Blank ammo in WW2 ?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by grimbo, Jun 10, 2012.

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  1. Walking the dogs tonight in the "drought" that was falling like stair-rods I went well off the beaten track and came across some obvious fox holes and small slit trenches that i would think date back to WW2 .
    I know that the Canadians were in the area pre D Day and also that an emergency airstrip was also very close by , the airstrip was little more than a flat area with PSP - think it had two aircraft land on it in total .
    A quick root around found a few blank .303 case's .... question is did they use blank ammo back then in training ? another thing is they seem not to be made out of the normal brass but 70 years of being on or in acidic soil may account for this , currently have two sitting in some vinegar and another two in Coke to see if I can read anything from the bottom of the case's , it would be logical that the area was used pre D Day as a training ground for the Canadians as they had a camp nearby and if you know where to look the ablutions can still be found in the woods , I have also picked up Sherman track links and also another unidentified center-guide track link from the same area.
  2. My money would be on it having been used by the Cadets at some time after, the kiddy winkles were still cutting about with No.4's as late as the 90's. Most WWII training being done live to get the fear out of them.
  3. That was my thoughts but I know the area well and am fairly sure that post D Day it had little or no use by the army , my Dad was a boy back then but still remembers being thrown sweets and being given gum by the Canadians and also how thay all suddenly packed up and left overnight on the 5 june , he reckons it was most strange but also that the sky was full of aircraft towing gliders when he helped his dad get the cows in to milk at dawn on the 6th .
    Many local rumours of stuff being buried or chucked in ponds as the Canadians left ...... even more hours spent by a certain young boy looking for it in the 80's
  4. Yep, we used blanks for training. Would have been slightly costly in men and ammo to be blatting live rounds all over the place.

    The Germans used blanks with wooden tips. These were purely a training aid. The Yanks, sometimes had a felt wad in the end, or just cimped it off.
  5. Not so sure there Buzz.

    Blank ammo has been around for as long as live - even Balliste rounds for launching rifle grenades and 'not to be used as blanks', were in use as soon as they developed rifle launched grenades. Wooden 'Bulleted blank' for auto weapons were common in WW2 for training and newspapers used to print 'war crime' stories about the enemy using them to cause terrible wounds.

    The Bren has a special barrell with a half blocked flash eliminator (which caused flying splinters) for bulleted blank, so the weapon would fire and cycle as normal - no doubt other countries used a similar system.

    I see no reason why even troops in training during WW2 would not use blanks at some stage? ISTBC though.
  6. Another thought .... would Canadians have used .303 or would they have used American weapons ?
  7. Canadians used British
  8. Blank has always been issued as an alternate to ball, even in the days of muskets...!

    In the past, it was often made from out of spec ball ammuniton by removing the projectile. The Snider and Martini Henry had the same blank round.

    On the introduction of the .303 there were a number of varitions of blank. The intially they had dummy bullets fo that they would feed properly from magazines, however these were abandoned when it was discovered that blank made by just crimping over the end of a standard case would feed just as well, and there was less chance of mistaking them for ball.

    Various forms of bulleted blank with either solid wooden or metal dust filled wooden bullets were issued for use with machine guns. The Vickers Maxim, being a recoil operated weapon, needed something to come out of the end of the barrel to make it cycle! Both the Vickers and the Bren were supposed to be fitted with a shredder barrel to break up the projectiles, but would work without them..!

    The 7.62 blank had to be manufactured from scratch, and also had to be profiled to make it feed properly.. same with the 5.56 blank. As all our current weapons are gas operated, there is no longer a need for bulleted blank as you can make the action cycle by putting a restricter on the muzzle..
  9. The Lee Enfield is still in use in the Canadian military, but was mostly phased out in the mid 50's in favour of the C1A1, or SLR.
  10. HE117, when we used blank 303 in the cadets, in the 70s it was found that 'doctoring' the magazine feed on the No 4 enabled rapid fire with blanks, as the blunter blanks had a tendency to jam if the feed lips weren't spread a bit. Bulleted blank was rarely seen, too dangerous for the tiny tots I suppose.

    In the closing firefight in the film 'The man who would be king' one or two of the extras blatting blanks off can clearly be seen dealing with jams.
  11. Yup.. bulleted blank was only supposed to be issued for MG..

    Previous attempts at producing profiled .303 blank were either too expensive or dangerous...
  12. Here you go:



  13. Well, that was very ingenious of you - in my recollection they would hardly feed at all - using the SLR with blank was an absolute revelation.
  14. There were those who had the way of it, the ones that were adapted were very slick indeed, funnily enough they tended to be found in the older boy's hands on excercises, and I don't recall them playing up on the ranges either.

    One of the reasons I recall being given for the eventual withdrawal of the No 4 was the lack of blank ammo, even Pakistan didn't reckon it worthwhile tooling up for a few million rounds for the cadets.
  15. I recall firing wooden tipped blanks from a Bren in 1991 while in the Cadets in Longmoor, we had to have safety DS just like today's live firing exercises. I think the barrel had a splitter welded inside to break up the bullet as it exited. Our barrels were painted white so there was no mix ups.