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Monday, March 25, 2013

Machine Gun Shoot Off

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oyj-ZHXFKQI&feature=em-share_video_user

My friend the Nerdy Guy sent me a US Army training video from WWII.  It's really interesting and shows a shoot off between several automatic weapons.

I have seen this before and there are several issues.
1. Are they giving us the real results?
 
2. Are the results the same time after time or did they do the test 9 times and pick the worst example?
 
3. Are the people shooting competent with their weapons? Is this the best Thompson gunner in the Army and some guy from the mess hall firing the German machine gun?
 
4. Are the weapons in perfect working order? Is the German gun worn out with an old barrel?
 
5. 250 yards away is pretty close for a machine gun, how about 500 yards, 1000 yards or even 2000 yards?
 
6. The MG 34 / MG 42 in the bipod mode was not competing against the .30 caliber on a bipod, it was competing against the BAR. The MG42 was issued at a rate of one or two PER SQUAD, just like the BAR.
 
7. I would like to see that BAR used to fire at 250 yards and compare it to the MG 34, particularly with a 20 round box magazine vs a belt of ammo.
 
8. The MG 34 / MG 42 was issued in the tripod version in similar numbers than the US .30 caliber with water cooled barrel. And the Germans did need more ammo carriers. But their concept of the machine gun was different. The US concept was to deliver sustained fire at a long distance as the troops advanced. The German concept was to fire short bursts as known targets and a high rate of fire means more rounds down range in the same period of time. The Germans must have felt it worked because they went from a machine gun similar to ours the '09 to the MG 34 to the MG 42 to the MG 45 and increased the rate of fire each time. We must have liked the idea too because the M60 machine gun replaced the US gun post war and was very similar to the MG 42.
 
9. Also if you fire 30 rounds and get hit 15 times or 7 times you are still dead.
 
10. The machine gun is an area weapon and not intended to hit individuals but rather groups of troops at 250 yards are farther.
 
I have fired the Thompson, Grease Gun and MP 40 submachine guns and they are all fine weapons.  Too bad we can't get together and re-enact this event in Texas!

6 comments:

ccm2361 said...


1. Are they giving us the real results?
NO This looks like a nice propaganda piece in the ancient art of turd polishing. Trying to sell someone a bunch of crap, but its so shined up & nicely packaged they don't realize its crap until its too late.

2. Are the results the same time after time or did they do the test 9 times and pick the worst example?

That looked just a little too good. Say those US guns always shoot better! Good things those jerry's miss so much! Yeah right. How come so many G.I.s died from "Lead Poisoning" from those MG42's in Normandy?

3. Are the people shooting competent with their weapons? Is this the best Thompson gunner in the Army and some guy from the mess hall firing the German machine gun?
The film says the shooters are "Masters". Buts that's a pretty dubious claim to make about a foreign weapon

4. Are the weapons in perfect working order? Is the German gun worn out with an old barrel?

Very possible, I doubt we captured them fresh out of the crate.

5. 250 yards away is pretty close for a machine gun, how about 500 yards, 1000 yards or even 2000 yards?

Probably because ours didn't shoot as well at 500,100 or 2000 yards

6. The MG 34 / MG 42 in the bipod mode was not competing against the .30 caliber on a bipod, it was competing against the BAR. The MG42 was issued at a rate of one or two PER SQUAD, just like the BAR.

Must beg to differ, that was not a BAR, it was belt fed, the BAR is magazine fed. It was a Browning M1919A6 air cooled .30 on a bipod.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M1918_Browning_Automatic_Rifle
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M1919_Browning_machine_gun

7. I would like to see that BAR used to fire at 250 yards and compare it to the MG 34, particularly with a 20 round box magazine vs a belt of ammo.

See #6

8. The MG 34 / MG 42 was issued in the tripod version in similar numbers than the US .30 caliber with water cooled barrel. And the Germans did need more ammo carriers. But their concept of the machine gun was different. The US concept was to deliver sustained fire at a long distance as the troops advanced. The German concept was to fire short bursts as known targets and a high rate of fire means more rounds down range in the same period of time. The Germans must have felt it worked because they went from a machine gun similar to ours the '09 to the MG 34 to the MG 42 to the MG 45 and increased the rate of fire each time. We must have liked the idea too because the M60 machine gun replaced the US gun post war and was very similar to the MG 42.

Absolutely agree. The German Rifle squad lived to serve their MG 34/42. The whole squad ran ammo. Where the US Rifle squad, most of the rifleman banged away with their Garands.

9. Also if you fire 30 rounds and get hit 15 times or 7 times you are still dead.

right on, dead is dead.

10. The machine gun is an area weapon and not intended to hit individuals but rather groups of troops at 250 yards are farther.

Again, absolutely agree.

Fun video, even if it probably stretched the truth a bit. thanks for sharing

Bunkermeister said...

Great comments there ccm, but you misunderstood me on #6. Yes, that's a .30 caliber belt fed in the example, but the US squad had a BAR in the squad and a .30 caliber at platoon or company level. The Germans had belt fed MGs in the squad. So in the war the BAR was competing against the belt fed German machine gun.
Bunkermeister

Al said...

Interesting post Mike, for what it's worth, I ran into a lot of MG42s in Croatia during the war out there, most of them had very slogged-out feed trays and other bits missing but still seemed to be very effective judging by damage they were still doing, vintage and wear & tear certainly notwithstanding!

Cheers

Bunkermeister said...

That's the mark of good weapon, will function even in poor condition. Thanks for reading.
Bunkermeister

Leif Eriksson said...

Most definitely propaganda, made to bolster the morale of the new troops. Just as US tankers were told prior to D-Day that the Sherman was just as good as anything the Germans had...

Bunkermeister said...

The Sherman was a great tank, in 1942 and a good tank in 1943. It was outdated by 1944.
Bunkermeister