Mukden Arsenal after WWII

arsenalgate

(Zhang’s Gate, the old entrance to Mukden Arsenal)

For people interested in Japanese firearms of WWII, the name Mukden Arsenal is familiar. The history of the facility after Japan’s defeat is less well known. Under various names, it did survive for some time, producing an odd mix of WWII weapons after the war’s end.

mukden

(Mukden Arsenal proofmark during WWII)

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Postwar advertising legacy of WWII

The defense industry is a business like any other, and just like any other industry, advertising is a part of it. After WWII’s end in 1945, many wartime weapons systems remained in Cold War use and required upkeep, upgrading, resale, integration with newer systems, and eventually disposal.

Some of these advertisements ran in general-interest magazines and newspapers. Others were limited to niche defense journals and trade gazettes, and were typically unseen by the mass public.

hazard1971

Above is a 1971 newspaper ad for the disposal of USS Hazard (MSF-240), an Admirable class minesweeper of the WWII US Navy. Typically, smaller mothballed WWII ships like this were bought cheaply in lots by brokers, then parceled out individually to scrapyards for a profit. USS Hazard was bought by a group of Nebraska businessmen and is today a museum ship in Omaha, NE.

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F8F Bearcat post-WWII service

The F8F Bearcat was the last of a WWII family tree of Grumman carrier-based fighters which started with the Wildcat and led to the Hellcat. It was the fastest carrier-based plane of WWII, the fastest naval piston-powered fighter of the war, and one of the fastest propeller-driven planes of any type of all time.

bearcat2(US Navy F8F Bearcat)

The Bearcat barely entered service during WWII. Only one US Navy squadron, VF-19 aboard USS Langley (CVL-27), was fully operational with the type, beginning in July 1945, and it encountered no combat before Japan surrendered. The F8F was already on it’s way out of American service by the time the Korean War started and saw no combat there either. However the Bearcat did have a very long and successful career with other countries after WWII.

F8F2(French air force F8F Bearcat with drop tank and napalm bombs in Indochina.)

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Type 95 Ha-Go in Thailand

The Type 95 Ha-Go was the most widely-built Japanese tank of WWII. Several countries (France, China, North Korea) briefly operated small numbers of Ha-Gos during the immediate post-WWII period. Another operator was Thailand, where, for several years after the war, it was the country’s lone tank type.

Type95HaGo(Functional Type 95 Ha-Go tank of the Royal Thai Army in 2010.)

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SB2C Helldiver post-WWII service

The Curtiss SB2C Helldiver was a standard US Navy carrier-borne dive bomber of WWII. Despite it’s somewhat mixed reputation with American pilots, it was extremely effective during the war. The Helldiver scored more dive bombing sinkings of enemy ships than any other Allied dive bomber. It’s post-WWII career with the US Navy was short. The US Navy began converting Helldiver squadrons to other types (or simply disbanding the squadrons) in 1946. The final US Navy attack squadron to fly Helldivers was VA-54, which flew them off USS Valley Forge (CV-45) in 1949. However, the Helldiver saw long and varied use after the war elsewhere.

arromanches3(A French navy Helldiver takes off from the aircraft carrier Arromanches in the 1950s.)

greece(Hellenic Air Force Helldiver unit in the late 1940s)

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