Squad level firepower comparisons

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akdavis
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by akdavis » 18 Oct 2021 19:33

Gary Kennedy wrote:
15 Oct 2021 18:05
Yes, grenade launchers are somewhat 'invisible' items on German KStN, and also on US T/Os. For German Army research you ideally need the KAN that accompanies the KStN, and shows all manner of interesting items, including signals equipment (both wireless and line), basic ammunition and munition allowances, and latterly rifle grenade launchers. There are a few Divisional summaries in the www.sturmpanzer.net files that show grenade launchers for the Type44 and Type45 Divisions. These just give a total for the relevant KStN and don't give an allocation with the unit involved; for that you need the KAN, which will say along the lines of 'one per Gruppe and one for HQ' for example. There was a thread on KAN a while back (I think), but sadly there are not many left it seems. The Volks Grenadier Regiment KAN are on germandocsinrussia.

https://wwii.germandocsinrussia.org/de/ ... rid/zoom/1
Thank you Gary. Hadn't seen that on GDIR. Looking through the KAN quickly, seems strange that it is silent on MP44 and its ammunition.

yantaylor
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by yantaylor » 22 Oct 2021 20:59

Thanks for highlighting those faults guys, how I got the K98k wrong I don't know.

I am having a lot of trouble with my website, since I ditched my old VPN, it won't let me go to my adin centre and fix things, so I am waiting for one of my sons to come and sort it out.

Ian

Brady
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Brady » 25 Oct 2021 20:29

The .30 Cal hear is a model 1919A4?

A tripod mounted one, intended to be used dismounted ?

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Gary Kennedy
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Gary Kennedy » 26 Oct 2021 13:52

No, it's the M1917A1, as specified in the Table of Equipment. A tripod mount was authorised for dismounted use.

Gary

Brady
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Brady » 26 Oct 2021 14:33

That’s interesting, so the half tracks we’re not armed with 50 cal’s, that carried the squads, but rather with the 30 CAL on a pental mount? And the 30 Cal could be dismounted and used from the tripod? And the squads did not have A BAR, the 30 Cal M1917A1 was there support weapon?

Gary Kennedy
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Gary Kennedy » 26 Oct 2021 16:53

The halftrack mounted weapons were primarily for use from their vehicle. There were 20 halftracks in the Company at full strength, and 10 were armed with the M1917A1 and 10 with the .50-cal M2. There two .50-cals and three .30-cals provided for the five halftracks of each Rifle Platoon, and two and one respectively in the Anti-tank Platoon. There was a tripod mount for the .30-cal M1917A1 were it was carried on a halftrack, so that it could be used in the ground role if required.

The two Rifle Squads in the Armored Infantry Rifle Platoon did not 'officially' have a BAR until the post-war era (I did try to add some background on this point in the main Armored Infantry Battalion piece on the website as some units did acquire them, however the context I was able to find suggests it was few units in number and then in the closing months of the war). The Platoon did have two M1919A4/6 LMGs that were for use in the dismounted role and provided the Squads with their automatic firepower support.

Gary

yantaylor
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by yantaylor » 27 Oct 2021 19:50

I have just based and primed a full US Armoured Infantry Company, well just the three platoons and CHQ, I have not started on the three 57mm + M3s or any M3s for the Infantry platoons.
The figures are a mix of Revel and Italeri late war Infantry and I nicked the M2 60mm Mortars from the Italeri Infantry kit.

Ian

yantaylor
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by yantaylor » 28 Oct 2021 13:57

I forgot to add that after talking with some ex-military folks from across the pond, I have added extra weaponry to the rifle squads.
The general feeling is that because these are armoured troops they had the M3 HT to collect and store various weapons they could have come across during their travels, so I don't think it is out of scope to add a SMG and a BAR to each squad.
Some of the ex-military say this is par for course as soldiers simply pick up any weapons they seemed fit for use.
Even the Infantry collected weapons too, so it was common to see an extra BAR in a Infantry squad.

Ian

Brady
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Brady » 28 Oct 2021 15:26

But not, Part of the official TOE, So there’s no way to really Quantify or substantiate ???

Gary Kennedy
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Gary Kennedy » 28 Oct 2021 17:31

Quantifying and putting into context the addition of non-authorised weapons and equipment is the key point to me. I (obviously) love researching this stuff and the baseline for me is always what units were 'supposed' to have. Supplementing or replacing that with stuff they were not 'supposed' to have is not necessarily an easy thing. It's going to need spares that you're not expected to be asking for, ammunition that ordnance are not budgeting on you needing, and personnel who are able to use it and keep it maintained without necessarily being trained to do either. Those issues are magnified if the stuff involved is enemy equipment, for which you can only expect to scrounge spares and amn from captured positions or personnel.

Some units might very helpfully chronicle the addition of non-T/E weapons, acquired in the field to do a specific job, in the unit history. I think one US Inf Regt did go out and actively swap weapons to get the SMGs from an AAA unit, who had them as on the T/E for truck drivers? Some units might pick up extra items, use 'em till they break, then either find new kit...or not. I'd love to know how long Allied units that picked up German MGs actually persevered with them, especially when they started to confuse their own side by firing such distinctive enemy weapons.

I tend to think that if a guy with a camera sees a half dozen Universal carriers parked up, five with a Bren gun and one with a .50-cal pointing out the front plate, which one might he take a photo of?

Richard Anderson
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Richard Anderson » 28 Oct 2021 18:16

yantaylor wrote:
28 Oct 2021 13:57
I forgot to add that after talking with some ex-military folks from across the pond, I have added extra weaponry to the rifle squads.
The general feeling is that because these are armoured troops they had the M3 HT to collect and store various weapons they could have come across during their travels, so I don't think it is out of scope to add a SMG and a BAR to each squad.
Some of the ex-military say this is par for course as soldiers simply pick up any weapons they seemed fit for use.
Even the Infantry collected weapons too, so it was common to see an extra BAR in a Infantry squad.

Ian
This is a common theme, but there is little to substantiate it other than long postwar recollections. The reality may have been quite different.

For example, the BAR. As early as May 1944, First Army identified a critical shortfall in the supply of BAR to the ETOUSA. By July, losses were far exceeding the replacement rate and the reserve stocks (anticipated as sufficient for 17 weeks worth of replacement) was already expended. Insofar as I can make out, the shortages were not resolved until 1945.

We also asked Mac MacDonald about that, since one of the remarks about the 106th Inf Div taking over the position of the 2d Inf Div in early December was that they did not have all the "extra" equipment accumulated by a veteran division, with the inference that meant things like BAR and MG. Mac said there were never "extra" BAR in either of the companies he commanded and there were none when relieved by the 106th. They did have an abundance of field telephones over T/E, but those were German equipment they had seized and used. Nor did he say the use of German MG was common, because of the threat of fratricide when used.

I do know that some units repurposed MG meant for other purposes to make up for the shortfall in BAR and to increase the automatic firepower of the Rifle Company in an attempt to match that of the German. One common expedient was to modify the six tripod-mounted .30 caliber M1919A4 assigned to the Rifle Battalion (in the Weapons Company LMG Platoon) so they could be fired without the heavy tripod as a true LMG. Most modifications were variants on a "spike mount", essentially a simple spade attached to the pintle, which could be driven into the ground for stability, while various slings were used for carriage and "marching fire".

In another case, Company B, 103d Engineer Combat Battalion, 28th Infantry Division, "liberated" eight .50 Caliber BHMG from a crashed P-47, fabricating mounts for them so they could be used on tripods. They were used in the defense of Hosingen in December 1944, apparently with considerable effect, but were also lost there. Of course, many Infantry Regiments also augmented the firepower of its Weapons Company by shifting the truck-mounted .50 caliber BHMG found throughout the regiment to it, while the frequent attachment of SP AA was for the same purpose.

However,these were cases of existing equipment being repurposed to add firepower to the Rifle Company, rather than cases of "extras" somehow being found and used. I suspect what was being recollected was the shrinking in manpower of the Rifle Company in combat, where as many BAR as possible were retained making the proportion of BAR to riflemen higher. Overall, there is simply no real evidence other than recollection for this notion and considerable evidence to make it questionable.
"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

yantaylor
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by yantaylor » 28 Oct 2021 20:08

Hello Richard, would the same rules apply to SMGs, like Thompsons and Grease guns?

I showed the TO/E for a armoured infantry company, and the couple of officers friends who I know said that, in action you would be lucky to have a full squad and soldiers would collect weapons they thought they could use, so trying to find a realistic company would be impossable.

The MacDonald you mentioned, is he the same Mac! who wrote the book "company commander"? If so then I am a big fan of that book and I wish I could have been able to converse with him.

Ian

Richard Anderson
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Richard Anderson » 28 Oct 2021 20:28

yantaylor wrote:
28 Oct 2021 20:08
Hello Richard, would the same rules apply to SMGs, like Thompsons and Grease guns?
Yes, the SMG was not a common item in most T/E. There were six in the Infantry Rifle Company HQ and two in the Infantry Rifle Battalion HQ for example. There were 18 in each PIB and that number was increased IIRC in the December 1944 revision, but most were held in a "pool" for issue by the commander as he saw fit. The Tank Battalion had a lot, 437 of them, mostly because rifles and carbines were impractical in a tank. It was usually the handier M3. So did the AIB, with 138 of them, mostly drivers and officers IIRC.
I showed the TO/E for a armoured infantry company, and the couple of officers friends who I know said that, in action you would be lucky to have a full squad and soldiers would collect weapons they thought they could use, so trying to find a realistic company would be impossable.
Yes that could be true of any unit where manpower decreased more rapidly than the loss of equipment. However that does not mean they collected more of an item, they just had more proportionately.
The MacDonald you mentioned, is he the same Mac! who wrote the book "company commander"? If so then I am a big fan of that book and I wish I could have been able to converse with him.
Yes it was. He was a wonderful guy.
"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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Sheldrake
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Sheldrake » 29 Oct 2021 00:18

Experienced units could acquire additional weapons - "Buckshees" in British Army argot. Sergeant Tautini Glover, 28 Maori Battalion (2 NZ Division) is quoted in Megan Hutching's "A Fair sort of Battering" as saying

"Out of a section of twelve you were only supposed to have two automatic weapons, your section leader had a Tommy gun and you had a Bren Gun. But when the Maoris went into action our of the twelve, only two had rifles. All the other eight had either German guns or extra Bren guns, also extra Tommy guns. The Tommy gun was inaccurate and didn't go far. Bren guns were very accurate. You could snipe with Bren guns. I loved my Bren Gun. Mine was official. I was the Section Leader."

That is a lot of firepower in a section. The New Zealand Division was a unique Allied formation. Motorised, with seven infantry battalions, three armoured regiments and a divisional cavalry regiment. Nearest thing on the allied side to an SS Panzer Division in structure.

He also mentions never taking part in a bayonet charge, but using bayonets to give arrogant young Germans a jab in the backside. It probably wasn't a good thing to bang on about "The Master Race" to a Maori.

Brady
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Brady » 29 Oct 2021 01:47

In all this I may of found something New to ask, ZB vz. 26,

I see references to them being used late war by the Germans, I Know there were early to mid war by the SS, but I dont know how widespread there use was late war.

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