The Second World war lasted from 1939 to 1945 and included a large number of the countries which formed two opposing alliances called the Allies and the Axis. War efforts took up a vast amount of economic, scientific and industrial capabilities and contributed to WWII being the deadliest conflict in human history. Loss of life through genocide, starvation, bombing and the use of the first nuclear weapons allowed the death toll to reach 50- 85 million.
The world was fresh from "the Great War," but hard feelings left from that war boiled over to spark conflict again.
Focusing the majority of their efforts on warfare meant great advances in weaponry. Every means of attack was utilized by both sides of the war. Air, sea and land warfare meant changes and upgrades to existing weaponry. Aircraft were used as bombers, strategically dropping bombs to destroy the enemy’s efforts. With the naval warfare of WWII, submarines played an important role after actions at Pearl Harbor. Weaponry for land warfare sought to increase mobility while offering armed protection. Tanks were given upgrades to increase firepower, armor and speed.
All the weapons advancements made during WWII are responsible for some of the very same we use today. Can you identify what was used not so long ago?
The M1919 Browning was a .30 caliber medium machine gun that was widely used during the 20th century, especially during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. It was designed by John M. Browning in 1919.
The M1911 is a single-action, semi-automatic, magazine-fed, recoil-operated pistol chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge. It was designed by John Browning in 1922 and is still used today.
Smith & Wesson Model 10 was designed in 1899 and used in the following wars: World War I, Easter Rising, Irish War of Independence, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War and Gulf War.
The M1 Garand was a .30 caliber semi-automatic rifle that was the standard U.S. service rifle during World War II. It was also used during the Korean War and Vietnam War. It was designed by John C. Garand in 1928.
M1917 Enfield was designed in 1927 and manufactured by Winchester Repeating Arms Company. It is still used today and weighs about 9 lbs when empty.
The M1 Carbine is a lightweight, .30 caliber semi-automatic carbine that was a standard firearm for the U.S. military during World War II, the Korean War and well into the Vietnam War. It was designed by Frederick L. Humeston, William C. Roemer and David Marshall Williams.
The Springfield M1903A1 was used as a standard issue infantry rifle during World War II. It was designed in 1903 by Springfield Armory and produced until 1949.
The M1941 Johnson Rifle was an American short-recoil operated semi-automatic rifle designed by Melvin Johnson prior to World War II. It weighed 9.5 pounds and had a barrel length of 22 inches.
The M4 Survival Rifle was a .22 calibre bolt-action rifle developed during World War II. It served as part of the survival gear stored under the seat of American military aircraft.
The Winchester Model 1895 was a lever-action repeating firearm developed and manufactured by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. It was designed by John Browning in 1895.
The M2 Carbine was capable of fully automatic fire. About 600,000 were produced beginning in 1945.
Colt's Manufacturing Company, LLC was founded by Samuel Colt with headquarters in Hartford, Connecticut. It was founded in 1855, more than 162 years ago!
John T. Thompson was born on December 31, 1860 in Newport, Kentucky. He was a United States Army officer who invented the Thompson submachine gun.
The M3A1 was a submachine gun used in 10 different wars, including World War II. It was in service from 1943 - 1992.
Samuel Colt was born on July 18, 1814 in Hartford, Connecticut. He died at the age of 47 in 1862.
The Model 50 Reising was designed by Eugene Reising in 1940. It was manufactured by Harrington & Richardson located in Worcester, Massachusetts from 1941 - 1945.
The United Defense M42 was an American submachine gun in World War II. It was produced from 1942 to 1943 by United Defense Supply Corp.
Designed by John Browning in 1917, the Browning M1918A2 was produced between 1917 - 1945 by eight different manufacturers.
The Lewis Gun was a First World War-era light machine gun of US design that was perfected and mass-produced in the United Kingdom. It was in service from 1914 - 1953, including time in the Second World War.
The Browning M1917A1 Heavy Machine Gun was designed by John M. Browning in 1917. There were 128,369 built and each weighed 103 pounds!
The M1 mortar is an American 81 millimeter mortar. It was used from World War II until the 1950s when it was replaced by the lighter and longer-ranged M29 mortar.
The Ka-Bar is the contemporary popular name for the combat knife first adopted by the United States Marine Corps in November 1942 as the 1219C2 combat knife. It was designed in 1942 and is still produced today.
The Model of 1905 bayonet was made for the U.S. M1903 Springfield rifle. It first appeared in service in 1905 and still exists today!
John M. Browning was born in Ogden, Utah in 1855. He was a gunsmith and founder of Browning Arms Company which still operates today in Morgan, Utah.
The M1941 Johnson Machine Gun was also known as the Johnson or the Johnny gun. It was designed by Melvin Johnson in 1940 and about 9,500 were produced.
Samuel Colt was a recipient of the Telford Medal - a prize awarded by the British Institution of Civil Engineers for a paper or series of paper. He won the Silver Telford Medal.
The M1D Garand was designed by John C. Garand in 1928. It has been in service around the world since 1936.
The Lee–Enfield is a bolt-action, magazine-fed, repeating rifle that was the main firearm used by the military forces of the British Empire and Commonwealth during the first half of the 20th century, including World War II. It was designed by James Paris Lee, RSAF Enfield.
The Springfield Armory was located in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts, and was the primary center for the manufacture of United States military firearms from 1777 until its closing in 1968. The site is now preserved as the Springfield Armory National Historic Site.
The Winchester Repeating Arms Company was a prominent American maker of repeating firearms. It was founded in 1866 by Oliver Winchester and is still located in New Haven, Connecticut.
The Winchester Model 1897 is also known as the Model 97, M97, or Trench Gun. It first went in service in 1897 and is used today still by the US Army, Navy and Marines.
The Browning Automatic 5 is a recoil-operated semi-automatic shotgun designed by John Browning in 1989. It was in production until 1998!
The US Army bought over 80,000 Winchester Model 12s during WWII.
The Remington 31 was a shotgun designed by C.C. Loomis and John Pederson in 1931. It was manufactured by Remington Arms between 1931 - 1949.
The Ithaca 37 is a pump-action shotgun made in large numbers for the civilian, military and police markets. It was designed in 1933 and is still produced to this day by Ithaca Gun Company.
The "Bazooka" is the common name for a man-portable recoil-less anti-tank rocket launcher weapon, widely fielded by the United States Army. It was designed by Edward Uhl in 1942.
The Boys Anti-tank Rifle was a British rifle in use during the Second World War. It was often nicknamed the "elephant gun" by its users due to its size and large bore.
The M2 flamethrower was an American man-portable backpack flamethrower that was used in World War II, as well as the Korean War and the Vietnam War. It was designed by the US Army Chemical Warfare Service in 1940.
The M18 recoil-less rifle was a 57 mm shoulder-fired anti-tank recoil-less rifle used by the U.S. Army in World War II and the Korean War. It was designed by Kroger and Musser in 1942.
The Winchester Model 70 is a bolt-action sporting rifle. It was originally manufactured by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company between 1936 and 1980.
The word "grenade" is likely derived from Old French pomegranate and influenced by Spanish "granada", as the fragmenting bomb is reminiscent of the many-seeded fruit. Its first use in English dates from the 1590s.
The name "Molotov cocktail" was coined by the Finns. The name was an insulting reference to Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov.
The M1917 bayonet was designed to be used with the US M1917 Enfield .30 caliber rifle, as well as with the seven different U.S. trench shotguns. It was used by the United States and the United Kingdom during World War I, Banana Wars, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War.
A bayonet is defined as a bladed weapon similar to a knife or short sword, or spike-shaped weapon designed to fit in, on, over or underneath the muzzle of a rifle, or similar firearm.
The Mark I trench knife was an American trench knife designed by officers of the American Expeditionary Force. It had a 6.75 in. double-edged dagger blade.
The M3 fighting knife was an American military combat knife first issued in March 1943. There were approximately 2.5 million knives produced between 1943 - 1944!
John Browning is remembered mostly for his significant contributions to the area of autoloading firearms. He developed the first autoloading pistols that were both reliable and compact by inventing the telescoping bolt, integrating the bolt and barrel shroud into what is known as the pistol slide.
The V-42 stiletto was a stiletto and fighting knife issued during World War II to the First Special Service Force. This special force was a joint Canadian/American commando unit.
The Stevens M520-30 and M620 were developed by John Browning. They were a pump-action shotgun used in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
The Thompson Light Rifle was an attempt by the Auto-Ordnance Company to manufacture a light rifle for the United States Armed Forces. It was found to work well, but due to the war effort it proved too expensive for mass production and its weight defied the concept of a Light Rifle.