PC: Mass SMG use in 1914?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by dandan_noodles, Jul 13, 2019.

  1. dandan_noodles Well-Known Member

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    When did (simple blowback, open bolt, fixed firing pin etc.) submachine guns become practical to manufacture in large numbers? I realize the tactical doctrine wasn't there yet in 1914, but would there have been any industrial/technological reasons why the Great Powers in the First World War couldn't have equipped their front line infantry with SMGs as a service 'rifle'?
     
  2. Khanzeer Well-Known Member

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    Range ?
    Amount of ammo needed ?
     
  3. dandan_noodles Well-Known Member

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    Range is pretty marginal. Most infantry combat even in the time of full power rifles took place at quite close range. Moreover, the bolt action rifle's firepower pales compared to the heavy machine guns of WWI armies; a brigade armed with SMGs advancing under covering fire from their HMGs (and artillery) would be able to close with rifle-armed infantry just as well, and would have an overwhelming firepower advantage when they got in close range.

    Do you mean manufacturing the amount of ammo needed, or carrying it? In either case, the Great Powers of WWI were able to manufacture ammunition on an immense scale, and today soldiers carry hundreds of cartridges for select fire weapons considerably heavier than the pistol caliber weapons we're talking about.
     
  4. jsb Well-Known Member

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    They would be easy to make at least first generation milled guns its just getting people to want them, what about selling them as Cavalry carbines?
     
  5. marathag Well-Known Member with a target on his back

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    Given the idea, could have been done during the American Civil War using 44 Rimfire

    Range and power of that was similar to 45ACP
     
  6. Glyndwr01 Well-Known Member

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    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villar_Perosa_aircraft_submachine_gun
    The Villar Perosa was designed in 1914 as a portable double barrel machine gun firing a 9mm round. It consisted of two independent coupled weapons, each with its own barrel firing mechanism and separate 25-round magazine. As it was designed to use 9mm pistol ammunition, it is said to be the first true submachine gun
     
  7. dandan_noodles Well-Known Member

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    Right, but the question is if SMGs could have been made earlier so that they would already be in mass use by 1914.
     
  8. wiking Well-Known Member

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    Considering the Italians did it in 1915 for an 'aircraft MG'. I haven't found any good reason why it wasn't technologically possible beyond doctrine, but even then in 1915 the Germans apparently started development of the MP18, but couldn't field anything until late 1918. Meanwhile things like the WSL rifles were simple blowback and produced by the US in magazine fed, select fire models in 1915-16, so there is no reason either side shouldn't have been able to do an SMG around then. I think the Mauser pistol was adapted for automatic fire early on, but wasn't really an SMG, just a rather unwieldy PDW. I'd imagine a 1914 SMG would be closer to what it was in 1939-40: an officer/NCO weapon for use up close, as they'd be too focused on leading to deal with a full length battle rifle except when things have gotten close enough to require them to start shooting. From here it could evolve into a general weapon much like in WW2.
     
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  9. Catsmate Well-Known Member

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    They could be around earlier, assume Mauser or someone offers a selective fire pistol around 1900 and develop it into a detachable magazine carbine. However such a weapon doesn't fit military doctrine so is unlikely to be common.
     
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  10. wiking Well-Known Member

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    They did, but it didn't work well.
     
  11. jsb Well-Known Member

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    Early stocked Mauser “Schnellfeuer” Machine Pistol? Nothing stopping them from doing it as stocked C96 was already a thing?

     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
  12. dandan_noodles Well-Known Member

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    The auto C96's weren't really SMGs, weren't suitable for mass use, and were far more complex than they needed to be. What I wonder is why they preceded good, simple blowback SMG designs (MP 18, Stens, PPS, those really nice Beretta SMGs and their derivatives) when they're much more niche and more complex.
     
  13. dandan_noodles Well-Known Member

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    What do you think it would take to get the doctrine there for armies to see the SMG as a viable mass weapon for modern warfare?
     
  14. Catsmate Well-Known Member

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    Are you sure? I'm not aware of any Mauser selective fire weapons until the WW1 experiments. They certainly aren't in pre-war marketing materials.
     
  15. Catsmate Well-Known Member

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    They were terrible. Like every such weapon, the VP-70, M-93R, Glock 18, Stechkin...
    However they might have sparked some interest in the concept and led to a workable design.
     
  16. Catsmate Well-Known Member

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    That is an interesting question and a far more difficult obstacle to surmount. Given the obsession with horse killing rifle rounds I can't see it happening until close range combat is seen as common. Remember the UK abhorred "gangster guns" into WW2.
    Perhaps police use? It was French police tear gas grenades that started chemical warfare in the Great War.
     
  17. Cryhavoc101 Well-Known Member

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    I think that you would need a situation where the need for an SMG was made apparent prior to the Great War

    Perhaps a was a few years previously where there was a lot of fighting in built up areas and the losses suffered on both sides gives rise to a number of weapon systems (modern hand Grenade, Flamethrower and the need for a rapid fire/automatic pistol calibre weapon to act as a 'Room Broom')

    Not sure what this conflict could be but say it introduces weapons like the Mauser Artillery pistol and carbine.ike weapons with increasingly large magazines and converted to automatic fire.

    The SMG evolves from there?
     
  18. wiking Well-Known Member

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    WW1.

    I was referring to the WW1 experiments.

    By WW1 it wasn't about horse killing rifle rounds, but rounds that could be fired into masses of men at as long of a range as possible.
     
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  19. AdA Well-Known Member

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    Range was not marginal in 1914. In a war of movment infantry would select defensive position that allowed for good fields of fire, and HMG would open up at more than 600m and the infantry would engage at long range. A single rifleman may not hit easily at 300m, but a platoon can make closing to less than 200m across a flat field a lethal preposition.
     
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  20. Catsmate Well-Known Member

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    Well yes. And this did lead to more interest in intermediate, semi-auto and selective fire weapons

    Which lead to the MP-18 as the 'machine pistols' weren't suitable. For a workable SMG to be available in quantity in 1914 a divergence years earlier would be needed.

    Typically the maximum distance between trench lines on the Western Front was less than three hundred metres, and usually far less, beyond useful SMG range but fine for rifle cartridges. However at ranges under 100m massed SMG fire would have been useful for attackers and defenders.