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Captured weapons in WW2


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#1 Thunder

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 1548 PM

I've heard of many circumstances of captured weapons being put to use in WWII. For example, the Germans used a lot of the French stuff. In this case, they also had the factories, so they could conceivably continue to make parts and munitions for these. However, later in the war, Soviets and Germans used a lot of each otherís stuff when they captured it and could put it to work. In this situation, supplies are harder to come by. How did they deal with replacing parts? Was there a big depot of dead vehicles and weapons that they recovered parts from and sent the parts where needed? This seems like it might be more work than it's worth. Second, I imagine these captured items had only a limited supply of ammo. How did they come by more ammo? Were they manufacturing ammo to fit enemy weapons? Thanks.

#2 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 1639 PM

Britain was so hard up for automatic weapons in the early days, they built a copy of a captured German weapon (Mp35?) as the Lanchester. I think only the RN ended up using it though.

#3 Yama

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 1709 PM

I've heard of many circumstances of captured weapons being put to use in WWII. For example, the Germans used a lot of the French stuff. In this case, they also had the factories, so they could conceivably continue to make parts and munitions for these. However, later in the war, Soviets and Germans used a lot of each otherís stuff when they captured it and could put it to work. In this situation, supplies are harder to come by. How did they deal with replacing parts? Was there a big depot of dead vehicles and weapons that they recovered parts from and sent the parts where needed?


Pretty much so. Cannibalizing was the key word. Say you have dozen captured T-34's, in various conditions. You piece and patch them together and manage to get six up running.

This seems like it might be more work than it's worth.


In manhours, it surely was. However, one has to see the whole picture. Most countries did not have manufacturing capabilities needed to satisfy armament demand of their armed forces. To overcome this shortage you use whatever materiel available, including former enemy ones. Take country like Finland: how you are going to manufacture your own tanks and artillery pieces, with little existing heavy industry and tiny raw material production? Of course you can't, so you use your one available resource - manpower - and patch together what you can, from bits and parts you have. And this is how you end up with boondoggles like this:

Posted Image

Second, I imagine these captured items had only a limited supply of ammo. How did they come by more ammo? Were they manufacturing ammo to fit enemy weapons? Thanks.


Yes. Manufacturing ammo was not the hard part, hard part was calculating the range tables for artillery shells... :)

#4 Thunder

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 1721 PM

Thanks for the insight. I find it interesting throwing in unusual twists in the miniature games I play and use of captured weapons is one possability. I recently heard a lecture by Charles C Sharp and he said that use of enemy equipment was much more common than reported. The main reason for this is that you as a commander always want more, not less for your unit. If you report captured material, it is likely it will be taken from you and given to a unit that needs it more. The incentive here is to keep quiet. He read reoprts of equipment lists for units at a period in time and then saw photos of the units and noticed captured equipment in the photos that was never reported in the inventory.

#5 BansheeOne

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 1723 PM

Britain was so hard up for automatic weapons in the early days, they built a copy of a captured German weapon (Mp35?) as the Lanchester. I think only the RN ended up using it though.


MP 28. But it wasn't captured, it was tested quite officially in a competition before the outbreak of war in 1938/39.

#6 shep854

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 1854 PM

Didn't the British in N. Africa use captured German 75mm ammo in their Grants?

#7 Thunder

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 1906 PM

I think the shell case for the US and German ammo was a different shape and length so I think it would be a challenge to use one ammo in the other. Even among different German 75mm guns, I believed the ammo varied.

#8 shep854

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 2019 PM

It's been many years since I read about it (in Tank by Arch Whitehouse). As I try to jog faded memory, I think the Brits salvaged components from the captured munitions.

#9 DougRichards

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 2101 PM

Didn't the British in N. Africa use captured German 75mm ammo in their Grants?

I don't think it was so much captured German ammo, but ammunition of French origin being used by the Germans, for instance the German 7.5cm Panzerabwehrkanone 97/38 used the barrel of the French 75mm/97 on a Pak 38 carriage with a muzzle brake, firing standard French ammunition. The US adopted the same 75mm gun in WW1, and had it in service in various roles for quite some time, adapting it for tank destroyers in halftracks through to tank guns in the M3 and M4 mediums and M24 light. The 75mm gun carried by a variant of the Mitchell B-24 was also distantly based on the 75mm 1897 French gun.

So any captured stock of French ammunition, from German sources, could be used by American guns, and also by British tank guns that used the same ammunition.

#10 Archie Pellagio

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 2223 PM

Hunnicut's Grant book mentions using captured German 75mm HE warheads remanufactured in Egypt to be fired from M3's.

#11 bojan

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 0225 AM

Interesting story about first captured H-39 by Yugo partisans - When captured MG and gun breech was missing, so they installed standard MG34 as a mg while local village blacksmith made a new breech. It failed on a first shot. He saw what was reason for failure (incorrect size of one part) so he fixed it. It then proceeded to work flawlessly until the end of war.
BTW, first shipment of the arms to Partisans from British was captured Italian a and German small arms including such things as 2.8cm sPzB41.

#12 Marek Tucan

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 0312 AM

There were many problems, for example suitable tractors for guns - Czechoslovakian army had trouble after WWII when trying out Pak 41 and 41/43, there were not suitable vehicles to move it around...

#13 DougRichards

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 0336 AM

There were examples of countries manufacturing ammunition specifically for captured weapons. In at least one instance Germany not only used captured examples but copied a captured Soviet design and put it into service with a few improvements: the 120mm M1938 Mortar.

Germany also put a large number of 76.2mm Soviet field guns, both of the 1936 and 1939 patters, initially firing captured ammunition, but later reaming out the chamber to take German 7.5cm PAK 40 ammunition.

A classic example of Germany using captured weapons was the force that was assembled for a proposed amphibious assault on Malta, which was to include KV-2.

In the case of small arms, even though many on the American side thought the M1 carbine was underpowered it was popular with German troops as a captured weapon.

#14 Archie Pellagio

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 0533 AM

I thought the Germans were pretty good with using captured weapons right from the start. A lot of the Ost Battalion troops in Normandy were kitted out with Polish & Czech MG's, french pistols and all sorts.

Didn't the Germans generally keep the factories for small arms open and press into service their wares? (FN is big one that springs to mind)

#15 DougRichards

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 0710 AM

I thought the Germans were pretty good with using captured weapons right from the start. A lot of the Ost Battalion troops in Normandy were kitted out with Polish & Czech MG's, french pistols and all sorts.

Didn't the Germans generally keep the factories for small arms open and press into service their wares? (FN is big one that springs to mind)


Not just small arms, apart from the obvious Czech factories French aircraft manufacturers were kept working: Brandt assembled FW190, SNCASO and Breguet built FW189, the He274 heavy bomber was under development by Farman, JU52/3M by a SNCASO/Breguet/Amiot group, various French companies subcontracted for the Ju188.Dornier Do24 by Potez-CAMS, the production of the Fiesler Fi156 was almost entirely carried out by Morane-Saulner (which continued to produce under its own name post-war) and Benes-Mraz in Czecholsovakia. The engines on the Ms323 Gigant came from Gnome-Rhone.

I am sure that there were others.

#16 JOE BRENNAN

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 1113 AM

I don't think it was so much captured German ammo, but ammunition of French origin being used by the Germans, for instance the German 7.5cm Panzerabwehrkanone 97/38 used the barrel of the French 75mm/97 on a Pak 38 carriage with a muzzle brake, firing standard French ammunition. The US adopted the same 75mm gun in WW1, and had it in service in various roles for quite some time, adapting it for tank destroyers in halftracks through to tank guns in the M3 and M4 mediums and M24 light. The 75mm gun carried by a variant of the Mitchell B-24 was also distantly based on the 75mm 1897 French gun.

So any captured stock of French ammunition, from German sources, could be used by American guns, and also by British tank guns that used the same ammunition.

The US M1897 was, as the designation implies, the French 75. Some in US Army inventory were French manufactured, some US. And as covered in a recent thread the 'Bir Hakeim type French 75's' adapted by the Free French as AT guns in North Africa were actually US M1897's on US speed adapted carriages with further AT mods, guns purchased from the US before France fell, diverted and eventually available for Fighting French use. So either way that's basically the same gun, give or take the significant variations in carriages. The WWII era US 75mm tank guns OTOH had nothing in common with the M1897 as guns, the chamber and bore dimensions were just compatible with existing US 75mm ammo.

The main German ammo adapted for use in M2 75mm on British M3 medium tanks in North Africa was K.Gr.rot.Pz. (APHE) shells for 7.5cm KwK L/24, short 75 on Pzkfw. IV's, ammo captured in the relief of Tobruk after Crusader. The shells' rotating bands were machined down to fit the French/US 75 dimension, then they were inserted in US cartridge cases. The benefit was good AP performance w/ explosive filler and reliable base fuse. Most then available US 75 AP ammo was M72 AP shot, lacking explosive filler and w/ dubious AP performance; early M61 APC had similar AP performance to the German round and was designed for an explosive filler but fuses weren't yet available. Some 7.5 L/24 HE and smoke was also similarly adapted.

Joe

#17 Bob B

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 1629 PM

I know it's not WW2, but when the Korean War started the U.S. Ordnance Dept. pulled Japanese Type 99 rifles that it had stored in Japan and rebuilt them for use by the South Koreans. FWIW, these were origialy intended for the Japanese National Police.

To solve the ammo problem the rifles were re-chambered to .30-06, had the magazine boxes lengthened, and the receivers notched to accommodate the longer cartridge. The royal chrysanthemum markings were removed, the gun was marked U.S. Cal .30 and then refinished with phosphate. All rifles were then proof tested. Approximately 133,000 rifles went through this conversion.

See Honeycutt's Military Rifles Of Japan

Years ago I saw a manual that was produced by the U.S. Ordnance Dept. for this for this rifle, and IIRC it was called The US Rifle Type 99 Caliber .30.

#18 WRW

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 0312 AM

Somewhere on Skalman.nu there is a thread on this - found it interesting

did not US Artillery use a lot of captured ammo in last months in Europe?

#19 Archie Pellagio

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 0526 AM

Not just small arms, apart from the obvious Czech factories French aircraft manufacturers were kept working: Brandt assembled FW190, SNCASO and Breguet built FW189, the He274 heavy bomber was under development by Farman, JU52/3M by a SNCASO/Breguet/Amiot group, various French companies subcontracted for the Ju188.Dornier Do24 by Potez-CAMS, the production of the Fiesler Fi156 was almost entirely carried out by Morane-Saulner (which continued to produce under its own name post-war) and Benes-Mraz in Czecholsovakia. The engines on the Ms323 Gigant came from Gnome-Rhone.

I am sure that there were others.


One of the biggest continued manufacturers for the Germans was the Gnome-Rhone engine which powered not just the Gigant but also a whole host of other non-combat aircraft like the Hs123, FW189 and others.

#20 Marek Tucan

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 0610 AM

One of the biggest continued manufacturers for the Germans was the Gnome-Rhone engine which powered not just the Gigant but also a whole host of other non-combat aircraft like the Hs123, FW189 and others.

Also Hs129, no?




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