America and Britain – two nations separated by a common cartridge* or how 62x51mm became the nato standard


НазваAmerica and Britain – two nations separated by a common cartridge* or how 62x51mm became the nato standard
Дата конвертації27.04.2013
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ТипПрезентации


America and Britain – two nations separated by a common cartridge* or how 7.62x51mm became the NATO standard

* With apologies to Oscar Wilde, Bernard Shaw and others?

Dave Sutton, Phoenixville, PA

natodave@verizon.net

The Western Allies at the End of WWII

    • Basic infantry weapons
    • US
      • M1 Garand firing .30-06 cartridge
        • Heavy
        • Semi-automatic
    • UK
      • Lee Enfield firing .303 British
        • Heavy
        • Bolt action


US – Beyond the Garand

    • Greater firepower, light weight
    • Convinced that this had to include a cartridge with comparable ballistics to the .30-06 i.e. able to inflict a fatal wound at 2000 yards
    • Desire for a new and improved cartridge
    • Use of improved propellants from du Pont allowed a shorter cartridge case with similar ballistics to .30-06
      • Shorter case
        • Shorter breach = lighter rifle
        • Less materials for manufacture
        • More cartridges per unit weight i.e. soldiers can carry more


UK – Beyond the Lee Enfield

  • Need for a selective fire rifle

  • Recognition that the .303 cartridge was overkill at normal combat ranges

    • Willing to accept a less powerful cartridge using a bullet smaller than 0.303
    • Small Arms Ideal Caliber panel established in 1945
  • Aim for lightest rifle and cartridge acceptable for combat out to 600 yards



US Response

  • March 1944

    • Initial request for shortened .30 cal cartridge based on 300 Savage
  • Mid 1944 to early 1945

    • Testing of .300 Savage cartridges loaded with M2 bullets
  • January 1945

    • Request for development of T65 cartridge


US T65 Series



UK Response

  • Small Arms Ideal Caliber Panel

    • Formed 1945
    • Extensive theoretical and experimental work
    • Final Report March 1947
    • The Choice of a Standard Round for Small Arms
      • Caliber of about 0.27” if tungsten core unacceptable
      • Caliber down to 0.25” if tungsten core acceptable
    • Two cartridge designs approved
    • .280 - mid-1947
    • .270 - October 1947


UK 7mm Series



The Political Scenario

    • Change in British Government from Conservative to Labour in 1945
    • US fears of Communist influence
    • Talks initiated on 1946/1947 between US, Britain and Canada regarding standardization of war materials including SAA
    • Apparent exclusion of the Soviet Union seen as the start of an alliance against Russia by certain factions in the Labour party who became openly critical of standardization
    • Creation of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949 to counter the military threat of the USSR


US-British Interactions

  • 1947 First face to face meeting

    • US Ordnance flatly refused to consider the UK .280 cartridge on the grounds that certain bullet types could not be developed
    • The British learned about the .30 cal T65 cartridge for the first time
    • Convinced that the best light rifle could not be designed around the T65 cartridge
  • 1947-1949 Miniature arms race between US and UK

    • Britain suggests that tests of the two nations cartridges should be scheduled – set for early 1950
  • 1949 Early test results of the US T25 rifle are encouraging

    • Britain, fearful that large-scale procurement of the T25 could kill off consideration of any British designs, requests that that the comparative trials now cover both rifle and cartridge


1950 Trials

  • Aberdeen Proving Ground/Fort Benning

    • Head to head trials of US and British rifles that included evaluation of ammunition
    • Rifles
    • Ammunition
      • US - .30 cal (FATE1/FAT1 cases)
      • UK/Belgium - .280
  • Trials took place over 6 months

    • Conducted with great fairness ensuring rifles and ammunition were compared under as near identical conditions as possible


1950 Trials - Ammunition



1950 Trials – Results

  • Neither the rifles nor the ammunition was suitable for adoption without further modification

  • Recommendation that ammunition be perfected prior to designing the weapon

  • Need for agreement on a common cartridge before any further weapon comparison trials take place



US Army Issues with the .280 Cartridge

  • Trajectory

    • Unacceptable “safety zone”


Beyond the 1950 Trials

    • Although the US trials effectively eliminated the .280 cartridge from further serious consideration, efforts were made to keep it alive
    • April 1951 - UK army adopts the EM-2 loaded with an improved .280/30 cartridge (7mm Mk1z)
  • US Ordnance

    • Protracted campaign to ensure demise of a 7mm cartridge with goal of ensuring that NATO adopt the T65 cartridge
    • Reality begins to sink in
    • UK and Belgium redesign EM-2 and FAL respectively for the US .30 cal cartridge
      • Feasible for the FAL, but not EM-2


The Path to NATO Standardization

    • Mid 1951
    • Joint meeting between US, UK, Canada and France to discuss SAA standardization
      • UK tries without success to sell the 7mm series
      • US continue to hold to their decision to adopt the T65 cartridge
      • France favor the T65 cartridges since the new 7.5mm semi-automatic rifle could more readily converted to the US cartridge
      • Canada look for standardization of one caliber whatever it is
      • This meeting effectively sounded the death knell for the .280/30 cartridge
  • Sept 1951

    • NATO standing group agrees on set of military characteristics of required performance for any new SAA
    • Tests showed UK’s 7mm Mk1z fell well short


The Path to NATO Standardization II

    • Late 1951
    • The US Army officially rejects the .280 cartridge
      • “The Army is firmly opposed to the adoption of any less effective smaller caliber cartridge for use in either its present rifle or in new weapons”
    • New UK government reverse earlier decision to adopt EM-2 and the 7mm Mk1z cartridge
      • Reflected the reality of post-WWII Europe
      • UK SA industry not strong or big enough to go it alone
      • Need for cooperation and standardization in light of cold war
      • Need for US help in rebuilding Europe
    • The UK’s action effectively guaranteed the adoption of the .30 cal light rifle cartridge as the NATO standard


The Path to NATO Standardization III

    • 1952 onwards
    • 1952 UK, Belgium and Canada form the Small Arms Development Committee (later referred to as the BBC)
      • Aim is to develop a 7mm cartridge acceptable to NATO


The Path to NATO Standardization IV

    • 1952 onwards
    • BBC holds a series of trials comparing the various 7mm cartridges with .30 cal cartridges
      • Final trials held in mid-1953 compare various .30 cal loads against the 7mm 2nd optimum cartridge
    • The US continues on with the T65 series regardless
      • T25 rifle dropped and replaced by the T44 (Adopted in 1957 as the M14)
    • Sept 1953 BBC recommends selection of a .30 cal bullet in the FAT1E3 case


NATO Standardization

    • Dec 1953
    • NATO announces the T65E3 cartridge as the common NATO cartridge
    • Feb 1954
    • Specifications agreed (finally ratified in 1957)
    • Aug 1954
    • Formal adoption of the T65E3 cartridge as
      • Case, NATO Cal. 7.62mm
      • Cartridge, Cal. 7.62mm, NATO, [type]
    • Belgium is the first country to use the new NATO design mark -


7.62mm NATO cartridges (US)



7.62x51mm Retrospective

  • Since its adoption in 1954

    • Manufactured and/or used by 60+ countries
    • Replaced by 5.56x45mm as the main infantry rifle cartridge, but remains in use for
    • GPMG
    • Intermediate range sniper cartridge
  • Introduced to the civilian community by Winchester in 1952 as the 308 Winchester

    • Still in production over 50 years later
    • Excellent hunting cartridge
    • Excellent accuracy
    • Law enforcement role


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