Ordnance Intelligence men who advanced with combat troop into the Ormoc area
of Leyte Island have recovered four new-type Japanese weapons, ranging from
a hand grenade to an artillery piece. Some of these weapons had been known
but not seen, and their capture in the Philippines indicates that the newest
and best items from Japan's industrial arsenal will be met with increasing
frequency as U.S. forces move closer to Tokyo.
CERAMIC HAND GRENADE
Of primary interest to the infantryman is the discovery of a ceramic hand
grenade, the size and shape of a baseball. A short bottle neck protrudes
from the sphere, and the external appearance of the grenade resembles an
old-fashioned idea of a bomb. A loop of white tape is tied into a groove
around the neck, apparently for carrying. The grenade body is made either
of white porcelain or glazed pottery, and is covered with a
close-fitting, tan rubber cover.
A rubber plug is cemented in the bottle neck and holds the
simple fuze. This detonator is no more than a blasting cap
crimped on to a five-second length of fuze. The other end of
the fuze, which is outside the rubber plug, is covered with a
match-head composition. A slip-on rubber cap covers the whole
neck, and fuze. A small, loose wooden block with an abrasive
composition on one side is contained in the rubber fuze cover.
|Two views of the Ceramic Hand Grenade showing (left) the grenade
with carrying tape and exposed match-head fuze, and (right) the grenade with rubber
cover and rubber fuze cap.|
Weighing less than a pound, this grenade is easy to throw, but
the thrower must be careful not to strike a nearby hard
object, such as a tree, as the porcelain shatters easily. The
grenade is ignited by removing the rubber fuze cover and
scratching the striker block across the match-head composition. It
also seems possible to light the fuze with a cigarette. The
grenade should be thrown as soon as the fuze is lighted.
This grenade is entirely a concussion weapon, as there is
considerable blast but little fragmentation resulting from the
MODEL 90 75-MM FIELD GUN
One of Japan's most modern weapons, the Model 90 75-mm
field gun, has been recovered for the first time by U.S. troops. A
long-barreled weapon, this gun is the weapon of first-rate
Japanese artillery units only. It is equipped with a horizontal
sliding breechblock, hydropneumatic recoil mechanism, split
trails, muzzle brake, and automotive-type combat tires.
This gun has a reported muzzle velocity of 2,296 feet per
second, and a reported maximum range of 16,350 yards—it is
perhaps the most effective antitank gun the Japanese have, and,
when equipped with pneumatic tires, it is highly mobile.
|The Model 90 75-mm field gun, one of the most
modern of Japanese artillery weapons. A suitable antitank weapon, this
is the first of its kind to be captured by U.S. troops.|
MODEL 2 120-MM MORTAR
A large-caliber mortar known to have been developed by the
Japanese, but never before encountered by U.S. troops, was
also taken near Ormoc. It is the Model 2 120-mm mortar,
which resembles the U.S. 81-mm mortar in design, except for
size, the firing mechanism, and the fact that the bipod and cradle
break down to two assemblies. The very heavy, ribbed base
plate, which is equipped with four carrying handles, has only
one socket for the spherical projection on the barrel. The
barrel is reinforced at the muzzle.
A movable firing pin is connected with a plunger that sticks
upward and out from the breech of the barrel. After the piece
has been loaded, it is fired by striking this plunger with a mallet
or similar instrument. The blow on the plunger thrusts the
firing pin forward thus detonating the propelling charge on the
The shell, which weighs 26.4 pounds, is the conventional
"tear drop", fin-stabilizer type. It is fuzed with the standard
Japanese Model 100 mortar fuze.
81-MM BARRAGE MORTAR
The capture of an 81-mm barrage mortar has been reported.
Sometimes called a "spike" mortar, this type of weapon consists
of a mortar tube on a wooden base block on the bottom of
which is a large metal spike. When fired, the barrage mortar
shell, after reaching a definite range, expels a series of
parachute-supported high explosive charges which detonate by time
fuzes. Because of the crude spike and block arrangement for
emplacing it in the ground, the mortar is considered highly
inaccurate. It is believed to have been developed for use
against low-flying aircraft, or for firing over the heads of
hostile ground troops. The Japanese are known to have a standard
70-mm barrage mortar, but the 81-mm variety found at Ormoc
is the first of its caliber to be reported.