Improved Japanese small arms

As the title says. Any possible improvements Japan can make for it's firearms before and during WWII? Additionally, in the event of a (admittedly very unlikely) Japanese victory, how would their standard infantry weapons theoretically evolve?
 
The IJN was playing around with Garand clones the whole of the WW2, that could have been useful. They really needed a good SMG which would have played to the strengths of Japanese industry without needing high quality steel and lots of machining. Their LMG's were quite good. The rest of their weapons were pretty good.
 
They needed better pistols. The Nambu was not a bad design, but became terrible once production quality cheapened as the war progressed. Had a chance to pick one up at a pawn shop a long time ago, sort of wish now that I had, just for the novelty/collectability of it...
 
Japan's guns were fine* (by which I mean, certainly not Italy-tier) it just needed MORE. IIRC Canada produced more MGs during WWII than Japan did. And their SMGs were like quadruple digit production lol.

*ok, they needed a more powerful pistol cartridge. 9para would be great.
 
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As the title says. Any possible improvements Japan can make for it's firearms before and during WWII? Additionally, in the event of a (admittedly very unlikely) Japanese victory, how would their standard infantry weapons theoretically evolve?
Don't bother with the switch to 7.7mm.
If they needed a Machine Gun with more power, they had the 13.2mm and even the Italian 12.7mm. That round in a ground version of their Ho-104 12.7mm aircraft gun
Lighter and fills the roll better than the existing magazine fed Type 93 13.2mm,
 
Don't bother with the switch to 7.7mm.
If they needed a Machine Gun with more power, they had the 13.2mm and even the Italian 12.7mm. That round in a ground version of their Ho-104 12.7mm aircraft gun
Lighter and fills the roll better than the existing magazine fed Type 93 13.2mm,
What would an MG chambered in those calibers look like, out of curiosity?
 
As the title says. Any possible improvements Japan can make for it's firearms before and during WWII? Additionally, in the event of a (admittedly very unlikely) Japanese victory, how would their standard infantry weapons theoretically evolve?
In terms of the LMG having a lighter and similar to make weapon would be highly desirable. There really isn't a reason a 6.5mm cartridge the power of the Arisaka should have had a LMG that weighed even 9kg. Having a lighter bullet, but more streamlined would have been much better too. In fact having an automatic rifle based on the Arisaka cartridge with a smaller, lighter, more streamlined bullet would have been highly desirable and probably better than a LMG within the infantry squad (though with say 2 per squad instead of a single LMG).

I'm of the mind that the Japanese screwed up by adopting a 7.7mm cartridge during the war, they should have gone bigger and adopted the Type 100 SMG's 8mm caliber instead since the barrel making equipment already existed. The cartridge should have been more powerful too, like the Swedish 8x63mm, and like OTL could make a MMG/HMG (Type 1) for the role of long range automatic fire and not tried to replace the 6.5mm with 7.7mm. In fact they probably should have just gone to Sweden and bought examples from them to improve on since the Japanese already had modified Brownings with the air force. In fact they should have tried to standardize with the air force pre-war to both have 8mm higher powered MGs, since that would have been even better than the 7.7mm aircraft MG cartridges.

Having Panzerfausts would have been helpful for them too, with Germany sending over Faustpatrone examples ASAP to help them start the process.
 
Pistol/revolver: Utter crap. They were really really bad. Anything would have been better. Obviously if they could licence produce (or simply steal) the HP35 (Browning Hi-Power) - that would be the best option (which is the same best option for everyone quiet frankly).

Rifle: As bolt actions go, the type 38 and type 99 are fine - my only change would be pick a sodding calibre and stick to it. Reverse engineering something like the Garand would take too long - the USA took years to get it to the 'chad' SLR of lore - let alone Japan building it reliably in enough numbers to be effective!

SMGs: Yes good idea. Actually make some Japan. They only made about 10,000 (and I think it might have been less than that). Make an MP28 clone during the 30's and build it in far larger numbers - obviously! In fact given Japans lower industrial base - start building their own version of the STEN ASAP. Obviously any design needs to be able to fix a long bayonet. ;)

LMG: the Type 97/99 were both good LMGs (heavily influenced by Czech LMGs in Chinese service) but again pick a sodding calibre and stick to it. And build enough to replace the Type 11 (which was Italian levels of LMG crapness) in front line service.

MMG: The Type 92 was good enough and they used it well - but quite frankly they would have been better off with a belt fed water cooled Maxim clone pretty much from before WW1 and be done with it.

GPMG? - Its been suggested that they use the MG34 - but this was a weapon design that was a state secret in Germany - they simply were not sharing with anyone! Would have been a good choice for any nation at the time but I don't see it happening.

On the subject of picking calibre - I think they could have gotten away with sticking with the 6.5 for their Rifles and LMGs - no reason to go 7.7 IMO

And seriously - have the Army and Navy use the same ammo (they both used 7.7 during the war - 1 with rimmed one with Rimless!!!!)
 
I agree with @Crowbar Six that they could really have used a cheap submachine gun. Something along the lines of the Sten would have been perfect - easily produced and good for jungle fighting.

A shortened Type 38 in 6.5mm would have been great as well. The Arisakas were finely made rifles, but just way too much for the average Japanese rifleman - IIRC their average soldier was 5'3" and probably not far over a hundred pounds in weight. A 50" rifle shooting a full-power 30 cal cartridge was just too much for them, and it's justification as a bayonet holder was pretty laughable by the 1930s. A 20" barreled Type 38 would have worked a lot better. Hell, an M1 Carbine would have been PERFECT for what they were doing, but that might be a little too much of a stretch.

The Type 99 was excellent; no changes needed there. It would hurt to dial it back to 6.5mm to fit with the rifles though, so that's a tradeoff to consider.

Nambu... ehh, they sucked, but pistols make less than zero difference.

The knee mortars were kind of goofy, but the Japanese definitely used them to their full potential. Keep those.

LMG: the Type 97/99 were both good LMGs (heavily influenced by Czech LMGs in Chinese service) but again pick a sodding calibre and stick to it. And build enough to replace the Type 11 (which was Italian levels of LMG crapness) in front line service.
The Italian govt just failed its soldiers so, so badly.
 
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A 50" rifle shooting a full-power 30 cal cartridge was just too much for them
But the 20mm AT rifle

Technical Specs

Caliber: 20 x 124mm
Mechanism: Gas-operated open-bolt semiautomatic
Length, firing position: 82.5 in (2096 mm)
Length, traveling position: 99.5 in (2527 mm)
Weight, complete: 150 lb (68.1 kg)
Weight, less shield and handles: 115 lb (52.2 kg)
Barrel length: 41.875 in (1064 mm)
Rifling: 8 groove
Magazine capacity: Seven rounds
Muzzle velocity: 2,640 feet per second (866 m/s)


Also used in aircraft in a flexible mount
 
On the subject of picking calibre - I think they could have gotten away with sticking with the 6.5 for their Rifles and LMGs - no reason to go 7.7 IMO
The Japanese switched due to being outranged by the 7.92 Mauser weapons in China, so they adopted the air force 7.7mm to stay competitive. Of course they could have just done that for their MMGs...

A shortened Type 38 in 6.5mm would have been great as well. The Arisakas were finely made rifles, but just way too much for the average Japanese rifleman - IIRC their average soldier was 5'3" and probably not far over a hundred pounds in weight. A 50" rifle shooting a full-power 30 cal cartridge was just too much for them, and it's justification as a bayonet holder was pretty laughable by the 1930s. A 20" barreled Type 38 would have worked a lot better. Hell, an M1 Carbine would have been PERFECT for what they were doing, but that might be a little too much of a stretch.
Part of the problem there was the slower burning powder and long barrel meant the weak Arisaka cartridge only reached it's full velocity potential with a long barrel.
They'd either need a faster burning powder and light bullet or a fatter cartridge case (based on the 7.7x58) and different powder with a more streamlined bullet.
IMHO the 6.5 Arisaka cartridge with a 90 grain bullet and faster burning powder out of an 18 inch barrel would have been ideal for their needs in the jungle and probably in most places outside of open country in China. Some heavy cartridge weapons like H/MMGs at the company level and above and sniper weapons in at least 7.7mm would have been needed to fight the Chinese with their long range 7.92 Mauser based weapons, while in the Pacific those would have been helpful in fighting in jungle terrain due to the cover penetration abilities and the rarer instances of longer range fighting.

Regarding the point about the M1 carbine, it wasn't the primary weapon used by the Marines in the Pacific despite having plenty of them, more than the Garands in fact, though not on the front lines. Only the squad leader carried the carbine because he wasn't expected the fight as a rifleman.
 
Regarding the point about the M1 carbine, it wasn't the primary weapon used by the Marines in the Pacific despite having plenty of them, more than the Garands in fact, though not on the front lines. Only the squad leader carried the carbine because he wasn't expected the fight as a rifleman.
And Fire Team Leaders, thru mid 1945
The 'D' Marine Fire Team model, with three teams, each equipped as follows:
a Fire Team Leader with M1 Carbine
BAR gunner, with BAR
BAR assistant carrying BAR mags and armed M1 Carbine
Rifleman with an M1 Garand, who was also expected to have some rifle grenades.

The Corporal would have 5 or 10 magazines or clips for the M1, 2 BAR mags and 2 grenades.
BAR Gunner would have 9 Mags and 1-2 grenades.
Assistant would have 5 mags for the M1, 8 Bar, and two grenades.
Rifleman would have 10 clips, 2 BAR mags, and Grenades.

note lack of SMGs at this point, though NCO could draw them, if requested. But you don't see many in pictures, outside of Hollywood after 1943
 
The Nambu Type-II sub machine gun had potential but was never adopted, major weakness though was the 8mm caliber it was chambered in but make it in 9mm with a folding stock and it could've been a handy sub-gun.
 
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