Rearm the British Infantry for WWII

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The Bren was specifically chosen as a better weapon for the job than the Lewis which is why the Lewis was withdrawn.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.
Not quite true.

The Carrier Plt was to fight, mounted or dismounted. As a mobile fire base, recon and gap filler for the inf Bn CO.

It was evolved from MG tankette doctrine, (a Vickers gun) and not as a carrying LMG.

The Carden Loyd is the bases to the whole carrier concept.

“Considered a reconnaissance vehicle and a mobile machine gun position, the Mark VI was the final stage of development of the Carden Loyd series of tankettes.

The Carden Loyd tankette was the prototype for the Universal Carrier.”
 
Some stream of consciousness.
Mostly agree. (Except you forgot about boots.:openedeyewink: )

I'd disagree slightly with the MP34; something closer to the M3 ("Grease gun") would be ideal, IMO. (Can the Thompson be re-engineered for production by stamping? Or is a clean sheet, effectively the same thing, a better idea?)

I don't see the Brits changing over to a foreign caliber, especially a French one. A switch to a rimless .303 Short (.303x1.5"), maybe?

Can the PIAT double as an RPG? That is, use the spigot to launch a rocket to 10-20m (beyond the backblast)? Too complicated?

I'd seriously consider selling the 2pdrs to the Chinese & using the money to finance production of 6pdrs.

Radio tech was pretty "cutting edge" at the time, but rugged, compact, simple, reliable sets could be made, as the Walkie-Talkie proved. Why couldn't the Brits do it? Better radio discipline, & better use of even double-talk codes, to confuse German tactical sigint, was essential; Rommel got enormous benefit from Brit talkativeness.
give the troops a decent hat ... The beret has a good track record.
For specialist troops, a beret is good. For regulars, who will spend a lot of time in rain & sun (which paras seem less likely to), something closer to the digger hat, or the Stetson, seems preferable: wide brim to keep off rain & sun, durable (canvas?), lightweight (troops are already carrying a crapload of gear, & shipping replacements isn't a trivial weight issue).

Maybe better uniform materials? Something that won't rot in jungle conditions? (Is a mix of nylon or rayon with cotton too sophisticated for the '30s?)

I do think the German helmet design is a good one, for better neck protection. Can better materials be used?

Is a quilted nylon "flak" vest asking too much?

And yes, better boots.;) Something with a (thin) steel sole insert against punji stakes (& mines?)? A material that won't fall apart in a matter of days (weeks?).
 
If you really want to terrify the enemy issue every recruit with a set of bag pipes and start lessons just before sending them into battle. If that don't send the enemy running nothing will. Just imagine you're a German soldier at El Alamein and just before dawn 50,000 novice pipers start practicing.
 
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Some stream of consciousness.
Round 2.
Good boots. I mean really good boots not just cheap indestructible ones.
1. That is the problem. If it is the best boot there is and still pinches and raises blisters then it is no good. Socks.
Pistol. Why? Other than concealed for special purposes they have no place. So get rid of them.
2. Morale. Put a round into Private Ima Coward to motivate the other petty criminals who have a bad case of the shirks in the middle of a firefight.
So the default personal weapon is the SMG. Use 9x25 to make it a true 200m + weapon. MP34, ZK383 but with double feed lips.
3. A hot 9/19 is good enough. Otherwise you might as well build a REMF rifle.
Long arms standardise on 7.5x54mm French. ZB26 and ZB53 (or keep Vickers) for LMG/MMG. Arrange ZB26 production such that the platoon is stuffed with them i.e. as many of them as the SMG men can carry magazines for them.
4. Keep what works (.303 rimmed) or 30.06. New rounds take at least 3 years to a decade to proof. Hello; Mr. Browning? Consult FN in 1935 for a belt fed, QBC BAR.
Update SMLE and new production No4 to 7.5x54mm for reserve stocks and TA.
5. See 4..
There is nothing in the PIAT that is not amenable to early use. HEAT heads can follow but the warhead with simple HE (or squash head) will do the job early on and is fireable from enclose spaces and in indirect fire. Anti tank rifles are one trick ponies.
6. Antimaterial rifles have a use. PIAT not invented yet. AT mines.
Replace the ankle gaiters with short puttees.
7. Mud catchers. Creepy crawlies like to live there, too. Better supply anti-bug powder.
Did I mention good boots?
8. Might want to refer to 1.
Litre size water bottle.
9. Camel back water bottle.
The intended succession from 2 pounder through 6 pounder to 17 pounder would have been fine except for the (understandable) invasion scare so the plan was fine for A/T guns, had the delay been avoided.
10. Triple purpose gun and mount. APX 4.7cm/50 = AT/AAA/DFA Not as good as an 8.8cm/50 but it will fill a huge hole in the BA OOB/TOE.
Stop messing about with webbing set add ons. Make a proper rucksack to be worn over the webbing and discarded separately and fast.
11. Fanny pack.
A Gurkha acquaintance long ago queried why have a bayonet when a Kuhkri does all the field jobs far better and kills people better too. A better back up to the default SMG.
12. Can you mount it on a rifle?
The 2 inch mortar was good but the 3inch heavy and short ranged so that needs attention.
13. Japanese kneel mortar or French 5 cm. Use the French 8.1 cm. Use the US 10.7 cm.
Easy to say better radios but the technology of the day makes their use something of a skilled black art just to keep the ..**! things on tune. Just a smidgeon too early pre war to expect a simple reliable intra battalion lightweight set down to platoon level. But enforcing better radio discipline at higher levels would actually have more effect looking at the successes of German signals intelligence. Tactical radio contact with air forces from the ground requires a whole sea change in RAF doctrine which is not going to happen and a whole other thread.
14. Consult the USN/USMC and buy RCA sets. Except for Dowding and maybe Park, jail the Gentlemen's Flying Club high command and start over with competent wing commanders and build a proper air staff. Consult the USAAC. As bad as they are, at least they have one and it actually lesson learned.
From a morale point of view give the troops a decent hat when not wearing a helmet. One that looks good and stays on the head. The beret has a good track record.
15. Burn the Beret and issue Campaign hats, bush hats or cowboy hats.
The Battledress was excellent for it's day as was the basic webbing.
16. Durable terrain matched camo and blended fabrics. Shorts for hot weather campaign conditions and BUG POWDER.
Oh, and good boots.
17. See 1. and do not forget the bug spray.
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Mostly agree. (Except you forgot about boots.:openedeyewink: )
1. Consult Viet Minh.
I'd disagree slightly with the MP34; something closer to the M3 ("Grease gun") would be ideal, IMO. (Can the Thompson be re-engineered for production by stamping? Or is a clean sheet, effectively the same thing, a better idea?)
2, REMF rifle, select fire. Get Winchester involved early and often.
I don't see the Brits changing over to a foreign caliber, especially a French one. A switch to a rimless .303 Short (.303x1.5"), maybe?
3. The 7×57mm Mauser is the cartridge of choice for a foreign caliber. I wish the US had adopted it to make some of the WWI problems it encountered with the Springfield go away. .300 H&H Magnum or .280 Ross (Probably not a good idea (NAGI) based on the incompetents associated with it?)
Can the PIAT double as an RPG? That is, use the spigot to launch a rocket to 10-20m (beyond the backblast)? Too complicated?
4. What backblast? Also how does one introduce variable pressure chamber charging into the BOMB which contains the launch charge and the spigot, without blowing the Private Fumbles operator and the spigot mortar up?
I'd seriously consider selling the 2pdrs to the Chinese & using the money to finance production of 6pdrs.
5. Thou shalt consult thy friends across the Channel and co-produce lots of 3 pounders in order for Jerry to snuff it.
Radio tech was pretty "cutting edge" at the time, but rugged, compact, simple, reliable sets could be made, as the Walkie-Talkie proved. Why couldn't the Brits do it? Better radio discipline, & better use of even double-talk codes, to confuse German tactical sigint, was essential; Rommel got enormous benefit from Brit talkativeness.
6. No comment. But any nation that sits under a permanent rain cloud, and cannot produce a decent wet weather truck may have some issues with electronics?
For specialist troops, a beret is good. For regulars, who will spend a lot of time in rain & sun (which paras seem less likely to), something closer to the digger hat, or the Stetson, seems preferable: wide brim to keep off rain & sun, durable (canvas?), lightweight (troops are already carrying a crapload of gear, & shipping replacements isn't a trivial weight issue).
7. Burn the berets. If they want to feel special and boost their morale, issue bush hats.
Maybe better uniform materials? Something that won't rot in jungle conditions? (Is a mix of nylon or rayon with cotton too sophisticated for the '30s?)
8. Cold Weather | werd.com Thou shalt lesson learn!
I do think the German helmet design is a good one, for better neck protection. Can better materials be used?
9. "I shot the Sergeant by mistake!"
"Claim it was the helmet, Fumbles."
"They'll never buy it."
"Yes, they will. With that silly pot on his head and that mustache, he looks like one of them in the dark."
"Should have stuck with the Brodie."
-------------------------------------------------------------------
"Not guilty by reason of the defendant's known congenital stupidity."
"See? I told you."
Is a quilted nylon "flak" vest asking too much?
10. Yes. Heat burden.
And yes, better boots.;) Something with a (thin) steel sole insert against punji stakes (& mines?)? A material that won't fall apart in a matter of days (weeks?).
11. Consult 1.. and BUG POWDER.
 
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Not quite true.

The Carrier Plt was to fight, mounted or dismounted. As a mobile fire base, recon and gap filler for the inf Bn CO.

It was evolved from MG tankette doctrine, (a Vickers gun) and not as a carrying LMG.

The Carden Loyd is the bases to the whole carrier concept.

“Considered a reconnaissance vehicle and a mobile machine gun position, the Mark VI was the final stage of development of the Carden Loyd series of tankettes.

The Carden Loyd tankette was the prototype for the Universal Carrier.”
The Russians developed a similar doctrine with the APC's machine guns/cannon forming a Bronegroup(sp?) when the infantry was dismounted as a tactical fire support and maneuver group. It makes sense to use available weapons in armoured boxes to back up the infantry.
 
Not quite true.

The Carrier Plt was to fight, mounted or dismounted. As a mobile fire base, recon and gap filler for the inf Bn CO.

It was evolved from MG tankette doctrine, (a Vickers gun) and not as a carrying LMG.

The Carden Loyd is the bases to the whole carrier concept.

“Considered a reconnaissance vehicle and a mobile machine gun position, the Mark VI was the final stage of development of the Carden Loyd series of tankettes.

The Carden Loyd tankette was the prototype for the Universal Carrier.”
I quite agree for the Light Tanks.
 
If you really want to terrify the enemy issue every recruit with a set of bag pipes and start lessons just before sending them into battle. If that don't send the enemy running nothing will. Just imagine you're a German soldier at El Alamein and just before dawn 50,000 novice pipers start practicing.
I would surrender even if they were on my side. There is an old tale that the Germans complained to the Swiss Protecting Power about British POWs practicing the bagpipes.
 
Radio tech was pretty "cutting edge" at the time, but rugged, compact, simple, reliable sets could be made, as the Walkie-Talkie proved. Why couldn't the Brits do it?
They kind of did. They had the WS 18 Man pack in 1940 and then the lighter WS 38 in 1941. They also had a waterproof version in the WS 46. If you are talking Hand sets then:
"It is not generally known that early in the war, Pye also designed a VHF hand-held radiotelephone for Infantry Soldiers to use for communication with the WS19 ‘B’ set in tanks. Just after the war, in 1946, this Pye hand-held VHF two-way radio was featured in a cinema newsreel film to demonstrate how such advanced communications concepts could be utilised in the future by the general public for personal radio communications." (http://www.pyemuseum.org/divisions/history/history_pt2.php).

Though that is an interesting point. Donald Hings, who had created an early version of the Walkie-Talkie in 1937, was a Canadian working for a Canadian company. Alfred J. Gross, another important contributor to early Walkie-Talkies, was from Toronto. If they were able to leverage these men and devices earlier, earlier British Walkie-Talkies might be possible.
 
A hot 9/19 is good enough. Otherwise you might as well build a REMF rifle.
Given the choice, I'd turn a Win 1905 action firing .30x1.5" (a cut-down .30-'06) into an early assault rifle. I don't feature the Brits doing it, somehow.
Antimaterial rifles have a use. ... AT mines.
Antimaterial rifles, I suspect, wouldn't occur to anyone yet. AT mines are a good idea.
Triple purpose gun and mount. APX 4.7cm/50 = AT/AAA/DFA Not as good as an 8.8cm/50 but it will fill a huge hole in the BA OOB/TOE.
I like it.
Can you mount it on a rifle?
If you're fighting with fixed bayonets after 1865, IMO, you're doing something wrong. ;)
Japanese kneel mortar or French 5 cm. Use the French 8.1 cm. Use the US 10.7 cm.
107mm's a good start. I'd add a Universal Carrier-mounted 160mm or 200mm, in Red Army fashion.
Campaign hats, bush hats or cowboy hats
Much like what I had in mind, indeed.:)
REMF rifle, select fire. Get Winchester involved early and often.
See above.;)
What backblast? Also how does one introduce variable pressure chamber charging into the BOMB which contains the launch charge and the spigot, without blowing the Private Fumbles operator and the spigot mortar up?
Rocket motors have backblast (viz bazooka). I imagined a new spigot-launched *RPG, not merely a "PIAT Product Improved".
Thou shalt consult thy friends across the Channel and co-produce lots of 3 pounders in order for Jerry to snuff it.
Suits.
any nation that sits under a permanent rain cloud, and cannot produce a decent wet weather truck may have some issues with electronics?
Indeed.
. Donald Hings, who had created an early version of the Walkie-Talkie in 1937, was a Canadian working for a Canadian company. Alfred J. Gross, another important contributor to early Walkie-Talkies, was from Toronto. If they were able to leverage these men and devices earlier, earlier British Walkie-Talkies might be possible.
That's what I was thinking of. It's not like the idea hadn't crossed anyone's mind, just the actual production hadn't been achieved.
Yes. Heat burden.
Not a drawback I was contemplating, but yes, that would do it.

As for the sidearm, if you can't shoot a coward with a rifle just as well, it's not going to be much good against the enemy, either, is it?:openedeyewink:
 
Some Pictures of Hings work:
1600346978732.png

His 1937 version in a waterproof case
1600347050628.png

His system as intended to be installed in aircraft in 1939 (He originally developed it as a way for the bush pilots at the mining company he was working for to communicate with each other).
1600347164926.png

The set first demonstrated to the Canadian D.N.D in 1940. It was considered too fragile.
1600347342870.png

Production version from 1941
Pictures are all from http://dlhings.ca/walkietalkie.html

So, Hings did actually develop them for the Military. If someone had jumped on the invention in 1937 presumably he could have developed something by 1939/40 that could be put into service. If the British had been on board with this early enough, they probably could have produced them in Britain as well.
 
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Rocket motors have backblast (viz bazooka). I imagined a new spigot-launched *RPG, not merely a "PIAT Product Improved".
PIAT works from a 200 pound spring whacking a 12 pound to the backside of a hollow tail bomb, that has a smokeless charge.
The rod is still moving forward under the momentum of the spring when that goes off.
It's Newton at work: that gas generated moves the bomb outwards at 260ftp, and arrests the movement of that rod, and applies force to move that rod back, and recompresses the spring.
That mitigates the recoil felt by the gunner, but is still substantial.

The postwar RPGs use two charges, a small charge to get the grenade clear of the gunner, when a large rocket motor then fires, for added speed and range

Back to the PIAT.

Same system could have been used, with a lighter spring and rod, and adding a rocket motor that fires a second after leaving the launcher, so the gunner isn't bathed in rocket exhaust, like with the US 3.5" 'superbazooka' or German Panzershreck
The 2.76 OG Bazooka, the rocket motor finished burning before the warhead left the tube, unlike the above units.
 
PIAT works from a 200 pound spring whacking a 12 pound to the backside of a hollow tail bomb, that has a smokeless charge.
The rod is still moving forward under the momentum of the spring when that goes off.
It's Newton at work: that gas generated moves the bomb outwards at 260ftp, and arrests the movement of that rod, and applies force to move that rod back, and recompresses the spring.
That mitigates the recoil felt by the gunner, but is still substantial.

The postwar RPGs use two charges, a small charge to get the grenade clear of the gunner, when a large rocket motor then fires, for added speed and range

Back to the PIAT.

Same system could have been used, with a lighter spring and rod, and adding a rocket motor that fires a second after leaving the launcher, so the gunner isn't bathed in rocket exhaust, like with the US 3.5" 'superbazooka' or German Panzershreck
The 2.76 OG Bazooka, the rocket motor finished burning before the warhead left the tube, unlike the above units.
Actually your best bet is to have the charge electrically initiated, still mount it on a spigot and use the spring to absorb the recoil. I have built one, it works, it is dead simple. You could fire up the electrical charge with a plunger box and capacitor or rely on a couple of batteries for the relatively low voltage required. Mine ran on 3 volts.
 
Having the rod advancing forward at speed adds to the KE than just a stationary rod flying back into the spring. Its a version of advanced primer ignition, used in some automatic weapons to reduce recoil
 
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