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Why did Britain have bad guns compared to the rest of the world???

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ChaseZachary, Mar 22, 2020.

  1. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    At least the Germans after winter 1941-42 had to start replacing men losses with more fire power of which MG42 is a great example. So more effective guns for less troops.
     
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  2. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Bren guns in wartime had a similar reputation for stoppages,. and the fault was filling Magazines to capacity and leaving them lying around for days with the springs fully compressed. There was an Army Training Memorandum ordering a maximum of 28 (?) rounds in the 32 round magazine. We didn't experience this problem on peacetime because magazines were never left filled.

    The big failing of the Sten was that if could fire if dropped. The working parts would go far enough to the rear to chamber and fire a round, but not far enough to engage the sear that held the bolt open. Standing orders for the artillery of 1st British Corps in Normandy were that the Sten was never to be loaded with a magazine unless in forward areas or on sentry duty.
     
  3. James Stewart

    James Stewart Active Member

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    Alan take your point on the MP38and Mp40 and would agree some of the British arms were not beautiful but nor were they bad, yes one of them was more complex from a production point of view than the other. ( Going from memory here ).
    Another point about German arms they were forced sometimes by the superior quality of enemy weapons to adopt them for use and often by necessity.


    I collect WW2 binoculars and see the same from many friends who see German optics as being way better than anything GB or America produced and whilst this may be true in terms of engineering. ( You would be amazed how complicated they could make the ocular tower of a binocular, over complicating it).
    Yet I find this hard to believe on the basis of my own experience and the British gear of the time was certainly not second rate nor did it leave the RN "blind" compared to their opposite numbers.
    A few years ago I put a set of Barr and Stroud (CF42, 7x50) in the hands of a friend of mine who has a hugely significant Kriegsmarine Zeiss Collection he was astounded by the plasticity and colour contrast as well as the sharp image, he had based his views more on what he had heard than what he had " looked through". He revised his views and tentatively asked me if I would part with the set.
    Leitz late war ( rubber topped) 7x50's (often described as "U Boat binoculars" as a good marketing technique) are inferior to the underrated Barr and Stroud.
    ( The Leitz really only does well on a bright day in low light conditions they are not at their best ).

    Germany was haunted by the desperate search for "wonder weapons", not all that was researched was reasonable and few actually bore fruit.
     
  4. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    That is the pattern for most of the armies of WW2. Manpower falls and is replaced by firepower. The British Division of 1944 had about 950 men fewer than the 1941 establishment, and 800 fewer rifles but 6,000 more machine carbines. 400 more Bren Guns, 150 more mortars, 62 more (and much better) anti tank guns and 71 close range 20mm AA guns that it had never had in the past. Russian changes were even more dramatic http://ww2f.com/threads/soviet-infantry-squad-composition-and-doctrine.74477/#post-851206
     
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  5. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    Yes, two valid points.

    The Bren had a similar magazine feeding problem propensity as the Sten. Standard practice (unsure of how "formalized" this was) was to load 27 or 28 rounds of the 30 round magazine (and the same for the 32 round Sten). I was unaware that there was an Army Training Memoradum about this for the Bren -- did the same exist for the Sten? Going from memory, the primary issue was (as you said) compressing the magazine spring and to a lesser extent deforming the magazine feed lips.

    Yes, the Sten had the same problem that many other open-bolt submachine guns had. With an open-bolt (fixed firing pin) SMG, the "safe" way to carry it is generally with the bolt closed. The issue with this is if the SMG does not have a device to lock the bolt closed, the bolt is kept in the forward position only by spring pressure. When the SMG is dropped or bumped rigorously the shock can cause the bolt to move rearwards against spring pressure. In some cases the bolt can move rearwards not far enough to engage the sear (which would lock the bolt open), but far enough to move past the magazine. When this happens, the bolt will return forward under spring pressure, strip a live cartridge from the magazine, and slam closed onto a live cartridge which will result in an accidental discharge. This is likely the basis of the notorious "British soldiers used to throw a Sten with a full magazine through the window and let it fire until empty to kill the occupants" myth. This was not a problem isolated to the Sten -- notably, the M3 "Grease Gun" and MP38/MP40 also had a propensity for this (although the MP40 would later be retrofit with a simple sliding stop to lock the bolt closed).
     
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  6. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Extract from War Office Army Training Memorandum No 26 dated 13th November 1939, Paragraph 5

    i Bren gun magazines

    (a) The magazine will be loaded with 28 rounds only
    This precaution prevents a stoppage which is sometimes experienced as a result of certain magazines failing to feed the first round when loaded with 30 rounds.
    (b) When magazines have to be kept loaded for any length of time they will be loaded with 20 rounds only.
    This prevents the spring becoming weak (and in extreme cases fracturing) owing to its being kept fully compressed.
    Still a very good Light Machine Gun.


     
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