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I think that we would still have won WWII and Korea. It may have taken longer, but in war technology always grows by leaps and bounds. The Johnson rifle had also been tested, and could have gone into production. The M-1 Carbine also was a result of a combat need. So I belive that we would still have feilded a semiauto battle rifle, it would just have taken longer
 

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We would have done just fine. We still had B-17s, B-24s, Essex-class aircraft carriers, M2 .50s, Jeeps, C-47s, GMC CCKW-353s, Springfields, Hellcats, P-51s. M4 Shermans, LSTs, Liberty ships, B-29s, etc etc etc, AND the world's greatest industrial might.

Without the Garand, the war might have gone on an extra six minutes. But probably not. :)
 

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What if

Snake45 said:
We would have done just fine. We still had B-17s, B-24s, Essex-class aircraft carriers, M2 .50s, Jeeps, C-47s, GMC CCKW-353s, Springfields, Hellcats, P-51s. M4 Shermans, LSTs, Liberty ships, B-29s, etc etc etc, AND the world's greatest industrial might.

Without the Garand, the war might have gone on an extra six minutes. But probably not. :)
HEAR, HEAR !!! and...........we also had Robert Oppenhiemer, and Edward Teller ....AND .......the UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS !!

Semper Fi !!
 

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Re: What if

john williams said:
Snake45 said:
We would have done just fine. We still had B-17s, B-24s, Essex-class aircraft carriers, M2 .50s, Jeeps, C-47s, GMC CCKW-353s, Springfields, Hellcats, P-51s. M4 Shermans, LSTs, Liberty ships, B-29s, etc etc etc, AND the world's greatest industrial might.

Without the Garand, the war might have gone on an extra six minutes. But probably not. :)
HEAR, HEAR !!! and...........we also had Robert Oppenhiemer, and Edward Teller ....AND .......the UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS !!

Semper Fi !!
Another one of the less known facts :D !
Edward Teller=Teller Ede, he was Hungarian and immigrated to the USA before the war.
The DD Sherman was also invented by a Hungarian, altough it wasn't that succesful...
 

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Over on the CMP forum I answered this this way

We would have either (a) fought the war with the M1903 and M1903A3 (we were the only combatant with a semi-automatic rifle as actually standard issue) or (b) adopted the Johnson M1941.

Britain and the entire Commonwealth, France, the Soviet Union, Italy, Greater Germany, Japan, Holland, Belgium, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Greece, Jugoslavia, etc. all used bolt action rifles as their standard infantry rifle.

Only Greater Germany and the Soviet Union field large numbers of semiautomatic (and automatic) rifles as infantry rifles. None in a similar percentage to the M1 Garand in US service.
 

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We might have adopted...

...the Johnson Light Machine gun which was cheaper to manufacture than even the rifle and had a twenty round removable magazine. A really fine weapon that got snowballed by the M1 Garand (an in-house project of the U.S. military and, hence, an inside favorite), the Johnson rifle and machine gun were serious contenders for the role of infantry armament, but I do not think the military of the day was prepared to turn the troops loose with a MG and many disapproved of the M1 as 'wasteful.' Constrained thinking has crippled more things than armies, but the U.S. military was only slightly less conservative than the French, and we see how well they did in WWII.

Better questions might be one of the following (as long as we're conjecturing)...

1 Suppose the Germans had come on line with their full-auto 8 MM Kurz (short) MG (the model for Russia's post-war AK-47) for the troops in large numbers earlier in the war? What might have been the result on the ground?

...or...

2 Suppose Americans had used the Johnson Light Machine gun in place of the M1 Garand. Would it have changed the character of battles as Americans could pour out twenty rounds in a quarter-second and reload another twenty in three seconds and do it again. Would it have saved any lives or shortened the war, the only real question about a war weapon that counts anyway.
 

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Let's start with an even simpler question. Can anyone cite ONE WWII battle where the Garand was definitely the deciding factor in US victory? Where we would have lost that battle had we been armed with Springfields? I certainly can't think of one.

WWII was won with strategic airpower, tactical air support, artillery, armor, mobility, naval firepower, and above all, supply lines. We could have air-dropped the Germans and Japanese tens of thousands of M1s and millions of rounds of ammo for them in the last year of the war just to make it "fair" and the outcome would have been the same.
 

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Several struggles in the South Pacific come to mind Snake, I'm sure the massed firepower from squads armed with M1s had a deciding factor in many Japanese Banzai attacks. Just as it did in Korea with the 'Human-wave' attacks of the North Koreans.

I really doubt bolt-actions could've put up a good enough wall of lead in either case.
 

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Garand as a deciding factor

Has anyone read "American Guerilla in the Phillipines"? It has been around for a long time. The movie with Tyrone Power didn't follow the book well. In the book, the author tells the story of one soldier that stayed in the bush to fight the Japanese. He had a Garand instead of a Springfield. Early Garands were shipped to the Phillipines to equip as many of the U.S. Soldiers as possible and it was their first use in combat. The point is that this particular soldier commented to the book's author that 'after he had his Garand, he wasn't worried about any ONE Jap anywhere'. This was regarding an ambush he planned which required him to let the Japanese scout pass by to get the rest of the patrol.

Many military experts have commented that spirit or morale can be a deciding factor. The confidence that U.S. troops must have felt when equipped with a rifle that was reliable, accurate and able to fire rapidly in close combat, could have been a 'deciding factor' in many small combats. Were large battles and campaigns 'won' by the presence of Garands? There is no way to prove that but large events are made up of numerous small events. I have read of many battles and small combats where the comment was made about the volume of fire generated by U.S. units which was certainly increased by each soldier having a semi-automatic rifle. One has to ask if the lone soldier described in Toland's "Battle: The Story of the Bulge" who, upon being confronted by a German tank, 'leaped into the ditch and began firing at the slits' would have acted that way if equiped with a bolt-action rifle.

I have often 'what iffed?' regarding the adoption of the Johnson rifle and lmg. There would have been no need for two packings of small-arms ammo. All ammo would have been in 5-rd clips. That logistical factor alone could have made a positive difference.

Our industrial base assured our victory in the war but our military men went to battle believing they had the 'best' which certainly contributed to the 'spirit of victory'. Our biggest deficiency was in armor, the M4 Sherman tank or its retention at the assistance of Army brass, condemned many a tanker to death. Even with that, they still sought combat with their more powerful foe. Our fighter pilots, when faced with the ME-262 jet fighter, sought combat with it even though it 'outclassed' them. The point is, that our 'greatest generation' believed in themselves and our country. That assured victory. Each piece of technology we fielded helped confirm that confidence.
 

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I absolutely agree with you about the psychology/morale, etc., and I think that in the case of the Garand this might have had a psychological and morale-boosting effect on US soldiers that exceeded even the rifle's physical and technological attributes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Gentlemen,
Thanks for your comeback. After the attack on Dec. 7, 1941 the US started up our war machine and nothing could even come close to what we could do in production. Guys on Dec. 8th had all the Recruiting Offices with lines around the block. Ordnance had been ahead of the game and was ready to go from 8hrs a day for 200 M1 Garands to 600 on a 24 hr day. My point is the US was together right after the attack on our military at Pearl Harbor. So what happened after 9/11 which was a civilian target and over 3,000 dead ? If I was in charge we would not have the room to put another tank in Iraq or is that Iran ???

Thanks again
Clancy
ps that's why I am not in charge!!
pps let's hope Ordnance people are working on something new to stay ahead
 

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Re: M4 Sherman

According to a recent book I read ,written by an armor support officer from WWII, titled "Death Traps", the US Army had the Pershing tank, with its higher velocity main gun available and surpassing the Sherman at the start of the war, but , as with the developement of the M1 Garand and General Douglas MacArthur (who my mother, a WAC vet, says was a pompous ass),decision to push the inferior MEDIUM M4 was made by .... General George Patton! As to the M1 vs. bolt action question, refer to the statement about the British SMLE during WWI ..." the tommies were able to work their SMLEs so rapidly, the Germans came to believe that they were under fire from machineguns (note: the SMLE has a 10 round capacity magazine).
 

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Sherman Tank

Subsnypr,

I don't want to start an argument, especially kind of off topic, but I do have to disagree with some of the points you raised.

I have read "Death Traps" also. I respect the author for his service and experience. His book is the only reference I have read that alludes to Pershing production potential early in the war. I even went back to several of my tank books to see if anything came close to his claim. I have Hunnicut's books on both the Sherman and Pershing. My best asessement is that the T26/M26 Pershing could have been fielded just before or after D-Day at best and then in small numbers. Of Course, the tankers would have been perfectly happy to have better tanks even in smaller numbers. It was the Generals that botched things up. However, Patton isn't the only one to blame. He was too low on the 'food chain' to have that much influence. If you want blame, one has to go back to pre-war days when McNair wrote the doctrine for U.S. Army Armored Warfare. His concept was that tanks should not be armed to fight tanks! He created the idea of "Tank Destroyers" as seperate units with powerful guns but light armor to 'hunt' tanks and our tanks would exploit the enemies rear areas and use a 'field gun' to good effect on soft targets. The 75mm M3 gun that equiped the Sherman at first had been our "Field Gun" until replaced by the 105mm howitzer just before the war. The Generals wanted to keep it because we had lots of ammunition in storage for that gun. Unfortunately that policy dictated tank design up until near the end of the war. Patton was famous for extolling the virtues of what we had. He would always be quoted as saying "we have the finest tank in the world". He was also known to chew out tankers who had reinforced their armor with sandbags as unnecessary and 'unsightly'! I rather think his intention was more toward morale than policy. In "The View From The Turrent", the author comments that they couldn't get 76mm gun Shermans because Patton had insisted on all of them going to 3rd Army! That tells me he really knew the 75mm was inadequate.

The T23 design and T25 design would have been an improvement over the Sherman. Ordnance offered to produce them in quantity as early as 1943 but the AGF kept saying "more Shermans" over the protests of the Army in the field who were actually fighting battles.

To give the Sherman credit, when first introduced, it was the better tank. In North Africa, it had at least an equal gun to the German Mk IVs and equal armor to theirs. The problem again was tactics. The Germans were good at luring U.S. (and the British before them) tanks into the field of fire of emplaced 88mm AAA guns and nothing could stand up to the '88' in the early years. The M4 just stayed too long at the dance. The Army should have replaced it gradually so as not to slow production too much. That they didn't meant that a lot of tankers died unnecessarily.

One should be careful when using the WWI use of the Enfield in the first years of the war as an example of bolt versus semi-auto. Those Tommies that generated that comment from the Germans were the "Old Contemptables" of the regular army. They had developed into 'the finest military marksmen in the world' according to one of my sources. They were squandered 'holding the line' in the first battles of WWI because the generals didn't understand the modern battlefield and didn't believe in those new-fangled machine guns.

By WWII, no one was able to produce a conscript army that could shoot that well.

Again, I am not trying to start an argument, just giving my opinion based on my readings. As far as MacArthur is concerned, I agree with you.
 

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As for the Johnson Rifle, although it wouldn't have had much effect in Europe, it's mass use in the South Pacific would have been detrimental due to it's weak bayonet system. As you all know, bayonets were used quite often in the South Pacific theater, the Johnson, with it's weak mount and flimsy Bayonet would have cost many lives. I know all about Merrill's Marauder's but, that was one unit ingaged in small-unit tactics exclusively and is a poor example of the Johnson rifle's use.
 

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Merrill's Marauders?

Retmsgt. said:
As for the Johnson Rifle, although it wouldn't have had much effect in Europe, it's mass use in the South Pacific would have been detrimental due to it's weak bayonet system. As you all know, bayonets were used quite often in the South Pacific theater, the Johnson, with it's weak mount and flimsy Bayonet would have cost many lives. I know all about Merrill's Marauder's but, that was one unit ingaged in small-unit tactics exclusively and is a poor example of the Johnson rifle's use.
Er? What does Merrill's Marauders have to do with the Johnson rifles? The 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) was equiped with standard weapons and not the Johnson rifle or LMG. The only units that carried the Johnson designs in combat were Marine Parachute and Raider Battalions early in the war and the 1st SSF in Europe.

I agree that the Johnson Rifle bayonet was one of its weak points. Whether that would have made a great difference in Pacific Theater combat, I have no opinion. It is obvious that combat film from the period show bayonets on rifles much more often than European films. I suspect our GIs would have adapted like they did with other weapons systems.
 

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I saw a photo somewhere of them using the Johnson Rifle, I may have been mistaken but, I'm pretty sure the caption stated it was Merrill's outfit. As for bayonet use in Europe, I had an uncle,Herman Mitchell, who fought at Bastogne( Bronze Star, Silver Star, Purple-Heart(Twice awarded) who claimed the only use he ever had for the Bayonet was to open Ration Crates!!!

I dunno, with that thin barrel, and weak connecting point, the Johnson just doesn't strike me as a good candidate for a bayonet-fighting instrument. Otherwise, it was a impressive rifle. Though, in my opinion, not as good as the Garand.
 

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It is possible

A couple of possibilities come to mind regarding Merrill's Marauders and the Johnson Rifle.

One is that the picture you saw was incorrectly identified. That does happen a lot. I once saw a picture in a book about the 2nd Armored Division in WWII that showed a M48 tank as from WWII!

The other possibility is that the picture is correct and someone in the Marauders had 'scrounged' a Johnson Rifle for their own use. It is plausible as the unit was made up of volunteers that had already served in combat and were asked to perform one more mission before rotating back to the States. Some had been on Guadalcanal and would have been around the Marines that had Johnsons. It is quite reasonable to conjecture that a particular soldier, especially with some rank, would make a 'deal' with a Marine and obtain one. Ammunition was not a problem as 5rd clip loads were around to use in BARs and Springfields. Spare parts might have been a consideration but I doubt a GI would have cared too much about that. If it broke, they would just get something else.

Your comment about bayonets in Europe reminded me of the Mauldin 'Willie and Joe' cartoon from WWII. In it, the scruffy GIs are sitting around when Willie discovers that the bayonet actually fits the end of his M1 rifle. The quote is: "Hey Joe, will you look at this? This can opener fits on the end of a rifle!". I think I quoted correctly, the point being that bayonets were not used much for fighting.

I agree that the spike bayonet and long thin barrel would not inspire conficence. The spike style bayonet was also issued for the No. 4 Enfield in Europe. The British did try to follow up with some knife-blade designs but the spikes are pretty numerous. One quote I read from a British infantryman about when they first got the No 4s and spike bayonets was: "the Jerrys just laughed at us".

One must also remember that until our Model 1892 Krag rifle was adopted, almost all our infantry weapons used a spike-type bayonet. The edges on our spikes, post Civil War, were not sharpened. The Brits spikes had sharp edges. and could cut (please don't ask me how I know).

The Johnson spike bayonet does not have sharp edges and only a sharp point on a short blade. I have read that they were popular as 'tent pegs' and 'candle holders' but not much else. The original bayonets are collector's items now and also fairly valuable.
 
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