There has never been a war as bloody or on the same scale as World War II in human history. Part of the reason for the overwhelming casualties of the war, which some have calculated to have been over 70 million dead, was because of the modernized weapons that were put to use for the first time.
Here are the most famous World War II weapons, Sgt. Gunner lists them, you rank them!
The greatest implement of battle ever devised, according to General George S. Patton, the M1 Garand was the standard issue infantry rifle of the United States during World War II. It was unique due to its semi-automatic capabilities and eight round magazine, in contrast to the typical 5 shot bolt actions of other military rifles. The main downfall to the M1 was the distinctive ping that it made signaling it was empty.
The Colt 1911 pistol in .45 ACP served as the primary sidearm of the United States military throughout the war. It was often colloquially referred to as the Colt .45. The pistol had a seven round magazine capacity and an excellent single action only trigger. It remains enormously popular to this day in a number of different configurations and brands.
The BAR, Browning Automatic Rifle, was a machine gun used as a light support weapon or even as an assault rifle by some troops who removed the bipod. The BAR fired 20 rounds of the .30-06 caliber, which was the same round used in the M1 Garand. The BAR was critical in the Pacific Theater, where the heavier round could punch through the thick brush.
The Thompson M1A1 served as the primary sub-machine gun for the United States army for most of the war. The M1A1 was a development of the previous M1 and M1928 Thompsons, but featured improvements such as a charging handle on the side and a simplified production process. Standard capacity was either 20 or 30 round depending on the size of the magazine. The TMS was a very heavy weapon, but also had a very high rate of fire and proved to be highly useful in intense firefights. The British and the Commonwealth nations were also issued them as well.
The STG44 was the world’s first true assault rifle, being developed and issued towards the end of the war. The STG44 had both semi-automatic and fully automatic firing capabilities, and fired an intermediate round. It was basically designed to replace both the submachine gun and the bolt action rifle by offering the best of both worlds. While the STG44 was intended to become the standard new German infantry rifle, only around a half million were built, so it never truly replaced the Mauser 98k. However, had the war gone on longer, it’s certainly possible that it could have.
The MP40 was the standard issue submachine gun of the Germany Army during World War II. It held 32 rounds of 9mm in the magazine, and was a development of the earlier MP38 submachine gun. The MP40 was distinctive for its look, as well as its slower and more controlled rate of fire in contrast to other submachine guns of the era such as the Thompson or the PPSH.
The submachine gun with the fastest firing rate during the war was the PPSH, used by the Soviet Union. The weapon held either 71 rounds in a drum or 35 rounds in a detachable box magazine. The 71 round drum magazine was more widely used, and a typical Soviet soldier would be issued two of them at once. It was also not uncommon for entire Soviet platoons to be issued with the weapon to increase their firepower.
The Lee Enfield rifle was the standard bolt action rifle of the British during World War II, and was also extensively used by the Commonwealth nations. The big advantage of the Lee Enfield over the other bolt action rifles of the era was the fact that it held a total of ten rounds in the magazine, in contrast to five rounds of most other rifles.
The Browning Hi-Power was widely used by both sides throughout the war, and eventually phased out the Webley revolver as the primary service handgun of the British Army. The Hi-Power was so widely accepted because of the fact that it had a 13 shot magazine, which was a very high round count for a pistol at the time. It also had a smooth and light single action trigger.
The Mosin Nagant was the standard issue rifle of the Soviet Union during the war. It was very cheap to build, and also very durable and well built. It held and fired 5 rounds of the 7.62x54r round, which was very similar to the .30-06 of the United States. The Mosin Nagant was a very large rifle, but was also available in shorter configurations in the form of the M38 and the M44.
The Sten gun was the standard issue submachine gun of the British during World War II, and was also widely used by partisans behind enemy lines as well. The Sten gun is noted for its cheap and efficient build quality, and the fact that the magazine sticks out of the left hand side of the weapon rather than underneath it. It held 32 rounds of 9mm in the magazine.
The Walther P38 was the standard sidearm of the German Army during World War II, although they used plenty of other handguns as well. The P38 utilized an innovative double action single action trigger system, with a design that is replicated by the Beretta 92 and Taurus 92 pistols of today. It had an eight shot magazine and remained in German Army service until 2004.
The Walther PPK is one of the most famous pistols ever produced, thanks to the fact that it was the selected sidearm of fictional action hero James Bond 007. But the PPK was also used as a sidearm for German officers in World War II, and was also the selected sidearm of Adolf Hitler, who used one in .32 ACP to commit suicide with. The PPK and its cousin the PP were the first successful double action single action autos in the world.
The Arisaka was the standard Japanese rifle of the war. The rifle was often brought home by American soldiers as trophies. While initially noted for their durability, as the war went on and Japan was forced to hasten their manufacturing processes, the quality of the Arisaka suffered greatly. It fired the 7.7x58mm round, and held five shots.