Monday, December 23, 2013

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Mighty M4 Sherman Tank

TankshermanM4.jpgThe M4 Sherman, formally Medium Tank, M4, was the primary tank used by the United States during World War II. Thousands were also distributed to the Allies, including the British Commonwealth and the Soviet Union, via lend-lease. In the United Kingdom, the M4 was named after Union General William Tecumseh Sherman, following the British practice of naming their American-built tanks after famous American Civil War generals. Subsequently, the British name found its way into common use in the U.S.
The Sherman evolved from the Grant and Lee medium tanks, which had an unusual side-sponson mounted 75 mm gun. It retained much of the previous mechanical design, but added the first American main 75 mm gun mounted on a fully traversing turret, with a gyrostabilizer enabling the crew to fire with reasonable accuracy while the tank was on the move. The designers stressed mechanical reliability, ease of production and maintenance, durability, standardization of parts and ammunition in a limited number of variants, and moderate size and weight. These factors made the Sherman superior in some regards to the earlier German light and medium tanks of 1939-41. The Sherman ended up being produced in large numbers and formed the backbone of most offensives by the Western Allies, starting in late 1942.
When the Sherman tank arrived in North Africa in 1942, it was clearly superior to both the Panzer III German main battle tank and the short barreled version of the Panzer IV. Against the 75mm KwK 40 L/43 long barreled Panzer IV the match was about even. For this reason, the US Army believed the Sherman would be completely adequate to win the war, and no pressure was exerted for further tank development. The Sherman proved to be outmatched by the 45 ton Panther tank, and wholly inadequate against the 56 ton Tiger I and later 70 ton Tiger II heavy tanks, suffering high casualties against their heavier armor and more powerful 88 mm L/56 and L/71 cannons. Mobility, mechanical reliability and sheer numbers, supported by growing superiority in supporting fighter-bombers and artillery, helped offset these disadvantages strategically. The relative ease of production allowed huge numbers of the Sherman to be produced. This allowed many divisions, including infantry divisions, their own organic Sherman assets. Some U.S. infantry divisions had more tanks than German panzer divisions did, which was a great advantage for the Americans.
Production of the Sherman was favored by the commander of the Armored Ground Forces, albeit controversially, over the heavier M26 Pershing, which resulted in the latter being deployed too late to play any significant role in the war. In the Pacific Theater, the Sherman was used chiefly against Japanese infantry and fortifications; in its rare encounters with much lighter Japanese tanks with weaker armor and guns, the Sherman's superiority was overwhelming. Almost 50,000 vehicles were produced, and its chassis also served as the basis for numerous other armored vehicles such as tank destroyers, tank retrievers, and self-propelled artillery. Only the Soviet T-34 tank was produced in larger numbers during World War II.
The Sherman would finally give way to post-war tanks developed from the M26. Various original and updated versions of the Sherman would continue to see combat effectively in many later conflicts, including the Korean War, Arab-Israeli Wars, and Indo-Pakistani War (where it was used by both sides) into the late 20th century.

An M4A3E8 76 mm armed Sherman tank made during the Second World War
Type Medium tank
Place of origin  United States
Service history
In service 1942–1955 (USA)
Used by  United States, and many others (see Foreign variants and use)
Wars World War II, Greek Civil War, Arab-Israeli War, Korean War, Revolución Libertadora, Suez Crisis, Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Six-Day War, Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, Yom Kippur War, 1958 Lebanon crisis, Lebanese Civil War, Cuban Revolution, Nicaraguan Revolution
Production history
Designed 1940
Produced 1941–
Number built 49,234
Weight 66,800 pounds (30.3 tonnes; 29.8 long tons; 33.4 short tons)
Length 19 ft 2 in (5.84 m)
Width 8 ft 7 in (2.62 m)
Height 9 ft (2.74 m)
Crew 5 (Commander, gunner, loader, driver, co-driver)

Armor 76 mm maximum
75 mm M3 L/40 gun (90 rounds)
or 76 mm gun M1 (55 rounds)
.50 cal Browning M2HB machine gun (300 rounds),
2 × .30-06 Browning M1919A4 machine guns (4,750 rounds)
Engine Continental R975 C1, air-cooled, radial, gasoline
400 hp (298 kW) at 2,400 rpm
M4A4 Model - Chrysler A57 Multibank 30 cylinder 21-litre engine. 470 hp at 2,700 rpm.
Power/weight 15.8 hp/tonne
Transmission Spicer manual, synchromesh, 4 forward (plus 1 overdrive) and 1 reverse gear
Suspension Vertical Volute Spring Suspension (VVSS)
120 miles (193 km) at 175 U.S. gal (660 L); 80 octane
Speed 25 to 30 mph (40 to 48 km/h)

M4A4 Cutaway
1 - Lifting ring
2 - Ventilator
3 - Turret hatch
4 - Periscope
5 - Turret hatch race
6 - Turret seat
7 - Gunner's seat
8 - Turret seat
9 - Turret
10 - Air cleaner
11 - Radiator filler cover
12 - Air cleaner manifold
13 - Power unit
14 - Exhaust pipe
15 - Track idler
16 - Single water pump
17 - Radiator
18 - Generator
19 - Rear propeller shaft
20 - Turret basket
21 - slip ring
22 - Front propeller shaft
23 - Suspension bogie
24 - Transmission
25 - Main drive sprocket
26 - Driver's seat
27 - Machine gunner's seat
28 - 75 mm gun
29 - Drivers hatch
30 - M 1919A4 machine gun
M4A4 cutaway.svg

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Adolf Hitler Short Biography

 Adolf HitlerAdolf Hitler was leader of Germany during the Third Reich (1933 – 1945) and the primary instigator of both the Second World War in Europe and the mass execution of millions of people deemed to be "enemies" or inferior to the Aryan ideal. Born: April 20, 1889, died: April 30, 1945.
Adolf Hitler was born in Braunau am Inn, Austria, on April 20th 1889 to Alois Hitler (who, as an illegitimate child, had previously used his mother’s name of Schickelgruber) and Klara Poelzl. A moody child, he grew hostile towards his father, especially once the latter had retired and the family had moved to Linz. Alois died in 1903 but left money to take care of the family. Hitler was close to his mother, who was highly indulgent of Hitler, and he was deeply affected when she died in 1908. He left school at 16 in 1905, intending to become a painter.
Hitler moved to Vienna in 1907 where he applied to the Viennese Academy of Fine arts, but was twice turned down. This experience further embittered the increasingly angry Hitler, and he remained in Vienna living off his small family inheritance and what he could make from selling his art, moving from hostel to hostel, a lonely, vagabond figure. During this period Hitler appears to have developed the world view that would characterise his whole life: a hatred for Jews and Marxists. Hitler was well placed to be influenced by the demagogy of Karl Lueger, Vienna’s deeply anti-Semitic mayor.
Hitler moved to Munich in 1913 and avoided Austrian military service in early 1914 by virtue of being unfit. However, when the First World War broke out in 1914 he joined the 16th Bavarian Infantry Regiment, serving throughout the war. He proved to be an able and brave soldier as a dispatch runner, winning the Iron Cross (First Class) on two occasions. He was also wounded twice, and four weeks before the war ended suffered a gas attack which temporarily blinded and hospitalised him. It was here he learnt of Germany’s surrender, which he took as a betrayal. He especially hated the Treaty of Versailles.
After WW1 Hitler became convinced he was destined to save Germany. In 1919, working for an army unit, he was assigned to spy on a political party of roughly 40 idealists called the German Workers Party. Instead he joined it, swiftly rose to a position of dominance (he was chairman by 1921) and renamed it the Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP). He gave the party the Swastika as a symbol and organised a personal army of ‘storm troopers’ (the SA or Brownshirts) and a bodyguard of black shirted men, the SS, to attack opponents. He also discovered, and used, his powerful ability for public speaking.
In November 1923 Hitler organised Bavarian nationalists under a figurehead of General Ludendorff into a coup (or 'putsch'). They declared their new government in a beer hall in Munich and then 3000 marched through the streets, but they were met by police, who opened fire, killing 16. Hitler was arrested and tried in 1924, but was sentenced to only five years in prison, a sentence often taken as a sign of tacit agreement with his views. Hitler served only nine months in prison, during which he wrote Mein Kampf (My Struggle), a book outlining his theories on race, Germany and Jews. It sold five million copies by 1939.
After the Beer-Hall Putsch Hitler resolved to seek power through subverting the Weimar government system, and he carefully rebuilt the NSDAP, or Nazi, party, allying with future key figures like Goering and propaganda mastermind Goebbels. Over time he expanded the party’s support, partly by exploiting fears of socialists and partly by appealing to everyone who felt their economic livelihood threatened by the depression of the 1930s, until he had the ears of big business, the press and the middle classes. Nazi votes jumped to 107 seats in the Reichstag in 1930.
In 1932 Hitler acquired German citizenship and ran for president, coming second to von Hindenburg. Later that year the Nazi party acquired 230 seats in the Reichstag, making them the largest party in Germany. Helped by support from conservative politicians believing they could control Hitler, he was appointed Chancellor of Germany on January 30th 1933. Hitler moved with great speed to isolate and expel opponents from power, shutting trade unions, removing communists, conservatives and Jews.
Later that year Hitler perfectly exploited an act of arson on the Reichstag (which some believe the Nazis helped cause) to begin the creation of a totalitarian state, dominating the March 5th elections thanks to support from nationalist groups. Hitler soon took over the role of president when Hindenburg died and merged the role with that of Chancellor to become Führer (‘Leader’) of Germany.
Hitler continued to move with speed in radically changing Germany, consolidating power, locking up “enemies” in camps, bending culture to his will, rebuilding the army and breaking the constraints of the Treaty of Versailles. He tried to change the social fabric of Germany by encouraging women to breed more and bringing in laws to secure racial purity; Jews were particularly targeted. Employment, high elsewhere in a time of depression, fell to zero in Germany. Hitler also made himself head of the army. Hitler engineered territorial expansion, uniting with Austria in an anschluss, and dismembering Czechoslovakia. It was in September 1939, when German forces invaded Poland, that other nations took a stand, declaring war. This was not unappealing to Hitler who believed Germany should make itself great through war, and invasions in 1940 went well. However, arguably his fatal mistake occurred in 1941 with the invasion of Russia, through which he wished to create lebensraum, or ‘living room’. After initial success, German forces were pushed back by Russia, and defeats in Africa and West Europe followed as Germany was slowly beaten. During this time Hitler became gradually more paranoid and divorced from the world, retreating to a bunker. As armies approached Berlin from two directions, Hitler married his mistress, Eva Braun, and on April 30th 1945 killed himself. Hitler will forever be remembered for starting the Second World War, the most costly conflict in world history, thanks to his desire to expand Germany’s borders through force. He will equally be remembered for his dreams of racial purity, which prompted him to order the execution of millions of people, perhaps as high as eleven million. Although every arm of German bureaucracy was turned to pursuing the executions, Hitler was the chief driving force. In the decades since Hitler’s death many commentators have concluded that he must have been mentally ill, and that if he wasn’t when he started his rule the pressures of his failed wars must have driven him mad. Given that he ordered genocide and ranted and raved it is easy to see why people have come to this conclusion, but it’s important to state that there is no consensus among historians that he was insane, or what psychological problems he may have had.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bandung Sea of Fire

Bandung Sea of Fire

Events Bandung Ocean of Fire is a major fire incident that occurred in the city of Bandung, West Java province in March 1946. Within seven hours, about 200,000 inhabitants burned their homes and possessions, leaving the city to the mountains in the area south of Bandung. This is done to prevent the Allies and the Dutch Colonial Army troops control the city. Decision to be taken Bandung burned through unity Assembly deliberations struggle Priangan (MP3) in the presence of all power struggles, on March 24, 1946. Kol. Abdul Haris Nasoetion as Commander of Division III, announced the results of these deliberations and ordered to leave the city of Bandung. That same day, the group of the population left the city of Bandung long flowing and burning the town last night. Next TRI (Indonesian people's army) to fight the guerrillas from outside Bandung. This event inspired the song Halo-Halo Bandung is the name of the creator is still debated.

Several years later, the song "Halo-Halo Bandung" was written to symbolize their emotions, as the promise of going back to our beloved city, which has become a sea of fire.

Ultimatum for Army of the Republic of Indonesia (TRI) to leave the city and the people, politics gave birth to "bumihangus". People are not willing to be exploited by enemies of Bandung. They fled to the south along with the fighters. Decision to be taken Bandung burned through deliberation Priangan Struggle Unity Council (MP3) in the presence of all power struggles, on March 24, 1946.

Colonel Abdul Haris Nasution as Commander of Division III, announced the results of these deliberations, and ordered people to leave the city of Bandung. That same day, the group running the length of the population left the city of Bandung.

Bandung deliberately burned by the TRI and the people with the intention that the Allies can not use it anymore. Here and there, billowing black smoke rising high into the air. All the power failure. England began to attack so fierce fighting occurred. Battle of the most exciting happening in the Village Dayeuhkolot, south of Bandung, where there are large munition factories owned by Allied. TRI intends to destroy the gunpowder warehouse. For that diutuslah youth Muhammad Toha and Ramdan. The boys managed to blow up the warehouse with hand grenades. Large warehouse exploded and burned, but the two young men, too, burned in it. Bandung city administration staff will initially remain in the city, but for the sake of safety then at 21:00 hours was also out of town. Since then, approximately at 24.00 South Bandung have been empty of i

nhabitants and the TRI. But the fire still burning city rising. And Bandung was transformed into a sea of fire.

Bandung Scorched Earth is the right action, because the strength of TRI and the people will not be able to resist a powerful enemy. Next TRI with the people to fight a guerrilla from outside Bandung. This event gave birth to the song "Halo-Halo Bandung" the vigorous burning of the Indonesian people fighting spirit.

Bandung Ocean of Fire later became famous after the term of the burning incident. Many of us wonder where this term originated. The late General Besar AH Nasution recalled during a meeting in Regentsweg (now road Dewi Sartika), after returning from his meeting with Sutan Sjahrir in Jakarta, to decide what action will be made to the city of Bandung after receiving a British ultimatum.

The Bandung Sea of fire monument

Saturday, March 9, 2013

"Super Semar" mystery

"Super Semar"or "Surat Perintah Sebelas Maret"(March eleven warrants) was a warrant that signed by Soekarno on 11th march 1966.

This letter contains commands that instruct Soeharto, as Commander of the Operational Command of Security and Order (Commander) to take all necessary actions to address the poor security situation at the time.

Warrant of March this is the version that is released from the Army Headquarters (AD) were also recorded in the history books. Most of the historians Indonesia said that there are different versions that are still searchable text Supersemar Supersemar issued by President Sukarno in Bogor Palace.


One version Supersemar (Center for History and Tradition TNI).

 Why It out?

According to the official version, originally Supersemar discharge occurs when, on March 11, 1966, the President convened the Cabinet swearing-enhanced Dwikora known as the "100 cabinet ministers". At the time the trial began, Brigadier General Sabur as commander of the presidential guard troops' Tjakrabirawa reported that many "wild forces" or "unknown forces" which was later known is Kostrad troops under the command of Major-General Kemal Idris charge of detaining people who are in the Cabinet allegedly involved in the G-30-S include Deputy Prime Minister I Soebandrio.
Based on these reports, together with the Vice President I Soebandrio Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh Chaerul III went to Bogor by helicopter that had been prepared. While the trial was finally closed by the Deputy Prime Minister II Dr.J. Leimena which followed the Bogor.
The situation is reported to Major-General Suharto (who later became President of replacing Sukarno), which at that time as Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Ahmad Yani replace the fallen aftermath G-30-S/PKI it. Major General (Mayjend) Soeharto did not attend the cabinet meeting due to illness. (Some people assessing the absence Soeharto cabinet meeting considered the scenario Suharto to wait for the situation. Because regarded as a gaffe).
Major General Suharto sent three high-ranking officers (AD) to Bogor to meet President Soekarno at the Bogor Palace Brigadier General M. Jusuf, Brigadier General and Brigadier General Amirmachmud Basuki Rahmat. Arriving at the Bogor Palace, at night, there was talk among the three high-ranking Army with the President of the circumstances and the three officers stated that Soeharto Mayjend able to control the situation and restore order when given a letter of assignment or a power of attorney authorizing him to take action. According to Gen. (ret) M Jusuf, talks with President Soekarno until 20:30 pm nightly.
President Sukarno agreed to it and made an order known as the Order of March which is popularly known as Supersemar addressed to Mayjend Soeharto as commander of the Army to take the necessary measures to restore security and order.Supersemar2
Supersemar letter arrived in Jakarta on March 12, 1966 at 01.00 local time brought by the Secretary of the Army Headquarters, Brigadier General Budiono. It is based on the narrative Sudharmono, at which time he received a call from Mayjend Sutjipto, Chairman of the G-5 KOTI, March 11, 1966 at around 10 pm. Sutjipto called for the dissolution of the Communist Party concept was prepared and had done that night. The requ
est was on the orders of Commander Mayjend held by Suharto. Even Sudharmono was arguing with Moerdiono legal basis Supersemar text until it arrives.

Super Semar President

Super Semar 2

 Some controversy about Supersemar

According to one of the three army officers who finally received the letter, when they read the letter again on the way back to Jakarta, one of the officers who then read it commented "Why is khan transfer of power". It is not clear then the original script Supersemar because a few years later the original manuscript of this letter missing and the loss of this letter is not clear by whom and where as perpetrators of history events "birth Supersemar" has passed away. Later, the family M. Jusuf said the manuscript Supersemar exists on private documents M. Jusuf stored in a bank.

According to the testimony of one of the presidential guards at the Bogor Palace, First Lieutenant (First Lieutenant) Sukardjo Wilardjito, when the confession was written in various media after the reforms of 1998 that also marked the end of the New Order government of President Suharto. He stated that the officers who attended the Bogor Palace on the evening of March 11, 1966 at 01.00 local time dawn not three but four officers ie officers followers Brigadier General (Brig) M. Panggabean. Even at the time of Supersemar Brig M. Joseph brought folder Headquarters Army logo pink and Gen. M. Pangabean and Brig Basuki Rahmat pointing a gun towards the President and insisted that the President signed the letter which he said that an Order of March is not clear what it is. Sukardjo First Lieutenant who was in charge of guarding the president, also reply to put the gun in the direction of the generals but President Sukarno ordered Soekardjo to drop his gun and sheathed. According to him, the President then signed the letter, and after signing, the President advised that the situation has been stabilized, the mandate should be immediately returned. The meeting broke up, and when the four officers were returned to Jakarta. Soekardjo President Sukarno told that he must get out of the palace. "I have to get out of the castle, and you have to be careful," he mimicked the message of President Soekarno. Not long after (about 30 minutes ago) Bogor Palace was occupied by troops of the Special Forces and the Strategic Reserve Command, First Lieutenant Sukardjo and his fellow guards stripped then captured and held in a military detention and discharged from military service. Some have doubted the testimony Soekardjo Wilardjito, even one of the perpetrators of history Supersemar, Gen. (Ret.) M. Jusuf, and Gen. (ret) M Panggabean denied the incident.

According to testimony A.M. Hanafi in his book "AM Hanafi Sues Suharto coup", a former Indonesian ambassador in Cuba unconstitutionally dismissed by Soeharto. He denied the testimony of Lieutenant Sukardjo Wilardjito saying that the presence of General M. Panggabean the Bogor Palace with three other generals (Amirmachmud, M. Jusuf and Basuki Rahmat) on March 11, 1966 morning who guns against President Sukarno. According to him, at that time, President Soekarno stay at Merdeka Palace, Jakarta, for the purposes of a cabinet meeting in the morning. Similarly, all the ministers or most of the ministers had to stay in the palace in order to avoid that the new coming the next day, the demonstrations that have been huddled in Jakarta. AM Hanafi Himself present at the hearing with the Deputy Prime Minister (Deputy Premier) Chaerul Saleh. According to the writings in his book, the three generals was that they are the ones who go to the Bogor Palace, to meet President Soekarno who went there first. And he thinks they departed from the previous palace, palace Amir Machmud free call to Commissioner Soemirat, personal bodyguard of President Soekarno in Bogor, asked for permission to come to Bogor. And all of that there are witnesses-witnesses. The three generals seem to have brought the text, which is called now Supersemar. That's where Bung Karno, but not a gun, because they come in fine. But outside the palace is surrounded demonstrations and tanks in the streets outside the palace. Given such circumstances, it seems Bung Karno signed the letter. So AM Hanafi stated, knowing him, because he did not attend but was in Bogor Presidential Palace together with other ministers. So yangdatang to Istana Bogor no General Panggabean. Mr Panggabean, who at that time served as Minister of Defense, was not present.

About typist Supersemar. Who actually typed letter, is still unclear. There are some people who claim to type the letter, among others, Lt. Col. (Ret.) Army Ebram Ali, at that time the Intelligence Assistant staff Cakrabirawa.

Testimony submitted to the foreign historian, Ben Anderson, by a soldier who had served in Bogor Palace. The Army argues that Supersemar typed on letterhead letter Army headquarters, not on presidential letterhead paper. This is according to Ben is the reason why Supersemar lost or deliberately omitted.
Various efforts have made the National Archives to get clarity on this letter. In fact, the National Archives have repeatedly asked the General (Ret.) M. Joseph, who was the last witness until his death 8 September 2004, to be willing to explain what really happened, but it always failed. It also had to ask for help Muladi the then State Secretary, Jusuf Kalla, and M. Saelan, even asked the House to summon M. Jusuf. Until now, the National Archives of effort never materialized. Another key witness, is former president Soeharto. But with the death of former President Soeharto on January 27, 2008, made history Supersemar more difficult to uncover.
With confusion Supersemar that, among historians and the laws of Indonesia said that the event Supersemar G-30-S/PKI and is one of the history of Indonesia that is still dark.

Super Semar Army Version
Super Semar Other Version

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Top 10 World War 2 Weapons.

Top 10 World War 2 Weapons.

The Second World War was the greatest, bloodiest conflict in human history. Millions were killed, empires rose and fell, and no corner of the planet was spared the destruction, fire, and death it left in its wake. Although it is often remembered as the first technological war, many of the battles of WWII were fought by nothing more advanced than men and their weapons. Weapons they carried, relied on, and cared for as they trudged across the burned out cities of Europe, the deserts of Africa, and the sweltering jungles of the South Pacific. Weapons that gave them a sliver of advantage over their enemies. Weapons that saved their lives and ended those of their enemies. Weapons that defined the iconography of a global struggle. These are the Top Ten infantry weapons of the Second World War.


10. The Karabiner 98K

The Second World War was the swansong for the bolt action rifle. They had dominated armed conflict since the end of the 19th century, and were still used by some armies after the war, but never again would a major nation’s army enter a battle armed with bolt action rifles as standard issue. Based on the military doctrine that armies primarily fought each other at long distances across open terrain, rifles like the Karabiner 98k were designed for a kind of war that was rapidly fading into history. Still, the Karabiner 98k was a stalwart of the German Army and remained in production right up until the German surrender in 1945. Of all the bolt action rifles that saw service during the war, the Karabiner 98k is considered to be the best. Even after the introduction of semi-automatic and automatic weapons, the Germans stuck with the karabiner 98k, partly because of tactical reasons (they based their squad tactics on light machine guns rather than riflemen) and partly because as German loses mounted, they couldn’t produce anything else. They did develop the world’s first true assault rifle at the end of the war, but it never saw widespread use. The Karabiner 98k remained the weapon that most German soldiers fought and died with.

9. The M1 Carbine

m1 carbine
As reliable and useful as the M1 Garand and The Thompson Submachine Gun were, they each had one serious drawback. They were extremely difficult for support soldiers to use. The Garand was long and difficult to access quickly if surprised. The Thompson was a little easier to get at, but it was still heavy for its compact size. For the ammunition bearers, mortar teams, artillery crews, and other frontline troops, neither were very effective in keeping them safe when they were directly attacked. In need of a weapon that was easily stowed and easily accessed for these soldiers, the U.S. Army settled on the M1 Carbine. It wasn’t the most powerful firearm in the war, but it was light, small, accurate, and, in the right hands, just as deadly as a more powerful weapon. U.S. Paratroopers also appreciated the M1 Carbine for its ease of use, and frequently jumped into combat armed with the folding stock version. The U.S. government ending up producing six million M1 Carbines in the war, more than any other U.S. firearm. Variations of the M1 are still manufactured and in use today by militaries and civilians.

8. The MP40

Although it was never issued in large numbers to infantrymen, The German MP40 has become a ubiquitous symbol of the German World War 2 solider and Nazis in general. It seems like every German in every war movie has one, but the MP40 was actually never standard issue for the common foot soldier. Usually used by paratroopers, squad leaders, and commandos, the MP40 saw service all over the war. It was especially useful in the Eastern Front against the Russians where the accuracy and power of long rifles was mostly wasted in the block by block street fighting. In fact, submachine guns like the MP40 were so effective that they made German planners rethink their reliance on bolt action or semi-automatic weapons, leading to the development of the first assault rifles. Still, the MP40 was one of the great submachine guns of the war, and became a symbol for the ruthless efficiency of the German soldier.

7. The Grenade

Not all the great weapons in WWII were rifles or pistols. Infantrymen also relied heavily on their grenades. Powerful, light, and the perfect size for throwing, grenades were an invaluable tool for assaulting positions. Just pull the pin, chuck it in, and suddenly storming a machinegun nest or bunker was a lot easier. From the iconic American “pineapple” grenade to the German stick grenade (nicknamed the “potato masher” due to its long handle), each nation relied on theses small, but deadly explosives to clear positions and generally scare the hell out the enemy. A rifle can do a lot of damage to human tissue, but the wounds caused by a fragmentation grenade are something else all together. Grenades were a very brutal weapon used in a very, very brutal conflict.

6. The Sten Gun

sten gun

After the disastrous defeat and withdrawal from Dunkirk in 1940, the British army was facing a severe shortage of military equipment. Forced to leave most of their equipment on the beaches as they fled, the British armed forces took the opportunity to upgrade their standard issue weapons. They tried to use Thompson Submachine guns, but demand in the U.S. limited the supply. The answer was to come up with a British submachine gun. That was the Sten gun. Several models saw action in the war, but they all shared a unique side mounted magazine and slim profile. It wasn’t a perfect weapon and could be temperamental, but at close range it was capable of incredible destruction. It was also very easy to assemble and disassemble, making it a perfect weapon for resistance forces and commandoes. Resistance fighters in Poland and across Occupied Europe relied on air-dropped Stens to hassle and disrupt the Germans far behind enemy lines. The Sten gun worked so well as an insurgency weapon that it remained in use by paramilitary and guerrilla forces as late as 1994.

5. The Luger PO8

Every Allied soldier was on the lookout for souvenirs during the war and none was more prized than the German sidearm Luger P08. It may seem a little strange to describe a lethal weapon as “beautiful,” but the Luger P08 was truly a work of art and remains among weapon collectors the most sought after World War 2 firearm. Sleekly designed, built to incredibly high standards, and extremely accurate for a pistol, the Luger P08 was the ultimate symbol of the Nazi’s image of themselves: powerful, precise, and absolutely deadly. Designed as an automatic sidearm replacement for the revolver, the Luger was highly prized for its unique design and long service life. Even though Germany was in the process of phasing the Luger P08 out before the war even started, it remains today the most collectable German weapon of the war. Many of the thousands that returned in G.I.’s loot bags are still in circulation today.

4. The KA-BAR Combat Knife

It’s an old military maxim that each army starts a war perfectly equipped for the last one they fought. For American soldiers, nowhere was this truer than in their service knives. The long trench knives they had, which were perfectly suited for the bloody trench battles of World War 1, weren’t going to cut it in the vastly different conditions of WWII. Enter the KA-BAR. Named after part of a barely literate trapper’s testimonial (it’s believed he was trying to write “kill a bear”), the KA-BAR quickly became much loved by every branch of the service that used it. Besides its combat uses, it was perfect for just about everything a soldier might need a knife for out in the bush. It could dig holes, open cans, and cut through brush. The KA-BAR was originally designed for hunters and outdoorsmen, and that’s basically what a soldier is. The Marines, who spent much of the war fighting the Japanese in jungles, especially loved it. The KA-BAR is still in use today by the Marines, Army, and Navy, and is arguably the single greatest combat knife ever invented.

3. The Thompson Submachine Gun

The Second World War was the first widespread conflict where the submachine came into its own as a combat weapon. There are several on this list, but none are more iconic than the Thompson submachine gun. After first achieving notoriety in the Irish Civil War and in the hands of Prohibition gangsters and law enforcement, the Thompson was adopted by the U.S. Army just before the start of the war. Despite its weight (at over 10 lbs it was heftier than most submachine guns), it was a very popular weapon for scouts, non-commissioned officers, commandoes, and paratroopers, who  all valued its stopping power and rate of fire. The weapon’s use was discontinued after the war, but Thompsons continued to pop up all over the world in the hands of armies and paramilitaries. It even saw action in the Bosnian War. For the soldiers who carried it in World War 2, it was an invaluable tool to keep them alive as they walked, ran, and fought their way across Europe and Asia.

2. The PPSh-41

Despite the vastness of their country, most of the engagements that the Russian forces were involved in in World War 2 were close quarters affairs. From the Winter War with Finland to the defence of Stalingrad, Soviet troops were much more likely to meet their enemies at closer ranges than those their Mosin-Nagent bolt action rifles were designed for. The Russians needed high rates of fire at short distances, not accuracy or power. Enter the PPSh-41. A wonder of mass production, the PPSh-41 was simple to manufacture (at the height of the war Russian factories were producing 3000 a day), and simple to use. It could be fitted with a drum magazine holding 71 rounds, and gave the Russians fire superiority at the close ranges they were fighting. The PPSh-41 was so effective that the Russian army outfitted entire regiments and divisions with it, something that had never been done before. But perhaps the best indication of the quality of the weapon was how valued it was among German troops. If your enemy can’t wait to get his hands on your weapons, you must be doing something right.

1. The M1 Garand

m1 garand
At the beginning of the war, nearly every infantryman in every major army was armed with a bolt action rifle. They were accurate and reliable, but they required that after every shot the soldier manually remove the spent shell casing and reload the weapon by manipulating a bolt. This was fine for sniping and other long distance engagements, but significantly limited each individual’s rate of fire. Wanting to increase their soldier’s ability to fire as many bullets at the enemy as possible, the U.S. Army brought into service one of the most famous rifles of all the time, the M1 Garand. Patton called it “the greatest battle implement ever devised,” and it often lived up to that high praise. It was easy to use and care for, quick to reload, and gave U.S. forces rate of fire superiority over every force they faced. The M1 became a stalwart of the U.S. military and was in active service until 1963. Even today, several forces around the world use it as a ceremonial weapon for drills and it is prized as a hunting weapon among civilians. But for the men who took on the Germans, Italians, and Japanese, it was often the difference between life and death.

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