Page 6 of 12

Re: 1939 Poles errata

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 4:49 pm
by gebhk
The SAW should also have a longer range.

Incidentally, the Polish arrangement of having a SAW team leader seems to be quite unusual (I think only the Romanians have a similar role). In most armies the leadership role is shared between the gunner and one of the squad NCOs. In other words, in the Polish set-up 3 men operate the weapon while the fourth acts in a leadership capacity.

On an altogether different topic regarding the Polish rifle platoon, the platoon second in command (nominally a sergeant or senior sergeant) would not be operating in a leadership capacity in normal circumstances. His role in combat was to manage platoon ammunition (with men pulled from the squads to assist if necessary - typically to load BAR mags), organise an ammunition dump in a static situation, set up a wounded collection point and organise the evacuation of wounded personnel and other stuff as required; organise delivery/collection of food etc. Only if the platoon commander became hors de combat or otherwise become unavailable, would he go forward to take over command.

Re: 1939 Poles errata

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 8:03 pm
by Archdukek
gebhk wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 4:49 pm
Incidentally, the Polish arrangement of having a SAW team leader seems to be quite unusual (I think only the Romanians have a similar role). In most armies the leadership role is shared between the gunner and one of the squad NCOs. In other words, in the Polish set-up 3 men operate the weapon while the fourth acts in a leadership capacity.
Actually that's not that different in effect to the British Bren team where the third crewman is actually the lance corporal selecting targets and directing its fire. Being a team leader does not, however, necessarily qualify the individual for the status of a Junior Leader under the rules.


Re: 1939 Poles errata

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 8:09 pm
by Arlequín
I'm really struggling to understand 'The BAR is 3 dice' mantra, other than 'because the rules say so'. If we're getting hung up on names, I'll remind you that maschinengewehr and fusil-mitrailleur both literally mean 'machine rifle'; which was what was stamped on the first BARs.

The U.S. Army rated the BAR as the equivalent of five riflemen. The equivalency meaning one BAR provided enough suppressive fire to free that number of men to maneouvre.

The M1918A2 BAR was not exactly the same as the original WWI design. It had a heat shield to help with heat diffusion. Its notional combat rate of fire was 80 rounds a minute (compared to 16 for the Garand), its cyclic rate was selectable at 450 or 650 rounds per minute, which I'll use for comparison. It had a bipod.

The Bren had a cyclic rate of 500 rpm, but one magazine a minute was standard, with 'rapid fire' of four magazines per minute (same as the BAR, but 116 rounds fired, rather than 80).

A Bren Gun burst of 3-5 rounds hurts as much as 3-5 rounds from a BAR. The M1918 manual teaches the same lessons as the Bren's (beaten zones, yadda, yadda).

A lone Bren Gunner has a FP of 4, a BAR Gunner is 3. Add an assistant and the Bren Gun goes up to 6, but the BAR stays at 3. You see where I'm going here I'm sure; what does an assistant add to a Bren that he would not to a BAR?

I don't know much aout the wz.1928,. I assume it was the same as the BAR (FN Mle 1930), except for the ribbed (cooling aid) and longer barrel, and pistol grip. The Belgian FN Mle D had similar features, but also a quick change barrel. Both were selected as light machine guns over their competition.

Other 6 dice LMGs compared;

Breda 30 - 20 round stripper clip, cyclic rate 500 rpm.
FM 24/29 - 25 round mag, cyclic rate 450 rpm.
Hotchkiss Mle 1909 - 30 round stripper clip, cyclic rate 400-600 rpm dependent on revised models.
MG 13 - 25 round mag, cyclic rate 600 rpm.
Madsen - 25/30 round mag, cyclic rate 450 rpm.
DP-27 - 47 round pan, cyclic rate 550 rpm.
Type 96 - 30 round mag, cyclic rate 500 rpm.
Type 11 - 30 round hopper, cyclic rate 500 rpm.
M1941 Johnson - 25 round mag, cyclic rate 600 rpm.

Then there is the Lewis Gun with 5 dice, despite a 47 round pan and a cyclic rate of 600 rpm.

Where's the logic?

Re: 1939 Poles errata

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:20 pm
by Truscott Trotter
In the bipod :lol:

Re: 1939 Poles errata

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:59 pm
by andysyk
jdg wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:07 am

Actually in the US Army in "actual combat" the assistant to the Bar gunner was seldom used as such being just another rifleman to the point that in May of '44 the assistant BAR man ammo belt was dropped from the TO&E solder was officially converted to a rifleman.

John I cant find reference to the Assistant being converted to a Rifleman in the TOE even in amendments? I know the belt was dropped. In The Evolution of the Rifle Squad it says that FM-10 March 44 doesn't mention The Assistant just Ammo Bearer, but in the Copy of FM-10 March 44 I have it lists the assistant, hes also still there in the 45 TOE.

The USMC still have them in F series I looked this up because I thought the assistant might of been dropped, as some Raider Regiments used a 3 man fire team where Im sure the BAR was operated solo.

Ive no doubt that in combat many BARs were operated solo, bipods ditched etc and not operated strictly per the manual but I cant find official dropping of the assistant?


Re: 1939 Poles errata

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:32 pm
by andysyk
Arlequín wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 8:09 pm

Where's the logic?
I watched a US wartime training film a while a go and was struck by how similar in practice the BAR Team, in its prescribed 3 man team, was to the British Bren team.

Of course the main argument is that the Bren is superior because primarily it had a detachable barrel, top mounted mag and larger magazine capacity.

A lot of US BAR barrels were it seems burnt out in action.

But as you have pointed out most actual, by the book rates of fire for LMG, are pretty similar across all nations.

However I do believe that an Assistant would be of just as much help to a BAR Gunner as an assistant is to a BREN Gunner.

The Master Arsenal Table is generally quite abstract: a M1 Carbine equals a M1 Garand, a MP44 equals a FG42. All mag fed LMG are 6D.. the BAR stands alone as a specific weapon.

(The Wz.28 had a longer barrel, and pistol grip during production alterations were made to the sights and butt, however it was very similar to the FM.30)

Interestingly in game the FM.30 is a one man 4D weapon, the BREN is a 4D one man weapon.
It doesn't say whether the FM rerolls 1s, or the Chauchat which is also listed for the Belgians as 3 D weapon does either?

Im also now wondering why a Belt Fed LMG loses 3D and mag fed only 2D when reduced to 1 Man in the abstraction of COC, its really not going to take me longer to reload either and the belts still have a greater capacity.

Combined with the varying number of crew in the lists, for what are in effect going by the Master Arsenal the same type of weapon, and the number in some lists bearing no real correlation to what the period manuals considered necessary crew....

I cannot say what would be the answer to the Polish BAR Team!

Re: 1939 Poles errata

Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 1:19 am
by Arlequín
Small Arms Training Light Machine Gun (1942) lists the Bren No.2's responsibilities as ensuring the gunner has enough ammo and he should be as near to the gun as possible, cover permitting.

Both his and the gunner's own magazine's are to remain unused except in an emergency, but he has to collect those carried by the section and pass them to the gunner. He is also to pass out empty mags to the riflemen for re-filling if necessary, from the riflemen's own rounds.

The point is made that the gunner operates the weapon alone, with magazine's placed within his reach, in their pouches.

No apparent reduction in firepower there. I can see the BAR No. 2 doing much the same in some armies, while with the U.S. Army the assistant/ammo carrier probably just toted some extra mags. Certainly removing the bipod was common, but not universal.

FM 7-10 (1949) lists the automatic rifle team as gunner and assistant, and usually led by the assistant squad leader. 1949 Squads were only nine men strong too.

As for belt-fed weapons, the No. 2 would be checking the belts and ensuring they fed into the weapon without fouling I imagine. I'm guessing a stoppage with a canvas belt would mean chucking the belt and getting another, which is slightly slower than swapping magazines and clearing the action. Worth an extra dice removed? I couldn't say.

Incidentally the CSRG (Chauchat) only had a cyclic rate of 240 rpm, truly an 'automatic rifle'.

I'd be quite comfortable with 'BAR teams' getting the same deal as everyone else; so where they're fielded as gunner and assistant, they get +2 dice. Guy using his BAR solo goes with three. Additional team members add their weapon.

Re: 1939 Poles errata

Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:52 am
by Seret
The BAR was in no way technically equivalent to a proper LMG. That's why Rich created a while separate category for it. The combination of small magazines located under the weapon and (most importantly) the lack of a quick-change barrel means it'll never, ever achieve the same practical rate of fire as a better weapon such as the Bren. About the only thing it did that was MG-like (as opposed to rifle-like) war that it fired from an open bolt. But it simply wasn't a fully-realised LMG, even if it was used in place of one.

Cyclic rates aren't important, it's practical rates that count. Practical rate of fire is typically dominated by two considerations:

1) How easily can ammunition be supplied continuously?
2) How is heat managed?

The BAR sucks at both of those. It is an inferior weapon to virtually every LMG. I'm not just being a Rich fanboy, in an ex-armourer and think that he's got the technical properties of the weapon spot on with this one. If the US had any weapon that should probably be treated differently from how it is in the rules it would be the M1919, for which I think 8d6 is very generous.

Re: 1939 Poles errata

Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 9:52 am
by Arlequín
You mean it wasn't technically equivalent to a Bren, which is not the be-all and end-all of Mag LMGs. Note the Belgian version of the BAR that did have a quick change barrel. Note the closed-bolt Breda 30 which fed a 20 round stripper clip into a hinged magazine housing, which was then closed; no quick change barrel and chronic extraction issues. It also fired an antiquated 6.5mm round-nosed bullet, albeit with magical qualities if the Kennedy Assassination is anything to go by.

Would you agree though that it was technically superior to a Chauchat (FP 3) and was closer to the Bren than that?

The Bren can fire just two-bursts more per mag than a BAR, which only impacts on sustained fire, not random bursts and reloading in a firefight. A bottom mag is not that much of a handicap either, plenty of folk here have used the SLR without finding it an issue, albeit the BAR is twice the weight.

Three dice when one guy is packing it solo and toting it like an automatic rifle is fine with me, but when he has the benefit of an assistant, it should go up by two to FP 5; purely because that is what happens with everything else, whether actually correct or not. If I formed an AR Team of BAR and two rifles, I'd get that anyway.

With you on the M1919 though, but that's a different topic.

Re: 1939 Poles errata

Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:54 am
by gebhk
Seret - I don't think anyone is saying that the BAR in whatever form was technically equivalent to a Bren. The question is to what extent did it's technical inferiority in the field of practical ROF and cooling (and superiority in manoeuvrability, magazine charging speed and ammunition consumption) impact on the effectiveness (not efficacy!) of the SAW team as a whole. This depends on a host of factors such as tactical doctrine, training, skill, physical condition, carrying capacity, morale, experience, etc, etc as well as the theoretical practical ROF. Personally, I can't help thinking that in the grand scheme of things, the technical features (dare I say it, number of rivets) is of limited statistical significance and certainly of far less significance that a leap in dice number creates.

Also, I think you are somewhat oversimplifying the issue of output to a theoretical consideration of practical ROF ie magazine size and cooling. In reality this, to me is a, familiar from biology, issue of factors limiting growth. At its most basic, in plants you require sunlight, water and a large range of nutrients for growth to take place. At any given time only supplying more of the one that is currently in the shortest supply will accelerate growth. Supplying increasing amounts of all the others will not speed the process up, because they already have as much as they can use. Similarly with a machine gun. The first limiting factor is ammunition. With no ammunition, it cannot fire and therefore cannot overheat, cannot loose lubrication etc, etc. Only once you have supplied ammunition and started firing, is it worth tackling the next limiting factor. And that supply of ammunition is dependant on the efficiency of the entire team from the factory that produces it, to the network that supplies it to the front and to the BAR team at the sharp end, with all points in between.

Arlequin - I have to disagree on the bottom loading issue. Bottom loading is not a handicap in a hand-held weapon and indeed most hand-held weapons are, I think, bottom-loaders - because the big advantage of bottom/side loading, the mag not interfering with sighting, does not create other major problems. It is not a coincidence that the BAR, one of the few SAWs to be bottom loaded, was initially designed as a hand-held weapon.

However a SAW is primarily designed to fire from the ground and here bottom loading generates two significant problems due to ground clearance. Firstly it limits the height of the magazine. Secondly it necessitates unsighting and resighting the gun at each magazine change. It is perhaps not a coincidence that top and side-loaders tended to have assistant gunners, because it made sense to have a second party reload the weapon, allowing the gunner to maintain LOS and thus shorten the time from reloading to opening fire.