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Sd.kfz.251 ausf C MG34s?
Vierville
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Gauteng, South Africa
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Posted: Friday, April 13, 2018 - 06:13 PM UTC
Hi guys.

I'm planning to build an Sd.Kfz.251./1 ausf C of the Panzer Lehr division in Normandy in June 1944.

The kit I'm using only comes with MG34s as it depicts a vehicle from 1943 before the MG42 was widely in use.

I have no photos of this particular vehicle but I'm wondering if I use the MG34s would that be accurate for a vehicle in June/July 1944?

I believe the MG42 had replaced MG34s by that stage or were there still lots of the 34s around?

Thanks!
Bravo1102
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Posted: Friday, April 13, 2018 - 06:45 PM UTC
Think about it this way; the Germans were so desperate for automatic weapons that they were pressing all kinds of captured firearms into service.

Whatever they had would be used.

Under the best conditions you could want MG 34 supporting the MG 42 to provide a steady volume of fire as opposed to the MG 42's high rate of fire all by itself. (Saw that on an ancient show abut World War II infantry tactics. Some came to see the machine guns were best used to compliment each other, not replace.)

So you would still see plenty of MG 34 around and maybe even the two side by side.
ColinEdm
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Posted: Friday, April 13, 2018 - 06:47 PM UTC
I believe the MG34 was still in pretty wide use right up to the end of the war so I don't think you would necessarily be wrong to use them.
RobinNilsson
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Posted: Friday, April 13, 2018 - 06:56 PM UTC
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MG_42

"The MG 42 (shortened from German: Maschinengewehr 42, or "machine gun 42") is a 7.9257mm Mauser general purpose machine gun designed in Nazi Germany and used extensively by the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS during the second half of World War II. It was intended to replace the earlier MG 34, which was more expensive and took much longer to produce, but both weapons were produced until the end of the war."

1. I think it would be really stupid to retire and scrap all the MG34's before all units had been equipped with the MG42.
2. The big advantage with the MG42 was lower cost and ease of production.
3. It also had a higher rate of fire and of course a higher rate of ammo consumption. Note that the cyclic rate of fire isn't the really important factor. The effective rate of fire is more important, the MG34 was at 150 rounds/minute and the MG42 was at 154 rounds/minute so there wasn't a huge tactical advantage with the MG42.
4. The MG34 was still being produced up until the end of the war.

"Effective rates of fire:

The cyclic rate reflects how fast a self-loading firearm can fire, extract, reload, and recock its mechanism to prepare for follow-up shots. This is not, however, the effective rate of fire. The effective rate of fire is the rate at which shots can be accurately (effectively) fired at a specific point target. Many firearms have been developed with high rates of fire which have proven to have extremely low rates of effective fire. An easy example of this is the MAC-10 [16] submachine gun. The MAC-10 in 919mm Parabellum originally fired at 1,200 rounds per minute. At this rate individual shots can no longer be heard so its fire sounds like a giant zipper being ripped apart. When a MAC-10 fires, the probability of hitting a target with more than 1 or 2 rounds is quite low. So it has a very poor effective rate of fire.

The effective rate of fire of the MG 34 is listed at 150 rounds per minute while the MG42 achieves a slightly higher 154 rounds per minute.[7] No air-cooled machine gun can fire sustained for very long before overheating and malfunctioning. The effective rates of fire of the MG 34/42 were higher than allied weapons, but the cyclic firing rate is not a huge factor in this, the ability to change barrels is. The cyclic rate of the MG 42 can be altered by installing different bolts and recoil springs A heavier bolt uses more recoil energy to overcome inertia, thus slowing the action. It must be noted that those heavy bolts also were used along with stiffer return springs. The standard MG 42 bolt weight for a normal rate of fire is 550 g (19.40 oz).[17] One of the roles of the MG 34 and MG 42 was to provide low level anti-aircraft coverage. A high cyclic firing rate is advantageous for use against targets that are exposed to a general-purpose machine gun for a limited time span, like aircraft. For targets that can be fired on by a general-purpose machine gun for longer periods than just a few seconds the cyclic firing rate becomes less important.

For a relevant current example, the FN MAG/M240 general-purpose machine gun series used by many (NATO) militaries cyclic rate is listed as 650 to 1,000 rounds per minute. But its effective rate of fire is approximately 100 rounds per minute.[18]"

I would say: go right ahead and use that MG34. Blame me and Wikipedia if anyone complains

/ Robin
TheLilPeashooter
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Posted: Friday, April 13, 2018 - 07:14 PM UTC
Since Panzer Lehr div. was an training unit and later a reserve, I wouldn't be surprised if they still have a stockpile of MG34s.

The only argument I can think of is the division is considered to be an elite formation and the best equipped, so it might have all its MG34s replaced by 42s.
jrutman
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Posted: Friday, April 13, 2018 - 07:27 PM UTC
There are thousands of pics from Normandy that I have seen and few MG32s in them. The MG42 was the predominant MG by then. You have to look at when a unit was fitted out for front line duty (or re-fitted). The PzLehr was the only unit in the Wehrmacht to be designed to have all of its' Pz gren Bns mounted in tracks,the rest of the Pz Divs only had one Bn mounted so,the rest in trucks. This unit was designed to be the testing ground for the most modern concepts of full tracked combat unit. Yet,even the Lehr didn't get the required amount of equipment authorized.Which tells me since it was still being properly equipped,it was getting new weapons all the time and those MGs would be the MG42. My best guess would be to use the MG42. Of course,we all know there are no "absolutes" concerning the Wehrmacht in WWII. Is that muddy enough for you ? LoL
J
Vierville
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Posted: Saturday, April 14, 2018 - 06:52 PM UTC
Thanks guys. I appreciate all of the input!

I've done some searching and Jerry is right...i can barely find any MG34s mounted on halftracks in Normandy. They all seem to be MG42s.

I know that it is correct that most of the german units were very short on weapons and were using whatever they could get but perhaps elite units like Panzer Lehr and the 12th SS were equipped with the best weapons and the likes of the static infantry batallions and Ostbatallions were most affected by the shortages?

Was an Sd.Kfz.251 typically operated with an MG mounted at both the front and rear brackets? Or was there one MG that was moved to either the front or rear as needed?

Thanks guys!
jrutman
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Posted: Saturday, April 14, 2018 - 09:00 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Thanks guys. I appreciate all of the input!

I've done some searching and Jerry is right...i can barely find any MG34s mounted on halftracks in Normandy. They all seem to be MG42s.

I know that it is correct that most of the german units were very short on weapons and were using whatever they could get but perhaps elite units like Panzer Lehr and the 12th SS were equipped with the best weapons and the likes of the static infantry batallions and Ostbatallions were most affected by the shortages?

Was an Sd.Kfz.251 typically operated with an MG mounted at both the front and rear brackets? Or was there one MG that was moved to either the front or rear as needed?

Thanks guys!



Standard issue was 2 MGs per vehicle. One on the front armored mount and one on the rear swing arm. There were stowing brackets on the both side walls behind the seats when not in use.
J
GeraldOwens
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Posted: Sunday, April 15, 2018 - 09:16 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Since Panzer Lehr div. was an training unit and later a reserve, I wouldn't be surprised if they still have a stockpile of MG34s.

The only argument I can think of is the division is considered to be an elite formation and the best equipped, so it might have all its MG34s replaced by 42s.


The name is confusing. Lehr does indeed refer to training, but only because the division was an elite unit recruited from military training school personnel. It was not itself a training formation.
ReluctantRenegade
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Posted: Monday, April 23, 2018 - 05:26 PM UTC
The reason they served side by side till the end of the war is because the MG-42 was preferred in infantry-role, however the MG-34 suited armors more as coax and hull MGs.
deichevster
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Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 - 01:11 PM UTC

Quoted Text

The reason they served side by side till the end of the war is because the MG-42 was preferred in infantry-role, however the MG-34 suited armors more as coax and hull MGs.



The reason being that the MG42's barrel swung to the side for changing and the MG34's receiver pivots to the side and the barrel comes straight backwards. Maybe that was a concern on the halftracks as well due to the gun shield?