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Vintage Saturday: Getting Medieval

German soldiers experimenting with a grenade catapult

German soldiers joking with siege weaponry (from the Kriegsberichter archive)

Somehow I don’t think the binoculars are particularly necessary…

James D. Julia: An Overview of 4-Bore Stopping Rifles

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The 4-bore (approximately 1″/25mm bore diameter) is the largest shoulder-fired rifle actually used for hunting. Developed in the days of black powder muzzleloaders, it was intended to be the ultimate rifle of last resort, to stop a charging elephant, rhinoceros, or other angry behemoth by sheer size of projectile. The cartridge continued to be used […]

Vintage Saturday: Rifle Grenade

2nd Lieutenant L. J. Barley of the 1st Battalion, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), watching as a rifle grenade is prepared for firing from trenches at Grande Flamengrie Farm on the Bois Grenier sector of the line during February 1915.

Image from the Imperial War Museum

2nd Lieutenant L. J. Barley of the 1st Battalion, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), watching as a rifle grenade is prepared for firing from trenches at Grande Flamengrie Farm on the Bois Grenier sector of the line during February 1915.

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Type 89 Knee Mortar at James D Julia

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The Type 89 grenade discharger, commonly known as the “knee mortar” was a Japanese light infantry weapon introduced in 1929 which blurs the lines between grenade launcher and mortar. Like a mortar, it fires propelled explosive bombs in a high-angle indirect fire role, but it has a rifled barrel and uses a range adjustment […]

RIA: Hotchkiss Revolving Cannon Reproduction

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The Hotchkiss Revolving Cannon was developed in the 1870s as a competitor to the other manually-operated machine guns of the era, guns like the Gatling, Gardner, and Nordenfelt to name a few. What made the Hotchkiss stand out is that while the other guns were mostly built in rifle calibers, with larger options available, the […]

T124E2 76mm Anti-Tank Gun

The T124E2 was the last US antitank gun, and was discontinued after only about 100 had been made – before it was put into service. It was a high velocity 76mm piece, and was replaced by the much smaller 75mm recoilless rifle.

US M3 37mm Antitank Gun (Video)

The M3 was the first real anti-tank gun adopted by the US military, and it was not formally adopted until 1940 – and was thoroughly obsolete in Europe by 1942. The initial design was based on a pair of German PAK-36 guns, but in its production guise the M3 was a much simpler gun. It […]

Bethlehem Steel 37mm Cannon – Looking for Data

I recently got an email from a young man named Paul who is working on restoring a Bethlehem Steel 37mm cannon as an Eagle Scout project. The gun is sitting outside an American Legion post, where I expect it has been for many, many decades. It appears to be mostly complete with the major exception […]

Vintage Saturday: Fire Support

US troops demonstrating use of an M1916 37mm gun

Everyone stare straight ahead and look serious!

One of the photos that didn’t make the cut for the 2015 Forgotten Weapons Calendar: US troops demonstrating use of an M1916 37mm gun. Note how the ammo is supplied on a cloth belt – it was made for use in 37mm Vickers Pompoms.

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Krupp 50mm Mountain Gun (Thai Model 1902)

We’re taking a look at another artillery piece today, a 50mm mountain gun made for Siam (now Thailand) by the German Krupp company. It is a relatively simple (and thus relatively inexpensive at the time) design, with no recoil mechanism or adjustable traverse: