A post I did very early on that received no attention, so I’m reposting it now that I have a following.
Japanese Rifles of WWII, A Horror Story.
America had the Garand, Germany had the Mauser, Britain had the Enfield, and Russia had the Nagant. Japan, however, had an oddball assortment of service rifles.
While Japanese rifles were strong, rugged, and reliable Japanese munitiions and logististics were a mess. The Japanese Ordinance Ministry fell under the control of Kijiro Nambu, known today as “the John Browning of Japanese firearms”. Of coarse this title gives way too much credit to Nambu. While Browning’s designs where innovative and revolutionary, Nambu’s designs can be best described as awkward and overcomplicated.
The mainstay of the Japanese Army was the Arisaka Type 38, chambered for the 6.5x50mm cartridge. In 1939 the Japanese Army also issued the Type 99 Arisaka which was chambered in 7.7x58 Arisaka. To make matters worse the Type 99 was initially manufactured with two different ammunition variants; standard and rimmed cartridges, both of which could not be interchanged between rifles. A controversial argument developed in the Japanese Ordinance Ministry over what was better, standard or rimmed. A compromise was made with a semi-rimmed 7.7x58 cartridge, again which could not be used in standard and rimmed Type 99 rifles. To make this clusterf*&%k worse, throughout the war Japanese ordinance began refurbishing and issuing older model rifles due to shortages in production. These included the 8x57mmR, 11X60mmR, and 10x60mmR Murata rifles.
In addition I have learned that in the last month of the war Japan ended production of the Siamese Mauser (which they made for their Thai allies) and used the remaining surplus they had on hand to arm their troops. It was chambered for an 8x52R cartridge. Good Grief!!!.