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Japanese SMGs

Discussions on all aspects of the Japanese Empire, from the capture of Taiwan until the end of the Second World War.
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Re: Japanese SMGs

Postby Sewer King on 29 Oct 2009 05:22

Peter H wrote:Poster unknown
Image

This man carries a Austrian Steyr-Solothurn 7.63mm submachine gun MP 34 (but Swiss-made by Solothurn?), one of the more rare early Japanese SMGs. The ammunition is Mauser, but was better-known in 9mm for its Austrian users and later German ones too.

Smith and Smith state that a very small number of MP 34 were purchased by Japan. Although apparently not widely noted, this photo looks like one of them here. Some MP 34 were reportedly sold to China as well, also in 7.63mm Mauser.

Interestingly, and though unclear, the side-mounted knife bayonet may also be Austrian. It looks like the Bajonett Modell 1895 made for the Austro-Hungarian Army's rifles of the time. If so, the Japanese would have bought it with the weapon. Unfortunately, we can't see if the leather ammunition pouches were also used.

Among the common literature, I haven't yet found how all the import Japanese SMGs were marked.

=============================

Thanks Peter, I've long wondered about the origin of the Type II submachine gun. I had never before heard that it was a Nambu design.

That author alleges that a version of Type II saw some Navy SNLF use at Shanghai after its rejection by the Army. But Taki's history states rather the converse, that the Army was convinced of SMGs after the Bergmann's successful Navy use at Shanghai. Smith and Smith describe the Type II as a developmental weapon seen only postwar, at least by the Allies, (pages 505-506):

Image
Prototype development continued during the war and the 8mm Type II was discovered by United States personnel in Japan after the war was over. The 8mm Type II was a step in the right direction as far as weight and length were concerned. It also had one unusual feature which was borrowed from the Finnish Suomi, an airlock-type buffer arrangement which can be used to regulate the cyclic rate [of firing].

Image
A special air lock is provided [for this] at the rear of the receiver. As the bolt is blown back it is secured to an extension arm on the piston of the air lock. An escape valve can be set to allow the air compressed within the lock to escape at different rates. By thus speeding up or slowing down the travel rate of the bolt, the cyclic rate of fire can be increased or decreased.


The gun above is yet a third model apart from the ones in the new book.

In manufacture alone, the Type II does seem closer to the British Sten and Soviet PPSh submachine guns.

The wooden gunstock would have been more elaborate and time-consuming to make than is found on most second-generation guns. Its thin pistol grip also looks likely to break in hard service, especially around the trigger hole, but that would not be a high design priority in hurried wartime manufacture for a limited service life.

Why would this gun have been developed at all (or continued in development), with no especial advantage over other SMGs already in Japanese service or development? Would it at least have been easier to manufacture?

    The urgency of war sometimes overrode national pride, so that:

      the British copied the German MP 28 submachine gun (at the start of the war),
      the Germans copied the British Sten (at the end of the war),
      the British and Americans copied the German “Jerry can” for gasoline,
      the German Army adapted the American bazooka (in larger caliber),
      German U-boat men adapted British battle dress-type uniforms (after wearing captured originals),
      Spain copied and adapted from a variety of both Allied and German small arms.

    More to the point -- the Japanese Navy developed its own version of the American M1 rifle, though too late for any real use. And if the Type II copied a Finnish SMG feature, presumably it came via the Germans. So why would the Army not have made more and sooner progress with the simpler matter of submachine guns, well before the war turned against Japan?

Note also the different shape and better wood finish of this closer-up Type II “Model B''s” gunstock below (of which the authors below mention report that less than 50 were made), compared to the one above:

Image
(Nakata and Nelson's Imperial Japanese Army and Navy Uniforms and Equipment 2nd edition (Hong Kong: Chesa Publishing Ltd, 1987), page 19)

Interestingly, the Type II seems to have no provision for the long Japanese bayonet as did other Japanese SMGs and LMGs. But it might well have been awkward to aim and fire with a bayonet fixed.

Still more unusual is the recent author's report that the Type II could be mounted (but on what?). How many other submachine guns besides the early Italian Villar-Perosa were designed to be used this way?

====================================

Smith and Smith report one last strange twist to this weapon. They believe that it was the basis for the Nationalist Chinese SMG shown below –- chambered for American .45-caliber ammunition (Chinese 11mm).

Image
(Small Arms of the World 9th edition, page 513)

Is this likely? The Nationalists had large numbers of the battle-proven 1928 Thompson, M3, and M3A1 submachine guns. They could likely have gotten more if wanted. Moreover, they themselves made direct copies of all three guns and kept them in service for decades.

It is not impossible, but why would the Nationalists go to the trouble at all of adapting a gun as uncommon as the Type II, however small the extent? Chambering it for American .45 ammunition means scaling up the original design. Also, it does not much resemble any of the models seen here at least.

-- Alan
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Re: Japanese SMGs

Postby Peter H on 30 Oct 2009 23:21

Still more unusual is the recent author's report that the Type II could be mounted (but on what?).


A bipod?Seems a common addition.

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Re: Japanese SMGs

Postby Peter H on 31 Oct 2009 10:02

From Time-Life.

Is this a Type 100?
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Re: Japanese SMGs

Postby Juha Tompuri on 28 Nov 2009 21:17

The Japanese type 100 paratrooper’s submachine gun, early hinged version.

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http://www.lonesentry.com/ordnance/8-mm ... -1940.html
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Re: Japanese SMGs

Postby Sewer King on 29 Nov 2009 18:42

Peter H wrote:
Sewer King wrote:Still more unusual is the recent author's report that the Type II could be mounted (but on what?)
A bipod?Seems a common addition.

I think you might be right, since there does seem to be a pin for it in the fitting under the Type II's muzzle.

The only other contemporary bipod SMG of note might be the Czech 9mm ZK 383. Gun features sometimes reflect tactics for which they were designed, at least at first, so I wonder what those had been for both these Czech and Japanese SMGs.

=============================

This close-up of the Japanese Bergmann, and the one cited earlier among posing SNLF troops, show the double-banded bayonet attachment for these guns. But other photos we have seen don't show them, implying that the attachments were removable.

I would have expected that although fitted to SMGs in action, the bayonets would have been more trouble than help. Both photos linked here show them as making the guns muzzle-heavy, while this one of SNLF (possibly at Hainan Island, 1939) shows how it is to stand at order arms with such a short barrel and long blade.

=============================

Juha Tompuri wrote:The Japanese type 100 paratrooper’s submachine gun, early hinged version.

Does anyone know the origin of these photos of Japanese paratrooper uniform and jump equipment? I seem to remember reading that they were modeled by American Nisei troops. If true I can't see how, where, or when the Americans would have gotten such a complete uniform and kit. If after the war there would have been little official need for enemy uniform illustration.

Sewer King wrote:
Smith and Smith wrote:[The developmental Type II SMG] also had one unusual feature which was borrowed from the Finnish Suomi, an airlock-type buffer arrangement which can be used to regulate the cyclic rate [of firing].
... And if the Type II copied a Finnish SMG feature, presumably it came via the Germans.


If one has a submachine gun question, it might be a good idea to ask a Finn :D But I do wonder about the implication that a Suomi feature was built into a Japanese gun -- if so, how would it have gotten there from around the world?

    I realize that small-arms mechanical design is not as high-technology as jet engines, radar, and chemical synthesis. Sample guns can easily be shipped, disassembled, broken down into design drawings, and studied in great detail. Military attaches often concern themselves with a variety of information of this kind. But in this gun's case the distance, time, and other circumstance would seem to make it less likely.

    Did Finland keep open diplomatic channels to Japan through the war? Could these connections have been routed through Germany?

    Did Japan have any few observers or agents in Finland during the Winter War?

Unless patented, the airlock buffer of an obscure developmental gun is no great matter in itself. Nor does this feature have to be unique to the Suomi alone, but we don't have design drawings or study of the Japanese Type II for any direct comparison to that gun.

-- Alan
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Re: Japanese SMGs

Postby Sewer King on 28 Apr 2010 02:40

To date, we have seen many photos of Japanese MP 18 submachine guns -– many more than some might expect. However, it could simply be that there were many pictures of the action at Shanghai. Might these have made the relative small number of MP 18s in service seem more numerous than they were?

The ammunition pouches for MP 18 are not apparent in the photos. Would a typical load of six magazines (as in German practice) be carried in the haversack seen here? If not there, how did the gunner carry them?

    One of the original German Army arrangements from late in World War I included small ammunition handcarts to replenish the submachine gunners.

I have wondered slightly in the "Small Arms" forum section how Japanese MP 34s were marked, and now the same about MP 18. There are a great very many small-arms experts and collectors there, but relatively less discussion of Imperial Japanese small arms. No one answered, probably because no one knew.

    Isn't it likely that either weapon is very rare today -- if any at all remain -- and that would be why almost no one knows?

===============================

From the "China incident" photo thread:

Peter H wrote:Under cover

Image
Surely this sailor would not blind-fire his SMG from the parapet like this? Suppressive fire might not need clear sight of the enemy, but he does not seem to have a good grip on the weapon. Maybe it is posed, then.

Is he also carrying a pistol holster at his back? Again, no SMG ammunition pouches can be seen.

-- Alan
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Re: Japanese SMGs

Postby Peter H on 30 Apr 2010 11:12

Type 100 being test fired,US Army trial

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Re: Japanese SMGs

Postby Peter H on 30 Apr 2010 11:40

SNLF 1938.

One with SMG
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Re: Japanese SMGs

Postby nebelwerferXXX on 22 Aug 2010 10:30

1940-44 Total Production:
20,000 Type 100 sub-machine guns
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Re: Japanese SMGs

Postby Akira Takizawa on 23 Aug 2010 05:50

As Western information is inaccurate, I write the history of Japanese SMG.

In 1927, IJA developed SMG. It was ordered to Tokyo Arsenal and tested by IJA. However, it was inferior to Western SMGs and broke during the test. In 1930, the second trial was made and tested. But, it was also rejected by IJA.

Exp SMG.jpg


In 1935, IJA developed SMG again. Model 1 was made in 1936 and Model 2 was done in 1937. Model 2 was first 6.5mm caliber, but later revised to 8mm.

Model 1
Caliber : 8 mm
Barrel Length : 230 mm
Length : 690 mm
Weight : 3.2 kg
Muzzle Velocity : 340 m/sec
Rate of Fire : 300 or 600 rounds/min

The certain photo of Model 1 is not known.

Model 2
Image
Caliber : 8 mm
Barrel Length : 230 mm
Length : 700 mm
Weight : 3.8 kg
Muzzle Velocity : -
Rate of Fire : 400 or 625 rounds/min

This SMG is called Type 2 or Type II in the West. But, it is a mistake. Experimental SMG Model 2 is a correct designation.
It is not true that it was used by IJN in China.

After the test of them, Model 1 was selected and Model 3 was developed from it. Model 3 became prototype of Type 100 SMG.

Taki
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Re: Japanese SMGs

Postby Peter H on 24 Aug 2010 23:07

Thanks Taki,good to get some proper insights into SMG development.

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Re: Japanese SMGs

Postby cstunts on 24 Aug 2010 23:34

Takizawa-sensei,

Would there be any way IJN personnel would have SMGs aboard their ships early in the war? I've seen fairly complete lists of small arms on cruisers at the outbreak of Dai Toa Senso, for example, that did NOT show any SMGs, so I am skeptical.

My guess is that it might have been more likely that SNLF (Tokubetsu Rikusentai) being transported by IJN warships might have had SMGs.

What do you think?

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Re: Japanese SMGs

Postby Akira Takizawa on 25 Aug 2010 00:32

In the early period of the Pacific War, only Bergmann SMG was available. It was imported weapon and not many were imported. They were deployed at limited units like Shanghai SNLF.

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Re: Japanese SMGs

Postby Luftflotte2 on 17 Nov 2010 01:20

"The certain photo of Model 1 is not known"---Taki
Are you sure? Would this be the Model 1, if not what is it?
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Re: Japanese SMGs

Postby Akira Takizawa on 17 Nov 2010 04:15

Luftflotte2 wrote:Are you sure? Would this be the Model 1, if not what is it?

It seems Model 1. On the stock, "試一型" is painted. It would mean Experimental Model 1. Who owns this gun?

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