Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Evolution of Assault "Gun"


CrookedVulture

Recommended Posts

Seeking open discussion and a little insight on a topic that has recently peeked my curiosity. This all came about due to a little misunderstanding about the controversy surrounding the "trench gun". I, at first thought the other party ment the Bergmann MP-18, when in further discussion the controversy was about the American shotgun being used as a "trench gun". Weapons development is usually about a tit-for-tat (making a better weapon than your enemy to have an advantage).

The Bergmann MP-18 was the first of it's kind and was the forerunner of assault weapons. It was so effective that the Allies forbade the military use of them and outlawed them in the Versailles Treaty.

The American shotgun was such an effective trench clearing weapon that the Germans filed a diplomatic protest in its use.

Now my question is: Did the Bergmann MP-18 come about in response to the American shotgun?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't claim to be an expert in this field, however I believe the answer to your question is no. My reasoning is that the US army did not deploy in large numbers till towards the end of the war and that there was by that time a general move in both the German and British armies (possibly also the French) to providing the infantry with greater, more mobil fire power. The German 'storm trooper' is often sited as an example.

Old Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seeking open discussion and a little insight on a topic that has recently peeked my curiosity. This all came about due to a little misunderstanding about the controversy surrounding the "trench gun". I, at first thought the other party ment the Bergmann MP-18, when in further discussion the controversy was about the American shotgun being used as a "trench gun". Weapons development is usually about a tit-for-tat (making a better weapon than your enemy to have an advantage).

The Bergmann MP-18 was the first of it's kind and was the forerunner of assault weapons. It was so effective that the Allies forbade the military use of them and outlawed them in the Versailles Treaty.

The American shotgun was such an effective trench clearing weapon that the Germans filed a diplomatic protest in its use.

Now my question is: Did the Bergmann MP-18 come about in response to the American shotgun?

The Germans conveived of a short, fully automatic trench gun in 1915. They modified the Lang Pistole 08 and Mauser C96 to fully automatic mode, but they were uncontrollable. It wasn't until Theodore Bergmann designed the MP18/I in late 1917 that the concept was proven. So the idea of a trench submachine gun predates the use of American "trench brooms" by a couple of years.

Since you used the term "assault gun," the first real one was the Federov Avtomat, which apparently saw combat in 1916.

http://world.guns.ru...-fedorov-e.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Danke (Thanks a million mates)!

So many lost lessons to be learned from the Eastern Front.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We could have an interesting and quite technical discussion, particularly how 'assault guns' evolved under Bruchmuller. For example Infantriebeglietbatterien (IBB) appeared in 1916 as 'accompanying artillery', definitely an assault gun role. These were enhanced by the addition of Infantrie-Geschuetzbatterien (IGB) (or Infantry Guns in English) but were different to the IBB. Of course it might also be argued that the Infantriebekampfungsartillerie (IKA) were also assault guns but I don't think this so, not least because they were under div arty control.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Crooked Vulture is obviously asking about small arms.

"Guns" in usual military parlance means artillery.

Confusion is arising, as Nigel's post indicates.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Yes, I was referring to small arms and Tom W answered my dilemma.

Now nigelfe opened up another can of goodies. I am intrigued about the evolution of assault guns in the Great War. A topic that is overlooked when compared to assault guns during WWII (which the Germans came to rely more and more upon as the war progressed). Currently reading "In Deadly Combat, A German Soldier's Memoir Of The Eastern Front" by Gottlob Herbert Bidermann and translated/edited by Derek S. Zumbro. Great read and really shows how and why weapons development comes about during combat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In considering assault weapons there were two other American ideas that might have been used had the war continued into 1919.

One was the use of the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) in "walking fire" whereby a squad advanced firing their BARs from the hip using a special sling and IIRC, belt. The other far more innovative idea was the Pederson Device to convert the M1903 rifle into a sub machine gun by replacing the normal bolt with an insert which was effectively a breechblock/slide that accepted a stick magazine for the .30 calibre Pederson cartridges.

Regards

TonyE

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The concept of the assault gun (artillery), a gun that provides close suppport for an assault is I beleive from much earlier than WW1 and was the concept of Horse Artillery. The idea being to provide fast responding artillery capable of moving with cavalry to break up the infantry square prior to a cavalry charge.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 10 months later...

In considering assault weapons there were two other American ideas that might have been used had the war continued into 1919.

The other far more innovative idea was the Pederson Device to convert the M1903 rifle into a sub machine gun by replacing the normal bolt with an insert which was effectively a breechblock/slide that accepted a stick magazine for the .30 calibre Pederson cartridges.

Regards

TonyE

The Pederson device was a 1920's design to covert 03's to semi-automatic rifle capability using a smaller cartridge, but not a sub machine gun, although successful it was already outdated.

khaki

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Bergmann MP-18 was the first of it's kind and was the forerunner of assault weapons. It was so effective that the Allies forbade the military use of them and outlawed them in the Versailles Treaty.

Can you identify the clause? Having read the treaty I can find no such thing and I suspect that if anything of this nature existed it was part of the Armistice

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Pederson device was a 1920's design to covert 03's to semi-automatic rifle capability using a smaller cartridge, but not a sub machine gun, although successful it was already outdated.

khaki

They were meant to be used in the 1919 offensive and were made at the end of 1918 the war ended before any of them could be fielded, it was a WW1 design just came too late.

http://nramuseum.com/guns/the-galleries/world-war-i-and-firearms-innovation/case-57-wwi-america-and-the-allies/wwi-secret-weapon-the-pedersen-device.aspx

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Pederson device was a 1920's design to covert 03's to semi-automatic rifle capability using a smaller cartridge, but not a sub machine gun, although successful it was already outdated.

khaki

I think you are confusing the 1920s .276 inch Pederson RIFLE with the 1918 Pederson DEVICE.

The rifle was a toggle locked design that used a smaller (but still full powered round) than the issue .30 calibre and almost became the American standard infantry weapon. It was also made in the UK by Vickers.

The Pederson device was effectively the top half of a semi-automatic pistol that replaced the bolt in the M1903 Springfield rifle to convert it to a semil automatic weapon.The 40 round magazine fitted in the side of the receiver. It fired a small .30 calibre pistol cartridge, all examples of which were made in 1918/19. It was later adopted with a few minor changes by the French as their 7.5mm automatic pistol cartridge.

As it was only semi auto I suppose that strictly speaking it was not a nascent sub machine gun, but with a 40 round magazine, firing a pistol cartridge from a stocked weapon it had some of the characteristics.

If you want pictures of the two quite different rounds let me know.

The US government sea dumped virtually all the Pederson device after the war so they are very rare now.

Regards

TonyE

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Khaki.

I thought I would post the pictures anyway.

On the left is the .276 Pederson round from the late 1920s made for his toggle lock rifle. This is the "standard" case, but there was a number of experimental cases made with different tapers etc. This example was made at Frankford Arsenal in 1929. This type was also made by Kynoch and Greenwood & Batley in the UK in 1929-1933 period. It was believed that if the US adopted the Pederson as their standard rifle then it was likely that Britain would follow suit.

On the right is the small .30 calibre round for the 1918 Pederson Device. Officially this was given the cover name of "Calibre .30 inch Automatic Pistol, Model of 1918". Although best known as an adaptor for the Springfield Model 1903 rifle, originally far more were ordered to fit the Enfield Model 1917 rifle.The latter order was cancelled due to the end of the war before production had started in earnest so examples are even rarer than the M1903 type.

Regards

TonyE

post-8515-0-21601300-1387628672_thumb.jp

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If a US acquaintance who has an interest in these things is to be believed then it was intended to use the Pederson Device in conjunction with the Mk II Flaming Bayonet. This fitted under the bayonet proper and was a clip holding six flame cartridges which could be fired individually or all at once. Each cartridge would emit a 1 second jet of fire the range was very short. It was hoped that the combination of flame and rapid fire would be efficacious in trench clearing

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have certainly seen write-ups on the Flaming Bayonet, although I do not know how close it came to being officially adopted.

Also, I have never seen an example or picture of the cartridge. I will ask my US contacts.

Regards

TonyE

Link to comment
Share on other sites

nice

I guess that depends on which end of it you're on - simultaneously spiked and charred ungood - double plus ungood

I gather that the officer IC US Chemical weapons didn't believe in flame and rubbished it whenever possible so all US WW1 flame weapons were abandoned - some internal military politics I think. Same fate befell the Lewis in US service

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...