M18 Recoilless Gun
|Country of Origin||United States|
|Ammunition Weight||1.22 kg|
|Muzzle Velocity||371 m/s|
Contributor: C. Peter Chenww2dbaseThe recoilless gun design that eventually became the T15/M18 were developed by engineers Kroger and Musser on a US Army Infantry Section freelance project, thus the design's original name of Kromuskit. They introduced several innovative features to the design, the most important of which reduced firing friction thus increased the muzzle velocity. The weapon was designed to be fired from the shoulder of an infantryman, a monopod, or the tripod that was originally made for the M1917 machine gun design. The weapon was first tested in Nov 1943 under the designation of T15. In late 1944, the design entered production and received the new designation of M18. They had an effective range of 450 meters and a maximum range of nearly 4,000 meters. They were at times equipped with M26 Scopes. By early 1945, there were 2,000 M18 recoilless guns on order. The first 50 guns arrived in Europe in Mar 1945, and the first combat use was by the US 17th Airborne Division at Essen, Germany. Their performance in Europe was average; while the troops liked the light weight, armor penetration capability of 63.3 millimeters was inferior to the 120 millimeters that the M1A2 bazooka could achieve. In the Pacific Theater, however, they were extremely effective against Japanese light and medium tanks; they were first used against Japanese forces on 9 Jun 1945 on Okinawa.
M18 recoilless guns remained in service in the US Army after WW2. Many of them saw service in the Korean War, although they were much more often used against machine gun nests rather than against tanks due to the weak armor penetration capability.
In 1945, the United States had provided Chinese Nationalists the blueprint for M18 recoilless guns. When the Chinese Communists won the civil war, they took the plans and began producing them under the designation of Type 36. In 1963, Chinese Communists provided many M18 guns to the Vietnamese Communists for use in the Vietnam War.
The United States also provided the blueprint to Brazil; Brazilian weapons manufacturing firm Hydroar produced them under license until 1984.
Source: Wikipedia ww2dbase
Last Major Revision: Feb 2011
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945