UK adopts the 7.5mm French rifle round.

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Peg Leg Pom, May 14, 2019.

  1. Peg Leg Pom Well-Known Member

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    Let's suppose that post WWI Britain worked with France to develop a new common rifle round resulting in the OTL 7.5mm round. Britain then needs new weapons with which to shoot it. It can and probably will adapt existing weapons to begin with, but that would only be a stopgap. I'd expect the Bren to still emerge as Britain's new LMG but a medium machine gun and rifle will also be needed, what are the best options?
     
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  2. wiking Well-Known Member

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    Might as well adopt all the French small arms then, as they were already made for that caliber and were pretty excellent. Perhaps they could even help accelerate the French SLR program too.
     
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  3. Peg Leg Pom Well-Known Member

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    I can't see the British adopting a rifle without a safety catch so the MAS 36 is unlikely. Britain bought Czech with the Bren and the Besa and I see no problem in them doing the same here in 7.5mm perhaps they could do the triple and but the ZH 29 Semi Auto rifle as well.
     
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  4. wiking Well-Known Member

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    The MAS 36 was meant to be a behind the lines cheap weapon and not kept loaded the vast majority of the time. Adding a safety wouldn't be hard. Plus the MAS40 did have one and was supposed to be the primary arm of the French infantry; with the Brits helping with the program perhaps they could get it into production before the war or at least introduce much more quickly once the 1939 declaration happens. If the Brits adopt the 7.5mm caliber, why adopt weapons that have to be adapted, especially when very similar ones already exist in the French arsenal (the Mle 24/49 was basically a Bren in layout and just as good, while there was a HMG version with belt feed able to be used in vehicles and fort mounts as of the 1920s, so no need for something like the Besa+Bren when they could have both in one system.

    The ZH29 was overcomplicated and not even in 7.5mm. No nation ever adopted it as I recall.
     
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  5. Peg Leg Pom Well-Known Member

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    Changing the round a weapon uses is the least Britain would have to do on any European designed weapon it selected. The design has to be completely reworked to change from metric to imperial measurements unless you want to throw away every tool and gauge in the British armaments industry. This is not a trivial matter, it takes a lot of time and effort.
     
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  6. wiking Well-Known Member

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    The Brits didn't allow for metric measurements in production?
    Extrapolating from this and what I was told about how US industry/science deals with metric, it stands to reason that though the metric system wasn't officially adopted until the 1960s in Britain, within science and engineering they still used it as the rest of the world operated on it. Reworking the design completely shouldn't be necessary, but minor alterations might be if they are converting in specific situations.
     
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  7. Peg Leg Pom Well-Known Member

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    It sounds simple to convert from one to the other but it wasn't it could take well over a year before you could even start testing. That's why when they adopted the BESA for the Tank Corps BSA bought in all metric tooling for that one production line because war was inevitable by then and there just wasn't the time. That's not practical to do across the whole Royal ordnance Factory system. That's why the British Commonwealth L1 A1 SLR and the Belgian FAL were not interchangeable despite being the same rifle. The L1 A1 is done in Imperial Measurements (including screw threads) and the FAL is in Metric.

    Because when you do the conversion between the two measurements you end up with odd fractions of the measurements you end up rounding figures up or down and slightly redesigning each part to take account of the changes to maintain acceptable tolerances. It's not difficult but takes time and needs to be tested as if it's a completely new design.
     
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  8. wiking Well-Known Member

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    In that case they could just buy the equipment from France as they did with the Besa from the Czechs.
     
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  9. SealTheRealDeal Well-Known Member

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    ew no.
     
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  10. SealTheRealDeal Well-Known Member

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    IIRC the Besa was already earmarked as the future MMG. The Pattern 13 rifle was designed for a rimless 7mm round, so it could be worth another look as a rifle contender.
     
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  11. Peg Leg Pom Well-Known Member

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    Re worked design to take a 10 round box mag? I don't see the British soldier wanting to give up half his rifle's capacity.
     
  12. SealTheRealDeal Well-Known Member

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    What a soldier wants and what the state sees fit to provision him with are not always the same.
     
  13. Peg Leg Pom Well-Known Member

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    In this case though the soldier has a couple of million older brothers backing him up with tales of the Great War and the need for plenty of firepower.
     
  14. tomo pauk Well-Known Member

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    Unless there is a spanking new weapon designed around a yet another full-power cartridge, I don't see the point.
     
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  15. Peg Leg Pom Well-Known Member

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    Rimmed rounds are not ideal for repeating rifles and automatic weapons. Britain had been trying to replace the .303 since the Boer War so why not share development costs with the French? No 1 basic design dates back to the late 1870's and needs replacing with something stronger. Otl this was the No 4 Mk1 that sat on the shelf for 10 years before entering mass production.
     
  16. Pangur The Cat Donor

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    A few questions .regardless of when the change is made there will be a large stock of 303 rifles n ammo not just in the UK but else where. So would the dominions change as well? There is the option of selling on both weapons n ammo however considering the quantities involved that may just be away to get shut of them. How would arms drill change assumng a MAS rifle?
     
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  17. Peg Leg Pom Well-Known Member

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    The Indian Army had its own supply set up so it's possible, perhaps even likely they keep the .303. The Dominions would lag somewhat behind the UK and probably be caught mid change when war comes. In Australia the Militia would probably have to make do with WWI surplus weapons while the A.I.F gets the 7.5mm weapons.
     
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  18. Crowbar Six Well-Known Member

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    One point of resistance was that the UK didn't give the production tooling for a new weapon away they charged like a wounded Rhino. That is why the Australians ended up buying their entire production tooling for the Lee Enfield from Westinghouse who did the whole thing for something like 40% of what the UK would have charged. Whilst there were large stocks of .303 around that could have been used for training and second line forces. My guess is that a lot of rifles and machine guns would have been rebarreled in the new calibre so no need for a whole new rifle or machine gun. Vickers guns and Brens have been rebarreled into various calibres over the years including 7.62 NATO.

    The use of rimmed rounds makes magazine fed automatic weapon design more difficult but not impossible, but then again why not just eliminate another possible cause of a stoppage.
     
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  19. Zen9 Well-Known Member

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    The irony is Japan produced the metric rimless version of the. 303 in the 7.7mm.
    As for SLRs..... UK industry had all sorts of designs, Pedersen's efforts attracted lots of interest. Shame they didn’t apply Fedorov's system to the Pedersen ammo.

    But the biggest shame is not getting designs and a few examples of the Polish SLR as this was a good design.
     
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  20. Stenz Don't judge the past by the standards of today... Monthly Donor

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    Why? What's changed that demands a common round? I know OTL the British looked at replacing the .303 for a long time, but post-WWI really wasn't the time to be launching expensive retooling and re-equipping the entire British military establishment when money could be better spent somewhere else.

    Massive cost, just when massive amounts of a proven, war-winning weapon were in circulation.

    This, if you really want a new cartridge, is your best bet to make this happen.

    Sticking with the .303 round currently in circulation.
     
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