World War II weapons, guns, discoveries and auctions.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: Swords, German tanks, RC panzers, Nazi Daggers, WW2 Knives, Nazi Helmets, V-2, Jeeps, Strange Weapons, Blitzkrieg, Secret Weapons.
Secrets of the devastation caused by Grand Slam, the largest WWII bomb ever tested in the UK
The final secrets of Britain's largest-ever conventional weapon of war are being 'unearthed' by archaeologists. Geophysics experts are using ground-penetrating radar and other high tech methods to 'x-ray' the ground, in a remote area of the New Forest in Hampshire, to shed new light on the most powerful top secret WWII weapon test ever carried out in the UK. The weapon - a bomb designed by Barnes Wallis, and codenamed 'Grand Slam' - was almost 26 foot long and weighed 22,000 pounds, substantially bigger than any other wartime explosive device ever developed by Britain.
The Venerable Sten - The Allies` $10 Dollar Submachine Gun
First dreamed up in the opening months of the Second World War and then rushed into production during the Battle of Britain, the sten was a bargain-basement sub-machine gun that could be produced quickly and in great numbers. The 3kg, all-metal weapon fired eight rounds per second from a horizontally-loaded, 32-round magazine. Cleverly designed to use German 9 mm pistol ammunition, the sten was effective to about 100 meters (300 feet). Each sten gun cost as little as £2 ($10) to produce – roughly equal to about $130 or £80 today. By comparison, the American M1A1 Thompson went for a staggering $200 per unit in 1940!
The gold-plated Walther PPK handed over by Hermann Goering as he surrendered resurfaces for sale at £30,000
It was a key moment at the end of the Second World War. Luftwaffe boss Hermann Goering - fleeing for his life from SS - handed his gold-plated pistol to an Allied soldier and surrendered. Lieutenant Jerome Shapiro was allowed to keep the gun he received on a road in Austria in May 1945. 67 years on, it is being put up for auction and is expected to fetch £30,000. Shapiro apprehended Göring as he fled Germany in his bullet-proof Mercedes car with bags of luggage strapped to the roof. After being held at gunpoint, the head of the Luftwaffe presented Lt Shapiro with the Walther PPK pistol along with a ceremonial dagger.
The gear, gadgets and weaponry of a D-Day Paratrooper (photos)
Imagine you`re D-Day paratrooper, one of 13,000 American soldiers who`ve dropped behind enemy lines to fight the Germans in Normandy. Your mission is to neutralize Rommel`s response to an Allied beach invasion that will occur in just a few hours, but you`re also desperate to survive. There`s little comfort in combat, but you know your buddies have your back. You also vest confidence if your equipment. The army has loaded you to the hilt with gear, guns and gadgets, and any single piece of hardware could prove to be a life-saver. Now we take a focused look at the gadgets and weapons American paratoopers took into battle, including Thompson Submachine Gun, L 122-A Flashlight, Zippo Lighter, Machete, Combat Knife and Switchblade, Mk 2 Grenade and Gammon Bomb, and Cricket Noise Maker.
MP44 rifle review - The first modern assault rifle was developed in Nazi Germany
It's amazing to think that the MP44 is the forefather of the modern assault rifle. The long historical shadow that this gun casts over our current-day rifles makes the small hairs on most gun collector`s necks stand-up. The MP 44/MP 43 and StG 44 appear to be different designations for what is basically the same rifle. However, the "MP" was first used to name this rifle a Maschinenpistole, giving it a sub-machine gun designation to have made it possible for the Nazi Armament Office to continue working on the development of this rifle in defiance of Hitler who wanted to suspend all "new" rifle programs.
Modified WWII grenade explodes in teen's hands in Hall County, Georgia
A late-night hand grenade explosion in Hall County, Georgia, left one juvenile seriously injured and another behind bars. The Sheriff's Office said a 16-year-old male suffered burns and injuries to his hands, face and abdominal area after the modified World War II grenade detonated while he was handling it at a residence on Underwood Drive in Murrayville. "The injured juvenile's 18-year-old friend was actually responsible for modifying the grenade," spokesman Sgt. Steve Wilbanks told. The grenade, available commercially as a novelty after being rendered inert, had been modified, and an unknown explosive material had been inserted.
Crashed Spitfire's Browning machine gun fire first time after being buried for 70 years
A Browning machine gun found in a downed Spitfire has been fired for the first time in 70 years. The weapon fired despite being buried since the WWII fighter that housed it plummeted to earth in Donegal in 1941. A team from the BBC went to the site and dug the guns from where the Spitfire had crashed and could even smell aviation fuel in the air. There were six guns that presenter Dan Snow reported were in "great shape, with belts containing hundreds of gleaming .303 rounds." They even found pilot Roland 'Bud' Wolfe's leather helmet among the wreckage.
Katyusha multiple launch rocket system is 70 years old (Article + Video)
First used by the Red Army on July 14, 1941 near Orsha, the Vitebsk Region in Belarus, the Katyusha multiple launch rocket system is now 70 years old.
German Walther Model PP 7.65mm pistol issued to the NSKK fetches €6,100 at auction
A German Walther Model PP 7.65mm pistol issued to the NSKK (National-Sozialistische Kraftfahr Korps) in the 1930s fetched 6,100 euros at an auction, while a British WWII .303 Vickers machine gun in perfect condition was sold for €5,700.
Japanese militaria collector Jareth Holub talks about the unappreciated Japanese WWII rifles
"The quality of manufacture on early Japanese weapons equals if not surpasses weapons made by other participants... It wasn't until the last two years, due to U.S. air strikes, that factories started producing subpar products," educates Japanese militaria collector Jareth Holub.
The Walther P-38 : The service pistol of the Wehrmacht
During the 1930s, German industry began a crash program to rearm the Wehrmacht, which in 1934 needed a new service pistol. In 1934 firearms manufacturers Carl Walther Waffenfabrik offered the Wehrmacht the Model MP (Militarische Pistole), an upsized model PP chambered for the 9mm Parabellum, but its blowback caused its rejection. The next year, a design team led by Fritz Walther began work on a new DA/SA, locked-breech pistol. Two years later the 9mm Model AP (Armee Pistole) was announced. It was a hammerless, DA/SA pistol, which, after some modifications, became known as the Pistole 38 (the P-38).
WWII Rifle Match a hit - Shooting enthusiasts include 13yo and 15yo girls using an M1 carbine (photos)
You don't have to be a war veteran or have 20 years of experience under your belt to be great at shooting WWII-era rifles - just ask 15-year-old Samantha Klutchko: "It's pretty fascinating. It's kind of cool" to shoot a weapon from that period, because "you never know where it was." She took third place at a WWII rifle competition at Island Lake Recreation Area's shooting range, using an M1 carbine. Samantha said she likes the carbine, because it's not as powerful as some of the cruder war-era weapons. Her sister Alexendria Klutchko, 13, also shot in the match, alongside other WWII rifle enthusiasts and marksmen.
Edward G. Uhl : Co-inventor of the bazooka (M1 Rocket Launcher)
Edward G. Uhl - the co-inventor of the M1 bazooka during World War 2 - served as a regular officer in the Army's Ordnance Corps 1941-1946. In 1942, while assigned to Ordnance Corps headquarters at the Pentagon, he helped develop the first American shoulder-launched bazooka, at first called the M1 Rocket Launcher, with Col. Leslie A. Skinner. "Skinner... was working on rockets. We really had no anti-tank weapon. You can't believe how inept our military was at that point in time." Uhl faced 2 difficulties: How would a soldier aim the weapon and how would the burning powder be kept from coming into contact with his face?
Weapons of World War II hero and SOE agent Geoffrey Hallowes found in house clearance
Firearms linked to WWII hero Geoffrey Hallowes have been given to the Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen after being found at a house in Walton-on-Thames in Surrey. Firearms specialists linked them with Hallowes, who served with the Gordon Highlanders in the Far East before joining the Special Operations Executive (SOE). He helped to set up the French Resistance after D-Day, receiving a number of military medals like the Croix de Guerre and Legion d'honneur. Weapons included American M1 carbine; German MP40 sub machine gun; British Enfield .38 revolver; American Colt .32 pistol; and German Luger 9mm pistol.
Selling replicas of World War II firearms and other antique weapons
Buying an antique pistol or rifle might be the dream of many until they realize their value. Buying a replica is low-cost solution, says JoAnn Graham, a partner in 4G Company, which sells replicas of Civil War, old west, World War I and II firearms and other antique weapons - and the prices are lower than what collectors or manufacturers charge. "Unlike conventional firearms, replica guns cannot be used to fire harmful projectiles ... and therefore require no federal license. So long as they are displayed as collectibles ... they are the safest guns you can own," says Graham, demonstrating the moving parts of a Luger P08 Parabellum replica pistol.
Alabama road crews discovered WW2-era weapons in Bibb County
A cache of World War II-era weapons discovered in a Bibb County, Alabama, creek had most likely been there less than 24 hours, authorities said. David Hyche, of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Birmingham office, said he has never seen anything like this in his 21 years of work. The firepower, discovered during a bridge inspection, includes 4 Japanese machine guns, a Japanese antitank cannon, an Italian machine gun, a Japanese 50mm mortar and a Thompson machine gun (the Tommy Gun).
German World War II machine gun still serve
During WW2, Nazi Germany achieved many advances in weaponry, giving birth to the first practical general purpose machine guns. The first of these was the MG34 (Maschinengewehr 34) - an excellent weapon, but difficult and expensive to manufacture. In 1938 Nazi engineers were testing prototypes of a new machine gun, that was simpler than the MG34 and made extensive use of stampings. The result was the MG42: air cooled, belt fed, recoil-operated machine gun. It fired 1,200 rounds per minute. German soldiers loved the reliable, lightweight and accurate weapon. In 2008 the many variants of the MG42 continue to be used.
Souvenir munitions - As more WW2 veterans pass away, live ammo are found
With their numbers once hitting 16 million, World War 2 veterans now number 2.5 million and are passing away at a rate of 1,000 a day, according to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. As relatives and explosives experts have begun to notice, however, the legacy of some of these veterans is sometimes more than just WW2 war stories and military medals. "During this era, military guidelines weren't so strict. Some people brought back German flags, Japanese flags or helmets... grenades, Lugers and pistols. The most common thing we are finding is grenades," explained Lt. Gerry Hundt, commander of the Dane County bomb squad.
World War II ammunition finds new life
A team of Air Force weapons specialist turned to ammunition introduced into service in 1942 to provide lower cost training ammo for the AC-130 Gunship's 40mm cannon. Gunship training with the 40mm Bofors cannon needs high explosive incendiary ammunition produced in the 1970s and 1980s. However, low availability and high costs have forced AC-130 crews to train with surplus WWII armor-piercing ammunition. AFSOC has access to viable training ammo, but only from overseas sources at a cost of $200 per round; the WWII ammo cost $8 per round in 1940s dollars - and the rounds were in storage bunkers in watertight packaging for the last 64 years.
Big stash of World War II weapons and ammunition found at Berlin
A stash of World War II weapons and ammunition has been discovered on the site of an old sauerkraut factory during construction work. "The find contains hundreds, if not thousands of rounds of German infantry munitions. The helmets we found probably came from Russian soldiers," said Charles Karwiese, spokesman for a company commissioned to secure and remove the weapons. The equipment, which also includes rusted hand grenades, were most likely dumped in a shell crater at the end of Word War II and forgotten. Berlin was the scene of fierce fighting in the last weeks of WWII, as the Red Army pushed itself into the city street by street.
World War II-era rifles sold at auction during event at La Porte Armory (Article no longer available from the original source)
Auctioneer Mike Moldenhauer was amazed with what someone paid for a World War II rifle at the La Porte Armory. The prize of the event was a 1941 Johnson semi-automatic 30-06 rifle that went for $6,100. The weapon was "very low" in the serial range (around 60), so it was one of the first of its kind built. A number of people came to the auction just because of the Johnson - designed in 1938 for the U.S. Army, which felt the gun was too heavy - was for sale. Another WWII-era rifle also fetched a high price: an M1A1 carbine rifle - one of the most widely used light infantry rifles in WWII - went for $1,950.
World War II flak cannon discovered in garage
German authorities have discovered a WWII anti-aircraft cannon in a German man's garage in part of a series of raids that brought out over 100,000 euros in illegal weapons. The flak cannon, used by the German Wehrmacht in World War II, was discovered after a search on a family home in the state of Saxony-Anhalt. The 49-year-old resident had 200 illegal firearms, 1kg of explosives, and 15,000 rounds of ammunition.
A small town drug gang had a World War II rocket launcher
A drug bust in Polk County led to the arrest of 30 people and several weapons, including a British-made rocket launcher used to scare neighbors and customers. The huge cache of weapons included a British-made World War II-era rocket launcher, a machine gun with a bayonet and other weapons. Despite its age, rocket launcher was oiled and ready to use. "This weapon shoots highly explosive anti-tank projectiles referred to as war heads. With an anti-tank gun, it would be difficult to compete with. It's a scary thought for a deputy on patrol to come up against something like that," Ian Floyd said.
Panzerfausts, gredanes cleared from dead World War II buff's home
A 50-year-old World War II enthusiast was found dead in his apartment and the Allentown Fire Department's bomb squad had to close the street to get rid of weapons and militaria that he had collected. Gary Garabrant died of natural causes, and when paramedics arrived they noticed several military artifacts, like grenades. The police department removed munitions and the bomb squad took items that may have been explosive - including World War II-era German hand grenades and stick grenades, Panzerfausts (an anti-tank weapon that was a precursor of the rocket-propelled grenade).
Multi-launch rocket mortars -- From World War II to modern wars
The military Multiple Launch Rocket System mortar was born in 1936 when Nazi Germany developed the 6-barreled Nebelwerfer. GIs fighting in Sicily in 1943 got to know the Nebelwerfer 41 ("Screaming Mimi") very well. The Nebelwerfer 41 fired six 75 pound 150mm rockets 4 miles. It was no good against tanks or armored personnel carriers, but against infantry formations caught in the open it was deadly. The Soviet versions, the BM-13 and BM-31, known as the Katyusha or "Little Katie," were more famous. Soviet industry built them over 10,000, and they were the backbone of the Red Army‘s artillery in its victories from Stalingrad and Kursk all the way to Berlin.
Russia marks AK-47 automatic rifle's 60th birthday
With his shock of white hair the designer of the world's deadliest assault rifle took a philosophical outlook as he celebrated AK-47 automatic rifle's 60th anniversary. "It was the Germans who turned me into an arms designer," Mikhail Kalashnikov said. He created a rifle that has become an iconic brand, as symbolic of Russia as vodka, and the weapon of choice of guerrillas and dozens of armies around the world. Kalashnikov started working on his rifle in 1947, driven to design by Soviet defeats in the early years of World War II at the hands of better-armed German soldiers. More than 100 million Kalashnikov rifles have been sold worldwide.
The Hindenburg: 70 years later - The mighty German airship
Robert Buchanan, one of the last living members of the ground crew that were helping the Hindenburg land, can recall in detail the day when he watched the Hindenburg erupt into a fireball. A burst of flames roared across the surface of the mighty German airship. The Hindenburg ignited after it had dropped lines while easing toward its mooring mast at the U.S. Navy base in Lakehurst. The crash killed 35 people on board and one person in the ground crew. "I ran quite a distance because the heat, the flame, kept shooting out ahead of me." Camera shutters clicked, newsreel film rolled and a radio station recorded the memorable phrase, "Oh, the humanity!"
Dumped German wartime munitions are a timebomb in the Baltic
Experts are warning of a catastrophe in the Baltic, as thousands of tons of ammunition dumped after World War II begin to wash up on shorelines. Last year, some 6,000lb of bombs were fished up by trawlers. Many crew suffered serious burns as a result. The Baltic became a dumping ground for munitions left over by Adolf Hitler's armies, and seismologists have charted underground blasts in the past two years as the explosives shift, become ever more unstable and finally detonate. A third of the Baltic seafloor is littered with the detritus of war. As the casings rust, phosgene and mustard gas are leaching into the food chain.
Arsenal begins destroying old mortars, WWII rockets (Article no longer available from the original source)
The military has begun destroying hundreds of mortars and German Traktor rockets seized by the US during earlier wars and stored at the Pine Bluff Arsenal. The Army's Non-Stockpile Chemical Materiel Project said about 800 four-point-two-inch mortars and about 900 Second World War Traktor rockets will undergo a process to neutralize chemical fill inside the weapons.
Fully armed Nazi bomber planes buried below East Berlin airport
Papers among thousands of files captured from the Stasi, the secret police of East Germany, claim tons of live WW2 munitions were buried in concrete bunkers beneath the runways of Schoenefeld airport in East Berlin. Not only did the commissars intern munitions beneath the runways, but also entire Nazi fighter planes, all fuelled and fully bombed-up. "They would have stuffed them anywhere they could - there was simply too much stuff to blow up all at once," said Karl-Heinz Eckhardt, a Berlin historian. "There was a warren of massive Nazi bunkers beneath the site of the present airport that would have suited their purposes."