Weaponry in the United States during World War II

World War II was filled with revolutionary equipment, vehicles, war strategies and computers. However, World War II was a huge step in revolutionizing the modern weapon back then.

Small Arms

Many new small armed weapons were introduced througout World War II; it dominated on the battlefield. Automatic rifles, pistols, shotguns, grenades and flameflowers allowed countires to fight differently, truly revolutionizng the war game for the United States during the early 1940's.

Rifles

Weapons like the M3 submachine gun, Tommy gun, M50 Reising, M42 and the ‘Hyde.’ Not only did these weapons change the fighting game but every country wanted them; mass production began. During World War 2, the war game was going through a drastic change, people were fighting different and new ideas were all the hype. The M series rifles (‘M’ menaing “model” and the numbers that follow represent the sequantial developement) were the standard U.S. service rifles during WWII. Amongst the M seried rifles, the M1 Carbine and the M1 Garand were highly common for a U.S. soldier to carry. Both guns shot a different round and the Carbine was slightly smaller and lighter, hense the name ‘Carbine’. The Carbine shot a standard .30 Carbine ball bullet and typically had a 15 round clip. Both of these M1’s were semi-automatic.

Two M1 Carbines both with 15 Round Magazines
M1 Garand Bolt Action

Pistols

When combat was conisered ‘close quarters,’ many U.S. soldiers relied on their one handed weapons like the handguns. The most popular/reliable pistol replaced the 9mm Beretta M9 and the U.S. produced over 2.7 million! Constructed by Colt Manufacturing Company, the .45 Caliber, M1911 (Colt .45) provided thousands of soldiers with a dependable and predictable sidearm. However, the Colt M1911 wasn’t the only reliable sidearm U.S. soldiers used, the Smith and Wesson Model 10 saved many soldiers lives on the field. The six round revolver shot a .380" round and came in 6 different barrel lengths (2",2.5",3",4",5" and 6"). Some 6,000,000 have produced throughout the years!

WWII M1911 .45 Caliber 1940
Smith and Wesson Model 10 Revolver 1899

Automatic Rifles

The U.S. began to put automatic rifles into soldiers hands during WW2 and they dominated. Automatic hand held weapons like the Thompson Gun, M3 Submachine Gun and M3 Reising were the beginning of automatic hand held weaponry in the United States. The common automatic rifles for U.S. soldiers were the M3 Submachine Gun and the Thompson Gun. Both gus shot a .45 ACP (auotomatic colt pistol) round but the Thompson Gun had anywhere from 20–100 round magazines, providing it with a hefty amount of ammunition, the M3 Submachine Gun only having a standard 30 round magazine. Combined, over 2,600,000 M3’s and Tommy Guns were produced to satifsy the modern U.S. soldier during WWII.

M3 Submachine Gun with 30 Round Magazine
Thompson Submachine Gun with 50 Round Drum Magazine

Flamethrowers and Explosives

Flamethrowers were a brutal, cruel type of weapon for soldiers use. The flamethrower was quite simple, using propane as it’s fuel and projecting fire towards the target. Not many were made because cost were expensive and not everyone U.S. soldier needed one. However, soldiers that were lucky enough to train and use them in combat were sufficiently deadly on the battlefield. U.S. marines used a M2A1–7 backpack-type flamethrower, projecting flames of up to 20 yards ahead. The truly devastating weapon made it’s mark in WWII. Below the idea of aiming fire upon people, expolives were undoubtedly a familar weapon for U.S. soldiers. The Mk 2 Grenade, M7 Grenade Launcher, Bazooka, M1 Mortar and M16 Mines took over the battlefields literally. Mk 2 Grenades were equipped on every soldier, replacing the M-26 Grenade. The Grenade was a time-fused fragmentation antipersonnel hand grenade (shot metal fragments 360° after a certain time). Grenades were very useful in trench warfare. The bazooka, a highly well-known gun, shooting a 3.5" wide explosive rocket capable of penetrating 3–9 inches of armor. President Eisenhower described the weapon as “Tools of Victory.”

M1 Mortar
M1A1 Rocket Launcher
Mark 2 Fragmented Grenade

Machine Guns

Machine Guns were almost always a stationary gun during WWII; it’s how it was most effective. There were two types, one-person and two-person. All could be operated by one but if the gun didnt have a magazine and used a box instead, you would need a second person to help filter the rounds into the chamber without clogging the gun. The machine guns were on the field, tanks, cars and planes. M2HB Browning, the Browning M1-M4, Lewis Gun and the M4 cannon were amongst the most popular machine guns for the U.S. Army troops. The Browning machine guns were produced by John Browning, the founder; the United States military used Mr. Browning as their primary producer. The M2HB shot a .50 cailber bullet, the M1918 and M1919 both shot a .30–06 Springfield round, the M2HB newer and more effective throughout the war. Things got different when adding the M4 Cannon to aircraft and vehicles. Shooting a 37mm round at it’s target and piercing metal armored tanks and aircraft. A truly powerful attatchment to vehicles and aircraft.

M1918 Machine Gun with 30 Round Magazine
M1919 Machine Gun with 100 Round Box Magazine
Concept M4 Cannon with .50 Caliber Ammunition

The Atomic Bomb

On August 6th and 9th of 1945, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima (Aug. 6th) and Nagasaki (Aug. 9th). Harry S. Truman dropped “Little Boy” (Hiroshima) and “Fat Man” (Nagasaki) in hopes to end the war. As devastating as it was, the war soon did come to an end.

“Little Boy” Nuclear Bomb, 9,700lbs
“Fat Man” Nuclear Bomb, 10,300lbs

Vehicles and Aircraft

Vehicles and aircraft helped protect troops, provide support fire, push the front and gain advantage. These vehicles and aircraft consisted of tanks and aircraft.

Tanks

Amongst all of the tanks produced by the U.S., the M18 Hellcat and M4 Sherman were very prominent. Both served all of WWII, supporting troops with anti-tank fire and machine gun support. The M18 Hellcat was equipped with a 78mm M1A1 tank destroyer with 45 rounds and a .50 Caliber Browning M2HB with 800 rounds. The M4 Sherman was equipped with either a 75mm M3 or 76mm M1A1 tank destroyer gun with 70–100 rounds and a .30 Caliber Browning M1919 with 6,000 rounds. Both costing roughly $50,000 to produce and there were far more M4 tanks produced than the Hellcat

M4 Sherman with 76mm M1A1
M18 Hellcat with 78mm M1A1

Aircraft

Aircraft for the United States during WWII was vital. There were many aircraft that the U.S. produced, all having different meanings, size, cost and weapons. Amongst all the popular aircraft, the F6F Hellcat and P-51 Mustang were quite useful and considered the U.S. Navy’s go-to aircrafts. The P-51 Mustang was equipped with four .30 Caliber M1919’s with 220 rounds each and two .50 Caliber M2 Brownings with 400 rounds each; the aircraft held a shocking amount of gas at the time. Roughly 15,000 were produced and pilot’s commented that it’s maneuverability and control were remarkable, reaching speeds of up to 400mph. The F6F Hellcat however, was the carrier based aircraft for the U.S. With a totally of 12,275 produced and over 5,200 enemy planes destroyed the Hellcat was a prominent fighting aircraft, serving it’s purpose. The plane had four .50 caliber guns and two .50 M2 cannons with a total of roughly 1000 rounds to provide support.

Three P-51 Mustangs Airworthy
F6F Hellcat Fully Airworthy

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M1_Garand