Grenade launchers

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The Taubina AG-2 Automatic Grenade Launcher,

An interesting weapon lost to history, the Taubina Automatic Grenade Launcher was the creation of Soviet weapons designer Yakov Taubin. First developed in 1931 and perfected in 1937-1939, the Taubina Automatic Grenade Launcher was a weapon that was several generations ahead of its time.  Invented at a time when most grenade launchers were single shot affairs, typically rifle grenades, the Taubina was the first of it’s kind and it’s concept would become a staple of modern militaries today.  The Taubina Grenade Launcher was designed to fire 40.8mm grenades in either semi automatic or fully automatic modes. Recoil operated, most models utilized a magazine resulting in a rate of fire of 50-60 rounds a minute, however later prototypes utilized a belt feed system which resulted in a rate of 400-450 rounds a minute. It’s maximum range was around 1,200 meters  The launcher could be used in both direct fire and indirect fire modes. It was typically mounted on a light wheeled carriage.

The Taubina was first tested in Soviet trials in 1938, where it performed admirably but had some flaws.  First it had a weak extractor and extraction springs, resulting in a 7% failure rate.  Secondly it was inaccurate at longer ranges.  Taubin went to work fixing these problems, developing improved models which saw limited use during the Winter War against Finland in 1939. Despite rave reports on the Taubina’s performance and the potential whoopass the weapon offered the Red Army, the weapon was doomed by Soviet bureaucracy. Most Soviet officials did not see the need for automatic grenade launchers which could rain hundreds of rounds of high explosives on an enemy position. A shame considering that World War II was just around the corner. Much of the opposition to the weapon came from Chief of Main Artillery Directorate Grigory Kulik, who preferred more traditional light infantry mortars and saw no need for the weapon. In 1939 the Taubina project was ended. 

Yakov Taubin abandoned the Taubina Grenade Launcher and began work on aircraft machine gun and cannon designs.  In 1940 he developed a prototype for an aircraft cannon meant to be used on the IL-2 Sturmovik airplane. However he design was turned down in favor of a competing design, the VYa-23. Shortly afterward, on May 15th, 1941, shortly before the German invasion of the Soviet Union, Taubin was arrested by the NKVD on charges of “preserving samples of unfinished weapons and egregiously plotting production of technically unfinished and unsatisfactory weapons systems”. On October 17th, as German forces raced across the Soviet Union, he was executed and buried in a mass grave. The automatic grenade launcher wouldn’t be re-invented until 1966.

My favourite quotes

“Aim towards the Enemy.” - Instruction printed on U.S. Rocket Launcher
“When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not our friend.” - U.S. Army
“Cluster bombing from B-52s is very, very accurate. The bombs are guaranteed to always hit the ground.” - U.S.A.F. Ammo Troop
“If the enemy is in range, so are you.” - Infantry Journal
“A slipping gear could let your M203 grenade launcher fire when you least expect it. That would make you quite unpopular in what’s left of your unit.” - Army’s magazine of preventive maintenance
“It is generally inadvisable to eject directly over the area you just bombed.” - U.S. Air Force Manual
“Try to look unimportant; they may be low on ammo.” - Infantry Journal
“Tracers work both ways.” - U.S. Army Ordnance
“Five-second fuses only last three seconds.” - Infantry Journal
“Bravery is being the only one who knows you’re afraid.” - Col. David Hackworth
“If your attack is going too well, you’re probably walking into an ambush.” - Infantry Journal
“No combat-ready unit has ever passed inspection.” - Joe Gay
“Any ship can be a minesweeper … once.” - Anonymous
“Never tell the Platoon Sergeant you have nothing to do.” - Unknown Army Recruit
“Don’t draw fire; it irritates the people around you.” - Your Buddies
(And lastly)
“If you see a bomb technician running, try to keep up with him.” - U.S. Ammo Troop

Conversion Gun

Sawn-off Mosin-Nagant M91/30 rifle with SKS rifle grenade launcher, AK-series pistol grip and Burris red dot sight.
7,62x54mmR 5-round internal box magazine, bolt action.

I’m ashamed to say it but I kind of like it, it’s like taking a modern compact gun and replacing everything modern with old wood and steel. Plus come on it’s a Mosin-Nagant who cares if it’s defaced, you can get 5 for 3 at Walmart.

4

Moschetto per Truppe Speciali con Tromboncino modello 91/28 - Carcano carbine with grenade discharger

Manufactured in Italy c.1928-34 as a Carcano-mounted assault mortar, but quickly phased out for a more conventional artillery piece.
6,5x52mm Carcano 6-round en-bloc clip, bolt action repeater, 45cm long specialist carbine barrel.
38,5mm 180g S.R.2 fin-stabilized fuse bomb, loaded through the muzzle in a spiggot mortar, propelled by a Carcano single-shot bolt action loaded with a live 6,5x52mm round, 100-200m range.

S.R.2 grenade

A very interesting weapon prefacing the development of under-barrel grenade launcher, but with obvious quirks that were common in such innovative designs of the era. The M91/28 used a single trigger linked to both Carcano action, but was used with only one bolt at a time to avoid accidental discharge - you could technically use two of them but the rifle’s bolt handle would interfere with the grenade discharger’s bolt. The sights are likewise used for both weapons, with their own sets of graduations.
An interesting note to make is the use of the term blunderbuss to identify rifle-mounted cup mortars in both French and Italian armies of the early 20th century.

Sauce : Forgotten Weapons, ModernFirearms.net