Small Caliber Rounds! What Are They Good For?

8xHi12

It’s not commonly remembered in today’s world of .22 caliber infantry rifles that once upon a time .30″ was “small caliber”, and with that came all of the doubts an questions about wounding and killing power of such small bullets. LooseRounds has posted an 1891* article by the New York Times, entitled “What Are They Good For? Speculation As To The Value of Small-Calibre Pieces”, expressing such concern about the effectiveness of the new miniature ammunition:

In further comment, Captain Surgeon Marsh points out that, inasmuch as the resisting surface offered to the fact of a small-calibre bullet has been thus reduced, the ball penetrates and passes through the tissues without having expended much of its energy in their destruction. Its track is so narrow that there is practically no destruction of substance in its path. Such a ball might pass through a large joint without touching the bones, or between the two bones of the forearm or leg without injuring them in the slightest, thus producing nothing more than a simple flesh wound, not grave enough to place the wounded man hors de combat.

A larger calibre ball, say of the Martini type, .45 calibre, striking in similar situations would inevitably shock the system and shatter the bones to such an extent as totally to disable the soldier for many months, if not for life. In adopting a lighter and smaller calibre ball there is sacrified to a great extent the stopping power and shock possessed by the larger missiles. Impart shot produced by the magazine bullet is also further mitigated by the fineness or sharpness of the missle’s point. Then, too passage through the tissues of the body is further facilitated by the rapid rotary movement around its long exist which is the property of all moving rifle bullets. This rotation aids in screwing the point onward and facilitates the penetration of a moderately resisting substance.

In consequence of the great penetrating power of the small-calibre ball, the belief is ventured that in many instances this power is likely to prove a useless surplus, purchased at the expense of a decrease destructive power. As to the ability claimed for the small caliber bullet of being able to pass in succession through the bodies of men three and even four feet deep, little value, it is thought, comes from this fact, owing to the open formations employed in the field tactics of the present day. As a result of the use of the high-powered small-calibre rifle, military surgeons will doubtless find, in working over wounded men, (1) diminished shock; (2) wounds clean-cut, much decreased in size, and with little destruction of parts; (3) wounds uncomplicated by the lodgement of the ball, or by splinters of lead, or any other foreign body; (4) union of wounds by “first intention,” and rapid recovery.

According to the Captain Surgeon Marsh, there is every reason to believe that in consequence of the small-calibre ball future engagements will be marked by resulting large numbers of wounded, of which the majority will be only slightly wounded, and capable of returning to the ranks if skillfully treated in the course of a few weeks. Whether this fact is advantageous or not is a queston for military ment to consider.
There is at least the benefit of hampering and enemy with crowded hospital trains, but if this same enemy can from time to time be reinforced by large numbers of recovered men, soldiers of experience, the effect will be one not heretofore counted upon.

Here we can see similar concerns to those that faced (and still do) the .22 caliber ammunition used in the past half-century: Reduced diameter will lead to a lack of “shock” or stopping power, smaller caliber bullets will leave their targets laid up for only a short while with only minor flesh wounds, and finally, that if small caliber rounds do prove to be any use at all, it will only be to clog the enemy’s lines with wounded. The article is even rounded out by a paragraph praising the legendary maiming power of larger-caliber rounds.

Early small-caliber rounds such as the .303 British did experience some effectiveness issues in their initial round-nosed form. This form of bullet not only lost energy rapidly compared to later streamlined projectiles, but also remained stable in tissue to a great depth, and were clad with tough metal jackets designed to hold the bullets together at the high velocity at which they were fired. Many solutions were found to this problem including the early jacketed hollow point, an invention generally attributed to the British. Eventually, the aerodynamic spitzer projectile replaced the older round-nosed one, and brought with it a much flatter trajectory, higher velocities, better energy retention, and perhaps most importantly a much shorter depth at which the round loses stability in tissue and deposits its energy, effectively solving in a manner compliant with the Hague convention the effectiveness limitations of small-caliber projectiles.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Ken

    In 1891, the British were using the Lee Metford with Mk.I ammo which was black powder and a jacketed slug. Of course the .577/450 of the Martini was deadlier due to a heavier charge of powder and a larger slug of paper patched lead. However, they switched to Cordite smokeless powder that same year, though it was still that same heavy, round nose slug.

  • echelon

    Oh the never ending “magic bullet” conundrum…

    *yawn*

    Until I can vaporize bad guys with just my thoughts I’ll continue to assume that no matter what caliber I’m shooting it’s going to take multiple shots to stop the threat. If by chance or by proper shot placement the threat is neutralized in one shot, well then all the better! Always under promise and over deliver I say!

    • Hyok Kim

      In the issue of personal defense, bullets for small arms matter. In the issue of winning wars, the issue of what caliber of bullets in small arms matter very little if at all.

  • Zachary marrs

    So, you’re telling me at one point, people with the .30 caliber guns were made fun of because they had “poodle shooters”?

    BRB, going to the m1a forums

    • Tom

      Make sure to buy a Trapdoor or Martini-Henry first and post some pictures. That will get their attention then you can explain how they are firing bullets of only 66% of what they need to get the job done.

      • Ken

        Those tiny bullets won’t do crap against the natives. You’ll want a .75 cal Brown Bess.

        • Kivaari

          In the 1880’s there was quite a bit of down-sizing of bullets (diameter and weight) while still using black powder. When new cartridges of .40″ or less were used the flat trajectory and retrained energy impressed the selection boards. While the small caliber .35″-.40″ came along, they were just becoming obsolete, because the 6mm-8mm on top of smokeless powder and with jacketed bullets was the way forward. The small bore bullets work. It’s like using a .458 Win on deer, the damn things act like they were not hit. Then a hunter uses a .243 Win and the “knock ’em off their feet” performance was amazing to see.
          I still contend the 6.5mm Mannlicher rounds were all we needed, as long as a good bullet was used.
          In John George’s book, “Shots Fired in Anger” (NRA press) he recounts how some of his men went to packing 6.5mm Japanese rifles and ammo, over the heavier US Issue. For those few men, doing the jobs they did, it worked fine.
          In the American Rifleman article about Col. George an old friend let it be known that George had used the M1 CARBINE to kill around 35 Japs, most being one shot kills.
          Interviews of Japanese prisoners, officers, found that the Japs lost every battle, once the M1 RIFLE came on scene.
          We certainly see failures in all calibers. We also see good performance out of the mouse guns.

          • Hyok Kim

            While I agree with you on the issue of effectiveness of ‘small’ caliber rifle bullet. The Japanese didn’t lose the battles because of M1 rifle. They lost it due to poor logistics, and even poorer grand strategy from their senior command. If the Japanese had been armed with M1 rifles, and U.S. armed with 03s, it would not have changed the course of war, not a bit.

          • Kivaari

            My source is from the interviews of Japanese officers caught alive on Guadalcanal. They appear in “Shots Fired in Anger”, by Lt. Col. John George. He was commenting on interviews of Japanese POWs as they relate to the fighting there. Japan lost the war for all the reasons you list. I would disagree concerning the reversal of weapons. Our casualties would have been higher and many of the contacts with the enemy would not have gone well for our troops.
            Our forces usually had 10 times as much as the Japs had. The Japanese wanted to have a rifle as effective as our M1. Japan, like Germany, lost the war because they bit off more than they could chew. Both nations wanted access to natural resources that could have been purchased. But, they wanted to take it without due compensation. They wanted those resources to allow them to implement takeovers and create new spheres of influence that had their racial ideas realized. Japan’s co-prosperity region without white people. Germany wanted the living space with no Jews or Slavs. Without the desire of the racist regimes, there was no reason to start the wars.
            In keeping with the theme of George’s book. the M1 turned the tide and markedly lowered the number of casualties on our side. Having the M1 rifle, and the supply train to keep our troops fed and with enough ammo, won the war.

          • Hyok Kim

            “My source is from the interviews of Japanese officers caught alive on Guadalcanal. They appear in “Shots Fired in Anger”, by Lt. Col. John George. He was commenting on interviews of Japanese POWs as they relate to the fighting there.”

            Another word, from those seeing the trees for the forest?

            “I would disagree concerning the reversal of weapons. Our casualties would have been higher and many of the contacts with the enemy would not have gone well for our troops.

            Our forces usually had 10 times as much as the Japs had. The Japanese wanted to have a rifle as effective as our M1.”

            Yes, but that wouldn’t have mattered even if the Japanese had M1, to put the amount of volume of fire as G.I. did, would have required far more efficient logistics system, which they didn’t have. How was one going to put M1 to good use without enough ammo?

            Not only Japan didn’t have the logistics system as good as U.S. they didn’t even have the industrial base, or the natural resources that U.S. had, and that was the main reason why they had to go to war like you pointed out earlier,

            “Japan, like Germany, lost the war because they bit off more than they could chew.”

            I guess I disagree on this one. Axis lost the war because they were being penny-wise and dollar foolish, mistaking the trees for the forest. Obsessing about winning battles, instead of war.

            Basically their idea of winning war was one wins the war by winning one battle at a time. Individual courage and skill is far more important than mere logistics. Kinda like some people in the gun community.

            “Both nations wanted access to natural resources that could have been purchased.”

            U.S. had launched an oil embargo against Japan even though she was not in war with U.S.

            “But, they wanted to take it without due compensa tion.”

            How had U.S. taken the land from the natives of North America?

            How had British, France, Dutch, Belgium, Russia built their empire prior to WW2?

            “They wanted those resources to allow them to implement takeovers and create new spheres of influence that had their racial ideas realized. Japan’s co-prosperity region without white people. Germany wanted the living space with no Jews or Slavs. Without the desire of the racist regimes, there was no reason to start the wars.”

            Were U.S. Britain, France, the rest of Western Democracies not racist?

            “In keeping with the theme of George’s book. the M1 turned the tide and markedly lowered the number of casualties on our side.”

            I’ll agree about lowering casualties a little bit, but it didn’t turn the tide. The proper credit should go to U.S logistics, U.S. Navy. They were responsible for turning the tide. Without them, no amount of M1 would have made the difference.

            “Having the M1 rifle, and the supply train to keep our troops fed and with enough ammo, won the war.”

            Actually, what mattered even more was Japanese decision not to invade Soviet Union in conjunction with Germany. Had she done it, that alone would have enabled the Axis to win the war.

            No amount M1 Garand would have changed the course of war, with the Soviet Union knocked out early in the war.

          • Kivaari

            You are looking at the big picture. I was not. I was looking at individual firefights between squads and companies. We all know that our ability to feed and equip our troops and those of our allies is what won the war. It turned out that way, since neither Japan nor Germany could match the ability of their enemy to arm and feed the troops. I don’t need to see the big picture, since that is not what I was commenting on. You are still looking at the forest, while I am interested in those face to face contacts. In those battles the rifle, machineguns and arty, used in a coordinated way,

    • Anonymoose

      Real men shoot rifled 12-gauges.

    • mcducky

      maybe poodles were bigger then?

      • The Real Teal’c

        LOL!

    • Kivaari

      Yep!! It did not take the European armies long to figure things out. Our first real field service with substantial casualties was the Spanish-American War. Surgeons of the day were treating flesh wounds and putting men back into the field shortly after two weeks of wound care. What amazed me is the studies showed that simply cleaning the wound, was all that was needed, all without the aid of antibiotics.

      • Hyok Kim

        The Spanish troops were armed with Mauser with it rapid stripper loading, U.S. armed with slow loading Krags. U.S. still won the war. There is a lot more than superior small arms in the cause for the victory.

        • Kivaari

          You are missing the point. We had an easier way to resupply the American volunteer forces. We learned from that war that our Krag rifles and carbines were inferior. We also had quite a few men armed with .45-70 Trapdoor rifles. Spain never could field and sustain a large fighting force. Spanish naval forces were inferior.
          It was another war that did not need to be fought. Another war started on a false premise. Had it not been for the US ability to keep troops supplied and our allies, we would have had a harder time in every war.
          We did not need to have most of our wars. Like WW1, a feud between royal cousins. WW2 greedy and racist nations dragged the world into a war.

          • Hyok Kim

            “You are missing the point. We had an easier way to resupply the American volunteer forces. We learned from that war that our Krag rifles and carbines were inferior. We also had quite a few men armed with .45-70 Trapdoor rifles. Spain never could field and sustain a large fighting force. Spanish naval forces were inferior.” – Kivaari

            No, I’m just reminding you your notion that M1 Garand was responsible for winning the war because it was superior small arms.

            Logistics is far more important than superior small arms.

            Just look at German Tiger tanks, superior to U.S. Sherman in combat, but from logistics point of view, a total disaster.

            “It was another war that did not need to be fought.” – Kivaari

            I am not so sure about that. U.S. got Subic bay as a result, nice spot to keep on watch in the Pacific.

            “Another war started on a false premise.” – KIvaari

            I’ll agree on that. Still, less false than those Indian wars. So what else is new?

            “Had it not been for the US ability to keep troops supplied and our allies, we would have had a harder time in every war.” – Kivaari

            War 101, so what else is new?

            “We did not need to have most of our wars.” – Kivaari

            On this one, I disagree. Revolutionary War, obvious.

            Civil War, obvious, but not for the reason most cited.

            Indian Wars, those wars based on false premise, and the violation of treaties, absolutely necessary for the economic foundation of U.S. as a superpower.

            “Like WW1, a feud between royal cousins.” – Kivaari

            U.S. actually should have intervened on behalf of Central Powers, it would have been good both for U.S. and the World overall.

            “WW2 greedy and racist nations dragged the world into a war.” – Kivaari

            U.S. Britain, France, Dutch, Belgium, Portugal, Soviet Union were not greedy and racist?

          • Sam Helm

            While we are at it, you need to remember that the Navy and Marines were armed with the Winchester-Lee in 6mm Navy. It was a straight pull bolt action using a 5 round stripper clip, and was really fast in operation.

  • Anonymoose

    .45 and .50 were considered small in the days of .58 and .60cal muskets, too.

    • That’s correct! Somewhere around here I have one of the testing documents for the early US .45 caliber experiments, which explicitly refers to them as “small-caliber”.

      • Zachary marrs

        It’d be awesome if you could post those!

        • I’ll have to dig it out of my archives (badly organized, I’m afraid). Basically, it was a scrap of one of the early .45 caliber tests that said the .45 caliber was judged to have equal trajectory and lethality to the .50-70, but with lower recoil and shooter fatigue.

          • dan citizen

            … and years from now, The Firearm Blog (in the form of a sentient mist) will be arguing about those days in our distant past where gargantuan cartridges in the 4.5 – 5.56 tange were actually considered small.

            “It is almost like todays debate between .5mm and .6mm, except they used burning powder to propel those blobs of lead”

  • RealitiCzech

    Damn shame I can’t find any source of modern Howdahs in .416 Rigby. These little 44 Magnums just don’t have the punch to take out the dervishes.

    • iksnilol

      I know, right? People are wimps nowadays. “What do you mean there aren’t any 9.3mm Brenneke pistols!?”

  • Don Ward

    Square bullets! That’s right, square bullets are the best solution for teaching Turks, infidels and savages the benefit of Western civilization.

    We have had the answer for three centuries but “The Man” doesn’t want you to know. Spread the word!

    #Hiptobesquarebullet

    • Zachary marrs

      He is referring to the puckle gun, before anyone gets butthurt

      • iksnilol

        I was about to mention that. Don’t know how to feel about it since I am one of those “infidels” it was intended against.

        I think I will just chuckle and move on.

        • Zachary marrs

          If you convert, we will only shoot you with the circular rounds

          • iksnilol

            That made me actually laugh out loud… that doesn’t happen too often so thanks for that.

            Also, won’t both hurt like a [insert expletive here]? I presume the square ones would hurt like more [expletives] than the round ones?

          • Zachary marrs

            That was the point, iirc

            I dont even think it could fire the square rounds

            Getting shot by anything back then usually meant death

          • Tom

            Considering these would be unjacketed soft lead bullets I doubt the square ones would of stayed square – assuming of course that anyone was actually able to get them to fire.

  • nova3930

    Go 700 Nitro or go home!

  • Anonymoose

    The right answer is 20mm.

    • Jon Ugalde

      QLZ-87 is the close quarters answer!

      • iksnilol

        Don’t forget the GM-94 in a drop leg holster! Also having a sawn off M79 in an ankle holster wouldn’t be too bad.

        I couldn’t do better, you all took the good options.

      • The Real Teal’c

        NEOPUP IS MORE BOSS!!

    • Roger V. Tranfaglia

      Whoo Raa!

  • iksnilol

    45? That was the old time equivalent of 5.56 AKA weakling stuff. Go at least for something in the .500 range.

  • Sam Helm

    You might look at the Winchester Hotchkiss, Remington Lee, or Remington Keene (may be Keane). They all saw active service in the USN, and were all .45-70 Black Powder bolt action repeaters, with at least five round magazines. The Lee magazine was even a detachable box, just like today. There were trials with all three, but the Ordnance Board thought they would lead to a waste of ammunition, so the decision was to retain the Trap Door. Tell me — is a .45-70 repeater a black powder assault rifle?

  • Zebra Dun

    “My rocks bigger than your rock”
    > Unknown Cro Magnum man<

    • Hyok Kim

      One can throw smaller rock farther, and faster, and more accurately, plus one can carry more small rocks.

  • I gotta say, I would much rather be shot with a lead round ball at 900 ft/s than a 55gr JHP moving at over 3,000 ft/s. The former doesn’t fragment your bones into little bits if it hits you right. This is provided that I have access to modern medicine in both cases, of course.

    The early full metal jacket round nosed “small caliber” military bullets did have terminal effectiveness issues… But also, I suspect the perception of them as “flesh wound” makers at the time was mostly due to rapidly improving medical practices.

    • Hyok Kim

      Actually, Fairbairn in his ‘Shooting to live’ had far greater respect for Mauser 7.62 or 65 than 45acp and 455 webley. Fairbairn was involved in all forms of combat, both hand to hand, knife, and small arms.

      Fairbarin, better to have high velocity and small caliber, than low velocity, and bigger caliber, irrespective of bullet shape.

      • Kivaari

        The modern bullet, driven at the right velocity, will cause significant wounds. A bullet that tumbles will make a bigger wound. A round ball at low velocity doesn’t tumble. Almost any bullet regardless of shape will create dramatic wounds when bone is struck.. Nathan is right, that 900 FPS round ball will do less than a 5.56mm moving so much faster. A .30 caliber pistol (.32 ACP,.32 S&W, 7.65mm Luger or 7.63mm Mauser and its faster relative 7.62x25mm) will leave rather small wounds unless bone gets hit. The .45 caliber pistols with jacketed bullets leave simple holes, unless bone is struck. Getting hit by little pistol bullets just don’t do much as long as no vital organ is hit. The revolvers used in Fairbairns Asian workplace was the .380 (.38 S&W) with jacket bullets. By any standards the .380 doesn’t do much. A 32 ACP certainly can’t do much compared to the .45 ACP, even if bone is struck.

        • Hyok Kim

          “A .30 caliber pistol (.32 ACP,.32 S&W, 7.65mm Luger or 7.63mm Mauser and its faster relative 7.62x25mm) will leave rather small wounds unless bone gets hit.” – Kivaari

          In his ‘Shooting to Live’, Fairbairn mentioned 7.63mm Mauser was far more effective than 45acp in stopping power.

          “The revolvers used in Fairbairns Asian workplace was the .380 (.38 S&W) with jacket bullets.” – Kivaari

          In his ‘Shooting to live’, Fairbairn was talking about .455 Webley. He wasn’t impressed with its stopping power.

  • Darren Hruska

    Well, ballistic research has come a long way since the 19th century. Since then, humans have invented “smaller caliber” cartridges that do practically everything those old “large caliber” cartridges do and then more. Higher bullet velocities, lower recoil, flatter trajectories, better wounding capabilities, and so on. This was made possible by advances in propellants, cases, and especially bullet design (such as hollow points and spitzer bullets). It even continues today, where we’re constantly trying to create smaller cartridges that are ballistically superior to larger cartridges (look at the 6.XXmm vs. 7.62mm hype these days).
    Besides which, even a “huge” bullet is still absolutely puny in comparison with the human body. Shot placement will ALWAYS be king, and with rifle cartridges, secondary wounding effects can hold a ton of importance also (which is more apparent with modern, “small-caliber” ammo).

  • hod0r

    Lead round balls made very confined, caliber-sized wounds. Minie balls, when striking at sufficient velocity, would splinter bones, as do modern rifle cartridges. The biggest difference between then and now is the quality of wound care.

  • TDog

    .22 IS a small round. In nowhere other than maybe the Lollipop Guild is .22 caliber considered anything other than miniscule. Yes, maybe once upon a time .30 caliber or even .45 caliber was considered small, but as we do not live in Bizarro Land, I’m going to assume that even during those days, .22 caliber was considered even smaller.

    .22 caliber is great if you want to shoot someone about fifteen times and then wait for them to bleed to death, but real men use guns that fire bullets the size of trashcans and kill entire family trees in one hit.

    Okay, okay… I’m just funnin’. I’ve got nothing against .22’s or any other caliber that doesn’t sound like ad copy for male douches… like .300 X-Black Whisper Commando Special Operations Delta Ripper Talon or some such nonsense.

  • Alex Nicolin

    Caliber is mostly irrelevant when it comes to “stopping power” and barrier penetration ability. What matters is bullet shape, construction and velocity as well as the ability of shoot it accurately which depends on recoil, drop and wind drift. The US could have went to the smaller calibers much earlier. It almost got it right with the 6 mm Lee Navy. Had they transitioned to spitzer, boat tail bullets, around 105 gn it would have made for a terrific cartridge.

    • Kivaari

      Yep! The failure of the “small bore rifles” could have been fixed by simply picking a better bullet, and properly marked rear sights. The 6.5mm M-S was an excellent caliber. The major trouble with the 6.5 rifles were the bore diameters were not held to high enough standards. Styer had rifles with groove diameters from 6.54 to 6.58mm.
      The Italian rifles used .268 diameter bullets. I was always laughed at when I suggested the Italian round was an excellent choice if it was fed with spritzer bullets.
      It seems that todays 6.5mm Creedmore can deliver what is needed.

  • Camilo Emiliano Rosas Echeverr

    Let’s take back lined volley fire, prone-shooting suppressive fire is for pansies!

  • Zachary marrs

    My squares are indeed round

    My rounds are also squares

    Drugs are bad mmkkay?

    In all seriousness i meant “rounds” as in “a round of ammunition”

  • Jamie Clemons

    Then we get into the whole battle rifle argument.

  • Mack

    Amazing comments from people who have never taken a bullet, take it from someone that has, even small bullets kill very easily and it makes no difference the size but the day after you get shot, is worse than the worst hangover you have ever felt, and hell yea laughing can bring about tears of extreme pain.

  • petru sova

    Big Bore v/s Small Bore has been going on since even before the famous Jack O’Conner v/s Elmer Keith gun rag debates but as far back as 1900 Agnes Herbert and W.D.M.Bell killed even elephants with the 6.5 mm. Agnes Herbert who hunted on 3 continents and shot more game than most men today could do in 10 lifetimes stated ” I found no difference whatsoever in the killing power of the 6.5 as compared to my double barreled .450 express”. “The only difference noted was a slightly larger blood trail the animal left when shot”.

    • Kivaari

      The .303 was quite popular as well. Same for the .318 (8mm Jaeger, pre-.323 Mauser). The .303 was popular because ammo was cheap and the 10 round magazine.

  • Kivaari

    Hats off to Monty Python. Watch out for killer rabbits as well.

  • Hyok Kim

    There is a lot more than simply ‘dealiness’ of the bullet. Some folks still retain the childish habit. If I cannot see them, then they cannot see me. If it hurts my hand, my shoulder when firing my gun, it should hurt the enemy proportionally.

    Not necessarily. What matters is the ideal optimal combination of accuracy, the volume of shots within a given time, how many ammos one can carry within a person, the effective range of the ammo, and how much training one can devote without getting tired or injured with that particular ammo.

  • Hyok Kim

    Some folks, being penny-wise, dollar-foolish. or should I say, ‘small egg roll’ syndorme

  • Sam Helm

    Just to throw some mud into the pot, it was my impression that the tide was turned on Guadalcanal when the Tokyo Express could not deliver the supplies and reinforcements needed by the Japanese Army. That was, if memory serves, before the US Army opened their arm of the campaign. Marines were not issued M1s until they were in refit after they left the island. Am I totally mistaken?

    • Hyok Kim

      “Just to throw some mud into the pot, it was my impression that the tide was turned on Guadalcanal when the Tokyo Express could not deliver the supplies and reinforcements needed by the Japanese Army.” – Sam Helm

      Yes, as far as the battle of Guadalcanal was concerned, (not the World War 2 overall), that was it.

      However, the reason why ‘Tokyo Express’ failed has as more to do with Japanese losing the control air. Tokyo express couldn’t deliver cargo as efficiently as transport ships. As Japanese had lost the control of the air, they were forced to use war ships instead of transport ships to deliver the cargo.

      ..and the reason why she had lost the control of the air is midway.

      “That was, if memory serves, before the US Army opened their arm of the campaign. Marines were not issued M1s until they were in refit after they left the island. Am I totally mistaken?” – Sam Helm

      I agree. As far M1 Garand is concerned. even if U.S. ground troops still had used 1903 and Japanese had been armed with M1 Garand with enough ammo to spare, given everything else equal, Japanese still would have lost Guadalcanal.

  • Sam Helm

    Full auto in the .45-70 world goes back to the Indian Wars. The Gatling Gun was chambered for years in that caliber. Custer deserved a Court Martial, but became an icon instead..

  • Hyok Kim

    “I never said the rifle was responsible for our winning the war in the Pacific.” – Kivaari

    “Having the M1 rifle, and the supply train to keep our troops fed and with enough ammo, won the war.” – Kivarri

    “As I said in response to your initial comments, I was not talking about the big picture.” – Kivarri

    Whenever one mentions factors for winning the war, one is talking about the big picture.

    “WE imposed the oil embargo because of Japanese actions in China and Korea” – Kivaari

    Not true.

    Japanese had annexed Korea in 1910. Why didn’t U.S. launch oil embargo then?

    Japanese had designs on China actually before 1910.

    Besides Japan annexed Korea with unofficial blessing from U.S.

    “No sane leader would suggest invading Poland, France, the low countries and bombing England. Then stupidly attacking the Soviet Union.” – Kivaari

    Actually, those were the right decisions. Germany had the advantage in manpower, military innovation, and military traditioins, besides Poland, France, and low countries were not in alliance, but divided over their respective interests, as for England, she had to cross the sea to get to Germany.

    As for Soviet Union, it was absolutely vital Germany had to invade first.

    Here are the reasons,

    1. Stalin had already had his own plan of invading Germany.

    The proof was Soviets had not build much defensive perimeters along the German border, but instead built air bases, filled with bombers near the German border. Their plan was to bomb Germany in a surprise raid. This was why Lufftwaffe could destroy much of Red Air Force on the ground. Luffwaffe didn’t have long range bombers.

    The timing for the invasion of Germany by Stalin would have been when Germany had already launched the invasion of Britain. Germans knew how close the Soviets were in invading Germany. That was the real reason why Germany canceled the invasion of Britain and instead attacked the Soviets.

    2. Stalin had already purged much of the Red Army officer corps, and as a result, tempororaily the Red army was not optimally organized and led by the new officer corps.

    So invading the Soviet was the right decision. Kinda like U.S. strategy of ‘forward defense’ or ‘pre-emptive strike’ during the Cold war.

    “Japan had so many troops in and around China, that they did not have the means to take over Indo-China and surrounds.” – Kivaari

    Actually, they did. Euro-colonials didn’t matter much. It was U.S. that was the problem for them.

    Btw. I already had said it was penny wise and dollar foolish for them not to attack Soviet Union.

    I’ll explain why it was so.

    Soviet Union was an existential threat to Japan. China wasn’t, neither were Euro-colonials nor U.S.

    Even if Japan had somehow managed to defeat all these three and kept the SE and S. Asia, there still would have been Soviet Union. All these new conquest would not have served as buffer zone for the Soviet invasion of Japan.

    Nor the the newly occupied peoples of the S.E. and S. Asia would have been eager to fight for Japan against the Soviet Union.

    More likely Soviets would have promised and helped the peoples of S.E. and S. Asia to fight against Japan for their freedom.

    Japan would have been in the same situation the Assyrian empire had found herself in, surrounded by peoples she had conquered and united in purpose for their freedom, aided by major foreign invaders.

    On the other hand, if Japan had withdrawn from China, and attacked the Soviet Union in conjunction of Germany, that would have been the end for the Soviets. The declassified military materials from the Soviet Union confirm this.

    With Soviet union defeated, Germany and Japan would have been able to divide up the natural and industrial resources of the Soviet Union, and free up all their troops in Russian front, and recruit millions of troops from non-Russian republic by granting them independence, giving them the motive to fight against the Allies.

    Even better yet, under more enlightened leadership, Germany and Japan would have offered freedom to all the peoples of colonies occupied by the Allies, giving them the motive to fight against the oppression of the Western democracies in the colonies.

    This would have given them huge advantage both in manpower, natural and industrial resources, plus moral high ground against the Allies.

    So, no, it wasn’t stupid to attack France, Poland, low countries, and the Soviet Union. It was how she did it was stupid.

    “As I agreed with you, our ability to provide arms and food to our allies won the war. From memory the Japs had around 0,1kilo-ton for each soldier while we had a full kilo-ton (ten times as much).” – Kivaari

    …plus the the 3 mistakes the Axis had made. Without those all 3 mistakes, the Axis still would have won the war.

    I see you don’t mention M1 Garand.

  • Hyok Kim

    “Blame the senior command for buying the wrong rifle.” – Kivaari

    It’s obvious in hindsight. But at the time, from the senior command point of view, those who learned to shoot trap doors as their military rifles, it would have seemed brilliant.

    “Then blame them for repeating the error with the M1903 in .30-03. Hindsight shows the M1903 was a poor choice. We did not need a magazine cut-off, two piece firing pin, coned breach and frail sights.”

    I agree on all of that. Still, that’s what doughboys used to defeat the Germans with their mausers.

    Plus I gotta mention the location of rear sight. Why didn’t they use the peep sight located at the rear?

    “Then the failure to heat treat properly created disasters.” – Kivaari

    What kind of disasters are you talking about?

    “Even the M1917 had an ejector prone to failure.” – Kivaari

    Didn’t the BEF use Lee- Enfild to stop the ‘Huns’ with their mausers?

    ..and of course, Sgt. York.

    “Tactics learned by the British and French were ignored by our command staff. So we went to war using failed tactics.” – Kivaari

    What kind of tactics are you talking about?

    “But we could deliver the goods.” – Kivaari

    Good logistics matter more than superior firearms.

  • Hyok Kim

    “Having the M1 rifle, and the supply train to keep our troops fed and with enough ammo, won the war.” – Kivaari

    “I never said the M1 rifle won the war. I said it turned the tide in the skirmishes on Guadalcanal. I know full well what our forces had to win the war when looking at the big picture. You took my comments about the individual small battles referenced in George’s book and made it sound like the M1 won the war. It was at lest to me obvious that I was referring to those fire fights.” – Kivaari

    “It was at lest to me obvious that I was referring to those fire fights. If anything won the war it was our ability to prduce good and deliver them that won the war. Those GI trucks from GMC can be said to have won the war.” – Kivaari

    ….plus the 3 grand strategy mistakes made by Axis leaderships that I had mentioned before. Without all those 3 mistakes, the Axis still would have won the war.

    At least, now you don’t deny the Allies had not been in a moral high ground.

    M1 Garand would have been a game changer in WW1 and prior. It was overall the best infantry battle rifle of WW2. It did matter in small unit skirmishes, especially at close range.

    Happy now?

  • Hyok Kim

    Not in overall operational battle stage. Please give me one example where superior small arms decided who is going to win the war, starting at World War 2.

  • Hyok Kim

    “As his later material stressed. The .380 British was popular with the smaller Asian police.” – Kivaari

    I was referring to 455 Webly as observed by Fairbarn. in his ‘Shooting to Live’ as used by a Sikh constable.

    “The 7.63 Mauser will do more if it hits bone. It doe little in muscle tissue. The same can be said of the .45.” – Kivaari

    Agree about the bones, but Fairbarn didn’t limit the stopping power of 7.63 Mauser with the case of hitting the bones only.

    Btw. Agree about 45acp being over-rated.

    “A wound like a 9mm/38/40/45/.30 carbine. 7.62x5amm. I refer you to the wound profiles published by the Army.” – Kivaari

    U.S. Army ordinance in WW2 referred to Stg44 as worthless junk.

    Army ordinance also considered Kubelwagen as inferior to Jeeps.

    Army ordinance also pitched M16 as maintanence free at one time during Vietnam war.

    U.S. Army also had a tactical advice for the infantrymen when confronting MG42.

    “Charge them when they are changing the barrel”

    Wise GI ignored that advice and hug the ground and called for artillery, armor, and air support.