Military History | How To Make War | Wars Around the World Rules of Use How to Behave on an Internet Forum
Infantry Discussion Board
   Return to Topic Page
Subject: Best rifle of World war one and/or World war two?
JTR~~    3/12/2010 1:12:04 PM
if you can try and resist mentioning the AK 47, as it did not enter service until like the name says 1947, it would be much appreciated. my personal opinion that without a doubt it must be any and all of the Lee Enfield series of rifle especially the Mk IV your thoughts and suggestions please
 
Quote    Reply

Show Only Poster Name and Title     Newest to Oldest
JFKY    My two cents   3/12/2010 2:09:38 PM
1) best THEORETICAL weapon would be the Sturmgewehr 45....it lead to the CETME rifle, used delayed rollers, so its a fore-runner of the H&K series, plus the whole sturmgewehr series began the assault weapons movement.  But almost no Sturmgewehr 45's saw service and very few Sturmgewehr 44's saw any service.
 
2) Best PRACTICAL weapon was the M-1 Garand.  The only mass-produced and operated semiautomatic rifle in the Second World War.  It was rugged, reliable,a nd lethal.  Plus it gave an infantryman 8 rounds that could be fired as fast as the trigger could be pulled.  it was better than the Lee-Enfield SMLE or the Gewehr 98K
 
That having been said, the US focus on the INFANTRYMAN, rather than the fire team or rifle section, brought about in part by the possession of the M-1, hurt the US infantry.  The Bren was a better weapon than the BAR and the MG-34/42 were far better weapons than the Bren or the Browning machine guns that the US or Britain fielded.
 
PRACTICALLY: the best rifle is rather irrelevant.  The US had a better rifle, but a rather poor section automatic weapon (BAR) and the Germans had an EXCELLENT one, at the rifle section, platoon, and company, in the form of the MG-34/42.  This gave the German infantry a practical firepower advantage over their US counter-parts, even though the US had the better rifle.
 
Quote    Reply

JTR~~    much appreciated   3/12/2010 2:37:23 PM
true about M1 garand, very sturdy rifle indeed, helped many a GI in WW2 apart from the noisy reload which cost a few of them their lives, but later they did learn how to counter that.
 
Quote    Reply

smitty237       3/12/2010 7:26:31 PM
Gun nuts like me love these kinds of posts, but I doubt you'll get a lot of arguments on this topic. 
 
I'll break it down as if you asked two questions instead of just one.  I agree with you at least partially on the Enfield series.  In my opinion the Lee Enfield was the best infantry battle rifle of WWI.  It may not have the most accurate, had the best action, or was the prettiest rifle of the period, but I believe that the Enfield was best bolt action battle rifle, with the MKIV representing the zenith of bolt action infantry development.  The combination of a high magazine capacity and a fast action gave the British Commonwealth soldiers a decided firepower edge over the Germans, Austrians, and Turks armed with Mausers and Steyrs. 
 
The best rifle of WWII is the M-1 Garand, hands down.  The Garand changed warfare and marked the beginning of the end of the bolt action rifle as a mainstream battlefield implement.  The Garand wasn't perfect by any measure.  Given my druthers it would have had a detachable magazine like the Enfield.  I've read that originally it was supposed to use the twenty round BAR magazine, but this was rejected by the armchair generals because they felt that a magazine hanging down would interfere with how the rifles were deployed while on parade.  So instead they the Garand was stuck with the integral clip that made the ping! noise when the clip was ejected after the last round was fired.  That's what you get when you design a weapon during peacetime.
 
The Stg-44 was also a very good weapon, and it represented the introduction of the assault rifle, which would eventually dominate the battlefield.  Had the Stg-44 been introduced a few years earlier it would have had a much bigger impact on the battlefield.  Another excellent, though less known, German rifle was the FG-42.  This rifle was designed with it paratroopers in mind.  It fired the full size 7.92 Mauser cartridge from a twenty round detachable magazine and was capable of automatic fire.  It was heavy, but it gave the German troops who used it a firepower edge over even the M-1 Garand.  Fortunately for the Allies relatively very few were distributed to German troops. 
 
Quote    Reply

ambush       3/13/2010 9:05:21 AM

1) best THEORETICAL weapon would be the Sturmgewehr 45....it lead to the CETME rifle, used delayed rollers, so its a fore-runner of the H&K series, plus the whole sturmgewehr series began the assault weapons movement.  But almost no Sturmgewehr 45's saw service and very few Sturmgewehr 44's saw any service.

 

2) Best PRACTICAL weapon was the M-1 Garand.  The only mass-produced and operated semiautomatic rifle in the Second World War.  It was rugged, reliable,a nd lethal.  Plus it gave an infantryman 8 rounds that could be fired as fast as the trigger could be pulled.  it was better than the Lee-Enfield SMLE or the Gewehr 98K

 

That having been said, the US focus on the INFANTRYMAN, rather than the fire team or rifle section, brought about in part by the possession of the M-1, hurt the US infantry.  The Bren was a better weapon than the BAR and the MG-34/42 were far better weapons than the Bren or the Browning machine guns that the US or Britain fielded.

 

PRACTICALLY: the best rifle is rather irrelevant.  The US had a better rifle, but a rather poor section automatic weapon (BAR) and the Germans had an EXCELLENT one, at the rifle section, platoon, and company, in the form of the MG-34/42.  This gave the German infantry a practical firepower advantage over their US counter-parts, even though the US had the better rifle.


I think you are ignoring the focus the Marine Corps put into developing the Fire Team during WWII.  I would refer yo to On Infantry by John A. English, Bruce I. Gudmundsson as just one source.
 
 

Also I guess your assessment would depend if you believe that a light or medium machinegun even belongs at squad or fire team level. This is something that the Marine Corps is looking hard at as it considers a replacement for the SAW-M249.  The Corps is looking at going back to a Squad Automatic Rifle (SAR as opposed to SAW).  The last I heard it was going to be a based on the M-16 modified with a gas piston design, heavier barrel and perhaps firing with an open bolt.

 

Experience in Iraq showed that the SAW was  less than ideal in  house to house room clearing situations and many SAW gunners would exchange there SAWs for M-16s when it came time to room clearing.  Also the SAWs accuracy is less than ideal in the SAR/SAW role. To be honest it is a light Machine

 
Quote    Reply

ambush       3/13/2010 9:08:04 AM

Automatic Rifle Concept: Part I—History and Empirical Testing

by CWO3 Jeffrey L. Eby

?Those German units fortunate enough to have officers who understood the effect of modern firepower went into battle in dispersed skirmish lines, with as many as six meters between each man and with each man granted the freedom to make use of whatever cover was available during his forward movement.?1—Bruce Gudmundsson
Stormtroop Tactics

 

The relationship between the lethality of weapons and the dispersion of the troops found on the same battlefield has been a consideration for commanders since man first engaged in combat. From the Spartan phalanx to German stormtroop operations, combat leaders have been forced to adjust their tactics to the technology of the day. The dispersion of the troops has always been a critical aspect of the tactic

 
Quote    Reply

ambush       3/13/2010 9:09:58 AM

Automatic Rifle Concept: Part II—Reorganizing the Infantry Squad

by CWO3 Jeffrey L. Eby

This is the second article outlining the automatic rifle
assessment conducted by 2d Battalion, 7th Marines (2/7).

 

The previous article summarized the relationship between weapons lethality and dispersion on the battlefield and the need for a highly mobile automatic rifle (AR)—reliable and capable of semiautomatic fire—at the fire team (FT) level. The first article also indicated that, rather than eliminate the M249 squad automatic weapon (SAW) from the Marine Corps inventory, the weapon should be employed in its designed role as a light machinegun (LMG). The M249 as an LMG, coupled with a true AR at the FT level, would markedly increase the lethality of the infantry squad. It would further the historical paradigm, already outlined in the first article, of increased lethality resulting in the need for increased dispersion.

Because of the results achieved in Phase I, experimental squad and platoon organizations were constructed in order to examine how the inclusion of a true AR and the consolidation of the SAWs at various levels of command would affect tactics, te

 
Quote    Reply

Mikko       3/14/2010 5:07:18 AM
If only to take some focus away from the western front, I'd like to throw in Tokarev self-loading rifle (SVT-40). I've never fired one, not even held one in my hands. (though were I to start a weapons collecting hobby, this would be one of the first pieces to obtain)
 
Why I thought SVT-40 is worth mentioning is that as I understand, no-other rifle in WW2 was so sought after loot by the opposing forces. Both Germans and Finns picked each and every one of the Tokarevs up from their former users to use them themselves.
 
That might tell more about the shortages of the looters than of the SVT-40 itself, both Germans and Finns lacking a self-loading rifle. Yet it is tremendously easier to find pictures of German soldiers carrying Tokarevs than it is to find pictures of them carrying Enfields or M1's. Yes, now you can say that this is only because Germans didn't walk so much over dead Enfield or M1 users as they did for Tokarev carrying folk.
 
Quote    Reply

JTR~~    agreed people :)   3/14/2010 6:28:43 AM

i think we have established that most people think that the best all round rifle of world war two was in fact the versatile M1 Garand. i still believe however seeing as the Garand was by far the best weapon for a GI (as far as i know they were the only allied troops to field the weapon), that the Lee Enfield was one of the most potent weapons in the allied armoury, it was by far the best bolt action fielded by allied troops, and i believe often surpassed its German counterparts through sheer firepower. one comment however is that the Lee Enfield?s accuracy compared to that of its counterparts has been called in to question, having never fired the weapon myself i really can?t say from a personal point of view, but i always understood that the Enfield was considered as one of the most accurate rifles going, and mostly unsurpassed when firing at long ranges. if anyone has any more on the type of accuracy you could get out of these guns i would be very pleased to hear it.

on a final note, no one has mentioned the Japanese Arisaka bolt action rifle, also a very fine gun, but again having never fired the weapon i can?t say all too much for it

thanks again JTR~~

 

 
Quote    Reply

ambush       3/14/2010 10:34:07 PM

i think we have established that most people think that the best all round rifle of world war two was in fact the versatile M1 Garand. i still believe however seeing as the Garand was by far the best weapon for a GI (as far as i know they were the only allied troops to field the weapon), that the Lee Enfield was one of the most potent weapons in the allied armoury, it was by far the best bolt action fielded by allied troops, and i believe often surpassed its German counterparts through sheer firepower. one comment however is that the Lee Enfield?s accuracy compared to that of its counterparts has been called in to question, having never fired the weapon myself i really can?t say from a personal point of view, but i always understood that the Enfield was considered as one of the most accurate rifles going, and mostly unsurpassed when firing at long ranges. if anyone has any more on the type of accuracy you could get out of these guns i would be very pleased to hear it.


on a final note, no one has mentioned the Japanese Arisaka bolt action rifle, also a very fine gun, but again having never fired the weapon i can?t say all too much for it


thanks again JTR~~


 



I once read a comparison between the  Lee Enfield, the 03 Springfield  and the Arisaka.  IIRC the Lee Enfield was rated as teh best battle rifle, the Ariska the best markmanship rifle (or maybe that was reversed it was a while ago) and the 03 the best combination of the two.
 
Quote    Reply

ambush       3/14/2010 10:54:45 PM

i think we have established that most people think that the best all round rifle of world war two was in fact the versatile M1 Garand. i still believe however seeing as the Garand was by far the best weapon for a GI (as far as i know they were the only allied troops to field the weapon), that the Lee Enfield was one of the most potent weapons in the allied armoury, it was by far the best bolt action fielded by allied troops, and i believe often surpassed its German counterparts through sheer firepower. one comment however is that the Lee Enfield?s accuracy compared to that of its counterparts has been called in to question, having never fired the weapon myself i really can?t say from a personal point of view, but i always understood that the Enfield was considered as one of the most accurate rifles going, and mostly unsurpassed when firing at long ranges. if anyone has any more on the type of accuracy you could get out of these guns i would be very pleased to hear it.


on a final note, no one has mentioned the Japanese Arisaka bolt action rifle, also a very fine gun, but again having never fired the weapon i can?t say all too much for it


thanks again JTR~~


 



I once read a comparison between the  Lee Enfield, the 03 Springfield  and the Arisaka.  IIRC the Lee Enfield was rated as teh best battle rifle, the Ariska the best markmanship rifle (or maybe that was reversed it was a while ago) and the 03 the best combination of the two.
 
Quote    Reply



 Latest
 News
 
 Most
 Read
 
 Most
 Commented
 Hot
 Topics