|OFFICE OF MEDICAL HISTORY AMEDD REGIMENT AMEDD MUSEUM|
HISTORY OF THE OFFICE OF MEDICAL HISTORY
Enemy Ordnance Materiel
Maj. James C. Beyer, MC, Maj. James K. Arima, MSC,
In conducting a casualty survey to get information for a study on wound ballistics, it is imperative that the members of a survey team be cognizant of the types and capabilities of enemy ordnance materiel. To facilitate the collection of such data and to recognize and evaluate the wounding potential of enemy missiles, the medical personnel of such a survey team should be familiar with enemy weapons and missile types and their ballistic properties. This information is necessary to evaluate completely external and internal wound characteristics and concomitant tissue and organ damage. If an ordnance officer is included as a member of the team, the collection and dissemination of pertinent information on enemy ordnance characteristics is greatly facilitated. Such information is vital to medical personnel both in making the study itself and in developing ballistic protective devices, such as helmets and body armor. During the preliminary research stages before the adoption of body armor in the Korean War, casualty surveys conducted under the guidance of the U.S. Army Medical Service and other technical services established the priority of body areas to receive protection, determined the most commonly encountered wounding agents, and fixed the criteria for minimum protection in terms of ballistic properties.
In addition to these medical applications, wound-ballistic studies can be of value to ordnance technical intelligence personnel in their evaluation of enemy weapons and to ordnance engineers in their design of new weapons. Conversely, any casualty survey conducted among enemy casualties can furnish vital information regarding the effectiveness of friendly small arms and artillery.
During World War II, casualty surveys conducted on Bougainville, New Georgia, and Burma correlated the missile casualty and his wounds with the type of causative agent. The Bougainville report (p. 289), especially, contained an excellent analysis of the Japanese weapons used in the Bougainville area. Unfortunately, none of the casualty surveys from the European and Mediterranean Theaters of Operations contained similar information for German weapons. Therefore, much of the following material had to be abstracted from various manuals and reports which contained excellent descriptions of
the external and internal details of the weapons and their mechanics of operation but often failed to consider their casualty-producing properties.
Before proceeding with the descriptions of enemy materiel, a definition of some of the technical vocabulary of the ordnance expert and the officer of the line is presented for the benefit of the reader who may be quite unfamiliar with these terms. This presentation will serve the double purpose of making the subsequent material easier to understand for the uninitiated reader, and it will define our use of the terms to the expert who may have for each many connotative shades of meanings.
Blowback operated.-The operating principle of a weapon which uses the force of gases expanding to the rear against the face of the bolt to furnish all energy necessary for the bolt to extract the expended cartridge and to reload and fire another. This type of weapon is said to fire from an open bolt because the bolt is held to rear when the weapon is cocked. The bolt loads and fires the cartridge when the trigger is pulled. Blowback-operated weapons are not positively locked at the moment of firing, but the bolt is held closed either by its own weight or its weight plus that of a heavy recoil spring or some other mechanical system, such as a trigger joint, until the bullet has left the bore and breech pressures have dropped.
Cyclic rate of fire.-The rate at which a weapon fires automatically, expressed in terms of shots per minute; synonymous with maximum rate when the period of measure is 1 minute.
Effective rate of fire.-The rate at which a weapon may be expected to fire accurately in actual use and with due consideration for the prevention of damage to the weapon by overheating resulting from an excessive rate of fire and the time required to reload the weapon.
Gas operated.-The operating principle of a weapon which uses the force of expanding gases passed through an opening in the barrel to a separate gas cylinder to operate the extracting, reloading, and cocking phases. The breech is locked at the time of firing, which may be semiautomatic or automatic. There may be gas ports in the cylinder to control the amount of gases entering it, and a piston encased in the cylinder operates the bolt. The rate of fire is, accordingly, controllable to some extent in weapons with adjustable gas ports.
Hollow charge.-A hollow, cone-shaped arrangement of the charge in shells designed to concentrate the explosive force in one direction; a shaped charge.
Hotchkiss machinegun.-A simple, air-cooled, gas-operated automatic machinegun developed by the Societé Anonyme des Anciens Etablissements, Hotchkiss et Cie., of France and England, from an original design by Capt. Baron Adolph von Odkolek, Austrian Army, in 1895. A port drilled through the barrel a few calibers from the muzzle communicated with a cylinder attached below the barrel and housing a piston. When the projectile passed the port, expanding gases entered the cylinder and forced the piston to the rear until the gases escaped through an exhaust port. The compressed mainspring, working directly on the gas piston, returned it to its original position. The
bolt, itself, was similar to that of an ordinary hand-operated rifle, only in this case, the operating rod (piston) connected to it did all the work. Ammunition was fed in metal strips. The Czech ZB 26 (Brno) was a modification and improvement of these principles. The Brno was widely copied by the Japanese, Germans, and British. In British terminology, the name appeared as Bren, and in German parlance, Brunn.
Lewis machinegun.-A light, air-cooled, gas-operated automatic machine-gun developed by Col. Isaac N. Lewis, U.S. Army, in 1911, with the Automatic Arms Co., Buffalo, N.Y. The gun featured a pinion gear which articulated with the racked underside of the gas piston. A clock-type winding spring was mounted inside the pinion. The entire pinion and spring mechanism was mounted inside a casing on the pistol-grip, trigger-housing unit. The gas piston and bolt traveling to the rear extracted the spent cartridge, positioned a new cartridge, and wound the spring, which provided the energy for the loading and firing phases. Thus, the operating spring was located out of the way of reciprocating parts; it was easily accessible; changes in rate of fire could be made even while firing; and the separate housing kept it free of dirt, water, or other damaging elements. Because ammunition was fed from a 47- or 96-cartridge drum mounted flat on the gun, one man could operate the Lewis machinegun. Accordingly, it found great use in World War I and immediately thereafter as aircraft armament.
Maxim machinegun.-The first automatic machinegun was invented by an American, Hiram Maxim, in 1884. It was recoil operated and belt fed. The barrel recoiled three-quarters of an inch on a forward and rear bearing. This recoil operated the feeding belt and imparted the energy necessary for the bolt to free itself from the barrel, travel to the rear, fully extend the driving spring, and compress the firing-pin spring. The counterrecoiling bolt, actuated by the extended spring, ejected the spent cartridge, firmly grasped and chambered the cartridge to be fired, locked the bolt with the barrel, and freed the firing pin. Starting in 1888, Vickers Sons and Maxim, Ltd. produced the Maxim machinegun in great quantity until, eventually, the production model became better known as the "Vickers."
Maximum rate of fire.-The rate at which a weapon fires automatically and continuously; cyclic rate of fire when the period of measure is 1 minute.
Muzzle velocity.-The speed of a projectile at the instant it leaves the muzzle of a gun; a function of the amount and type of propellent charge, the length of the barrel, and the weight of the projectile.
Recoil operated.-The operating principle of a weapon which uses the energy of recoil to operate the extracting, reloading, and cocking phases. The weapon may be semiautomatic or automatic. The breech is locked at the moment of firing; the barrel and bolt assembly move to the rear together with the recoil and separate later.
Setback.-The rearward (relative) jerk, caused by inertia, of free-moving parts in a projectile when it is fired. This force may be used to push back a spring or plunger to start operation of a time fuze.
Shaped charge.-An explosive charge shaped so that the explosive energy is focused and concentrated to move in one direction, thus giving the projectile greater penetration. A hollow-cone charge is one form of a shaped charge.
The reader must realize, in considering Japanese ordnance, that Japan was one of the last countries to shed the cloak of feudal times and partake of the discoveries of the industrial revolution. For some 200 years, the feudal lords of Japan had handcuffed the Emperor and had closed Japan to all foreigners. At the time when the sanguinary Civil War was being fought in America, the only guns known to the Japanese were antiquated pistols, muskets, and cannon which had been obtained from the few Dutch who were permitted to trade at one of Japan's southern ports or the even more primitive weapons which had been obtained from earlier European explorers and traders before the period of self-imposed exile. When this period of feudal isolation was ended with the restoration to the throne of Emperor Meiji in 1867, the Japanese set out with fervent zeal to catch up with the rest of the world which had passed them by.
One of Japan's first considerations was to build up her armed forces. The still-revered traditions and code of the warrior were great assets toward this end and stood the Mikado's forces in good stead even as late as World War II. By 1895, Japan had already fought the Chinese, often mentioned as the inventors of gunpowder, and had annexed Formosa and the Pescadores. In 1904, Japan saw fit to engage Imperial Russia in war. A little more than a year later, the entire Russian fleet was destroyed at the Battle of Tsushima Bay-one of the major naval disasters of modern times until the United States and her Allies were able to turn the tables in the Pacific battles of World War II. By 1905, in the 38th year of the reign of Emperor Meiji, the Japanese had already developed and were manufacturing a basic rifle for its ground soldiers which was quite comparable to the then new U.S. Springfield, M1903. This model 38 rifle was the mainstay of Japanese troops during World War II. With her nearly constant warfare against the Chinese for some 50 years, with wars and skirmishes against Imperial and Soviet Russia over a period nearly as long, and with her participation in World War I on the side of the Allies, Japan had gained extensive knowledge in the arts of modern warfare. While circumstances dictated that her weapons be copies of those used by the world's leading powers, they were modified to suit her needs, and the Emperor's arsenals were quite complete with the gamut of modern weapons at the time of the dastardly strike at Pearl Harbor.
In evaluating both the weapons to be described and the casualty surveys which form later chapters of this volume, the reader should bear in mind that the Japanese Army was built around the foot soldier, just as the armies of the feudal lords of a not too distant past. Accordingly, the design of Japanese
weapons featured lightness and mobility. Supporting weapons were specifically designed as aids to the infantry. Tactical doctrine specified that the aim of all battle was for the foot soldier to engage the enemy and completely annihilate him. In offense or defense, the aggressiveness of the feudal warrior was the keynote, even to the extent of the final banzai raid when all was hopelessly lost.
This overdevotion to aggressive conduct of battle and adherence to the role of the infantrymen predominated in the consideration of an overall weapons system, and many forms of weapons were sacrificed or underdeveloped because of this concept. Thus, the weapons of the infantrymen were well developed and quite adequate to the extent that the mortars of the Japanese Army were more numerous in kind and number than in any of the armies engaged in World War II. At the same time, considerably less attention was given to larger artillery pieces, to AA (antiaircraft) artillery, and to AT (antitank) weapons.
The theme of lightness is quite evident when Japanese weapons are compared with the comparable U.S. weapons of World War II. The bore of Japanese rifle was 0.256 inch, while the United States had used an 0.30-inch bore for years. American submachineguns fired snub-nosed 0.45-inch bullets, while the Japanese guns fired 0.315-inch missiles. The same was generally true of pistols. The standard caliber of Japanese light machineguns was, as was that of the rifles and carbines, 0.256 inch, which corresponded to the American light machinegun of 0.30 inch. Japanese heavy machineguns, however, equalled in bore sizes those used by the U.S. Army. A similar analogy can be made with artillery. The basic gun of the Japanese infantry division, as encountered by the Allies in combat, was 75 mm. Division artillery of U.S. infantry divisions was 105 and 155 mm. Only in mortars did the Japanese foot soldier possess both smaller and larger bores at the advent of World War II. The most commonly encountered Japanese mortars were 81 and 90 mm. Standard U.S. mortars used by the infantry were 60 and 81 mm.
Another consideration in the Japanese design of lighter, smaller weapons was the combat for which they were designed. The weapons were adapted to the use of unmotorized units chasing inadequately armed Chinese over great expanses of countryside; they were particularly useful in jungle fighting and in the type of terrain which was encountered throughout most of the earlier fighting in the Pacific. An omen which was insufficiently heeded, or which could not be followed through, was the definite inadequacy of these weapons in more conventional warfare as pointed out in large-scale border skirmishes against Soviet forces in northern Manchuria and Siberia just before World War II. As the war progressed from the smaller islands and isolated areas of the Pacific and moved ever closer to the homeland, Japan had to manufacture larger bore weapons and better AA artillery and AT guns. But, by this time, Allied bombers had taken their toll of Japan's manufacturing potential.
While Japanese infantry weapons ultimately reached bore sizes close to
those used by U.S. forces, Japan developed but never produced a semiautomatic rifle or automatic carbine; hence, the Japanese soldier could not match the tremendous advantage in firepower which the American soldier held over him. Japanese artillery never reached the stage where it could lay down massed fires and rolling barrages as did U.S. artillery. It still remained aimed fire or, at most, point fire at the close of the war. It is doubtful whether Japanese logistics could have ever supplied the ammunition for such weapons or artillery practices, had they been feasible. As it was, the last months of World War II found the Japanese using mortars improvised from whatever was available, and captured documents explained in detail how such improvisations could be made by units in the field. More than 5 years after the Japanese surrender, the United States was to rediscover in Korea that these same Japanese weapons in the hands of Chinese Communists were still quite effective.
Edged Weapons, Hand Actuated
Although bayonets were attached to most Japanese rifles, they were not considered a primary cause of wounds. Among the 2,335 casualties studied in the Bougainville campaign, only 2 were listed as having had wounds caused by this weapon. A New Georgia-Burma casualty survey unit studied 393 casualties. Of 319 of these casualties that required hospitalization or that were killed in action, there were only 3 bayonet-wound cases. Two of these were accidentally inflicted with a U.S. bayonet, and in the third case the bayonet wound was secondarily inflicted following primary small arms wounds to the lower extremities. Notwithstanding this relatively small sampling of the total U.S. casualties incurred against the Japanese forces, it would appear that the bayonet was not a major, primary wound-producing weapon and that most bayonet and knife wounds were secondarily inflicted following a primary-missile wound. Infantry personnel through their personal experiences could probably reveal some variations as to the comparative effectiveness of bayonets and knives, but, in general, edged weapons were relegated to secondary functions.
Pistols and revolvers.-Japanese ground forces utilized several models of an 8 mm. semiautomatic pistol and of one obsolescent 9 mm. revolver. The Japanese Nambu, 8 mm. (0.315 in.) semiautomatic pistol, was named for its inventor, Col. Kijiro Nambu, and before 1925 was the standard sidearm in the Japanese Army. The weapon was recoil operated and magazine fed with the 8-round magazine fitting into the butt similar to the U.S. service automatic, caliber .45. Notwithstanding its independent development by the Japanese, the pistol had a superficial resemblance to the German Luger automatic. Originally, a separate shoulder stock was issued which, when attached to the butt of the pistol, enabled it to be used as a light carbine.
The Nambu used an 8 mm. bottlenecked semirimless cartridge. Its muzzle velocity was about 950 f.p.s. (feet per second) with maximum ranges, published in several sources, varying between 547 and 1,400 yards. Effective range was from 50 to 75 yards.
A 7 mm. (0.276 in.) model was also manufactured and represented a scaledown version of the 8 mm. model.
In 1925, the Model 14, 8 mm. semiautomatic pistol (fig. 1), replaced the Nambu as the standard sidearm and represented a further development of the earlier model. The Model 14 possessed a few external and internal modifications which facilitated the mass production of the weapon, but it used the same type of ammunition as, and had ballistic characteristics similar to, the Nambu.
The Model 94 (1934) 8 mm. semiautomatic pistol was of later design and manufacture, but it was considered inferior to the Model 14 (1925) in manufacturing quality and pointing properties. A dangerous feature of this model was that the weapon could discharge following rough handling without any manipulation of the trigger. It used the same type of 8 mm. ammunition as the Nambu and Model 14 pistols and had ballistic characteristics standard to this type of cartridge.
Submachineguns.-The basic design of Japanese submachineguns closely resembled corresponding German weapons as was well demonstrated in the standard 8 mm. submachinegun, Type 100 (1940). The Japanese had two modifications of this gun. The early model was designated the Paratrooper's Submachine Gun and was a light, blowback, bolt-action operated automatic weapon which fired the regular issue bottlenecked 8 mm. pistol cartridge. The
stock was cut through and hinged just behind the receiver and could be swung forward to lie parallel with the barrel. The curved box magazine had a capacity of 30 rounds, and the gun had an estimated cyclic rate of fire of 400 to 1,000 rounds per minute. The muzzle velocity was about 1,100 f.p.s.
The later model (fig. 2) differed from the Paratrooper's Model 100 in the absence of the folding stock, fixation of the rear sight, alteration in the bayonet fixture, and some minor modifications in the principle of operation. It had a straight blowback operation, and the curved box magazine held 30 rounds of standard 8 mm. pistol ammunition. The estimated cyclic rate of fire was from 800 to 1,000 rounds per minute with a muzzle velocity of nearly 1,100 f.p.s.
Rifles and carbines.-Japanese rifles and carbines developed for ground troops before 1939 were 6.5 mm. (0.256 in.) in caliber (fig. 3), while the models issued after that date showed a trend toward a 7.7 mm. (0.303 in.) rifle. At one time, the Model 38 (1905) (Arisaka) 6.5 mm. rifle was the basic Japanese infantry weapon, and it continued to be used during World War II despite the development of other models. This weapon was a modified Mauser-type rifle with a manually operated bolt action and was designed to fire ammunition of medium velocity. Its length was 50.39 inches without bayonet, and it weighed only 9 to 9¼ pounds without sling or bayonet. The mechanism of Model 38 was strong and sturdy, and, in its action, it was very similar to the U.S. rifle, M1903 (Springfield). Two noteworthy characteristics of the Model 38 were the slight amount of recoil and the minimal muzzle flash. The Arisaka fired ball, tracer, or a reduced-charge (practice) ball-type ammunition with a muzzle velocity of 2,400 to 3,000 f.p.s. and had an extreme range of over 4,000 yards. The rifle's effective range was from 400 to 500 yards.
A carbine, Model 38 (1905), was also produced with the same operating mechanism as the rifle, Model 38. It, however, was only 38 inches long and and weighed about 7½ pounds. It was equipped to hold the Model 30 bayonet and, like the rifle, was magazine fed from a 5-round clip. The ammunition was of the Model 38, 6.5 mm. ball and reduced-charge (practice) ball types. Muzzle velocity and maximum range were slightly less than for the Model 38 rifle because of the decreased barrel length.
Another carbine model which evolved from the Model 38 was designated the Model 44 (1911) 6.5 mm. cavalry carbine. It had the same bolt action, trigger mechanism, and receiver as the Model 38 rifle, but the bayonet was of the permanently attached folding type. The carbine, with bayonet folded, measured 383~ inches and weighed about 8½ pounds.
A sniper's rifle, Model 97 (1937), was also based on the Model 38 rifle and had a folding monopod, turned-down bolt handle, and telescopic sight.
In some of the battle areas during World War II, the Model 99 (1939) 7.7 mm. (0.303 in.) rifle began to replace the Model 38 (1905) as the basic Japanese infantry weapon. While still a manually operated, bolt-action, 5-round-clip weapon, it was only 44 inches long and weighed approximately 8½ pounds. In addition, it had a folding monopod, AA leading sight arms, and a hand guard extending to the front end of the stock. It used 7.7 mm. Model 99 (1939) rimless ball-type ammunition with the projectile weighing 181 grains. The muzzle velocity was about 2,390 f.p.s., with a maximum
range estimated between 3,000 and 4,500 yards and an effective range of 450 to 600 yards.
Two modifications of the Model 99 were the paratrooper rifle, Model 99, and the paratrooper rifle, Model 2 (1942). Both weapons had the same operating mechanism and utilized the same ammunition as the parent rifle but were designed to incorporate a takedown feature which facilitated their use by paratroop units.
Machineguns.-One of the earlier types of Japanese light machineguns which saw service in World War II was the Model 11 (1922) 6.5 mm. machinegun. This weapon derived its model number from the fact that it was issued in 1922, the 11th year after the accession of Emperor Taisho in 1911. The gun was patterned after the Czech Brno machinegun and was gas operated with automatic fire only. One of its distinguishing characteristics was the feed hopper on the left side which held six 5-round rifle clips of Model 38, 6.5 mm. ball ammunition. The muzzle velocity was between 2,300 and 2,400 f.p.s., with a maximum range of over 4,000 yards and an effective range between 600 and 800 yards. The cyclic rate of fire was 500 rounds per minute and the effective rate from 120 to 150 rounds per minute.
The more commonly encountered 6.5 mm. light machinegun was the Model 96 (1936) (fig. 4). This model, like the Model 11, followed the Czech Brno principle of operation and also had its outward appearance. It was still a gas-operated automatic weapon, but the feeding device was improved to accommodate a curved box holding 30 rounds of the Model 38 reduced-charge ball tracer ammunition. The rate of fire was increased to a maximum rate of 550 rounds per minute and an effective rate of 120 to 150 rounds per minute.
One model of a 6.5 mm. heavy machinegun recovered in small numbers from the Pacific battle area, Model 3 (1914), contained many parts which could be interchanged with the 7.7 mm. heavy machinegun, Model 92 (1932).
Because of a smaller feedport, however, the Model 3 could not be converted to fire 7.7 mm. ammunition. It was a gas-operated, air-cooled automatic weapon, and its feeding device consisted of metal strips containing 30 rounds of Model 38, 6.5 mm. ball ammunition. The muzzle velocity was 2,434 f.p.s., with a maximum range of 4,376 yards and an effective range of 1,500 yards. It had a rather low cyclic rate of fire of 450 to 500 rounds per minute and a practical rate of 200 rounds per minute.
Following the trend from the 6.5 mm. (0.256 in.) to the 7.7 mm. (0.303 in.) weapon, the 7.7 mm. light machinegun, Model 99 (1939), was developed from the 6.5 mm. Model 96. Basically, the two weapons were identical in principle of operation and feeding, but the Model 99 used the 7.7 mm. rimless ball ammunition. The muzzle velocity was around 2,300 f.p.s., with a maximum range of 3,800 to 4,500 yards and an effective range of 600 to 1,000 yards. The cyclic rate of fire was from 550 to 850 rounds per minute. The effective rate was from 120 to 250 rounds per minute.
A modification of the Czech Brno gun was issued as the Japanese Model 97 (1937) 7.7 mm. tank machinegun. This was a gas-operated, air-cooled automatic weapon that was designed for a tank mount but was available with conventional sights and a bipod so that it could be used from ground positions. A vertical box magazine held 30 rounds of Model 99, 7.7 mm. rimless-type ammunition, and the cyclic rate of fire was approximately 500 rounds per minute.
The standard Japanese 7.7 mm. heavy machinegun for ground forces consisted of two models, the Model 92 (1932) and the Model 01(1941). Model 92 was a modified Hotchkiss-type, gas-operated, air-cooled automatic weapon with a metal-strip feeding device holding 30 rounds. It used Model 92, 7.7 mm. semirimmed ball, AP (armor-piercing), and tracer ammunition. Model 99, 7.7 mm. rimless-type ammunition could be used if loaded in strips. The muzzle velocity was estimated at 2,400 f.p.s., with a maximum range of 4,587 yards and an effective range of 1,500 yards. Normal cyclic rate of fire was from 450 to 500 rounds per minute, and the effective rate was from 150 to 250 rounds per minute.
The Model 01 (1941) was a direct modification of the Model 92 (1932) with the primary changes involving the overall dimensions and weight of the weapon. A total reduction in weight of approximately 41 pounds was made in the gun and tripod mount, and the barrel was shorter, with a resultant decrease in muzzle velocity. Both guns used the 30-round metal-strip feeding device, but the Model 01 used rimless ball, tracer, and AP ammunition.
A 7.7 mm. machinegun of the standard Lewis design was identified in several areas and was standard in the Japanese Navy. This machinegun, Model 92 (1932), had the Lewis gas-operated system and used a 47-round drum as the feeding device. It fired the 7.7 mm. rimmed Navy ammunition, which was the same as the British .303. Muzzle velocity was 2,400 f.p.s., with a maximum range of 4,000 yards or more and an effective range of 500 yards. The cyclic rate of fire was 600 rounds per minute.
With the strafing of ground troops by enemy aircraft, the identification of aircraft-type machineguns was of some value. The following is a list of some of the major models:
1. Model 89 (1929), a 7.7 mm. fixed aircraft machinegun. This gun was a copy of the British Mark V (caliber .303 Vickers-Maxim type).
2. Model 98 (1938), a 7.92 mm. flexible aircraft machinegun. Certain principles of design and operation not seen previously in Japanese weapons were employed in this gun, which actually was the German MG 15 manufactured in Japan. It had a cyclic rate of fire of approximately 1,000 rounds per minute.
3. A 12.7 mm. (0.50 in.) fixed aircraft machinegun which was a close copy of the U.S. .50 caliber Browning aircraft machinegun, M1921.
The grenade discharger was designed for use by the individual soldier and served to extend the range of the hand grenade as an intermediary weapon approaching the true mortars. It had a curved baseplate which made it appear as though it could be fired while the weapon was resting on a part of the human body and, therefore, was frequently, but incorrectly, referred to as the "knee mortar." Actually, the baseplate was made to fit over a tree trunk or a log or to be stuck into soft earth. The weapon was never intended to be fired while resting against the thigh, as some gullible individuals discovered to their dismay.
The 50 mm. grenade discharger, Model 10 (1921), was a steel, smoothbore weapon with an overall length of 20 inches, a barrel length of 9½ inches, and a total weight of 5¼ to 5½ pounds. The ammunition, a Model 91 hand grenade with safety pin removed or a pyrotechnic grenade, was inserted into the muzzle. Upon pulling an external trigger lever, the propellent train was ignited. The setback activated and armed the fuze. With the Model 91 hand grenade, the estimated range was from 65 to 250 yards.
In 1929, the Japanese perfected the 50 mm. Model 89 grenade discharger which was an improvement over the Model 10. The discharger had an overall length of 24 inches, the barrel measured 10 inches, and the total weight was 10¼ pounds. A distinguishing feature of the barrel was its rifling. A Model 89 HE (high explosive) shell was designed with a rotating band which expanded against the rifling. In addition, the Model 91 hand grenade could be used as ammunition. The Model 89 HE shell had a range of 131 to 710 yards, and the Model 91 hand grenade had a range of 44 to 208 yards.
Intermediate between the grenade dischargers and more conventional mortar designs was the 70 mm. mortar, Model 11 (1922). This weapon had a rifled tube and fired an HE projectile of the same design as that used in the Model
89 grenade discharger. The propellent charge was contained within the base of the projectile, and firing was accomplished by the impact of a percussion hammer against the firing pin. The weapon had an approximate range of 1,700 yards.
The most commonly encountered Japanese mortars were 81 mm. and 90 mm., and they were very similar in appearance to the U.S. 81 mm. mortar, M1. Among the 81 mm. mortars were two models, Model 97 (1937) and Model 99 (1939). The Model 97, 81 mm. mortar (fig. 5) was operated in the same manner as the U.S. 81 mm. mortar and used an HE shell, Model 100, weighing 7.52 pounds. The shell was also similar in appearance to the U.S. 81 mm. M43A1 mortar shell. Model 99 was a smoothbore mortar which weighed only 52 pounds but was found to fire a 7.2-pound shell approximately 2,200 yards. The projectile for Model 99 was again similar to the U.S. M43A1 ammunition, and the two forms were found to be interchangeable. One distinguishing feature of the Model 99 mortar was a movable firing pin which was brought into action by striking a firing-pin camshaft with a mallet.
Of the 90 mm. mortars, the prototype was the Model 94 (1934). This was a smoothbore, muzzle-loading weapon which was characterized by its heavy recoil mechanism. This mechanism furnished greater stability with higher powder pressures but increased the weight of the weapon to 353 pounds. The mortar had a fixed firing pin and was fired in the same manner as the U.S. 81 mm. mortar. Its HE rounds weighed 11.9 pounds. The approximate range was 4,050 yards. A Model 97, 90 mm. mortar (fig. 6) was issued in 1937 and had the same general appearance as the Model 97 (1937) 81 mm. mortar. It differed from the Model 94 mortar in the absence of the heavy recoil mechanism and tube reinforcing hoop and weighed 120 pounds less. Otherwise, it fired the same ammunition as the Model 94 and apparently had the
same range. If instantaneous contact action was not required, a delay element could be placed in the nose of the fuze.
In addition to these commonly found mortars, the Japanese had others of conventional design in 120 and 150 mm. sizes with unconfirmed estimates of ranges as high as 5,000 yards. For sheer size, the Japanese had a 320 mm. spigot mortar which fired a 674-pound shell. Ammunition for a 250 mm. spigot mortar reportedly produced a radius of burst of 273 yards. In these models of the mortar, the Japanese principle of the heavy shell-that is, designing weapons to fire the largest possible shell from the lightest possible weapon-was expressed in its most extreme form.
Artillery, Conventional Guns, and Howitzers
Because of her complete isolation for such a long period of time, Japan ranked far behind other nations in the development of modern artillery weapons and tactics. Her artillery program was instituted in 1905 with the production of two types of field guns and two types of howitzers. These were identical to, or modifications of, European designs, as was her artillery of later times. As stated earlier in this chapter, Japanese models were invariably lighter than their foreign counterparts. This lightness was achieved by reducing the weight of the tube, equilibrators, recoil system, and trails, which make up the bulk of the weight of conventional artillery. Sometimes, this practice resulted in a loss of range, and some accuracy was sacrificed. On the other hand, these sacrifices were more apparent than real. Most of the Japanese artillery which was used in any great numbers was light artillery. The supporting function of artillery dictated that it be brought as far forward as possible for employment. Furthermore, most of the fire was aimed fire which, at the same time, had to be observed fire. Thus, the decrease in range with the lightening of the pieces was not a great loss. Because of the absence of modern fire-control and fire-direction methods, Japanese artillery used much time and many rounds to register itself. It was not adequate for counterbattery, nor was counterbattery a real mission of Japanese artillery. Since Japanese AA artillery was also inadequate, the field artillery was very vulnerable to observation and destruction from the air. Consequently, Japanese artillery did not fire long from any one position and was kept constantly on the move as a passive measure to protect it from hostile counterbattery and aircraft. The greater accuracy which heavier equipment might have given was really not required when the registration of pieces was accomplished as it was and when firing sites were so frequently changed.
Japanese artillery, when it did fire, was deliberate and accurate.
Table 1 presents a fairly comprehensive listing of Japanese artillery which was used in World War II. Figure 7 shows one model of the 75 mm. class and figure 8, one of 105 mm.
Japanese rockets and rocket launchers were of no great significance in World War II, although their development and production was rapid after they were introduced near the end of the conflict. Late models showed a strong German influence in their design. The early types of launchers for ground-to-ground rockets were crude metal or wood trough-shaped ramps of various lengths supported at the forward end by some simple form of bipod,
usually iron pipe. Through German influence, these models were replaced by the tube-type launcher, some of which were supported by a light two-wheeled carriage with fixed metal frame. Rocket-assisted AA and aircraft missiles were still in the experimental stage at the end of the war.
For small arms.-The Japanese made both good and bad ammunition for use in their small arms. One of their principal problems was to keep the ammunition from "going bad" because of the dampness of the jungles. Much of the ammunition, especially grenades and mortar shells, was ruined because manufacturers tried to avoid waterproofing it. Good ammunition, often packed in flimsy crates, deteriorated through rough transportation and the influence of bad weather.
Small arms service ammunition (intended for actual combat use) was classified according to type as follows: Ball, AP, tracer, incendiary, and explosive. The ball type, oldest of the service types, was intended primarily for use against personnel and light materiel targets. Originally, the ammunition was shaped like a ball, but, with the advent of rifling in weapons, this ball was replaced by a cylindrically shaped bullet which would engage the rifling. The AP cartridge was intended to be used against armored aircraft and vehicles, concrete shelters, and other bullet-resisting targets. Incendiaries were used for incendiary purposes against aircraft and were sometimes combined with one or two of the other types. Tracers were intended to be used with other types to show the gunner, by their trace, the path of the bullets, thus assisting in correcting his aim.
The nose of most service rifle, carbine, and machinegun bullets was ogival (curved taper) and was round in those for pistols, revolvers, and submachineguns. The body in both types was cylindrical.
In the 6.5, 7.7, and 7.9 mm. classes, the Japanese had ball, AP, tracer, incendiary, and explosive types of ammunition. Ball, AP, and tracers were used in ground guns, while incendiaries and explosives were aircraft ammunition. There was also a ball ammunition with a core of mild steel, instead of lead, which was mistakenly referred to as semi-armor-piercing ammunition during the war. During the closing stages of the Iwo Jima operation, however, some use was made by the Japanese of 7.7 mm. explosive incendiary bullets in ground fighting. This condition became evident when some casualties were found to have one wound of entry and several wounds of exit. An explanation for this unusual condition was that aircraft ammunition may have been salvaged from grounded planes and air force depots and used when normal types of machinegun ammunition were no longer available. Cupronickel, steel, brass, copper, or zinc were the metals used in projectile jackets with cupronickel being used most often. No steel jackets were reported in the 8 mm. Nambu pistol cartridge.
The 6.5 mm. (0.256 in.) (fig. 9) bullet, especially one made with a gilding metal (an alloy of copper and zinc) jacket, when it hit a target had an explosive effect and tended to separate, leaving the entire jacket in the wound while the bullet went on through. Small globules of lead scattered through the wound and embedded themselves elsewhere in the flesh. This condition was the result of the fact that the rear-section walls of the bullet jacket, which was filled with a lead core, were thinner than the forward walls. The sudden stoppage of the high-velocity bullet when it hit an object produced a tendency to burst the rear walls causing an "explosion." The lead core, which had a greater specific gravity, penetrated, leaving behind the relatively lighter jacket from which it had been discharged. The bullets made with cupronickel jackets had more of a tendency to retain their lead cores because of the greater tensile strength of the alloy when compared with the strength of the gilding-metal-jacketed bullet.
The unusually large exit wound openings often found with this caliber bullet were due to the natural instability of the bullet and possibly to its being fired from inferior weapons. Similarly, there were elliptic entry wounds, a result of the "keyholing" effect of bullets hitting with their sides.
Table 2 gives a description of small arms ammunition. Weights of projectiles in the table will vary somewhat from figure given in other sources. This is true because manufacturers did not always load the cartridge in exactly
1A wood-bullet round was used with the
rifle to launch the rifle smoke grenade. A paper-bullet round was used to launch
rifle grenades. The propelling powder used in the blank rounds was
nitrocellulose, while in the other rounds, it was graphite-coated
the same manner. Samples taken from different factory lots showed many slight variations.
For mortars.-Mortar shells were classified as HE, smoke, illuminating, practice, and training. However, only the HE type was of any concern in producing casualties. These are shown in table 3.
During the war, the South Pacific Area detonated 5 rounds of the Type 89, 50 mm. grenade discharger shell, 5 rounds of the Type 100, 81 mm. mortar shell (fig. 10), and 4 rounds of the Type 94, steel 90 mm. mortar shell in order to determine the frequency distribution of fragments from these missiles. The shells were fired statically in a vertical position with their noses approximately 1 inch in the ground. Panels of Celotex, 4-feet high and ½-inch thick, were placed in concentric circles with radii of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 yards from the point of burst at the center. The panels in each circle covered only one-sixth of the circumference, thus making it possible to arrange them so that no panel obstructed any other panel in a circle of greater circumference. The number of hits for each circle, had it been possible to enclose it completely with 4-feet-high Celotex panels, was extrapolated from the hits observed on the assumption that the distribution of fragments was random. The results are shown in table 4. If the mean projected area of a soldier is taken as 4.2 square feet, the probable number of hits he would receive at various distances from the point of burst are shown in table 5. To paraphrase table 5 in terms of the
1This shell is similar in design to the Type 94, 90
mm. HE shell, except that it is made of low grade steel or semisteel instead of
high grade steel.
probability of receiving one hit, a soldier at 6.5 yards from the point of burst would receive a hit from the Type 89 grenade; at 8.2 yards, from the 81 mm. mortar; and at 8.93 yards, from the 90 mm. mortar.
1Panels cover one-sixth of each
The reader should note that this was just one test. Under different circumstances, results could also be expected to differ. For example, a mortar shell does not hit the ground perpendicularly when fired for effect. The more acute the angle a shell assumes when striking the ground, the more the distribution of fragments will vary from pure randomness in all directions. Those emanating from the upper surface will go high into the air, those from the sides will come closest to a random dispersion within limited bilateral areas, and those on the underside of the shell will imbed themselves in the ground. This results in a butterfly pattern of dispersion which is ascribed to many types of shells. While the foregoing experiment arrived at some figures for the dispersion of fragments from these Japanese missiles, it did not tell what the wounding capabilities of the hits were. This is the core of the subject of wound ballistics and will be fully developed in later chapters of this volume. Neither could the study just described determine by actual count the number
of fragments produced by each type of shell. Of the fragments which were recovered, their size was generally small, about one-eighth to one-sixteenth of an inch in diameter.
A study conducted in the Zone of Interior in December 1944, however, had as its purpose the recovery of as many fragments as possible from the detonations of each of five 81 mm. mortar shells. From 542 to 696 fragments per shell were recovered. The mean was 608.6 fragments per shell. This corresponds remarkably well with the sum of the entries in the column pertaining to the number of hits for the 81 mm. mortar calculated for full coverage of circles in table 4. Figure 11 shows the number, size, and shape of the fragments recovered from one of the five shells tested.
The foregoing studies were presented to give the reader an appreciation of the wounding potential of Japanese mortar shells as he reads subsequent chapters of this volume. It would have been desirable to note the initial and terminal velocity of the fragments and their weight, since the actual wound production of a missile is, to a great extent, a function of its mass and velocity. These data were not available, unfortunately, but it can be assumed, based on the initial velocity of fragments from other mortar shells of similar properties, that the initial velocity of fragments from the Japanese 81 mm. shell was over 2,500 f.p.s. The weight of the fragments of the Japanese 81 mm. mortar shell can be estimated in that the average gross weight for one shell of fragments collected from detonations of the December 1944 test was 5.50 pounds. Thus, it took more than 100 fragments of the Japanese 81 mm. mortar shell to make 1 pound of steel. These data, taken in conjunction with the distribution data presented, should give the reader a good idea of the value of the mortar in ground combat-a weapon which was so fully exploited by the Japanese.
For guns and howitzers.-A Japanese artillery round was conventional in design with the usual components-projectile, fuze, propelling charge, and primer. The projectiles were cylindrical with ogival heads and could be classified as HE, AP, incendiary, tracer, or shrapnel according to their purposes and construction. Many embodied combinations of these elements. There were also hollow and shaped charges in the AT, AP types. Fuzes to detonate the projectile at the target were PD (point detonating) or BD (base detonating) according to their position on time projectile. They also differed as to whether the action was to be instantaneous, delay, or instantaneous-delay in combination.
With respect to the fuze action of enemy artillery shells, it should be noted that none of the Axis Powers possessed the proximity fuze, a device which permitted the airburst of shells. That is, the Axis forces could delay the detonation of their shells after impact, but they could not make them explode at predetermined altitudes over a target, except by time fuzes. An airburst is highly desirable because fragmentation then more evenly saturates the whole area of the shell's effective radius with pieces of steel. A shell striking the ground at an oblique angle with nose down, as explained in the preceding section on mortar ammunition, has a fragmentation pattern more or less limited to the lateral aspects. German attempts to achieve the airburst effect, without a mechanical time fuze, will be described in that section.
Japanese artillery rounds ranged in weight from a little over 1 pound for the smaller guns to well over 100 pounds in the heavy-artillery classes. The bursting charges were either TNT, picric acid, RDX (cyclonite) and beeswax, black powder, or dinitronaphthalene and combinations thereof. Many of the various types of shells could be used interchangeably in Japanese artillery if the bore size was comparable. Because of the many sizes and types, it would be neither feasible nor worthwhile to attempt a comprehensive survey of Japanese artillery ammunition here. Moreover, the most essential data concerning fragmentation characteristics could not be obtained. The lack of this
data greatly limits the value of any information which could be presented. Accordingly, only general features of the most commonly encountered types of Japanese artillery ammunition will be described. The data are presented in table 6.
Other Missile-Producing Agents
Grenades.-Because of its widespread use in the grenade discharger (knee mortar), the Japanese fragmentation hand grenade was responsible for a considerable number of casualties sustained by U.S. forces in the Pacific islands. The Model 91 (1931) (fig. 12) hand grenade was most versatile. It had a cylindrical cast iron body, 2.75 inches long and 1.97 inches in diameter, which was divided into 50 serrated segments. The bursting charge consisted of 65 grams of pressed TNT. When used as a hand grenade, the firing pin
was screwed down as far as possible, the safety pin removed, and the head of the grenade struck on a hard object-rock, shoe heel, helmet, and so forth-to activate the fuze. The delay was from 8 to 9 seconds. There was an opening in the base of the grenade into which could be screwed a steel propellent container when it was used in the grenade discharger or a fintail stabilizer when it was used as a rifle grenade. As a rifle grenade, a 6.5 mm. wood-bullet blank cartridge propelled the grenade from a spigot-type launcher which was affixed to the rifle. In both cases-as a projectile for the grenade launcher or as a rifle grenade-the setback initiated the fuze.
There were two other Japanese hand grenades of this same general design. One, the Model 97 (1937), was similar to the Model 91 grenade except for the fact that a solid base prevented its use in the grenade discharger or as a rifle grenade. This grenade also differed from the Model 91 in that it had only a 4- to 5-second delay, and it was 4 inches long and 2 inches in greatest diameter. A smaller grenade, Model 99 (1939 (Kiska)), had a smooth-surfaced cast steel body filled with picric acid. The overall length was 3½ inches; diameter, 15/8 inches; and total weight, approximately 10 ounces. The fuze delay was from 4 to 5 seconds. Although the bottom of the body was solid, the Kiska grenade could be fired from a rifle with the use of a Type 100 launcher especially designed for this grenade.
Among other miscellaneous types of grenades, the Japanese had a stick-type (potato-masher) grenade which had a smooth cylindrical body of one-quarter of an inch cast steel and a wood handle. There was also an HE rifle grenade, Model 3, which could be fired from both the Model 38 and Model 99 rifles with a spigot-type launcher and the blank wood-bullet cartridge. While similar to the Model 91 hand grenade, it was smaller and had a smooth wall rather than the serrated body. The fuze for this rifle grenade was instantaneous upon striking an object.
Landmines.-The Japanese employed both AT and antipersonnel mines in greater numbers as defensive weapons as the war reached closer to their homeland.
The Model 93 (1933) (tape-measure) mine was a small circular-shaped mine 7 inches in diameter, 1¾ inches high, with four metal rings on each side for carrying or tying the mine in place. It weighed 3 pounds and had approximately 2 pounds of explosive within a sheet metal container.
The yardstick mine, so-called because it was exactly 36 inches long, was oval in cross-section and had four fuzes or pressure points. Its charge consisted of eight ¾-pound blocks of picric acid in a tin tube.
The Model 98 (1938) hemispherical antiboat mine was designed by the Japanese for beach defense against landing craft but was also used on land as an AT mine. It had a hemispherical appearance with two protruding, hornlike electrochemical fuzes. The body was of mild steel with two carrying handles. Total weight of the mine was 106 pounds, with 46 pounds of explosives. The single-horn antiboat mine (teakettle mine) was smaller, had only one horn, weighed 66 pounds, and contained 22 pounds of explosives.
The Model 99 AP mine was also called the magnetic AT bomb or the magnetic AP hand grenade. This mine was small, circular, 4¾ inches in diameter, and 1½ inches high. Four permanent magnets were fastened to its sides by khaki webbing to hold it in place against a metal surface until it detonated. It weighed 2 pounds and 11 ounces.
The Japanese also used several other types of mines which will not be discussed in detail here.
Boobytraps.-Most of the Japanese boobytraps encountered during the early stages of the war were constructed with ordinary hand grenades with friction-type fuze igniters or improvised electrical fuzes. Later, machine-made fuzes were also used. These fuzes were rigged to an explosive charge which would easily detonate when pressure was applied or when an electrical circuit was closed.
Ingenious methods were used to boobytrap the charges. Phonographs were wired using the pickup arm as an electric contact so that, when moved to play a record, a circuit to a charge beneath the floor would be closed. Hand grenades were often trip-wire-operated and either buried just below the surface or left lying on the ground in brush or rubble where troops could step on or kick them. Others were found attached to coconuts by means of a string. When the coconut was picked up, the grenade exploded. Bamboo poles were similarly fixed with the expectation that troops would pick up the poles to make huts. Common objects such as fruit cans, toothpaste tubes, flashlights, umbrellas, pipes, pistols, and soap were also boobytrapped. The Japanese were even known to place hand grenades or packages of picric acid in the armpits or underneath bodies of their partially buried dead to explode when the bodies were moved.
Bangalore torpedoes, used by the Japanese to demolish barbed wire entanglements, were occasionally also used as boobytraps. The torpedo consisted of an explosive charge placed into a piece of common iron pipe capped on both ends. To operate, the caps had to be removed and a fuze inserted in one end. Casualties resulted when American soldiers tried to use the pipes as crowbars or fire grates.
Distribution of Weapons
While the foregoing paragraphs have attempted to summarize the characteristics of Japanese ordnance, a true picture of its capabilities requires some information as to the distribution of weapons to units in the field. This is a very difficult picture to draw for any army because army organization is by necessity flexible and subject to frequent metamorphoses with changing circumstances and missions. In the Japanese Army, as in most of the armies of World War II, the division was the basic unit of the combined arms, and an inventory of its armament should give a good idea of the distribution of primary infantry weapons. Unfortunately, the situation is not so simple. There were many types of divisions. The writers of this chapter, after con-
siderable deliberation, chose to describe what has been called the Japanese triangular infantry division with RCT's (regimental combat teams). This choice was made since the surveys described in other chapters of this study relate to combat conditions in which this type of division organization was most probably used.
The RCT triangular division was specially organized for island warfare and differed radically from the standard and standard-reinforced triangular divisions. Its strength, somewhat less than the standard divisions, varied considerably according to the degree of reinforcement which was made. While the average strength of this division with only one of the combat teams reinforced was 13,600, it could range as high as 16,000. Table 7 presents the weapons of this type of division with one reinforced and two standard RCT's. The division troops included tank, signal, intendance, ordnance, land transportation and sea transportation units; a field hospital; and a water supply and purification section. A reinforced regiment had three infantry battalions, each with three rifle companies, one mortar company, one artillery company, and one engineer platoon; a machine cannon company; tank company; engineer company; signal company; and a medical detachment. A standard regiment in this type of division had three infantry battalions, each with three rifle companies and an infantry gun company; an artillery battalion; engineer company; signal company; transport company; and a medical detachment.
The reader may have noticed that, in table 7, many of the previously described weapons are missing. Some of these helped make up the arms of a standard infantry division. In a standard infantry division, there was, for instance, a field artillery regiment with twenty-four 75 mm. field guns and
twelve 105 mm. howitzers. The regiments of the standard division had both 70 mm. battalion howitzers and 75 mm. regimental guns. The other weapons were in many different types of independent units, such as artillery regiments and mortar battalions, which usually made up army troops. (There was no Japanese corps organization similar to the corps organization in the U.S. Army. The Japanese field army had the tactical functions of a U.S. Army corps and the administrative and operational responsibilities of a U.S. field army.)
The history of Germany in modern times closely parallels, in many respects, the history of Japan. At a time when the New World was being settled and the other powers of Europe were in their period of greatest territorial and commercial expansion, Germany was beset by internal strife. The country was split into small principalities and kingdoms for over 200 years following the Thirty Years' War (1618-48). It was not until the latter half of the 19th century that two powers arose which were strong enough to contest each other for control of all Germany. This struggle culminated in the Seven Weeks' War in 1866 which saw Prussia emerge on top. In 1867, the same year as the Meiji Restoration in Japan, a semblance of a united Germany came into being in the North German Confederation created by the Prussian Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck. In 1870, the establishment of the German Empire (Deutsches Reich) was proclaimed, and Wilhelm I of Prussia was made Emperor on 18 January 1871.
Unlike Japan, the German peoples had not let themselves become isolated from the rest of the world during this interim of internal conflict. The Prussian Army was first rate for its time and a victorious army in the fight for the control of Germany. By 1870, Bismarck was ready for war. It was a simple matter to trick Napoleon III of France into a war with the new German State, and it was an equally simple matter for the disciplined Prussian Army to defeat the demoralized French forces. France ceded Alsace and most of Lorraine to Germany by the Treaty of Frankfurt on 10 May 1871 and enriched the treasury of the just formed Deutsches Reich by paying an indemnity of 5 billion francs.
These successes firmly established the high position of Prussian officers in the government of the new State and guaranteed the establishment and maintenance of, what they hoped, was a second to none fighting machine as a part of the country's national policy. The military spirit became the fiber of the country; the military band, commonplace. The duel with swords was the most respected form for settling disputes between individuals and was the ultimate recourse for the preservation of one's honor. On such a political and sociological base was built a mighty force which rose to challenge the peace of Europe and the world in 1914. It required the combined might of the
Allies to stop this force in 1918, but the Treaty of Versailles did not destroy the spirit of militarism nor the men who possessed the know-how to conduct such a war. Shackled and frustrated during the period of the German Republic, the military spirit emerged afresh with Hitler's establishment of the Third Reich. The somber strains of Deutschland Uber Alles once again threatened the world-a phoenix arising from its ashes not yet cold.
The German Army of World War II was the end product of nearly a century devoted continuously to the exhaustive study of all aspects of the science of war. It was the product of a totalitarian country which had accepted total war as an instrument of its national policy and which supported the armed forces with every scientific, economic, political, and psychological resource available. The weapons were the best that keen scientific and military minds could devise and which the country's economic resources could provide. The overall weapons system was tailored to fit the new tactical doctrine created and taught by the general staff, a tactical doctrine new in the means by which it would be carried out but employing every ruse and effect which had been known to succeed in wars through the ages. They called this type of warfare the blitzkrieg. The main components of the blitzkrieg included deep penetration on a narrow front by huge armored vehicles and demoralization of the enemy and destruction of his lines of communications by screaming dive bombers. Penetrate, surprise, shock, encircle, demoralize, and mop up-this was the simple theme. The blitzkrieg proved singularly effective in the early days of World War II against troops woefully and inadequately prepared by training and by their equipment to stop such a force.
In this type of warfare, the infantry was more or less relegated to the position of mopping up a confused enemy force cut off from reinforcements and from contact with the rear. If the infantry was used as an initial assault element, the purpose was limited to achieving a penetration or wedge to permit the armor to go through the infantry for the primary phase of the attack. The infantry was also used to follow up the tank assault in order to protect the flanks and to consolidate the ground gained before the phase of general mopping-up operations. Accordingly, many weapons of the infantryman were automatic. While having less accuracy or range than conventional aimed small arms, they better suited the missions of the German infantry. Initially, however, the basic arm of the German infantryman was the carbine, Kar. (Karabiner) 98K, a bolt-action weapon which was just as efficient at long ranges as any other European rifle. At the time of the attack on Soviet Russia, the German infantryman did not have as many automatic weapons as his counterpart in the Red Army.
German artillery doctrine closely resembled that of the U.S. Army, but, in practice, greater emphasis was given to assault guns for close support of the attacking infantry or armor. Less emphasis was given to AA artillery during the earlier periods of the war, since it was expected that the Luftwaffe would have general air superiority over any of the foreseeable enemies of the German Reich.
However, it has always been the fate of new offensive weapons and methods to meet their equal, eventually, in adequate defensive weapons and tactics. As the war progressed, the Germans were to find that armor sent alone against adequate AT defenses soon became "sitting ducks." In tank-versus-tank warfare, the Germans were chagrined to discover that the Soviet Union had developed tanks with sufficient armorplate protection and long-range guns to enable them to hold their own against German tanks. The other Allies had, meanwhile, fielded enough armor and developed tactics which enabled them to "gang up" on German armor. An unforeseeable eventuality to the Nazi war chiefs was the drastic loss in air superiority which the Luftwaffe suffered. The greater strength of the Allies in artillery and in longer range, high-velocity infantry weapons was a great deterrent to the successful employment of the German foot soldier. The period of "blitzkrieging" had come to an end.
To meet these changes, the German Army created units of motorized and armored infantry to be employed with the armor to destroy enemy AT defenses and protect friendly tanks. More artillery was made self-propelled and mounted on armored vehicles to facilitate their deployment and to make Allied counterbattery more difficult, but fuel shortages eventually erased these advantages. Effective AA artillery systems were developed. Antitank and AA weapons were ingeniously used as assault and defensive weapons. Rocket-type artillery, although less accurate than conventional or recoilless types, was created to make up for shortcomings in German artillery, especially in laying massed fires ahead of attacking formations and in the protection of the flanks of attacking columns. The original overdevotion to the principle of providing automatic weapons to the infantry could not be changed for new reasons. Critical manpower shortages hit the Wehrmacht, and it became necessary to cut down the personnel strengths of ground units while at the same time increasing firepower by using even more automatic weapons. Finally, the German concept of an aggressive, mobile, and fluid defense had to be abandoned for linear-type defenses in depth and in strongly fortified, organized positions.
The German Army which had started the war with arrogant confidence in its sensational offensive techniques finished the war with great despair while desperately employing every defensive means possible to forestall the obvious end and in order, perhaps, to obtain a peace short of unconditional surrender.
The foregoing summary, it is hoped, will provide the reader with background information to help him better understand and evaluate the descriptions of individual items of German ordnance which follow.
Pistols.-Perhaps the most widely known official sidearm of the German Army was the 9 mm. (0.354 in.) Parabellum pistol or Luger (P (Pistole) 08). The 1908 model was a modification of an original Borchardt pistol which the
Germans had redesigned in 1900 and designated the Luger. This weapon was well recognized for its power and accuracy and customarily utilized an 8-round magazine with 9 mm. Parabellum ball ammunition. Variations in the propelling charge of the cartridge resulted in muzzle velocities ranging from as low as 1,025 to as high as 1,500 f.p.s. The maximum range with lowest powered cartridge was about 1,200 yards, and the effective range was from 50 to 75 yards.
A later issue standard German sidearm was the 9 mm. Walther semiautomatic pistol (P 38) (fig. 13). One of the distinguishing features of this weapon
was its double action, which enabled it to be fired by squeezing the trigger without first cocking the hammer when there was a cartridge in the chamber. The Walther fired the regular issue German 9 mm. Parabellum ammunition and could also use the 9 mm. ammunition manufactured for the British Sten, British Lanchester, and the Italian Beretta submachineguns. Ballistic data were the same as for the Parabellum (Luger) pistol.
Submachineguns.-The 9 mm. MP (Maschinenpistole) 18 was the original German submachinegun introduced toward the end of World War I and continued in limited use-police, concentration camp guards-through World War II. It fired the standard 9 mm. Parabellum ammunition with a 32-round drum magazine. The cyclic rate of fire was 550 rounds per minute; the effective range, 218 yards.
A more recent model of the 9 mm. submachinegun was the Bergmann MP 34. This was a semiautomatic or full-automatic, air-cooled, blowback-operated weapon which was fed by a 32-round box magazine. The effective range was 218 yards; the maximum rate of fire was from 500 to 600 rounds per minute; and the practical rate of fire, 120 rounds per minute. Another 9 mm. submachinegun was originally designed for use by paratroopers but gradually came to be used by all general combat units. It was first brought out as the model MP 38 and later modified as the MP 40 (Schmeisser) (fig. 14). Both models were equipped with a folding shoulder stock and could be used as either a shoulder or a hip weapon. Standard 9 mm. Parabellum ammunition was used with a 32-round box magazine, and both had muzzle velocities of 1,040 to 1,250 f.p.s. The effective range was 200 yards; cyclic rate of fire, from 450 to 600 rounds per minute, depending upon the type of ammunition and the tension of the recoil spring. The practical rate of fire was 180 rounds per minute.
When fired fully automatically, however, these weapons could not have been accurate at ranges over 100 yards.
During the course of the war, the Germans issued various models of a 7.92 mm. (0.312 in.) submachinegun. The most commonly encountered models were the MP 43, MP 43/1 and the MP 44. The designation of the MP 44 was later changed to Sturmgewehr 44 (assault rifle 44). The original design from which these weapons were developed was the 7.92 mm. M. Kb. 42 (machine carbine 42). Many parts were constructed from steel stampings, but the gun was very serviceable with reliable operation and general accuracy. The ammunition was 7.92 mm. type MP 43 Patronen with mild steel core and had a muzzle velocity of approximately 2,250 f.p.s. The effective range was 400 yards, with an effective automatic rate of fire of 100 to 120 rounds per minute and a semiautomatic rate of fire of 40 to 50 rounds per minute.
Rifles and carbines.-The standard shoulder weapon of the German Army was a 7.92 mm. carbine, Kar. 98K of Mauser design (fig. 15). It could be regarded as a carbine or a short rifle. In general design, it was similar to the U.S. M1903 rifle, and certain parts were interchangeable with the later model German carbine, G. (Gewehr) 33/40. The Kar. 98K weighed 9 pounds and had an overall length of 43.5 inches. It fired 7.92 mm. Mauser, ground-type ammunition with a muzzle velocity of 2,600 to 2,800 f.p.s. The maximum range was approximately 2,500 to 3,000 yards with an effective range of approximately 600 to 800 yards.
Three older models of this gun, which varied only in barrel length and other minor design features (the Gewehr 98, the Kar. 98, and the Kar. 98B) were auxiliary and supplementary.
The 7.92 mm. carbine, Gewehr 33/40, was typical of the German carbine design. This gun had an overall length of 391/8 inches, weighed 7 pounds 11 ounces, and had a manually operated bolt action. The carbine fired 7.92 mm.
Mauser ball-type ammunition. The G. 33/40 was actually the Czech 7.92 Model 33, slightly modified, and manufactured by the Germans at Ceska Zobrovka Brno.
A number of 7.92 mm. semiautomatic rifles were also issued, and these appeared to fulfill the same function as the U.S. .30-caliber rifle, M1. The G. 41 (W) and G. 41 (M) were basically the same, except for minor external changes, different bolt mechanisms, and manufacturing methods. Both rifles were gas operated, air cooled, and fed by a 10-round box magazine. On thorough testing at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, the G. 41 (W) proved to be much inferior to the U.S. rifle, caliber .30, M1 in reliability under severe conditions. It fell down especially in mud and rain tests, and breakages were numerous.
In an attempt to reduce the expense and to expedite the manufacture of the semiautomatic rifle, the Germans also produced the 7.92 mm. Kar. 43 which used a maximum number of forgings and stampings in its construction.
The 7.92 mm. German paratroop rifle, FG (Fallschirmjäger Gewehr) 42, (fig. 16), was used by ground troops and was employed either as a submachinegun, a rifle, or as a light machinegun. Its action was a modification of the Lewis light machinegun, and it fired the 7.92 mm. Mauser ground-type ammunition with a cyclic rate of fire of 600 rounds per minute.
During the invasion and occupation of Poland, the Germans captured large numbers of the Mascerzek 7.92 mm. AT rifle, Model 35 (fig. 17). These rifles were issued to the German ground forces and were used extensively in the early stages of World War II. The Polish weapon was a bolt-action gun of the modified Mauser type and resembled the Mauser rifle except that it was longer and heavier and had a muzzle brake. The ammunition, which had a steel jacket with an AP steel core and a lead antimony filler, was contained in a 5-round clip. The muzzle velocity was very high, 4,100 f.p.s.
Following the Polish design, the Germans produced several rifles identified as Pz.B (Panzerbüchse) 38 and 39. The Pz.B 39 was manually loaded and fired a single shot from the shoulder with the aid of a bipod. The ammunition was a 13 mm. cartridge case necked down to 7.92 mm., similar to that used in the Polish AT rifle. The projectile had a tungsten carbide core with a lacrimator pellet and tracer mixture. The muzzle velocity was 3,540 f.p.s., with a 1¼-inch penetration of face-hardened plate at a range of 100 yards.
By means of minor design alterations, the Pz.B 39 was modified to a grenade throwing rifle (Granatbüchse 39). The attached launcher was the Scheissbecher which was the same type used on the Mauser Kar. 98K rifle. Both large and small AT grenades and antipersonnel grenades could be fired from the rifle. The propelling medium was a wood-bullet blank cartridge.
Machineguns.-The most commonly encountered automatic weapon used by the German armed forces was the 7.92 mm. dual-purpose machinegun, Model 34 (MG (Maschinengewehr) 34) (fig. 18). This weapon possessed an unusual degree of adaptability since it could be used as a light or heavy machine-gun against ground targets and troops or as an AA machinegun. It could also be mounted on tanks and other vehicles. The ammunition consisted of the 7.92 mm. Mauser ground type and was supplied in 75-round saddle-type drums, 50-round belt drums, and nondisintegrating metallic link belts. The
muzzle velocity varied between 2,500 to 3,000 f.p.s., depending upon the type of ammunition. The cyclic rate of fire was from 800 to 900 rounds per minute, and the practical rate of fire as a light machinegun was from 100 to 120 rounds per minute. As a heavy machinegun, this rate increased to 300 to 350 rounds per minute. The maximum range was about 5,000 yards with an effective range as a light machinegun of 600 to 800 yards and as a heavy machinegun of 2,000 to over 3,800 yards.
In the later developments of the MG 34, a number of models were produced (MG 34 modified, MG 34 S, and MG 34/41)-all of them retaining the original pattern of the weapon-but each modification tended toward simplification and elimination of machine parts. One of the latest models of German ground machineguns was the 7.92 mm. MG 42 which was intended to replace the MG 34. The MG 42 continued to be a multipurpose machinegun which could be mounted on a bipod as a light machinegun and on a tripod as a heavy machinegun. The MG 34 and 42 could also be used as AA machineguns and could be mounted on armored vehicles. The feeding device consisted of 50-round links of metallic nondisintegrating link belt or 50-round belt drums. The muzzle velocity was from 2,500 to 3,000 f.p.s., with a cyclic rate of fire of 1,335 rounds per minute. When used as a light machinegun, the maximum range was 2,200 yards and the effective range, from 600 to 800 yards.
After the occupation of Czechoslovakia, the Germans adopted one of the Czechoslovak 7.92 mm. heavy machineguns and labeled it MG 37 (T) (Brno). This weapon appeared to have been designed primarily for use on tanks and other armored vehicles, but it was also very effective as a heavy machinegun when mounted on a tripod.
Although primarily intended as an aircraft machinegun, the 7.92 mm. MG 15 was frequently utilized as a ground weapon by adding a standard bipod and a butt extension. The standard 7.92 mm. rimless ammunition was used in this gun with a cyclic rate of fire of 1,000 rounds per minute and a practical rate of fire of 300 rounds per minute. This gun was produced in Japan as the Model 98 (1938) flexible aircraft machinegun.
At the onset of World War II, the Germans had two principal mortars, the 50 mm. company and the 81 mm. battalion. When it became apparent that they could not match the firepower of their enemies, especially the Soviet forces, a short 81 mm. mortar was designed to supplement the 50 mm.
The German 50 mm. (1.969 in.) light mortar (5 cm. l.Gr.W. (Leichter Granatenwerfer) 36) consisted of a tube, cradle, and baseplate and differed from the conventional American mortar design in being trigger fired. This weapon had a total weight of 31 pounds, and, owing to its compact structure, it could easily be broken down into two loads for transportation. It fired an HE projectile weighing 2.2 pounds with a muzzle velocity of 230 f.p.s. and a maximum range of 550 yards at 45° elevation. The rate of fire was from 12 to 20 rounds per minute.
A power-operated automatic 50 mm. mortar (5 cm. Machinengranatwerfer) was found in special concrete turrets in fixed defensive systems. This weapon was almost twice as long as the standard 50 mm. mortar. A 6-round clip was manually loaded into a rack, and as each round was fed into the breechblock the tube would slide down over the shell and lock into place. The feeding, locking, and firing mechanisms were electrically operated.
The German 81 mm. (3.19 in.) mortar (8 cm. s.Gr.W. (Schwerer Granatenwerfer) 34) (fig. 19) was the equivalent of the U.S. 81 mm. mortar, M1. This weapon was a smoothbore, muzzle-loaded mortar with a fixed firing pin and weighed 124 pounds. Standard smoke and HE ammunition were used. The HE shell weighed 7.7 pounds and had a maximum range varying between 1,094 and 2,625 yards, depending upon the number of propellent increments. In addition, a modified HE shell known as the "bouncing bomb" was developed to provide an airburst, but it proved unsuccessful.
In an attempt to combine the firepower of a medium mortar with the mobility and lighter weight of a light mortar, the Germans produced a short 81 mm. mortar (8 cm. Kz. Gr.W. (Kurzer Granatenwerfer) 42). This weapon, with a shorter barrel and smaller baseplate and bipod than the standard 81 mm.
mortar, weighed 62 pounds and fired the HE shell with a maximum range of 1,200 yards.
Among the heavy mortars, the 105 mm. (4.13 in.) smoke mortar (10 cm. Nebelwerfer 35) was an enlarged version of the standard 81 mm. mortar and corresponded to the U.S. 4.2-inch chemical mortar. Although it was issued originally to chemical warfare troops for firing smoke and chemical shells, a 16-pound HE shell with a maximum range of 3,300 yards was also issued. Another 105 mm. chemical mortar (10 cm. Nebelwerfer 40) was a smoothbore, breechloaded weapon transported on a carriage from which it could be fired. This mortar fired an HE shell weighing 19.1 pounds and had a maximum range of 6,780 yards.
After the invasion of the U.S.S.R. and the capture of large numbers of the Soviet 120 mm. (4.7 in.) mortar (fig. 36), the Germans adopted this weapon and began to manufacture it in Germany. This mortar (12 cm. Gr.W. 42) was conventional in design and had a total weight in the firing position of 616 pounds and a barrel length of 6.12 feet. The German model could be percussion or trigger fired and used four types of German HE shells as well as captured Soviet ammunition. The HE ammunition weighed 35 pounds and, with a maximum range of 6,600 yards, provided artillery support comparable with
that from the 105 mm. field howitzer. Because of its high degree of mobility, it could quickly be towed or manhandled into a new firing position. This was accomplished by means of an easily attached two-wheeled carriage and by having the bipod carried clamped to the mortar ready for action. This same mortar was destined to be used again in Korea against American troops.
A 200 mm. (7.87 in.) spigot mortar (20 cm. Leichter Ladungswerfer) was developed for use by engineering units in the destruction of minefields, concrete fieldworks, and wire obstructions. It fired a standard HE shell that weighed 46 pounds and had a maximum range of 776 yards. A 380 mm. heavy spigot mortar with an HE shell weighing 331 pounds was probably an enlarged version of the 200 mm. weapon.
Artillery, Guns, and Howitzers
As in the case of Japanese ordnance, the variety of German guns and howitzers defies a description of each. Moreover, the details of the construction and functioning of any of these pieces would not contribute materially to an understanding of their casualty-producing capabilities. In view of these considerations, table 8 lists the primary conventional artillery pieces of the German Army and shows the type, caliber, ammunition used, projectile weights, and maximum range. The models with a designation of "18" signify those which constituted the standard artillery of the German Army when it entered World War II. Some of these were originally developed in World War I. In addition to the guns and howitzers shown in table 8, there were many models of heavy artillery-mostly long-range guns-which ranged in size from 21 cm. (8.27 in.) to 80 cm. (31.5 in.). These will not be described because they were not intended to be casualty producing in frontline areas and are not significant in the casualty surveys which make up some of the later chapters of this volume.
While AT (fig. 20) and AA weapons do not normally function as primary casualty-producing instruments of war against ground troops, they must be considered here because of the widespread use by the Germans of their 8.8 cm. (88 mm.) HE shell against ground formations. In almost all cases, German 8.8 cm. guns were either AA or AT weapons.
The basic 8.8 cm. gun was the Flak 18 which appeared as early as 1934 as the standard AA artillery of the German Army. Later models were the Flak 36 and 37 which differed only in mounts and data-transmission systems. Characteristic of AA artillery, these guns had an extremely long tube of 15 feet 5 inches. The maximum horizontal range was 16,200 yards with the 20-pound HE round. The muzzle velocity with the HE shell was 2,690 f.p.s. Standing on its AA platform, these models could traverse a complete 360°, be deflected 3° below the horizontal, and elevated 85° above the horizontal.
The Flak 36 gun also appeared as the standard armament of the heavy Tiger tanks. These tanks were designed primarily for defensive warfare or for breaking through strong lines of defense and were relatively slow and cumbersome-stark evidence of the German turnabout from the blitzkrieg theory. Because of the huge gun-it extended 8 feet 10 inches beyond the forward end of the King Tiger tank-the hulls of the Tiger tanks were of interlocked welded steel, and their turrets were constructed in one piece in order to give sufficient rigidity. The King Tiger was virtually invulnerable to frontal attack.
The 8.8 cm. Flak 41 was basically similar in design to the Flak 18, 36, and 37 but was larger all around, platform mounted on a highly mobile wheeled base, and designed specifically as a multipurpose gun-AA, AT, and antipersonnel. The 21-foot 5.75-inch tube increased the muzzle velocity to 3,280 f.p.s., with an accompanying increase in maximum horizontal range to 21,580 yards. An automatic rammer and electrical firing mechanism allowed a practical rate of fire of 20 rounds per minute. By a special device incorporated in the platform, it could be fired from its wheels.
The 8.8 cm. gun also appeared in several models of the 8.8 cm. Pak 43 (fig. 21) which were mounted in tank destroyers and in the Jagdpanther, a self-propelled gun on the Panther heavy tank chassis. The tank destroyers
1Close support weapon capable of both low-and
carried from 20 to 70 rounds of HE ammunition in addition to the AP types. The muzzle velocity was 2,400 f.p.s., with a 20.7-pound HE round. While these tank destroyers were primarily designed to fight enemy tanks at long range, they and the Jagdpanther could be used for many other purposes where a highly mobile, rapid-firing gun with plenty of power was required.
Artillery, Recoilless Weapons, and Rocket Launchers
With the use of a funneled tube (venturi) attached to the rear of the bored breechblock to allow the gases to escape to the rear, the heavy recoil and counterrecoil systems of artillery weapons can be eliminated. The result is a lighter recoilless weapon. Therefore, most of the German recoilless weapons were originally designated for use in airborne operations, but they also saw extensive use in general ground combat.
The German recoilless 44 mm. AT grenade launchers (Panzerfaust) can hardly be classified as artillery weapons, since the entire launcher tube was handled by the individual soldier. The Panzerfaust Klein 30 was an even smaller version. Four models which varied only in overall size and weight of the tube and in the sighting rail were produced.
There was also an 8.8 cm. rocket launcher which was very similar to the U.S. 2.36-inch rocket launcher (Bazooka) and a heavy 8.8 cm. rocket launcher mounted on a two-wheeled carriage with single trail. The latter more nearly approached the proportions of recoilless artillery, but it did not have traversing or elevating mechanisms characteristic of artillery pieces.
German recoilless artillery weapons were 7.5 cm. or 10.5 cm. in caliber and designed to break down into loads for pack or airborne artillery. The 75 mm. (2.95 in.) airborne recoilless gun (7.5 cm. L.G. 40) had its weight, 325 pounds, reduced to a minimum so that it could be dropped by parachute in two wicker containers. In comparison, the standard German 75 mm. light mountain howitzer weighed 1,650 pounds. The HE ammunition weighed 12 pounds, and this recoilless weapon had a muzzle velocity of 1,238 f.p.s., with an estimated maximum range of 8,900 yards. In addition, hollow-charge and AP projectiles were available for AT purposes.
There were two types of the 10.5 cm. (4.14 in.) airborne recoilless gun employed by the German Army. The 10.5 cm. L. G. 40 was the earlier model and appeared to be the type most frequently encountered. The tube and venturi jet made the overall length 6 feet 3 inches, and the gun in action weighed 855 pounds. Both HE and hollow-charge projectiles could be fired. Armed with the HE shell which weighed 32.6 pounds, the gun had a muzzle velocity of 1,099 f.p.s. and a maximum range of 8,694 yards. A modification of the L. G. 40 was introduced in 1943 and designated the 10.5 cm. L. C. 42. Modifications in the carriage design, elevating mechanism, and breechblock increased the weight of the gun to 1,217 pounds, but it could still be broken down into five loads for use as pack or airborne artillery. With all these recoilless weapons, the discharge of the propellent gases through the venturi
tube created a danger zone approximately 20 yards wide and 50 yards long to the sides and rear of the gun.
German rocket-type weapons appeared in combat in 1941, and, during the ensuing war years, a considerable number of models were developed and standardized. Some of specialized design were encountered during their experimental trial. Rocket projectors were far more mobile than standard field artillery and were more effective for diffuse smoke and massed HE shellfire over a target area. They did not possess the same degree of accuracy as the more conventional artillery piece. The main use of rocket projectiles was against fortified positions and troop concentrations.
The original tube-type rocket projector was the 15 cm. Nebelwerfer 41 which consisted of a six-barrel assembly mounted on a two-wheeled carriage. It took the crew approximately 90 seconds to fire the six rockets which could be HE or smoke. The HE round weighed 75.3 pounds with which the range of the weapon was 7,330 yards. This type of tube was mounted in two banks of five tubes each on a halftrack and was called the 15 cm. Panzerwerfer 42. The 21 cm. Nebelwerfer 42 was similar in design to the 15 cm. Nebelwerfer 41 and could be adapted with detachable rails to fire the 15 cm. ammunition. The 248-pound HE round gave this weapon a maximum range of 8,600 yards.
An entirely different type of launcher utilized steel or wood frames from which rockets were fired. The first of this type was the wood-frame 28/32 cm. Schweres Wurfgerat 40. Both 28 cm. HE and 32 cm. incendiary rockets could be fired with a maximum range of 2,100 yards in the case of the 184.5-pound, nearly 4-feet-long, HE rocket. The Schweres Wurfgerat 41 was a steel-rack version, and the Schweres Wurfrahmen used the wood Schweres Wurfgerat 40 racks on an armored halftrack. A mobile version of the Schweres Wurfgerat 41 was the 28/32 cm. Nebelwerfer 41 which mounted six racks on a two-wheeled trailer.
The largest of the rocket weapons was the six-frame 30 cm. Nebelwerfer 42. This frame-type launcher used a 30 cm. HE round with a bursting charge of 100 pounds of amatol as compared to the total weight of 75.3 pounds for the 15 cm. rocket and a bursting charge of 28 pounds for the 21 cm. rocket. The range of this 30 cm. rocket weapon was 5,000 yards.
For small arms.-The two principal calibers of small arms ammunition which the Germans used in World War II were 9 mm. and 7.92 mm. In the 9 mm. class, used mainly in pistols and submachineguns, the PPO8 or Parabellum cartridge outnumbered all the other varieties in the field combined. In fact, the Parabellum (or Luger) was probably the most widely used and most efficient military pistol cartridge in the world.
The true pistol cartridge had a brass case and gilding metal or gilding-metal-plated bullet, but this varied according to scarcity of desirable metals,
As substitutes, cases of steel with a copper wash or steel blackened with a protecting lacquer were used. Bullets were made with copper and nickel-alloy jackets, pure nickel jackets, and with gilding-metal-plated steel jackets.
The PPO8 m.E. (mit Eisenkern, with iron core) replaced the standard PPO8 in 1943 and had a steel case, steel-jacketed bullet with mild steel core, and copper-plated jacket inside and out. The bullet weighed only 98 grains as compared with the standard's 124. There was also a 9 mm. sintered iron bullet, PPO8SE.
Two other German 9 mm. cartridges were the M/34 Austrian (Steyer), a 127-grain bullet with considerably more power than the Parabellum, and the 9 mm. Kurz, or "short" (equivalent to the .308 automatic bullet). A third bullet used to some extent by the Germans was the 9 mm. Mauser.
In the 7.92 mm. group, the Germans had many versions, and they never stopped development of different variations until the war was officially over. The bullet lengths varied a great deal through the different types, but all were loaded to an overall length of 80.5 mm. The standard ball bullet was long, boattailed, and very well made (fig. 22). It was lead filled, had a gilding-metal-plated jacket, and weighed about 197 grains. Muzzle velocity varied between 2,400 and 2,500 f.p.s., depending on the weapon in which fired. The Germans had started using steel cases in World War I, and by the end of 1943, most German ammunition had that type of case.
German tracer bullets were the best put out by any country-beautifully streamlined and with excellent ballistics. German armor piercers were also very good, being very stable and accurate at long ranges. The commonest type of armor piercer had a hardened-steel core with plated-steel jacket and weighed 178 grains. Other types appeared which used tungsten carbide and combinations for cores. Sintered iron and mild steel cores also came into use in ball ammunition.
The HE incendiary, called the observation bullet by the Germans, had a pellet in it which exploded on contact with any target, however frail. The Germans maintained that it was used mainly for observation and range-finding, but observers report having seen them in rifle clips and machinegun belts.
The two main types of 7.92 mm. HEAT rifle cartridges were the Patr. (Patronen) 318 S.m.K. (Spitzgeschoss mit Stahlkern, pointed bullet with steel core) and the Patr. 318 Polish. The first was an original German type, while the second was a Polish model adopted by the Germans. Muzzle velocity for the German type was given as 3,550 f.p.s., and that for the Polish one a little lower in the weapons for which they were intended.
Table 9 lists the principal types of small arms ammunition along with the guns in which they were used.
For mortars.-As in the case of Japanese mortar ammunition, information available for German mortar ammunition was negligible. The reader is asked to take the descriptions of the German 5 cm. and 8 cm. mortar shells and compare and consider them along with descriptions of Japanese mortar ammunition (p. 22). In this way, perhaps, he may obtain a better picture of the fragmentation and wounding potential of German mortar shells.
Two 5 cm. (50 mm.) HE German mortar shells were tested in 1943 (fig. 23). Each shell, without explosive filler, weighed 1.57 pounds. The 284 fragments recovered from one shell weighed 0.98 pounds, thus representing a 62.4 percent recovery of fragments. For the other shell, 272 fragments were recovered. The fragments weighed 1.13 pounds and represented a 71.9 percent recovery. These data show that there were some 270 fragments per pound of original metal, a proportion roughly twice as large as that for the Japanese 81 mm. mortar shell (p. 22). It should be noted, however, that the many factors which cause variances in experiments of this nature make these comparisons extremely crude.
The 8 cm. (81 mm.) mortar shell incorporated the German attempt to obtain an airburst. It was no reflection of endearment, but, in all probability, familiarity which led the American soldier to call it "Bouncing Betty." This HE shell was quite conventional in design except for a cast nosecap which was secured to the projectile body by four shearpins. Upon impact, a nondelay fuze in the cap ignited a smokeless powder charge. The resulting explosion sheared the pins holding the cap to the body and threw the shell from 5 to 10 feet into the air. In the meantime, a delay pellet was ignited, which in turn ignited a booster charge that detonated the main TNT explosive charge at
1Patr.: Patronen (cartridge).
the approximate peak height of the bounce. This ingenious device produced an airburst without the use of a precision time fuze. It was not as effective or reliable as the time fuze but, on the other hand, neither did the Allies have a mortar shell which was equipped for bursting in midair.
The standard 8 cm. HE mortar shell filled with TNT weighed 3.5 kg. (7¼ lb.). It was 12.95 inches in overall length, and the diameter was 3.16 inches. The mean wall thickness was approximately 0.33 inches. The metal used in the body of the shell was a high quality casting of low carbon cast iron.
Given certain basic facts on any particular shell-type of metal, total weight, diameter and thickness of the shell wall, type of powder and density of filling, outward velocity of shell wall at time of detonation, and the like-such factors as the distribution of fragments by size, velocity of fragments of
various sizes, and retardation of velocity of fragments with distance can be reliably estimated. These factors, or variables, can be extrapolated for their entire range when even limited empirical data are available.
Using such techniques and given certain data from static fragmentation tests, some characteristics of the German 8 cm. mortar shell were derived of considerable interest. The conclusions are presented in figure 24. The only
FIGURE 24.-Fragmentation characteristics, German 8 cm. mortar shell. The horizontal lines for velocity give expected ranges of velocities and the vertical intersecting lines give the most probable velocities. The shaded portions show velocities below the incapacitation criterion.
basic assumption required was that the minimum velocity of fragments was 1,000 f.p.s., a very conservative assumption. The criterion for incapacitation (roughly equivalent to hospitalization) was the ability of fragments to penetrate 1 inch of wood. The cubes representing fragment size were obtained by taking the geometrical mean of the class and, as illustrated, show proper relative sizes; absolute size is shown only in scale. Of course, the shape of fragments is generally not cubical, although one dimension must be limited to wall thickness (0.33 in., in this case) and the second dimension in larger fragments is usually found to equal wall thickness. Thus, in the larger fragments, variance in size is often limited to the dimension of length. Finally, it should be observed that, while some fragments were of insufficient mass and velocity to meet the criterion of incapacitation, these could incapacitate, although there is a good chance that they will not.
Many armies of the world were, eventually, to feel the burst of Soviet 120 mm. HE mortar shells-or their imitations-and the German Army was one of them. Germany retaliated against the Red Army, however, by manufacturing, herself, the Soviet-type 120 mm. mortar and shell. Figure 25 shows both the Soviet and German shells. Figures 42 and 43 show the Chinese Communist versions.
Gross dimensions and characteristics of other German mortar ammunition are presented in table 10.
For artillery.-General characteristics of German artillery ammunition commonly used during World War II are presented in table 11. Scattered references to fragmentation characteristics of German artillery ammunition used during World War II were available and are reviewed. While the information is still meager, there is, fortunately, some variety.
Two 50 mm. HE shells for German AT guns were detonated by U.S. Army ordnance personnel. While the specific model of the shells tested was not identified, the weights, empty, of the two specific rounds tested were 3.52 and 3.54 pounds. A total of 202 fragments weighing 3.29 pounds was recovered from one shell, and 193 fragments weighing 3.46 pounds were recovered from the second (fig. 26). This made the percent of fragments recovered 93.4 and 98.3 percent, respectively. Taking, arbitrarily, a ratio of 200 fragments for 3.35 pounds of metal, the number of fragments for 1 pound of metal, a rough measure which was previously adopted for comparative purposes, becomes 60 in this case. It must be noted in this and the other examples for which this rough approximation was calculated that, in all probability, the unrecovered portions represent large numbers of extremely small fragments which would greatly increase the total number of fragments if they could have been recovered and counted. On the other hand, it was previously shown that these minute fragments have considerably less wounding potential. If, as was stated, one dimension of shell fragments is usually a function of the thickness of the shell wall, then many of these extremely small pieces must be sliver shaped. They might not incapacitate a soldier immediately, but it is obvious that they could
FIGURE 25.-High explosive mortar shells. (Left) Soviet 120 mm. mortar shell with point-detonating fuze, showing four propelling charges and ignition cartridge. (Right) German version of the Soviet 120 mm. mortar shell with point-detonating fuze, showing six propelling charges.
1Contains a powder pellet under fuze to give delay
become real surgical problems when their localization and removal is mandatory, such as in the case of foreign bodies in the eyeball.
Two types of 75 mm. ammunition were tested in August 1943 in the Zone of Interior. One was a standard 75 mm. HE shell, and the other was a 75 mm. HE hollow-charge shell. The fragmentation results are shown in table 12 and figures 27 and 28. It can be seen that the number of fragments per pound for the HE shell was 170, while that for the hollow-charge shell was approximately 185.
In the introduction to this section on German ordnance, it was stated that the German Army made extensive and telling use of AA/AT guns against ground targets as the war went along. Later, it was shown that the original Flak 18 AA gun was so used and eventually modified into the 8.8 cm. Flak 41, which was designed specifically as a multipurpose weapon. Thus, the "88" became a feared weapon, and an AA/AT gun became a casualty-producing weapon of no small consequence.
The HE 88 mm. shells tested were filled with amatol (43/57) and weighed approximately 22½ pounds. The external diameter was 88 mm. (approximately 3½ inches), and the average wall thickness was 0.60 inches. When fired against ground targets, a percussion or time fuze was employed. Two rounds were detonated in January 1943 (fig. 29). The rounds when empty weighed 19.17 and 20.37 pounds. For the first shell, 84.6 percent of fragments-1,488 pieces, 16.2 pounds-were recovered. For the second shell, there was a 78.6 percent recovery consisting of 1,543 fragments weighing 16 pounds. The number of fragments per pound in this experiment was not quite 95, one of
the lowest ratios encountered so far. This finding is actually more apparent than real when one considers the low percent of recovery. The smaller fragments, which are many, were probably not recovered.
Other static detonation tests of the 88 mm. HE shell were conducted. The basic data included fragmentation results and the mean, minimum, and maximum velocities of fragments over the first 10 feet. From this basic data, the data shown in figure 30 were derived. The method of derivation was basically the same as that explained in the preceding section on mortar ammunition (p. 53).
Fragmentation tests conducted in January 1942 on two rounds of German 105 mm. howitzer ammunition (fig. 31) showed the following characteristics: The rounds when empty weighed 28.55 pounds. For both shells, 91 percent of the fragments were recovered. For the first shell, there were 2,540 pieces,
FIGURE 30.-Fragmentation characteristics, German 88 mm. high explosive artillery shell. The horizontal lines for velocity give expected ranges of velocities, and the vertical intersecting lines give the most probable velocities. The shaded portions show velocities below the incapacitation criterion.
weighing 25.98 pounds; for the second, 2,063 pieces, weighing 26.03 pounds. In this case, the number of fragments per pound was considerably below 100, but it is obvious that the fragments are larger in size when their numbers are less per pound. This may be due to the fact that the shell wall is thicker. While the number of fragments is less, their size and the amount of bursting charge will make a larger percent capable of inflicting casualties. The reader
should note that, while stressing the number of fragments in these reviews of detonation tests, there was usually no information available on any criterion of wounding, particularly in relation to the effective radius of burst. The latter should be considered in relation to absolute number of fragments.
Other Missile-Producing Agents
The German ground forces employed a wide variety of hand, rifle, and signal pistol grenades for both antipersonnel and AT purposes. The standard HE hand grenade was a stick hand grenade (Stielhandgranate 24) which consisted of a hollow wood handle and a thin sheet metal head containing the explosive filler. The grenade would detonate from 4 to 5 seconds after a pull
on the porcelain ball located at the base of the wood handle. This grenade had a total length of 14 inches and weighed 1 pound 5 ounces. Stielhandgranate 43 was a modified version of the foregoing grenade with a detachable solid wood handle. The grenade could be thrown with or without the wood handle. A smooth or serrated fragmentation sleeve could be clipped around the head of the grenade to increase its antipersonnel effect.
In addition to the standard stick-type grenade, two other offensive-type hand grenades had a similar design. A wood improvised grenade (Behelfshandgranate-Holz) consisted of a hollow cylindrical wood head screwed on a hollow wood handle. The head contained a 50-gram bursting charge. The other offensive-type grenade was a concrete improvised hand grenade (Behelfshandgranate-Beton). This was very similar to the wood grenade except that the head was made of concrete and contained a full 100-gram bursting charge. Both grenades were designed to produce blast effects rather than primary fragmentation and were used by troops advancing in the open.
Of the standard German hand grenades, Stielhandgranate 24 and the egg-type grenade (Eierhandgranate 39) were the most commonly used forms. This latter grenade consisted of a thin sheet metal egg-shaped case filled with a 4-ounce bursting charge and had a friction pull ignitor with a 4- to 5-second delay. The grenade had a total length of 3 inches, was 2 inches in maximum diameter, and weighed 12 ounces.
Another offensive type was a disk grenade which had no outer casing but consisted of a disk cut from a precast or pressed pellet of explosives. The disk was prepared from the explosive RDX/wax and measured 35/16 inches in diameter and 17/32 inch in thickness. A standard pull ignitor and detonator assembly with a 6-second delay was inserted into the disk.
During the latter stages of World War II, the Germans issued a unique hollow-charge AT hand grenade (Panzerwurfmine 1 (L)) which was designed to be hand thrown at tanks from a distance of 20 to 30 yards. The grenade body consisted of a metal core containing the explosive filler and concave metal retaining plates at the forward end. A hollow-charge sticky hand grenade was also recovered which consisted of a tapered steel body with a flat sticky pad at the nose.
Several HE rifle grenades were used by the Germans and, since these were primarily antipersonnel weapons, they were capable of producing missile casualties. The Gewehr Sprenggranate antipersonnel rifle or hand grenade could be fired from a standard cup-type rifle discharger or thrown as a hand grenade. It consisted of a tubular steel body containing a penthrite wax explosive filler, a direct-action nose fuze, and a base assembly incorporating a flash pellet, delay train, and self-destroying system. When the grenade was launched from the rifle, it was initiated normally by the PD fuze, but if this failed the flash pellet in the base would ignite a friction composition which in turn would ignite a 4½-second delay pellet initiating the detonation of the main bursting charge. The latter method of detonation was, of course,
designed primarily to function when the grenade was used as a hand grenade. Various modifications of this grenade were issued and these included models in which the pull ignitor for hand throwing was omitted, the self-destroying assembly was lacking, or an "all-ways" point fuze was embodied which would initiate the charge no matter which way the grenade would strike. The standard model had a maximum range of 265 yards as a rifle grenade. A later model (Gewehr Sprenggranate mit Gesteigerter Reichweite) of the HE hand or rifle grenade was fired by a new propelling charge and had a maximum range of only 71 yards. In addition, the self-destroying device was eliminated. In both cases, the propelling charge was a standard 7.92 mm. blank cartridge with a wood bullet crimped at the neck and sealed with wax.
Antitank grenades, although intended for use against armor, would frequently inflict secondary-missile casualties. The standard AT rifle grenade (Gewehr Panzergranate 30) consisted of a seamless steel tubular forward section containing a ballistic cap, hollow-charge cone, and TNT bursting charge and a rear portion made up of light aluminum alloy containing a fuze and exploder system. The large AT rifle grenade (Gross Gewehr Panzergranate 40) was a slight modification of the Gewehr Panzergranate 30 to accommodate a greater bursting charge. Two additional hollow-charge rifle grenades were also issued, and they were similar in design but varied in that one (S.S. Gewehr Panzergranate 46) had a maximum diameter of 46 mm. and the other (S.S. Gewehr Panzergranate 61) had a maximum diameter of 61 mm.
An HE hollow-charge grenade (Gewehr Granatpatrone 30) consisted of a streamlined bell-shaped body with a slightly convex aluminum closing disk, an aluminum hollow-charge liner cast with an RDX/wax filler, and a graze fuze screwed into a projection at the base of the body. The grenade exploded when it hit an object or merely grazed a target.
A number of antipersonnel and chemical grenades could be fired from the 27 mm. signal and grenade pistol. The standard German signal pistol (Leuchtpistole) was a smoothbore weapon and fired a variety of 40 different signal cartridges and two kinds of HE pistol grenades. One of the latter, Wurfgranatpatrone 326, consisted of a small HE projectile fitted to a signal cartridge case. The second type, Wurfkörper 361, consisted of a standard egg-type grenade attached to a projectile stem which fitted into a loose smoothbore barrel liner.
The Kampfpistole was a later modification of the Leuchtpistole with the addition of a small sight and rifling of the bore. With these alterations, a nose-fuzed HE grenade could be fired in addition to the standard signal cartridges. In the latest development of the signal pistol, the original model was fitted with a loose steel rifled liner, a combination front and rear sight, and a folding stock. By means of these alterations, the pistol could fire a new-type hollow-charge grenade at close quarters against tanks.
Other Fragment-Producing Agents, Landmines
German landmines had undergone a rather extensive developmental program and a wide variety of models were encountered in the field. The Tellermines (T. Mi. 29, 35, 42, and 43) were metal AT mines of a flat circular, design which varied in size, shape, area of pressure plate, and in type and amount of the bursting charge. The Sprengriegel 43 was a rectangular, encased charge of TNT which could be fired electrically but required a pressure of approximately 440 pounds for activating the ignitors. A wood box mine (Holzmine 42) was also issued for use as an AT device or as a boobytrap. The body consisted of a wood box of three-quarters of an inch lumber which was divided into four compartments by removable partitions. Two explosive charges of 50/50 amatol were placed in the two side compartments; the central compartment contained the primer charges and the end compartment, the operating mechanism. A completely nonmetallic AT mine was the Topfmine which had a hard pulplike outer casing and a glassed ignitor.
One of the most commonly encountered antipersonnel mines was the "Potmine" (Behelfs-Schützenmine S.150) (fig. 32). The pressed steel body was 2½ inches in diameter and 2 inches high. When filled with a 5¼-ounce explosive charge of powdered picric acid, the total weight of the mine was 12½ ounces. A moderate pressure on the top of the ignitor would crush the metal drum, break a glass ampule filled with acid, and thereby permit a chemical interaction between the acid and a white powder flash composition. The resulting flash set off the detonator which ignited the main bursting charge.
During the course of World War II, the Germans utilized a number of mines which depended upon shrapnel for their antipersonnel effect. One of these, the S. Mine 35 (fig. 33) was 5 inches high, 4 inches in diameter, and weighed 9½ pounds. There was an outer steel casing within which was fitted an inner steel cylinder. The latter contained an ignitor, a central delay tube,
a black powder propelling charge, a main explosive charge, and approximately 350 steel balls, rods, or scraps of metal alined along the cylinder wall. A direct pressure of approximately 15 pounds activated a push-type ignitor. A pull-type ignitor could be connected to trip wires, while an electric squib-type ignitor could be fired by electrical means. In any case, when the ignitor fired, flashes of flame descended the central steel tube and set off the black powder propelling charge which threw the inner cylinder into the air. Concurrent with this, the detonator was ignited which, in turn, set off the main charge. The delay in the detonation of the main charge permitted the inner cylinder to rise from 6 to 7 feet above the ground before its casing would be fragmented to release the steel shrapnel balls. The latter would be effective up to a radius of 150 to 200 yards.
The S. Mine 44 was of the same basic design as the S. Mine 35 but varied in the method of igniting the main charge and in the use of many layers of small steel shot. An inner cylinder contained a detonator, a pull ignitor, and a percussion ignitor. The latter was actuated by a direct pressure of 21 pounds or by a tension of 14 pounds applied through lateral trip wires. The pull ignitor was located in the base of the cylinder immediately below the detonator. It was attached to the base of the outer casing by a 3-foot length of coiled wire. Operation of the percussion ignitor fired a fast-burning gunpowder propellant which caused the inner cylinder to be thrown upward. When the coiled wire was fully extended at about 1½ feet above ground level, the pull ignitor activated the detonator which, in turn, set off the main explosive charge. Accordingly, the small steel shrapnel balls were released at a lower level than in the S. Mine 35 and the effective radius was less-110 yards with a 22-yard lethal radius.
In an attempt to reduce the metallic content of the antipersonnel mine and increase the difficulty in its detection, a glass mine (Glasmine 43 (f)) was developed. This consisted of an outer glass casing 4.2 inches in height, from 4½ to 6 inches in diameter, and from 0.25 to 0.40 inch in thickness. Approximately 40 pounds of direct pressure was required to break the glass shear plate and activate either a chemical or a mechanized ignitor. Several models of wood antipersonnel mines were also manufactured and employed against infantry, cavalry, and light vehicles. The Schü-Mine 42 consisted of a casing of impregnated plywood or hardened compressed fibrous cardboard filled with a 100-gram explosive charge. Two other wood mines-Models 42(N) and 43(N)-were also encountered which consisted of an impregnated wood body with a cast TNT filler. The 42(N) mine functioned when a pressure was applied to an ignitor located in the top of the body, and the 43(N) was detonated when pressure on the lid sheared two wood dowels on the front of the body and released the safety pin. The functioning load of the ignitors used in both of these mines was approximately 75 pounds. Mines similar to the Schü-Mine were to become favorite defensive weapons of the Communist forces in North Korea.
Distribution of Weapons
As in the case of Japanese ordnance, the reader would be left unaware of the relative amount of use made of the weapons described unless he had some idea of how they were distributed. The division organization in the German Army (table 13) was the basic unit of combined arms. From the outbreak of the war until the late summer of 1943, comparatively minor changes occurred in the tables of organization of most types of German divisions. The average strength for that period was from 15,000 to 17,000 and, with normally attached troops, usually reached some 20,000 men. From the summer of 1943 on, however, several series of new tables of organization and equipment were issued. In all the reorganizations, the trend was clearly toward economizing manpower and simultaneously increasing firepower by a careful distribution of large numbers of automatic small arms, by lowering the number of mortars, AT guns, and tanks, and, at the same time, by increasing potentially their calibers and weights. These changes resulted in lowering the table of organization strength of a division to approximately 11,000 to 13,000 in January 1945. By that time, however, many divisions were actually of only about regimental strength in able bodies.
The infantry division, old type, was the basic German division from the fall of Poland until summer, 1943. Like the American triangular division, it consisted of three regiments, each with three battalions. The 1944-type division was the midpoint in a reorganization from the old type to a drastically reduced division in 1945. The fundamental revision was the reduction of battalions from three to two per regiment, platoons from four to three in the rifle companies, and accompanying reductions throughout the division. The Volks Grenadier division, three regiments of two battalions each, was one of
1Also furnished were 12 heavy guns.
the latest organizations and reflected in name and weapons the emergency which had approached the fatherland. There is a further decrease in personnel, an increase in the proportion of small automatic weapons per man, and the substitution of medium artillery with larger numbers of light artillery. The other types of divisions are shown for comparative purposes and to round out the picture.
CAUSATIVE AGENTS OF BATTLE CASUALTIES IN WORLD WAR II
In order to determine which type of enemy weapon was most effective against U.S. troops in World War II, it would be necessary to know the causative agent for each wound inflicted. Not only was such information impossible to get for all areas for the entire war period but what was available was often inaccurate. Casualties who survived were frequently not able to determine the weapons that had wounded them. For those killed outright or who died of wounds, no opinion was available if there had been no witnesses. Prompt interment of bodies seldom left time for recovery of the missile that killed. Casualty surveys which supplied this type of information were made only in certain areas at specified times. However, these studies used different methods of reporting, and the lack of a uniform system made assessment and comparison of reports difficult.
Nevertheless, many interesting facts can be brought out from the material available. A report on the causative agents of battle casualties in World War II showed the comparative incidence of casualties from different types of weapons for several theaters. Compilers of the report believed that, while the more detailed subdivisions within their three major classes were open to question, their findings on the percent of total casualties due to small arms, artillery and mortars, and "miscellaneous" were reasonably accurate. From these they drew the following conclusions:
1. Small arms fire accounted for between 14 and 31 percent of the total casualties, depending upon the theater of action: The Mediterranean theater, 14.0 percent; the European theater, 23.4 percent; and the Pacific theaters, 30.7 percent.
2. Artillery and mortar fire together accounted for 65 percent of the total casualties in the European and Mediterranean theaters, 64.0 and 69.1, respectively. In the Pacific, they accounted for 47.0 percent.
The report showed the relative effectiveness of causative agents, which inflicted casualties on 217,070 living wounded of the First and Third U.S. Armies, European Theater of Operations, 1944-45 (table 14).
It is also interesting to note from two tables taken from studies conducted on Bougainville and in Italy that more casualties in the South Pacific were caused by rifle or machinegun fire than in the North African theater:
NORTH KOREAN FORCES ORDNANCE MATERIEL
The weapons used by the CCF (Chinese Communist Forces) in the Korean War were of diverse origins and types. The relatively limited munitions production in China before 1950 had forced the CCF to rely heavily upon weapons captured from the Japanese, the Chinese Nationalists, and the U.S. forces. With the signing of the Chinese Communist-Soviet 30-year mutual assistance pact in February 1950, Soviet weapons became available in increasing numbers, but, initially, the CCF entered Korea without Soviet weapons. Later, these Soviet weapons were supplemented by Chinese copies of foreign designs and by limited quantities of weapons from almost every other arms-manufacturing country including Great Britain and France.
The NKA (North Korean Army) was from the outset equipped with Soviet weapons of World War II vintage. Throughout the period of the Korean War, Soviet weapons captured in Korea continued to be those manufactured in or earlier than 1950.
Pistols and revolvers.-Pistols and revolvers among the Communist forces in North Korea had little combat significance because of the much more effective use by half-trained troops of the machine pistol or the submachinegun. They were, however, still issued to officers, service troops, combat and transportation vehicle crews, and flying personnel as weapons of personal defense. Over a dozen types were available in calibers from 6.35 mm. to 11.4 mm. The most common pieces used were the Japanese 8 mm. pistols, 7.63 mm. Mauser pistols of both German and Chinese manufacture, and Soviet 7.62 mm. pistols and revolvers.
Submachineguns.-The submachinegun was one of the principal weapons of the Communist troops in Korea. Various models of the U.S. Thompson submachinegun and the caliber .45 M3, including copies made in Chinese arsenals, were widely distributed to CCF troops.
Before 1950, the U.S.S.R. began supplying the North Koreans with Soviet 7.62 mm. PPSh1941 and PPS1943 submachineguns. These were also issued to the CCF following their disastrous spring offensive of 1951. The PPSh1941, the more prevalent, was a blowback operated, semiautomatic or full-automatic weapon with a 71-round drum or 35-round box magazine. The improved all-metal version of 1943, the PPS43, was also blowback operated but fired full automatic only. Both weapons used the standard 7.62 mm. Soviet auto-pistol cartridge. Effective ranges in the earlier model were approximately 330 yards semiautomatic, 220 yards in short bursts, and 110 yards in long bursts. The practical rate of fire varied between 40 and 150 rounds per minute depending on whether it was firing semiautomatic, in short bursts, or in long bursts. The PPS1943 had a practical rate of fire of 100 rounds per minute and an effective range of approximately 220 yards for short bursts and 110 yards for long bursts. As the war progressed, the Chinese Communists began to produce copies of these models in substantial numbers.
Rifles and carbines.-The enemy in North Korea used rifles obtained mainly from four sources: Those captured from U.S. forces or from forces armed by the United States, those captured from the Japanese, those supplied by the Soviet Union, and those manufactured for or by China during or after the days of the Republic.
The most important of the U.S. weapons used were the .30-caliber M1 rifles and carbines. It was reported that whole units of the CCF were armed with the M1 carbine. The 1903 Springfield was also used extensively.
Japanese 6.5 and 7.7 mm. rifles and carbines were very popular during the first years of the Korean War. These were gradually replaced by the Soviet bolt-action rifles and carbines chambered for the powerful 7.62 mm. Soviet service cartridge. The 7.62 mm. M1944 carbine, formerly the standard shoulder arm of the Soviet infantry, was also frequently employed by the Communist forces. Thus was a shorter version of the earlier Russian standard infantry rifle, the M1891/30, also commonly used by the North Koreans. The M1944 weighed 8.6 pounds with sling and had a practical rate of fire of approximately 10 rounds per minute and an effective range of 440 yards.
Those arms manufactured earlier for, or by, Nationalist China were all chambered for the 7.92 mm. service cartridge. Among these were different models of the conventional bolt-action Mauser rifles, the ZH 29 Czech autoloading rifle, and some 1888 German rifles.
Machineguns.-The CCF in North Korea acquired their machineguns in much the same way as they did their rifles and carbines. In the light machinegun class, they had captured a limited supply of Browning Automatic rifles and 1919A4 light machineguns from U.S. forces and from forces of other countries armed with weapons made by the United States. Some caliber .50 Browning heavy machineguns of U.S. manufacture were also used. From the Japanese, they had taken substantial quantities of 6.5 and 7.7 mm. light and heavy machineguns, including the 6.5 mm. Model 11 (1922), the 6.5 mm. Model 96 (1936), and the 7.7 mm. Model 99 (1939) light machineguns and the Types 92 and 01, 7.7 mm. heavy machineguns. These types were discussed in the section on Japanese ordnance materiel.
Of Soviet origin were the various Degtyarev machine rifles and light machineguns represented by the DP, the DPM, and the DTM. All three types were gas operated and air cooled, and all used the standard 7.62 mm. series of cartridges. The feeding device of the DP and the DPM was a 47-round drum magazine, and each model weighed about 26 pounds with loaded drum. The practical rate of fire was 80 rounds per minute with an effective range up to 880 yards against group targets. The DTM had a 60-round drum magazine and was used both as a tank and as a ground gun.
Two other Soviet weapons used were the 7.62 mm. Maxim M1910 heavy machinegun (with an effective range of 1,100 yards and a rate of fire of 250-300 rounds per minute) and the 7.62 mm. Goryunov M1943 heavy machinegun which was a modification of the Maxim with similar performance but much lighter. There was also a 12.7 mm. (caliber .50) DShK M1938 AA machinegun. The DShK M1938 had a practical rate of fire of 300-350 rounds per minute and an effective range of approximately 3,000 feet when used against aircraft and approximately 3,300 yards when used as a ground gun.
The Chinese themselves manufactured copies of two excellent weapons-the ZB 26 light machinegun and the Maxim heavy machinegun (fig. 34), both of which fired 7.92 mm. ammunition. The ZB 26 was gas operated and either semiautomatic or full automatic. It weighed close to 20 pounds and had a 20-round box magazine. Effective range was 875 yards with a rate of fire of 150-200 rounds per minute. The Chinese Maxim was practically identical to the 1908 Maxim but with considerable changes in the mount.
Mortars.-Mortars manufactured in Chinese Communist factories and those captured from the Japanese, the Chinese Nationalists, and the United Nations Forces in Korea were used extensively by Communist forces in North Korea, often as a substitute for artillery. Those produced in Chinese Communist arsenals were the 60 mm. Model 31 (copy of the U.S. M2), the 82 mm. Model 20, and the 120 mm. Model 44. Captured U.S. materiel included the 60 mm., the 81 mm., and the 4.2-inch mortars. Japanese models used were all
81 mm. weapons. Three models of the Soviet 82 mm. battalion mortars, the M1937, M1941, and M1943, were widely used. These Soviet weapons weighed about 12.7 pounds each and fired HE shells up to 3,326 yards. The Soviet 120 mm. mortar (figs. 35 and 36) remained as effective in Korea as it was during World War II when used by both the Red Army and the Germans.
Artillery.-Until the close of World War II, when they acquired quantities of Japanese-made artillery, the CCF lacked both artillery materiel and experience in its use. Their supply of artillery was increased between 1946 and 1949 with the capture of considerable amounts from the Chinese Nationalists, including modern U.S. made field artillery. With Soviet aid in the Korean War, the CCF received quantities of Soviet artillery, as the North Koreans had before them.
Captured Japanese infantry guns and mountain artillery which the CCF used were the Type 92 (1932) 70 mm. battalion howitzer and the 75 mm. Type 41 (1908) infantry and Type 94 (1934) mountain guns. Limited quantities of the U.S. 75 mm. pack howitzer M1A1 and Soviet 76 mm. regimental and mountain guns and 76 mm. howitzers were also used in addition to various other 75 mm. pieces of French, German, Japanese, and Swedish origin.
Field artillery employed by enemy troops consisted primarily of weapons made in Japan, the United States, and the Soviet Union. Light artillery used was made up largely of several types of Japanese 75 mm. guns and 105 mm. howitzers and field guns, Soviet 76 mm. divisional guns, and the U.S. 105 mm. howitzer M2A1. Ballistic characteristics for the Japanese models have been given previously. The Soviet 76 mm. (M1942) divisional gun, weighing 2,460 pounds, was capable of firing a 13.7-pound HE projectile a maximum distance of 14,550 yards. The Soviet 57 mm. AT Gun (M1943) was also extensively used.
Most important of the Soviet medium field artillery pieces used included the 122 mm. howitzer M1938 (fig. 37), the 122 mm. corps gun M1931/37, and the 152 mm. gun howitzer M1938. The M1938 howitzer weighed 4,960 pounds, had a maximum range of 12,900 yards, and fired an HE projectile weighing 48 pounds. The 122 mm. M1931/37 corps gun weighed over three times as much as the M1938 howitzer and was capable of firing a 55-pound projectile 22,750
yards. The 152 mm. (M1938) gun howitzer (fig. 38), heaviest of the three, fired a 96-pound shell approximately 18,880 yards.
Japanese 150 mm. howitzers and guns and a small number of U.S. 155 mm. howitzers M1917A1 were employed along with a variety of British, French, and German weapons ranging in caliber from 75 mm. to 150 mm.
The Chinese Communists manufactured fairly exact copies of the smaller Japanese artillery pieces but did not attempt to duplicate the larger ones. Among the principal models copied were the 75 mm. Type 41 (1908) infantry gun, the 75 mm. Type 94 (1934) mountain gun, and the 70 mm. Type 92 (1932) infantry howitzer.
Rocket launchers.-The Communists in North Korea were again supplied by the Soviet Union in the matter of rocket launchers. The model issued was the 8-railed 132 mm. M13 which fired 16 fin-stabilized HE rockets. Maximum range of the 94-pound rockets was approximately 9,500 yards. This weapon, normally mounted on a 6 x 6 truck, possessed relatively good mobility and heavy-fire effect but lacked the range and accuracy of conventional artillery. For this reason, it was used primarily to cover area targets since fire against point targets was not practical.
The Chinese Communists designed and manufactured a six-round rocket launcher, 102 mm. A3, from which they fired a Chinese copy of the U.S. 4.5-inch rocket. This launcher was mounted on a two-wheeled carriage and was light enough to be transported by truck.
Ammunition.-North Korea was almost completely dependent upon the Soviet Union for the ammunition it used during the Korean War. Some Japanese and captured U.S. ammunition was also used.
The Chinese Communists depended largely on ammunition derived from different foreign nations, but they also manufactured some modified or exact copies of products of several other nations. At the close of World War II, they acquired quantities of Japanese ammunition. When they gained control of the Chinese mainland in 1949, large Chinese Nationalist stocks were captured, and Nationalist arsenals were seized. These arsenals, many originally inherited from the Japanese by the Nationalists at the close of World War II, continued to produce Japanese-type ammunition for the Communists. Varying amounts of British, Swedish, French, Italian, and German types were
1Communist China was the country of origin for the
Type 50 small arms ammunition; the U.S.S.R. was the country of origin for all
the other ammunition.
also collected. Soviet ammunition was received in large amounts following CCF entry into the Korean War and was used along with the U.S. ammunition which the enemy captured. The Chinese Communists manufactured .45 caliber small arms ammunition which literally defied differentiation from U.S. .45 caliber ammunition when discovered in casualties. Initially, CCF use of this ammunition caused considerable consternation since no foreign nation had ever manufactured and used .45 ammunition against American soldiers.
Ammunition manufactured by the Chinese Communists was erratic in quality-sometimes good and sometimes poor. Reasons for this were loose manufacturing standards, lack of adequate forces of skilled workers, unsatisfactory machinery, and shortages of raw materials. Often, small arms cartridges were picked up after firing with cracked necks. Deficient packaging of the ammunition frequently resulted in serious deterioration of originally undefective contents.
General characteristics of ammunition commonly used by the enemy in Korea and not previously described are presented in tables 15, 16, and 17.
1The U.S.S.R. was the country of origin for the
0.832 and 0.832 D mortar ammunition; Communist China was the country of origin
for the other mortar ammunition.
1Soviet artillery fuzes, in general,
are of orthodox design. They are classified by location on the projectile, in
two main categories: (1) Point detonating and (2) base detonating. They are also
classified by their type of action as impact, combination time and impact, or
Again in Korea, the mortar was used extensively. It was the ideal weapon for the relatively close-in fighting in rugged mountainous terrain which characterized much of the operations in Korea. Whether it was inadvertent or intentional is debatable, but, in Korea, the Communist use of cruder cast metals in mortar shells seemed greatly to increase the number of fragments per shell and the effectiveness of their antipersonnel mortar fire when compared to conventional steel-walled shells. Often, the number of fragments per shell was many times that described previously for Japanese and German rounds. The apparent crudeness of the CCF mortar shells can be seen in figures 39, 40, 41, and 42, showing various 82 mm. and 120 mm. shells.
Figure 43 shows the CCF copy of the American M48, 75 mm. artillery round.
Grenades.-Grenades of wide variety were used liberally by the Communist forces in Korea because of the relative ease and cheapness of their manufacture and because of the general shortage of heavy weapons and artillery among the troops. The most common, as well as the most effective types, were stick hand grenades, fragmentation hand and rifle grenades, and HEAT hand grenades, all of Chinese manufacture. Effective also were Soviet RPG-43 and RPG-6 HEAT hand grenades and the Soviet F-1 fragmentation grenade (fig. 44).
The Chinese-made stick hand grenades were similar to the German "potato-masher" type in design. They were liable to be filled with anything, but picric acid was common. Even dynamite-filled grenades were found! Most of the grenades had a friction pull-type ignitor. The fuze was instantaneous to 6-second delay. The HEAT grenades depended upon a fiber or
cloth tail for stabilization. One of this type, the Type 3 HEAT hand grenade had an overall length of 7 inches and an instantaneous impact type of fuze.
The Soviet RPG-43 HEAT hand grenade was filled with 1.35 pounds of cyclotol and had an instantaneous impact fuze. Average range was 17-22 yards with an effective radius of fragmentation of 22 yards. The Soviet RPG-6 had about the same average range as the RPG-43 but was filled with TNT and had an effective radius of fragmentation of 25 yards.
Landmines.-Landmines were used extensively by the enemy because their use afforded them a chance to improvise and allowed them to utilize fairly effective "homemade" weapons. Their standard antipersonnel models were designated Landmine No. 8 and Armor-Piercing No. 4. Two Soviet models commonly employed were the PMD-6 and PMD-7 which closely resembled the German Schü-Mine. Weighing under a pound each, these wood box-shaped mines had a cylindrical charge of TNT and an MUV pull fuze. Because of the lack of metal parts in their construction, they were hard to detect with mine detectors.
Improvised models were in many different forms such as bangalore torpedoes, artillery and mortar shells, aerial bombs, and hand grenades. They also were in explosive-filled containers such as tin cans, wood boxes, fuel drums, barrels, glass bottles, clay pots, or other types of containers. Detonation could be accomplished either by trip wire, pressure, or automatic firing circuit.
Because of fluctuations in battle-up and down the length of Korea-a large number of mine casualties were caused by mines planted by friendly personnel in the defense and during retrograde movements.