WW1 intermediate cartridge

the monstrous 8mm Breda as a dedicated medium machine gun round.
8mm Breda, 7.92x61 Norwegian and 8x63 Swedish are pretty much brothers from another mother, as far as I can tell. 4000J off about 13-14g ~8mm in a big old cartridge case. Apparently the Swedish cartridge came off a long-gestating project initially prompted by the Russo-Japanese war, which I seem to remember is also what started the Japanese on their road to 7.7mm. Everybody seems to have been copying each other’s notes.
 
I think pretty much everyone OTL interpreted WW1 lessons exactly the opposite way you have.
Several nations adopted new or modified cartridges before WW2 which were MORE powerful than their existing cartridges, often with machine guns as a primary consideration. Italy, Japan (x2), Norway, Sweden possibly others.
Only one of those saw significant ground combat and the others did so to have anti-material rounds. What was the new cartridge Italy adopted? The 8mm anti-material round?

The US as always were a bit odd but my understanding is that in addition to their marksmanship obsession they believed they had the machine gun issue perfectly solved with the combination of M1917, M1918 and M1919 and so the rifle was the only missing piece.
Then why did they develop the T10/23 MG?

France maybe went marginally weaker but their new round was by no means intermediate and their machine gun loading was plenty powerful.
Sure and that was a mistake on their part IMHO and as history has borne out. Granted that was probably a function of budget considerations though.
 
The Italians had realised the WW1 lesson that platoon engagements were rarely even as far as 300 metres in range. Thus they had wanted an 'intermediate' weapon but did not have the money to re equip their army with fancy weapons so the 7.35 was to improve stopping power at close ranges whilst using existing weapons. The rifles were still the 1890 ones but shortened drastically and given fixed sights set at 150 metres. Their LMG was also for conversion/new build in 7.35. Their MMG was already in it's own 8mm round powered for longer ranges. It was a sound choice for them in their circumstances but the changeover was thrown out after initial introductions by Bennie joining in the fun before Italian industry was ready. I didn't help that the LMG was one of the worst ever but the rifle was a sound bolt action.
The switch the 7.35mm required new barrels for all the weapons to be chambered in that, which ain't cheap. It was cheaper than an all new cartridge and and rifle, but not cheap. Plus it was the result of the experiences in Ethopia where the 6.5mm bullets over-penetrated and lacked stopping power. Apparently they never had their own 'pig board' trials with light fast 6.5mm bullets like the US. Had they just added a spitzer type bullet of about 125 grains like the US tested in the 1920s they have had a beast of a cartridge:
Doubts about the lethal effect of the .276 round were strong enough to result in extensive tests in June and July 1928 by the “Pig Board” (so called because lethality tests were carried out on anaesthetized pigs). The Board found all three rounds (.256, .276, and .30) were wounding out to 1,200 yards (1100m). At 300 yards, the smaller .256 caliber round delivered "by far the most severe wounds in all parts of the animal." [6]
The Pig Board Test results summary states-
"At 300 yards, the caliber .256, 125 grain flat base bullet gave by far the most severe wounds in all parts of the animal. All calibers caused very severe trauma, but the .256 seemed to be in a class by itself. Next to the caliber .256 the caliber .276 flat base bullet must be considered as occupying second place."
Do you have any info about the LMG in 7.35? I've never seen anything about that, just for the rifles.

Also it was good they never figured on 5.6mm, as the Carcano cartridge case would have been pretty good for that and was effectively created in several variants years later:
 
The switch the 7.35mm required new barrels for all the weapons to be chambered in that, which ain't cheap. It was cheaper than an all new cartridge and and rifle, but not cheap.
I understand that 7.35 was chosen as it allowed the 6.5 barrel to be bored out and re rifled to 7.35.

A small number of Breda 30s were done in 7.35 but this was just before they had to go back to 6.5 when they declared war and had to stick with the mass of original 6.5 weapons.
 
So this was interesting, as it really goes against what is usually stated about casualties in WW1:

That is a huge proportion and really does make it seem like improvements in small arms in that war could have a particularly outsized impact relative to even WW2.
Since that was probably based on examination of bodies, the small arms total would include soldiers killed by Heavy Machine Guns,
The low total for Gas death is probably for soldiers killed at the front and may not include those who later died in hospitals. It probably also doesn't include soldiers invalidated out of the war by gas related injuries/disabilities.
 
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All this talking about Italian rifles got me thinking.
A revised 6,35x52mm with a good bullet would turn their TS short rifle into a very nice and handy rifle.
And they could get a license to build the FG42 around that round, getting closer to an assault rifle. Then they could make a Heavy barrel/bipod version to provide a SAW.
But that would be WW2
 
I thought that this quote from Antony Williams form an article on the development of assault rifles Might be interesting..
"The French also nearly made it into the record books with the first selective-fire rifle using purpose-designed intermediate ammunition. During WW1 they made some use of the semi-automatic Winchester Model 1907 in .351" (8.9 mm) and the Model 1910 in .401" (10.2 mm) Win SL (self-loading) cartridges; the rifle design was very simple, being blowback only. While these were mainly used by aircrew, in 1917 France placed an order for 2,200 of an automatic version of the M1907 for use by special assault soldiers"
It does confirm that at least 2,200 M1907 rifles were made as select fire weapons. so could be considered candidates for a proto assault rifle,
 
Only one of those saw significant ground combat and the others did so to have anti-material rounds. What was the new cartridge Italy adopted? The 8mm anti-material round?
Not sure about the "anti-material" terminology in this timeframe, and given that these rounds were intended for use in perfectly ordinary MMGs.

Apparently one of the motivators for the Swedish project was increased effectiveness beyond 2.4km range (within this range they reckoned the characteristics of the MG and its tactical use were more significant than the cartridge), while the 8mm gave good effectiveness from 2.4-3.6km as well as better effect against aircraft. Sweden obviously was lucky enough to stay out of the war, I think this only saw active use in vehicle MGs in the congo

The norwegian motivation was also a desire for better effective range (especially with tracer) and better anti-aircraft effect. All of the their Colt M/29 (Browning M1917s) were supposed to be converted but the Germans scuppered that plan, along with any opportunity for significant ground combat. Ammunition was apparently produced up to 1944 and finally used up during the sixties.

Not sure what the Italians were up to or how widely they used it, I'm going go guess they had exactly the same interests as the scandinavians since it has basically the exact same spec and they did the exact same thing of converting their standard MMGs for it.

The japanese cartridges always give me a headache, I can never remember all the different 7.7mm flavours and who used them for what but again, the general story seemed to be that bigger is better.

Then why did they develop the T10/23 MG?
An excellent question which presumably the people involved asked themselves whenever the programme got back-burnered. Presumably someone thought it was a good idea at one time, just like the ever-growing more-like-.30cal-with-every-iteration .276.
An even better question is, how much effort went into the program and how come it and all the other good ideas that weren't .30-06 Brownings up in the trashcan? As far as I know the only serious interwar firearms programs were the M1 Garand and the M2 SMG. During the war there was the M1 Carbine and the M3 SMG. Everything else amounted to a bit of fiddling with prototypes.

I understand that 7.35 was chosen as it allowed the 6.5 barrel to be bored out and re rifled to 7.35.
Indeed, I've seen many references to it being an economy measure, worn-out gain-twist 6.5 barrels could be rebored to 7.35 and save the cost of buying new barrels (in 6.5 or 7.35). Now whether those references are accurate is another question. Similarly I've seen claims the low power was not due to any special cleverness, but due to the case being full up with propellant and they couldn't get more oomph without new propellant they couldn't afford. But never any really convincing references one way or the other
 
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I thought that this quote from Antony Williams form an article on the development of assault rifles Might be interesting..
" in 1917 France placed an order for 2,200 of an automatic version of the M1907 for use by special assault soldiers"
It does confirm that at least 2,200 M1907 rifles were made as select fire weapons. so could be considered candidates for a proto assault rifle,
Did he back that up with any primary evidence? I have come across countless mentions of this but never any sources other than articles sourcing other articles sourcing "it happened, honestly". Othias from C&Rsenal is a pretty dedicated researcher and he couldn't even find any solid evidence that the vanilla 1907 was used as an infantry weapon by ANYONE, never mind any proof of a full-auto variant having been created.
There are all sorts of "factory records show" type statements but no-one ever seems to be able to produce a copy of these factory records.
 
Not sure about the "anti-material" terminology in this timeframe, and given that these rounds were intended for use in perfectly ordinary MMGs.
In the late 1920s, the standard service cartridge in Swedish use was the 6.5×55mm Swedish skarp patron m/94 projektil m/94 (live cartridge m/94 projectile m/94) service ammunition loaded with a 10.1 grams (156 gr) long round-nosed m/94 (B-projectile) bullet which was not considered effective enough for anti-aircraft and indirect fire so the Royal Army Administration tasked AB Bofors to manufacture a larger rifle cartridge to meet these needs.
The cartridge was originally designed for use in anti-aircraft heavy machine guns like the Breda M37, Breda M38, and Fiat–Revelli Modello 1935.
Apparently one of the motivators for the Swedish project was increased effectiveness beyond 2.4km range (within this range they reckoned the characteristics of the MG and its tactical use were more significant than the cartridge), while the 8mm gave good effectiveness from 2.4-3.6km as well as better effect against aircraft. Sweden obviously was lucky enough to stay out of the war, I think this only saw active use in vehicle MGs in the congo
One factor was indirect fire, but it was primarily needed as an anti-aircraft weapon.

The norwegian motivation was also a desire for better effective range (especially with tracer) and better anti-aircraft effect. All of the their Colt M/29 (Browning M1917s) were supposed to be converted but the Germans scuppered that plan, along with any opportunity for significant ground combat. Ammunition was apparently produced up to 1944 and finally used up during the sixties.

Not sure what the Italians were up to or how widely they used it, I'm going go guess they had exactly the same interests as the scandinavians since it has basically the exact same spec and they did the exact same thing of converting their standard MMGs for it.

The japanese cartridges always give me a headache, I can never remember all the different 7.7mm flavours and who used them for what but again, the general story seemed to be that bigger is better.
Again it was mostly to deal with aircraft, with the longer range a useful benefit from having a bigger, heavier round. The Japanese were a bit different in that their issue was fighting in China at long ranges against and enemy that used 7.92mm Mauser, so had a lot longer reach than the 6.5 Arisaka cartridge, so the partial switch to the 7.7mm was to keep up at longer ranges.

An excellent question which presumably the people involved asked themselves whenever the programme got back-burnered. Presumably someone thought it was a good idea at one time, just like the ever-growing more-like-.30cal-with-every-iteration .276.
The final .276 cartridge wasn't actually all that like the .30 cal, it was just forced to use the same cartridge case, shortened of course, to cut down on cost from the caliber switch and potentially use existing .30 cal propellants too for the same reason.

An even better question is, how much effort went into the program and how come it and all the other good ideas that weren't .30-06 Brownings up in the trashcan? As far as I know the only serious interwar firearms programs were the M1 Garand and the M2 SMG. During the war there was the M1 Carbine and the M3 SMG. Everything else amounted to a bit of fiddling with prototypes.
I just got my hands on a book about the history of rifle developments and it does seem budgets were a serious problem for the US military after WW1 into the Great Depression, so that scuppered any serious changes, as well as personnel cuts leaving the most connected, not most able or forward thinking. Then there was apparently the influence of Mac himself, who after deciding on the keeping the .30 cal for budget reasons during the Depression then effectively set the standard people were scared of bucking until the man was forceably retired during Korea.

But in terms of the T10/23 it was a problem of it not being able to be made lighter than a certain poundage that was a problem, plus it was a pre-WW2 design, and in initial testing the testers broke it by using it improperly and IIRC Hatcher had to sort them out, but it took a while to be spare parts fabricated during the lead up to US entry into WW2 when everyone was working all out to rearm the US military for the coming war.

Indeed, I've seen many references to it being an economy measure, worn-out gain-twist 6.5 barrels could be rebored to 7.35 and save the cost of buying new barrels (in 6.5 or 7.35). Now whether those references are accurate is another question. Similarly I've seen claims the low power was not due to any special cleverness, but due to the case being full up with propellant and they couldn't get more oomph without new propellant they couldn't afford. But never any really convincing references one way or the other
That would actually make a ton of sense considering other things I've read about the 7.35mm rifles people have taken apart and talked about online. They were old rifles with worn parts, so the reduced pressure of the new cartridges then meant they could still be used despite their potential unsuitability with the older, higher pressure 6.5mm cartridges, while the reduced pressure then also facilitated use with a bored out and therefore thinner barrel.
 
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Since that was probably based on examination of bodies, the small arms total would include soldiers killed by Heavy Machine Guns,
The low total for Gas death is probably for soldiers killed at the front and may not include those who later died in hospitals. It probably also doesn't include soldiers invalidated out of the war by gas related injuries/disabilities.
The total deaths I've seen from gas was less than 1%. Plus the Germans had the lead in those technologies and it was more useful as a defensive weapon meant that they probably suffered quite a bit fewer deaths from it than the Allies/Entente.

And yes we did establish that MGs were probably the primary bullet related killing device, as they are today.

All this talking about Italian rifles got me thinking.
A revised 6,35x52mm with a good bullet would turn their TS short rifle into a very nice and handy rifle.
And they could get a license to build the FG42 around that round, getting closer to an assault rifle. Then they could make a Heavy barrel/bipod version to provide a SAW.
But that would be WW2
The FG42 was way too specialized a weapon to use for general infantry and really only was put in production after Italy dropped out of the war. Plus the entire complicated gas system was very specifically tailored to the 8mm Mauser, so you'd be better off starting from scratch to build a cartridge that took advantage of the virtues of a 6.5x52 Carcano with say a 125 grain bullet. BTW it seems that the twist rate of the existing Carcano 6.5mm barrels would work with a 125 grain bullet too.

The Italians were probably better off developing their semi-auto rifle into something like the BM-59:
Or adopted the Scotti naval rifle:
https://www.reddit.com/r/ForgottenWeapons/comments/df3los
If you want a pre-WW1 rifle to work with there was one:
 
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And now for my standard rant, not a roumd of the warehoused M1928 or later M1 Ball 30-06 was fired in combat during the war with M1 Garands.
They got all new production
 
And now for my standard rant, not a roumd of the warehoused M1928 or later M1 Ball 30-06 was fired in combat during the war with M1 Garands.
They got all new production
I still don't get why they didn't go with 6.5mm caliber for the Garand considering the results of the Pig Board and the effective range of the Garand anyway. And of course what you say above. You could have even used the same .30-06 case shortened to the desired length and lower pressure than the M2 ball cartridge and the AP load that became the most popular.
 
Considering the Japanese had switched to a spitzer in 1905 for their 6.5, you have to wonder at the Italian failure to test their rifles with a spitzer. Every other major power, even Hungary, had moved to spitzers. The long round nosed bullets were great penetrators. The problem was, they penetrated humans very well without tumbling. Even better, what if they raised the pressure on the 6.5 like they did with the 7.35? Considering the effort put into changing to a new caliber, it would have been far cheaper to change the bullets.
 
Considering the Japanese had switched to a spitzer in 1905 for their 6.5, you have to wonder at the Italian failure to test their rifles with a spitzer. Every other major power, even Hungary, had moved to spitzers. The long round nosed bullets were great penetrators. The problem was, they penetrated humans very well without tumbling. Even better, what if they raised the pressure on the 6.5 like they did with the 7.35? Considering the effort put into changing to a new caliber, it would have been far cheaper to change the bullets.
Right, even adopt the Japanese version of the bullet if they wanted to. Or the Swedish spitzer. Probably better though to do a 108-120 grain bullet that was homologous with the French 7.5mm flat base spitzer, but in 6.5mm.
 
Are we not getting confused between discussing an intermediate round and discussing 6.5mm rounds? The two overlap but are not synonymous.
 
The Carcano and Arisaka are at the upper end of intermediate cartridges. However, we are heading somewhat out of bounds. The Pedersen shows where some thought an interwar intermediate should have gone.
 
The Carcano and Arisaka are at the upper end of intermediate cartridges. However, we are heading somewhat out of bounds. The Pedersen shows where some thought an interwar intermediate should have gone.
They are both battle rifle cartridges, but with the Arisaka especially it's velocity and therefore energy, one of the deciding factors on what is intermediate in power, on the length of the barrel it is fired out of. Same cartridge out of the shorter barreled Federov was about as powerful an intermediate as could be, but out of the Arisaka's barrel, which was 1/3rd longer, it reached weak battle rifle territory. The .276 Pedersen was a battle rifle cartridge without question, not an intermediate. It was just a weak battle rifle round that used an excellent ballistic shape to keep up with the bigger calibers at long range.
 
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