British Army adopts an Auto Pistol before 1939

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by fastmongrel, Oct 4, 2019.

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An Automatic for the British

  1. Colt 1911 in .45ACP

    4 vote(s)
    5.7%
  2. Colt 1911 in .455 Webly Scott Auto

    6 vote(s)
    8.6%
  3. Modified Colt 1911 in 9mm Parabellum

    2 vote(s)
    2.9%
  4. Luger P08 in 9mm Parabellum

    2 vote(s)
    2.9%
  5. Browning 1903 in 9mm Browning Long

    1 vote(s)
    1.4%
  6. Browning High Power in 9mm Parabellum

    52 vote(s)
    74.3%
  7. Pistolet automatique modèle 1935 in 7.65 Longue

    1 vote(s)
    1.4%
  8. Star Model B in 9x19mm Parabellum

    2 vote(s)
    2.9%
  9. Radom Vis 35 in 9x19

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    By 1939 the British Army was the only major Army not to have adopted or planned to adopt an Automatic Pistol and still issuing a revolver as the only sidearm. While the British Army didnt issue sidearms on anything like the scale of Continental Armies with infantry NCOs nearly always carrying a rifle and junior Lieutenants usually carrying a rifle when things got noisy there was still a demand for a small number of sidearms in the Infantry and a much larger demand for arming 2nd line troops, Commandos, Tank crew and many other non combat units.

    The Webley and Enfield .38 Revolvers whilst serviceable were very uninspiring and not ideal for troops to use in vehicles. The challenge is to have the British Army adopt an Automatic Pistol and have it the standard issue sidearm by September 1939.

    My guess is the Colt 1911 would be favourite because of its use in WW1 but what calibre I really like the Spanish Llama and Star 9mm simplified 1911 copies. The Browning Hi Power might be too late I believe the Belgians hadnt managed to completely outfit its forces with the Hi Power by the cut off date and Belgiums avowed neutrality might slow adoption. Maybe in a fit of co-operation with the French the Model 1935 could be adopted the French 7.65 Longue round seems to be a good match for the Smith&Wesson .38 round of the adopted Revolvers.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2019
  2. Catsmate Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2008
    The only way I can see this happening is by erasing the adoption of the .38 revolver in 1932 in favour of a semi-automatic pistol, probably chambered for a .38/9mm cartridge of some sort. Possibly a common design with the French specifications?
    Assuming the UK spec is similar it would lead to a broadly similar pistol, chambered for the 9mm Parabellum cartridge, or something similar. The pistol might be closer to the original High Power, striker fired with locked breech and a capacious magazine (though the UK might find sixteen rounds excessive). The cartridge might eliminate the desire for a longitudinally unstable bullet.
     
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  3. Peg Leg Pom Well-Known Member

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    Oct 18, 2009
    The Royal Navy continues with the roll out of the 1913 Webley Semi Automatic during WWI including with the Royal Navy division on the Western Front. With extensive combat experience demonstrating the superiority of a semi auto over a revolver the Army is forced to officially adopt one instead of the Webley Mk VI revolver. As well as extensive orders for the 1913 Webley a licence is obtained by Enfield for the 1911 in .455 Auto which after WWI becomes standard issue.
     
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  4. Blue cat Well-Known Member

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    Dec 24, 2010
    I'm thinking the chance of equipping the UK and presumably much of the commonwealth might have resulted in the Browning Hi Power being offered if it was available.

    As much as I like the 1911 design (from a civilian perspective) and the 9x19mm round I like to think the UK would have insisted on a pistol that was designed from square one to use the required round. So I am doubtful they would have gone with the 1911 unless they also wanted the .45 cartridge.

    Edit perhaps if the Lama and Star 1911 copies were thoroughly redesigned to use the 9x19 round they might have been in the running ?
     
  5. fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    I am not sure about the Llama version but the Star was produced as the Model A in 9mm Largo (9x23) and the model B in 9mm Parabellum (9x19). The Star Model B 2nd version (produced from 1931) was a successful export gun in Europe it was several iterations away from the original 1911 with a different safety, barrel bushing, backstrap and trigger group.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Blue cat Well-Known Member

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    Interesting thanks. 9x23 has some interesting possibilities.
     
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  7. fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    I have read that the Webley 1913 had some reliability problems caused by using Cordite propellant which could foul the close tolerances of the barrel and its locking mechanism. If the round had been loaded with Nitro Cellulose powder from the start rather than waiting till 1941 it might have been more popular and made the British Army look more closely at Autos.

    [​IMG] Webley and Scott .455 Auto
     
  8. fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    The 9mm Parabellum didnt become the defacto world standard till WW2 so the 9x23mm Largo round could be adopted for British use.
     
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  9. Cryhavoc101 Well-Known Member

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    Have the British decide to provide the Bren gunner in each section with a decent pistol in case the weapon became unserviceable or if he had to conduct close combat.

    The Belgium HP-35 which was in the offering for the French Army (who instead choose the Pistolet automatique modèle 1935A) is chosen as the pistol of choice and a production line is stood up with BSA during 1938 and each BREN gun kit comes with a HP-35, Holster, cleaning kit and 2 x 13 round magazines (1 in the gun and 1 that can fit in the holster).

    The gun becomes a success and is well liked and by the eve of war has been adopted by the Tank units and many of them become the sidearm of choice for officers.
     
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  10. hardrada55 Well-Known Member

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    Oct 23, 2011
    BSA in the early 1920s developed this pistol in 45 ACP.
     

    Attached Files:

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  11. Dave Shoup Banned

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    Sep 10, 2019
  12. fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Ian from Forgotten Weapons did a video on this prototype. BSA seems to have to have hamstrung itself by using a prototype cartridge. If they had used an established cartridge like the.45 or 9mm it might have got to production.
     
  13. Paul_Sussex Well-Known Member

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    Mar 15, 2012
    Bah...ninja'd. But also check out...

     
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  14. vizzer Well-Known Member

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    Sep 20, 2008
    Did most of the people who were issued pistols actually carry them around or were they just stuck in the back of a vehicle or in a locker somewhere?
    If so it doesn't really matter what type it is.
     
  15. Catsmate Well-Known Member

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    Aug 10, 2008
    Possible, to a degree, but I have doubts:
    1. I don't see the UK licensing the Colt design over an improved W&S.
    2. The W&S pistol wasn't that much better than the revolvers in service, and significantly more expensive to manufacture. A cost that is unlikely to be borne, given the general irrelevance of handguns to WW1 combat.
    3.. Further adoption immediately after WW1 is also unlikely given the huge surplus of small arms.
     
  16. Catsmate Well-Known Member

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    Aug 10, 2008
    Or the 9x25mm Mauser round.
     
  17. Catsmate Well-Known Member

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    This is important. Handguns were a very minor part of Great War fighting.
     
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  18. fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Your bang on the Military Police and Tank Crews are the only regular users. It was pretty rare to see officers above Lt carrying any weapons in combat. If it comes down to an officer fighting something has gone badly wrong they aren't there to fight they're there to direct the fighting. If you're head down firing a weapon you are not in control and might as well go away.
     
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  19. fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    The .34 round is interesting it seemed to be almost a 7.65 (.32acp) round with a heavier bullet. It might have been ideal for what the Army was after a light recoil easily shot round that didn't need a lot of training.
     
  20. Catsmate Well-Known Member

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    Aug 10, 2008
    Plus pistols are rank badges for snipers.
     
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