Scattered Shots 5-27-2020


It’s gonna be a light posting day unless some major stuff comes to my attention. Trying to cover the JC Penny Super Sale last night in Minnesota took up a lot of time I would have spent prepping content for your amusement today. Here are some interesting photos I had collected for other posts that I ended up not using.

That out of the way, what do you guys want me to talk about this week? Anything in particular?

Above is some US personnel putting ot use a captured Japanese heavy machine gun. This was the Japanese equivalent to the US M2.

Colt made BAR.


  1. That Japanese MG piqued my interest. I don’t remember that sucker being in my resources for the IJA as a single-mount gun in a ground role analogous to our M2HB, so I went looking.

    It is, I think, a Type 93. This was a licensed copy from the Hotchkiss M1929 13mm MG, and the license was for the Imperial Japanese Navy. They used it in single mounts, dual mounts, and quad mounts. The IJA did buy it and deploy it in the dual-mount configuration in the AA role, but I’ll be damned if I can find anywhere they had single-mounts for anything.

    More than likely, this is something we captured from an IJN shore installation, or one of the instances where they were converted to involuntary shore duty somewhere.

    I don’t think the IJA ever had anything like the M2HB in service in roles that we had it for. They filled those with AT rifles and other things, using guns in that capability category almost solely in AA roles.

    Could be wrong–It has been years since I did the IJA in depth, and my memory may be fading.

    • Come to think of it, why .50?

      To my Dunning-Kruger-ridden eye the M2 and other weapons like it sit awkwardly between .30 caliber MGs and proper autocannons with neither the benefits of the former (portability, volume of fire) nor the latter (armor penetration, explosive payload).

      A snide idea has been forming in my mind that it stuck around because it’s the biggest thing that can be free gunned without t&e for that Rambo feeling. Or is it simply an issue of technical debt – “we had the design done after WW1 and it works well enough so when the fire started under our asses in ’41 we made a shitload of them, then after WW2 we had made so many we might as well keep the fleet going”?

      • Goes back to the fact that the .50 was basically the Army’s primary AT system in the post-WWI era, got shanghaied into being the AA system, and just hung around ever after.

        Browning copied the German 13mm TuF round, more-or-less, it worked, and we’ve had it ever since. The .50 is why the US didn’t have significant AT rifles–Everyone else was doing these little single-shot or box-magazine fed things, and we said “Screw that, give us full auto and belt feed…”. You look at it, and the weight differential for what you get in terms of effect downrange is pretty good. Maybe not as portable, but it worked. The .50 was the TOW of the 1920s and 1930s.

        There’s also the fact that it’s about the biggest you can go without leaving man-portable behind. While it might have made more sense to go to 20mm, where you can do explosive loads and fuses, the .50 was “…just good enough…” to make keeping it sensible. Installed base, and all that.

        If I remember, there’s also something about the ammo production–You can make more .50 projectiles faster than you can make an equivalent 20mm, because the shell bodies on a 20 have to be machined, while you can swage or draw a .50 projectile like a rifle bullet.


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