Q&A #15: Disappointing Guns, 7.92×41 CETME, and 1873 Revolvers

Today’s question topics:

0:00:36 – Have I considered designing the perfect gun?
0:02:38 – Dealer sample machine gun market
0:07:20 – Stocked pistols and pistol-carbines
0:10:53 – P14 & M1917 nomenclature
0:12:45 – Particularly good and bad manuals of arms
0:16:10 – CMP 1911s
0:18:57 – What could compete with the AR-15/M-16?
0:21:04 – What are the criteria for something being a “forgotten weapon”?
0:22:52 – Why did the Japanese switch from 6.5mm to 7.7mm?
0:26:23 – Why side-mounted magazines on SMGs?
0:28:47 – Could the 7.62mm Tokarev make a resurgence?
0:31:00 – 7.92x41mm CETME ammunition (get a copy of “Full Circle” here)
0:36:02 – Disappointing guns and filming injuries (“Dangerous things are dangerous“)
0:39:45 – Difference between RIA and James Julia auction houses?
0:43:35 – What was my first gun?
0:44:21 – Sterling SMG magazines
0:45:14 – Revolver cartridge conversions of the 1870s
0:48:15 – My off-grid living experience and videos
0:49:52 – Forgotten Weapons logo, supporting the channel, and my FN-FAL
0:53:25 – Constant recoil systems
0:55:00 – Lack of British arms developments
0:57:37 – Single-rune K98ks and fake collectibles
1:00:25 – Practical application of the SAW/LSW
1:04:43 – Last ditch weapons in WW1?
1:07:42 – French 1873 vs Colt 1873
1:10:40 – C&R shooter that isn’t a Mauser?

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58 Comments

    • Johnson light machine gun, definitely not a scavenger prize. There were very few made compared to the numbers of Browning M1918’s in all variations in service.

      • Ut can often fool the uninitiated, because its overall configuration is very like the German FG42. In fact, you can make a good argument that the Johnson LMG, first made in 1939, probably at least strongly influenced the layout of the FG42.

        cheers

        eon

  1. It would be a poor argument. Louis Stange, who designed the FG42, was probably simply following the layout of one of his earlier designs, the MG13.

    M

  2. The Canadian Army adopted a heavy version of it’s standard rifle- the FN C2- in the late 50’s. It was a select fire FAL with a bipod, 30 round mags and sights to 1000. It was junk and about 30 years after the invention of the Mag 58 was replaced with the Minimi. At the same time they had the C2 the platoon machine gun was a tripod mounted 7.62mm 1919 Browning they called the C1. It was replaced by reworked 1919s- the C5- in the early 1980’s! Eventually they got Mag 58s (C6).

    BTW “suppression” means you don’t have an individual target and you’re shooting into an area to make people who you can’t see at least duck and hide. The idea that a rifle is better for suppression than a belt fed MG because of accuracy is delusional. A illustrative test would be to hide targets along a wood line etc and have SAW and M27s “suppress” the area for a given time, say 15 minutes, from various ranges and check the results. At a rate of fire of 100 RPM (roughly half of a MGs sustained rate) the M27 would have fired 1500 rounds- 50 mags- and the bbl would be melting. Ah but we’ll just fire less! Well that is the point. As the number of projectiles drop the chance of suppressing all of the enemy does too.

    • Here’s the thing, though: The utility of the weapon, and its inherent “fitness for purpose” pretty much depends on the purposes it is put to…

      Questions of “How will we fight/how did we actually fight” need to be asked when looking at these issues. If you are like the pre-WWII US Army, intending to rely on the mass of fire from the individual riflemen, somewhat supported by the automatic fire from the token BAR in each squad, well… The ideas embodied in the MG34/42 weapons concept are entirely alien. The US Army chose to go the route of embedding the firepower in the entire squad, controlled by the individual rifleman, and thinking that this mass of inchaote firepower would result in them being able to dominate the minor-tactics battlefield. The Germans, on the other hand, chose to concentrate the squad’s firepower in one weapon, and one gun team directly under the control of the leadership. This necessitated different tactics, training, and leadership techniques, and was better suited to the circumstances the Wehrmacht found itself in, without the mass of fully trained reserves to fall back on. The GPMG concept was, in one way of looking at it, an attempt to compensate for the missing classes of graduated conscripts who had made such a great impression on the course of WWI. Concentrate the firepower, put it under the direct control of the leadership, and you don’t have to worry that your riflemen aren’t well trained enough for independent action. Had the Germans had the masses of trained troops they’d had before WWI, it is entirely possible that the choices they made with regards to weapons would have been entirely different, with a focus on increasing individual firepower.

      Which is to say that weapons design should flow from doctrine, tactical intent, and the operational plans you have. If you’re Switzerland, planning to fall back on the National Redoubt in the deep Alps, while the Swiss Army attrits the enemy to death with long-range fires, then the StG57 starts to make an awful lot of sense–That rifle-cum-LMG is a weapon designed to make life miserable for anyone attempting to fight in those mountains, and it is in perfect alignment with the Swiss plans for making war. As a weapon mass-issued to Soviet tank-riding infantrymen, it would be a disaster–Which is why the AK-series are what they are.

      Most military forces try to procure what they need in the way of weapons so as to align with how they fight. The US military, on the other hand? LOL… Speaking as an insider, the path we take tends to be “Build it, buy it, and then we’ll figure out how to use it…”. Thus, the Marine purchase and initial enthusiasm for the M249 SAW, as well as the later purchase of the M27. I’m not going to say they were wrong, but… Sheesh, guys: Look at the M16A2, a weapon arguably designed to Marine specifications, with an eye towards making it the best possible weapon for firing the Marine course of rifle qualification. A path that unfortunately failed to present us with the best tool for how we fight, which proved to be another fit of absent-mindedness, the M4 carbine. The Marines are now buying it for their infantry, and when you look at what went into designing that thing, you’re left scratching your head at the sheer randomness of it all. Barrel length was set by… What, again? With the M4, the apocrypha seems to indicate that the 14.5 inch barrel wasn’t chosen because of optimal ballistics, but because that’s what was needed to still fit the M203. Oh, and the gas system is what it is because we wanted to still be able to fit the standard bayonet to it…

      Is this any way to run a railroad?

      Decide how you mean to fight, develop the weapons to suit that, and then start procuring them. Don’t buy the damn things without a plan–We’re well past the point where “learning on the go” is excusable. That era ended, oh, about the turn of the 19th Century, after the French showed up with smokeless powder, and the Swiss invented the cupro-nickel bullet to go with it. By this time, and until the next major wave of innovation washes over us, the excuse that we need to feel our way forwards via inflicting mass thoughtless exercises in weapons experimentation is ringing a little hollow.

    • Did this separately to more clearly address the ideas in your second paragraph.

      “BTW “suppression” means you don’t have an individual target and you’re shooting into an area to make people who you can’t see at least duck and hide. The idea that a rifle is better for suppression than a belt fed MG because of accuracy is delusional. A illustrative test would be to hide targets along a wood line etc and have SAW and M27s “suppress” the area for a given time, say 15 minutes, from various ranges and check the results. At a rate of fire of 100 RPM (roughly half of a MGs sustained rate) the M27 would have fired 1500 rounds- 50 mags- and the bbl would be melting. Ah but we’ll just fire less! Well that is the point. As the number of projectiles drop the chance of suppressing all of the enemy does too.”

      The thing to remember here is that there is more than one way to skin the tactical cat. Without arguing for the virtues of either approach, I do want to clarify something I think you’re missing with regards to the M27.

      Firstly, you’re not going to be doing things like suppress an entire woodline with either weapon. If you are, then you’re probably not the guy who should be running things, because what you’re trying to do with a squad support weapon is more appropriate to either mortars, artillery, or an air strike.

      As well, the question of whether or not you’d even be allowed to plaster that woodline with indiscriminate fires in this day and age, with the usual restrictive ROE…? Yeah; you’re gonna be answering a hell of a lot of unpleasant questions, should that woodline prove to also be concealing the mass of women and children from the next village over, who were hauled there as hostages and/or who took shelter there.

      Classic uses of suppressive fires are damn near war crimes, these days; if you don’t have PID, or Positive Identification, well… Good luck at your 15-6 and subsequent court martial.

      In this environment, the conclusions you make about the utility of the M249 and M27 become a bit, shall we say… Dated? You can’t blast your way through that valley by shooting up the treelines, so what will you do instead? Oh, right–You’re going to have to get your troops up close and personal, and they’re going to have to rely on speed of action and shock, both of which ain’t exactly easy to accomplish when the full-auto support fire is lagging behind due to the weight and general non-handyness of the M249.

      Personally, I find the M27 a bit too light in the loafers for my taste, but I’m not a Marine, and I say let them procure what they want. I’ve looked at what they’re saying about the M27, and I think the damn thing actually addresses their stated needs pretty well. Whether or not that will survive contact with reality in conflict with a “peer competitor”, I don’t know. Maybe yes, maybe no–Some young Marines are going to have to answer that question, and I wish them well with what their leadership has given them.

      Again, the whole thing revolves around the doctrine, tactics, and operational intent you have. There are schools of tactical thought and courses of action that would produce a course of action that armed every man with a sniper rifle, or others that would make issuing a backpack-fed minigun a reasonable choice. The thing is, you have to align the weapons with the intent, and that’s something we’ve proven to be really inept at, here in the US.

      As I allude to above, if you want to see an example of it done right, look at the pre-WWII German machinegun doctrine, and the Swiss post-WWII rifle development. Both of which are regrettably opaque to the average English-language student of these matters.

      You’re going to look long and hard for the equivalent in US practice–Look at the M4 as an example. That little wonder was meant to be a cheap, simple modification to the M16 family for issue to rear-area support troops that really needed something like a PDW. What happened was that the leadership saw the damn things, thought “Hey, these are really cool, I want one…”, took them over, and the next thing we know, it’s “Hey, Presto!!!”, and the support troops never saw the damn things. It’s kind of the same way the idiots got us into the M240–The official system was deaf, dumb, and blind to the actual needs of the fighting soldiers, and the guys that got us the M240 were simply doing an end-run around the officially glacial bureaucracy to get a replacement for the super-annuated crapfest that was the M60. In neither case was there ever any official thought on the issues, and when we go to look at the results, we find what we’d expect from such institutional incompetence: The M240 is too damn heavy to haul around in the SAW role, they never bothered to procure a decent modern tripod (modern being defined as “What was available to the Danish Army in the late 1930’s…”), and the M4 suffers from a host of minor flaws that are only now being addressed in the modernization programs.

      US military small arms procurement seems to take place in a cloud of absent-mindedness, and we’re lucky we’ve never really had to deal with the consequences thereof.

        • You go with what you’ve got working, and since the US has had a notable lack of actual demonstrated ability when it comes to designing and building light autocannon and heavy machineguns, weeeeeellll… You get the re-purposed Gatling, in .50 caliber, with a lightweight three-barrel version for aircraft.

          Whatever it is that enables the Soviet and later Russian designers to produce highly efficient, effective, and mass-production enabled autocannon and heavy machineguns, the US manifestly ain’t got the “Right Stuff(TM)”. We failed to produce really good 20mm cannon during WWII, having to copy European designs (some of which we couldn’t even copy right…), and on and on, into the present day.

          I think part of it stems from the fact that the Soviets actually had weapons design schools set up, back in the 1930s, studied weapons design as separate academic tracks in their schools, and the US has nothing of the kind. Most of our weapons designers are gifted amateurs who slipped through the cracks, and I don’t believe we even have such a thing as an accredited engineering school for weapons designers. Everyone doing this stuff in the US is generally a generically educated engineer, and there’s little to no formal institutional knowledge. Hell, most of the English-language works about small arms engineering all date back to the late 19th Century, and there’s been nowhere near the same amount of attention paid the issue here in the US, compared to the Soviet/Russian work over the last hundred years.

          Is it any wonder that most of our stuff is simply rehashed older designs, or that we rely on the work done by self-taught geniuses like Browning or Stoner?

          I don’t think there’s a single school in the US which even addresses weapons design as a subject, but I’d stand to be corrected. Do the Russians still have such programs?

          • “Do the Russians still have such programs?”
            There exist Институт высокоточных систем им. В.П. Грязева which is part of Тульский государственный университет (ТулГУ)
            History is described here: http://tsu.tula.ru/ivts/history/
            it has two faculties: machinebuilding and systems of automatic guidance.
            Among others I.Ya.Stechkin, N.F.Makarov and A.G.Shipunov are graduates.

          • “we rely on the work done by self-taught geniuses like Browning”
            I was quite head-scratching that U.S. forces actually manage to upgrade M2 Browning to M2A1 Browning:
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M2_Browning#M2A1
            adopted in 2010, so basically it took… let thinks, 1938 (M2HB) that is 72 years. Ok, it is advantage that you don’t have to care about head-space after barrel-change, but can’t it be done earlier?

          • “Whatever it is that enables the Soviet and later Russian designers to produce highly efficient, effective, and mass-production enabled autocannon and heavy machineguns, the US manifestly ain’t got the “Right Stuff(TM)””
            In fact, I presume careful testing of weapons.
            There is book Отечественные автоматы (записки испытателя-оружейника) by А. А. Малимон, it is available in Russian here: http://www.xliby.ru/istorija/otechestvennye_avtomaty_zapiski_ispytatelja_oruzheinika/p1.php

        • The GAU-19 originally began as the GECAL 12.7 x 99mm, a six-barrelled version with a 6,000 R/M RoF. It was first prototyped in 1968-69(!), intended as a side-firing weapon for the AC-47D “Dragonship” gunship in Vietnam, replacing the M134 Minigun in 7.62 x 51.

          The reason was that by that time, the Vietcong, Pathet Lao, and etc. had acquired heavy MGs of their own, including not just captured M2HBs but also 12.7 x 108 DShK and 14.5 x 114 KPV and ZPU HMGs. These outranged the “Dragonship’s” guns (especially the 14.5s!), making its usual tactics likely to end in the “Spooky” being damaged or shot down.

          The GECAL 12.7 x 99mm gun was intended to “level the playing field”, because the recoil effects of the full-sized M61 Vulcan in 20mm was considered too great for the AC-47D airframe to tolerate as a transverse load.

          In the end, it was realized that a “level playing field” was not good enough; a gun duel between a GECAL-firing “Spooky” and an HMG (or worse yet a “flak trap” group of same) on the ground was all too likely to end badly for the gunship. So, while the AC-130 gunships (Gunship 2 project) were busy hunting truck convoys along the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos and Cambodia, the AC-47s protecting strategic hamlets and firebases inside South Vietnam itself were replaced by the larger AC-119 Shadow (Gunship 3 project), which could deploy both the M61 20mm (usually two), plus two to four M134s. The 20mms gave the Shadow greater standoff distance to thwart AA fire from HMGs.

          As for helicopter mounting, any gunship or etc. that can turret mount a three-barrel GAU-19 can just as easily mount a three-barrel M61 20mm instead, and does.

          Designed for a war that out-evolved it while it was still in the R&D stage, the GAU-19 has been a weapon system in search of a mission ever since.

          see;

          Gunships; A Pictorial History of Spooky by Larry Davis and Don Greer (Squadron/Signal, 1982)

          https://www.amazon.com/Gunships-Pictorial-History-Vietnam-Studies/dp/0897471237

          Apollo’s Warriors; United States Air Force Special Operations During The Cold War by Michael E. Haas(Air University Press, Maxwell AFB, 1997)

          https://media.defense.gov/2017/Mar/31/2001725226/-1/-1/0/B_0037_HAAS_APOLLOS_WARRIORS.PDF

          cheers

          eon

          • “Designed for a war that out-evolved it while it was still in the R&D stage, the GAU-19 has been a weapon system in search of a mission ever since.”
            Maybe I should be more precise: why GAU-19/B was chosen as armament of Humvee? It is quite heavy (48 kg complete) for its Rate-of-Fire (1300 rpm), RateOfFire can be easily adjusted, but I doubt if it is worth that weight.
            For comparison KORD mass is 25,5 kg (gun body) which if twin-mounted would give bit bigger mass and similar total RateOfFire (single KORD fire 600-650 rpm, thus 2 would give 1200-1300 rpm).
            1950s aviation Afanasev A-12.7 machine gun is 25,5 kg heavy and has natural RateOfFire 1400 rpm, which was later artificially limited to lower value, due to fast barrel wear due to 1950s metallurgy
            YakB-12,7 is 45 kg heavy for Rate-of-Fire of 4000-4500 rpm (it has 4 barrel)
            Afanasev Makarov AM-23 autocannon is 43 kg (less than complete GAU-19/B) fire 23×115 cartridge (necked-up 14,5×114) with RateOfFire 1250 rpm
            GSh-23 is 50 kg heavy fire 23×115 cartridge and has RateOfFire 3000-3400 rpm (it has 2 barrels)
            Judged against this GAU-19/B make little sense.

          • There is also the FN M3M, which is actually accepted as the GAU-21 for US military helicopters. It fires at about 1,000 rpm and weighs 81.6 lb (37.0 kg). It does not require external power unlike the GAU-19. It’s basically a modernized version (e.g. more durable barrel) of the late 1940s M3 Browning aircraft machine gun, which was used the arm 1st gen. USAAF/USAF jet fighters such as the P-80 and early F-86 variants (the USN had already switched to 20 mm cannon).

            https://fnamerica.com/products/weapon-systems/fn-m3m-gau-21/

          • Daweo;

            Always remember that the primary mission of procurement is to avoid adopting anything not developed “in-house” by Ordnance.

            Thus, in 1957, the U.S. adopted the in-house developed M60 7.62 x 51 GPMG (which was, and is, a disaster) instead of the FN MAG, which they ended up adopting two decades later as a tank flexible gun (on the M1 Abrams) and later as the M240B, the replacement for the M60A1 GPMG along with the M249 (FN Minimi). It only took them fifty years (1958-2008) to admit they’d screwed up with that one.

            Other armies are no better. Read the Osprey book on the SA80 rifle for that sorry tale;

            http://down.ebook777.com/046/9781472811042.pdf

            As for airborne ordnance, yes, the U.S. Navy went to 20mm cannon for fighter guns before the U.S. Air Force did, but as late as the 1960s those 20mms were basically identical to the AN-M2 guns used in Curtiss Helldivers in 1944-45;

            https://ia902609.us.archive.org/31/items/20mmautomaticgun00unit/20mmautomaticgun00unit_bw.pdf

            Including requiring greasing, oiling, or applying hard wax to the cartridge cases to avoid case separation due to poor primary extraction.

            Incidentally, in Vietnam F-8 Crusader pilots hated those 20mms, because a high-G turn could jam their feed systems. Not a good thing in a clear-air, air-superiority dogfighter.

            I know the GAU-19 has been pushed as a replacement for the M2HB on Humvees. I also know that if you “brake down” its power system throughput to reduce barrel RPM to a point where it won’t exhaust its ammunition supply in about two seconds, you end up with an externally-powered weapon that is about four times the mass of an M2HB, is more complex and environmentally sensitive, has about the effective RoF of an M2HB, but has only about half the on-board ammo supply due the additional volume/mass requirements of its feed and power systems, in a vehicle that’s already overloaded due to armor requirements, etc., not foreseen in the original design.

            In short, I can think of a few places a GAU-19 might make a practical weapons system, either primary or secondary. But an M1114 or even an M1165 are not on that list.

            cheers

            eon

          • “Always remember that the primary mission of procurement is to avoid adopting anything not developed “in-house” by Ordnance.”
            For me it looks rather looks like even if it does not fit, it will fit… somehow.
            As you said it is heavier without significant advantages.
            In fact it is even heavier than World War II era British Hispano Mk. V which mass is 42 kg, fire 750 rpm which is less but use more potent (in terms of HE filler possible fitted into shell) 20×110 cartridge.

          • “Always remember that the primary mission of procurement is to avoid adopting anything not developed “in-house” by Ordnance.”
            This would explain why .50 Browning stay so long as it is, there is interesting fragment from Royal Navy test .50 Browning vs .5 Vickers from 1928: http://www.quarryhs.co.uk/Vickers.html
            It, obviously, does apply to earlier .50 Browning not that introduced in 1938. It has following conclusion:
            From a general technical point of view, it is the opinion that the fundamental principle of the mechanism and the action of the Vickers gun is superior to that of the Browning, and is more certain in its action generally.
            Easier maintenance and easier RateOfFire adjusting was also noted.

          • Eon:

            The Colt Mk 12 cannon seems to be a case of “we change everything except the basic operating mechanism and cartridge dimensions, and expect an automatic weapon to work as well as its reliable predecessor without extensive testing”. It reminds me of the Italian Fiat Mod. 35 machine gun, although that one did actually chamber a different cartridge from its predecessor. Still, the ballistics of the Colt Mk. 12 ammunition were substantially different from the AN-M3 and RoF was increased.

            GAU-19: the most useful feature of the high rate of fire would be suitability for anti-aircraft use. While 12.7mm is obsolescent against “fast movers”, it’s still reasonably effective against helicopters. Ironically, the US Army is so confident that they are not going to face air threats that as far as I know the GAU-19s mounted on Humvees do not even have AA sights.

          • “GAU-19: the most useful feature of the high rate of fire would be suitability for anti-aircraft use.”
            Is GAU-19/B mount at Humvee High-Angle?
            Anyway it looks like very go-around solution to get equivalent of KPVT.

      • If you can hit a target with an air strike or artillery then you can certainly do so with a SAW. SAWs of course aren’t only employed by squads. A number could be used by a platoon leader or company commander to provide a base of fire in conjunction with the other weapons at his disposal. You could train your infantry to be totally reliant on air power or artillery but that seems unwise.

        There is another way to look at this. What would you least like the enemy to have or do? Heavy bbl rifles on full auto or LMGs?

        • Errr… What? In the entire time I spent on active duty in the US Army, I can’t think of a single occasion where a platoon leader or company commander massed his SAWs, or so much as pulled them from the squad leaders. It just didn’t happen, not least because the manpower isn’t so lavish as to allow that–You pull a SAW, you’re likely reducing a fire team to one or two men, and that means you’re basically making your squads into over-size fire teams. You could do it, I suppose, but I never once saw it actually happen.

          What the enemy has in the way of low-level fire support is a consideration, but only one of many. The bigger issue is, how do you plan on dealing with them? Will it be with stand-off fires, or do you propose to train and equip your infantry to get up close and personal? You could handle an enemy who equipped himself with automatic rifles by concentrating your firepower into heavier machineguns in the squads, reducing mobility and increasing logistics challenges, or you could chose to match them with more lightly equipped and armed equivalents, who would have to go toe-to-toe in the tactical dance with that enemy force.

          The whole thing boils down to making compromising tradeoffs that are dependent on the choices you’re going to have to make. I could see enemy forces and scenarios where I’d really prefer they didn’t have light mobile firepower, and had to live with belt-fed less mobile weapons, and I can see others where I’d prefer they had those belt-feds, and couldn’t use the mobility they had against me.

          There is no “ideal weapon”. It’s all trade-offs, all the way down. Some scenarios and forces militate against heavy weapons; some don’t. What you have to do is cultivate an awareness of what works where and when, and adapt accordingly. You would not want to take a force optimized for close-in jungle work to a theater like the Falklands, nor would you want to take your mountain-optimized forces into the close terrain of a tropical or temperate rain-forest.

          One of the things that just annoys the crap out of me about how the US military thinks about these things is that we have this unfortunate habit of treating everything as though it were universal, and then behave as if every single weapons procurement is going to be the last of that type we ever make. It’s like we’re trying to play classical orchestral music, and the environment we’re actually in requires more of an improvisational jazz…

          • If you put one or two platoons in a fire base (I don’t expect you’e seen that but creativity isn’t the US Army’s strong suit) you have in effect massed 6-12 SAWs plus however many M240s & M203s etc. you have.

            One problem with the AR or SAW per team concept is that it leads to very non-creative tactics. Forward-stay- or go back- end up being the choices with the SAW being used like a rifle- which is why the Marines want it I suppose. They intend to use it like a rifle so have a rifle.

          • @ J Harlan:

            There are a lot of reasons you don’t “mass SAWs”, and the biggest one is that they don’t issue the guns with tripods and T&E mechanisms. No ability to lock the guns down for safety reasons, no point to trying to use them for entirely unsuitable purposes. The units which are theoretically issued the M249 in the LMG role aren’t likely to ever be missioned with a task which would see them ever doing such a thing, and the ones that are don’t have tripods for their M249s. Well, that, and the fact that they likely have plenty of real supporting-fire capable machine guns, in the form of their organic M240 weapons.

            In other words, it isn’t a lack of creativity, but a lack of any point to such an exercise. The whole idea of the M249 in the LMG role is actually sort of dubious, to my mind. Had they procured it in a slightly heavier caliber, maaaaybe… In 5.56, however? What’s the point? You’re not going to have the requisite energy in the projectiles out to the ranges you generally want to do these missions at, and the 5.56 really doesn’t have the trajectory for effective plunging fire, anyway.

            The idea of an LMG is really very alien to the US military. Automatic Rifle? GPMG? Sure; we kinda-sorta get those concepts, but grasping the nature and uses of a true LMG? Not so much…

  3. I suspect advances in metal-stamping technology made “last ditch” weapons a more viable option in the 1940s. A German gun factory in 1918 is presumably a large collection of mills and lathes — not so good at suddenly cheapening / speeding up production with a new design.

    • I think one commercial drawback is the mix of various loads that approximate … but aren’t actually … 7.62x25mm. You’d have to design a pistol that could digest “burp gun ammo”. Which may be a good thing …

  4. “Have I considered designing the perfect gun?”
    Perfect would probably mean something like able to replace all existing pattern everywhere and everytime which could not exist, as it would must full-fill mutually exclusive requirements.

    • I believe that was the idea behind the Stoner 63 project. That is, it was DoD’s idea; I’m pretty sure Eugene Stoner didn’t quite see it that way.

      The result was a very nice SAW, a somewhat heavier-than-average AR (that was, admittedly, almost unbreakable), and a medium and tank MG that was a bit light for either job.

      Probably the best thing to come out of the program was the realization (that still took some 20 more years to take hold in some of the higher echelons) that 5.56 x 45mm isn’t really a practical MMG/TMG caliber. The “least worst” choice in the inventory for those missions remains the 7.62 x 51mm.

      (No, it is not the “best choice”, but we don’t have 6.5mm rounds with 2900 F/S+ muzzle velocities… yet.)

      cheers

      eon

      • I don’t believe it is even possible to reconcile the separate requirements for a good individual weapon cartridge and one that will also serve the necessities in the LMG/MMG class.

        The Germans eventually defaulted to a two-caliber solution in the squads, as did the Soviets, and then we followed suit with the M16A1/M60 combination. There’s a reason this evolution took place, and any attempt to try to create a one-cartridge solution is going to founder on the same rocks and shoals of human capability and tactical requirements.

        Paradigm-shifters, like powered exoskeletons or some new technology that buffers recoil may allow this to change, but for the technological moment, the only working solution is two calibers.

        • Wise words… I enjoyed reading them thru your discussion with Mr. Harlan.
          On subject of recoil force mitigation/ reduction – I had been long time involved with the subject. My feel is, that in reality this is not needed, at least I did not score any ‘sales’ as yet. It is possible that “real man” wants to feel the kick, regardless if it helps in some way. 🙂

          • “On subject of recoil force mitigation/ reduction – I had been long time involved with the subject. My feel is, that in reality this is not needed, at least I did not score any ‘sales’ as yet. It is possible that “real man” wants to feel the kick, regardless if it helps in some way. “

            There are entire schools of thought about the whole psychological aspect, here, which are rarely thought about or brought up in discussion.

            “…wants to feel the kick…”. It’s interesting that you bring that up, because there’s a lot more going on there than one might think, at first glance. At least as much importance should be given to the psychological effect of the weapon, going out, as it is upon that which takes place down at the target, if only in terms of morale.

            One would think that a weapon with no recoil, and limited signature would be preferable to the men using it against the enemy, but… ‘Tain’t necessarily so–I have an acquaintance who went through the transition from the M14 to the M16 in combat, under fire, and his initial dislike of the M16 had at least as much to do with the perceived lack of likely effect stemming from the limited amount of recoil and signature. See, when he was under ambush, he wanted to have a weapon that produced a huge signature, simply for the morale-enhancing effect on his end, and for the damage it did to the enemy downrange. The way he perceived it, the signature of a full-auto M60 worked wonders for his morale, that of his troops, and did significant damage to the enthusiasm the enemy had for closing with them. He even went so far as to acquire extra barrels, and cut them down to the same length as the gas system, in order to get more “effect” in terms of flash and bang… In his opinion, what he wanted when he came under fire during an ambush was not a dainty little thing that silently killed, but something that would scare the hell out of the enemy, and damage their morale. The way he saw it, most of what was going downrange was gonna miss, but the noise, the flash, the sheer volume that those two things spoke of… That was what worked–Attacking the enemy’s morale and enthusiasm for closing on him.

            This is something I don’t think we think about, enough. Yes, a silencer can be a very useful tool, when appropriate, but… The converse is also true: Combat is as much a contest of psychology as it is of fires, and defeat is a thing that only takes place in the minds of the defeated. You may indeed kill 90% of an attacking force in close terrain, but if the survivors never realize what’s happening, they’re still going to be moving forward to close with you. Conversely, if you only manage to kill 10%, and scare the ever-loving shit out of the rest, well… You’ve likely won that engagement.

            This is one reason the early firearms won out, over the muscle-powered options back in the day: Morale effect, cheering on the guys with the guns, and frightening the ones facing them. An early gun was never as effective as a trained bowman, but with the loud noise, the smoke, the odor, and everything else, the firearm was a much more effective weapon on the battlefield, despite its manifest disadvantages. Hell, as late as the Revolutionary War, it was calculated that you might be better off with the old English longbow, but there was the minor problem of finding the bowmen, training them, and then you had the question of whether or not they’d stand and fight against British regulars who had muskets.

            With a loud, flashy weapon signature, every time you fire the thing, you’re cheering your guys on, and doing damage to the enemy’s morale. Few people are going to stand up and run directly into machinegun fire in a beaten zone, when they can see the muzzle flash and watch the bullets hit. On the other hand, if all they note is little puffs of dust, and a couple of guys going down, they’re mostly just going to look around, puzzled at what’s going on. Hell, I know better, myself, and it took me a couple of moments to realize I was under fire (due to massive error on the part of Range Control) on a training range we were working on. At over a thousand meters, you don’t hear squat, you don’t see squat, and all you’ve got is a really fascinating little thumping noise as the bullets hit the ground, and these cute little puffs of dust. Be within fifty meters of a firing machine gun team, and you’re gonna crap your pants, even if you’re not the target.

            Signature and recoil have effects, and the sheer psychological comfort of firing a big, beastly weapon back at the enemy…? Not to be discounted. Hell, that’s why I always preferred to be carrying the machine gun, as a private soldier. Never mind the weight, the recoil, or anything else–I wanted to know that when someone shot at me, I had the biggest stick on the team, to fire back with. There’s a certain comfort in knowing that you can blast most of a fire team or squad off the gameboard with one well-placed burst. Or, even better, watch parts come flying off their vehicles, and chop down the trees they might be hiding behind…

          • Very good stuff reading this Kirk, really good stuff to consider.

            As for me… well yes I had someone pointing gun at me, but they did not squeeze the trigger. That by itself is not a combat yet and all what it takes.
            It reminds me movie “Waterloo” when Napoleon (Rod Steiger) spoke to his nearly decimated, but still capable “old guard” before they made last stand. Yes, it is psychology more than anything else.

          • “The way he perceived it, the signature of a full-auto M60 worked wonders for his morale, that of his troops, and did significant damage to the enthusiasm the enemy had for closing with them.”
            This might work, but firing for deterrence a lot, means that it requires very effective logistic to deliver enough ammunition.

          • @Daweo,

            The cut-down M60 barrels may have been a local thing, or they may have seen the SF guys with the cut-down RPD. I think both things may have been done for similar reasons, not the least of which was operating in jungle terrain. The additional blast effect from shooting the weapons without flash hiders and shortened barrels may have been seen as a secondary benefit.

            A lot of the guys who’ve actually been in that kind of combat will tell you that they thought the idea of having a big, noisy gun was a beneficial thing, due to the positive effect on their own morale, and the way they thought the enemy perceived the things. Valid point? Maybe–I don’t think we know enough to really tell. You get down to a certain resolution in combat, and the sad fact is, nobody really knows what the hell is going on. You think you do, but how much of what you later report as fact is sheerest conjecture, or assumptions based on your imperfect understanding of what was going on?

            Thus, uncertainty slips into weapons procurement. Take the supposed failure of the M14 in Vietnam. The guy I mention here didn’t think the M14 was a failure, but it was widely reported as such, due to other people’s reports at the time. The perception was there, due to the way the guys on the receiving end of AK and RPD fire saw things, but the reality may have been different. My informant was convinced that the M14 was the superior weapon for jungle combat, in that the rifle could put projectiles through cover and concealment that the M16 could not–But, that whole “volume of fire” thing made a difference. His opinion was that achieving dominance of fire in a firefight was something more psychological than real, and that while the VC and NVA units he was fighting seemed to put out masses of fire, it wasn’t very effective in terms of actually hitting things on his side. The amount of fire they were taking did discourage the US troops from doing fire and movement things, and the created perception was “Hey, we’re getting our asses handed to us, here…”, while the reality was that the more carefully aimed and heavier semi-auto fire from the M14-equipped elements were actually doing significantly more damage in terms of what they were actually hitting.

            And, again–This was a perception he had, not the reality, because the actual reality of what was going on in those encounters and during the firefights that developed was invisible to them. The aftermath occasionally left them in control of the battlefield, and what he saw during those occasions led to him forming his opinions, which were pretty fixed on the matter. Which doesn’t go to show anything actually concrete, because we don’t have any independent corroboration or actual facts to tell whose perceptions of the matter were correct.

            As to the logistics, those are irrelevant to what my informant was discussing. The idea he was getting at wasn’t that they were wanting to dump rounds on the enemy indiscriminately, but that they wanted those rounds to make the maximum impression when they were fired–Loud, lots of flash, and make the enemy react to that. Ideally, they’d let the enemy start the ambush, let them think they’d succeeded, and then when they were making the rush over the ambushed unit, the MG teams would open up on them–Which tended to break the ambush as the ambushers realized they’d failed to take out the crew-served, and that “Oh, shit…”, they were now rushing into MG fire.

            The other thing to take away from this is the inherently anecdotal nature of a lot of this stuff. One guy describes what he saw and experienced, in one relatively tiny corner of a big conflict, and you hear him because he’s willing to talk about it, and because he survived. Did he survive because the way he used his weapons worked, or was that sheer, random happenstance?

            As well, how much of what he was doing with his weapons amounted to magical thinking? “Oh, yeah, that ambush stopped right after the MG team finally got their gun going… The MG won the engagement… We need MOAR MG!!!”

            The reality might have been that the enemy sounded the withdrawal on their bugles because they’d reached the limit of their advance, and weren’t really worried about wiping out the US forces–They’d accomplished their tactical objectives, and didn’t see the point in losing more men for limited gain.

            When you analyze these things, you very rarely get a glimpse into the mind of the enemy until well after the war is over. Why did they withdraw? Were our weapons effective, or was it a mistake some low-level leader may have made? Did we actually kill as many as we thought, and what weapons did it? Who was our most effective killer, if it was the individual weapons? Was it that guy who was “spraying and praying”, or was it the one who still had most of his basic load of ammo, at the end of the engagement?

            A lot of this is basically unknowable, but we’re making decisions about how effective our weapons are based on purely subjective and entirely suspect information that’s reported to us by people who aren’t necessarily trained observers, and whose ability to sift truth out of what they experienced isn’t all that great.

            Which is why I surmise that a huge component of what goes into the question of “what works in combat” has more to do with human behavioral psychology than many of us are willing to admit. Yeah, there are moments where the firepower is actually overwhelmingly effective, but how many others are there where the signature of the firepower is actually what’s doing the work? How much of the time are our weapons killing machines vs. being really scary noisemakers? And, as a follow-on question, how much of the time where we’ve thought we were just nailing it with our tactical acumen and effectiveness, and what was actually going on with the enemy had nothing whatsoever to do with our efforts?

            When I was an Observer/Controller down at the NTC, where the battlefield and weapons are quite literally wired for sound, the biggest lesson I took away from watching things was how distorted our view of what goes on in combat actually is. You see something happen, ascribe it to something you did, and then at the After Actions Review, you discover that what you did didn’t even register on the enemy, and that the enemy vehicles you thought you took out were actually taken down by an adjacent unit that you didn’t even see. Hell, I remember one time where the players thought they’d been absolutely on the ball, and done great damage to the enemy. Actual point of fact was that they’d done more damage to the friendly forces in front of them that they’d not known were there, and that the enemy didn’t withdraw because they were taking losses, but because they’d been redirected to where someone else had achieved a break-through.

            Combat is confusing as hell, and the guy who tells you he knew what the hell was going on in his part of the engagement may actually know something, or he may be completely delusional. All I can say is, good luck factoring that into your small arms procurement decisions…

  5. If there is any gun that would be viable to make a replica exclusively as a dealer sample it would be the Thompson, with MP40 being a runner up. According to Battlefield Vegas they’re popular to rent (for obvious reasons) and stupidly rare/expensive to obtain. Between rental ranges and movie armorers a decent replica could sell enough units to justify it if a maker could figure out how to do a small run (few thousand at most) efficiently.

  6. In response to Kirk’s statements about American military authorities failing to understand that there is no “all solving product” for weapons procurement, I agree that there is no such thing as a well-balanced universal kit for all situations. There is a “universal weapons package concept” that forms the basic kit I can imagine (short rifle, pistol, and knife) but there is never an ideal weapon that can do everything from the very start. So a rifle must act as a long arm, the pistol acts as the side arm, and the knife is the emergency tool but also the utility. Do not make an attempt to create a “multiple-function-do-everything” long arm unless you want sheer misery!

  7. I like this categorization of interests,
    and it is quite visible… you have collectors, then you have people who play war games, people who like to read war novels… and some target practitioners or even hunters. Each of them have their particular agenda. But as far as I can tell, so far I did not sense there is a person who was involved with engineering of firearms (I wish to be wrong). ‘Real people’ usually do not want to see it after hours of work or in retirement. Isn’t it interesting?

    • I yeah, I forgot… there are couple of people here who were serving in military or police force. I can tell too… they are probably closest to the subject.

  8. When I was young I never understood why the British Army never used the fact the Lee-Enfield had a box magazine for quick changes; especially as in 1914 their infantry were trained to fire astonishingly quickly (‘The mad minute’).

    Now that I am old I still do not understand it, but suspect it was down to simple inertia. I suspect the Lee-Metford box magazine was simply the cheapest way to increase capacity to 10 rounds (does anyone know if this was true?), after all there was still a magazine cut-off until WWI, and I believe the magazine was chained to the rifle to prevent loss! If that was the case then there would have been no thought to making many spare magazines, and without those changing magazines is impossible.

    So any change in tactical doctrine to allow for quick changes could not happen unless the number of magazines bought was at least doubled over the number of rifles; and messages above show just how quickly ordnance departments react to military demand.

    • The thing you have to remember is that early magazines were difficult to produce consistently and reliably. As late as the 1920s, you can find accounts of practitioners having to go through cases of BAR magazines produced during WWI in order to find and match magazines to individual weapons that would work reliably together.

      I’ve even seen WWII-era SMLE rifles which had lost their magazines, and which needed to have someone experienced go through and modify the replacements to work with the individual rifle. Once you had a reliable, working magazine, you very much wanted to keep that one with the rifle.

      We don’t give enough credit to the whole revolution in mass-production that enabled modern magazine-fed weapons. I suspect that were you to take an M16 and its accessories, with the full TDP, back to even the 1930s, they’d have a ton of trouble trying to mass-produce the damn things for you, and there’d be a huge part of that coming from the magazines. Post-WWII, not so much, but any era prior to that? LOL… I know a guy who was a bit of an expert on industrial production technology, and its history. His take on the idea of somehow bootstrapping modern-era weapons into previous historical eras was side-splittingly contemptuous of anyone thinking it might be possible, in any really effective way. Sure, you could maybe take a STEN back to the 1850s, and get production underway for the guns, but how the hell are you going to manage all the other supporting technologies, like mass production of drawn brass or other alloy cases? How about the smokeless powder, ‘cos black powder ain’t gonna cut it… Even going back fifty years with modern weapons, like from the 1950s to the turn of the 19th Century would be problematic. Which plays into one facet of Ian’s Q&A, this month: One reason there were no “last ditch” weapons during the WWI era is that the weapons production technology didn’t lend itself to that sort of rationalization. When you have to hand-fit all the little parts of a Luger or M96 Mauser, well… Good luck trying to speed things up by cutting corners. With weapons like the various Volksturmgewehrs, or the STEN? Those were designed with cutting corners in mind, from the start. The concepts weren’t really even developed for that sort of thing, back during the WWI era.

      • So, presumably, British magazine manufacturing became good enough by the 1930’s to allow the Bren gun to be introduced? At that point could the British Army have adopted changeable magazines, or where the tolerances on Lee-Enfield itself too poor to allow for that.

        Likewise on the BAR: was finding a matching magazine just a case of finding a good one amongst all the crap; or were the tolerances of both so varied it was a genuine match?

        • What I know on the issue is from reading memoirs of the inter-war US Army, and from talking to guys who were deeply into the Lee-Enfield rifles. Were my informants accurate in what they said about the issue? I don’t know, but I’ve seen the bit about the WWI-production BAR magazines in multiple places, and the information about fitting the magazines to the Lee-Enfields comes from number of different ones, as well.

          The gentleman I knew who was the industrial engineer could probably have pointed us to a bunch of different places for corroborating testimony, but I’m personally left with his statements to me about the timelines involved, when it came to large-volume mass production of magazines.

          I think someone mentioned the chains on the older Lee-Enfield rifle magazines, and what I’ve been told was that those weren’t there to keep the soldiers from changing magazines, but to keep a fitted magazine with the receiver it was fitted to, during cleaning.

          Actual details and facts in this regard…? Good luck; it’s not like the history of industrial production of small arms has really ever been a major area of academic study. I’ve seen a couple of papers out there, and you can kind of make out that there were problems from things like Melvin Johnson’s design choices in his LMG and rifles. He loathed box magazines, and you’ll note that he went way the hell out of his way to ensure that his magazines fed reliably. The LMG has a single-column single-position mag, and the feed lips are actually machined into the receiver. Likewise, the rifle is fed from a rotary magazine, and the magazine is not fed through the feedway into the rifle’s operating mechanism. He’s not the only designer who went to those lengths, either, and it all stems from the same source: Inability to mass-produce truly interchangeable stamped sheet metal magazines. We didn’t break the code on that until well into the inter-war era–You’d be horrified to know what the rejection rate was at the factories for a lot of these items, per my industrial engineer informant.

    • “any change in tactical doctrine to allow for quick changes could not happen unless the number of magazines bought was at least doubled over the number of rifles; and messages above show just how quickly ordnance departments react to military demand.”
      But how does changing magazine time compare with using stripper time? It might be bit longer, but 2 strippers with cartridge are lighter than 1 magazine with cartridge I believe, so you could carry more ammunition for same mass, or same amount for less mass – important for:
      a) troops moving by feet-slogging
      b) forces operating in remote areas, where supplying every kilogram is burden

      • I just do not know. Two empty stripper clips must weigh less than one empty magazine magazine; but unless somebody knows otherwise I’d struggle to believe loading two clips was quicker than changing one mag, especially as clips are, surely, inherently less intuitive.

        The obvious answer, provided to tight enough tolerances, would have been to use 20 round mags, or even the 30 round Bren gun ones; but the change in ordering, supply and tactics would have had massive problems with inertia for that to have been very unlikely

        • I wondered why Stalin insisted on a fixed magazine loaded with stripper clips for the the SKS, and then I saw the video on the PPSh and difficult fittings of both drum and box magazines. An industry has to be able to manufacture consistently-fitting detachable magazines before an army can issue them. (As an aside, I wonder if the Bren, and its forbears like the Lewis and Madsen, could stand wider tolerances in the receiver with a top-mounted, and therefore gravity-assisted, magazine.

        • “clips are, surely, inherently less intuitive”
          I can’t agree totally, this depends on training, today with a lot of rifles with detachable magazines and most automatic pistols having such magazines it looks to be obvious, back then – not necessarily.

          “why Stalin insisted on a fixed magazine loaded with stripper clips for the the SKS”
          Source claiming that Stalin personally required that? Generally if AK replaced PPSh, then SKS replaced Mosin carbines, hence stripper loading might be carried over from that.
          Anyway Simonov make designs with all major style of loading – AVS-36 with detachable magazine, PTRS-41 with en-bloc (if that is proper term in U.S. parlance) and SKS with stripper

  9. I agree that not having a private ownership gun culture must hurt British firearms development but how do you explain Canada? The Ross & the Para Ordnance are the only innovations that come to mind and the former failed famously and the later escaped to Florida.

    Canada has about 2 million licensed gun owners (cops and soldiers don’t need a license) and millions of guns in private hands. Have all the innovators moved to the US?

    • Diemaco, now (God help them…) Colt Canada, has a long and positive history of innovation. There are reasons ( Rotary Cold Hammer Forged barrels…) that the Dutch, Danes, and UK SF specified their products, rather than Colt…

      The Canadians have always done well with weapons production, and have had the good sense to insure that they maintained a solid production base. If I were a small country with an attractive set of resources, and living next door to the US, I think I’d do the same.

  10. Respectfully, engaging with 1:04 and the interesting discussion of “last ditch” or substitute standard weapons in WWI:

    I would agree that there was no real purpose-built über-simplifed infantry arm like, say, the Sten, PPSh41, or Japanese T99s… On the other hand, most of the “last ditch weapons” designed by the Axis powers in WWII largely remained in the realm of prototypes, with the above exceptions? I mean, yes, per Ian’s point about the huge imbalance in arms production in the USSR reeling from Barbarossa… There are those crazy rough-hewn Mosin 91/30s from ’42 and so on.

    Turning to WWI: First, it might surprise you to learn–it did me!–that the German high command, on appraisal that the war was well and truly lost and could not be sustained, briefly ran over “going French” and proclaiming a levée-en-masse to save the Kaiserreich! It was rejected because of the ongoing revolution, and the perception that arming the populace would not work. Now contrast this with WWII: There, Hitler proclaimed “total war” on 25 July 1944–his ears still ringing from the Valkyrie bombing five days earlier–and insisted that there would be no “November 1918” and the Volksgemeinschaft of the Third Reich would triumph or fail and the entire German people and society with it. The repression of the plotters included pretty much any and everyone who might have overthrown the real hide-bound fanatics and moved toward the Western allies. And Martin Bormann and H. Himmler each tried to out-do the other in having a levy of HJ and old army vets led by the NSDAP Gauleiters and tightly controlled by the party. Unlike WWI, they fought against the Soviets–and lost–and sometimes could be driven and compelled to fight against the threats from the West… Hanged deserters with placards around their necks and that sort of ugliness… The Germans may as well have been occupied partisan territory at that point. The only substantial “last ditch” weapon that appeared to actually work as intended was the Panzerfaust.

    Now back to WWI: France apparently freed up modern repeating rifles for its forces. The French army appeared to have created the Berthier as a more cost-effective and easier-to-use shoulder arm. By 1916, even the shorter carbines appear to have been acknowledged in some circles as proving particularly good for assault troops and so on. Meanwhile, contracts go out to replace rear echelon troops’ arms with simpler Gras and imported Remington single-shots. France simply off-shores production of handguns and adopts Spanish substitute-standard semi-autos and revolvers. Foreign hand grenade designs like the Bezotti are adopted when it is opportune to do so. Everything goes into artillery development. And even then, France produces a new and innovative “last ditch” automatic, that however reviled and maligned appears to have been the most-produced automatic weapon of the war: The CSRG Mle. 15 Chauchat. Crummy? Yes. But a bicycle/automobile factory that never built firearms before cranked out these things–and their crazy magazines–in droves, using none of the old, skilled machining and expensive labor. Here was “last ditch” innovation “avant la lettre!”

    Russia made do with enormous quantities of assorted weapons from allies… And foreign contracts. So the inefficiency of the German “U-boat” blockade to interdict trade allowed nations as disparate as Japan and the United States to supply the belligerents. Who needs a home-grown “last ditch” design when you can buy the things on credit? And the excess capacity of U.S. production lines led to an oft-overlooked U.S. industrial achievement: The M1917 U.S. “Enfield.” Winchester, Remington UMC, and Remington of Delaware/Eddystone, PA built P14s for the UK while the UK focused on getting the M1907 SMLE in high gear. Here was a pre-war British “improved Mauser” in .276 being produced in .303″ in U.S. factories. So when the U.S. entered the war, the decision was made that it was easier for private industry to re-chamber the .303″ P14 into a U.S. .30 caliber, and crank these things out while the Government arsenals worked up the numbers of M1903s. Not a “last ditch” but very much a decision about industrial efficiency in arming the AEF with all U.S.-made shoulder arms.

    Lastly, German and the Austro-Hungarian corpse it was shackled to: The Germans were fortunate in defeating such large armies in the East early in the war. There were lots of captured Russian arms to supplement all the other ancient German weapons going to rear-echelon troops. Still, the Germans moved to a “defense in depth” of the Western Front, relying on fighting nests of pillboxes and strong-points, making ample use of MG08 Maxims and particularly the MG08/15, the minenwerfer and granatenwerfer, etc. etc. The Austro-Hungarians had a devil of a time, and used pretty much anything that could shoot. Also ample supplies of captured weapons, or the output of the OEWG Steyr factory making orders for all over being requisitioned en toto.

    • Dear Mr. Carlson: You made my intended point in much greater detail than I could ever have: I would say the last-ditch weapons of World War I were adopted at the beginning of the war (Spanish handguns, Remington rolling-blocks, lever-action Winchesters, Arisakas sold to Russia, and even to Britain!) rather than at the end, to fill the gaps that existed before native industrial production could be ramped up in each belligerent country.

      Following your mention of the Chauchat, one might also define a last-ditch weapon as one that introduced some new technology or tactical use. Might I suggest the MP18.I as such a weapon, despite its quality manufacture?

      Thanks to Mr. M and his supporters for this fascinating set of facts and surmises.

      • Those were the luckier plodding infantry k.u.k. Royal and Imperial soldiers, no? At least Jaroslav Hasek’s experiences as a Czech in the k.u.k., as a PoW, and as member of the Czechs among the Bolsheviki led to the _Good Soldier Svejk_ novels.

  11. Concerning the Trilux SUIT. Mine works quite well after tightening the lock piece between the two reciever half’s, tightening the top cover and renewing the hold down spring. Additionally the Israeli mod with an additional spring helps immensely. Had some extra bits and replaced the German post with a Schmidt and Bender ranging crosshair, much more to my liking. Maintaining a half inch left offset at 100 yds. keeps everything square.
    In any event these sights are becoming rarer now commanding $300/$400 per. Yes there are better options out there but it was fun getting a SUIT to actually work on a L1A1

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