The idea of a “squad computerized weapon” was not new to the Second World Warfare, and was the truth is developed a era earlier within the mud-soaked trenches of the First World Warfare. The French had been really the primary to deploy such a weapon, the largely disparaged Chauchat. Whereas it suffered from design flaws it was nonetheless an revolutionary weapon.
Throughout World Warfare II that idea developed and led to the event of squad automatic weapons, and even to the trendy assault rifle.
The U.S. M1918 Browning Computerized Rifle
Through the First World Warfare People went “Over There” with a weapon that was really in contrast to something the European powers had been utilizing. It was the Browning Automatic Rifle, designed and developed by prolific firearms pioneer John Browning. The rifle was nonetheless heavy, however lighter than the American-made/British-used Lewis Gun and German MG08/15 and much more dependable than the French Chauchat.
The American army was so fearful that the Germans would copy the BAR that it feared even introducing the weapon into fight. Within the interwar period financial institution robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow preferred the BAR—with a reduce down inventory and shortened barrel.
The BAR by no means totally lived as much as the U.S. army’s unique hopes that it might fill the hole between rifle and machine gun, however in World Warfare II it nonetheless provided “strolling fireplace” that few different weapons might present.
The British Bren Gun
The British had discovered from the expertise on the finish of the First World Warfare that there was a necessity for a squad gentle machinegun. Through the warfare it noticed how the Lewis Gun and Hotchkiss Portative might present mobility and firepower—one thing the bigger Vickers heavy machine gun couldn’t do.
Nevertheless, the British didn’t really invent a brand new gun, however moderately licensed a model of the Czechoslovakian-designed ZB vz. 26 gentle machine gun. The outcome was the Bren Gun. The title got here from the primary two letters of Brno, the native land of the ZB and the “en” from Enfield—the British maker of the Bren. The Bren fired the identical .303 ammunition because the Enfield rifle, and thus it was not a lightweight weapon. It was additionally distinctive for its top-mounted banana journal.
Developed as a gas-operated gentle machine gun, the Bren had a firing price between 480 and 540 rounds per minute. Whereas it might be fired from the hip, and supported with a sling, it was nonetheless geared up with a bipod and was meant for use within the inclined place. The Bren Gun was operated by two-man crews, with one man carrying the weapon and one other carrying a spare barrel, software package and further magazines. In a squad or “rifle group,” a number of troopers might additionally carry additional magazines.
The Bren noticed service all through World Warfare II and was utilized in quite a few conflicts all over the world. It remained in service with the British Military by way of the Falklands Warfare in 1982. The Bren even stays in service with the Military Reserve of the Irish Defence Forces.
Vickers-Berthier (VB) Gentle Machine Gun
The Bren wasn’t the one weapon the British army thought of—and one other was the same trying, Vickers-Berthier, which at first look might be confused with the Bren. In truth, this gun was in direct competitors with the Bren within the years main as much as World Warfare II.
It was primarily based on a French design from World Warfare I, and in 1922 the Vickers Firm bought the licensing rights to the French Berthier Mannequin 1922. This design used an identical gasoline and tipping bolt mechanism because the Bren Gun and had an identical detachable barrel. The Vickers Berthier proved to be a bit heavier and longer than the Bren and the provided no substantial advantages.
It was, nevertheless, adopted by the British Indian Military because it proved easier to produce and thus cheaper, whereas nonetheless being extra transportable than the aged World Warfare I period Hotckiss and Lewis machine weapons. It was produced on the Rifle Manufacturing unit Ishapore in India. But, in 1942 to standardize elements and provides the Vickers Berthier was phased out in favor of the Bren. The Indian-made gentle machine gun remained in use with reserve items of the Indian Military till the Eighties.
An export model was additionally offered to Latvia and Bolivia because the Vickers Okay machine gun—chambered within the 7.65x53mm (referred to as Argentine or Belgian) Mauser cartridge.
German FG42 and StG44
Throughout World Warfare II, the German army noticed the necessity to change its getting old Kar98K bolt motion rifles, whereas additionally providing extra firepower to sure items. The outcome was not one however two completely different note-worthy rifles.
The primary was the Fallschirmjägergewehr 42 or “paratrooper rifle 42” (FG42), a selective-fire computerized rifle. It was really developed particularly for the use by the Fallschirmjägerger airborne infantry, which after the assault on Crete had been largely relegated to an elite infantry unit moderately than as precise paratroopers.
Two completely different fashions of the FG42 had been produced, and it was thought of one of the superior weapon designs of World Warfare II—and components of the weapon had been copied through the growth of U.S. Military’s M60 machine gun.
The opposite was the MP44, later designated the StG44 or Sturmgewehr 44, “assault rifle 44.” This was the primary profitable weapon design to make the most of an intermediate cartridge, the important thing factor of an assault rifle. It was extra compact than a battle rifle and provided a faster price of fireside with a extra highly effective spherical than a submachine gun. The StG44’s affect will be seen in lots of post-war weapons, principally notably the Soviet AK-47.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based author who has contributed to greater than 4 dozen magazines, newspapers and web sites. He frequently writes about army small arms, and is the creator of a number of books on army headgear together with A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is on the market on Amazon.com.