The United States entered World War 2 in response to a sneak Japanese aerial attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7th, 1941. This war changed the face of international diplomacy and policy forever. In this post, I want to highlight some of the unique historical weaponry utilized during the war on both sides, the Allied Powers and the Axis Powers. They start out as mild as weapons can get and end up…well, going nuclear…literally.
I could write a very lengthy post about the weapons. You’ve got thousands, seriously. From land weapons to aircraft to navy and everything in between. From pistols to rifles to sub machine guns to hand grenades to flame throwers to V2 rockets to anti-aircraft guns to tanks to mines to bombers to fighters to paratroopers to aircraft carriers to submarines to small boats to PT boats to amphibians to nuclear warheads, there’s obviously a huge amount to be talked about. Today, I just want to focus on four of the most important ones across these categories:
The Thompson Sub-Machine Gun
Also called the Tommy gun, this is a wildly recognizable weapon. You probably associate it with gansters and bank robbers like Al Capone and John Dillinger of the Prohibition era. But, it was also used by American and Australian soldiers during the war. It was favored for its large .45 ACP cartridge, high volume of automatic fire and general accuracy. Collectors seek this gun out ravenously.
The V-2 Rocket
This missle was developed in WW2 in Germany to be used against Allied cities in Britain for retaliation against bombing of German strongholds. After the Nazis were defeated in 1945, engineers migrated from Germany to work for the USA and the USSR. They continued improving on the base model of the V-2rocket, launching—no pun intended—the foundation for the Saturn V rocket used in the Apollo missions.
The Japanese Midget-Torpedo Submarine
The HA. 19 was the submarine used by the Japanese in the attack on Pearl Harbor. The very battle that spawned our involvement in this deadly war. American warships in the Harbor were attacked with torpedos from the midget sub, with scuttling right next to these giant warships. This particular submarine below did not enter the Harbor, but she was grounded and captured.
The Hydrogen Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima & Nagasaki (The Little Boy & The Fat Man)
Last, but oh, certainly not least are the two bombs that killed nearly 220,000 people, a record for any weapon used ever before in history. History has not seen the equivalent of this type of gross violence since. These two weapons remain to be the only nuclear weapons ever used in warfare—EVER. I plan on writing another post later that delves into these two bombs in much more detail. I want us to consider the decision made by the US military to detonate these weapons…how far is too far? How much killing is okay in the name of our great country? Something to think about. Until next time…