MP40 SMG

Maschinenpistole 40 mp40 mp 40
The heavy equipment, created, remodeled and used by the Germans during the World Wars were seen as excellent war technologies. The Panzers, the Tigers, the Sluggers etc were superstars in the wars that changed the face of the earth. There was one little star which accompanied most of the fighting soldiers, the MP40 submachine gun. With the capacity to make 500 rounds of fire in a single minute, the gun was nothing short of deadly. Due to the extensive use, mass production was necessary and therefore manufacturing had to be economical without compromising on the shooting efficiency of the gun. It had to be light, yet made from strong materials. The design of M40 was actually borrowed from the MP38 gun. Find out here the story of these two power-packed guns. When the predecessor to the Maschinenpistole 40 or the MP40, the MP38,  was first produced in 1938, the design was revolutionary because of the way the weapon was manufactured.  The weapon itself is quite orthodox.  Unlike the Luger, the MG34 and the all other German small arms before it, the MP38 was designed for mass production, like the Model T Ford.  Parts were primarily stamped instead of machined, finishing was modest and the stock woodless.   The goal: Mass arming of Germany’s storm-troopers with a capable and inexpensive yet reliable submachine gun.

For the most part, the MP38 met this design goal except for one nasty problem.  When jarred, the gun often did  start firing by itself.  This run-away submachine gun caused numerous friendly casualties.  The next generation, the MP40, fixed this dangerous defect.  Mass production of the MP40 was taken to even a higher level with the use of even more simple and inexpensive stamped parts and additional streamlining of its production.

The result: the Maschinenpistole 40 was churned out in large numbers.  Just over one million were made of all versions in the course of the war.  The gun had relatively low recoil even fired fully automatic.  This is due to its slower rate of fire and its 9MM bullet.   Nevertheless, it gave the Maschinenpistole 40 a respectable accuracy compared to the American Thompson.   The resulting sound provided a nickname,  the “Burp gun.”  The MP40 is often incorrectly called the Schmeisser, after weapons designer Hugo Schmeisser.   The weapon was coveted by the Germans and the Allies.   Because of its light weight, the MP40 was highly esteemed and favored by the German Fallshirmjägers paratroopers and panzer grenadiers.
panther panzer mark v mp40 submachine gun motorcycle panzer grenadiers

MP40 Lleibstandarte 1st Waffen-SS Grenadiers sub-machine gun
mp40 mp 40 burp gun sub-machine specifications Maschinenpistole 40

German Infantry Mortars

The German infantry support mortar of WW2 is an extremely effective weapon, dreaded and revered by the Allies. Mortars are a classic indirect fire weapon at short ranges. The mortar is a valuable weapon for infantry units, akin to a personal artillery battery dedicated to a small infantry unit commander.  Some German units went so far as to have a mortar assigned to every platoon.  The mortar, as with the hand gun, was thoroughly embraced by the German Army as essential. Or rather, it quickly became a better common weapon for the troops. Among the various superior qualities of a mortar as compared to the regular gun, one feature makes it capable of giving the battalion an upper hand for advancing into the enemy zone. Just continue reading this article to know what this feature is.

A mortar  does not have to see the target to fire at it. Mortars can fire blind over hills, buildings, banks and rivers.  So long as targets are pre-registered, the main advantage of the mortar is its ability to bring down rapid fire on multiple targets with minimum delay.  And it operates under the most appalling conditions, be it night, oppressive fog of the Hartz Mountains, Russian winter snow, or in rain. But performance does suffer. Mortars fire rounds at slow speeds. So the angle of fire is high to achieve any range. For this reason a mortar round is in the air for a long period of time. Gusty wind can reduce accuracy dramatically with range.  Rain or damp weather can also reduce range.

Mortars are man portable. It can be moved into and out of action quickly. The mortar has no recoil system so it is essential that the weapon is situated on firm ground, able to absorbed the recoil. Mortars work very well against infantry and light vehicles but against hardened targets like tanks and bunkers, their effectiveness is limited.

Mortar ammunition varies. The primary round of World War II is the high explosive fragmentation round. Lethality was  up to 50 yards away from impact.  Mortars were also effective for production of smokescreens and illumining rounds to provide light at night.

A mortar crew usually consists of at least three members. The gunner controls the deflection and elevation of the weapon.  The assistant gunner loads the round at the command of the gunner. The ammunition man prepares and hands over ammunition to the assistant gunner.

German Mortars of World War II

The mortar was ‘born’ in World War One. Originally the mortar was built to arch a round accurately enough  at a high angle to land inside narrow enemy trenches.  Mortars did a magnificent job in the ‘War to end all Wars.’

After the Great War, all major armies embraced this new weapon.  In the period of time between the World Wars, German weapons designers had a clean slate on which to design the next generation .   The first released infantry mortars was the 5-cm leichte Granatwerfer 36 or leGrW 36 (light grenade-launcher model 1936).  The date, 1936.  This mortar was a failure. The weapon was overly complicated, under-powered and lacked range. In relation to its poor performance, the mortar was expensive to make. By 1941, the 36 was withdrawn from front-line service.  Many found their  way to the  Italian Army.

+ leGrW 36 Diagram

The 8-cm schwere Granatwerfer 34 or 8-cm sGrW 34 (heavy grenade-launcher model 1934) earned a reputation in line with the fearsome 88 anti-aircraft gun  and the Tiger Tank.  Among allied front-line soldiers  this mortar was dreaded for its accuracy and rate of fire.  Captured 34s were eagerly employed against the Germans.

The design was straight forward. Its designer and manufacture Rheinmetall-Borsig produced a high-quality weapon. Yet the mortar’s  reputation had little to do with innovation.  Its high status was primarily the result of through training of German mortar crews . They were experts at their craft.  German mortar crews always seemed to possess the ability to engage in and out of action rapidly.  They paid careful attention to pre-registration and other fire control aids.   The enterprising German mortar crews were able to bring fire down rapidly on their adversary.

5-cm leichte Granatwefer 36 or leGrW 36 German light grenade-launcher model 1936
8-cm schwere Granatwefer 34 8-cm sGrW 34 heavy grenade-launcher model 1934
8-cm schwere Granatwefer 34 or 8-cm sGrW 34 German heavy grenade-launcher model 1934

Suomi m/1931 Sub-Machine Gun

Background

Suomi m/1931 Sub-Machine Gun ski troops finland snow winter warStalin expected Finland to be another easy territory grab when he ordered the conquest of Finland. This David versus Goliath mismatch pitted the mass of his empire with some 250 million subjugates against a paltry four million Finns.   Stalin had little to fear.  Or so it seemed.  The 1939 ‘Non-Aggression Pact’ with Nazi Germany secured the USSR’s flanks.  Finland was inside the Soviet sphere of influence per the accord.  Hitler’s army would not interfere.  Recent political and Red Army successes in Poland, Manchuria and the Baltic’s involved nations of equal or superior power to the Finns.  The Finns appeared weak.  The Finnish communists in exile at Moscow echoed this theme to Stalin.  The Finnish government desperately sought to avert the impending conflict through direct negotiations.  Stalin and Molotov played with them. They knew well an isolated Finland had precious little military equipment and supplies for a sustained war.  Finland stood alone.   Exposed.   On the eve of battle, confident Soviet commanders instructions included a stern reminder to avoid incursion into neutral Sweden after having breached any defenses and then reaching the distant Swedish border with Finland.

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The Soviets invaders were by taken by surprise in the Winter War starting in November 1939.   The Finns resisted fiercely under the resolute leadership of their commander in chief,  Gustaf Mannerheim.  This was not the anticipated cake-walk.  It was more of a frozen hell in which hundreds of thousands Red Army soldiers died.  Starved, shot, booby-trapped, froze to death, by any means possible, they perished in mass in the cold dark Finnish forests and swamps.  The gallant Finns battled and employed every resource at their command and extracted fearful losses upon the invading Red Army.  The world cheered as the innocent Finns stymied the elbow deep in blood Russian invader.   A humiliated Red Army floundered in check and bloodied for the better part of the first four months of fierce combat by the tougher and more nimble defenders.

vassa burning clatskanie chief finland suomi winter war
“… in war the psychological factors are often decisive.   An adversary who feels inferior is in reality so.”    Field Marshal Carl Gustav Baron von Mannerheim – Finnish Supreme Commander, The Memoirs of Field Marshal Mannerheim, 1953.

Ultimately the mass and sheer power of the Soviets proved too great.  After nine months of a meat-grinder war, the Finns sued for peace.  Stalin desired to extricate his army from this expensive conflict also.   A demanding peace treaty granted a short-term peace to Finland with independence but at a high price in lost territories and financial retributions.   Hitler’s attack on the Soviets in June 1941 drug the Finns into second unwanted conflict, again with terrible consequences for the nation.

To learn more, visit a superb web-site dedicated to the military history of the Finish army, URL:  www.jaegerplatoon.net/.

  m/1931 M31 Suomi submachine sub-machine gun Finland konepistooli
Finland’s greatest assets of the 1939- 1940 Winter War were its tough skilled outdoorsman soldiers instilled with the belief that “One Finn is equal to ten Russians.”  Their weapon of choice, a sub-machine gun designed by Finland’s native son, a self-educated genius,  Aimo Johannes Lahti.  Lahti designed and constructed many other weapons of note and of various types –  from pistols to assault guns and an anti-tank rifle. The most famous is the m/1931 (M31) Suomi submachine gun – konepistooli.  Imitation is the ultimate form of flattery. The Lahti M31 inspired the design of the German Bergmann MP34 and the Soviet PPD 1934G/38G and PPSh41 submachine guns.  In the pantheon of modern gun designers, the prolific Lahti belongs as a peer with the likes of Hiram Maxim, John Browning and Mikhail Kalashnikov.

+ Magnify Sotalippu/m 1931+ M31 Image Store

Not much about the legendary Suomi m/1931 submachine gun design is extraordinary. The simple “blowback mechanism” and an orthodox layout are quite similar in design to the German Bergmann MP18.  Prominence is achieved through quality of manufacturing, its high volume ammunition feed system and its accuracy.  In the hands of the Finnish soldier, this was a terrifying weapon.  To the Finns, a soldier armed with the M31 was another “Tikkakoski mannequin.”  Tikkakoski is the place where the gun was produced.  The Soviets invaders had a different name for these defenders: “Belaya Smert” or “the White Death”.

sotalippu battleflag finland finnish suomiExpensive to manufacture and heavy, the m/1931 was lavishly made in the both the quality of the materials used and the excellence of the machining. The whole gun, the body and bolt were machined from solid metal. The machining detail was demandingly precise.  Combat in the bitter Finnish winter requires a weapon which will function reliably in Finland’s extreme artic conditions.  Soldiers in field venerated their Suomi for its reliability. Its excellent construction enabled the gun to fire under any conditions without ever seeming to jam. To the shooter, the extra weight became a non-issue.  The gun represented life to the Finn and death to the unfortunate Soviet.

With a rate of fire up to 900 rounds per minute, and with a massive 71-round drum magazine, the Suomi packed a lot of firepower.   When first released,  it established a record for rate of fire and held this record over a period of years.   In spite of this high rate of fire, the M31 remained very easy to handle.  Its weight and pistol caliber cartridge account for the stability.  Add to this another paradox.  The Suomi, a sub-machine gun, proved accurate beyond 100 meters, the standard range for this class of gun.  Accurate fire reached the range of 300 meters.  Such accuracy is due to the quality of manufacture and a long barrel of over 12 inches in length.   Hot loads also contributed.   Standard 9mm Parabellum performance of 365 meters/ second (1,200 f/s) was pushed upwards to 400 meter/second (1,310 f/s) with an 7.5 gram full metal jacket slug propelled by a white-hot powder load.  This weapon’s robust mechanism allowed use of ammunition that pushed the performance envelope to the maximum.

P 08 (Luger Pistol)

luger P 17 P17 Artillerie or Artillery model pistol
P 08 (Luger)

Over two million P 08 weapons were produced by various manufacturers in numerous main variants of the pistol that is typically but incorrectly known just as the Luger

Pictured to the left is the Pistole 08 (for P 08), one of the main variants. The German navy adopted the Luger pistol first in 1904. The German army followed suit in 1908. and the pistol remained the standard German service pistol into the late 1930s. The Luger was produced in several calibers, but the primary and most common is the 9 mm Parabellum (which in Latin is the term “Pro War”). This cartridge was specifically developed for the Luger pistol.

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luger p 08 pistol parabellum
The P 08 was replaced by the Walther P 38 because the Luger was too expensive to produce and was a complicated weapon for the average solider to maintain in the field. In late 1942 the final German manufacturing run of the weapon concluded. The P 38 never wholly replaced the P 08 in German service during the war.

The standard P 08 has a barrel 103 mm (4.055 in) long. The P 17 Artillerie or Artillery model pictured at the top has a 203-mm (8-in) barrel. Luger pistols were among the most prized of all World War II trophies.+ View Luger Apparel & Gifts

Rare German 15cm Kanone 39 gun

German 15 cm Kanone 39 gun

This was a rare gun captured during the world war and is still appreciated for its exceptional qualities. Such exceptional qualities do not come about by chance. These are created with care and need complete dedication, innovation, and hard work apart from that spark of genius. This kind of ingenuity is seen only once in a while and is rare.

When a super intelligent person gets an idea then he does not spare any effort in implementing it as well. For example, this Gun was created using the best metal. It was created in such a way that the army could use it without much effort and was liked by all the soldiers due to its features.

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15 cm Kanone 39 german artillery gun

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Long Tom 155mm cannon maintenance by crew WW2

   Long Tom 155mm cannon maintenance by crew WW2

 

 

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Militaria Images

Album of some of the images used in products available at the Flume Creek Militaria Online Store

These remind us of the modern tools. The album is replete with images of the guns and arsenal used by the army to overcome the enemy lines. Today most of the wars are waged online and involve monetary and financial tools.

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Thompson “Tommy Gun” M1A1 and the Panther are two of the 12 finest weapons fo WWII used in this 2006 calendar
Tiger I and “Das Reich” 5th Waffen SS Panzer Division Crest
Heidelberg
First to the Rhine
Browning BAR
P 17 Luger “Artillery” Model Pistol
Thompson 45 cal submachine gun
MP40 “Burp” submachine gun
Sturmgewehr 44 – StG44 assault rifle
Walther P38
VE Day
USO Dancer
Colt 1911 .45 cal pistol
M3 “Grease gun” submachine gun
M1 Garand Rifle
US 44th Infantry Division
71st Regiment Crest
US 3rd Division – “The Rock of the Marne”
US Frist Division- the “Big Red One”
US Marine Corps First Division
US Marine Corp Eagle, Globe and Anchor insignia
2nd SS Division Das Reich
Grossdeutschland Division
2nd Division “Indianheads”
29th Division: “The Blue and Gray”
Crest of the 5th Waffen SS Panzer Division – “Wiking” or “Viking”
6th SS Mountain Gebirgs Division Nord
17th SS Panzergrenadier Division Götz von Berlichingen
1st SS Division Leibstandarte

Flam Panzer

flammpanzer.jpg (350×266)

The mere sight of a tank gives us a heavy feeling and the tight scenario of a war. A tank is usually deployed in a war for mass destruction with the massive power of its canon. The tanks can cross almost any barriers on the war-front. A regular tank has a vertically moveable canon as its charging equipment. A varied version of this is the flame tank which has a flamethrower in the place of the canon for breaching into large settlements or army confinements.

Of particular fame was the Flam Panzer of the German force, about which you can learn the facts here now in this post.

 

Remodeled the captured

The Germans had actually captured these 24 Char B1bis tanks from the French Army. The tanks were modified by replacing the 75mm cannon with a flame spray tube. For adding mobility to the tank, a traversable turret was installed on a platform built in the place where the canon was supported. The aim of this remodeling was to fight for the Operation Barbarossa.

The fuel for producing the flame was placed internally. Multiple versions of these tanks were made, each with improvements. For example, the transverse turret was introduced in the second version and the third version had flamethrowers with ranges up to 40-45 meters. The fuel was propelled by a pump driven by a J-10 engine with the spray-tube fitted into a ball mount. While the second version had a slit on the flamethrower-operator, the third version had a driver’s visor 50. The fuel tank was placed at the rear end of the next version.

The 32-ton Panzers were supplied to different units of the Army active across various frontiers in the East, west and other smaller zones. In the year 1944, these tanks received yet another major makeover. Hitler wished to increase their range further and to make them bigger, heavier and more destructive. The flamethrowers developed for this had ranged between 120 and 140 meters, leading to the birth of the Tiger series.

The Flam Panzer played a major role in the unsung heroism of the 44th Infantry division of the American-German war along the Vosges Mountains.  Countering the power of the German Tigers and Panzers with the strength of the artillery strength and experience has been one of the most notable successes of the US Army’s division. The above picture is that of one such Flam Panzer which caused chills among the fighting officers.

“Sluggers” at a German Siegfried Line Fortress

Two tank-destroyers were sited about 2,000 yards from one of Simserhof’s blocs, and were used as 90mm “sharpshooters” tasked with the mission of destroying the enemy ensconced in the M36 Jackson Slugger German Siegfried Lineimpenetrably thick, steel-reinforced concrete fortifications by firing 90mm rounds through the narrow firing and observation apertures. This unusual mission was accomplished by elements of A/776th, even as the rest of the Battalion was performing its more traditional anti-armor missions.”

Combat History of the 44th Infantry Division.

The TD M36B GMC M36 was the only match for the German Tigers and Panthers. During  NORDWIND, attached to the 44th, a crew from 776th knocked out a “Hunting Tiger” “Jagdtiger” from Heavy Tank Destroyer Battalion 653, the first such vehicle ever knocked out on the Western Front.  At 79 tons, the heaviest ever committed to combat, it was completely destroyed by hits from the 90mm main gun.   The M36 Jackson or Slugger was the only Allied vehicle which could consistently take on even the final and most powerful German panzers,  such as the King Tiger (the Königstiger) Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger II or the Jadgpanther tank destroyer.

Combat Lessons article: M10 Tank Destroyer Tips    More panzer pictures:

m36 jackson sluuger tank destroyerTD M36B GMC M36

Fort Stevens

Fort Stevens, situated near Astoria Oregon and the other Columbia River forts reached their peak of activity during World War II.  Approximately 2500 men stationed there. As late as 1994, Battery 245, a new gun emplacement was completed, with two 6-inch rifles that had a range of about fifteen miles, almost double the range of the 10-inch rifles. Also a 90mm AMTB battery was placed on the south jetty.

On the night of June 21, 1942, Fort Stevens saw its only action when a Japanese submarine (the I-25) fired 5.5 inch shells in the vicinity of the fort. The shelling caused no damage. The Fort Commander refused to allow return fire. The incident made Fort Stevens the only installation to be attacked by an enemy since the War of 1812.

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Shortly after World War II, Fort Stevens was deactivated as a military fort. The development of improved air power and guided missiles made coastal artillery forts such as Fort Stevens obsolete. By 1947, all of the guns were removed and much of the fort was turned over to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps used the area as their headquarters for maintenance activities at the mouth of the Columbia River. In 1975, Oregon State Parks leased the old fort area and are currently restoring and interpreting Fort Stevens.

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