Guns WWII Guns in Action I recently went to the National Museum of the Pacific War in my hometown of Fredericksburg, Texas to witness firsthand... By Gayne C. Young | Published Mar 22, 2011 12:26 AM Guns SHARE I recently went to the National Museum of the Pacific War to witness firsthand the firepower and FIRE power utilized in World War II. This M3A1 Stuart Light Tank was designed to go over and through just about anything, so blocking it in place with a 4 x 4 post seems like pretty poor planning to me. The re-enactment that takes place behind the museum every six weeks or so is designed to resemble the attack on the atoll island of Betio, which was a crucial Japanese stronghold in the battle of Tarawa. This Japanese Model 96 25mm Anti-Aircraft gun would have been an important component of the Japanese defenses. As would this Japanese Type 1 47mm anti-tank gun. This M4 Sherman Medium Tank has been completely refurbished. It’s in such good shape that… The State of Texas issued it a license plate that allows it to drive on the highway. Only in Texas could such a thing happen. “I’d like to register my Sherman tank so I can drive over to the Dairy Queen for a burger and fries.” “Sure thang hon! Just need to see proof of insurance.” Did the Japanese really use stucco for this Japanese Model 96 25mm machine cannon placement? Or was that a Texas thing? This type 91 10cm Howitzer was used in WWII. The blue jack under the right axel wasn’t. I think it came from the Wal-Mart over on Highway Street. This Japanese type 95 Ha-Go light tank has seen better days. The all-important good old made in the U.S.A. .50 cal heavy machine gun. This Japanese bunker is much larger than my first apartment. Much cleaner too. “Hey. What does the sign on the post say?” “Uh, it’s in Japanese.” “Ok, so what does it say? “Uh,… it’s in Japanese.” Call me old fashioned, but is there anything more beautiful than a fully-loaded and waiting-to- be-fired .50 cal heavy machine gun? Unicorns? Ok. You got me there. Despite the museum’s quest for 100 percent authenticity, only two of these Japanese soldiers are actually of Asian descent. In WW II all of the Japanese soldiers were of Asian descent. Oh well, the museum tried. The soldier on the left carries a Samurai sword, the soldier on the right carries a type 99 Nambu light machine gun. Which would you rather carry into heavy combat? The sword might be neat to show at parties though. The type 38 Arisaka long rifle (left) was equipped with a bayonet and a special hook that allowed Japanese soldiers to “catch” and “hold” their combatant’s rifle. This made it easy for Japanese soldiers to “twist” their combatants toward the ground so that they might break their neck with a swift hit from the type 38’s steel plated rifle butt. Of course American Marines had a move to counter – it was called hitting your combatant in the groin with the butt of your rifle. I didn’t take a picture of that move. It looked pretty painful. This type 99 Nambu light machine gun was often fixed with a bayonet, thus exemplifying the Japanese soldier’s desire to bring every battle into the “up close and personal” stage. I loved this guy’s explanation of the M1911 .45 cal handgun. “It has the knockdown power equivalent of throwing a brick through a glass window.” The M1A1 carbine made a bold statement in tight places. The M1903 Springfield rifle can still be found in many deer camps today. Well, not this one. It’s at the museum. This is where the crowd goes crazy; “This is the Thompson submachine gun.” What does Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai have to do with a WW II reenactment? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. “Say hello to my little friend!” Ok, that quote came like 50 years after WWII but I’m sure something similar was often stated during the Thompson submachine gun’s use. I’ll be honest, I was afraid to ask this guy about his M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR). Do you blame me? I mean, look at this guy. Use your .50 cal heavy machine gun on the ground… Or mounted on your Jeep. Again with the stucco. Come on Josh. Scowl or something. Look mean. You’re driving a Sherman tank into battle – look tough. And, no, I didn’t ask this guy about his M97 Winchester 12-gauge shotgun either. Oh, you just know this is gonna be good… How do you like 12-gauge 00 Buckshot coming your way? “Hey Deacon, how heavy is that M2 flamethrower?” “Uh, 75 pounds.” “Jeeze man, that’s like half your body weight.” “Uh…yeah, guess so. No wonder it’s so heavy.” The U.S. invasion of Tarawa begins…And I got a cloud of peat moss blown into my lens. Go! Go! Go! Deacon moves in for a bar-b-que. How you like 2,100 degrees straight up in your living room! Let’s see: shoot the bunker? Check. Shoot flamethrower into bunker? Check? Throw explosive charge into bunker? I’m on it. “Say hello to my little…” Oh. I already used that line? Sorry. The Marines have taken Tarawa…er…I mean that area behind the museum in Fredericksburg, Texas. No joke. These guys are all marching to an area behind the reenactment stage for a lunch of fried chicken. And, no, the flamethrower played no part in the cooking of the chicken. So, how do you unload your flamethrower? Visit the National Museum of the Pacific War here. I recently went to the National Museum of the Pacific War in my hometown of Fredericksburg, Texas to witness firsthand the firepower and FIRE power utilized in the Pacific Theater of World War II.