Squad level firepower comparisons

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Simon Trew 1
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Simon Trew 1 » 08 Dec 2021 14:02

One more to throw into the mix - possibly mentioned already, in which case sorry for the repetition (don't have time to trawl back through 21 pages of postings to check!).

‘Casualty return of 2 Platoon, 6th Company, 26th SS Panzergrenadier Regiment.’ This captured document provides details of casualties suffered by this sub-unit on 28-9 June 1944. It offers insight into the Germans’ emphasis on maintaining small unit firepower – a six-man section on 30 June retained two light machine guns, a sub machine gun, a semi-automatic rifle, a sniper’s rifle, a rifle grenade launcher and a panzerfaust (!). See Appendix A to Part II of British XXX Corps’ Intelligence Summary No.438, issued 5 July 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/337).

Simon Trew 1
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Simon Trew 1 » 24 Dec 2021 13:13

And another:

‘3 Para Div.’ This example of one of numerous short 3 Parachute Division interrogation reports produced by British 8 Corps during the first half of August is interesting for showing that even among an almost annihilated sub-unit, great emphasis was placed on the retention of firepower. The case in point, 8th Parachute Regiment’s 7th Company, had only eight men left on 15 August. Yet among them they possessed one MG 42, five MP 40s and several panzerfausts. See Part II of British 8 Corps’ Intelligence Summary No.48, issued 16 August 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/287).

yantaylor
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by yantaylor » 01 Jan 2022 21:15

Still cant find anything positive on the two flame-throwers issued to panzer grenadier kompanies, they must be at either CHQ or even one of the platoon HQs, maybe the weapons platoon.
I would guess that a flame-thrower would need a dedicated soldier to use it, some training would be required to use this weapon in combat.

Ian

Brady
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Brady » 04 Apr 2022 16:21

Concerning British Flame throwers in OMG, the Paras afik did have flamethrowers at the bridge in Arnhem, presumably they belonged to the Royal Engineers, how many did they have, what was the allocation?

Were they to be found in any other element of the Division?

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Brady » 05 Apr 2022 18:17

The SCR-536, and British use in OMG by the 1st Airborne, while not really "firepower" per say, this is a force multiplier in a way and abstractly a 'firepower" modifier I supose, at any rate, the question:

Does anyone know how many of these were used in OMG by 1st Airborne and how they tied into the British radio net ?

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yantaylor
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by yantaylor » 05 Apr 2022 19:58

Hi Brady, I have found this on WW2/Talk web site

If it is any use according to the booklet 'With Nothing Bigger than a Bren Gun' the 1st Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers in theory had 6 flame-throwers allocated to them...whether they always took 6 with them is debatable, but certainly at least one went to Arnhem in September 1944....

Ian

Gary Kennedy
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Gary Kennedy » 05 Apr 2022 20:36

Until fairly recently I would have been very sceptical of the SCR-536 in use by British units, even Airborne ones, but I have happened across a few references to the SCR-536 being earmarked to replace the No.38 set, at least in Air Landing Battalions. A post-war staff equipment table from Sep45 shows 50 SCR-536 for such a unit, plus 8 spare. The SCR-300 was also used by 6th Air Landing Brigade during Varsity, though not seemingly the SCR-536.

http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/ra ... ost-921738

If they were used by a British unit they'd have to fulfil the same role as the No.38, so primarily Platoon to Rifle Company links, and probably 3-in mortar dets. I've not seen a contemporary figure for issues of wireless to Parachute or Air Landing Battalions sadly, so everything is supposition only.

Gary

Brady
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Brady » 09 Apr 2022 14:42

The Lee Enfield No.4 mk1 and the No.1 Mk.I Cup Discharger, I have a couple questions that i cant seam to clearly answer with searches or the books I have to hand.

1) The Rifles that were used to mount the Cup Dischargers, could be any rifle?

2) You would not see a Sniper Rifle Mounting one?

3) Once used with a Cup Discharger the Rifle was slaved to that role ?

4) These fell out of use in 44/45?

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Gary Kennedy » 10 Apr 2022 18:47

Are we talking about as a launcher for the No.36 grenade (rather than the No.68 anti-tank grenade)? They were still on the equipment list (AFG1098) for the Infantry Battalion as of July 1943, with an entitlement of two per Rifle Platoon. There was no accompanying issue of the No.68 in the 1943 document so the No.36 was the only option.

There doesn't seem to be much mention of grenade dischargers in use by British, or Canadian, units for the 1943-45 period, perhaps because the 2-inch mortar and the PIAT offered a better means of propelling a HE charge a few hundred yards. I'm not familiar enough with the cup discharger to know whether its use was restricted to a handful of rifles in a unit; the No.68 was very hard on rifles and I don't think the No.36 was much kinder. A bit fuzzy but a scan of the manuals can be seen here;

http://lexpev.nl/downloads/smallarmstra ... litegr.pdf

http://lexpev.nl/downloads/smallarmstra ... london.pdf

The first one, on the No.68, does state that the rifle may be written off in firing the No.68 grenade. I have seen a few mentions in docs on the Canadiana Heritage files that no spare rifles would be issued to account for this. The second one does indicate that the cup discharger could be removed once fitted, however it appears the rifle would need some strengthening to cope with the job.

The one thing I'm sure of is that no sniper would ever slap a grenade launcher on to his rifle!

Gary

Brady
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Brady » 10 Apr 2022 22:53

Gary Kennedy wrote:
10 Apr 2022 18:47
Are we talking about as a launcher for the No.36 grenade (rather than the No.68 anti-tank grenade)? They were still on the equipment list (AFG1098) for the Infantry Battalion as of July 1943, with an entitlement of two per Rifle Platoon. There was no accompanying issue of the No.68 in the 1943 document so the No.36 was the only option.

There doesn't seem to be much mention of grenade dischargers in use by British, or Canadian, units for the 1943-45 period, perhaps because the 2-inch mortar and the PIAT offered a better means of propelling a HE charge a few hundred yards. I'm not familiar enough with the cup discharger to know whether its use was restricted to a handful of rifles in a unit; the No.68 was very hard on rifles and I don't think the No.36 was much kinder. A bit fuzzy but a scan of the manuals can be seen here;

http://lexpev.nl/downloads/smallarmstra ... litegr.pdf

http://lexpev.nl/downloads/smallarmstra ... london.pdf

The first one, on the No.68, does state that the rifle may be written off in firing the No.68 grenade. I have seen a few mentions in docs on the Canadiana Heritage files that no spare rifles would be issued to account for this. The second one does indicate that the cup discharger could be removed once fitted, however it appears the rifle would need some strengthening to cope with the job.

The one thing I'm sure of is that no sniper would ever slap a grenade launcher on to his rifle!

Gary
Ok, Thanks, I had thought they were supposedly very hard on the bore of the rifles, the cup dischargers, so that makes since.

Interesting that only two per platoon were issued, rather than one per section?

Presumably the platoon had 3 Rifle sections and one HQ section?

Or did they Both go into the HQ section?

..................

I believe back someplace in the middle of this Thread there was mention of German Sections (squads) have one per or in some case two Grenade launchers per, and the Americans One per Squad as well circa 44/45?

yantaylor
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by yantaylor » 12 Apr 2022 14:21

Here is another squad I need help with guys, French army 1939/40. The data I have is by David Lehmann:

Sergeant/Squad Leader (Rifle)
Corporal/Assistant Squad Leader (Rifle)
Private/LMG Gunner (FM 24/29)
Private/LMG Loader (Pistol)
3 x Privates/Ammunition Carriers (Rifles)
Lance Corporal (Rifle)
Private/Grenadier (Rifle + VB Launcher)
3 x Privates (Rifles)

So that gives us a total of twelve in the squad, but how is the squad structured, would they be in two groups with one having the LMG and the other the VB Grenade Launcher?
I am presuming the Lance Corporal (or first Rifleman) would be in one with the three other riflemen and maybe the VB, maybe commanded by either the corporal or Sergeant. The LMG group could have the reaming NCO, but that’s it, I don’t know.

Any takers here?

Ian

Brady
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Brady » 12 Apr 2022 14:32

Presumably the third line French units had the same structure noted above but were equipped with the Chauchat?

The French did also have some various SMG’s in service, and I have never seen any really clear description as to how they were doled out, except a few case specific references, like the W 15 TCC crews were issued Thompson’s.

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by yantaylor » 14 Apr 2022 19:59

They also had an array of rifles in different calibres, Berthiers, Lebels and MAS-36 in either 7.5mm or 8mm.
The MAS-38 sub-machine gun never reached the Infantry in time along with the Mortier Modèle 1937.

Still at a loss to how the Infantry squad looked on the field, not much out there on this subject.

Ian

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by pukovnik7 » 17 Apr 2022 08:06

Dunnigan wrote:
21 Mar 2018 01:55
Brady wrote:The lmg, just so were on the same page, in ASL, was bipod only in configuration, it was represented in a sustained role by a mmg designation, asume tripod, at a 4 and as a HMG at 6, tripod, optics, more ammo exc.

So to get back to the topic at hand, if we asume were talking about rifle squads, sans lmg, german british and american squads were not realy all that far apart in terms of weight of fire, the pluss tge Americans had was the BAR which again sans lmg gave them an edge.

?
The Bren is much better than the B.A.R. in the fully automatic squad weapon category. The Bren had a quick change barrel which makes a world of difference in a sustained fire role. With the magazine feed on top, it could be fed easily by a capable crew. The B.A.R. could not have a barrel change and only had a 20 round magazine mounted under so changing it would take longer than a Bren. The B.A.R. could not be used for sustained fire, which is what you are looking for in a MG.

So the edge would still go to the British Rifle Squad. Sorry, but the Garand with its semi-automatic mechanism can only get you so far. ASL overvalued the squad firepower in my opinion by a great deal. The stereotype that the Americans were consistently outgunned and hence the reliance on supporting weapons like artillery and armor has a grain of truth.

And as for the lack of MG42's, no such thing. Germans had plenty throughout the entire war. Panzergrenadier and Fallshirmjager had two MG's in EACH squad. ASL/SL had very minimal sense of actual TO&E go into their calculations.
Yeah, I remember reading that one of main reasons why Germany was slow in adapting a semi-automatic rifle was the fact that MG34 and MG42 were so good.

yantaylor
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by yantaylor » 17 Apr 2022 19:27

Yes, but also imagine how powerful a Panzer Grenadier Squad would be if their K98s were suplemented by Gewehr 43s and Sturmgewehr 44s plus two MG42s.
Did Pz Gren squads get the Gewehr 43 and Sturmgewehr 44?
Ian

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