Hi, you're active on imfdb, so I figured I'd post this here in case it was of any interest. In the 1962 film Hell Is For Heroes, Steve McQueen uses an M3 with three mags taped together - turns out this is based on an actual setup that was devised during WW2. Not sure if it's notable enough but there you go.
Hi Tim. Can you elaborate more on what exactly Category:Manual rapid-fire guns defines? There has been some controversy on whether or not it is a legit weapon category on the discord. I don't see any sources out there that define such a class of weapons either.
It is absolutely worth mentioning that full-caliber rifles were referred to as "assault rifles" before relatively recently, and I feel that to pretend otherwise is slightly disingenuous. Practically every book I've read on the subject that was published before about the year 2000 refers to full-caliber rifles as ARs; there may have been a few exceptions earlier on, but the general consensus among experts was that guns like the G3 and FAL were assault rifles.
The recent insistence that ARs must be chambered for intermediate calibers pretty much stemmed entirely from the US Army's change of definition that came around after the standardization of 5.56 NATO and this definition was not initially universally accepted, and is still not universally accepted in totality - many authors still accept full-caliber rifles as assault rifles, or consider battle rifles to be a subcategory of assault rifles. Outside of the internet, the term "battle rifle" is, at least as far as I've read, not actually used very prominently. I'm still picking up recent publications that don't make such a distinction. On top of that, I'm not aware that most military forces outside the US actually make a point of the distinction either.
I'm willing to accept that many people make the distinction between battle rifles and assault rifles now, but it should be made clear to the reader that this wasn't, and in some cases still isn't, the case.
But they weren't, you have that backwards. Assault rifle was always a term for intermediate firearms, there was no specifric term attached to full-power versions other than perhaps "automatic rifle." The useful definition of "assault rifle" as a distinct class of firearms is that it's intermediate weapons, otherwise it because as imaginary and useless a classification as "PDW."
I've got a book here from the 70s that calls the assault rifle a "new class of weapon" (referring to the Sturmgewehr) and makes specific note of the new type of cartridge, and there's a google books search result from 1983 that says assault rifle is intermediate and battle rifle is full-power, so it's certainly not from the 2000s. Most accounts I've found say 60s or 70s when the M16 first came about to differentiate this type of rifle from the M14, since they clearly weren't the same thing. Got a Hollywood armourer on IMFDB who was around back then and says as much, too.
Evil Tim wrote: But they weren't, you have that backwards. Assault rifle was always a term for intermediate firearms, there was no specifric term attached to full-power versions other than perhaps "automatic rifle."
Really? Because I've got a lot of books I could list off to refute this, but for the sake of brevity it's worth mentioning that Thomas B. Nelson and Daniel Musgrave - two of the most referenced and authoritative authors on the subject - always used the term "assault rifle" to refer to full-caliber rifles, even way back in the early 60s. (Ironically, Wikipedia uses their books as sources for the claim that ARs are classed as intermediate, even though they never made that distinction - even in Nelson's 2009 edition of The World's Assault Rifles, he still used "assault rifle" to refer to full-caliber rifles.)
Point is, regardless of what came first, (and I'm not 100% that "assault rifle" was never used until the introduction of intermediate-caliber rifles, but I could be wrong) there were plenty of experts who called full-caliber rifles "assault rifles". I know because I've read them personally, and while it's true that many authors made a distinction between full-caliber rifles and intermediate-caliber rifles, this distinction was rarely considered so major that it required two separate terms - "assault rifle" was, more often than not, used as a blanket term to refer to both. Practically every book on the subject that was published between the 60s to the 90s would refer to the FN FAL as an "assault rifle", sometimes an "automatic rifle", and very rarely a "battle rifle".
I agree that narrowing down the definition is useful and serves a purpose, but my point is that it is not unanimous and never has been. If somebody was to go ahead and buy an extensive library of firearms literature from the past fifty years, they'd find the term "assault rifle" used much more liberally than it now is - either the terminology has gotten tighter in the last ten or twenty years, or Ian Hogg, Thomas Nelson, Daniel Musgrave, Geoffrey Boothroyd, Hans Lockhoven, G.W.P. Swenson, and everyone else who wrote on the subject are all just wrong.
I dunno, we have to remember that firearms classification doesn't have some central board that decides what's right, so you get some weird pet theories related to terminology (example). It might be useful to clarify what a term has been held to mean in a history section, but having a definition argue with itself just confuses the reader. I tend to prefer the most restrictive definition because it's the most useful for differentiation, hence my overwhelming dislike of the term "PDW" which means whatever marketing decides it means. I mean that's not even to mention you can find sources that think the term "assault rifle" was made up in the 80s by the gun control lobby because they've confused it with "assault weapon."
IIRC, first known uses of "assault rifle" in the modern sense are translations of German StG 44 manuals and US Army bulletins relating to it.
In my experience use of "assault rifle" to refer to battle rifles is mostly in lower-quality sources, barring the few experts who just like not having a differentiation. For example, I have a book here from '97 that does indeed say "FN FAL assault rifle" (Mercenaries: Soldiers of Fortune, Tim Ripley, p.86). Problem is on the previous page is a picture of a MILAN ATGM captioned "The formidible Dragon anti-tank missile system," which is wrong on at least two levels.
That might be hard, actually...do any of your sources not only use the term that way, but also assert that is the correct way to use it? Otherwise we get into that Wikipedia thing where you have something that's obviously wrong followed by ten cites of people doing that thing wrong.
Its funny that you say that, because I legitimately work for a movie prop company and with all sorts of replica firearms and blank firing guns on a daily basis. Not relevant, and replying to an old comment, but figured I would share :D
Hey man, considering that this thing needs to be settled, do you have any idea if the weapon was truly referred to as pistolet-mitrailleur at the time, or is it just an attribution given to it much later?
Don't worry about it, I haven't removed the point from the page or anything, but I'm just saying instead of writing "according to some sources", it'd be more helpful if you actually cited the source you're talking about
Yeah I understand, I was just checking if that labeling was indeed official or not. But then again, Huon does state that the term appeared alongside that weapon, so I guess we'll leave the page as it is.