Secret Mission: How the Germans Brought Hollow-Charge Technology to Japan

ABOVE: The seaman’s book of Colonel Niemöller. He travelled to Yokohama aboard the blockade runner “Tannenfels” and covered as a paymaster.

In the course of World War II the German Reich supported its allies with weapons, ammunition and equipment of various types. Most of these weapons were put into service unchanged or with only slight modifications. Among these, there were also a total of 70,879 complete sets of Gewehrgranatgeräte (rifle grenade launchers). It cannot be established exactly to which countries these launchers had been delivered, but three allies–Finland, Italy and Japan– not only issued them to their troops, they even copied them.

At the time of Japan’s attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, the bolt-action rifle Arisaka Meiji 38 in caliber 6.5mm (introduced in 1905) was the standard weapon of the Japanese infantrymen. But it was already hopelessly out of date, and the ammunition no longer met the requirements. A lot of experimental work was done with various calibers and types of ammunition, and the result of this research, the bolt-action rifle M.99 in caliber 7.7mm, was officially introduced in 1939.

The cluster bomb, developed on the basis of the hollow-charge anti-tank rifle grenade, was dropped from containers with a capacity of 30 respectively 72 bombs.

In the same year a rifle grenade cup launcher called “Type 100” was adopted by the Army. Depending on the weapon, high-explosive grenades could be fired at distances between 75m and 100m. To avoid the introduction of a special propelling cartridge, the Japanese were looking for a way to launch grenades by use of standard combat cartridges. Thus, the model 100 was made of a kind of barrel extension with an overlying launcher cup. As soon as the bullet passes a gas port in the barrel extension, the gas …read more

Read more here:: Small Arms Defense Journal (Land)

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