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How individual weapons were really carried in WW II


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This is a superb video contrasting common depictions in war movies of how infantry carried their weapons against real period sources and photographic evidence. Has lots of useful pictures, including squad movement through drainage ditches in Normandy, British infantry in assault configuration complete with T-handled full size shovels, GIs advancing, Germans in city fighting and the famous BoB StG44 equipped SS moving past burning US halftrack, plus images and text from German, US and British manuals and even training film. Also describes several sites where excellent information on particulars of weapon handling in WW II are covered. Not only is this information helpful for skins and terrain info, , not to mention potential VO chrome via German command to get down, but I believe it could be fed into the soldier animations. Might be interesting to explore animations for prisoner handling upon capture, too. Have read the GIs commonly cut the belt of prisoners, so they'd have to use their hands to hold up their pants, greatly limiting opportunities for mischief!
 

Regards,

John Kettler

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Be sure to watch the other videos on that YT channel, among which are one on Canadian uniforms and insignia, another on German infantry uniforms and insignia and a third on the Panzer and Sturmartillerie uniforms and insignia. Learned a lot, but the amount of information, especially ref the German side, is dizzying and my retention dubious! The German videos have some (drool) excellent pics and clips; the Canadian vid nowhere nearly as many. The Canadian insignia, a topic on which I knew almost nothing and which is rather atypical by US standards, gets thoroughly discussed, from the lowest ranker up through Army CO, I believe. 

Regards,

John Kettler

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7 hours ago, John Kettler said:

This is a superb video contrasting common depictions in war movies of how infantry carried their weapons against real period sources and photographic evidence. Has lots of useful pictures, including squad movement through drainage ditches in Normandy, British infantry in assault configuration complete with T-handled full size shovels, GIs advancing, Germans in city fighting and the famous BoB StG44 equipped SS moving past burning US halftrack, plus images and text from German, US and British manuals and even training film. Also describes several sites where excellent information on particulars of weapon handling in WW II are covered. Not only is this information helpful for skins and terrain info, , not to mention potential VO chrome via German command to get down, but I believe it could be fed into the soldier animations. Might be interesting to explore animations for prisoner handling upon capture, too. Have read the GIs commonly cut the belt of prisoners, so they'd have to use their hands to hold up their pants, greatly limiting opportunities for mischief!
 

Regards,

John Kettler

An interesting watch. Thanks for sharing it.

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Crucially I think the video highlights the fact that combat in both World Wars tended to be clearly divided between "movement" and "non-movement" states. It was pretty novel to fight and move at the same time and for the most part it sounds like it was limited to dedicated Assault/Shock troops. 

I think for the most part most infantrymen in most armies were pretty unwilling or unable (or both) to engage in the sort of tactical footwork and evasion that we picture today and anchor on...modern portrayals of today's infantry or police SWAT teams. Training and standards were actually really uneven throughout the war, sometimes even among units in the same Army or branch even. We today have access to news, games, movies, books etc of a weight and ease of reach unfathomable in an age where many towns had only a telegraph station if that. Sure a lot would become evident pretty quickly at a front, but this among other factors is probably why the divide between experienced and green troops was so sharp and why veterans were such gold. 

I think this is worth considering when playing CM by the way. Lots of guys, new and old, post here all the time about why they're taking heavy casualties in scenarios and blame it on the game's formation keeping or AI or etc. It really isn't those things, it's just that their picture of infantry in WW2 has been "poisoned" by depictions of SWAT teams and special forces, etc without any context. 

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42 minutes ago, SimpleSimon said:

Crucially I think the video highlights the fact that combat in both World Wars tended to be clearly divided between "movement" and "non-movement" states. It was pretty novel to fight and move at the same time and for the most part it sounds like it was limited to dedicated Assault/Shock troops. 

Unless you were under Patton's command I guess. The dude really seemed to love marching fire. From his book "War as I Knew it":

"Marching Fire: The proper way to advance, particularly for troops armed with that magnificent weapon, the M-1 rifle, is to utilize marching fire and keep moving. This fire can be delivered from the shoulder, but it is just as effective if delivered with the butt of the rifle halfway between the belt and the armpit. One round should be fired every two or three paces. The whistle of the bullets, the scream of the ricochet, and the dust, twigs, and branches which are knocked from the ground and the trees have such an effect on the enemy that his small-arms fire becomes negligible.

Meanwhile, our troops in rear, using high-angle fire, should put out the enemy's mortars and artillery. As I have stated, even if we fail to put out the mortars and artillery, the most foolish thing possible is to stop under such fire. Keep walking forward. Furthermore, the fact that you are shooting adds to your self-confidence, because you feel that you are doing something, and are not sitting like a duck in a bathtub being shot at.

In marching fire all weapons must be used. The light machine guns can be used while walking -- one man carrying the belt, the other man carrying the gun. The same is true of the Browning automatic rifle and, of course, as previously stated, the M-1. The 60mm. mortar, advanced by alternate sections, can do much in the same way. The 81mm. usually should support from one position."

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 Very interesting video. I remember from my non-illustrious military experience, we were issued the M-16A1 in my day. We were told immediately to never carry it by the carrying handle.  Thats the military for you. I dont know if it's true but my Drill Instructors told us the M-16 was based on a Mattel toy rifle. Maybe that's why it had the rather pointless carrying handle. I happen to be the proud owner of an M1 rifle I got through the CMP program. It seems to me it could have and maybe should have been used in the "ready" position, since it is semi-automatic with an 8 round clip. Also you can get really good at reloading it fast. When empty the clip ejects and you insert another one quickly as I 'm sure you all know.

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SimpleSimon,

Know what you mean about carrying a certain tactical mindset into CM. Making the transition from from CMx1 to CMx2 was quite challenging for me and others because it was no longer a squad icon and the odd sniper here and there, but all these individual guys, so troop handling became a thing, as did dealing with terrain granularity, resulting in only partial squad effectiveness because of LOS issues. In CMx1, if you had LOS, the entire squad fired at full effect. But the killer (and not just metaphorically speaking) was that tactics which worked well in CMx! could and did get your troops slaughtered in CMx2. This was especially true of assaulting MG positions. In CMx1, you could charge them headlong, would probably take some lumps, but would carry the position, but that same effort would get your men butchered in CMx2. That was WW II. Modern warfare, as exemplified in CMx2 CMBS was another matter altogether, because of the huge increase in weapon accuracy and lethality. In my initial outing as the Russians, I lost 40% of my force in two shattering minutes! The AI controlled US force did that to me, mind, while firing on the move.

Ivan Zaitsev,

You're most welcome.

Bozowans,

Read that book ages ago and much appreciate the quote you provided.

J Bennett,

Ref M16A1 carrying handle, that's crazy, but not the only such Army craziness I know of. During both WW II and the Cold War the Army fielded combat boots with rough outer surfaces of tanned leather. In the first case, it was because it was much simpler and cheaper to build the boot that way. In the Cod War case, it was to enhance concealment. In both cases sergeants burned off the nubs and ordered the men to black and polish them as per normal boots! Great that you got a CMP M1 Garand. Got to put a few rounds downrange with one and shot prone. Wouldn't want to have to fire lots of shots from one in a day, but in fairness, I was very skinny back then and weighed something like 125 pounds.

J Bennett and LukeFF,

Suspect the real origin of that confusion lay in the fact the furniture on the rifle was plastic, not hardwood and that, compared to the M14 it replaced, the M16 did look like a toy weapon and relative to the M14, hefted like one, too.

Regards,

John Kettler



 

 

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Hey there John,

Very interesting info ( as always ). Thank you.

Watching ww2 war movies getting even more difficult now, because from now on I  unvoluntarily will be looking for mistakes in how infantry carries their weapons! ( Next to my, already annoying, critical look at the correct use of vehicles, uniforms, weapons, armor, equipment etc.)

Thanks for spoiling the fun!!😉

 

 

Btw, do you have info on friendly fire killpercentages during ww2? I once read that it was about 16%(!) in general. That's bloody unbelievable..

 

 

Edited by Seedorf81
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Here a period pic showing German soldiers carrying their rifles one handed. Though it may appear otherwise , this includes the man in the foreground. Thought at first he had both hand on it, but that's an artifact of the image shadows, for I you look near the back of his left thigh, you can clearly see his left hand. As you can see from the smaller B/W pic below, Pinterest sepia tones the larger format one.

48e1a3819ede00163f5ee30ce4c94aae.jpg&f=1i

Mint-WW2-RPPC-Postcard-Germany-Army-Wehr

Here we have an LMG team charging into battle in what I consider a great combat pic.

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The caption says these are men of the 709th Infantry Division in Montebourg , Normandy coming out their shelter and rushing to their fighting positions. The MG-42 gunner is obviously in a hurry, since neither of his boots is on the ground.

german-soldiers-of-the-709-infantry-divi

Have tried everything I could to get the pic at link to post, but it is an excellent quality B/W pic clearly showing one handed rifle carry. 

https://proxy.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fs-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com%2F736x%2F34%2Fdb%2F37%2F34db37d126f1ce52172063bd92bcd3ae.jpg&f=1&nofb=1
Famous Barbarossa pic showing the Panzer Grenadiers rushing in and holding their rifles in one hand.

https://static.abc.es/Media/201211/30/nazis-2--644x362.jpg

Regards,

John Kettler



 

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Here is a still from a famous German movie clip from BoB. StG44 in and and rushing past a burning US halftrack! Have also seen the MP38/40 carried in one hand.

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All in all, I think that one-handed carry for the Germans in CM would be a good thing. Nor is it particularly difficult to show the US did the same thing.

Colorized WW II pic of Marine flamethrower gunner rushing in to attack a Japanese pillbox.

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Marine crossing the seawall at Tarawa

us-marines-navy-japan-tarawa-world-war-i

Storming the beach! Location not given.

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BAR man

the-pacific-war-american-troops-during-t

Iconic image and sorry for drop shadow!

marine-dash-on-okinawa-war-is-hell-store
Have also seen a Thompson SMG carried one-handed but had some tech difficulties and now can't find the pic.

Regards,

John Kettler
 

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16 hours ago, Seedorf81 said:

Btw, do you have info on friendly fire killpercentages during ww2? I once read that it was about 16%(!) in general. That's bloody unbelievable..

It may be more believable if you reflect on however many of those are from artillery short rounds and the like. Still, it sounds a bit high to me too.

Michael

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On 10/5/2019 at 9:53 PM, John Kettler said:

SimpleSimon,

 This was especially true of assaulting MG positions. In CMx1, you could charge them headlong, would probably take some lumps, but would carry the position, but that same effort would get your men butchered in CMx2. That was WW II. 

Yeah CMx2 has utterly transformed my perception of weaponry and tactics. Lots of games do things like force balance the Pak40 so it's useless against infantry for instance, when in reality a Pak40 is extremely dangerous to them and pretty much anything else inside its line of fire. It's a tank gun just minus the tank, and it still pitches a 13lb HE/frag charge out to 2km. Don't screw with it all if you can help it. 

 

18 hours ago, Michael Emrys said:

It may be more believable if you reflect on however many of those are from artillery short rounds and the like. Still, it sounds a bit high to me too.

Michael

I think it would help a lot if the figure had a bit more context as usual. What Army we talking about here and what period of the war for instance? I'm not doubting a figure like that is possible though. Sometimes entire operations could be wrecked by friendly fire like Bodenplatte. Italo Balbo was infamously killed by AA fire...at the very airfield he was scheduled to land at. 

Anti-aircraft defenses in some cities was so notoriously heavy that more people may well have been injured or killed by falling shrapnel, dud rounds, and stray bullets than the actual bombers in some attacks. This is no joke, the British estimated that figure at some 25 percent...

https://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htatrit/articles/20110511.aspx

"The British later estimated that some 25 percent of civilian casualties from German World War II bombing attacks on their cities, were from friendly fire. That is, British anti-aircraft shells eventually falling back to earth, causing property damage and casualties."

I think it's kind of important to understand the norm of weapon systems and weaponry in WW2 was that it used saturation as its primary means of effect, just as in the Great War. Nothing was "precise", you just bombarded whatever your target was. The consequences of this of course was all those smashed cities and pulverized communities and probably more than a trivial quantity of yes fratricide. 

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14 minutes ago, SimpleSimon said:

 This was especially true of assaulting MG positions. In CMx1, you could charge them headlong, would probably take some lumps, but would carry the position, but that same effort would get your men butchered in CMx2. That was WW II. 

Did they fix that in CMx2? I recall an issue with CM:BN(?) where MG positions could be reliably taken by frontal assault.

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I think there was an issue with machine gun teams in 2014-2015 where they'd lose range and azimuth on a target they never lost line of fire on, which really crippled them because you could charge groups of infantry close enough to them over open ground to just push them off. I think it was one of the first major balance issues fixed though so it's all but forgotten. Some scenarios/campaigns in BN have been balanced with this problem originally built in though and now that's creating problems with the 4.0 AI being somewhat easier to scare off or rout. 

Also the Pak40's HE round was more like 8-10lbs. 

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19 hours ago, Pelican Pal said:

Did they fix that in CMx2? I recall an issue with CM:BN(?) where MG positions could be reliably taken by frontal assault.

Yes totally. In the v2 engine upgrade the made MGs more effective and now you cannot just run at the and expect to win the day.

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One of the things BFC did was essentially model the pouring it on fire on the FPL (Final Protective Line), while using more modest rates of fire at longer ranges. Believe it also upped the suppression effects of MG fire, making it much harder to close on the MG and more lethal if still able to fight after the mix of suppression and casualties to reach that point.  I had several attempted MG stormings eviscerated under CMx2 and learned the hard way that CMx1 tactics had to be fundamentally rethought (in many cases discarded) for CMx2. Another major factor in CMx2 was that a squad could have only some members able to see and engage, with the rest of the squad effectively out of the fight until the other guys each found a position with LOS. Another big factor is that the Firepower Factor for squads and such was discarded outright in CMx2. Now every weapon is assessed individually when it comes to how much fire is generated, and the game engine is tracking every single bullet, too.

Regards,

John Kettler

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26 minutes ago, RockinHarry said:

wrong thread. Anyway, it´s just me noticing and complaining on certain things, so just disregard. :) As further hint, the text below the YT video gives some explanations.

I'm genuinely interested :) And the comments under the video mainly consist of people discussing how long it takes to change the barrel, and one guy boasting of having an MG42 in the bedroom. Not sure why. Maybe he expects to be burgled some day by the Red Army.

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8 minutes ago, Bulletpoint said:

I'm genuinely interested :) And the comments under the video mainly consist of people discussing how long it takes to change the barrel, and one guy boasting of having an MG42 in the bedroom. Not sure why. Maybe he expects to be burgled some day by the Red Army.

is off topic here and answers (or more questions) can be checked better here: 

 

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