Dieselpunks

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All Articles Tagged 'Weapons of War' (122)

Back to the Future: Illuminating the Target

Today, look at any firearms website or magazine and there are dozens of visible and invisible aiming devices for weapons. From visible flashlights to IR lasers, rifles and pistols have received lavish technological attention in the name accuracy. However, this idea of attaching a light to a weapon is far from new.

Wherever the spot of light was, the bullet would…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on November 16, 2011 at 2:00pm — 5 Comments

Flame and Soot as Weapon

Foreign object damage is the scourge of aviation. Anything that can foul, collide, obscure or damage an aircraft can potentially bring it down. Whether its a bird strike or a bit of rock thrown up from an airfield into an engine, FOD can cripple or even destroy an aircraft.

During World War II, Germany aviation designers looked to something simple in order to halt the…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on November 9, 2011 at 2:00pm — 4 Comments

Fed Like a Sausage Maker: Type 11 Machine Gun

Small-arms designers have from day one sought innovative or just plain different ways to create a a light, efficient weapons design. Reliable, a must. Light weight, whenever possible. Interoperability with other weapons systems, the Holy Grail. During World War II, Japanese forces possessed a light machine gun that attempted such a combination, the Type 11.

A…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on November 2, 2011 at 2:00pm — 4 Comments

Firefly Over the Rhine

As Germany collapsed upon itself in the closing months of World War II, Allied units raced forward, each nation jockeying the first to cross the Rhine. To do this with rapidity, it sometimes meant that forces were ahead of their support, both logistically and martially. Bad weather grounding close air support, or lagging artillery meant that infantry and mechanized units were…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on October 26, 2011 at 2:00pm — 2 Comments

To Liberate By Liberator

Arming guerrillas and insurgents, especially during World War II, was accomplished in two fashions. One was to bundle up any recent front-line weapons and get them to the fighters of an occupied nation. The other was design simple, easily mass produced weapon that were more disposable than maintainable. It also had a significant psychilogical impact on both the occupied and…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on October 19, 2011 at 2:00pm — 2 Comments

The Japanese "Knee" Mortar of World War II

When U.S. forces battled from island to island in the Pacific theater of World War II, Marines and soldiers came upon a small, portable mortar left behind by retreating Japanese forces. At first glance, to American eyes, the baseplate looked like mount for placement on a bent knee, earning it the knickname the knee mortar (see below.)

However, firing the compact tube…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on October 12, 2011 at 2:00pm — 1 Comment

The Jumpable Rifle: FG-42

During World War II, the fighting forces that were Allied and Axis paratroopers were the cutting edge of warfare. Today, special operations have the cache, but 70 years ago, the swagger and elite belonged to the paratroopers. And along with that stature, came a series of special weapons designed specifically for them.

 

One such weapon was the unique FG-42, the…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on October 5, 2011 at 2:00pm — 1 Comment

Double Edge Death: From Police Weapon to Commando Symbol

Last summer we featured the Fairbairn combat smatchet, a fat bladed weapon that was one part axe, another part short sword. Designed by William E. Fairbairn it became a little known weapon in the inventory of British soldiers during World War II. Fairbairn would also design the now ubiquitous double edged dagger now synonymous of English commandos.

 

However,…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on September 28, 2011 at 2:00pm — 2 Comments

UP in the Air: Aerial Mine of Great Britain

Whether mounted on ships or land, the UP rocket and projector was a novel and simple method of British air defense during World War II.

A barrage weapon, the UP (Unrifled Projectile) rocket was a barrage weapon system fielded on ships of the British navy as well as put into field emplacements- Z batteries- around England as part of the Home Guard defense…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on September 21, 2011 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Japanese Barrage Mortar: Deny the Air

Last week we featured the Brandt compressed gas mortar, a surprisingly effective quirky weapon of World War I. Jump forward to World War II and we'll examine another odd mortar, this one fielded by the Japanese throughout the Pacific theater.

 

It was the Barrage Mortar, an uncomplicated piece of tube artillery with devastating aspirations beyond its simplicity.…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on September 14, 2011 at 2:00pm — 3 Comments

Air Gun Goes Boom

On the modern battlefield, mortar teams load their hefty tube artillery at the muzzle and on the command, "Hang it, fire," the compact mortar round slides down the tube before exploding into the air.

 

The basic muzzle loaded mortar has been around for centuries, with few tweaks here and there. But it was during World War I when an unusual mortar was fielded by…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on September 7, 2011 at 2:00pm — 3 Comments

Converted from Tube Artillery to Dropped Ordnance

Finding new uses for obsolete or old munitions have been a part of warfare for centuries. But during World War II, Axis powers found new uses for explosives in ways that proved devastatingly effective.

 

On the morning of December 7, an anonymous Nakajima B5N "Kate" flew over Pearl Harbor amid the flak, flame and destruction with the majestic American battleship…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on August 31, 2011 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Earthquake Bombs

Wallis Barnes, inventor of the famous bouncing bomb, turned his attention to more conventional gravity bombs, but of tremendous size. The results were the Tallboy and Grand Slam (above) penetrators, the Earthquake bombs of World War II.

 

Conventional air dropped ordnance, both bombs were distinguished by their size and potential destructive power. The Tallboy,…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on August 24, 2011 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Bouncing Bombs

The Allies needed to strike at the industrial heart of Germany. The Ruhr River Valley was a main artery for the Nazi war machine, keeping it alive in part by harnessing the power of the river through a series of dams. Take out those dams, the Allies wondered, and the blood would stop flowing?

 

But how to destroy massive dams? UK aeronautical engineer Barnes…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on August 17, 2011 at 2:00pm — 3 Comments

Look Down, Shoot Down: SG-113

One-shot weapons didn't seem to have a place on the battlefields of World War II, except in German aircraft. As Luftwaffe designers sought out more efficient ways of destroying targets, specifically on the ground, they began a program of vertically mounted one-shot weapon systems.

 

The SG-113 Forstersonde was a down-ward facing cluster of recoiless weapons that…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on August 10, 2011 at 2:00pm — 1 Comment

The SVT-40

Vasily Zaytsev, the prolific Soviet sniper of World War II, liked the rapid-fire ability of the SVT-40. Even with his beloved Mosin-Nagant racking up most of his enemy kills, the Hero of the Soviet Union believed in the rapid follow-up shots of the semi-automatic rival of the M1 Garand.

 

It, the SVT-40, a refined version of the SVT-38 was to be the standard…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on August 3, 2011 at 2:00pm — 2 Comments

Cloud of Shrapnel: Fliegerfaust

When the United States entered the Soviet war with Afghanistan, they did so from the shadows. They helped arm and fund the Mujahadin fighters that would ultimately expel the Soviet bear. One of the more important arrow in the quiver of the Afghan fighters was the American supplied Stinger, surface to air missile. The man-portable SAM was a key piece in knocking down low…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on July 27, 2011 at 2:00pm — 5 Comments

Double Barreled Gast Gun

When machine guns were first mounted to aircraft at the dawn of aviation, tacticians quickly realized that in order to score kills any weapon needed to get the maximum number of rounds on target as fast as possible. High rates of fire were the natural solution, but they also proved to be bullet hogs.

 

One German designer, however, found a different approach to…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on July 20, 2011 at 2:00pm — 1 Comment

One Shot Forward, One Shot Back

It's summer and you've undoubtedly heard the bass strings of the Jaws theme as you approached the surf's edge. To this day that movie, and its predecessor book, has kept swimmers nervously looking below the waterline for a great white nibbling on their toes.

 

Why do I bring up Jaws, here in an article about Weapons of War? Well, in the film the character Quint,…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on July 13, 2011 at 2:00pm — 1 Comment

Meanly Beautiful: OG-43

Look at the Armageurra OG-43, meanly beautiful looking gun. It has angry function written all over it. Drop this in the hands of any Dieselpunker or Science Fiction trooper and it would blend into any speculative fiction universe. Think about all those Word War II period guns that armed the Empire in Star Wars. Science fiction blends with small arms fact. And in the case of…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on July 6, 2011 at 2:00pm — 3 Comments

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