WI: France Gets a Semiauto Rifle and/or Automatic Rifle by 1940

Two French guns ahead of their time: the Ribeyrolles-Sutter-Chauchat 1918 short rifle, and the Ribeyrolles 1918 automatic rifle. The French switched from 8mm caliber to 7.5mm in 1924 (and then to a 54mm case in '29).
Let's suppose they modify both weapons to take a 7.5×35mm cartridge (call it 7.5 Court, "short"), ditch the latter's bipod to save weight and maybe trim the stock, receiver, etc. The new rifle (call it the Fusil Automatique Modèle 1929 or just MAS-29) becomes France's service rifle instead of the MAS-36 (which most likely stays when the time comes as a sniper rifle). Likewise, assume the Ribeyrolles 1929 butterflies out the MAS-38 SMG, since it can fulfill that role. Alternatively, to further ease logistics, we can give the MAS-29 a 25-round mag and selective-fire function.Voilà! Un fusil d’assaut lighter than the Ribeyrolles.

Now, to play devil's advocate: even if the French brass saw the logic in these guns and the 7.5 Court, the only way to fund production would be to skimp on the Maginot Line, which is borderline impossible unless somebody or a group of somebodies asks "Do we really want to hinge the national defense on the Boche supposedly being unable to get through the Ardennes?" And even if one or both were produced, most French troops would lack the training to effectively use them.

So, my fellow alt-historians, what say you?
 
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SsgtC

Banned
Why not have France just decide to buy the Browning Automatic Rifle? It had been in production for 12 years, and was chambered for 6.5x55, .30-06, 7.65x53 Belgian Mauser, 7x57 Mauser, 7.92x57 Mauser and .303 British
 
Are these actual assault rifles, or are they light/medium machine guns or battle rifles?
The RSC 1918 was a semiauto battle rifle. The Ribeyrolles was envisioned as an automatic rifle/light machine gun, but can be thought of as a proto-assault rifle since it fired an intermediate-power round.
Why not have France just decide to buy the Browning Automatic Rifle? It had been in production for 12 years, and was chambered for 6.5x55, .30-06, 7.65x53 Belgian Mauser, 7x57 Mauser, 7.92x57 Mauser and .303 British
IOTL the French didn't like the BAR (hence the FM 24/29), but I suppose it could technically work.
 
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marathag

Banned
P1030493w.jpg
6.5x52 Italian, 6.5x50SR Japanese Type 30, 7.65x32 Mannlicher, .351 Winchester SL, .345 Machine Rifle, 8mm Ribeyrolles
 

FBKampfer

Banned
Not a damn thing would change, except maybe a few more dead Germans.

The Allies were routed because of strategic miscalculation, obsolete doctrine, and politics. Nothing to do with their infantry arms, which were on par with the German K98k and Mp 40.
 
Two French guns ahead of their time: the Ribeyrolles-Sutter-Chauchat 1918 carbine, and the Ribeyrolles 1918 automatic rifle. The French switched from 8mm caliber to 7.5mm in 1924 (and then to a 54mm case in '29).
Let's suppose they modify both weapons to take a 7.5×35mm cartridge, ditch the latter's bipod to save weight and maybe trim the stock, receiver, etc. The new rifle (call it the Fusil Automatique Modèle 1929 or MAS-29 for short) becomes France's service rifle instead of the MAS-36 (which most likely stays when the time comes as a sniper rifle). Likewise, assume the Ribeyrolles 1929 butterflies out the MAS-38 SMG, since it can fulfill that role. Alternatively, to further ease logistics, we can give the MAS-29 a 25-round mag and selective-fire function. Voilà! Un fusil d’assaut lighter than the Ribeyrolles.

Now, to play devil's advocate: even if the French brass saw the logic in these guns, the only way to fund production would be to skimp on the Maginot Line, which is borderline impossible unless somebody or a group of somebodies asks "Do we really want to hinge the national defense on the Boche supposedly being unable to get through the Ardennes?" And even if one or both were produced, most French troops would lack the training to effectively use them.

So, my fellow alt-historians, what say you?
The French actually did have a Semi-Auto rifle in very limited service called the MAS-40. Post war it was refined into the excellent MAS-49. If anything have that project start earlier and go smoother.

In terms of its effect on the war, unless coupled with a change in doctrine*, all it's going to do is provide the Germans with the semi-auto rifle they struggled so hard to develop (before giving up and just making a 7.92 version of the SVT-40).

*perhaps individual firepower supremacy leads to the French deciding on a more offensive strategy.
 

Deleted member 1487

Not a damn thing would change, except maybe a few more dead Germans.

The Allies were routed because of strategic miscalculation, obsolete doctrine, and politics. Nothing to do with their infantry arms, which were on par with the German K98k and Mp 40.
I came here to say this. If anything if it is good enough it would just give the Germans something to base their own semi-auto rifles on that was better than their SVT-40 knock offs.

The French actually did have a Semi-Auto rifle in very limited service called the MAS-40. Post war it was refined into the excellent MAS-49. If anything have that project start earlier and go smoother.

In terms of its effect on the war, unless coupled with a change in doctrine*, all it's going to do is provide the Germans with the semi-auto rifle they struggled so hard to develop (before giving up and just making a 7.92 version of the SVT-40).

*perhaps individual firepower supremacy leads to the French deciding on a more offensive strategy.
http://www.virdea.net/french/mas-auto.html
Less than 50 MAS-40s made.

Sounds like it would have given the Germans an excellent design to base theirs on as you note. Since it used a similar round to the German bolt action rifle round it might have been easily rechambered too.
 
In terms of its effect on the war, unless coupled with a change in doctrine*, all it's going to do is provide the Germans with the semi-auto rifle they struggled so hard to develop (before giving up and just making a 7.92 version of the SVT-40).
Not a damn thing would change, except maybe a few more dead Germans.

The Allies were routed because of strategic miscalculation, obsolete doctrine, and politics. Nothing to do with their infantry arms, which were on par with the German K98k and Mp 40.
You're right, it wouldn't have made a difference there, but that's beside the point. OP has more to do with the general concept of a French semiauto rifle and assault rifle with a common cartridge.
 

FBKampfer

Banned
You're right, it wouldn't have made a difference there, but that's beside the point. OP has more to do with the general concept of a French semiauto rifle and assault rifle with a common cartridge.

And I meant with regard to firearms design as well. There's almost no butterflies to be had here. 7.5mm French was a remarkably unremarkable cartridge, and chambering it in an SLR, an automatic rifle, and a medium machine gun won't do anything to extend and expand its usage.

And the postwar developments were dominated by the FAL using the superior short stroke gas system, the M14, developed from the M1, because the US is stubborn as hell, the SKS, which goes back to the SVT-38 and the G3 tracing its design back to the roller-locked Mg 42, which is arguably the best of the bunch.

Of these, only a FAL has its origins late enough to be influenced by the MAS 40/49, and it just wasn't. The cartridge wasn't outstanding, the operating system was questionable, and locking mechanism was so common as the not count.


The major development of WW2 era weapons design was the 7.92x33mm, 7.62x39mm, the roller-locking breach, and the roller-delayed blowback.
 
You're right, it wouldn't have made a difference there, but that's beside the point. OP has more to do with the general concept of a French semiauto rifle and assault rifle with a common cartridge.
It wouldn't be an assault rifle seeing as how it doesn't use an intermediate cartridge. I also don't really see what's so special about the common cartridge aspect most countries had a common cartridge (although Italy and Japan were weird in that they went to war in the middle of adopting a new common cartridge) so its kinda a given.
 
If one looks back in small arms history the only actual changes post 1910 have been metallurgy and tactics. Everything else was invented and built in some sort of form already. Post 1910 designers just mixed and matched existing concepts (yes i know they were cunning chaps and had cunning twists on them and getting the combination to work is not easy) so there is no reason to wait until 1940. Could have been done at any time after Poudre B came in the mid 1880s. Conceivably recoil operated systems could have coped with black powder before then. The drawn brass cartridge is probably as far back as one can stretch it so say @1860 before the rubber band of AH snaps without ASBs.

Even so small arms were no longer a battle winner. Good to have an efficient semi automatic rifle of course but it will not change much.
 
It wouldn't be an assault rifle seeing as how it doesn't use an intermediate cartridge. I also don't really see what's so special about the common cartridge aspect most countries had a common cartridge (although Italy and Japan were weird in that they went to war in the middle of adopting a new common cartridge) so its kinda a given.
And I meant with regard to firearms design as well. There's almost no butterflies to be had here. 7.5mm French was a remarkably unremarkable cartridge, and chambering it in an SLR, an automatic rifle, and a medium machine gun won't do anything to extend and expand its usage.
No, it's not a big deal that the proposed Mle 1929 carbine and autorifle use the same cartridge, but that they use the same intermediate cartridge, a 7.5×35mm—in other words, a lower-powered 7.5mm French, like 8mm Ribeyrolles was to 8mm Lebel.
 
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Not a damn thing would change, except maybe a few more dead Germans.

....

True, tho in many cases the mentality it takes to make large change in one system enables changes in many others.

OTL the French were trading off costs, keeping old weapons around for their infantry corps.

The initiative of rearming the infantry is likely to connect to other changes.
 
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