Supremacy of American FirearmsGun Library ArticleWorld War II


World War II and the Supremacy of American Firearms

The Second World War had meant a lot for everyone. Countries fought for diverse reasons and they all tried to prove their supremacy when it came to the firearms they used. The United States had an entire arsenal of firearms, designed and manufactured by ingenious men and managed to overpower other countries. Important personalities like John Browning, General Thompson or Oliver Winchester have brought their own personal contribution to the war, designing handguns, submachine guns or rifles.

John Browning was mainly responsible for supplying the United States with some of the best handguns that were ever made. The Browning Hi-Power was an innovative semi-automatic pistol, based on the single-action mechanism and was chambered for a 9 mm caliber. It was first patented in 1922 by Browning himself and then carried own for production in Belgium. After four years, sadly, John Browning died and the production of the Browning Hi-Power was taken over by another firearms designer, this time a Belgian. There were certain characteristics that impressed about the Browning Hi-Power, including the 13 round magazine capacity, the double-column magazine and the incredible firepower it offered. The two original models were constantly redefined and improved, even though they kept on operating the short-recoil system. As for the use during the war, the firearm was used the United States, Canada and other allied forces. They all appreciated the locked-breech, semi-automatic, single-action pistol.

And as Winchester Repeating Arms Company was a company completely dedicated to the firearm production, the 70 model didn’t come as an actual surprise. From all the guns manufactured by this company, this one has the longest and richest history. It has managed to exist up to the year of 2006 ever since its first appearance on the American market in 1936. Nicknamed the ‘Rifleman’s Rifle’, the 70 model had undergone various changes and improvements throughout time, always adapting to demands of its customers. The original model could chamber a wide variety of cartridges, including the .22-.250 Remington, the 225 Winchester, the 7 mm Mauser and of course the .300 Winchester Magnums.

Another handgun that was extensively used during the World War II was the 1911 model from Colt. It was a single-action, semi-automatic handgun designed by the same John Browning and quickly became a standard for the American armed forces. Using the same short-recoil system, the firearm became one of the most popular designs bearing the name of John Browning and had undergone major changes throughout time. After replacing the revolvers that were back then in use, the M1911 started to be widely adopted by the Armed Forces, entering many battlefields and leading the way for international manufacturing. During the WWII, the firearm was used by German forces as well, who captured them from American soldiers. After the war, the M1911 maintained its popularity but it was soon replaced with new and improved models. It remains in use up to this day, especially by those who enjoy taking part in sporting shooting competitions.

The Second World War meant a serious increase when it came to the number and power of firearms used. The 1917 Revolver was introduced to supplement the activity of the already famous M1911, two manufactures being personally asked to enter production: Colt and Smith & Wesson. The Army adopted it and the revolver was extensively used during the war, being chambered for the powerful 45 ACP cartridge. The model manufactured by Colt resembled in many ways a previous revolver, the M1909 having only slight modifications. First used in the WWI, the firearms continued to stay in use during the WWII and also in the Vietnamese war.

In 1942, the United States came out on the market with a new pistol called the FP-45 Liberator. It was a single-shot pistol and started to be mass-produced as quickly as possible. The most interesting part was the unrifled barrel and the firearm was particularly adapted for the 45 caliber. The unrifled barrel allowed only for a short efficient range, of maximum 8 meters. The firearm was especially prized for the psychological effect it had but also for the incredible performance. It was used by resistance forces, including the Chinese but never got to be released for American troops. The Liberator was replaced in 1964 and started to be offered for use in the Vietnamese War.

The Second World War saw the extensive use of not only handguns but also of submachine guns. The Tommy gun (designed by General Thompson himself) is perhaps one of the most popular and representative examples, being increasingly used with the incredible automatic fire and powerful 45 ACP cartridge. Another submachine gun that used the same cartridge and was widely used during the WWII was the M3 submachine gun. It replaced the Tommy gun, being one of the best automatic blowback operated firearms. The gun had a removable magazine and also a detachable rifled barrel. There were many variants of the M3, including the modern M3A1 with new and innovative features.

Rifles were standard firearms during the WWII and the M1 Carbine (30 caliber) was by far one of the most popular. The semi-automatic rifle was easy to carry and had a great deal of interesting features. It was not only used during the Second World War but also in the Vietnam War. Certain versions had the capacity of fully-automatic fire and the latest models are equipped with infrared scope systems. The 1903 model from Springfield was another rifle used in the war. It was chambered for a 30 caliber and it operated on a bolt-action mechanism. It didn’t take too long for it to be replaced by the modern semi-automatic M1 from Garand. However that may be the case, the Springfield ’03 was greatly used during both World Wars and also in the Korean War. As for the M1 Garand, it was chambered to use the same 30 caliber but it had a faster firing capacity.

Winchester remained as a famous name associated with the history of American firearms during warfare periods. The 1897 Winchester model was a pump-action shotgun that had an external hammer and also a tubular magazine. The gun had various advantages and was used in both World Wars. As for the 1912 Winchester, it was also a pump-action shotgun but it had certain improvements versus the previous model mentioned. It was chambered for various gauges, including the 20, 12 and 16. The firearm was used by the military forces during WW I and II, Vietnamese and Korean War. During the Second World War, the M1912 was purchased in large quantities (up to 80.000 numbers) and were widely employed by the Marines, Aircraft Forces and also by the Navy.

The contribution of John Browning was also highlighted by the extensive use of his machine guns during the war. The Browning automatic rifle included more automatic rifles that were extensively utilized during the Second World War, chambered for the 30-06 Springfield cartridge. From all the firearms designed by John Browning, the M1919 was widely used, during the World War II and also in the Korean War. The M2 machine gun was also preferred during the war, due to its being heavy and especially preferred by the infantry. As for the Browning 50 machine gun, it was one of the most utilized heavy machine guns during the World Wars, the Vietnam War and the Korean War. It is still being used by diverse NATO countries and resembled very much the M1919 model from John Browning.

It was an early 1876 model and he was quite proud of it, considering it both powerful and durable. With the 1912 model, Winchester started to implement the hammerless slide mechanism providing an extremely advanced pump-action shotgun. The manufacturers and gun designers working for the company were always looking to come up with revolutionary designs; they managed to do that and even more. They brought the Winchester name to the highest levels of success and ensured the company’s financial prosperity.

The Second World War was considered to be one of the most lethal human conflicts. The extensive use of firearms increased the number of deaths but as the same time helped to the saving of many other lives. During the war, the firearm production increased to unexpected levels and many discoveries were made. The United States not only got out of the war being regarded as a superpower but they also demonstrated their supremacy when it came to the production and design of revolutionary firearms.