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Old 07-25-2012, 21:33   #1
Metal Angel
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Which country had the best load outs in WWII?

I'm not a huge WWII buff, but the firearms sure do interest me! So who do you think had the best weapons? It seems like Germany's arsenal left nothing to be desired, besides having a slightly heavy influence of bolt actions. Russia sure had some great firearms, if not quite enough. But, in my opinion, I think the US had the best set of standard issue weapons.

I'm curious what other people who have more knowledge of the subject think!
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Old 07-25-2012, 21:43   #2
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Easy question Sir. The country that had "the best implement of battle ever devised".
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Old 07-25-2012, 21:52   #3
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Easy question Sir. The country that had "the best implement of battle ever devised".
Can't argue with the Garand!
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Old 07-25-2012, 21:55   #4
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It's not possible to say really.

The U.S, Great Britain, and Germany certainly would be the top 3.
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Old 07-25-2012, 22:02   #5
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Originally Posted by Metal Angel View Post
I'm not a huge WWII buff, but the firearms sure do interest me! So who do you think had the best weapons? It seems like Germany's arsenal left nothing to be desired, besides having a slightly heavy influence of bolt actions. Russia sure had some great firearms, if not quite enough. But, in my opinion, I think the US had the best set of standard issue weapons.

I'm curious what other people who have more knowledge of the subject think!
The answer is elusive because of doctrinal issues. The German platoon was built around the LMG, with the riflemen in support.

The early Soviet units were built around whatever could be delivered to the front. Later, entire brigades might only have subguns as a "Shock Army." These imbalanced units were sometimes wildly successful and other times decimated. The Soviets eventually settled on a mix of weapons and tactics not dissimilar to the US Army.

The Germans were shocked by the SVT-40 and the PPSh-41 when encountered in force. So much so that they took to retooling the Soviet subgun to fire 9mm and tried a series of semiautomatic rifles to up their mobile firepower. For the entire war, the Nazis tried to replace the Kar98k in general infantry service. The STG-44 was too little, too late. Their small arms approach was found wanting, especially in defense.

The Japanese were hopeless on small arms, though early war Arisaka rifles were quite nice and came with ridiculous bayonets. They were badly beaten in "pre-war" Manchuria by the Soviet combined arms philosophy in the late 30s, and following 1942, the Marines and Army regularly wiped the floor with them. The Japanese SMGs make the Sten and the M3 "Grease Gun" look like master craftsmanship.

I could go on, but this topic bores me.
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Old 07-25-2012, 22:09   #6
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Easy question Sir. The country that had "the best implement of battle ever devised".
Yeah, Fat Man and Little Boy.
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Old 07-25-2012, 22:22   #7
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Easy question Sir. The country that had "the best implement of battle ever devised".
I agree. I'm a big 98K fan, but the Garand gave the U.S. GI a significant advantage over his German or Japanese counterpart in terms of the amount of accurate firepower he could lay down in any given time period. Add the fact that the Garand was just as accurate, or more so, as the competition's bolt rifles and that advantage became even more definitive. Germany definitely built elegant weapons with generally top-level craftsmanship (until the war overcame their industries), but putting a rugged, accurate, semi-auto battle rifle in the hands of the average soldier/Marine was a game-changing coup for the U.S. military. Of course, the U.S. military was far better supplied than their opponents in every conceivable area as the war wore on. And...were also supplying the bulk of the British and initial Soviet war efforts at the same time. Just amazing what our industry accomplished...then.

Last edited by TxGun; 07-25-2012 at 22:37..
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Old 07-25-2012, 22:32   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metal Angel View Post
I'm not a huge WWII buff, but the firearms sure do interest me! So who do you think had the best weapons? It seems like Germany's arsenal left nothing to be desired, besides having a slightly heavy influence of bolt actions. Russia sure had some great firearms, if not quite enough. But, in my opinion, I think the US had the best set of standard issue weapons.

I'm curious what other people who have more knowledge of the subject think!
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Old 07-25-2012, 22:49   #9
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When it comes to small arms, the germans, but they ran out of everything.
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Old 07-25-2012, 22:50   #10
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Even if we agree that the US had the best gear I don't think it would be fair just to call it "good" as a final answer.

I am of the opinion that the US, and actually the Russians as well, best suited their tactics to their weapon's potentials.

I just noticed, when doing some studying in my younger days, that for an army/military based on "Blitzkrieg" Hitler did a real disservice to the concept by sticking the majority of his troops with a bolt-action rifle simply because he liked it. Even the British had a higher rate of fire bolt gun.

Likewise,as was mentioned the Japanese really did a disservice to their soldiers in equipping them.

The American tactics took advantage of the fire and movement the M-1 and the BAR gave a squad.

IMO the americans and the British made the best use of their "Manpower" in tactics and matched them with the right weapons for the time.
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Old 07-25-2012, 23:00   #11
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Americans fought and beat the germans using the basic blitzkrieg tactics the germans used to overrun most of europe -CAS, armor, armored infantry and lots of logistical support.
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Old 07-25-2012, 23:44   #12
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The Brits had the best LMG in the bren gun, but their mediums were unweildy and heavy. Their tnaks sometimes had Besa machine guns in 7.92x57. The Lee-Enfeild was a better faster firing rifle then the Kar 98K but it suffered compared to the M1 Garand. The Sten was a fair weapon if treated properly.

The Germans had the only general purpose machine guns, but the MG42 ran through a LOT of ammo fast so you had to keep it supplied with ammo and change the barrels. The MP40 was probably the better of the crude stamped machine pistols but the Kar 98K really limited them. In addition the Germans didn't have a ground deployed heavy machine gun, unlike the Americans, Brits, and Russians. The STG44 was a good weapon, but as they say too little too late. The FG42 was another innovation that would have worked well but it was just too complex, it was kind of like the select fire M14-low weight full powered rifle round in full auto.

The Americans had the best infantry rifle with the fastest rate of fire, decent sub machine guns, a decent light machine gun, but the Browning M1917 and M1919 were not the best with their slow rate of fire and heavy weight. The M1919A6 was an attempt to make a true light machine gun by putting a bipod shoulder stock and standard rifle trigger on the rifle but it was unweildy and clumsy. The American heavy machine gun was the best used in WW2. They also had a decent "assault" rifle in the M1 Carbine, although it wasn't fully automatic the use was related to that of the STG and the SKS.

The Russians had a fair rifle in the Nagant, not as smooth as the Lee or the Kar but it worked. The tokarev was better then the Gew 41-43 but not as good as the Garand. The PPS 43 and the PPSH41 were both good weapons but they were not typically used in an integrated unit which left the soldiers screwed if they were engaged from a longer distance. Their LMG was fair as well, the DPM wasn't a bad lmg but it wasn't a great one either. There were several problems with them, especially with the large pan magazines used. Their MMG for half the war was the WW1 standard Maxim. It was replaced by a better one the Goryunov around 1943. The SKS was a good carbine but it was introduced too late to play a large role. They also had a good heavy machine gun in the DSHK. They also had some of the better sniping techniques and used the bolt action and semi automatic anti tank rifles to good effect.

Each nation had their own strengths and weaknesses and they typically played to them to good effect.
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Old 07-26-2012, 06:52   #13
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I prefer the Russian SVT-40 to the Garand. Smooth cycling and near zero recoil. The Germans seemed to like it too since they adopted & issued the captured SVT rifles. The Russians just couldn't make enough of them. Only a handful ever made it into the USA before Clinton's 1998 trade agreement killed imports, so most guys will never get to experience the "big" SKS.

I'm a big fan of the Enfield, Mauser, Mosin, Arisaka & M1903A3. I have dozens of them. But I would have to say the best bolt action rifle of WWII is probably the French MAS 1936. Too bad they were never fired and only dropped once.
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Old 07-26-2012, 07:14   #14
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Of course, the U.S. military was far better supplied than their opponents in every conceivable area as the war wore on. And...were also supplying the bulk of the British and initial Soviet war efforts at the same time. Just amazing what our industry accomplished...then.
Well, we really had an advantage in that our factories weren't being bombed on a regular basis. Look at all the T-34s the Soviets produced, once they moved the factories behind the Urals.
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Old 07-26-2012, 21:33   #15
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Best rifle US Garand
Best submachine gun is a dog fight.
best LMG/Squad automatic weapon British Bren Gun
best medium machine gun German, either one of them was better than the rest of the world and when everyone made their next MG it was based on them.
Best Heavy machine gun US M2. Not even a question there, we're still using it.
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Last edited by John Biltz; 07-26-2012 at 21:34..
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Old 10-04-2012, 23:23   #16
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The Brits had the best LMG in the bren gun, but their mediums were unweildy and heavy. Their tnaks sometimes had Besa machine guns in 7.92x57. The Lee-Enfeild was a better faster firing rifle then the Kar 98K but it suffered compared to the M1 Garand. The Sten was a fair weapon if treated properly.

The Germans had the only general purpose machine guns, but the MG42 ran through a LOT of ammo fast so you had to keep it supplied with ammo and change the barrels. The MP40 was probably the better of the crude stamped machine pistols but the Kar 98K really limited them. In addition the Germans didn't have a ground deployed heavy machine gun, unlike the Americans, Brits, and Russians. The STG44 was a good weapon, but as they say too little too late. The FG42 was another innovation that would have worked well but it was just too complex, it was kind of like the select fire M14-low weight full powered rifle round in full auto.

The Americans had the best infantry rifle with the fastest rate of fire, decent sub machine guns, a decent light machine gun, but the Browning M1917 and M1919 were not the best with their slow rate of fire and heavy weight. The M1919A6 was an attempt to make a true light machine gun by putting a bipod shoulder stock and standard rifle trigger on the rifle but it was unweildy and clumsy. The American heavy machine gun was the best used in WW2. They also had a decent "assault" rifle in the M1 Carbine, although it wasn't fully automatic the use was related to that of the STG and the SKS.

The Russians had a fair rifle in the Nagant, not as smooth as the Lee or the Kar but it worked. The tokarev was better then the Gew 41-43 but not as good as the Garand. The PPS 43 and the PPSH41 were both good weapons but they were not typically used in an integrated unit which left the soldiers screwed if they were engaged from a longer distance. Their LMG was fair as well, the DPM wasn't a bad lmg but it wasn't a great one either. There were several problems with them, especially with the large pan magazines used. Their MMG for half the war was the WW1 standard Maxim. It was replaced by a better one the Goryunov around 1943. The SKS was a good carbine but it was introduced too late to play a large role. They also had a good heavy machine gun in the DSHK. They also had some of the better sniping techniques and used the bolt action and semi automatic anti tank rifles to good effect.

Each nation had their own strengths and weaknesses and they typically played to them to good effect.
The part in bold is quite interesting. The Brits were making their own 7.92x57mm before the war started. They believed it wouldn't present too much of a logistical problem since they were only intended for tankers.
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Old 10-05-2012, 00:41   #17
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Easy question Sir. The country that had "the best implement of battle ever devised".
(off in the distance) ping
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Old 10-05-2012, 07:51   #18
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Overall americans had all the bases covered, with the (former) greatest battle implement ever devised (get over the garand nostalgia, it was surpassed many times) then the bar, thompson, etc.

The germans had the best lmg in the mg42, it was deadly, and the sturmgewhere was the best assult carbine, a revolutionary weapon.

Japanese stuff sucked.
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Old 10-05-2012, 07:54   #19
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Overall americans had all the bases covered, with the (former) greatest battle implement ever devised (get over the garand nostalgia, it was surpassed many times) then the bar, thompson, etc.

The germans had the best lmg in the mg42, it was deadly, and the sturmgewhere was the best assult carbine, a revolutionary weapon.

Japanese stuff sucked.
You forgot the M1 M2 and M3 carbines. They were the US version of the STG. The M3 had an infrared night sight similar to the vampyre system the Germans used.
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Old 10-05-2012, 08:17   #20
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consider getting and reading a book "shots fired in anger"
by George. It is a "gun guys" chronicle of his pacific tour of duty in the Army in WW 2 and he addresses the plusses minuses of all the weapons on both sides (obviously focusing on Jap not german guns)
One of the biggest issues, considering the logistic challenges in the islands, was the weight of equipment. We still fight this today.
Basically he said that the only problem with U.S. weapons with the exception of the m1 carbine is that they were all too heavy and long. Give a soldier a light easy to carry weapon with light easy to carry ammo.
While the garand was surely the king of the battlefield in all theaters both it and its ammo was rather heavy (although comparable to most primary rifles and ammo in use at the time)
He did have a very high regard for the nambu light machine gun.
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