Sudan has seen so much warfare over the past 100 years that it is sometimes hard to tell when one war ended and the next began. What is often called the country’s “first civil war” ran from, depending on when the start date is counted, 1955 to 1972. Even in the latter stages, it was dominated by old WWII weapons. This conflict is today overshadowed by the “second” war which was much more violent and fought with Cold War-era weapons.
The last country to produce new Mosin-Nagants was perhaps the most obscure player in Cold War-era Europe, Albania. There a small run of this rifle was made in the early 1960s, a decade and a half after WWII ended and the world (including Albania itself) had already moved on to more modern firearms.
The Cold War-era Albanian military overall was a blend of different generations (including WWII) of weapons serving alongside one another.
(part 1 of a 2-part series)
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the Soviet Union conducted regular nuclear weapons tests. One of these was unique in that it was not just a test detonation of a weapon, but a full-scale military exercise which involved a blend of WWII-vintage systems and their Cold War-era replacements.
(One of the two Tu-4 “Bull” strategic bombers involved in the 1954 exercise. There was a primary and alternate Tu-4 staged, of which only one dropped a bomb. The “Bull” was an unlicensed copy of the WWII American B-29 Superfortress.)
(An ex-Wehrmacht PaK 40 anti-tank gun smashed and radioactive following the 1954 Soviet atomic test.)
(A WWII Il-10 “Beast” burns after the exercise atomic detonation.)
During the 19th and early 20th centuries, Shanghai was famous as China’s international city, a busy trade port with notorious underworld . During the latter part of the 20th century, the city languished through Mao’s Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, before once again becoming a world-class city leading in finance, technology, and culture at the turn of the millennium.
There was a very brief time after WWII, only four years, when the city was under the Kuomintang (KMT), or nationalist Chinese government. What makes this period interesting militarily, was the unusual combinations of WWII weaponry fielded there, and a now largely-forgotten American military presence in China.
(Officers of the Shanghai Police Department monitor a political protest in 1948. Equipment includes a stahlhelm M35 helmet and Arisaka Type 38 rifle.)
(An abandoned Mitsubishi Ki-21 “Sally” bomber sits opposite American C-46 Commando, C-54 Skymaster, and C-47 Skytrain transports at a former Japanese airbase near Shanghai after WWII.)
(Soviet-made T-26 and American-made M3/M5 Stuart tanks of the nationalist army together in Shanghai during 1949. An irony of this last battle is that the nationalists were partially equipped with Soviet gear and the communists were partially equipped with American gear.)
Since starting wwiiafterwwii, numerous people have contacted me requesting I write something on this topic. This is understandable as the M1 Garand remains one of the most popular rifles of all time, and there is a high degree of interest with American readers (and to my surprise, some readers in Vietnam as well) in the Vietnam War.
Other discussions on this topic usually end up in a fairly simplistic debate of “yes there were Garands used in Vietnam” or “no they were all gone by then” so hopefully this is of some value.
(South Vietnamese soldiers with M1 Garands on patrol during 1963.)
(A member of Vietnam’s DQTV militia takes aim with a M1 Garand in December 2018.)
(part 2 of a 2-part series)
After achieving independence from the United States ten months after the end of WWII, the military of the Philippines was infused with a variety of WWII American weapons, some of which are still in use in 2018.
(Recruits train with a mix of M16s and M1 Garands in 2018.)
(Philippines army soldiers display weapons captured from Abu Sayyaf in 2017 including a pair of M1 Garands, one of which has been spray-painted glossy black.)
The country of Yemen, currently (2018) in the midst of yet another civil war, has had a long involvement with guns of the WWII era. While the AK-47 is king of the battlefield, some old WWII weapons are still in use.
(The now somewhat-famous Yemeni “ripcord T-34” in November 2016.)
(Houthi fighters brandishing weapons in 2015, including to the left a WWII British Enfield No4 Mk.I rifle.)
Since starting wwiiafterwwii, I have wanted to do something on this topic but was unsure how to approach it. I am interested in how WWII weapons performed in battle against Cold War replacements. But also, it is fascinating to consider how they ended up where they did after WWII……how did a Garand built to fight Imperial Japan end up in the Somali desert in the 1970s, or how did a Waffen-SS sturmgewehr end up in 21st century Damascus?
(An ex-Wehrmacht NbW 42 Nebelwerfer with Interarms markings in the 1960s.)
Formerly one of Great Britain’s eastern African colonies, Tanzania used WWII-era equipment throughout the later 20th century including a late-1970s war against Uganda.
(Mt. Kilimanjaro is the highest point of Africa and the only part of Tanzania to receive snow. East Africa Railways continued in dwindling existence after WWII, including the wartime Garratt steam locomotives. The defunct company’s rail lines were a great logistics asset to Tanzania during the 1978-1979 Kagera war.) (photo via internationalsteam.co.uk website)
(WWII-vintage PPSh-41 submachine gun of the Tanzanian army.)
The ongoing Syrian civil war, which began in March 2011, is of course dominated by Cold War-era (and even 21st century) weapons, however, there is an astonishing mix of WWII gear – both Axis and Allied – in use. Some of these weapons had previously not seen combat for decades.
(Syrian rebel with a WWII German StG-44 assault rifle.)
(Yugoslav-made M18/43F, a copy of the WWII German leFH 18M howitzer, in action with Jaish al-Fatah rebels.)
(A Syrian rebel with a WWII Mosin-Nagant 91/30 – retrofitted with a modern scope – takes aim in 2014.)
(Rebels of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) distribute WWII French MAS-36 rifles.)
(Syrian government soldier with a WWII Soviet 61-K anti-aircraft gun in October 2015.)