Rearm the British Infantry for WWII

The challenge is as it says you have to rearm the British Infantry for WWII. The trigger for this is Hitler coming to power in German, the Sino Japanese conflicts from the early 1930's and the rising military strength of the Soviet Union. While it is believed that war can be avoided the Government has decided that having the best possible weapons is a good thing, provided they are not too expensive. Therefor where possible you are to select weapons that can either be had off the shelf for licence production in the UK and Empire or be quickly developed from existing designs. The focus is on infantry weapons other panels will look at artillery, armour and other equipment so they are not relevant here.

(AN It's January 1934)
 
I'm not a fan of the PIAT, but it has two great advantages for a cash strapped British Army. It's simple and therefor it's cheap.
 
Better Boots and Harness. Hobnailed Boots were not good for vehicle crews

Copy the idea from the US C-Ration, first developed in late 1938, and wasn't a secret.

Better, lightweight Radios. You want Handie-Talkie and Walkie-Talkie both
 
Okay so first thing I would do is decide who they are going to be fighting alongside

This is likely going to be the French (without a massive dose of hindsight) and so given that the British were looking into adopting a rimless round I think it makes sense to adopt the French 7.5 x 54 French.

So with that out of the way - development of a Lewis replacement and SMLE replacement can crack on

Now the Best LMG of 1934 available to the British is still likely the OTL development of the ZB26 LMG and so efforts should continue to focus on that weapon but converted to 7.5 x 54 French.

Next is to develop a reliable SLR in this calibre and we have several options including the French efforts in designing the MAS38/39/40 and my preferred solution the Vickers-Pedersen tested in 1932.

So the No4 rifle becomes the development of the Vickers-Pederson in 7.5mm x 54 - feeding from 10 round enblock clips

A backup rifle design 'essentially' the OTL No4 less enfield in 7.5x54 would also be developed in parallel

Both rifles would use the OTL No4 backsight and foresight arrangement.

The BREN gun feeds from a straight 30 round magazine

The MMG I would adopt the Zbrojovka Brno vz. 37 (ZB 53 and BESA) in the same 7.5 x 54 as both AFV MMG and tripod MMG - this being a modern design leading itself to greater mass production than the Vickers, already designed for AFVs in 1935 and for use on a tripod.

Existing Vickers MMGs would be re-chambered to and converted to use the same metal link as the 'BESA' weapons.

This to provide a common ammunition and belt between MMGs (as they would likely use a more powerful 'Z' varient of the standard ammo)

SMG - my preferred solution would the select fire BSA-Karaily 'Machine Carbine in 9mmx25 Mauser or the 'police' version of the ZK 383

Pistol - I will accept any reasonable effort to get the HP-35 'Browning Hi Power' into service.
 
Have the Projector, Infantry, Anti Tank (PIAT) developed earlier?
Why would you inflict that on the British again if you had a choice???
Panzerfaust: cheaper, easier, and better.

The challenge is as it says you have to rearm the British Infantry for WWII. The trigger for this is Hitler coming to power in German, the Sino Japanese conflicts from the early 1930's and the rising military strength of the Soviet Union. While it is believed that war can be avoided the Government has decided that having the best possible weapons is a good thing, provided they are not too expensive. Therefor where possible you are to select weapons that can either be had off the shelf for licence production in the UK and Empire or be quickly developed from existing designs. The focus is on infantry weapons other panels will look at artillery, armour and other equipment so they are not relevant here.

(AN It's January 1934)
How is this thread different than the British interwar sanity option thread? Or than being infantry specific?

That out of the way, have them buy the French 120mm mortar and 60mm mortar and 'commando'-ize it like their 2 incher.

Have them also work on their lightening project for their 81mm mortar in the 1930s rather than towards the end of WW2:

Otherwise I'd say adopt the BSA-Kiraly SMG:
https://www.reddit.com/r/ForgottenWeapons/comments/aetks4
Buy the Browning instead of the BESA so the .30-06 is available in country and they can develop a select fire, box fed magazine rifle perhaps based on the already developed Pedersen action.
 
Panzerfaust is even cheaper, and you can work on a reloadable, if that's whats desired.
Hmm it's essentially an Anti Tank Rifle Grenade stuck on top of a cordite rocket motor fired from a cardboard or sheet metal tube, and it will take out any armoured vehicle you could conceive of in the mid 1930's. Nothing new needs inventing, costs hardly anything, any damn fool can use it if they've the nerve and it works. All it needs is a little original thinking (that could be a problem)
 
Panzerfaust is even cheaper, and you can work on a reloadable, if that's whats desired.
The problem was that no one had applied the Monroe affect to an AT weapon at that time. It wasn't until some Swiss guy demonstrated his secret anti-armour charge in the late 1930's that various engineers made the connection, realised it was an exploit of the Monroe effect and started developing their own versions. So no HEAT rounds until 1940 at the earliest.

Rifles will either be a Vickers-Pedersen or a version of the ZH29. As for ammo, likely they will pick 7.92 Mauser or .276, I would opt for .276. They should consider re-barreling existing SMLE's in .276 for use as a reserve weapon and colonial Police or para-military use.

Vickers MMG's can easily be changed to .276, Vickers guns were changed to 8mm, 7.62x54R and 7.62 NATO.

BREN's will be selected IOTL.

SMG's and pistols will likely be in 9mm Para . 9x25 is a bit too hot for a pistol and 9mm Para hits the sweet spot. Which SMG is selected is a good question, I would like to see a UK SMG copy of the Beretta SMG or failing that something looking a lot like a Sterling.

For a mortar - nothing wrong with the UK 2" mortar for the section. The UK had a 3" mortar which was pretty good but wasn't really used as much as it could have been.
 
The problem was that no one had applied the Monroe affect to an AT weapon at that time. It wasn't until some Swiss guy demonstrated his secret anti-armour charge in the late 1930's that various engineers made the connection, realised it was an exploit of the Monroe effect and started developing their own versions. So no HEAT rounds until 1940 at the earliest.
Not a problem, use the original 'sticky bomb' charge, less the sticky and slow fuze

This was the was the Ur-HESH warhead, soft, semi-stabilized plasticized Nitroglycerin
 
1. Develop a gas action, box fed semi-auto rifle based on the Remmington 740/7400 with a 20 round box magazine in .276 Pederson, but with a Mannlicher-style full stock, to fit a bayonet. Issue it to front line troops. Develop a pump action rifle that shares as much components as possible with the above, with calibrated sights and a rotating bolt with front locking lugs, a la the Remmington 760/7600. Issue it to trained snipers and marksmen. Develop a bullpup assault rifle based of the mechanicals of the BAR, chambered in .276 Pederson. Issue it to commandoes and paratroopers. Develop some other, any other submachinegun design than the Sten Gun. Issue it to tank and artillery crews and specialist mountain, forest, and urban troops. Develop a reliable machinegun mortar,(The People's Liberation Army uses several), and a wide variety of properly labeled ammunition for it.

2. Change priorities in tank design and engineering to something resembling the Soviet T-34, something with the priorities of ruggedness, simplicity in wheel placement and maintenance, and armor thickness, even at the expense of turning circle and fuel economy. Develop upgunned tank destroyer and Self-Propelled Gun models based on the chassis.

3. Give Frank Whittle all the funding and support he needs, and assistants who will not just tell him "no," but explain cogently why not, so that issues can be honestly addressed.
 
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So every infantry squad will have exactly one weapon effective at more than 100m?
The STEN is more effective than the rifle out to 200m, when 80% of combat takes place under that range. Even if they had rifles, if they're not within 100m, they shouldn't be shooting in the first place, just advancing under the MG's covering fire. The SMG makes them much more effective within the footsoldier's actual combat ranges.
 
The STEN is more effective than the rifle out to 200m, when 80% of combat takes place under that range. Even if they had rifles, if they're not within 100m, they shouldn't be shooting in the first place, just advancing under the MG's covering fire. The SMG makes them much more effective within the footsoldier's actual combat ranges.
And if they are on the defensive? You hold fire until the enemy is less than 100m away?

I’d love to see your source that the Sten was more effective than rifles out to 200m.
 
And if they are on the defensive? You hold fire until the enemy is less than 100m away?

I’d love to see your source that the Sten was more effective than rifles out to 200m.
If they're on the defensive, riflemen should also hold fire until close range, since the greater weight -> smaller round count and incredible difficulty of hitting a man beyond 100m with a rifle makes it mostly a waste of ammunition. Much better to stay concealed 1-200m behind a reverse slope, then blast the enemy with heavy surprise fire as they silhouette the ridge.

Source is The British Army and the Politics of Rifle Development, page 118, citing War Office documents of tests conducted by the army on the effectiveness of different infantry weapons.
 
The British Army was overall the most modern in the world in 1939. It was the only fully mechanised army and it's only problem was it was always going to be third inline behind the Navy and RAF for money and manpower
 
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