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Most cost effective weapon

Discussion in 'Weapons & Technology in WWII' started by harolds, Feb 16, 2015.

  1. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

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    Not supposed to do this, but it is tradition for me now.
    Welcome back.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mmm3KTa601s
     
  2. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    Funny you should mention that....

    I found a funny a few months ago regarding the good old Vickers .303 MMG

    An effective range of 2,187 yd (2,000 m)...

    But the Lewis Gun firing the same round, and the Bren Gun firing the same round, had effective ranges of 880 yards (800 m) and 600 yd (550 m) respectively...

    So why the suprising difference in effectiveness? More than twice as effective as the others?

    Simple. Not only was the Vickers effective in direct fire....crews were taught to use them for dropping indirect fire into enemy positions at long range, a tactic developed in WWI! Something I watched U.S. troops do in Afghanistan a few years ago with the .50 Browning, which has nearly the same effective range ;)

    The Lewis Gun couldn't really do it - and the Bren Gun, with its too-close grouping of shots, couldn't do it....but it meant that the Vickers could kill the enmy....or hit an acceptable number of man-sized targets and do a killing wound on the torso, the definition of "effective" - it doesn't matter, for the purposes of the definition, whether direct or indirect fire, it just has to kill them!...right out to two kilometers.

    So with the Vickers, like the Browning, you could "reach out and touch someone" and cover a HUGE amount of ground, and kill people in cover that other medium or heavy machine guns wouldn't. And do it all with the same good ol' .303 round...but at more than double the effective range of a British Army LMG...and nearly FOUR times further than the effective range of a Lee Enfiled battle rifle.

    Does it for me! :)
     
  3. Bundesluftwaffe

    Bundesluftwaffe New Member

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    81/120mm mortars imo.
     
  4. Thoddy

    Thoddy Member

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    wich weapon is most effective depends on the circumstances you are confronted with.
    range of detection of enemy, range of own detection,
    range of own weapon, own weapons effect, own protection,
    range of enemys weapon, enemys weapons effect, enemys protection.
    and a bunch of more or less soft factors such as training, maneuverability, speed, redundancy

    sample
    1000 men with knife approaching one machine gun and were sighted 1000 m distant; in this case the machine gun is probably the most effective weapon even compared to a sniper
    -in another situation night in a jungle one men with a knife or a mace can beat the guy with a machine gun
    -in a fight against a tank the machine gun is almost completely ineffective
     
  5. harolds

    harolds Member

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    On mortars: tube arty is generally more accurate at any given range because tube arty has a rifled barrel while mortars are fin stabilized. The one exception is the American 4.2 inch mortar that actually had a rifled barrel. It may not matter that much since both mortars and arty kill mainly by fragmentation effect so neither generally needs to have a direct hit
     
  6. Bundesluftwaffe

    Bundesluftwaffe New Member

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    Yes, but mortars are way lighter and cheaper than "real" arty. From what I read some of the most feared weapons in WW2 were mortars (like the Russian - later German too120mm or the 4.2 inch of the US was feared by German troops, probably also cause it could use WP ammo as well had a high rate of fire for the size). Also you could not hear the shells coming in as easy...
     
  7. harolds

    harolds Member

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    BL,

    All true but I was addressing just the accuracy issues raised above.
     
  8. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    I thought mathematically, mortars are more accurate with their deep parabolic arc?? any math experts out there??...if everything is correct -charge data, crew, etc, <> the mortar tube, at optimal range!!!<>has less chance for error??? especially with targets that are on hills/etc?? if the arty shoots high, at a target that has lower ground behind it, will it not miss by far more, with it's flatter trajectory, than a mortar?
     
  9. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Bronk7,

    You're correct that mortars can hit targets behind steep hills that a howitzer couldn't hit with low-angle fire. (0 to 45 degrees). However, many howitzers of that time could also fire high-angle (+45-90 degrees). Regular artillery is more accurate because the projectile comes out of the tube properly rotating and stable. Mortar rounds are initially unstable because some of the propellant gasses work around the projo in the tube and it sort of rattles up the bore. Additionally, it takes a certain time for a mortar round to stabilize and start rotating after it leaves th barrel. Thus, there is a certain amount of inaccuracy built into the average smooth-bore mortar. All this I was told to me at Ft. Benning and Ft. Sill.
     
  10. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    Sill is the mother of arty schools, so I'll go with your facts..you were in arty??..still, Mr. Silly, our mortar gunners could hit a very small target with direct fire or indirect, very fast.....thanks for the info ..very interesting.....[ no malice ever intended, unless notified ].
     
  11. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

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    Tried to find the youtube vid of a very young African Man/boy. He was with a group of other yout's, with AK's. They were very obviously high. ..A large group of people had gathered around - maybe to see the commotion in a small village. All of a sudden, this kid starts firing a small mortar from the hip. It got away from him (recoil) and the trajectory went from horizontal to vertical into the surrounding area. Panick ensues.
    The point being, maybe, the Japanese had a very effective small mortar.
     
  12. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    The 4.2 inch mortar fired a projectile with no fins from a rifled bore. The debate about "accuracy" is kind of moot because even a smooth bored mortar like 60mm or 81mm were firing from much closer ranges and with much less lag time for corrections. It is instant comms and a proficient observer that make for accurate shooting with any kind of artillery. The inherent accuracy of the gun is very much secondary.

    In any case, imagine an observer calling in artillery on a column of vehicles or troops. A lag of a few minutes will mean the shells are falling on empty road.
     
  13. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Bronk7: I graduated from both the Ft. Benning infantry school and Ft. Sill.

    KB: you are correct! The 4.2 chemical mortar had a rifled barrel and its projectile operated much like the Minnie-ball used in the civil war. Why a mortar designed to shoot gas and smoke shells needed a rifled barrel I have no idea. However, the rifled barrel increased the cost for some dubious increase in accuracy. All high-angle fire whether from a rifled barrel or smooth bore, is relatively inaccurate because the projectile goes way up and then down allowing for air currents to affect the trajectory more at any given range. P. S. you are very correct about the short lag time for mortars!
     
  14. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Since mortars don't go as high up I wouldn't think that would effect them as much. Rough rule of thumb at max range the altitude the round reaches is half the range. As the range shortens the rounds go higher if the same powder charge is used but didn't mortar powder charges vary considerably?
     
  15. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    It's artillery. Close is usually good enough... You're not shooting at an individual, but trying to lay down a barrage in an area. The wind effect on a projectile of that weight would be miniscule unless you're shooting in a hurricane.
     
  16. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    It was a serious consideration for Battleship guns at least at long range. Of course when they are reaching altitdues in excess of 40,000 ft ...
     
  17. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Right, but when shooting either naval or land based artillery, you first first went with ranging shots and then adjusted. Even before adjusting, things like wind, temperature, precipitation and so on were factored into the shooting data. Even with all that, you still wanted an observer to make corrections based on direct observation.

    With mortars, because the range was far less, those variables counted for far less. A good observer counted for far more than some data table.
     
  18. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Indeed one of the problems with battleship gun fire is they got so high that there were significant effects due to atmospheric layers. Max altitude for the 4.2" mortar would be well under 10,000 ft and even the new 120mm ones wouldn't be getting over 15,000 ft often if at all.
     
  19. Terry D

    Terry D Active Member

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    After a look online and in one of Ian Hogg's books I can make a tenative guess at why the 4.2" M2 was rifled instead of smoothbore. US Chemical Corps units used the 4" Stokes for gas shells in WWI. There isn't much information about that weapon around on the web, but I have seen a range as low as 800 yards quoted for it. When the CW Service got around to designing a new weapon in the 20's they wanted something that could better that, and rifling would obviously help there. Also, gas delivery was not the only thing in mind for the new 4.2" design. After international limitations were imposed on gas warfare in the interwar decades, the Chemical Corps was left fighting for its life. A weapon with some versatiity (i.e., the ability to fire a fairly potent HE bomb as an alternative to gas) and better range and accuracy than other mortars would be a useful adjunct to both the infantry and the field artillery. So, while the gains in accuracy and range from rifling might seem relatively marginal now, they may have helped both the weapon and the service that fielded it look more attractive in the cash-strapped US Army of the 1930's. That is informed speculation, of course, but it might help until someone finds a fuller development history of the 4.2" M2.
     
  20. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Well I can still remember practice firing mortars at Ft. Benning. It was many years ago but I'm fairly certain the range was only about 1000 meters or so. Even at that range the dispersion of rounds was considerable. The best we could achieve was getting an impact within 25m or so of our designated target. Approximately a year later, as a field arty FO I watched an 8" howitzer shoot three rounds at the same direction and quadrant at 5000mts and have all three craters overlap. The old 8" how. was one of our more accurate pieces but when we shot high angle of fire, even with low charges (2-3), the dispersion was significant.

    As pointed out in my earlier post, When the damage is done by fragmentation a direct hit is unnecessary. IIRC, the lethal radius of an 80mm mortar was 40mts, about 50 for 4.2" and 105mm stuff and 80 for the 8" how. Lethal radiusbeing defined as the distance from the point of impact wher a standing person has a 50% statistical probability of being hit by at least one fragment.
     
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