Here at Sturgeon's House, we do not shy from the wholesale slaughter of sacred cows. That is, of course, provided that they deserve to be slaughtered.
The discipline of Military Science has, perhaps unavoidably, created a number of "paper tigers," weapons that are theoretically attractive, but really fail to work in reality. War is a dangerous sort of activity, so most of the discussion of it must, perforce, remain theoretical. Theory and reality will at some point inevitably diverge, and this creates some heartaches for some people. Terminal, in some cases, such as all those American bomber crews who could never complete a tour of duty over Fortress Europe because the pre-war planners had been completely convinced that the defensive armament of the bombers would be sufficient to see them through.
In other cases though, the paper tiger is created post-facto, through the repetition of sloppy research without consulting the primary documents. One of the best examples of a paper tiger is the Tiger tank, a design which you would think was nearly invincible in combat from reading the modern hype of it, but in fact could be fairly easily seen off by 75mm armed Shermans, and occasionally killed by scout vehicles. Add to this chronic, never-solved reliability problems, outrageous production costs, and absurd maintenance demands (ten hours to change a single road wheel?), and you have a tank that really just wasn't very good.
And so it is time to set the record straight on another historical design whose legend has outgrown its actual merit, the British EM-2:
EM-2ology is a sadly under-developed field of study for gun nerds. There is no authoritative book on the history and design of this rifle. Yes, I am aware of the Collector's Grade book on the subject. I've actually read it and it isn't very good. It isn't very long, and it is quite poorly edited, among other sins devoting several pages to reproducing J.B.S. Haldane's essay On Being the Right Size in full. Why?!!?!!
On top of that, there's quite a bit of misinformation that gets repeated as gospel. Hopefully, this thread can serve as a collection point for proper scholarship on this interesting, but bad design.
Question One: Why do you say that the EM-2 was bad? Is it because you're an American, and you love trashing everything that comes out of Airstrip One? Why won't America love us? We gave you your language! PLEASE LOVE ME! I AM SO LONELY NOW THAT I TOLD THE ENTIRE REST OF EUROPE TO FUCK OFF.
Answer: I'm saying the EM-2 was a bad design because it was a bad design. Same as British tanks, really. You lot design decent airplanes, but please leave the tanks, rifles and dentistry to the global superpower across the pond that owns you body and soul. Oh, and leave cars to the Japanese. To be honest, Americans can't do those right either.
No, I'm not going to launch into some stupid tirade about how all bullpup assault rifle designs are inherently a poor idea. I would agree with the statement that all such designs have so far been poorly executed, but frankly, very few assault rifles that aren't the AR-15 or AK are worth a damn, so that's hardly surprising. In fact, the length savings that a bullpup design provides are very attractive provided that the designer takes the ergonomic challenges into consideration (and this the EM-2 designers did, with some unique solutions).
Actually, there were two problems with the EM-2, and neither had anything to do with being a bullpup. The first problem is that it didn't fucking work, and the second problem is that there was absolutely no way the EM-2 could have been mass-produced without completely re-thinking the design.
See this test record for exhaustive documentation of the fact that the EM-2 did not work. Points of note:
-In less than ten thousand rounds the headspace of two of the EM-2s increased by .009 and .012 inches. That is an order of magnitude larger than what is usually considered safe tolerances for headspace.
-The EM-2 was less reliable than an M1 Garand. Note that, contrary to popular assertion, the EM-2 was not particularly reliable in dust. It was just less unreliable in dust than the other two designs, and that all three were less reliable than an M1 Garand.
-The EM-2 was shockingly inaccurate with the ammunition provided and shot 14 MOA at 100 yards. Seriously, look it up, that's what the test says. There are clapped-out AKs buried for years in the Laotian jungle that shoot better than that.
-The EM-2 had more parts breakages than any other rifle tested.
-The EM-2 had more parts than any other rifle tested.
-The fact that the EM-2 had a high bolt carrier velocity and problems with light primer strikes in full auto suggests it was suffering from bolt carrier bounce.
As for the gun being completely un-suited to mass production, watch this video:
Question Two: But the EM-2 could have been developed into a good weapon system if the meanie-head Yanks hadn't insisted on the 7.62x51mm cartridge, which was too large and powerful for the EM-2 to handle!
Anyone who repeats this one is ignorant of how bolt thrust works, and has done zero research on the EM-2. In other words, anyone who says this is stupid and should feel bad for being stupid. The maximum force exerted on the bolt of a firearm is the peak pressure multiplied by the interior area of the cartridge case. You know, like you'd expect given the dimensional identities of force, area and pressure, if you were the sort of person who could do basic dimensional analysis, i.e. not a stupid one.
Later version of the British 7mm cartridge had the same case head diameter as the 7.62x51mm NATO, so converting the design to fire the larger ammunition was not only possible but was actually done. In fact, most the EM-2s made were in 7.62x51mm. It was even possible to chamber the EM-2 in .30-06.
I'm not going to say that this was because the basic action was strong enough to handle the 7x43mm, and therefore also strong enough to handle the 7.62x51mm NATO, because the headspace problems encountered in the 1950 test show that it really wasn't up to snuff with the weaker ammunition. But I think it's fair to say that the EM-2 was roughly equally as capable of bashing itself to pieces in 7mm, 7.62 NATO or .30-06 flavor.
Question Three: You're being mean and intentionally provocative. Didn't you say that there were some good things about the design?
I did imply that there were some good aspects of the design, but I was lying. Actually, there's only one good idea in the entire design. But it's a really good idea, and I'm actually surprised that nobody has copied it.
If you look at the patent, you can see that the magazine catch is extremely complicated. However, per the US Army test report the magazine and magazine catch design were robust and reliable.
What makes the EM-2 special is how the bolt behaves during a reload. Like many rifles, the EM-2 has a tab on the magazine follower that pushes up the bolt catch in the receiver. This locks the bolt open after the last shot, which helps to inform the soldier that the rifle is empty. This part is nothing special; AR-15s, SKSs, FALs and many other rifles do this.
What is special is what happens when a fresh magazine is inserted. There is an additional lever in each magazine that is pushed by the magazine follower when the follower is in the top position of the magazine. This lever will trip the bolt catch of the rifle provided that the follower is not in the top position; i.e. if the magazine has any ammunition in it.
This means that the reload drill for an EM-2 is to fire the rifle until it is empty and the bolt locks back, then pull out the empty magazine, and put in a fresh one. That's it; no fussing with the charging handle, no hitting a bolt release. When the first magazine runs empty the bolt gets locked open, and as soon as a loaded one is inserted the bolt closes itself again. This is a very good solution to the problem of fast reloads in a bullpup (or any other firearm). It's so clever that I'm actually surprised that nobody has copied it.
Question Four: But what about the intermediate cartridge the EM-2 fired? Doesn't that represent a lost opportunity vis a vis the too powerful 7.62 NATO?
Sort of, but not really. The 7mm ammunition the EM-2 fired went through several iterations, becoming increasingly powerful. The earliest versions of the 7mm ammunition had similar ballistics to Soviet 7.62x39mm, while the last versions were only a hair less powerful than 7.62x51mm NATO.
As for the 7mm ammunition having some optimum balance between weight, recoil and trajectory, I'm skeptical. The bullets the 7mm cartridges used were not particularly aerodynamic, so while they enjoyed good sectional density and (in the earlier stages) moderate recoil, it's not like they were getting everything they could have out of the design.
note the flat base
In addition, the .280 ammunition was miserably inaccurate. Check the US rifle tests; the .280 chambered proto-FAL couldn't hit anything either.
All photos were taken by myself in year 2016 during my visit to Beijing. Tanks are from the Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution and the Tank Museum(currently closed). Enjoy.
No.1: Type 94 Light armored car (Tankette) in the Tank Museum
This is the early version of the Type 94 Tankette. It was found in a river in 1970s. It is the best preserved Type 94 Tankette in the world.
No.2: Type 97 Medium Tank in the Tank Museum
This is a late version Type 97 medium tank. It carries the old small 57mm gun turret but has the revised engine ventilation port. This tank was donated by the Soviet 7th mechanized division before they withdrew from China in 1955.
No.3: Type 97 Medium Tank Kai in the Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution
This Type 97 Medium Tank Kai's combat serial number is 102. It belonged to the former China North-East tank regiment. It took part in the attack of Jinzhou against KMT army on 1948-9-14, and did great contribution for knocking out their bunkers and MG nests by shooting and ramming. Thus after the battle this tank was awarded with an honored name:"The Hero(功臣号)“ About the tank itself, it was assembled by the Chinese army themselves by using destroyed or damaged Chi-Ha parts after the surrender of Japan. This particular tank was built up with a normal Type 97's chassis(57mm gun version) early model, and a Type 97 Kai's Shinhoto(New turret for the 47mm gun). However there are other saying claim that this tank was modified by the Japanese. It was the first tank that roared over the Tiananmen Square during the Founding Ceremony of China on 1949-10-1.
The same tank on 1949-10-1. China's tank army origins from old IJA tanks.
No.4: Type 97 Medium Tank in the Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution
Sorry, only one photo was taken. This Type 97 Medium Tank has a chassis from Type 97 Medium Tank Kai and a turret from a normal Type 97 Medium Tank. It was merged together by the Chinese army.
No.5: Type 95 Armored Track(Train track) Vehicle in the Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution
Only two samples survived. One is in China here and one is in Kubinka, Russia (Maybe now it is transfered to the Patriot Park? I don't know).
Hope you enjoy the photos I took! No repost to other places without my permission.
This is an article simply to show you guys here how Waffentrager is a faker. The original article ( https://www.weibo.com/ttarticle/p/show?id=2309404213101531682050) was written in Chinese and Japanese. For better understanding I will translate and edit the article and post it here.
And I must tell you why I want to reveal this shit: Long time ago I found many sayings from Waffentrager’s blog which I had never heard of, so I turned to my Japanese friend and IJA tank researcher Mr.Taki and asked him to confirm a few of them. In the end it turned out that none of Waffentrager’s article is true. I once argued with him and he not only failed to give out his reference but also deleted my replies! I’m very angry!
Now let’s get started.
At the very beginning I recommend all of you who opened this post to take a look at Waffentrager’s original article, that will help you understand what I’m debating.
Here is the link to the original article: https://sensha-manual.blogspot.jp/2017/09/the-ho-ri-tank-destroyer.html?m=0
In China we need to use VPN(aka “ladder-梯子” or “the scientific way of browsing the Internet-科学上网” in Chinese)to open that link above so at first I post out Waffentrager’s original post in the form of screenshots in my article. I’ll skip that here.
Fig.1: I will skip his original article.
Now, I had raised my first question here: Please take a look at the screenshot:
Fig.2: My first question
In the original article, Waffentrager insisted that the Type 5 gun tank was built in July, 1944 and fully assembled in August. It was also put into trials at the same time.
Fig.3: Waffentrager’s original article.
But, is that true? Let’s have a look at the Japanese archive:
Important Fig.4: Archive code C14011075200, Item 4
Notice the part with the red, this is the research and develop plan for the Japanese Tech Research center in 1943, and had been edited in 1944. ◎砲１００(Gun-100) is the project name for the 105mm gun used by Type 5 gun tank. The column under it says: “Research a tank gun with 105mm caliber and a muzzle velocity of 900m/s”. This means that the gun had just begun to be developed and from the bottom column we can know that it was PLANNED to be finished in 1945-3[完成豫定 means ”plan to be finished” and 昭２０、３ means ”Shouwa 20-3”. Shouwa 20 is 1945 in Japan (you can wiki the way for Japanese to count years I’m not going to explain it here)]
Next let’s move on to the Type 5 gun tank itself, here is the Japanese archive:
Important Fig.5: Archive code C14011075200, Item 7
“新砲戦車(甲)ホリ車” is the very very first name of Type 5 gun tank, it should be translated into:”New gun tank(A), Ho-Ri vehicle”. “ホリ” is the secret name of it. Still from the column we can easily know that Ho-Ri was also planned to be finished in 1945-3. But under that column there is another one called:”摘要(Summary or outline)”, in this it says:”砲１００、第一次試作完了昭和１９、８”, In English it is: “Gun-100, First experimental construction(prototype construction) finished in Shouwa 19-8(1944-8)” What does it mean? It means that in 1944-8, Only the 105mm gun used by the Type 5 gun tank was finished! If the Ho-Ri tank itself was finished why it was not in the 摘要 column? So how could an unfinished tank mounted the prototype gun? Waffentrager is talking bullshit.
Also from Mr.Kunimoto’s book, he gave the complete schedule of the 105mm gun, here it is:
Important Fig.6: Kunimoto’s schedule
“修正機能試験” means ”Mechanical correctional test”, it took place in 1944-8, this matches the original Japanese archive(though this chart was also made from original archives). At that time the gun had just finished, not the tank.
Next is this paragraph from Waffentrager’s article:
Fig.7: Weighing 35 tons
From the archive above(important Fig.5) we can learn from the second large column”研究要項(Research items)” that Ho-Ri was only PLANNED to be 35 tons, and maximum armour thickness was PLANNED to be 120mm, not was. Waffentrager is lying, he used the PLANNED data as the BUILT data. I will post out the correct data below later to see what Ho-Ri is really like when its design was finished.
Fig.8: 全備重量-約三五屯(Combat weight-app.35t), 装甲(最厚部)-約一二〇粍(Armour, thickest part-app.120mm)
At this time, some of the people might inquire me that:”Maybe the Type 5 gun tanks were really finished! You just don’t know!” Well, I will use the archives and books to tell these guys that they are totally wrong. None of the Type 5 gun tank was finished.
Always let’s look at Waffentrager’s article first. He said that a total of 5 Ho-Ri were completed.
Fig.9: Waffentrager said 5 Ho-Ri were completed.
He also put an original Japanese archive(C13120839500) to “enhance” his “facts”.
Fig.10: Waffentrager’s archive
Everyone can see the”ホリ車,1-3-1” in the document, and someone might actually believe that 5 Ho-Ri were actually built. But they are wrong! Waffentrager is cheating you with “only a part of the original document”! Here is what the original archive really looks like:
Important Fig.11: Archive code C13120839500, Item 7
“整備計画” is “Maintenance plan” in English, again it was PLAN! The whole plan was made in 1944-12-26. I don’t actually know how Waffentrager can misunderstand this, maybe he doesn’t even know Japanese or Chinese!
Important Fig.12: The cover of the same archive, “昭和十九年十二月二十六日” is 1944-12-26” in English.
I have other archives to prove that Ho-Ri were not finished as well:
Important Fig. 13 and 14: Mitsubishi’s tank production chart made by the American survey team after the war ends.
From the chart you can only find out Type 4 and Type 5 medium tanks’ record. There is no existence of Type 5 gun tank Ho-Ri, or the”M-5 Gun Tank” in the chart’s way.
Except for the archives, many books written by Japanese also mentioned that Type 5 gun tank were not finished:
Fig.15: Kunimoto’s record.
“二〇年五月完成予定の五両の終戦時の工程進捗度は、やっと五〇パーセントであり、完成車両出せずに終戦となった。” In English it’s: “When the war ended, the five Ho-Ri planned to be finished in 1945-5 had finally reached 50% completion. No completed vehicle were made when the war ended.”
Here is another book written by Japanese with the help of former IJA tank designer, Tomio Hara:
Important Fig.16: Tomio Hara’s book
“完成をみるには至らなかった” Again he emphasized that the tank was not finished. Also when Ho-Ri’s design was finished its combat weight was raised to 40 tons, not the planned 35 tons. It was only powered by one “Modified BMW watercooled V12 gasoline engine”, rated 550hp/1500rpm. In Waffentrager’s article he said later a Kawasaki 1100hp engine were installed, but obviously that’s none sense. There was really existed a Kawasaki 1100hp engine but that is the two BMW V12 engine(Same engine on Type 5 gun tank or Type 5 medium tank) combined together for Japanese super-heavy tank O-I use. It will take much more room which Ho-Ri do not have.
Fig.17: O-I’s engine compartment arrangement. There’s no such room in Ho-Ri for this engine set.
And last here are the other questions I asked
Fig.18: Other questions I asked
I have already talked about the questions regarding C13120839500 and the engine. As for the gun with 1005m/s muzzle velocity, the Japanese never planned to make the 105mm gun achieve such a high velocity because they don’t have the enough tech back then. Also from the archive C14011075200(important fig.4) the 105mm gun was designed only to reach about 900m/s.
So, after all these, how did Waffentrager replied? I will post out the replies from my E-mail(because he deleted my replies on his blog).
Fig.19: Waffentrager’s first reply
He kept saying that my archive is not the same as his and he is using his own documents. I didn’t believe in these shit and I replied:
Fig.20: My reply
Last sentence, the Ho-Ri III he was talking about is fake. There are only Ho-Ri I(The one resembles the Ferdinand tank destroyer) and Ho-Ri II(The another one resembles the Jagdtiger tank destroyer). He even photoshoped a picture:
Fig.21: Waffentrager’s fake Ho-Ri III
Fig.22: The real Ho-Ri I and the base picture of Waffentrager’s photoshoped Ho-Ri III in Tomio Hara’s book. Many same details can be seen in Waffentrager's fake Ho-Ri III
The 4 variants of up-armoured Type 3 Chi-Nu medium tank is also fake, I will post his original article and the confirmed facts I got from Mr.Taki by E-mail.
Fig.23: 4 models of up-armoured Chi-Nu by Waffentrager
Fig.24: Mr.Taki’s reply
Waffentrager used every excuses he could get to refuse giving out the references, and finally he deleted my comments. What an asshole!
Fig.25: Our last “conversation”
Fig.26 He deleted my comment.
So, as you can see, Waffentrager is really a dick. He is cheating everybody because he think that we can’t read Japanese. Anyway I still hope he could release his reference and documents to prove me wrong. After all, I’m not here to scold or argue with somebody, but to learn new things. Also if you guys have any questions about WWII(IJA) Japanese tanks, feel free to ask me, I’m happy to help.