Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Your Ten Worst Infantry weapons

Discussion in 'Small Arms and Edged Weapons' started by OhneGewehr, Jan 12, 2017.

  1. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2016
    Messages:
    411
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Germany
    The "fire power advantage" was then only based on the belt-fed MGs until the Stg 44 arrived?
    Otherwise i can't see, where it should come from. Even the Russians with the PPShs were superior.

    Maybe some futuristic weapons like the FG 42 and the StG 44 are misleading, they were rare even in 1945. Real war wasn't a computer game, where you can just choose whatever you want.


    If i will write a book about the Tops and the Flops of the weapons during WW2, my Flop 10 in firearms were something like this:

    Carcano – the Finns replaced them by captured Mosin-Nagants as soon as possible.
    FG 42 – ambitious requirements lead to a formidable, but overengineered weapon. Could only be produced in small numbers.
    SVT 40 Tokarev – the Red Army ceased production after the german invasion
    Nambu Pistol Type 94 – horrible pistol (but just a pistol)
    Grease Gun – took too long to eliminate the design flaws
    Breda 30 MG – almost useless in the desert (oiling system, stripper clips), akward to carry, dangerous for the gunner
    SMLE No.5 Jungle Carbine – heavy recoil, not very accurate
    Gewehr 43 – not as reliable or accurate as the K98, soon replaced by the StG 44
    Lanchester MP – heavy and dangerous for the user, a failed weapon
    Type 92 Machine Gun – heavy, unreliable, needed oiled cartridges in open strips
     
  2. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    12,312
    Likes Received:
    1,232
    Location:
    Michigan
    That sounds like it deserves a thread of it's own. I can see some here taking issue with some of your choices that's for sure.
     
  3. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,184
    Likes Received:
    1,076
    And the wizard makes it happen.
     
  4. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2016
    Messages:
    411
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Germany
    For sure. As a german i can't buy or own any of these firearms, i only shot a MG3 (slower version of the MG 42) a G3 (modified StG 45) and the P1 (a modified P38). So everything i know is based on books and films.

    The list doesn't mean necessarily "bad", the FG 42 or the SVT 40 weren't bad, but not as successful as intended.
     
  5. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    1,553
    Likes Received:
    422
    Location:
    London UK
    Many British soldiers would nominate the Sten for inclusion on any list of worlds worst small arms. This has been described as "the most cost effective weapon of WW2". Well it was very cheap to manufacture.;)

    This had a weak safety catch and a tendency to fire a round if dropped. The mouths of the shoddy magazines were easily damaged making stoppages common. Standing orders for artillery units in Normandy were not to load the weapon unless in combat or on patrol.
     
  6. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2016
    Messages:
    411
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Germany
    The same with the MAS-36, which had no safety at all.

    The Sten could be considered a Flop if expensive or time consuming to manufacture. But the british army only had the choice between the Sten or much fewer better submachine guns. The Grease Gun was a similar concept and even the germans build sort of copies.
    The Sten was easy to hide, especially when disassembled. And it was available with an integral silencer, an ideal weapon for stealth operations.
     
  7. the_diego

    the_diego Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2016
    Messages:
    186
    Likes Received:
    23
    some would say the m-1 carbine, the BAR, and the thompson .45 should be there: either not enough firepower for their respective sizes (carbine and BAR), or too big and complicated for their intended roles (thompson).
     
  8. KMZgirl

    KMZgirl Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Messages:
    375
    Likes Received:
    93
    Location:
    The South
    Can you go into more detail about why the tommy gun was complicated/bad choice? I don't know anything about weapons but I'm interested. Thanks!
     
  9. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2006
    Messages:
    6,135
    Likes Received:
    1,721
    Location:
    Perfidious Albion
    Wot, no Sticky Bomb?
    [​IMG]

    I believe the poor old Greeks were still packing the Chauchat at war's opening:
    [​IMG]

    What's wrong with the Lanchester?
    Damned handsome piece, and essentially just another SMG & MP28 clone.
    View attachment 25342
     

    Attached Files:

  10. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    6,329
    Likes Received:
    1,698
    Location:
    The Arid Zone
    SVT-40 was a rather good rifle. They slowed, then ceased production because the invasion required a vast increase in rifle production, hence the return to the Mosin rifles which were faster, simpler and cheaper to produce.

    The G-43 was also a fine rifle (and copied much of the SVT-40 design). Production continued until the end of the war. Like the Russian experience, they found that as production was disrupted, it was simpler to shift resources to the K-98 which were faster and cheaper to produce, yet they still continued producing the G-43 until the end.

    The Carcano? There was nothing wrong with it. It was a perfectly serviceable rifle with about the same handling qualities and accuracy as any bolt action rifle.
     
  11. Pacifist

    Pacifist Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    Messages:
    406
    Likes Received:
    90
    The Carcano name covers several different rifles used during WW2.
    The Carcano 7.35mm Modello 1938 which was shipped to the Finns was a short rifle (considered a carbine) with fixed sights at 300m resulting in a loss of long range accuracy. It used a non standard (for Finland) round causing supply issues.

    The Italians had abysmal problems with their rifles in WW2.
    They entered the war with the Carcano M91 using the under powered rimless 6.5×52mm Modello 1895 cartridge which put them at a disadvantage in the open desert.
    Before the war they introduced the 7.35mm Modello 1938 which used a larger round but cut the barrel down to that of a carbine. So the long distance accuracy problems continued. Due to production limitations they weren't able to produce enough for their armies.
    Then with the distance problems in Africa they began producing the longer barreled Carcano M91/41. Which returned to the 6.5×52mm Modello 1895 cartridge.
     
  12. Dave55

    Dave55 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,377
    Likes Received:
    190
    Location:
    Atlanta
    6.5x52 could fire magic bullets
     
  13. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    6,329
    Likes Received:
    1,698
    Location:
    The Arid Zone
    That's mostly perception and indecision on the part of the Italian high command. There was nothing wrong with the 6.5 cartridge except for the complaints of soldiers in a losing battle, blaming a "too small" bullet. It's certainly not under powered. It's the ballistic twin of the 6.5 Swede (6.5x55) which is the most accurate round of the period. The Swede (in soft point) is still the favored moose cartridge in that country. 6.5 cartridges have particularly good ballistic coefficient, and better penetration than .30 calibers in similar weights.
    You may have a small point about the 7.35. It's never a good idea to change rounds in the middle of a war, but long range accuracy was a discarded concept after the war anyway. Everyone has gone to the intermediate cartridge concept. You can't see a man at 800 meters, much less hit him with the blunt iron sights of those period rifles. It can be done on the range, but in combat, not so much.
     
  14. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    36
    I agree over the Chauchat.
    I also don't know why designers kept on producing strip fed weapons.
     
  15. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    36
    Can’t see why you think that these weapons were bad, the M1 Carbine was not a battle rifle and was a useful piece of kit when used for the purpose it was designed for, the Thompson was heavy but fired a heavy slug.

    The BAR was improved by the Belgians to include a barrel change, which was one of its main problems, but as a squad automatic it supplemented the M1 Rifles well.

    I always thought the Americans fared well in relation to the British, just compare;

    Webley Revolver – Colt M1911
    Sten – Thompson
    Lee Enfield – M1 Rifle
    Bren – BAR
    PAIT – Bazooka
    The British shade the LMG with the Bren, but having an automatic rifle would give you the edge especially when fighting under 100m.
     
  16. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2016
    Messages:
    411
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Germany
    Fires when dropped. Difficult and expensive to produce.

    The M1 carbine was intended as a light weapon for supply units but was used as a battle rifle due to its small size and weight. Could be regarded as a success too.
     
  17. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2016
    Messages:
    411
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Germany
    Then i will replace them by other firearms.
    What about the Reising M50?
    Other proposals?

    The Chauchat wasn't that bad, maybe more reliable than the machine guns the Italians used.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCwP3Dm52Ls
     
  18. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2011
    Messages:
    7,033
    Likes Received:
    1,162
    Location:
    The Land of 10,000 Loons

    Attached Files:

  19. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    Messages:
    3,123
    Likes Received:
    1,089
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    In general, the issue I see here is that there are two distinct criteria for inclusion on the "top 10 worst list":

    • "Intrinsic" considerations: a weapon with an inherently flawed design or poorly executed production. This would manifest itself in manners such as:
    1. an ineffective weapon due to design/material defficiencies or poor quality control. Most of the late war Volkssturm weapons are examples of this (but note that these were in some cases good designs, but let down by poor manufacturing quality. The VG1-5 is an example of this.)
    2. a weapon unable - by design - to adequately fill the role it was intended for. The Breda 30 - with an overly complex feed system and slow rate of fire necessitated by the obsolete clip design - is an example of this.
    3. a weapon this is inherently unsafe. The Nambu Type 94 - with a fully exposed sear - is an example this.
    • "Extrinsic" considerations: a weapon that proved inferior/ineffective to other weapons when used in service, not due to any intrinsic defficiencies. Example of this would be:
    1. A weapon that proved inferior to direct contemporaries, while at the same time being a perfectly field-able combat weapon. The Carcano would be an example of this -- a perfectly useable and effective weapon, but not as highly considered as its contemporaries.
    2. A weapon that - while an excellent design - never had the impact intended, typically due to lack of manufacturing capability. The SVT40 and G43 fall into this category -- these were both fine combat rifles, but more widespread adoption was limited by factors external to the weapon itself (i.e. strategic considerations).
    3. A weapon proved to be inferior when was used in a role it wasn't intended for. Your listing of the M1 Carbine - and in particular comparison to the M1 Garand - is an example of this. The M1 Carbine was not intended to be a battle rifle (nor was official doctrine ever changed to classify it as such), so it should not be compared (unfavourably) to the M1 Garand.
    I'd argue that for your purpose you'd be better off looking solely at intrinsic considerations. If you're going to be taking extrinsic considerations into account you'd be best to compare weapons doctrine of various nations and not the individual weapons itself. A weapon is designed to meet a set of performance criteria to fill a specific purpose. Doctrine is designed to fill a specific role. It is IMO not correct to fault a weapon for factors totally beyond the control of its capabilities or designers. Including the SVT-40 is an example of this: it was a fine weapon (albeit with some inherent accuracy issues), and was intended to become the standard battle rifle of the Red Army. Following June 1941, production was scaled back in favor of the more simple and easier to produce Mosin Nagant. This was not a result of any inherent issues with the SVT-40, but rather the result of change in strategic strategy, and as such the SVT40 should not be faulted for this (IE the fact that Russia was unable to supply it in large numbers - something that was not a design consideration - should not be used as basis for saying it was a bad weapon. The M1 Carbine is another example of this -- it was unofficially pushed into a role it wasn't intended for, but excelled at the role it was intended for. The unintended use should not be used to classify it was a bad weapon. This is akin to saying that the Garand was a bad weapon because when used for long range "sniping" it wasn't as accurate as a dedicated scoped rifle like the 1903 Springfield. Apples and oranges...

    I've never made my own ranking, but I'll offer my commentary on what has been listed so far:
    • Carcano: As alluded to already, there was nothing inherently wrong with the Carcano. It was a strong action, firing a potent bullet, in a durable package. Don't believe those who argue it was a poor weapon because of its "weak" bullet -- there is a difference between being weaker than a contemporary and being "weak" to the point of uselessness. Yes, .30-06 or .303Br has more power, but you will be just as dead if you're shot in the chest at 300 yards with 6.5 Carcano as you would be with .30-06. The action is a bit "clunkier" than something like a Mauser 98 action, but it is by no means unusable (you aren't going to need to cycle the bolt like butter in the field regardless). Some argue the clip was a deficiency but I'd argue it was not. An en-bloc clip generally will allow for faster loading than with a stripper clip, and with the Carcano you'd also get one more round than the contemporaries such as the 98k and Mosin. Verdict: A somewhat outdated weapon, but by no means a bad one.
    • FG42: The FG42 was a fantastically effective and advanced weapon and perfectly suited for the role it was designed for (equipping Fallschrimjaegers). It included many novel features such as an in-line stock for muzzle rise reduction, provision for an integral optic and a gas operated rotary bolt locking system. It was however not suitable for more widespread use. If forced to state an inherent design flaw, I think the best you could argue is that it used of a full-power rifle cartridge, that made the weapon difficult to control when firing full auto without support, when an intermediate cartridge would have been more appropriate (hindsight is 20:20). Verdict: A niche weapon that excelled in meeting the design criteria, but one that was not suitable for more widespread use.
    • SVT-40: Remarkable simple, utilitarian design when considering the state of the USSR at the time. Constructed using a minimum of parts, simple and robust. Three flaws are a tendency to "string" shots vertically in certain examples (i.e. zero wanders as you fire), a weak stock wrist (addressed and fixed in 1942) and an under built receivers. In regards to the latter: the reciever will flex up and down significantly as the bolt recoils. There's not necessarily an issue with this, but it points to the potential for damage to the receiver after extensive field use. Indeed, I own one example where the reciever is slightly deformed due to this. But I should not that I've never heard of a catastrophic failure as a result: Verdict: The second best first generation semi auto battle rifle (after the M1 Garand), whose adoption was hindered by the German invasion.
    • Nambu Type 94: Absolutely horrible in almost every way. Poor ergonomics, poor sights, weak cartridge (equivilant to .380 ACP) and totally unsafe exposed sear. For those unfamiliar, the pistol can be fired by touching or bumping the sear bar on the side of the frame -- you finger does not have to even touch the trigger. Despite some fanciful stories of surrender Japanese using this "feature" to shoot their American captors when surrendering the handgun, this is a terrible feature that should have had no place on a military production gun. Verdict: The poster child for a terrible military pistol.
    • M3 Grease Gun: This was developed to be produced in lieu of the heavy and expensive Thompson. Yes, the first generation weapons had some flaws but these were rectified before it saw more widespread service. The "Grease Gun" gets a bad rap. It was cheap, compact, light, reliable and at the same time had a controllable rate of fire. One can fault it for lack of a safety (not uncommon in submachine guns of the period -- the MP38/40 didn't have one for several years) and cheap construction but the M3 did what it was designed to do -- and saw US service into the 1980s. Verdict: Not a bad weapon but also nothing to write home about.
    • Breda 30: You covered this. An overly complex weapon with a dirt-prone oiling system, obsolete 20 round clip feed system, and used a straight blowback system (!) which necessitated a heavy action, violent recoil and inconsistent feeding/ejection. All in all unreliable, intrinsically flawed weapon that was several decades behind. Verdict: Horrible weapon. Outdated, flawed, and obsolete.
    • No5 Mk1 "Jungle Carbine". This one gets a bad rap. The Jungle Carbine had two issues -- a wandering zero and a more violent recoil than other infantry rifles of the time. That being said, both are overhyped IMO. The wandering zero only seems to be present on some rifles (and is likely due to the harmonics of the conical flash hider and the flutes on the knoxform -- both of which IMO could have been fixed if the desire was there), and if you think the recoil is bad compare it to other carbines of the period firing full sized rifle cartridges. I think the issue was that the Jungle Carbine was a gun designed to fight a war which just ended, and found itself obsoleted in short order due to the advent of semiautomatic battle rifles. It was tactically outdated before it even entered widespread service. Verdict: A rifle that "ran out of time" due to the end of the war and advent of more advanced firearms technology. Not bad per say, but the wandering zero "teething problem" was never given a chance to be fixed.
    • G43: Not much to say on this. It was a good rifle, even if overgassed which led to increased wear and parts breakages and rather complicated in comparison to the design that inspired the creation of its design criteria (the SVT40). The Germans simply lacked the capacity to produce it in large numbers, and the lack of widespread use undermined its combat effectiveness. The poor quality of late war manufacturing certaintly didn't help its reputation -- complicated components coupled with sloppy manufacturing does not equate to a great implementation. Verdict: A good weapon with a design too complicated for its own good when considering the limitations of late war manufacturing capabilities, undermined by the general strategic situation germany faced in 1944/45.
    • Lanchester: I have a soft spot for the Lanchester, but it was wholy unsuited for its design criteria. The intent was for a simple weapon -- instead they got a "cadillac" of SMGs by copying the outdated MP18/MP28. Heavy (read: accurate due to less muzzle rise), well built and reliable. However, the heavy construction was also a detriment: it was simply overbuilt for the job it was needed to fill, but at the same time the need for such a weapon didn't exist anywhere else. It was, if you will, a good weapon looking for a job. Given that it was a copy of the MP28, which was essentially an MP18 -- a weapon designed for WW1 trench raids -- this is not surprising that it was totally out of place in WW2 and markedly outdated. In regards to being unsafe due to a possibility of firing when dropped -- the same can be said for any open bolt submachine gun. The Lanchester should not be faulted for this. Indeed, the Lanchester had a locking slot in the reciever for the bolt handle at a time when other contemporary submachine guns (the MP38/MP40 for example) did not. Verdict: A fine weapon, but one too heavy and overbuilt for the role it was intended to fill (indeed, overbuilt for the role any SMG was intended to fill in WW2).
    • Type 92: Not much to say about this one due to lack of hands-on experience with it, but two issues were the obsolete 30 round (and I think 50 round) clip feed system (like on the Breda 30) and the use of an oiler. One implied the other (oiler was needed due to the use of clip feeding), and led to compounding issues of a slow rate of fire mandated by the feed system and a propensity to jam due to the oiler which decreased combat effectiveness. The majority of Japan's weapons were designed to fight WW1, and the Type 92 was no exception -- being a copy of the Hotchkiss 1914 (in its day a fine gun). It was a heavy gun especially for something air cooled but did have a novel tripod that allowed for much more portability than you'd expect. Verdict: Outdated and obsolete.
     
    lwd, Slipdigit and belasar like this.
  20. Terry D

    Terry D Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2015
    Messages:
    577
    Likes Received:
    243
    Location:
    Huerta, California
    How often did that happen?
     

Share This Page