bullet a load of about 35 gr of power will get velocity of 2360 fps. The 30-06 M2 150 grain bullet will have B.C. of about 0.34. A 7mm 150 flat bass grain will have B.C 0.43. Initial a 30-06 will have more energy but at approximately 600 yard there will be no difference in energy between the two. For a 7mm 150 grain boat tail the B.C. is 0.53. To achieve the same B.C in a 0.308 a 175 grain bullet is needed. Heavier bullet, more burned powder translate to more recoil. If the Peterson cartridge was accepted,for every 1 million rounds a near 1 metric ton of powder and 647 kg of copper will have been saved. The Pederson cartridge have a approximately 3.7 times less recoil for same weight rifle against the 30-06. For 7.62X51mm nato this 1.6 times less recoil against the 30-06.

    Modern body armor made PDW obsolete and 9mm pistol little better than throwing rocks. I think that by now stretch of imagination 5.56x45mm Nato can be made effective against modern body armor. Calling the new 6.8 military 7mm mauser is bit of under estimation. The 6.8 is loaded to higher pressure. The equivalent at normal pressure is a 270 Winchester. The interesting question is why 6.8 and not 7 or 6.5 mm or even 6 mm ? The 6.8 mm is 5.56X45mm nitro Express.

    The South Africans converted the Browning M1919 to 7.62 mm Nato. I see no reason that the Browning machine gun could not been converted to 276 Pederson. If the Pederson was adopted in 1932 then the M14 program might have been a resounding success or may have be dumped the Garand and went for BAR. The we have a magazine fed MAG in 1940 and new NGSW cartridge was called Pederson HP (Hight Pressure).

    P.S If some one is interested I will make a pdf of my calculations and send it to Ian to publish on his web if he like to.

    • It can be difficult to find which precise iteration of the 7x51mm/ aka. .276 Pedersen cartridge was envisioned for his Pedersen rifle and that of his competitor, John Cantius Garand. Wikipedia’s version of events has it as a 125gr./ 8gr. bullet at an initial muzzle velocity of 2,700 fps/ 840ms.

      For what it may be worth, the 6.5x52mm Carcano cartridge used a round-nosed/non-spitzer 162-gr/ 10.5gr. projectile at about 2300 fps/700ms, while the 7.35x51mm used a 128gr/9gr. spitzer bullet at approx. 2,480fps/ 760 ms.

      I have it that–possibly apocryphal?–Douglas MacArthur once pronounced the three most important things for the U.S. armed forces in WWII as 1) the Liberty ship, 2) the jeep, and 3) the M1 rifle. By that, I can only assume that the first represented logistics, which while almost unfathomably prodigious, were certainly the envy of the U.S. of A’s allies and enemies alike. The second, I gather, referred to mechanization. The German army used even more horses than in Kaiser Wilhelm’s time. U.S. industrial workers put the Red Army on the road to Berlin (and some Russians even got U.S. or British produced shoe leather too, so to speak). The third, a reference to the single best rifle of the war, albeit in a world of heavy weapons, some U.S. designs suffered, noticing in this thread, machine gun design among others.

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