Squad level firepower comparisons

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stg 44
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by stg 44 » 30 Mar 2018 21:27

Sheldrake wrote:
Cult Icon wrote:^
I have read materials that talk of the german MGs as being fired from the hip in close combat. Not really ideal, of course. Sounded like something rambo would do.

The Bren was quite heavy, and heavier than the BAR.
You can definitely fire the Bren from the hip.

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by yantaylor » 31 Mar 2018 19:24

My god Lee Ermey has been in some films, I have three of them on dvd in "the siege of firebase Gloria", "the boys from company C" and "full metal jacket".

Yan.

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Sheldrake
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Sheldrake » 31 Mar 2018 20:59

stg 44 wrote:
Sheldrake wrote:
Cult Icon wrote:^
I have read materials that talk of the german MGs as being fired from the hip in close combat. Not really ideal, of course. Sounded like something rambo would do.

The Bren was quite heavy, and heavier than the BAR.
You can definitely fire the Bren from the hip.
An LMG CQB shoot is how you can get though 12,000 rounds in a morning to dispose of an excess of SAA on the books at the end of the year... You don't have to be Lee Ermy to try this. My whole troop had a go at playing Rambo with an LMG and came away with a high level of confidence in their ability to deliver "walking fire".

It was a good LMG, within its limitations, and retained the confidence of its users. It was not immune to stoppage problems. As early as 1940 Army Training Memoranda warned against filling a magazine to 32 rounds and leaving the magazine with the spring fully compressed. This wasn't a problem us cold war warriors experienced because we only ever loaded magazines to go shooting on the ranges. In WW2 canny soldiers deployed Brens in pairs.

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Eugen Pinak » 02 Apr 2018 15:22

Some corrections and additions.
Gary Kennedy wrote: Red Army Squad, full strength version, 1943-45

Sergeant (rifle, later SMG), Junior Sergeant (LMG), assistant (Rifle), 6 riflemen (5 rifles and 1 SMG).

* There were two versions of Rifle Squad in the Rifle Platoon, the other was as above but deleted two riflemen and added a second LMG team. Also during 1943 the third Platoon in each Rifle Company was to exchange its rifles for SMGs. In theory all the rifles were supposed to be semi-automatic models, but it's generally accepted that bolt action rifles predominated.
There were two TOEs for Red Army infantry platoons.
1) #04/551 from December 1942 - as described above.

2) #05/41 from December 1944. Each of 4 squads had: Sergeant (SMG), Junior Sergeant (LMG), assistant LMG (carbine), 4 riflemen (3 rifles and 1 SMG) in 3 squads, 3 riflemen (2 rifles and 1 SMG) in one squad.

Note, that most rifle divisions from 1943 had only 3 squads (with 1 LMG each) in platoon. Around 5-6 men in each squad.
yantaylor wrote: ITALIAN INFANTRY SQUAD:
LMG Section:
NCO/Section Leader (6.5mm M.91 Rifle)
2 x LMG Teams Each Containing;
NCO (Pistol)
Pvt/LMG Gunner (M30 LMG + Pistol)
2 x Pvts/Ammunition Bearers (6.5mm M.91 Rifles)
Rifle Section:
NCO/Assistant Leader (6.5mm M.91 Rifle)
8 x Privates (6.5mm M.91 Rifles)
LMG Teams' leaders were other rankers (corporale), not NCO. They also probably had rifles.
Also note, that this is standard rifle squad. Alpini and 1941-model North African squads had different organization.
yantaylor wrote: JAPANESE RIFLE SQUAD:

NCO/Section Leader (Type 38 6.5mm Rifle)
Pvt/LMG Gunner (Type 11 6.5mm Light Machine Gun)
11 x Privates (Type 38 6.5mm Rifles)

...

You are right Brady, I didn't include the Grenade Discharger section, but I would imagine that this would be broken and this would give the squad an extra three men giving the squad a total of sixteen;

NCO/Section Leader (Type 38 6.5mm Rifle)
Pvt/LMG Gunner (Type 11 6.5mm Light Machine Gun)
11 x Privates (Type 38 6.5mm Rifles)

NCO/Squad Leader (Type 14 8mm Pistol)
Pvt/Gunner (Type 14 8mm Pistol)
Pvt/Assistant Gunner (Type 38 6.5mm Rifle)
Type 89 Grenade Discharger

The Company as a whole would look something like this;
https://www.quartermastersection.com/ja ... TRYCOMPANY
First of all, by 1942 first-line infantry had better LMGs (Type 96 or 99) and maybe even 7,7-mm rifles.
Second, grenade squads were not broken and were to be used as a whole.
Third, one LMG ammo bearer in each squad had no rifle, while all the men in Grenade Discharger squad were armed with rifles. No pistols were issued to any of the privates on the rifle company.

You can find more details on IJA organization in this topics:
https://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic ... 5&t=195850
https://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic ... 5&t=209125

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Brady » 01 Aug 2018 15:56

Ok, a few related questions,

1) how would a 44 british, market garden para rifle squad stack up, and what would their weapons aloted ment look like at squad level ?

2) same for an American para rifle squad, same period .

3) slightly off topic but at what level did the Germans, british and Americans alot optics to thier squads I had always assumed it was typicaly one per squad ( sniper)

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Gary Kennedy » 01 Aug 2018 19:44

Problem assessing Parachute Sections/Squads is they are contentious issues.

The Rifle Section of a British Para Bn followed the same basic format as a Rifle Section in an Inf Bn described earlier. The Sec commander was a Serjeant and the Gun Group was lead by a Corporal though. There's no reliable official scale for Para Bn small arms issues afer 1942; LMGs and other support weapons are detailed in establishments but pistols, Stens and rifles are omitted. The 1942 strength authorised 2 Stens, 6 rifles and 2 pistols for a 10-man Sec, the later being one for the Bren gunner and the other for the 2-inch mortar-man. This was the modified weapon and is only shown as being provided with smoke and illuminating rounds, not HE. By 1944 each Para Rifle Sec was to include one rifle with telescopic sight.

While that seems straightforward(ish) Para Bns carried a pool of Sten guns for allotment as required, which by 1944 meant 300 over and above those already allocated to personnel as standard. A Para Rifle Sec could then replace any number of its rifles with Sten guns if deemed appropriate.

US Para Squads also followed their standard Rifle Squad equivalent. The key difference was that they were authorised the M1919 for the Squad rather than the BAR. Individual weapon issue for the US Paras is largely unfathomable courtesy of the mix of SMGs, Carbines and M1 rifles known to have been used, and the question of which units carried BARS they weren't officially entitled to can cause (bar)fights.

Normal British sniper rifle issue in NWE was two per Rifle Coy, with dedicated snipers in Coy HQ, latterly kicked up to Bn HQ as a separate Sniper Section. US issue was one per Rifle Pl, as designated by the Pl cmdr. I'm not sure if they were ever concentrated in a distinct subunit by particular Bns. For German issue I offered some notes a few posts back. By 1944 they were intending roughly one per Squad.

Gary

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Brady » 02 Aug 2018 02:29

Interesting that the 2inch mortar did not have any HE,(its not like the HE round was not available) Was this still true in 44 ?

So a 10 man para squad in 44 had, one 2ich mortar, one bren, two stens, and 6 rifles, and two pistoles (mortar man and the bren), but could include any number of stens in leu of rifles, but that would be the only variable?

-What of ammo allotment, presumably they were allowed a slightly larger amount ?

TY btw.

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Richard Anderson » 02 Aug 2018 03:19

Gary Kennedy wrote:
01 Aug 2018 19:44
US Para Squads also followed their standard Rifle Squad equivalent. The key difference was that they were authorised the M1919 for the Squad rather than the BAR. Individual weapon issue for the US Paras is largely unfathomable courtesy of the mix of SMGs, Carbines and M1 rifles known to have been used, and the question of which units carried BARS they weren't officially entitled to can cause (bar)fights.
More or less...T/O&E 7-31, 24 February 1944 authorized 12 EM per squad, with 9 .30 cal. Rifles M1, 3 .30 cal. Carbines M1, and 2 .30 cal. Machine Guns M1919A6. The Parachute Rifle Company HQ held 6 .45 cal. Submachine Guns M1 or M3 for distribution to the Rifle platoons as the company commander “saw fit” to add additional firepower at the rifle squad. The second M1919A6 in the rifle squad was a “spare” held for use “as directed.” (It appears likely that the intention was that since these were dropped in equipment canisters it was possible one would be lost, so the ‘spare’ would be used. I know of no instance where the squad manned and equipped both at the same time, although conceivably it could have been done.)

T/O&E 7-31T, 31 December 1944 retained the 12-man squad, but authorized 10 rifles, 2 carbines, 1 M1919A6, and 1 .30 cal. BAR. The Company HQ retained the 6 SMG. The new rifle squad organization replaced the second ‘spare’ M1919A6 LMG with a BAR, which became the new ‘spare’ automatic weapon for the squad. It is difficult to say now which was used more often, but it appears that by late war the BAR was strongly favored.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Gary Kennedy » 02 Aug 2018 10:04

Brady wrote:
02 Aug 2018 02:29
Interesting that the 2inch mortar did not have any HE,(its not like the HE round was not available) Was this still true in 44 ?

So a 10 man para squad in 44 had, one 2ich mortar, one bren, two stens, and 6 rifles, and two pistoles (mortar man and the bren), but could include any number of stens in leu of rifles, but that would be the only variable?

-What of ammo allotment, presumably they were allowed a slightly larger amount ?

TY btw.
Oddly enough not that different. Pistols were shown as 21 rounds each, Sten guns as 256 rounds (8 mags), rifles 50 rounds each and the Bren 1000 rounds. The war equipment table issued for the Canadian Para Bn (which should be the same as the British, as they served right alongside one another so couldn't be too divergent) lists 36 magazines for the Bren rather than the usual 25. 2-inch bombs are shown as six smoke per weapon only, plus 12 illuminating in Bn pool. Just to repeat these figures are from mid 1942, I've not been able to dig up anything specific for 1944-45 on the subject of Para Bn small arms and ammunition allocations. I don't think they would have moved too far away, but I'd be surprised if they were limiting one man per Rifle Sec to a 2-inch smoke mortar and .45-cal pistol till the Rhine crossing. The pool of Sten guns was I'm sure utilised flexibly.

Just to expand on Rich's description re the US Squad (I was too tired to go into that much detail last night :) ) As an example of real world changes, someone pointed me many years ago to the report from an officer of H Company, 504th PIR, from his experience on Market Garden. He noted that the Coy switched from three Rifle Pls, each of two 12-man Squads, a 60-mm Mortar Squad and Pl HQ, to three Pls each of three 9-man Rifle Squads and a Pl HQ. He doesn't give detail on Squad or Platoon level weapons, but says there was a Company level 'Weapons Section', which presumably pulled the 60-mm mortars together. One example of variation at least.

Gary

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Brady » 02 Aug 2018 14:48

Was there any reasion they did not use HE in the 2 inch mortar MK VII apart from doctrine ?

Presumably the US 60 mm used its full range of ammo ?

It’s also interesting that the British had a seamingly larger pool of SMGs to pull from.

Some sources suggest every man in a british para squad had a pistol, is there any evidence of this ?

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Gary Kennedy » 02 Aug 2018 18:22

I've never seen an explanation of why the 2-inch was seemingly restricted to smoke in the Para Bns. To the best of my knowledge the airborne 2-in could fire HE and I can't offer a reason not to allocate some at least. I don't know if the range was handicapped by the lightweight design, making it less feasible. The split of smoke to HE for the 2-in mortar in normal usage underwent various amendments. In 1938 the emphasis was on smoke, with 24 HE to 72 smoke. That ratio was reversed in 1940 and by 1943 it was 30 HE to 66 smoke, which was closer to the original level.

I think it's a commonly held belief that every paratrooper had a pistol tucked into his belt when he jumped. US Parachute Bns were authorised a pistol for every man (except the cooks) in the Feb42 T/Os, which was rescinded by an amendment of Feb44. Now whether someone went round with a box and collected all those unauthorised .45-cals before D-Day I won't pretend to know, but the Army at least deemed them surplus to requirements. British WEs for 1941-42 did not authorise a pistol per man in the Para Bns, nor in the Canadian equipment lists (which having looked again do go up to Oct43).

As far as I'm aware US 60-mm mortars used the full variety of ammunition. I've never found anything for 'prescribed loads' or 'basic loads' for US Army weapons, just units of fire.

Gary

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Richard Anderson » 02 Aug 2018 20:03

Gary Kennedy wrote:
02 Aug 2018 10:04
Just to expand on Rich's description re the US Squad (I was too tired to go into that much detail last night :) ) As an example of real world changes, someone pointed me many years ago to the report from an officer of H Company, 504th PIR, from his experience on Market Garden. He noted that the Coy switched from three Rifle Pls, each of two 12-man Squads, a 60-mm Mortar Squad and Pl HQ, to three Pls each of three 9-man Rifle Squads and a Pl HQ. He doesn't give detail on Squad or Platoon level weapons, but says there was a Company level 'Weapons Section', which presumably pulled the 60-mm mortars together. One example of variation at least
Hi Gary,

I believe the 504th PIR implemented that change for Anzio and kept it when transferred to the UK. The other regiments assigned and attached to the 82d and 101st kept the February 1944 TO&E in effect for Normandy, but it is unclear if they copied the 504th for MARKET. Certainly by the commitment of the divisions to the Ardennes they had done so though, since the December 'T' organizations simply codified the changes that had been incorporated unofficially to date. At that point, the Parachute Rifle Platoon consisted of:

HQ – 1/0/5, 1 bazooka, 1 M1C sniper rifle, 2 carbines, 4 rifles
3 Rifle Squads (each) – 0/0/12, 1 .30 Cal M1919A6 LMG, 1 BAR, 10 rifles, 2 carbines
1 Mortar Squad – 0/0/6, 2 carbines, 4 rifles, 1 60mm mortar
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Brady » 02 Aug 2018 23:01

Richard Anderson wrote:
02 Aug 2018 20:03

HQ – 1/0/5, 1 bazooka, 1 M1C sniper rifle, 2 carbines, 4 rifles
3 Rifle Squads (each) – 0/0/12, 1 .30 Cal M1919A6 LMG, 1 BAR, 10 rifles, 2 carbines
1 Mortar Squad – 0/0/6, 2 carbines, 4 rifles, 1 60mm mortar
So this is again late 44, and would not aply to market garden or Normandy ?

And the BAR is "extra" or either Or ? With the A6 ? It kinda doest add up though, the BAR or the A6 would not have a Carbine, they would have a side arm if they had the A6, and just the BAR if they had the BAR right?

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Richard Anderson » 03 Aug 2018 00:33

Brady wrote:
02 Aug 2018 23:01
So this is again late 44, and would not aply to market garden or Normandy ?
It applied for the 504th PIR for MARKET, albeit they organized nine-man rifle squads since they were not authorized additional manpower until the 16 December Test TO&E. There is less evidence for the other PIR in MARKET making the change, but it is possible since a lot of post-D-Day discussion included that topic.
And the BAR is "extra" or either Or ? With the A6 ? It kinda doest add up though, the BAR or the A6 would not have a Carbine, they would have a side arm if they had the A6, and just the BAR if they had the BAR right?
It might help if you read my earlier post. The second squad automatic was termed a "spare" to be used "as directed". Initially it appears the thinking was that dropping two M1919A6 in canister made it more likely at least one would be found and used soon after the drop. There was never any intention for it to be "extra" or for both to be used at the same time. The 16 December TO&E changed the "spare" to a BAR, partly due to complaints about the M191A6 raised in the D-Day and MARKET debriefs, but also to give commanders options based upon tactical requirements. Again there was never an intent for both to be used at the same time.

Meanwhile, yes, the "sidearm" for the M1919A6 gunner was intended to be a carbine. The 1 August 1944 revision to TO&E 37, Parachute Infantry Rifle Company, provided nine M1 rifles and 3 M1 carbines for the squad, but dropped all pistols. Only the original 17 February 1943 TO&E 37 provided a pistol to every member of the squad, partly because the carbine was uncommon then, there were only two in the Platoon HQ. The original also gave the two rifle and the mortar squad a .45 cal. SMG and 10 rifles to the rifle squad with five rifles for the mortar squad.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Gary Kennedy » 03 Aug 2018 18:44

As the detail is spread out over a few posts this is a recapitulation of the authorised strength of the Para Inf version of the US Rifle Squad -

T/O 7-37 17th February 1942;
Sgt (M1), Cpl (SMG), 7 riflemen (each M1), gunner (M1919), asst gunner (M1), ammunition bearer (M1) - each man also 1 pistol

As amended 31st July 1942 - one rifle, M1 altered to one rifle, M1903 (for antitank defense) (no, NOT a sniper)
As amended 24th February 1944 - delete all pistols (12). Add 1 carbine for gunner, delete 1 SMG and add 1 M1 for Cpl. Replace M1903 with M1.

T/O 7-37 1st August 1944;
S Sgt (M1), Sgt (M1), 7 riflemen (each M1), gunner (M1919 and carbine), asst gunner (carbine), amn bearer (carbine)

T/O 7-37(T) 16th December 1944;
S Sgt (M1), Sgt (M1), 7 riflemen (each M1), gunner (M1919 and carbine), asst gunner (carbine), amn bearer (M1) - also 1 BAR 'for optional use as directed'

As noted above the Platoon under the Feb42 and Aug44 orgs was allocated four M1919s, one per Rifle Squad and two described as 'for optional use as directed', which same description was appended to the BAR under the Dec44 T/O. From February 1944 the Para Inf Coys were authorised 6 SMGs, carried on the strength of Coy HQ, for issue as required.

Gary

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