Putting Things In Context: The RSC 1917 And The MP.44 Sturmgewehr

Recently, I ran an article on this site pointing out some of the less impressive aspects of the MP.44 assault rifle’s history. Many people were unhappy with my assessment that the legendary Sturmgewehr was overrated and over-hyped, and therefore I think it’s worth spending some time to examine, by analogy, why I think that. But first, let’s talk about a French rifle.

One weapon that deserves considerably more recognition than it normally receives is the French RSC Mle. 1917 selfloading infantry rifle. More than 10 years before the completion of the rifle that would become the famous M1 Garand, the same design team responsible for the infamous CSRG 1915 Chauchat machine rifle created what is arguably the first significant service selfloading rifle in the world. Forgotten Weapons recently released an excellent video on the RSC, embedded below:

In many ways, the RSC Mle. 1917 is comparable in significance to the MP.44. Both are weapons introduced at the end of a World War, and while neither was the first weapon of their kind, both were the first of the type produced in large enough numbers to matter (production for sturmgewehrs of all types during the war was almost 380,000 according to Sturmgewehr!, for the RSC over 85,000, according to Proud Promise) . Both are mildly overweight, somewhat crude incarnations of the concepts they represent. The MP.44 uses a stamped, mild steel shell to save on critical alloy steels, while the RSC Mle. 1917 re-uses many existing components, such as barrels from the Berthier and stocks from the Lebel, to expedite production. Both were produced under the great stress of world war, as their respective home countries were bled dry of men and materiel by a terrible conflict.

Both weapons influenced future weapons development. For the MP.44, its obvious spiritual progeny are rifles like the FAL, and AK, which were developed by designers who kept the MP.44 keenly in mind as they sat at their drafting tables. The RSC Mle. 1917 itself directly influenced future selfloading rifles, and in fact shares a great deal of its mechanical features with the famous M1 Garand rifle. The M1, while certainly not a copy of the French rifle, is also a rotary bolt, direct gas impingement operating-rod driven weapon lacking a bolt carrier and feeding from an internal magazine loaded via en-bloc clips (although the initial M1 differed in using a gas trap in front of the muzzle, rather than a gas port drilled in the barrel). In 1916, the French, very generously, sent a .30-06 RSC Mle. 1917 to the United States for evaluation during World War I, and it’s possible that at least one of the type was evaluated post-war after John Garand had begun working at Springfield Armory in 1919. It’s an item of some note that John Garand’s initial rifle designs were all primer-actuated types, utilizing the setback of the cartridge’s primer as a piston to operate the mechanism, and were very dissimilar to the later pattern that would become the M1. After the military .30-06 Springfield cartridge was improved via staking of the cartridge’s primer, almost all of Garand’s work to that point was nullified. The resulting T1 rifle incorporated not only a great deal of common DNA with the RSC Mle. 1917, but also the Mondragon. On page 69 of his landmark book The M1 Garand Rifle, Bruce Canfield elaborates:

The design was very similar to that of the Mondragon. In addition to the striking similarities in the design of the gas systems, the early experimental versions of the Mondragon also utilized the en bloc clip loading feature. Bob Seijas noted the following regarding the similarities between the Mondragon and the Garand rifles: “I knew an Ordnance officer who was at Springfield Armory in 1938-1939 and knew John Garand well – he often told me that he used to kid Garand that he had stolen his ideas from the Mondragon. According to him, John just used to smile at the jibe.”

It’s not hard to imagine that Garand, frustrated with the sudden irrelevance of most of a decade’s worth of hard work, would turn instead to the most well-proven mechanisms and elements in the field. This is not to say that Garand ripped off either the RSC or the Mondragon; indeed I firmly believe that the M1 is John Garand’s in a way that few other weapons are truly their designer’s children. John Garand labored tirelessly to bringing the M1 to fruition, working as one of the few tooling and production engineers at the recently gutted Depression-era Springfield Armory; his work extends far beyond the engineering of the rifle itself to the extent that he was almost wholly responsible for the tooling needed to make it, and in turn the tools needed to make many of those tools!

Returning to the comparison between the MP.44 and the RSC 1917, it’s further worth noting that bringing the first assault rifle to production was a much less demanding undertaking than doing the same for the first selfloading rifle. To some this will sound like a baseless assertion, but consider that designing a successful selfloading rifle of reasonable weight is greatly alleviated when using smaller, less powerful ammunition. The primary selling point of John Pedersen’s pitch to Ordnance for his selfloading rifle design in 1923 was that the smaller .27 caliber round he proposed would much more easily facilitate the design of a selfloading rifle. Further, selfloading pistols, which fire very low pressure ammunition of much less power than full size rifle cartridges or even intermediate rounds, became successful before the beginning of the 20th Century. To drive this point home, the selfloading Winchester series of rifles, which include the 1905, 1907, and 1910 selfloaders (and which even spawned a true assault rifle variant with a detachable large-capacity magazine and selector switch), was made in the hundreds of thousands, and is based on patents from 1902. The assault rifle was therefore a feasible weapon for mass production even as early as the first years of the 20th Century; the concept’s primary obstacles to widespread service as a standard issue infantry arm were therefore doctrinal, not technical.

In stark contrast, almost every major power from the dawn of the 20th Century on desperately coveted their own standard issue selfloading rifle. In 1902, before the Model of 1903 Springfield had even been adopted, US Army Chief of Ordnance William Crozier expressed his desire for a standard issue selfloading arm. The French military had begun multiple projects to produce a standard issue military selfloading rifle in 1900, and even as early as 1897 Paul Mauser had – under the express orders of the Kaiser – begun the long and hard road to developing a selfloading rifle that would win military acceptance (he would never realize that dream, and it would cost him an eye in the process).

It’s compelling to me that from the time the Wehrmacht first entertained the idea of an assault rifle, to its adoption and fielding in 1942, only three or four years passed, while from France deciding to pursue a selfloading standard issue arm to the adoption of the RSC 1917 in 1916, 16 years passed.  It’s natural that this is the case because, in addition to the relaxed power of intermediate ammunition, the assault rifle concept builds on the selfloader. Much of the work needed to perfect a mechanism that was suitable for war had already been done; improving on it was a matter of reducing the size and power of the ammunition and incorporating a select-fire mechanism.

None of what I’ve written here is intended to slam the MP.44 for being “bad”, nor is it an attempt to take away credit to the Germans for being the first to embrace the assault rifle concept. It’s my hope, rather, that this puts both the MP.44 and the RSC 1917 into fairer perspectives and better context than they have hitherto been given. France, the RSC 1917 and the team that developed it deserve at least as much credit as Germany, the MP.44, and its development team for changing small arms history – indeed, I hope I have made the case that perhaps the former deserves a good deal more.

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 is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


  • kyphe

    “French rifle, is also a rotary bolt, direct gas impingement operating-rod driven weapon” you mean it is a gas driven op rod, “direct gas impingement” is straight to the bolt carrier.

    • Gruul

      Well the gas directly impinges on the op rod….he never said it wasn’t piston driven.

      • “Piston driven” is essentially a marketing term that has led most people to confuse operating rods for actual piston heads.

        • ostiariusalpha

          I don’t know about that, they’ve been referring to the piston as a separate element from the op rod since they started using gas operation. You don’t hear terms like gas cylinder as much these days, seems more like sins of omission on the marketer’s part.

          • Right, what I’m saying is that most people these days think “piston” refers to the operating rod, and I think that’s mostly the result of the way so many guns have been marketed.

            Literally any gun that is gas operated has a piston (or more than one) pretty much by definition, so what the marketeers actually mean is “operating rod driven”, but that isn’t as slick sounding.

          • ostiariusalpha

            I getcha’ drift there. Why, people might even get the impression that a Stoner type AR-15 gas system isn’t piston driven just because it gets marketed in contrast with the “piston driven” op rod guns. (I’m looking at you, Trey)

          • Vitor Roma

            The Kel-tec RDB is a interesting case, the op-rod is ruge and the bolt carrier travels a very long path, but the piston itself is short-stroke.

          • The SCAR is very similar.

    • Check out a lot of government literature, they refer to the M1 as “direct gas impingement” all the time. All that means is that gas acts directly on the operating group, as opposed to through linkages.

      • kyphe

        You are not talking about the M1, you don’t generalize contemporarily redundant or incorrect terminology. It could be forgiven if the french or Germans used that term but otherwise if it’s a long stroke or short stroke piston that is what it should be called.

        • Unfortunately, “long stroke” and “short stroke” are also ambiguous terms. 😐

          • ostiariusalpha

            How so? Long stroke means that the piston travels the same distance as the bolt carrier, and short stroke means it doesn’t. Is there some hidden ambiguity in that division?

          • Yeah, there is. There are actually two things “stroke” can mean. The first is, as you just said, the stroke or cycle of the bolt. So the definition refers to whether the operating rod travels with the bolt group for the full operating cycle. The second is the power stroke of the gas system. So the definition refers to whether the rearward movement of the operating group is under significant gas pressure for its entire travel, or only part (i.e., whether the gas is vented or not).

            It’s much less common than the definition you cite, but I have certainly seen “long stroke” and “short stroke” used the other way. So for example:

            Definition 1 (using the back-forth stroke of the operating group):

            Short-stroke weapons:

            vz. 58

            Long stroke weapons:

            M1 Garand
            SIG 551

            Definition 2 (using the gas’s power stroke):

            Short-stroke weapons:

            vz. 58
            SIG 551

            Long-stroke weapons:

            M1 Garand

            I try to avoid using either term for this reason.

          • ostiariusalpha

            That doesn’t seem like a terribly convincing reason to avoid using the terms altogether. Describing the piston travel as long or short is conventional terminology even by laypersons, and applying them as special nomenclature for characteristics of the power stroke is always used contextually in technical discussions. If you are using long stroke or short stroke in their less commonly understood sense, simply add the context to maintain clarity.

          • I usually just use the term “fixed piston/oprod” instead of “long stroke”. “Short stroke” is fairly unambiguous.

            The irony is that as I did here, I will call things with fixed pistons “direct impingement” which is technically correct, but confuses a lot of people. Hey, I’m not perfect! 😉

          • ostiariusalpha

            Who is, man? My wife just smacked me for chatting with you, rather than listening to her. I clearly need some improvements in the emotional intelligence department. LOL!

  • Darkpr0

    I’ll admit I had a lot of problems with the article myself, but was too lazy to write my usual essay. But I can boil down my feelings about the StG into pretty much one point which I don’t think got stated well in the original article: While the 44 was not the best, nor the first, of intermediate calibre firearms it did one thing that pretty much none of its predecessors did. It got out there, used against a whole lot of soldiers and was effective. It was the first indication of a fundamental shift in tactics: That the average rifleman was indeed armed with more power per shot than was useful, and that this idea of more shots, individually weaker, but greater in volume of fire, from one rifle was a more effective solution. The G43 (and its later variants) was out, and the StG was in. It was the beginning of the (very long) end of full-power rifles as the go-to issue weapon, and the start of the assault rifle as the primary choice.

    Full-power rifles certainly didn’t end there, though. The US used the M14 as a primary issue arm until the M16 came along in the 60s. 7.62 NATO begot the golden era of the G3 and the FAL. But on the other side of the world, the Soviets were really starting to like the intermediate idea: guns like the RPD, SKS, and AK-47 came out one after another in the new 7.62x39mm cartridge, and once tooling was built up they were made and issued wholesale. That was really when the full-power battle rifle was booted out of favour for the smaller, more controllable assault rifles for issue to the average rifleman. After that we got the M16 and 5.56 NATO and, of course, it spiralled from there. But the StG was the first indication in combat that this whole intermediate-cartridge, assault-rifle thing had real advantages in combat. But I just felt like the original article glossed over this as the first real, in-combat shift towards what we now view as a pretty normal paradigm of rifle and cartridge design.

    • I may be weird for thinking this way, but I think your view is a bit distorted The MP.44 was a major milestone on the road to fully embracing tactical realizations that had been becoming increasingly clear from the beginning of the 20th Century onward, as armies became more mechanized, logistics technology improved, and infantry-centric warfare became combined arms. So far as I can tell, this was realized to a great extent prior to World War II, but there was remnant doctrinal baggage that still hung around. The MP.44 could certainly be seen as the first time that doctrine sloughed off the weight of baggage that had been around since the 19th Century and fully embraced the new paradigm created by these new technologies (regarding infantry small arms, at least), but it does not represent the genesis of forward thinking regarding mobile infantry combat backed by a modern, sophisticated supply chain.

      As an example of this, observe that between the wars, bolt-action rifles had become shorter and shorter, and submachine gun and light machine gun development had continued steadily (though it would take World War II to perfect the submachine gun as a weapon of economic war). These are weapons – though less elegant and effective ones than the Sturmgewehr, sure – of modern, mobile conflict backed by sophisticated mechanization. So the Sturmgewehr is then (for infantry small arms at least) the capstone, not the foundation, of this paradigm.

      • Darkpr0

        The paradigm I am referring to is the general-purpose use of intermediate-power ammo, not necessarily the paradigm of lighter-better which dates long before firearms were on anyone’s mind. I agree it was more of a milestone as the Germans backed away (or, perhaps, were forced away) from the doctrinal baggage of old, but I feel an important transition from what we called a standard rifle in WW1, versus what we call a standard rifle today.

        • So here’s the primary operating segment that I was addressing, correct me if I’ve misinterpreted this:

          “It was the first indication of a fundamental shift in tactics: That the average rifleman was indeed armed with more power per shot than was useful, and that this idea of more shots, individually weaker, but greater in volume of fire, from one rifle was a more effective solution. The G43 was out, and the StG was in. It was the beginning of the (very long) end of full-power rifles as the go-to issue weapon, and the start of the assault rifle as the primary choice.”

          So I don’t think this is entirely correct. Many designers and tacticians from World War I on recognized that the infantry did not need long-range firepower, but the indicators for this are not very visible until the MP.44 (with one exception I’ll bring up in a bit). The reason you don’t see this expressed in the ammunition until the MP.44 is because many armies of the period felt that rifle ammunition must be common with that of machine guns, which obviously were required to fire at long range. Good examples of this are what I mentioned before, shorter barrels, SMGs, etc.

          There is one intermediate cartridge adopted as standard issue that everyone forgets, predating the KzPtr: The 7.35×51 Italian. The Italians had previously wanted an intermediate cartridge, high capacity semi-automatic rifle, but it seems the program fell through. The result, however, was the 7.35×51, which was originally a much shorter round that I think most would recognize as an “intermediate”. It became longer, not because they wanted more performance, but probably to accommodate less efficient propellants. Regardless, the result was a very light-shooting round with a 128gr projectile at about 2,480 ft/s, which is about the same as how 7.62×39 performs from an SKS.

          Here is some relevant info:



          7.35×41 above, 7.35×51 below. Both produced similar performance.


  • Wolfgar

    Nathaniel your articles are second to none. I find them as good or better than any I have read even though you like to give me pet names LOL. It is in your summary of importance that I tend to disagree. The Mile 1917 and the improved 1918 which served with complete satisfaction supports my conclusions more than your own. You and I agree the M-1 Garand is a mile stone in design and application. In my opinion It would be better to compare the historical and military impact the Garand had with self loading rifles as the STG=44 had with assault rifles. The Garand was not the first self loading rifle in design, and concept but was the first which was very successful in design, adoption, manufacturing, reliability, tactical military impact and doctrine. The STG-44 was not the first select fire automatic rifle to use an intermediate cartridge but was the first to be very successful in design, adoption, manufacturing, reliability, tactical military impact and doctrine. Developing a self loading rifle utilizing the 3006 round was quite an achievement for the time but I think you under play the achievements of the STG-44 and it’s cartridge designed specifically for the assault rifle concept . In any case your article was excellent and I look forward to more of your work.

  • nova3930

    Good article on a rifle I’ve only ever seen very little written about. Like the scope you used taking it to the tactical and operational levels and not just the technical. Some weapons are historically significant for their technical advancements but most are significant (or not) for some combination of the 3.

  • Tassiebush

    I must say I have enjoyed this topic at every turn since the original article!

  • Zebra Dun

    All weapons suffer from over hype, being over rated and less impressive than billed.
    It seems time, distance and looks make a difference.
    The effects of being shot at by enemy weapons make those weapons seem superior.
    The effects of finding your weapons, failures is also something to be experienced.

    • …I don’t think the RSC 1917 does, which was basically the point of this article.

      • Zebra Dun

        I’ll take your word for it Nathan, having never even seen an RSC-1917 even in a museum.
        It has been 98 years since, time and distance makes a difference to us young fellows LOL

        • There’s one in the National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, VA, if you can make it there.

          They’re veeeeery large rifles.

  • John McPherson

    This is much like saying the Model T Ford does not deserve it place in history because nothing about the car was new. Just so wrong. Everything about the car was new in the sense that this was the first time a mass produced car was successfully marketed. Yes, there was little about the engineering side to brag about, but it worked and worked well. I believe the point of the original article was simply too broad to make any sense with regard to the conclusion.

    • “Assault rifle” is a bit more specific a category than “car”. It’s closer to something like “mid-sized pickup truck”.

      • Dave C

        “Basic infantry weapon”=”automobile.”

        • In which case we should be lauding the wooden club or the sharpened rock…

          • Dave C

            Wrongly overlooked by military historians, mayhaps? Heh.

            Certainly blunt force trauma can kill ya.

            How about “Basic infantry –ahem–firearm” then? So:
            Smoothbore musket: horseless carriage
            Rifle musket: Daimler-Benz
            Bolt-action, repeating, metallic cartridge rifles: Model T Ford …

            So Sturmgewehr: Kraft durch Freude Wagen, erm, I mean “Volkswagen” etc. etc.

            Obviously the analogies are awkward and forced.

  • Dave C

    From the logic of the article, apparently adopting the chronology of the “1914-1945 Crisis” rather than discrete “World Wars” the really overlooked weapons “deserving greater recognition” would be the much-maligned CSRG Chauchat 1915 automatic rifle and the VB “tromblon” shoot-through rifle grenade.

    Far, far more Chauchats were put into the field than the RSC 1917 rifle. The select-fire, magazine fed, crew served weapon was a wonky, heavy, terrible rifle and a clumsy and inefficient light-machine gun. But it used production techniques of cheap stampings and simple manufacturing methods in a way that make it a Stengun/StG44 avant la lettre. Use of the Chauchat and rifle grenade allowed the French to separately invent “fire and movement” in a way that is overlooked by excessive focus on Oskar von Hutier and the WWI storm-trooper tactics of the Germans.

    France adopted smokeless powder first, in a mad rush in 1886, and ever after failed to put its very advanced designs and thinking into the hands of her armed forces. The first “weapon system” with select-fire, a bipod, etc. useful as a rifle or lmg, arguably, was the Rossignol. So what? The CSRG was what was actually produced in the midst of the war crisis. The idea that the Lebel 86/93 and Berthier 07 couldn’t be realistically replaced until something absolutely qualitatively superior–i.e. a self-loading infantry rifle that would be a “revolution in military affairs” over and above, say, the Kar98az or Kar98k led to the obsolete-when-adopted-stopgap RSC17, and the “last bolt action” MAS Mle. 1936 7.5mm along with *six other bolt action rifle designs* when war with Germany resumed in 1939…

    Your assertion that U.S. small arms experts and Ordnance officials were unimpressed by the StG44 and, later, the Soviet Kalashnikov and therefore points to the StG44 being “over-hyped” seems to me unpersuasive and even a bit wrong-headed: U.S. officials dismissed these weapons as variants of the submachinegun, and forced the 7.62x51mm cartridge on NATO over the British EM2/TADEN (too expensive) and .290/30 7x44mm cartridge, and the original FAL 7.92x33mm carbine. Many would view this as a real failing, as demonstrated by the alacrity with which the U.S. ditched the “greatest battle implement ever devised” Version 2.0, the M14, during the Vietnam War, the first armed conflict where both sides employed “assault rifles.”

    • I agree that the CSRG could use a little more recognition.

      It certainly does point to the MP.44 as being over-hyped, as its proponents will claim that the weapon was eminently influential among World War II small arms designs. This is clearly not true given the adoption of the 7.62mm NATO, and later 5.56 NATO, neither of which have anything to do with the KurzPatrone.

      .30 Light Rifle, which would become the 7.62 NATO never competed chambered in any rifle against the 7.92x33mm FN UC 1. It did compete against the .280 and .280/30 FN FAL and EM-2. The .280 was certainly influenced by the 7.92×33, but it was not a clone… And it lost, anyway. So how much influence did the MP.44 really have on Western firearms design? Besides a handful of weapons borrowing a few features, not a whole lot.

  • Robert Rodriguez

    I for one appreciate you playing the Devils Advocate on this subject. It is always good to hear opposing arguments or a different point of view and it seems that everyone is just poo-pooing on you because you didn’t toe to line with the fanboy party doctrine which is “ZOMG!!1! Sturmgewehr is numbr1!!!”

    I will say that I agree with your assessment of the StG 44. It was more representative of tactics and doctrine changes within military minds at the time rather than a technological advancement, as it does take from the tilting bolt design already in existence at that point, as well as higher capacity magazines, especially when compared to the standard infantry rifles at the time, being bolt actions or low capacity semi-autos, as many militaries were not oblivious of being able to put copious amounts of lead downrange. LMG’s and SMG’s of the previous wars all had their own iterations of a higher-capacity-when-compared-to-a-bolt-action magazine well before the StG44.

    Also, the point about firing an intermediate cartridge is moot as there have been cartridges developed before the 8mm Kurz that could still be considered an intermediate cartridge regardless if they were intended for a full sized rifle or not. The 6mm Lee Navy comes to mind, as well as the 6.5×50 Japanese. The standard for a military cartridge in the time period was that it had to be able to take down either a man or his horse, as the aim was to take out the cavalry, who were still very much in use back then. Hence, the standard rifle cartridges (30-06, .303, 8mm Mauser and 7.62x54R) were designed and fielded with being powerful enough to take down cavalry, even though cavalry had by that point become useless against a machine gun emplacement. It is also worth noting that Vladimir Federov had originally chambered his Avtomat with his own designed 6.5mm Federov cartridge but was rejected by the Imperial Army, not because of its performance or lethality, but because of logistics and finances, and he was then forced to find a ballistic equivalent to his cartridge that was readily available, namely the 6.5×50 Japanese cartridge.

    The technology was already there; the change in approach and doctrine is what was more revolutionary. The StG is really just an amalgamation of existing technical designs and changes in tactics that was validated in the most crazy field trials to ever exist.

    • Dave C

      All fine points. Nonetheless, it appears to me that the majority of firearm designs represent a gradual use of previous designs, albeit put together in a particular configuration. I mean the Glock pistol clearly “revolutionized” pistol design and police armament and even extended into rifle design, but everything was already there “on the table” so to speak. The VP70 from HK used modern polymer materials, and even the vaunted “safe action” trigger teat/safety had been used early in the twentieth century. And I’m no Glock fanboy, since the only handguns I own are double action revolvers.

      Similarly, I’m not too keen on any German firearm designs, but while the StG was “really just an amalgamation of existing technical designs” and manufacturing methods, the sheer scale of its deployment and use represents a quantum “leap” in firearms history. “It is just a ZB25/30 or Bren turned right side down instead of up” with a .300 Blackout cartridge avant la lettre. Put one side by side with an MP40?

      MP40: 9x19mm SMG
      loaded 10.37lbs. 4.7kg
      32.8in. 833m/m long
      9.9-in. 252m/m barrel
      100gr. sintered iron projectile 1,250fps with a range approx. 200m.

      MP44: 7.9x33mm kurzpatrone 43 automatic carbine
      loaded 13.5lbs. 6.1kg
      37in. 940m/m long
      16.5-in. 418m/m barrel
      123-125gr. cupro-jacketed projectile 2,200fps with a range of 300m and “hail mary” long range out to maybe 600…

      It is simply the case that the first practicable, large-scale issue of a so-called “assault rifle” was accomplished by the Nazi state to arm its military forces. Something like 400k produced, with about a third of those actually issued, primarily on the Eastern Front, which of course was the main crux of the war in Europe. Comparatively fewer vs. the British and Americans. U.S. intelligence bulletins were underwhelmed, noting that the 7.62x33mm M1 carbine was much, much lighter and also used detachable box magazines…”no apparent advantage apart from higher muzzle velocity…”

      • Robert Rodriguez

        “Similarly, I’m not too keen on any German firearm designs, but while the StG was ‘really just an amalgamation of existing technical designs’ and manufacturing methods, the sheer scale of its deployment and use represents a quantum “leap” in firearms history.”

        Again, something that was more indicative of a change in doctrine and tactics rather than technological. 🙂

        • Dave C

          So the U.S. experimented with self-loading rifles since the early 30th century, Ordnance hired promising designers, notably J Pedersen and J. C. Garand, and tinkers with semi-auto rifles.

          Garand uses any-side-up en-bloc clips, invented by Mannlicher, used by German 88 commission rifles, Italian Carcanos (Carcani?), etc. the use of the “operating rod” or piston/bolt-carrier comes from France’s RSC17. Aperture sights from M1917 rifle (admittedly, adjustable for windage unlike the ’17). The bold change was to scrap the .30 caliber cartridge in favor of the .276 Pedersen, allowing for a somewhat lighter, more compact weapon with a ten-round magazine. But since ammunition had to be the same as the MMGs and HMGs in inventory, this gets changed to a well-balanced, albeit heavy 8-shot self-loader, and perhaps most importantly the designer actually designs the equipment and industrial plant in order to produce it, so that the U.S. is alone among WWII combatant nations in having a standard-issue semi-auto infantry rifle. Hooray! “The greatest battle implement ever devised” as Patton would have it… It might be argued that there was little “technologically new” in Garand’s design, no?

          Similarly, Mikhail Kalashnikov’s “Avtomat”: magazines from the Bren/ZB26-30 etc. machine guns, general layout and configuration from the StG.44, action borrowed heavily from the Garand [except the Garand’s well-placed safety!] with a piston/bolt carrier rather than an “op rod” and presto! A Stalinist weapon of steel and plywood that today is one of the most recognizable objects world-wide… even an icon, and so widely distributed that it is practically a unit of currency. But Mikhail Kalashnikov’s rifle was similarly also not based on radical technological shifts…

          The Lebel 86/93: A Kropotschek with smokeless powder…

          This list could be carried on and on. The StG was the first practical and relatively widely issued–at least on the Russian Front–assault rifle. 🙂

  • BDUB

    A well made case.