Rearm the British Infantry for WWII

It is France 1940 and there are a lot more Germans than you on ground where any field expedient fortification is going to need all the help it can get. Think like an American civil war Union soldier with Robert E. Lee breathing down your neck. Land mines are your friend!
I was thinking about the desert in 1941/42.
In 1940 the BEF was a sideshow, and too unware of enemy intentions to put mines in the right place until it was too late.
Might have laid some useful minefields in Belgium, but that was not where they would need them most.
If there had been airdroped AT mines at the time, those would have been handy to lay on Guderian's path.
 
I was thinking about the desert in 1941/42.
In 1940 the BEF was a sideshow, and too unware of enemy intentions to put mines in the right place until it was too late.
Might have laid some useful minefields in Belgium, but that was not where they would need them most.
If there had been airdroped AT mines at the time, those would have been handy to lay on Guderian's path.
France or desert, the situation is the same pre-war.

1. Got to have them.
2. Got to play with them.
3. In order to know how to use them.

That goes for aerial mines, too. See my last comments on the sad and rather horrible implications of this kind of warfare.

155mm shell buried nose up with a different trigger screwed in place of the regular time delay fuze

dual use device
See previous remark. I am all in favor of field expedient anything to make the International Law Breakers' lives miserable. The down side is that there will be many unintended civilian casualties and war murders caused by all these booby traps. This kind of defensive warfare comes with its own horrendous price tag in human suffering and carnage. That must be understood by the users thereof.
 
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France or desert, the situation is the same pre-war.

1. Got to have them.
2. Got to play with them.
3. In order to know how to use them.

That goes for aerial mines, too. See my last comments on the sad and rather horrible implications of this kind of warfare.
Battle of France moved too fast for the Allied high command that had to play a loosing game of catch up. Most of the time they were too far behind to be able to lay minefields in useful areas at a useful time. A few Wellingtons droping minefields in Guderian's path would haverequired the tech to have been developed in the 1930s, and would cause massive problems in terms of keeping refuges away from them.
I don't think the British would have been done it in French soil, but the French could, if they had the means and the will.
If the situation in France and Belgium in 1940 was used as a basis for a Cold War wargame and with the Blue forces playing the Allies, the Blue players would be using airlaunched and (when possible) artilery launched minefields as fast as they could to slow down the red forces.
 
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Japan and Italy tried changing their major rifle caliber.
However, history shows that nations can add calibers.
GB added 7.92 to .303”, 9x19mm & .45 to .38.
US added .30 carbine! (Millions of carbines!)
Germany added 7.92x33mm

All kept the main rifle caliber.

Post war the same.
I would also add that Germany used about 1 million captured Machine guns and many millions of captured rifles and were very fond of the Russian PPSH - in a smorgasbord of ammo types and managed to not just use them but for some produced user manuals, ammo and even spares.

Britain made about 3 million No4 rifles in ww2 with Savage arms making another 1 million plus (I have a deactivated Savage made No4 - with the blatant lie "Property of the US government" written on the side)

So given the modern methods used to make the No4 - the No4 could have been pretty much anything capable of being built at the time had they chosen to do so.
 
It is interesting. For Americans, pistols are a major weapon. Every other army go, "meh! A status symbol for officers!" and then basically ignores them. Pistols? I can hit the broadside of a barn on a good day. With an SMG I can make sure I hit and make sure all parts of it are perforated. If given a choice, an SMG is a adequate weapon. For rear-echelon troops, I'd give them sawn off shotguns. They aren't interested in spending hours on the range, brushing up their marksmanship, they just want a weapon that can function in an emergency and hurt someone.
Re shotguns... Given likely ww2 era shotgun and ammo technology I would probably be inclined to issue simple blow back operated SMG's before issuing shotguns to rear echelon troops.

Having a militarized repeating shotgun and suitable ammo avalaible might be handy for some niche uses by well trained operators in WW2. It does seem like a bit of a "nice to have" / luxury item to me.
 
I have a deactivated Savage made No4 - with the blatant lie "Property of the US government" written on the side
The US War Department accepted delivery of about 1 million Lee-Enfield rifles during WWII. These were then sent to Britain via L-L, so technically remained the property of the US government unless they were later purchased outright by another military user, in which case that marking would have been defaced. Your rifle probably got sent straight to a surplus or scrap dealer after it was "returned" to US government custody.
 
I would have been tempted to take the Lewis Gun out of storage earlier than OTL. The Bren Gun Carrier would have been better with the Lewis Gun. Then they would have LMG, MMG, & HMG - i.e. in terms of weight and portability rather than calibre.
 
Re shotguns... Given likely ww2 era shotgun and ammo technology I would probably be inclined to issue simple blow back operated SMG's before issuing shotguns to rear echelon troops.
Amen. Private Fumbles with a shotgun? I would not trust ME with a shotgun, and I "know" what I am doing.
 
With 1930's tech could you create artillery (and aircraft) deliverable AT/Anti personnel landmines?
They had artillery and mortar deliverable propaganda leaflets and aircraft dropped bomb submunitions including delayed fuze...the trick is making the submunitions capable of handling the G-forces of artillery shells. Mortars are probably a better option, 120mm and above mortars have enough room and much less G-forces compared to artillery.

The problem is getting such mortars pre-war. Maybe France can license their Brandt design? The British via Canada 120mm program late in WW2 didn't pan out.
 
They had artillery and mortar deliverable propaganda leaflets and aircraft dropped bomb submunitions including delayed fuze...the trick is making the submunitions capable of handling the G-forces of artillery shells. Mortars are probably a better option, 120mm and above mortars have enough room and much less G-forces compared to artillery.

The problem is getting such mortars pre-war. Maybe France can license their Brandt design? The British via Canada 120mm program late in WW2 didn't pan out.
Seems like you'd need a pretty big mortar to make it worth it in terms of being able to deliver enough landmines. Something like that Soltam 160mm design or those Soviet 240mm breech loading models.
 
With 1930's tech could you create artillery (and aircraft) deliverable AT/Anti personnel landmines?
The US had what we would now call Cluster Bombs, with the E6R2 'Cluster Adapter' for deploying 38 incendiary or chemical bomblets, with the same general size and weight as the 500 pound GP bomb, and would open around 2000 feet to deploy, and the M15 Cluster Adapter in 100 pound size format, a clamshell that hold 24 4 pound frag bombs. This used a time fuze after release(3-5000) feet, and would scatter thise 24 bomblets over a 300x200 foot area.

More of these casing would follow, heavily used in the Pacific.
 
The US had what we would now call Cluster Bombs, with the E6R2 'Cluster Adapter' for deploying 38 incendiary or chemical bomblets, with the same general size and weight as the 500 pound GP bomb, and would open around 2000 feet to deploy, and the M15 Cluster Adapter in 100 pound size format, a clamshell that hold 24 4 pound frag bombs. This used a time fuze after release(3-5000) feet, and would scatter thise 24 bomblets over a 300x200 foot area.

More of these casing would follow, heavily used in the Pacific.
I am inclined to believe that air delivery was viable with WW2 technology. I am less inclined to believe that WW2 technology could produce effective air delivered anti tank land mines that would work reasonably well, be difficult for the enemy to clear, and not create a massive EOD / UXB headache later on..
 
If one went with a closer military relationship with the French army it might tempt France to abandon it's fear of radio security and move away from line and despatch riders with hard copy. Even licence/buy UK radios. The UK radio industry was a notable player at the time. For higher level communications radio sets run on generators or accumulators with generator/mains recharge are quite adequate. Lower level with portable radios would be nice but line, civil telephone and despatch riders/runners will suffice.

What consequences would that have on the BoF if the French staff are kept u to date on events and can order reasonably fast responses?

The best rearming of the British army in the BoF is with an effective French army.
 
I would have been tempted to take the Lewis Gun out of storage earlier than OTL. The Bren Gun Carrier would have been better with the Lewis Gun. Then they would have LMG, MMG, & HMG - i.e. in terms of weight and portability rather than calibre.
The secret is in the name. Either Bren Gun Carrier or Universal Carrier. It is not a vehicle to fight from but one to deliver and supply the fighting companies. Normally the weapons are dismounted for use. The Bren in the front was to react to ambush so the Carrier could drive away. The use of Vickers GCOs on jeeps etc. later in the war were for exactly the same purpose. Yes the SAS etc. in the Mediterranean used them as taken off aeroplanes but in NW Europe they were the ground use version with butt and bipod for dismounted use and stored on a pintle mount on the vehicle to put the enemy's heads down while the light vehicle runs away. Doctrine was VERY clear that the Carrier was NOT to be used as an offensive armoured vehicle.

The Lewis were needed for light AA fire (especially small navel vessels and merchant ships etc.) Even the Home Guard more often got US .300 ones sold from US stores as .303 Lewis went to the other users (with many exceptions). The Home Guard quickly developed a .300 ammunition train for .300 based platoons separate from the .303 ones.

The Bren was specifically chosen as a better weapon for the job than the Lewis which is why the Lewis was withdrawn. The Lewis has no quick change barrel so is not able to maintain MMG fire whereas a good Bren team with tripod and spare barrels can do so, following the given protocol on rates of fire. Also the Lewis only comes on a bipod (pintle mounts on ships etc. were not army issue). So cannot fire on fixed lines or indirectly. A good WW1 LMG and still a boon to the Home Guard but not issued to the army as a whole but rather to the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy. BTW the Vickers GCO had the same issues plus a rate of fire that emptied the drums in seconds. Hence their availability for light vehicle mounting.

However, in the context of the BEF a general release of Lewis to second line uses would indeed have been welcome at times like when the cooks & clerks were reduced to picking up abandoned Belgian Mausers etc. to arm themselves to plug the lines in 1940.
 
The secret is in the name. Either Bren Gun Carrier or Universal Carrier. It is not a vehicle to fight from but one to deliver and supply the fighting companies. Normally the weapons are dismounted for use. The Bren in the front was to react to ambush so the Carrier could drive away.
Anything with armor and tracks will be treated as a tankette, whether it's a Carrier or a Tankette.

If just a carrier, don't armor it. Leave it like an RSO or Weasel. take away that temptation to fight in it.

For reacting to ambushes, you need a 2nd drivers station, both in front and rear, like with some armored cars for real fast getaways, and should be a turret, honestly for doing covering fire than just a narrow fixed frontal arc.

2nd, it's wasteful for just a transport for a LMG.
If moving guns around, move a Watercooled Vickers, not a Bren, and then can do sustained fire as long as the Ammo holds out
 
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