Better US Army Weapons/Equipment in WW1

Alright this occurred to me while reading "Doughboys in Camoflouge". Basically assuming the US Army had at the start of the war gotten a pretty signifigant budget increase and increase in troop strength from roughly 100K (some sources I find say 98K some say 130K) backed by 27K NG men into at least nominally a 300K active duty army backed by 200K National Guardsmen. The US does not actually get involved in the war till 1916/1917 but their is fear that the US might be attacked by one of the participants and that causes enough political pressure for the Army and Navy to be expanded, reformed, and given better financing. I know this is all politically very unlikely in the US of the time but let's play the ball so to speak.

So basically how can you ideally arm and equip the US army with the technology available at the time. Weapons or equipment can be signifigant improved or weapons that in OTL wouldn't be developed/deployed for decades can be invented and introduced as long as the tech exists for it at the time (for example Goddard created a proto Bazooka type shoulder fired rocket launcher in 1918 but the war ended).
 

Driftless

Donor
I think you need some of the administrative changes in place first to make an earlier arrival of a professional army with first-rate equipment possible.

To get 300k Regulars in uniform by 1916-ish, Wilson can't be President. He actively hamstrung most efforts at modernization, planning, and preparation. Then, whoever else is President appoints either Henry Stimson, or brings back Elihu Root as Secretary of War.

Send General Hugh Scott (Army Chief of Staff) on an earlier diplomatic junket. He did some useful things, but the whole expansion, modernization, etc of the Army was probably out of his league.

Promote General Tasker Bliss to Chief of Staff earlier, and bring in Peyton March( or someone like him) as his "junk yard dog" to wrestle the independent fiefdoms of the various Army Bureaus under the Aegis of the Chief of Staff.

Keep John Pershing in Mexico or give him an administrative job in the US. Somebody else needs to be the top General for the field force - which will become the new and improved AEF.

Send more observers to France and Germany (if you can - in 1914). Officers with open minds and creative thinkers, capable of seeing what works and what does not (which in 1914-15 was a lot). But absolutely dispell the Pershing notion that every American soldier with a rifle and bayonet being an invincible, irresistible force . Pershing also was a firm believer and pressed his sub-commanders hard to disregard training for trench warfare and trench raids, and that maneuver warfare was going to work against entrenched German forces, right off the get-go.
 
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I think you need some of the administrative changes in place first to make an earlier arrival of a professional army with first-rate equipment possible.

To get 300k Regulars in uniform by 1916-ish, Wilson can't be President. He actively hamstrung most efforts at modernization, planning, and preparation. Then, whoever else is President appoints either Henry Stimson, or brings back Elihu Root as Secretary of War.


Send General Hugh Scott (Army Chief of Staff) on an earlier diplomatic junket. He did some useful things, but the whole expansion, modernization, etc of the Army was probably out of his league.

Promote General Tasker Bliss to Chief of Staff earlier, and bring in Peyton March( or someone like him) as his "junk yard dog" to wrestle the independent fiefdoms of the various Army Bureaus under the Aegis of the Chief of Staff.

Keep John Pershing in Mexico or give him an administrative job in the US. Somebody else needs to be the top General for the field force - which will become the new and improved AEF.

Send more observers to France and Germany (if you can - in 1914). Officers with open minds and creative thinkers, capable of seeing what works and what does not (which in 1914-15 was a lot). But absolutely dispell the Pershing notion that every American soldier with a rifle and bayonet being an invincible, irresistible force . Pershing also was a firm believer and pressed his sub-commanders hard to disregard training for trench warfare and trench raids, and that maneuver warfare was going to work against entrenched German forces, right off the get-go.
So that is another thing Wilson screwed up, why am I not surprised? I am not sure you will find someone better than Pershing. Not that he was very good but the last truly serious war the US was in ended in 1865! Because of that I think it was inevitable to some extent that military thinking would be somewhat behind the times.
 

Driftless

Donor
Some US officer/observers of the trench fights on the Western Front and other battlefields might come back with some alternative ideas.

If the Ordnance Bureau has been brought into the Chief of Staff's control, then the field soldiers may get more voice in what equipment they need.

We've been going back and forth on the "A Different First US LMG" thread. One of the most common thoughts is that the US hadn't sufficient experience to know what they really needed for portable automatic weapons for the infantry. The M1909 Hotchkiss/Benet-Mercie worked well enough (once training was sorted out), especially for the cavalry, but maybe not so well for the infantry.

A more portable automatic rifle, (Lewis/early BAR-ish/something new useful for trench raids and more, would be helpful. An earlier arrival of the M1919 Browning?

The US had evaluated our own designs for a steel helmet, but expediency ruled in favor of the British Brodie helmet. Maybe here, there's time for a homegrown model. (link from this site to some photos)
 
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Driftless

Donor
So that is another thing Wilson screwed up, why am I not surprised? I am not sure you will find someone better than Pershing. Not that he was very good but the last truly serious war the US was in ended in 1865! Because of that I think it was inevitable to some extent that military thinking would be somewhat behind the times.

Out of fear of antagonizing the Germans in the pre-DoW years, Wilson shut down any contingency planning work by the US General Staff (a very small body at that time). The same idea applied to any training preparedness efforts. Wilson was the leading voice against the Preparedness Movement, but he wasn't alone there.
 
Out of fear of antagonizing the Germans in the pre-DoW years, Wilson shut down any contingency planning work by the US General Staff (a very small body at that time). The same idea applied to any training preparedness efforts. Wilson was the leading voice against the Preparedness Movement, but he wasn't alone there.

I'm trying to think of an incident that would scare the US enough to have Wilson lose in 1914 and cause an earlier "Preparedness Movement" and support for finally modernized and expanding the Army.

It would be too late for Wilson but I was vaguely considering a "Remember the Rainbow" sort of incident where a German cruiser or AMC early in the war in 1914 is raiding the Canadian Pacific Coast. In the process the ship ends up getting badly lost and the navigator completely screws up meaning the commander thinks the ship is in the wrong position. So they start shelling what they think is a town in British Columbia but is in reality in Washington state. Not many die and it doesn't immediately lead to war but it does scare the shit out of the American public causing Congress to pass a Army/Navy expansion bill.
 
Manganese alloy Steel body armor, unleash Bashford Dean in 1914
1619665552930.png

Armor with full kit and No. 5 Helmet
1619665582454.png
armor with Brit Brodie Helmet
Armor was under 15 pounds, and allowed full mobility. Proof from most fragments and pistol bullets, and rifle and MG fire at a distance

Tanker Boots

Load bearing pack, with PALS/MOLLE in Canvas

MCI rations, but more selection

Panzerfaust 150, but no HEAT, just a TNT warhead.
This was a reloadable version of the weapon, with a longer range

6mm Lee Navy for Rifle, and Winchester 1907 for Carbine, in .351SL
Lewis in 6mm for LMG
Smith and Wesson Revolver, in 351SL. Its pretty much a hot 357 magnum. Uses moon clips and has a ported barrel .
38 Special rounds may also be used, as well as 38 Colt Short and 38 Long
 
Manganese alloy Steel body armor, unleash Bashford Dean in 1914
View attachment 646535
Armor with full kit and No. 5 Helmet
View attachment 646536 armor with Brit Brodie Helmet
Armor was under 15 pounds, and allowed full mobility. Proof from most fragments and pistol bullets, and rifle and MG fire at a distance

Tanker Boots

Load bearing pack, with PALS/MOLLE in Canvas

MCI rations, but more selection

Panzerfaust 150, but no HEAT, just a TNT warhead.
This was a reloadable version of the weapon, with a longer range

6mm Lee Navy for Rifle, and Winchester 1907 for Carbine, in .351SL
Lewis in 6mm for LMG
Smith and Wesson Revolver, in 351SL. Its pretty much a hot 357 magnum. Uses moon clips and has a ported barrel .
38 Special rounds may also be used, as well as 38 Colt Short and 38 Long

I was also thinking Panzerfaust. Though would disposable be better then reusable? I agree on the HE warhead. Perhaps later design a "Fragmentation sleeve" that's removable sort of like the type the Germans used on their "Potato Masher" grenades?

Theoretically speaking could you make a M79 type single shot breechloading 35mm-45mm grenade launcher with the grenade using the "Hi Lo" principle at the time? I was thinking it would be extra "Pocket Artillery" giving infantry squads that are say pinned down by an enemy machine gun bunker to destroy the bunker themselves.
 
I was also thinking Panzerfaust. Though would disposable be better then reusable? I agree on the HE warhead. Perhaps later design a "Fragmentation sleeve" that's removable sort of like the type the Germans used on their "Potato Masher" grenades?

Theoretically speaking could you make a M79 type single shot breechloading 35mm-45mm grenade launcher with the grenade using the "Hi Lo" principle at the time? I was thinking it would be extra "Pocket Artillery" giving infantry squads that are say pinned down by an enemy machine gun bunker to destroy the bunker themselves.
Rocketeer has a carbine so he can carry reloads. It's long enough range, leave the sleeve on.

Manufacturing of light alloy cases isn't quite there yet in WWI for an earlier Blooper

Organization
*denotes changed weapon
  • 1 Squad Leader, Sergeant , armed with M1907 Carbine, or choice of Rifle

  • 3× Fire Teams of:

  • Team ABLE

  • 1× Fire Team Leader, Corporal , armed with *M1895A1 Lee Rifle

  • 1× Automatic Gunner, PFC , armed with M1913 Lewis Automatic Rifle

  • 1× Assistant Gunner, Private, armed with M1907 Carbine, and ammo Ruck

  • 1× Rocketeer, Private/PFC, armed with M1907 Carbine and *M1914 Launcher and three reloads

  • Team BAKER

  • 1x Fire Team Leader, Corporal , armed with *M1895A1 Lee Rifle

  • 1x Rifleman, Private, armed with *M1895A1 Lee Rifle

  • 1x Rifleman, Private, armed with *M1895A1 Lee Rifle

  • 1x Marksman, PFC, armed with *M1895A1 Lee Rifle with scope

  • Team CHARLIE

  • 1x Fire Team Leader, Corporal , armed with *M1895A1 Lee Rifle

  • 1× Automatic Gunner, PFC , armed with M1913 Lewis Automatic Rifle

  • 1× Assistant Gunner, Private, armed with M1907 Carbine, and ammo Ruck

  • 1× Rocketeer, Private/PFC, armed with M1907 Carbine and *M1914 Launcher and three reloads

 

Driftless

Donor
I don't know how you'd scratch up a suitable PoD, but have the US Artillery units have a greater number of tubes in the 105mm to 155mm range than historically vs the 75mm. That change may also push for more motorization, in the form of artillery and ammunition tractors.
 
Rocketeer has a carbine so he can carry reloads. It's long enough range, leave the sleeve on.

Manufacturing of light alloy cases isn't quite there yet in WWI for an earlier Blooper

Organization
*denotes changed weapon
  • 1 Squad Leader, Sergeant , armed with M1907 Carbine, or choice of Rifle

  • 3× Fire Teams of:

  • Team ABLE

  • 1× Fire Team Leader, Corporal , armed with *M1895A1 Lee Rifle

  • 1× Automatic Gunner, PFC , armed with M1913 Lewis Automatic Rifle

  • 1× Assistant Gunner, Private, armed with M1907 Carbine, and ammo Ruck

  • 1× Rocketeer, Private/PFC, armed with M1907 Carbine and *M1914 Launcher and three reloads

  • Team BAKER

  • 1x Fire Team Leader, Corporal , armed with *M1895A1 Lee Rifle

  • 1x Rifleman, Private, armed with *M1895A1 Lee Rifle

  • 1x Rifleman, Private, armed with *M1895A1 Lee Rifle

  • 1x Marksman, PFC, armed with *M1895A1 Lee Rifle with scope

  • Team CHARLIE

  • 1x Fire Team Leader, Corporal , armed with *M1895A1 Lee Rifle

  • 1× Automatic Gunner, PFC , armed with M1913 Lewis Automatic Rifle

  • 1× Assistant Gunner, Private, armed with M1907 Carbine, and ammo Ruck

  • 1× Rocketeer, Private/PFC, armed with M1907 Carbine and *M1914 Launcher and three reloads


Is this supposed to be the ideal or an accurate description of their current organization. Why the 1895 Lee's? Is that just a matter of not enough 1903s? And why have both Lewis and 1895 Colt machine guns in the same unit? Seems like the different machine don't offer enough advantage to have twice as many spare part supplies. Why both Lee's and M1907s? Is it simply a matter of not enough 1903s or M1907s?

Is this supposed to be for the marines (Which would explain the old USN Lee rifles).

So is this an ideal or an accurate description of what the unit structure is actually like (Basically a small poorly armed and organized army going through a significant expansion while also enduring a brutal war in Mexico with the Mexican War hitting mid to early reform meaning that everything chaotic. And the mixture of rifles and calibers is a simple matter of the US army not having much of anything before the attempted expansion and industry taking time to build all the basic equipment (like 1903 Springfields) and M1919 air cooled machine guns that the army desperately needs or Mexico.

Without the accident of the full blown war with Mexico I wonder how the reforms would have proceeded. Within a handful of years would their have been a much larger US army that's heavily armed with future inspired weaponry and used Hermes related tactics, strategy, and organization? Something that could have easily torn through the Mexicans TL defenses like they were tissue paper.
 
Mad Missouri any chance we can see some decent Monitor action. The US still had a handful of semi modern Monitors of the Arkansas class (Though they mostly were depot ships or tenders for submarines and torpedo boats by this point in OTL). I was thinking using their shallow draft, heavy armor, and large guns to raid Mexican coastal positions especially the fortified ones.

Perhaps even build a small number of Coastal monitors armed with turrets and guns taken off pre dreadnoughts or old cruisers. Use them to bombard the Mexican coastal towns and cities and use them to cover small raids by rangers and Marines.
 
I don't know how you'd scratch up a suitable PoD, but have the US Artillery units have a greater number of tubes in the 105mm to 155mm range than historically vs the 75mm. That change may also push for more motorization, in the form of artillery and ammunition tractors.
There was inch sized cannons before the War, but not in great number. Since US companies were making enormous amounts of shells for the French, adopted the metric sizing and the designs for mass production
 
Why the 1895 Lee's
he has a bias towards 2 ideas
  1. that you can get an assault rifle in WW1
  2. that all military rifles should be 6-7 mm, no exceptions
combine that with a massive hate boner for anything that the us actual issued and you get ideas that look good in a video game, but not irl

Is this supposed to be the ideal or an accurate description of their current organization.
no, here you go. this should give you an idea of what was going on at the platoon level
Is this supposed to be for the marines
marines stopped issuing the lee navy by 1911, the navy had some that they used for drill up until the 20's but the marines fought with either 1903's or 1917's

edit: and here the to&e for the marines
 
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Driftless

Donor
There was inch sized cannons before the War, but not in great number. Since US companies were making enormous amounts of shells for the French, adopted the metric sizing and the designs for mass production
I believe that US artillery design was greatly influenced by the French after the Great War, but wasn't that also somewhat true before?
 
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s this supposed to be the ideal or an accurate description of their current organization. Why the 1895 Lee's? Is that just a matter of not enough 1903s? And why have both Lewis and 1895 Colt machine guns in the same unit? Seems like the different machine don't offer enough advantage to have twice as many spare part supplies. Why both Lee's and M1907s? Is it simply a matter of not enough 1903s or M1907s?
No M1903, the M1895 Lee Rifle is updated to A1, for rebarrel and change in propellant for longer barrel life. It's power is at the top end of what today is an intermediate cartridge.

Lewis is adopted as squad automatic, rather than being spiked OTL in 1913. Also in 6mm Lee.
Gen Crozier had an unfortunate accident in this TL in 1901, returning from the Boxer Rebellion.

M1907 is the Winchester semi-auto carbine, for smaller size, and faster rate of fire. Its really the first modern PCC, if you want to call something that fired a cartridge equal to the 357 Maximum as a Pistol Caliber. It's nearly got the power of a 30-30.
The M1914 Launcher is a Panzerfaust 150, used a black powder charge to propel the TNT warhead, and is reloadable. Used for shorter ranges

The Colt Potato Digger is in Company support weapon platoons, along with Mortars, and a 37mm Pom Pom.
The Colt is mostly in 6mm now, and with QD barrels.
It fills the role of a MMG and HMG, the latter having indirect sighting gear and high angle elevation for creating beaten zones at distance, and a water cooling jacket, allowed by a conversion to a gas piston design.
All use disintegrating links for the belts.
 
I believe that US artillery design was greatly influenced by the French after the Great War, but wasn't that also somewhat true before?
Only around 150 M1897 built in the USA reached France before the Armistice. The rest were all French guns. The US Artillery Park was miniscule in 1914, just several hundred guns, many dating to the 1880s
 
  1. that you can get an assault rifle in WW1
  2. that all military rifles should be 6-7 mm, no exceptions
1.Which was the Winchester self loaders.
2. Yes. Everyone doesn't need to be killing horses at 1000 yards. That's someone else's job.

But I would make exceptions for the DSM, or an Anti-Material gun from 12-20mm
 

Driftless

Donor
The killing horses thing, IMHO, is a carryover from the US Cavalry's 19th Century mindset. In the early 1900s when we're picking a new rifle cartridge, US forces hadn't faced horse cavalry, to speak of, since the late 1870s. Was there even any opposing Cavalry in the Span-Am War, Boxer Rebellion, or the Philippine-Ammerican War? The badly outnumbered Spanish had shot up US infantry quite well in the Santiago Campaign with 7 x57mm ammo. (The horse-centered Pancho Villa Expedition was 1916 mostly)

The top US generals were mostly West Point men, who were taught American Civil War tactics at the Academy and had largely served on what not-long-ago frontier forts. Between tight budgets and advancement primarily by seniority over merit, forward-thinking was not really encouraged. The Span-Am War should have been, and was to some extent, a wake-up call, but not all lessons were learned.

Even the Army's tactical play-books from 1911, 1914, and 1917 preached open formations on the attack to avoid getting shot to pieces. So, what does the Army do in their first battles in France? Charge across no man's land in nice linear rows and gets shot up. Still, a lot of old thinking in the top leadership.
 
1.Which was the Winchester self loaders.
The Winchester’s Self loaders are interesting buy they are somewhat compromised by the need to get around Brownings patents (that Winchester had helpfully helped him write before the management chased Browning off by refusing to pay him royalty).

1. They are blowback operation. With this heavy a cartridge that means they have something like 2 lbs of bolt that wraps forward into the area under the barrel. This makes them heavy for their size, and on the 1907, prone to cracking in the fore stock with all that metal being thrown around.

2. The Winchester patent division had done their job very well. To the point that Brownings patent covered the use of a charging handle, leading to the awkward plunger system in the Winchester selfloaders. This in not
An ideal system by any means.

3. The sights are not military spec. They are not quickly adjustable and the stepped piece can be lost while adjusting.

4. It’s fitting is that of a commercial weapon, making it much more labour intensive and expensive to produce than you want in a frontline weapon.

Not insurmountable problems, but ones that would require a rework. And, the be honest, I don’t think the doctrine or training of the day really supported its use. And I kind of doubt it would be as useful as it’s status as the first PPC might indicate. Even the MP18 was useful mostly because of the specific German tactical doctrine in use. It would have been wasted in the rifle and MG centred doctrine of even 1916 Germany on the Western front. With the 1907 skewing closer to the rifle than the pistol side of the machine carbine scale, I think the Entente probably made the right call in assigning it to aviators, all things considered.
 
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