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"American ammo suply" Topic


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Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2013 11:58 a.m. PST

So I'm reading Sledges book from pelulu and okinawa.
And he mentioned the stanard/offical loadout for someone expected to be in heavy combat was 100 rifle rounds, or 45 carbine rounds, 14 .45 rounds or 1100 mg rounds or 100 mortar rounds.

Now the MG and mortar sounds ok, could be more mg rounds.
but seriously 100 Garand rounds go quick, thats just a few minutes of heavy combat with lots of cover fire.
and 45 carbine rounds is even worse, thats 3 mags.

Sledge also said he personaly carried 3 mags, 1 on the stock, 2 in the belt, and 15 lose rounds in the backpack.
Now as a mortar man he wasn't supose to run around and give coverfire, his carbine was PDW. But still. it seem very little.

I always thought soldiers would drop everything except for ammo and water.

Was there some fire disiplin to make those 100 rifle rounds last longer? or did the soldiers carry much more ammo then the offical guides?

Fingerspitzengefuhl10 Jun 2013 12:18 p.m. PST

Most armies have official combat loads of various ammunition types. This allows logistics planning and SOPs.

The number of magazines may be limited, so bandoliers would be carried.

Personal experience is these are massively modified to the mission, troops may carry double loads, extra grenades for OBUA, more AT weapons if there is an armour threat, and of course link! Rifle companies carrying forward extra 81mm mortar rounds to pre dump for the mortar platoon.

fred12df10 Jun 2013 12:18 p.m. PST

100 mortar rounds – how could an individual carry that much??

C Anders J10 Jun 2013 12:31 p.m. PST

The 100 mortar rounds (if that's the correct number) would be spread across the mortar squad. Rounds weighed about 3lbs each.

Gary Kennedy Inactive Member10 Jun 2013 12:36 p.m. PST

The 1945 USMC Rifle Squad manual assumed 75 rounds (five mags) for the Squad Leader's Carbine, and in the Fire Teams 80 rounds per M1 rifle and 21 mags per BAR. Those serving crewed weapons (MGs and mortars) may have gone with fewer rounds due to all the other kit they had to carry.

The US Army also had Units of Fire, one of those things I've heard about but never followed up on. I understand it was the ammunition allowance for weapons by type, and possibly period in action. I 'think' there was a difference for Pacific scales as well.

Gary

Edit – should've just googled it…

link

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2013 12:50 p.m. PST

Perhaps he meant 45 carbine rounds for a guy who was part of a gun crew or crew served weapon? I would not consider it the standard load for someone who carried a carbine as their main weapon but I guess you could make the argument that leaders tended to carry carbines and, as such, it was not their primary job to be trigger pullers.

Personal logo Mserafin Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2013 1:17 p.m. PST

I would not consider it the standard load for someone who carried a carbine as their main weapon but I guess you could make the argument that leaders tended to carry carbines and, as such, it was not their primary job to be trigger pullers.

Pulling triggers wasn't the main job of anyone who was issued a carbine. Trigger-pullers (infantrymen) got M1s or BARS. Carbines went to everyone who wasn't infantry – gun crews, radiomen, drivers, etc. Officers weren't issued carbines, but they pretty much carried what they wanted so many chose carbines. I would guess they carried more than 45 rounds if they thought they were going to be fighting with it.

Mako11 Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member10 Jun 2013 1:25 p.m. PST

I've read stuff like that as well, but seems way to low to me, by a factor of 5 or 10, especially when one considers how many shots it actually takes to hit something.

Personal logo Jeff Ewing Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2013 1:49 p.m. PST

What's interesting about that unit fire table Gary Kennedy linked to is that it corresponds exactly to Gunfreak's figures -- indicating that it is not

the stanard/offical loadout for someone expected to be in heavy combat
but an approximation of ammo use in one day of combat.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2013 1:57 p.m. PST

"Pulling triggers wasn't the main job of anyone who was issued a carbine. Trigger-pullers (infantrymen) got M1s or BARS. Carbines went to everyone who wasn't infantry gun crews, radiomen, drivers, etc. Officers weren't issued carbines, but they pretty much carried what they wanted so many chose carbines. I would guess they carried more than 45 rounds if they thought they were going to be fighting with it."

Thats only true officaly, Both Airborne and Marines had carbines in thier front line troops. the marines liked them as they were small and easy to use in the jungle, also even when the carbine was mostly for NCOs, mortarmen and ammo carries, duty rotated, Sledge said they all did duty as riflemen. and so carbines would be found atleast some times in rifle squads.

And NCOs fired their weapons as much as anyone, and so again the carbine would be used in anger quite often.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2013 3:31 p.m. PST

".45 caliber automatic revolver"

Hmmmm…..

Personal logo Mserafin Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2013 3:36 p.m. PST

so again the carbine would be used in anger quite often.

Oh, I quite agree. But since the thread was talking about the "official" ammo load, I thought it would be relevant to mention the "official" allocation of weapons. You know, those regulations that exist to be ignored in actual combat situations.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2013 4:36 p.m. PST

"Oh, I quite agree. But since the thread was talking about the "official" ammo load, I thought it would be relevant to mention the "official" allocation of weapons. You know, those regulations that exist to be ignored in actual combat situations."

Ah ok, now we are on the same track, yes I agree, the Carbine was supose to take the place of the .45 as a "sidearm" for truck/tank drivers. So it was never supose to be used acordingt to the army, in amy type of front line unit.

The carbine is a nice gun, sure underpowered, the .45 was problebly more powerfull and bigger stopper, but the carbine was acurrat out to 200 yards, which is alot longer then a pistol. so mabye now and then you had put a few more rounds into the enemy.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2013 5:01 p.m. PST

While it is true that you can shoot that off quickly it is also true that troops in combat often were fairly careful about how much they fired – certainly they were in WWII if you believe Marshall's book Men Against Fire (which not everyone does!)

Personal logo optional field Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2013 5:16 p.m. PST

I've read somewhere, perhaps in was in Band of Brothers or something else by Ambrose, that US front line infantry often carries 2-3 times their alloted allowance of ammo.

More food for thought: 1000 rounds is not that much ammo to fire from a tripod mounted MG, but I've read lots of reports from GIs who complained about burning out the barrels in the M1919s because changing barrels took too long and they couldn't stop to do it. If they only had 1000 rounds that wouldn't be a problem.

badger2210 Jun 2013 5:31 p.m. PST

First, ammo is very heavy. one hundred round doesnt sound like much until you have to lug it up a hil in the tropics. Second, you only spend a limited amount of time actualy fireing.You just dont lay down a continuos stream for a minute or two and then you are out. you fire when needed. Also there is a common misconception that there is just huge mounds of ammo laying around and you can just scoop up however much you want. Simply not rrue. Most armys are pretty strick on how much ammo they hand out as troops issued to much will just chuck it at the first opertunety.

If you are an NCO and spending a lot of time you are not doing your job. Troops dont just need supervision, they need direction. You only have so much focus and when you spend it on one thing you are not doing something else. So while you are concintrating on your sight picture, you are not noticing that the opfor is trying to roll a team around your right flank.

Some years ago at a range I put almost 70 rounds through my Mauser KAR98, rechanmber to 30-06, in about 25 minutes. It got so hot, I could not not work the bolt any more. even if I had had 200 rounds they where not going through that gun any faster. I dont know how many rounds it would take to cause my Gerand to jam from heat, but probably not much more than that. It heats up rather quickly, but I have never had occasion to test how fast I could use up ammo. Stuff is to expensive anymore to do things like that.

As for Men against fire, i dont think anybody believes it anymore. It was considered flawed by many when it first came out. Then SLAs driver ratted him out that he had not even visited many of the units he claimed to have, and even when he did he did not really do the indepth interviews he claimed. And, if you count up the number of them he claims to have done, and how long t was supposed to take, ypu realize he must have had on of those time back-up things they had in one of the Harry Potter movies, as there was just not enough time to do them all in the time period it was supposed to happen. He had an idea, and was so sure he was right he did not need to go through the effort to get the real data.

Owen

tuscaloosa10 Jun 2013 5:57 p.m. PST

Supposedly one of the signs of inexperienced troops is carrying (and expecting to use) too much ammunition.

Lion in the Stars10 Jun 2013 5:58 p.m. PST

One Russian 440rd spamcan of 7.62x54R weighs 26.5 lbs, and roughly 1.5 lbs of that is the can itself.

To make your head hurt for a second, the PSL/Dragunov platoon snipers in Soviet service carried 4x 10rd magazines. Not sure how much loose ammo they carried, though.

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member10 Jun 2013 6:17 p.m. PST

Heres are some good sites,

Combat Load of the Average Infantry Soldier
link

Just for paratroopers,

MARK BANDO'S WEBSITE
Individual Ammunition Loads for Normandy-506th PIR
link


WW2 PARATROOPER Basic Load For The Normandy Invasion ( D-Day)
link

Robert

Skarper10 Jun 2013 8:06 p.m. PST

I think the official loads though seemingly low are not unreasonable. More ammo was surely available well forward in the supply chain and could be moved up as needed.

MG ammo at 1100 rounds for an M1919A4 seems low but with only 3 men moving gun, tripod and ammo it's all you could manage easily. In defence more would be dumped/stockpiled.

Despite the theory of fire and movement at squad platoon level I'm guessing in reality supporting fire from MGs, mortars, artillery, tanks etc provided the fire while the leg infantry provided the movement – only firing their small arms during the final assault or to repel counterattacks.

The Germans went along with 60 rifle rounds and lugged extra MG ammo. The British issued 50 rifle rounds and 2 BREN magazines to their riflemen.

You see photos of British and Americans slung with bandoliers of rifle ammo and while I suspect this is a more convenient way to carry the normal load it might indicate an extra 50 rounds – but I'm not really convinced.

SLAM – who shamelessly fabricated his data – was still onto something. Infantrymen seldom fired to any concrete effect and often didn't fire at all in combat. I think training in the US at least has led to an increase in small arms fire volume on the basis that it might achieve something and keeps men's heads up and not cowering.

There are lots of quotes and anecdotal evidence to accord with what SLAM advanced.

I've read somewhere one senior British officer said the infantrymen in NWE could have been armed with pitchforks and still achieved their objectives. An exageration of course but there is some truth in it. Wigram seemed to believe something similar to SLAM's hypothesis.

In wargames – every little lead or plastic man shoots at every opportunity. The guys rolling the dice don't want to do paperwork so no-one tracks ammo expenditure. This gives us a false impression and since it is an activity rather than passive reading it tends to have more impact on how we think and learn about WW2.

Films and TV are not exciting if all the grunts do is lie in the mud and wait for arty or air to finish the job! Thereby adding to our misconceptions.

They just showed Saving Private Ryan on HBO here and it's so littered with stupid mistakes I can't watch it anymore.

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member10 Jun 2013 8:28 p.m. PST

In regards to carrying extra ammo and the such there is also the M3A4 Hand Cart.
"One of the most popular small US Army 'vehicles' of WW2 is without doubt the M3A4 Hand Cart.
A general misconception is that this was an Airborne item and only used by paratroops. In fact the Cart was a standard Ordnance item used by every branch of the US Army to haul ammunition and equipment.
Two carts could be transported in the back of the 2 1/2 Ton Trucks on the floor of the bed between the rows of seated troops."
theliberator.be/handcart.htm

There are some really nice photos of them in use on this site. Robert

Skarper10 Jun 2013 9:51 p.m. PST

Another great find Kaoschallenged. Kudos.

It's obvious really that armies would make use of such items – the Germans had their IF8 hand cart too.

The British must have had something similar.

The point is in a 'normal' engagement assault troops have to balance mobility with ammunition load. Sometimes they got this disatrously wrong of course.

With the advent of 5.56mm ammo and full auto fire there was a doctinal shift. Troops started to use suppressive fire with their rifles for longer periods of time. This coincided with the US misdaventure in Vietnam and a style of infantry combat that often had little in common with WW2 or Korea.

I understand it was practice to carry 400 rounds of 5.56mm in Vietnam and many troops carried far more.

thomalley11 Jun 2013 10:18 a.m. PST

So how much ammo was at the company hq. That would only be about 200 yds from any platoon hg.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2013 11:13 a.m. PST

While I agree that Marshall's work was flawed there is a fair volume of work from other authors and other wars that supports it – plus the changes in training doctrine that resulted have made Western armies very, very effective in the field

I also agree that the army doesn't have open bins full of ammo with "take me!" signs on them!

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member11 Jun 2013 12:55 p.m. PST

Thanks Skarper. I remember the scene with John Wayne being put into the M3A4 cart. Robert

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