- The Last-Ditch Weapons of the Nazi Volkssturm
by W. Darrin Weaver
Deluxe First Edition, 2005
424 pages, 558 illustrations
This is the first in-depth study of the amazing series of events which took place during the last chaotic months of Adolf Hitler's "Thousand Year Reich".
The war was already lost for Germany before the idea of a "People's Army" gained any sanction. The six million old men and boys of the Volkssturm were initially equipped with shotguns, drillings, hunting rifles, military training rifles and handguns scrounged from the German populace. These few arms were bolstered by foreign rifles and carbines captured during Germany's early wartime advances, and many collectors and historians may be surprised to learn that the rifle issued in the greatest numbers-the "true Volksgewehr"-was the Italian Carcano, some numbers of which were converted to fire the powerful German 7.92x57mm rifle cartridge!
In addition, seven types of Volksgewehre were specifically designed for manufacture by German industry during the last months of the war. All are covered in detail, and the book includes many previously unpublished photographs of original Volkssturm weapons, including prototypes and rare presentation examples.
Other Volkssturm weapons included the anti-tank Panzerfaust ("tank fist"), a single-shot, rocket-propelled shaped-charge device capable of defeating any Allied tank then in existence, and numerous "clones" of the British Sten machine carbine, which were hastily manufactured by a considerable number of German firms (a memorandum speaks of "30 subcontractors and 14 assembly points"). Programs were also begun to develop special Volkspistolen, made largely from stamped sheet metal.
In summing up, the author notes that even if the Volkssturm had been fully trained, well equipped and armed with the best weapons in the world-which they decidedly were not-they could have done no more than delay the inevitable, which in many cases, documented here, they actually did.
Rock in a Hard Place: The Browning Automatic Rifle
by James L Ballou
Deluxe First Edition, 2000
500 pages, 751 illustrations
The legendary BAR began as a single, hand-made, closed-bolt-firing model with an open-top receiver, designed by John M. Browning and machined to the great inventor's specifications by his half-brother, Jonathan Edmund Browning, in their Ogden, Utah, shop.
Right from the outset, John Browning's "Automatic Machine Rifle" was an instant success. It was manufactured through both World Wars and Korea by a total of six contractors, and remained one of the most respected weapons in the U.S. military arsenal for over four decades, proving time and time again that, when the fighting got heavy, the BAR was truly a "Rock in a Hard Place".
This first-ever in-depth study of the popular BAR includes clear photos of all U.S.-made military and commercial models, experimental models from Britain and France, plus offshore copies and clones from Belgium, Poland and Sweden. In addition, contents include profusely-illustrated chapters titled "How the BAR Works", "A Treatise on BAR Parts", "Troubleshooting the BAR", and "Accessories and Ancillaries"; plus a Bibliography and a comprehensive index.
The name of Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov has become well known the world over because of the Avtomat Kalashnikova, the eponymous assault rifle which he designed and perfected.
Today, Kalashnikov designs have become the most widely manufactured and best known military small arms in history. Since the introduction of the AK design in 1947, between fifty and seventy million Kalashnikov-type rifles and LMGs have been manufactured, in the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact nations, in the Communist East, and in such "western" countries as Egypt, Finland, India, Israel, and South Africa.
The original edition of The AK47 Story was published in 1986, and the events of the intervening fifteen years have provided much fresh new material. Beginning with an introduction by Dr. Kalashnikov himself, we present a most comprehensive study of the "life and times" of the AK, starting with the early history of small arms manufacture in Czarist Russia and then the Soviet Union. We follow the development of the AK (originally designed in caliber 7.62x41mm) and all the offshoots and clones which make up the Kalashnikov "family" of small arms, including an important new summary of technical information on the numerous loadings of "intermediate" ammunition, right up to the "AK for the 21st Century" - the AK100 series, now being manufactured by the Joint Stock Company "Kalashnikov" in Izhevsk, Russia in three calibers: 7.62x39mm, 5.45x39mm, and 5.56x45mm NATO.
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