Infantry weapons of WWII

Infantry weapons of WWII

The Second World War saw many varied weapons being used by soldiers.

Let's look at what was manufactured and being used on the battlefield.

Most soldiers would be equipped with a bolt-action rifle. Rounds were fired individually with the bolt being open and closed after each shot.

The rifle was reloaded by loading a clip into the magazine.

The rifles commonly used by the Allies were: the Lee-Enfield Mk III and No.4 for Britain and the Commonwealth,

the Springfield Model 1903 for the USA and the Mosin-Nagant M91/30 for the USSR.

For the Axis powers the rifles used were: the Karabiner 98K for Germany, the Arisaka Type 99 and Type 38 for Japan and the Carcano Modello 1981 for Italy.

As the war developed, semi-automatic rifles became more common. These weapons used a gas operation and could be fired shot after shot without cocking a bolt after each round.

Some of these rifles include: the M1 Garand and the M1 Carbine for the USA,

the SVT-40 for the USSR,

and the Gewehr 43 for Germany.

As it was in the First World War, the machine gun was a deadly firearm that changed the nature of warfare.

Infantry training centered around the weapon with two types;

The HMG which was more likely to be used in dug out positions, and the LMG, which was more portable and usually magazine fed.

The German MG-42 is one such terrifying example of a general-purpose machine gun;

able to fire between 1200 and 1500 rounds per minute.

Because of this, it was given the nickname of Hitler's Buzzsaw.

Other noteworthy weapons include:

the drum-fed and gas operated DP-28 used by Soviet Russian forces,

the top-mounted magazine Bren gun for the British, based on a Czech design,

and the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) for the US forces.

The submachine gun designed to fire pistol ammunition at a short range became more developed by the Second World War.

Used by gangsters in the 1920's, the Thompson SMG found itself in hands of US and British forces during the war.

The British found the Thompson to be reliable, but expensive, so developed their own mass-produced SMG: the STEN gun.

While cheaper and simple to manufacture, it had a habit of jamming.

These submachine guns were also distributed to resistance groups in Nazi-occupied Europe.

The PPSh-41 as used by Soviet forces was another cheap machine gun to manufacture and was effective on the battlefield with its 71-round drum magazine.

Lastly the German Army's 32-round MP-40 was used extensively by infantrymen, paratroopers, platoon and squad leaders.

Germany produced a new, innovative semi and fully-automatic assault rifle in the late part of the war called the StG-44 or Machinenpistole-44.

It was a unique in-between of a rifle and a sub-machine gun firing a shorter 7.92x33mm Kurz round.

It would go on to inspire post-war assault rifles such as the AK-47.

The handgun was issued to officers, pilots and tank crew.

They were inaccurate and useful only in close combat.

Some of the handguns used were: the M1911 for the United States, the Walther P38 and Luger P08 for Germany, the latter of which was prized as a trophy by Allied soldiers.

The Webley Mark VI and Enfield No.2 for Britain and its Commonwealth,

The TT-33 for the Soviets and the Nambu Type 14 for Japan.

Flamethrowers were again used in the Second World War after its use as an intimidating weapon in the First World War.

One such use would be by Marines who used flamethrowers to clear out enemy foxholes and pillboxes in the Pacific theater.

Hand grenades were an integral weapon in an infantryman's kit. They were either hand-thrown or fired from a rifle.

Different grenade functions included: explosive, smoke, and tear gas.

A more primitive grenade was the Molotov cocktail which was first used in high numbers by Finnish troops against the Soviet Union in the run-up to WWII.

Lightweight portable anti-tank weapons were used by infantry in the Second World War.

They represented a metal tube that fired a rocket when the trigger was pulled.

The US forces used the Bazooka, while the Germans used the Panzerschreck.

Now you know about some of the weapons infantry used during WWII.

Leave a comment below letting us know what weapon you found the most interesting.

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