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Korean War Infantry Weapons: Descriptions and significance

Field Manual; WWII Rifle Company

TM 2043-0001-27: Ammo Data Sheets for Small Arms

WWII Small Arms: Technical Manual

TM 23-35: Combat Training: Pistols & Revolvers

U. S. Marine Corps Guidebook, 1951

Enemy Weapons of 1951: Photos and Specifications

Tanks and Fighting Vehicles

US Infantry weapons in Iraq: A critique


.357 Magnum Revolver

.38 Caliber Revolver

Browning 9mm FN GP35

Browning 9mm FN GP35 w/stock

Japanese Pistols

M1911A1 .45 Caliber Pistol

Mauser C96 9mm Parabellum, 1915

Mauser C96 7.63mm Broomhandle

Nagant 7.62 mm Model 1895 Revolver

Pistol Type 51 - Tokarev Tula 33


Belgian FN-49

M1903A1/Unertl Sniper Combination

M1 Garand

M1C sniper rifle

M1 - M3 Carbines

Model 1903 Springfield

Japanese 7.7mm WWII Model 99 rifle

Lee-Enfield .303 British Rifle

Mosin Nagant Model 1944 Carbine

Mosin Nagant 1891/1930g Sniper

Russian 14.5 mm antitank PTRD-1941

Simonov SKS Carbine

Sniperscope M1 (Infrared)

Sniperscope M3 (Infrared)


Browning Automatic Rifle BAR

Japanese WWII submachine guns

M3A1 Grease Gun

Machine Carbine, 9mm Owen, Mark 1

Machine Carbine, 9mm Sten, Mark 2

PPS43 submachine gun

Shpagin PPSh41 (burp gun)

Thompson Submachine Gun (SMG)

Tokarev Semiauto 7.62mm, SVT40

Type 50 Chinese 7.62mm SMG


Bren Light Machine Gun

Japanese Type 96 6.5mm Light MG

Japanese 7.7mm Heavy MG Type 92

M1919A4 .30 caliber Air Cooled MG

M1919A6 .30 cal Air Cooled MG

M1917A1 .30 cal Water-Cooled MG

Vickers .303 in Water-Cooled MG

M2HB .50 Caliber Air Cooled MG

Quad .50 Caliber Air Cooled MGs

DP Soviet type 7.62 mm AC Light MG

DPM Soviet type 7.62 mm AC LMG

RP46 Soviet type 7.62 mm AC LMG

SG43 7.62 AC Heavy MG

SPM 7.62mm M1910 Maxim, HMG


Communist Hand Grenades

US Hand Grenades

US Rifle-mounted Grenade Launchers

US Rifle-mounted Ground Signals


M9A1 2.36" Bazooka

M20 3.5" Super Bazooka

M2-2 Flame Thrower

M18 57mm Recoilless Rifle

M20 75mm Recoilless Rifle


81mm M1 US mortar

60mm M2 US mortar

60mm M19 US mortar

Communist mortars

4.2 in M2 US mortar

4.2 in M30 US mortar


TM9-1276_1947: Carbines, Cal. .30, M1, M1A1, M2, M3

No. 1923 (html): US Rifle, Caliber .30, Model of 1903 (1911)

TM 9-1005-222-12: Rifles, Cal .30; M1, M1C, M1D; Operation, Maintenance (1969)

FM 23-5: U.S. Rifle, Cal. .30, M1; Field Manual (MAY 1965)

Manual: Lee Enfield Rifles, Cal .303; No.1 Mk III; No.3 Mk I; No.4 Mk I; No. 5 Mk I

SKS Field Manual: SKS, Rifle, 7.62mm; Operations and Specifications

TM9-2200: Technical Manual for WWII Small Arms

TM-9-1005-211-34: M1911A1 Pistol, .45cal, Maintenance, 1964

FM 23-41: M3/M3A1 (Grease Gun), Cal 0.45 Submachine gun

TM9-1005-208-12: M1918A2 BAR Op & Maintenance Manual

TM9-1005-208-35: M1918A2 BAR Depot Maintenance, 3/70

Maintenance Manual Browning .30 Machine Gun, All Types

TM9-1005-213-10: M2 .50 Cal Heavy Barrel MG Operations Manual

FM 23-30 (html): Grenades and Pyrotechnics

TM 9-297: 3.5-In Rocket Launcher, M20 and M20B1 8/50

FM 23-91: Mortar Gunnery Technical Manual

FM-6-135 (html): Adjustment of Artillery Fire (Forward Observer), 7/57

TM9-3305 (html): Principles of Artillery Weapons

Both Communist and UN forces fought the Korean War largely with surplus World War II weapons.

A sometimes unappreciated fact is that, at the start of the Korean War, the US actually had no new conventional weapons due to a complete cessation of procurement for ground warfare following WWII. Harry Truman had been convinced that nuclear weapons meant the last major ground wars had been fought. Truman's Secretaries of Defense, James Forrestal and Louis Johnson, not only forced a change in Army training methods, shaping it to produce Garrison peace-keeping troops, but virtually stopped the development of new infantry arms and communications.

The Marine Corps was reduced to a poorly equipped skeleton of its supposed strength, a total of about six fighting battalions. Two Marine Divisions from WWII would have crushed the entire North Korean Army, but Truman hadn't left the United States even one.

5th Marines, (LtCol Ray Murray), were the troops carrying the colors of the entire First Marine Division in July of '50. Six rifle companies of about 7 officers and 255 men each, equipped with worn out WWII weapons. They didn't get the third companies in their rifle battalions, the elements of maneuver!, until after the 1st Battle of the Naktong, 17-18 August of '50. Until the Marine Battalions had their third company to outflank the enemy while the two attacking companies held them in combat, they suffered many unnecessary casualties in the desperate fighting.

The Communist bloc, fighting through its secondary powers, were armed with newer weapons than the American and ROKs in 1950, but they were also obsolescent. For example although the "burp gun" was very effective in the close infantry assaults of the Korean War the AK-47, already a Soviet standard in 1949, would have been far superior. Although newer series of infantry weapons, radios, and vehicles had either been developed or were in production on both sides, they were all largely withheld, along with nuclear weapons. From the infantry point of view, the KW was an anachronism.

Ready or not Truman sent our civilians in uniform, inadequately prepared and with obsolescent weapons, into one of the most vicious infantry wars our nation has fought since the slaughter and devastation of our own Civil War.

Bert Kortegaard, 2/19/2012

Causes of the Korean Tragedy ... Failure of Leadership, Intelligence and Preparation

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