Special Sub-Topic: British WWII Weapons
|What was the SMLE's nickname?|
Smelly. The Short Magazine Lee Enfield (SMLE) was first introduced in 1904 but wasn't official introduced until 1907. The barrel length was between that of its predecessor (the MLE) and the traditional carbine. It was openly criticised when first introduced as people felt it wouldn't fulfill any roll within the military as was too short to be as accurate as the MLE and too long to be used by the calvalry. However, as history as shown, the SMLE was not a failure.
|What was the effective range of the SMLE?|
1 mile. The SMLE had an effective range of 1 mile, although often to hit a target that far away would require a scope and was only achieved so as to improve its accuracy over shorter range. It was officially said to have an effective range of 500 yards. The bullet has been known to travel up to 2 miles.
|One common problem with the Sten was that it commonly jammed. What was the other?|
The safety would 'malfunction', causing misfires.. If anyone has handled a Sten, they will have noticed that to put the weapon in safety they must first cock it. Due to it's cheap design, any jolt would cause a misfire. It has been known for soldiers to put the weapon in safety and then drop it, or it put it down hard, and shoot their friend. It has also been known for paratroopers to put the weapon in safety and then jump. Upon impact they would shoot themselves.
|Sten's were easy weapons to make. What type of companies assisted in the production of Sten's?|
Toy Companies. Apart from the bolt, which had to be produced by a gunsmith, toy companies, like Hornby and Meccano, were brought in to help produce the Stens. In all, the Sten was made from 47 parts and was by far the cheapest weapon in the British military, costing the equivalent of £1.50 (in 2012 money) at its cheapest and an over-all cost equivalen to £2.50 (in 2012 money).
|One reason why the Bren was taken out of service after the war was because it was box fed, restricting it to 30 rounds before reloading. What was the other?|
It was too accurate. A common complaint about the Bren was that it was far too accurate. A machine-gun is supposed to a be a supressive weapon and the Bren was too accurate to fulfill this task. Constant modifications were undertaken but very little could be done to it.
At the beginning of the war Bren gun crews were equipped with two barrels so as to change them in the event of over-heating. However, very few crews had to undergo the change as the gun rarely over-heated and when the barrel was later chrome lined near the end of the war, this problem was pretty much eradicated.
At a weight of 23lbs with a loaded magazine (10kg) the Bren was actually the lightest LMG of the war! The MG42 weighed 25lbs (11kg) and the Browning .30 Cal weighed 31lbs (14kg)! In fact, it was preferred by British forces during the Korean War and the Malayan Emergency because it was lighter than it's proposed replacement.
If anybody has handled a Bren gun they would know that the magazine doesn't restrict the iron site in anyway whatsoever. Even if it did, the weapon was supposed to be used in a supressive role, so being able to get the enemy 'in your sights' isn't an over-all priority.
|How many rounds per minute (RPM) could the Bren Gun achieve?|
500. The Bren Gun had a rate of fire of 500 rpm. This was under half the rate of fire of its opposer, the MG42, which could fire 1200 rpm. However, part of this restriction is down to the fact that because it was box fed meaning reloading was constant, even though it was quick. If it wasn't box fed then it possibly could have had a better rate of fire, but this isn't proven and possibly changing it to being belt fed would reduce its effectiveness. Just one of those 'ponders' that will never be proven.
|Due to its design, what other role could the PIAT have been used in?|
As a mortar/anti-house weapon. The PIAT (Projector Infantry Anti-Tank) was based on the spigot system which was commonly used on mortars. The explosive was purposely designed to be able to be used as an anti-house weapon and many troops often shoved it into the ground and used as an effective mortar. The only thing the PIAT could effectively achieve.
Weighing an astounding 32 pounds (15kg), the PIAT could only be fired from a prone position. Therefore, it was pretty much useless as an anti-personnel weapon. It probably would have been ok as a battering ram for a door, but if it's your only anti-tank weapon you're not likely to treat it so badly, regardless of how bad it is. And high explosive doesn't often explode in mid-air - unless you've hit something.
|What part of the design in the PIAT caused common shoulder injuries to users?|
It was designed to re-cock itself on its recoil. The PIAT worked on a spring system hitting a charge within the anti-tank round which would then send the round off towards it's target. The recoil was supposed to re-cock the weapon so that it could be re-loaded and re-used instantly. However, this rarely happened meaning the soldier would have to do the laborious task of standing up and re-cocking it the initial way - with the enemy knowing where he was. However, on the occasions when it did happen the force of the recoil would often cause serious shoulder injuries, broken shoulder's were not uncommen.
The PIAT was actually designed to have no blowback. So this would not have been a problem.
As heavy as the PIAT is, most of the men would have had to carry the weapon many miles already. Lifting it up with support of a 'pod' at the end wouldn't have required much strain.
|What was the heaviest part of the Vickers Medium Machine Gun?|
Its tripod. Believe it or not, the tripod was far heavier than the actual weapon itself. The weapon weighed between 25-30lbs with the tripod weighing between 40-50lbs! The reason for this was because the tripod was made out of solid brass! The bright sparks in weapon design didn't think of creating a hollow tripod until after the war!
|Because the Vickers was water-cooled, the troops during the First World War used to take out the water once boiled and make tea out of it. Why wasn't this done during the Second World War?|
The troops chose to put the water in petrol cans thereby meaning the water was contaminated.. At the start of the war the gun crews were given specific water bags to carry the water in. However, these weren't very strong and would often rip open. As a result, many of the gun crews picked up petrol cans and put the water in that. As a result, the water was contaminated with petrol.
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