Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by tomo pauk, May 10, 2019.
No doubt, the question is could Britain produce that effort, especially after WW2?
Well they did in first World War with Grand Papa Lewis which, though more expensive because of royalties, was found to require less man hours to be produced than the Vickers which as everyone here knows was kept in production for decades after WWII.
In the war with US production help. I'm talking about the post-WW2 funding situation which saw very limited military budgets and the need to making hundreds of thousands of these rifles at a minimum, which is a different task then introducing a machine gun in war time when someone else is footing the bill.
Lewis gun was mass produced on UK's dime.
Going with FG-42 derivative means that LMG and automatic rifle are a single design, unlike the Taden + EM-2.
As a machine gun, no a main battle rifle. As a Bren replacement it would be fine and cheaper...but what about the Bren's existing production line and stocks of the weapon and ammo for it?
Also I'm not sure the FG42 could fill the role of the Taden, which also had a MMG belt fed version. That is unless they also modified the FG42 for a belt feed system like the US did before developing the M60.
Bren's existing production line was cancelled historically, 1st because the Taden is to be produced, 2nd because the FN MAG is to be produced.
The 'belt-fed FG 42' has it's appeal, too.
ETA: seems like the British were also trying to invest money on tooling for new ammo they deemed useful - the .280 British.
IIRC the Taden was a modified Bren. But since the Taden wasn't ever adopted, I think the Bren carried on in production; wikipedia says it stayed in production until 1971 and was converted to the 7.62 NATO cartridge.
The FN MAG only entered service in 1958, so was nearly a Vietnam era weapon, entering production in Britain only in 1961:
It shouldn't have been too tough to pull off seeing as there was already a side feed; with the ability to say add some sort of rotary mechanism to pull the belt through it should have worked fine (see the Swedish BAR belt feed mechanism...although flawed it could work with some development effort).
Since the Taden was supposed to just be a modified Bren for the .280 cartridge and belt feeding, there shouldn't be much of an issue 'beefing up' the FG42 for the MMG role with a belt feed system. Maybe it will end up being a British M60. Though if it uses mostly the same parts and factory lines for the MMG and rifle it could end up being more cost effective than the Taden+EM-2 that was planned, especially if already using an existing production cartridge. Still, it would be hard to image that even a 'less powerful' 7.92 SME Lang cartridge would replace the desire for something like the 7.92 Kurz having encountered it in battle. It would be interesting if the Brits ended up with something like what CETME developed, the long, light 7.92 aluminum bullet to get both range and low recoil/low weight per cartridge without having to switch calibers or cartridge case production equipment.
Still all that said, a belt fed FG42 with a plastic ammo box mounted underneath the receiver like modern SAWs could make it an early PKP or HK21, but even lighter.
Or like the KAC light assault machine gun that Gun Jesus just showed off on his YT channel.
Everything old is new again - FG 42 in .308: link
Yeah that's been around for years, the video with the field strip of the FG42 is this linked reproduction gun.
Notice though in the video the longer range accuracy was a problem (300m or more).
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