Japanese & Chinese guns and ammo-WWII


#1

[quote]Jack - its a little off-topic, but I have a picture of a Japanese soldier, in what appears to be only a squad being addressed by an officer, and certainly taken in the Jungle during combat from their general appearance, armed with a Tommy Gun (Model 1928 probably - not an M1 or M1A1). I foget where the picture was taken. If in Malaya, it probably would be ex-British. If in the Islands, ex-US (Army, Marine or Navy, depending on the circumstances and I suppose also the Island). I found it interesting because aside from China, from which you find pictures of Japanese soldiers and sailors with various foreign weapons, perhaps originally procured by the Japanese from the sources that made them, or from the Chinese Army.
[/quote]

John, I decided to open a new thread rather than capture the one on German 50 Browning.

I have quite a few Chinese made pistols that were captured from Japanese officers or clearly used by Japanese officers. One is a holster rig that looks like a traditional Baby Nambu, but when you open it the pistol is a Chinese copy of the FN M1900 and the fittings in the holster are set up for a 25 round box of 7.65mmB and it even includes a tool to take out the two slide screws on a M1900. Another is an overgrown copy of the Austrian Little Tom, but in 7.63mm Mauser with a long barrel. This pistol was brought back from Okinawa, but it makes sense since one of the Japanese units there had been transferred from Manchuria. What ammo did these guys use??? Not much 7.63mm Mauser on Okinawa in 1944! Lots of Chinese made 7.65mmB in China. I spoke to an OSS agent (or something similar-retired Army Colonel who-I understand wrote a book on the 45 M1911 or perhaps on colt pistols) who went there in late 1944, and bought a Chinese M1900 from the downtown market as a backup gun along with Chinese made ammo with fake Western headstamps. He was quite happy with the pistol and the ammo was OK, but since it was a backup gun, he was much happier when he found a box of pre-war DWM 7.65mm in the market. Before he left in 1946, he got a Colt 32ACP. He could only bring one pistol back so the M1900 copy went back to the market.

The 45 Thompson you saw in the photo could have been a Chinese copy also. Beautifully made guns. The one in the ATF reference collection is in new condition, and they originally thought it was a US gun that had been redone and refitted (very tightly made) marked in Chinese until they measured it in detail and realized it could have never been a US Thompson.

Cheers,

Lew


#2

I have seen many pictures of Chinese-made Thompson SMGs. They all have the same basic features as a real Tommy Gun, but aren’t “quite there,” with some parts having shapes not quite the same as U.S.-made guns. I think the one in the picture I saw was American. It was in one of my two or three series of photo histories of WWII. I will try to find it when I have time, and look very closely at it.

I have some Chinese-made .32 auto rounds, and of course also Chinese .45s. Many of the Chinese .32 cartridges, and .30 Mauser, have phony DWM headstamps. Same content and generally correct DWM Catalog numbers, but obviously not made by DWM. Interesting rounds.


#3

John, The communists converted a lot of the Shansi Thompsons to 7.62/7.63mm with a number of different type mags. I have seen about 7 Shansi 45 Thompsons and they were all very close. Like the ATF one it took actual measurements of the gun to tell the differences, apart from the markings.

I’m sure other people in China also made copies of Thompsons and there are lots of possibilities for distinctive appearing guns.

Cheers,

Lew


#4

Lew, I remember you telling me a story of a kid in London threatening an old lady with a pistol that he had found in his grandmother’s loft. The pistol turned out to be some incredibly rare Chinese pistol. What sort of pistol was this?


#5

Found the picture of the Tommy Gun in Japanese hands. No wayl to tell what it is. It appears that the magazine is not in the gun. You can see that it is a horizontal forearm, but you can’t see the muzzle or barrel configuration. The stock, grip, receiver and rear sight (Lyman type) look absolutely American, but then although I have seen many pictures of Chinese “Thompsons,” and only one actual gun, none of them really could be mistaken for an American gun, so my knowledge is insufficient to make a judgment either way, I guess. I doubt from this little picture, that anyone could judge what it is if there are Chinese guns that are virtually identical to the American one in the shape of parts, pitch of the butt stock, etc.


#6

Falcon, It was a Japanese blowforward Hino Komro probablu made about 1910. This is an extremely rare weapon. Almost all of the few known are in 7.65mm Browning, but the one in the London Metro Police collection is one of only two I know of in 8mm Nambu. Apparently only a few hundred were ever made and very few are known today.

Cheers,

Lew