Monday, June 16, 2014

Can Burp Guns Replace Rifles?

Well?  Can they?  1956 wants to know!

Well we know the answer to this one.  Where the even bigger and better idea was flechettes!

Historic background:  The Army figured nobody was shooting at anything even 300 yards away.  MORE volume of fire was the way to go, in their lights.  Instead of a squad where riflemen support one or two machine guns, they thought it's be tits if the whole squad was the equivalent of a machine gunner.  Then they wanted them to be even MORE of a machine gunner!  See projects SALVO and NIBLICK. (One useful thing to come out of those projects is what ended up becoming the M79 grenade launcher.)

I understand the concept and what they were going for with those, but  I was never sold on the whole flechette thing.  And, after many decades of investigation, it actually proved to be unworkable for various reasons.

Fiction has taken up the flechette thing, tho.  Look at the anachronistic Neuromancer, from the 80s.  Where Japan rules the world and the cultural inclusion of Jamaicans into the fabric of America and the world continued unabated and the Soviets were still a thing  (well, the same 'thing' they were then).  Also, Marko went down the flechette path with Mil SciFi books.

[Check out Neuromancer.  An '80's' book as much as The Stand is a '70's' book, (even with Kings small little updates {he put a throwaway line in there are Spuds McKenzie a decade and a half after initial publication} but Gibson invented the terms cyberspace and matrix.])

Yes, if you got them to work flechettes would be great.  A 3mm or maybe smaller tungsten needle, get the speed up to 4000 ft/s...

In the '56 article it's mostly submachine guns.  Because, Burp Guns, of course.  The newest, most exciting one is the Uzi, and it's really the only post war gun there.  (The Israeli-Egyptian border is cloak in 'velvet darkness.'  Who knew?) The only thing different is the StG44.  The AK47, only 9 years old, isn't even on the radar of a western, civilian, firearms periodical.  And the M14 is still the T-47.  No one is thinking 5.56 military carbines.

Short answer:  Widespread submachinegun usage by miltary forces was a transition period to something new and different. The real thing to watch is the increased ability to make a bomb or shell of some sort explode over there, where the bad guys are.  But the crystal ball of 1956 wasn't quite there yet.

But the best part of that article, the snippet that enthralled me, was about a Cook...


Daniel Watters said...

Warrant Officer Loren C. Cook was another sad case of a small arms inventor who over-promised and under-delivered. His design weighed around twice as much as he claimed, and he had to be smoking the wacky weed if he thought a 10" barrel SMG was going to achieve 1,600 fps with .45 ACP. (But...but...the barrel is twice as long as the M1911!)

FWIW: The T47 lost out to the T44 to become the M14. Also check out the article on the sad state of Colt.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Dangit, Dan! Don't steal tomorrow's thunder!