Bad-ass blunderbuss

Some photos can be puzzling. I looked at it and thought “What the hell is that?” Well, for starters, it isn’t a blunderbuss, but a Canon d’Infanterie de 37 modèle 1916 TRP. The flared muzzle is a flash suppressor on the rapid-firing 37 mm infantry support gun. Originally a French weapon, it was used by the US Army in World War 1 as well as some other nations, and saw use by both the French and the Germans during WW2. At a weight of 108 kilos, it wasn’t that mobile. It was crewed by two soldiers, gunner and loader. When loaded on a limber, it could be pulled by a horse. Anyway, one of the more obscure weapons, which was identified by the knowledgeable Mr Yan Taylor on Axis History Forum.

 

 

Spoils of war

A big pile of captured French firearms and other equipment has been collected in the back of a truck. Jumbled together are Lebel and Berthier rifles, M1886 bayonets, ammunition pouches and an Adrian helmet. The German practice of using captured weapons, Beutewaffen, was extended to French weapons, too. Some of the rifles were issued to occupation troops in France, others to anti-partisan and security units in Eastern Europe. In a stroke of irony, some were even used in the defense of Berlin in 1945.

Upgunned

A rather poor but interesting photo of some German infantrymen who have improved the firepower of their squad. Dragging three captured Maxim PM M1910 machineguns past a knocked-out Soviet tank, it’s a question for how long they’ll want to schlep the 64-kilo weapons. The wheeled carriage helps, but it seems to be a hot day, as most of the soldiers wear the off-white Drillich linen work pants instead of the fieldgrey woolen pants. Still, the MGs will come in handy if they run into some Red Army opposition. As long as they have ammo, their squad will be fine. Their rifles appear to be longer than the standard Karabiner 98 kurz; it’s as if they are armed with the older Gewehr 98. This was used by second-line units until issued Kar98k.

ETA: My friend Daniel Löwenhamn pointed out that the tunics are the olive green Drillich tunics used for the work uniform. Later, the work uniform was changed to a reed green color and used as a summer uniform.

Got milk?

Nothing like a bucket of fresh milk, even if it’s from a Soviet cowmunist… German signals troops supplementing their food and arsenal, Eastern Front, 1941. The soldier on the left holds a Soviet SVT-40 semi-automatic rifle, while the guy on the right carries a Mosin-Nagant M1891/30 bolt-action rifle, which was the standard rifle of the Red Army. The SVT-40 was supposed to replace it, but the huge losses in weapons in 1941 prompted production of the simpler Mosin-Nagant. Besides, the SVT-40 suffered from precision issues, both in manufacture and shooting. Still, some German soldiers liked the ten-round magazine, which held twice the amount of rounds compared to the Mauser Kar98k.

The Mosin-Nagant was a typical bolt-action rifle, with no special traits that would make German soldiers want to use it instead of their Mausers. The PPsH-41 submachinegun, on the other hand, found favour with German troops with its 71-round drum magazine. Ironically, Soviet reconnaisance troops liked the German MP-40 because how how well manufactured it was. As in all times and armies, the grass is always greener on the other side…