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Rifle Grenade dischargers were standard issue

Discussion in 'Small Arms and Edged Weapons' started by Wolfy, Jun 27, 2009.

  1. Wolfy

    Wolfy Ace

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    in US, German, and British infantry sections but I've rarely come across actual Western accounts of their use.


    The Japanese issued them for their rifle squads as well and often pelted the enemy position with their "knee mortars" before an infantry charge.

    That German VG 1945 information I found revealed that expenditure rates per rifle infantry section was 25 rifle grenade rounds for a 1-day combat action.

    Were these decisive weapons for an infantry section like the squad automatic weapon was? I've read that they were generally not too accurate (the rifle stock had to be placed on the ground or under the arm due to the recoil).
     
  2. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    I came across this sequence for preparing to launch a grenade. Seems awfully time consuming. I'm still checking on their usage by the US.

    [​IMG]

    http://grenadelauncher.com/
     
  3. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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  4. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

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    US Training Film.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QngwTV05B4c
     
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  5. Earthican

    Earthican Member

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    I get the impression they were not well liked by the average American soldier. For the US, they interfered with the use of the rifle (use of blank rounds) and they added to the load to be carried.

    But some soldiers 'took to' particular weapons for a variety of reasons. Some might have found they had 'the gift' to eyeball a target, line-up their shot and make a hit with some skill but also a whole lot of intuitive feel. Others might have recognized that the grenadier was among the last to have to 'walk the point' or other dangerous tasks given to lowly riflemen.

    I mostly see their use mentioned in awards. Some examples below from the US Army MOH list. I am sure there were plenty of BS, SS and DSC that also include the use of a rifle grenade.

    http://www.history.army.mil/moh/wwII-a-f.html
     
  6. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    The rifle grenade was an effective and tactically useful weapon for the American soldier and Marine. The rifle grenade stayed in the US weapons inventory well into the Vietnam era when it was replaced with the 40mm M79 grenade launcher. The big drawback for the M79 was that it was the primary weapon for the grenadier and he did not also have a rifle as with the grenadier using the rifle grenade and '03 Springfield, M1 Garand, M1 Carbine or M14 service rifle. This was rectified by the adoption of the M203 attachment that allowed the 40mm grenade launcher to be attached to the M16 service rifle and its variants.


    Actually, the rifle M1 could be fire with the grenade launcher attached, as long as a grenade was not on the launcher. The bayonet could not be employed because the launcher fit over the bayonet lug to secure it to the rifle. The gas plug on the rifle, M1 was also depressed when the launcher was installed so the rifle would not function semi-automatically, so it was necessary for the rifleman to cycle the weapon manually after each round was fired. Early in the war the grenade adapter M1 for the '03 Springfield service rifle was used with the rifle grenade. Then the M8 adapter for the M1 Carbine was adopted, the M8 did not interfere with the semi-automatic function of this weapon and it could be fired normally, with the adapter in place. The M7/M7A1 for the M1 rifle was not adopted until late 1943. The need to retain the rifle grenade capability was the reason the Marine Corps Series E TOE retained the '03 Springfield for the rifleman/grenadier.

    From a Korean War era Guidebook for Marines:
    "When the launcher is attached you cannot fix the bayonet to your rifle but you can fire regular ammunition, so long as no grenade is on the launcher. Because of the added weight, the zero of your rifle will differ from the regular zero."

    As for tactical employment, from the same source: "Rifle grenades are the Marine rifleman's best weapon for use against tanks, pill boxes, and in some cases, enemy personnel. They are also effective as signaling agents, for screening effect, and as an incendiary against inflammable targets." ....."they are an effective means of covering the dead space between the distance you can throw a hand grenade and the minimum range of mortars and artillery fire."

    The HEAT round M9/M9A1 was effective as an anti-armor and anti-pillbox round, the chemical round containing White Phosphorous was very effective as a smoke screen (as were the chemical smoke grenades) or as an incendiary munition.
     
  7. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    Hello USMCPrice, nice to see you again, last year when you were helping me out with data on the US Marine Rifle Company, I also did the standard Infantry Company circa 1944 and each Company was issued 36 x M7 Rifle Grenade Launchers for their M1 Rifles, so they must have thought that it still had a place in the Company as a support weapon.

    Yan.
     
  8. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    I will see what data I have on Axis rifle grenade lauchers.
     
  9. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    The Italians used the Moschetto di Fanteria Mod. 91/28 con Tromboncino, which was a 38.5mm HE Grenade fitted to a standard 6.5mm Carcano, it could be fired up to a range of 320m

    The Germans issued the 30mm Gewehrgranatengerät in 1942, this could fire both HE (280m) and AP (70mm @ 90m).

    The Japanese had three, the Type 91, Type 2 and Type 100, the Type 2 could fire an either a 30mm or 40mm AP Grenade up to 150m (40mm @ 150m).

    Yan.
     
  10. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    If the AP grenades were HEAT then range is not very important although they would have a bit better penetration at longer ranges.
     
  11. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Let me add two bits of info to this discussion. First, the USA had 2 rifle granade set-ups: the first was a device to launch the regular "pineapple " hand grenade; the second was the one illustrated above.

    Secondly, the German 30mm grenade launcher was rifled and the grenade itself had a pre-rifled rotating band. This would make it theoretically more accurate than other launched grenades.

    Oh yes, here's a third: the Germans had grenades (HE and HEAT) that could be fired from their flare pistols!
     
  12. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    [SIZE=12pt]I have found a few more;[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=12pt]The French Tromblon VB 50mm Grenade Launcher Range 170m (also used by the Greeks in WW2)[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=12pt]The Danish m/1923 51mm Rifle Grenade Launcher (Granatbæger[/SIZE]) Range 200m
    [SIZE=12pt]The Hungarians manufactured used a modified version of the German Gewehrgranatgeraet[/SIZE]
     
  13. GPW1944

    GPW1944 recruit

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    Thought I would throw in not that I know anything about the subject, but from what I read regarding the US grenade launchers, Grenadiers in squads were supplied with 1903A3 and launchers as the Garand rifles launchers were not as easy to use or transition while engaged in combat until much later in the war. I read that this was because of the eight round clips on the Garand rifles vs the ease of sliping a launcher round into the 03A3. My uncle also confirms this and indicated several soldiers in the squad would carry extra rifle grenades for the grenadier.
    Best Regards
    Jim
     
  14. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    I have a friend who served as an Artilleryman during the Korean War and he told me that during WW2 the tractor drivers of 105mm Howitzers gun crews carried a M7 Grenade Launcher, I was surprised at this because I thought that all US Artillery men carried .30 M1 Carbines, but no;

    US 105mm Howitzer Gun Crew;

    Sergeant/Section Chief (M1 Rifle)
    Corporal/Gunner (M1 Carbine)
    Assistant Gunner (M1 Carbine)
    6 x Cannoneers [Loaders and Ammunition Bearers] (M1 Carbines)
    Driver (M1 Rifle + M7 Grenade Launcher)

    Ian.
     
  15. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    GPW1944 wrote:


    While this is probably true, the main reason that the .03 Springfield was initially retained was that the M7 launcher for the M1 wasn't designed until 1943, then it was placed into production with the first examples reaching the troops in late '43 and it was around two years before there were sufficient to equip everyone. So it was necessary to retain the .03 until that time. As for everyone in the company carrying additional rounds, that is SOP in an infantry company, as it is for mortar rounds, it is normal for every member of the company to carry an additional mortar round for the 60. The actual mortar crewmen cannot physically carry enough ammo to keep their weapons in action for an extended time so extra ammo is carried by everyone, spreading the load.

    As I stated earlier:

    Yan you might also want to include the Japanese Type 89 Grenade discharger. It could fire standard frags or the Type 89 50mm shell. The Japanese were noted for being very effective in the employment of this weapon. It is really a predecessor of the Vietnam era M79 40mm grenade launcher and the later M203. These two weapons are also where the developmental lines of the rifle grenades we are discussing eventually evolved.
     
  16. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    Hi Price, yes thanks I should of included Type 89, I have this on the GL which was used on the M1903;

    M1 RIFLE GRENADE LAUNCHER.
    Year: 1940.
    Amount: 322.892.
    Weight: 0.285 kg.
    Length: 180mm.
    Grenade Types;
    M2A1 Fragmentation Grenade.
    M9 Anti-Tank Grenade.
    M19 Smoke Grenade.
    Blank Cartridge: M3.
    Muzzle Velocity: 55 m/s.

    Yan.
     
  17. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Just for your database. The launcher for the M1903 Springfield was the Rifle Grenade Launcher, M1. For the M1917 Enfield the Rifle Grenade Launcher, M2.
     
  18. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Here's a video of the rifle grenade vs a tank. Interesting thing is that the technique of letting a tank drive over you was still used into at least the early 1990's. I remember training up for a NATO float where we were going to Norway when the Warsaw Pact still existed. Because our MEU would be used as a "speed bump" if the Soviets attacked we trained in killing their vehicles using the 66mm M72 LAW. Our Dragons and TOW's could kill anything the Soviets had, but they had so much that your riflemen and machine gunners had to take some of the pressure off. We went to the field and dug deep, narrow fighting holes and we were practicing with expended LAW tubes fitted with a sub-cal training device. We'd hunker down in a our holes and they'd drive tanks over us then we'd pop up and hit them in the arse with the sub-cal round. It's really hard to make yourself sit in a hole and let a tank drive over you. A number of dudes freaked because they couldn't control their fear. Just glad the Soviets never did come pouring across the border and we didn't have to do it for real.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_hhoNgqWXM

    Here's a couple more on all infantry weapons that's pretty interesting. Part two has the rifle grenade, but the information is so interesting I included both. Enjoy!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHm_p_X9jKA

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGpXXXWajd8
     
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  19. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    Was there much difference between the M1 and M2? I only have the stats for the M1, the .30 M1917 Enfield was still issued to Mortar Gunners from Chemical Mortar Battalions in the early part of WW2 so maybe they kept the M2 GL as well.
     
  20. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    I have been searching arounf for data on the M2 GL, and I dont know if this is correct or not;

    M2 RIFLE GRENADE LAUNCHER.
    Year: September 1941.
    Amount: 112.327.
    Weight: kg. ?
    Length: mm. ?
    Grenade Types;
    M2A1 Fragmentation Grenade.
    M9 Anti-Tank Grenade.
    M19 Smoke Grenade.
    Blank Cartridge: M3.
    Muzzle Velocity: 55 m/s.
    Notes: Made to fit the standard M1917 Enfield Rifle.

    There are still a few gaps and the grenade types are for the M1 GL but am I pretty close?

    I still cannot find the weight and length of the M2 though.

    Yan.
     

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