Guns of WWII
As the title suggests, this is a thread all about guns used in WWII. I love WWII period guns more then any other periods. They have so much history to them, and were generally really well made. (NOTE: If anything is incorrect, let me know and I will fix it. This info comes from various sites.)
I'll start off this thread with the USSR.
Mosin Nagant m91/30, M38 and M44
When the Soviet Union was invaded by Nazi Germany in 1941 the Mosin–Nagant was the standard issue weapon of Soviet troops. As a result, millions of the rifles were produced and used in World War II by the largest mobilized army in history.
The Mosin–Nagant was adopted and modified as a sniper rifle Model 1891/31 in 1932 and was issued with 3.5-power PU fixed focus scopes to Soviet snipers. It served quite prominently in the brutal urban battles on the Eastern Front, such as the Battle of Stalingrad, which made heroes of snipers like Vasili Zaitsev and Ivan Sidorenko. The sniper rifles were highly respected for being very rugged, reliable, accurate, and easy to maintain.
Finland also employed the Mosin–Nagant as a sniper rifle, with similar success. For example, Simo Häyhä is credited with killing 505 Soviet soldiers, many falling victim to his Finnish M/28-30 Mosin–Nagant rifle. It should be noted Häyhä did not use a scope on his Mosin. In interviews Häyhä gave before his death, he said that the scope and mount designed by the Soviets required the shooter to expose himself too much and raise his head too high, increasing the chances of being spotted by the enemy.
In 1935-1936, the 91/30 was again modified, this time to speed production. The hex receiver was changed to a round receiver. When war with Germany broke out, the need to produce Mosin–Nagants in vast quantities led to a falling-off in finish of the rifles. The wartime Mosins are easily identified by the presence of tool marks and rough finishing that never would have passed the inspectors in peacetime. However, despite a lack of both aesthetic focus and uniformity, the basic functionality of the Mosins was unimpaired.
By the end of the war, approximately 17.4 million M91/30 rifles had been produced
Tokarev STV-38 and STV-40
The SVT-38 saw its combat debut in the 1939-1940 Winter War with Finland. The initial reaction of the troops to this new weapon was negative. Among the issues were that the rifle was too long and cumbersome, difficult to maintain, and the magazine had a tendency to fall out of the rifle.
Production of the SVT-38 was terminated in April 1940 after some 150,000 examples were manufactured. Subsequently, an improved design, designated the SVT-40, entered production. It was a more refined, lighter design incorporating a modified magazine release. The handguard was now single-piece and the cleaning rod was housed under the barrel. Other changes were made in an effort to simplify manufacture. Production of this improved weapon began in July 1940 at Tula, and later at factories in Izhevsk and Kovrov. Production of the Mosin–Nagant M1891/30 bolt-action rifle continued, remaining the standard-issue rifle to Red Army troops, with the SVT-40 more often issued to non-commissioned officers. Since these factories already had experience manufacturing the SVT-38, production geared up quickly and an estimated 70,000 SVT-40s were produced in 1940.
By the time the German invasion began in June 1941, the SVT-40 was already in widespread use by the Red Army. In a Soviet infantry division's table of organization and equipment, one-third of rifles were supposed to be SVTs, although in practice this ratio was seldom achieved. The first months of the war were disastrous for the Soviet Union, and hundreds of thousands of SVT-40s were lost. To make up for this, production of the Mosin-Nagant rifles was reintroduced. In contrast, the SVT was more difficult to manufacture, and troops with only rudimentary training had difficulty maintaining it. In addition, submachine guns like the PPSh-41 had proven their value as simple, cheap, and effective weapons to supplement infantry firepower. This led to a gradual decline in SVT production. In 1941, over a million SVTs were produced, but in 1942 Ishevsk arsenal was ordered to cease SVT production and switch back to the Mosin-Nagant 91/30. Only 264,000 SVTs were manufactured in 1942, and production continued to diminish until the order to cease production was finally given in January 1945. Total production of the SVT-38/40 was 5,772,085 rifles, of which 51,710 were the SVT-40 sniper variant.
In service, SVTs frequently suffered from vertical shot dispersion. Many rifles were poorly seated in their stocks allowing the receiver to shift upon firing, though selective shimming with birch chips was practiced as a field modification. For a sniper rifle, this was unacceptable, and production of the specialized sniper variant of the SVT was terminated in 1942. At the same time, the milling of scope rails in the receivers of standard SVT rifles was also discontinued. Other production changes included a new, simpler muzzle brake design. To supplement the Red Army's shortage of machine guns, an SVT version capable of full-automatic fire was produced in 1943, and was designated the AVT-40. It was externally similar to the SVT, but its modified safety also acted as a fire selector. A larger 15 or 20 round capacity magazine was reportedly designed for use with the AVT, but this is unconfirmed and there are no known examples. The AVT featured a slightly stouter stock; surplus AVT stocks were later used on refurbished SVTs. In service, the AVT proved to be a disappointment: automatic fire was largely uncontrollable, and the rifles often suffered breakages under the increased strain. The use of the AVT's automatic fire mode was subsequently prohibited, and production of the rifle was relatively brief. A shorter carbine version (sometimes called SKT-40) was designed in 1940 and was reportedly produced in small numbers; but again, this is somewhat disputed. As a field modification, standard SVT's were sometimes modified into a carbine configuration, with varying degrees of success and work quality. A prototype version chambered for the new, shorter 7.62x39mm round was developed, but was not accepted for production.
The AVS-36 (from Avtomaticheskaya Vintovka Simonova 1936 model; Russian: Автоматическая винтовка Симонова образца 1936 года) was a Soviet automatic rifle which saw service in the early years of World War II. It was among the early select-fire infantry rifles (capable of both single and full-automatic fire) formally adopted for military service.
The designer, Sergei Simonov, began his work with a gas-operated self-loading rifle in 1930. The first prototype was ready in 1931 and appeared promising, and three years later a trial batch of an improved design was made. Next year, a competition between Simonov's design and a rifle made by Fedor Tokarev was held. The Simonov rifle emerged as a winner and was accepted into service as the AVS-36. The AVS-36 was a gas-operated rifle with a short piston stroke and vertical sliding locking block. It was capable of both automatic and semi-automatic fire. The barrel was equipped with a large muzzle brake to reduce recoil. Ammunition was in a detachable magazine holding 15 rounds. A knife bayonet was issued with the rifle. A sniper version was produced in small amounts with a PE scope. The AVS-36 was first seen in public in the October Revolution Day 1938 parade in Moscow.
Once in service, it quickly became apparent that the AVS was not a satisfactory design; the operating mechanism was overly complicated, and the problem was made worse by the rifle's construction which let dirt get inside the weapon. The rifle was also particular about ammunition quality. The muzzle brake design proved to be a failure — the rifle was nearly uncontrollable in automatic fire. Some of the problems were traced to the magazine, which was deemed too long. Production of the AVS-36 was terminated in 1938, and a new design competition was held to which Simonov and Tokarev submitted their improved designs. Simonov's rifle was lighter and contained fewer parts, while Tokarev's rifle was considered sturdier. This time, the Tokarev design won (reportedly in part because of Joseph Stalin's interference in favour of Tokarev) and went on to become the SVT-38. Simonov would later design an anti-tank rifle, the PTRS-41, and the SKS carbine, which employed simpler tilting bolt operation.
Red army World War II rifles. From left:Mosin-Nagant M/91-30, Mosin-Nagant M/38 Carbine, Mosin-Nagant M91 dragoon Rifle, AVS-36 and the SVT-38
Overall, about 65,800 AVS-36s were manufactured (although some sources place the number lower than that). The rifle first saw service in the Battle of Halhin Gol, and later in the Winter War, but did not perform well. Some of the problems were caused by incorrect maintenance; many rifles went into combat without having being cleaned of their storage grease, which then "froze" solid. SVT-38s and LS-26s used on the Finnish side suffered from similar problems. Finnish forces captured several hundred of these rifles and put them to use, though after a large amount of the more serviceable SVTs were captured, they were largely withdrawn from service. In the Soviet Union, the AVS was quickly marginalized and apparently withdrawn from service during 1941, though it saw brief service during World War II. Some reports claim that remaining AVSs were mostly scrapped. Today, the AVS-36 is a rare collectors item; most of the remaining rifles in existence are in Finland.
Number made (WWII)-Unknown
The gas-operated Simonov military carbine (Samozaryadni Karabin sistemi Simonova obrazets 1945g, or Self-loading Carbine system Simonov of 1945) and its attendant 7.62x39mm M43 cartridge was hurriedly developed in 1943 in order to equip the Russian army with a handy medium-powered carbine with a high rate of fire to replace the awkward (in house-to-house and armored warfare), slow-firing Mosin-Nangant bolt action rifle and its rimmed 7.62x54mm cartridge, which dated from before the turn of the century. The Red Army was a firm believer in the value of massed firepower at short and medium ranges and already had whole battalions equipped with submachine guns. The SKS was planned to provide heavy firepower at longer ranges (up to 300 meters) than the submachine gun.
The SKS was developed by Sergei Gavrilovich Simonov (B. 1894), a staunch party member who was a master gunsmith and designer with the Federov design bureau. Simonov had submitted several designs for new Soviet rifles previously, with the short-lived AVS36 and the PTRS antitank rifle having been accepted. Simonov combined features of his previous submissions, notably the PTRS and the experimental SKS41, to produced what ultimately became the SKS-45. Prototypes were tested against the Germans on the First Byelorussian Front in 1944, but formal acceptance and production did not begin until 1945. Unfortunately for Simonov, his design lacked two crucial features: selective fire and a detachable box magazine; flaws that made it tactically obsolete in the eyes of military planners and tacticians pondering lessons learned from the Second World War.
As the SKS was coming off the production line, an army officer named Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov designed a new rifle that made the SKS obsolete. Kalashnikov copied SKS features such as the gas system, sights, and receiver cover, but he also included a detachable box magazine and selective fire mechanism. This design was adopted as the AK-47. However, the AK-47 didn't supplant the SKS in general Soviet military service until 1954.
The M1895 revolver was used extensively by the Russian Imperial Army and later by the Soviet Union after the Russian Revolution. In Russian service, it was known for its extreme sturdiness and ability to withstand abuse. As one former Imperial Russian officer stated, "if anything went wrong with the M1895, you could fix it with a hammer".
It was widely employed by the Bolshevik secret police, the Cheka, as well as its Soviet successor agencies, the OGPU and NKVD. In the police role, it was frequently seen with a cut-down barrel to aid in concealment by plainclothes agents. Despite the advent of the more modern Soviet TT pistol, the M1895 remained in production and use throughout World War II.
The Nagant's sealed firing system meant that the Nagant revolver, unlike most other revolvers, could make effective use of a sound suppressor, and suppressors were sometimes fitted to it. During World War II, a small number of Nagant revolvers used by Russian reconnaissance and scout troops were outfitted with a variety of sound suppressor known as the "Bramit device". Like many other suppressed foreign weapons (including the Sten Mk VIS), captured Nagants were used in limited numbers by Nazi Germany.
The Tokarev TT 33 was a World War II Soviet automatic pistol. Introduced in 1933, it was a sturdy and reliable weapon that was well able to absorb a surprising amount of hard use as it had a mechanism easy to produce and maintain under field conditions. The TT-33 was basically a Soviet version of the Colt-Browning pistols, and used the swinging-link system of operation employed on the American M1911. After the war, the Poles also produced the TT-33 for their own use and for export to East Germany and to Czechoslovakia.
Ill add Japan... :)
Arisaka (Arisaka-jū) is a family of Japanese military bolt action rifles, in production from approximately 1898, when it replaced the Murata rifle, until the end of World War II in 1945. It was designed by Colonel Nariakira Arisaka, who was later promoted to Lieutenant General and also received the title of baron from Emperor Meiji, in 1907. Over the course of various wars several productions runs and variants were made, including the transition from the 6.5mm Type 38 to the larger 7.7mm Type 99, and the introduction of a paratrooper rifle that could be disassembled into a compact shape for air-drop. Tests on samples of Arisaka rifles conducted after the war showed that their bolts and receivers were constructed of carbon steel "similar to SAE No. 1085 with a carbon content of 0.80% to 0.90%, and a manganese content of 0.60% to 0.90%." During destructive tests, the Arisakas were shown to be stronger than most allied rifles. Some of the early issue Type 99 rifles were fitted with a folding-wire monopod to improve accuracy in the prone position, but due to the fragile nature of the wire, it is at best a wobbly firing platform. The rear sights also featured folding horizontal extensions to give a degree of lead suitable for firing against aircraft. By the end of World War II, new ersatz models were being made with the goal of cheaply bolstering the Imperial armed forces; for example the ovoid bulb-shaped bolt of earlier runs was replaced by a smaller and utilitarian cylindrical shape, the hand guard on the barrel was omitted, and crude fixed sights were fitted.
The Arisaka bolt-action rifle was used heavily everywhere the Imperial Japanese Army fought. Prior to World War II, Arisakas were used by the British Navy and Russian Army, in Finland and Albania. The Czech Legion that fought in the Russian Revolution was almost entirely armed with Type 30 and 38 Arisakas. Many captured Arisaka rifles were employed by neighboring countries both during and after World War II, in places such as China, Thailand and Cambodia. However, after the Japanese surrender in the summer of 1945, all manufacturing of rifles and ammunition stopped abruptly, and the Arisaka quickly became obsolete. Since most Imperial Japanese Armory contents were thrown into Tokyo Harbor after the signing of the surrender, spare ammunition also became rare. Additional 6.5×50mm Arisaka ammunition was, however, produced in China for use in their captured Arisaka rifles.
The Imperial ownership mark, a 16-petal chrysanthemum known as the Mum, has often been defaced by filing or grinding on surviving rifles. There are conflicting claims that this was done on the orders of the Japanese military prior to surrender, or by US occupation personnel prior to approving a US soldier's permit to take home a rifle as a souvenir. No documentation from either Japanese or US forces has been found that required the defacing. The only insignias that survive on Arisakas are in Japan, though there are a few on rifles taken as war trophies before the surrender, and those captured by Chinese forces. Some of the Chinese captured Arisakas were later exported to the United States, including some Type 38 carbines re-barrelled and re-chambered for the standard Chinese 7.62x39mm round. Some Type 38 rifles captured by Kuomintang forces were converted to fire the 8×57mm Mauser round.
Many of the chrysanthemum insignia were completely ground off, but some were merely defaced with a chisel or had the number "0" stamped repeatedly along the edges. The latter was usually done with rifles removed from Japanese military service (and thus no longer the Emperor's property), including rifles given to schools or rifles sold to other nations, such as the British Royal Navy's purchase of many Type 38s in World War I to free up SMLE rifles for British land forces.
A very small run of Type 38 rifles was also manufactured for export to Mexico in 1910, with the Mexican coat of arms instead of the Imperial Chrysanthemum, though few arrived before the Mexican revolution and the bulk remained in Japan until World War I, when they were sold to Imperial Russia.
The Type 26 "hammerless" revolver (Nijuuroku-nen-shiki kenjuu) was the first modern pistol adopted by the Imperial Japanese Army. It was developed at the Koishikawa Arsenal and is named for its year of adoption in the Japanese dating system (the 26th year of the reign of the Meiji emperor, i.e., 1893). The revolver saw action in conflicts including the Russo-Japanese War, World War I and World War II.
The Type 26 is a top-break revolver based on a contemporary Smith & Wesson pattern. It does not have a hammer spur and cannot be cocked, being designed for double-action only. Also, as it has an extremely heavy trigger pull and a low rate of fire.
The Type 26 was originally intended to be used as a sidearm for cavalry, and typically features a lanyard ring on the pistol butt. Due to supply shortages, it was widely used as an auxiliary weapon and remained in service until the end of the Second World War.
The Nambu pistol (Nanbu kenjuu or Nanbu ōgata jidou-kenjuu) was a series of semi-automatic pistol produced by the Japanese company Koishikawa Arsenal. The series had three variants, the Type A (Type 4), the Type B (Baby Nambu) and the Type 14. The pistols were designed by Kijiro Nambu and saw extensive service during the Russo-Japanese War, Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II.
The origins of the Nambu pistol series goes back to a design by Lieutenant General Kijiro Nambu. General Nambu claimed the design originated with experimentation during the "30 year Automatic Pistol Plan" of 1897 in Japan.
The original Nambu was the Type A, designed by General Kijiro Nambu in 1902.
The Type B Nambu was a three quarters sized scaled down version of the Nambu Type A.
The "Type 14 Nambu" was designed in 1925 with the goal of simplifying manufacturing to reduce cost. It was officially adopted for issue to non-commissioned officers in the Japanese Army in 1927 and was available for purchase by officers. The Type 14 was an improved version of the Type A Nambu.
One quality of the Type 14 caught the eye of William B. Ruger who had acquired a captured Nambu from a returning US Marine, shortly after World War II ended in 1945. Ruger duplicated two Nambus in his garage, and although he decided against marketing them, the handgun's rear cocking device and the Nambu's silhouette was incorporated into one of the most popular .22 semi-automatic pistols to ever enter the US firearms market, when in 1949 the Ruger Standard (and later Mark I, II, and III) pistols were sold to the US public.
So there!! All you people who love your Ruger Mk. pistols can thank Japan and General Nambu!! :p
You can say that about a lot of guns!
All of you who like the AR's and the AK's can thank the Wehrmacht in 1942-44.
All of you who like the Winchesters and Remingtons can thank Mauser.
The only truly original American designs are the Colt 45, and the 44 Henry, and the 1911A1 by Browning, each of which has been with us in some form ever since, with the 1911 knock-offs still being king of the streets whether in 45ACP or 10mm today.
Nice photo history TexW.
DWM 1917 Artillery Luger. What a gun!
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