History Podcasts

Weapons of the Second World War - United Kingdom

Weapons of the Second World War - United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Aircraft - Ships - Tanks - Other


Albacore, Fairey
Armstrong Whitworth A.W. 38 Whitley
Armstrong Whitworth A.W. 41 Albemarle
Auster, British Taylorcraft
Avro Anson
Avro Anson - squadron list
Avro Lancaster
Avro Manchester
Avro Rota
Baffin, Blackburn
Barracuda, Fairey
Battle, Fairey
Blackburn Baffin
Blackburn Botha
Blackburn Dart
Blackburn Firebrand
Blackburn Ripon
Blackburn Roc
Blackburn Shark
Blackburn Skua
Blackburn Swift
Blackburn Velos
Boulton Paul Defiant
Boulton Paul P.92
Boulton Paul P.94
Boulton Paul P.95
Boulton Paul P.96
Boulton Paul P.97
Boulton Paul P.98
Boulton Paul P.99
Boulton Paul P.100
Boulton Paul P.101
Boulton Paul P.102
Boulton Paul P.103
Boulton Paul P.104
Boulton Paul P.105
Boulton Paul P.106
Boulton Paul P.107
Boulton Paul P.108 Balliol
Brewster Buffalo in British Service
Bristol Beaufighter - History
Bristol Beaufighter - Squadrons
Bristol Beaufighter - Variants and Stats
Bristol Beaufort
Bristol Blenheim
Bristol Bombay
Bristol Brigand
Bristol Buckingham
Bristol Buckmaster
Bristol (Fairchild) Bolingbroke
British Taylorcraft Auster
Cowell, USS (DD-167)/ HMS Brighton
Dart, Blackburn
Defiant, Boulton Paul
de Havilland D.H.91 Albatross
de Havilland Mosquito
Douglas Dakota I
Douglas Dakota II
Douglas Dakota III
Douglas Dakota IV
E.28/39, Gloster
E.5/42, Gloster
Fairey Albacore
Fairey Battle
Fairey Firefly
Fairey Fulmar
Fairey Swordfish
Firebrand, Blackburn
Gloster Gauntlet (SS.19)
Gloster Gladiator
Gloster Meteor
Handley Page Halifax
Handley Page Hampden
Handley Page Hereford
Havoc, Douglas (RAF Night Fighter)
Hawker Hurricane
Hawker Sea Hurricane
Hawker Tempest
Hawker Tornado
Hawker Typhoon
Lerwick, Saro
London, Saro A.27
Lysander, Westland
Manchester, Avro
Meteor, Gloster
Percival Proctor
Ripon, Blackburn
Roc, Blackburn
Saro A.27 London
Saro Lerwick
Shark, Blackburn
Short Stirling
Short Sunderland
Skua, Blackburn
Spitfire, Supermarine
Supermarine Scapa
Supermarine Seafang
Supermarine Seafire
Supermarine Seagull
Supermarine Sea Otter
Supermarine Southampton
Supermarine Spiteful
Supermarine Spitfire
Supermarine Stranraer
Supermarine Walrus
Swordfish, Fairey
Tempest, Hawker
Tornado, Hawker
Typhoon, Hawker
Velos, Blackburn
Vickers Archer Mk I Tank Destroyer
Vickers Valentia
Vickers Victoria
Vickers Vildebeest
Vickers Vincent
Vickers Virginia
Vickers Warwick
Vickers Wellesley
Walrus, Supermarine
Warwick, Vickers
Wellesley, Vickers
Wellington, Vickers
Westland Lysander
Westland Wallace
Westland Wapiti
Westland Welkin
Westland Whirlwind
Whitley, Armstrong Whitworth A.W. 38


Arbiter, HMS
Ameer, HMS
Ark Royal, HMS, 1937-1941
Atheling, HMS
Attacker, HMS
Barham, HMS
Bath, HMS/ USS Hopewell (DD-181)
Battler, HMS
Begum, HMS
Belmont, HMS/ USS Satterlee (DD-190)
Beverley, HMS/ USS Branch (DD-197)
Bradford, HMS/ USS McLanahan (DD-264 )
Brighton, HMS/ USS Cowell (DD-167)
Broadwater, HMS/ USS Mason (DD-191)
Broadway, HMS/ USS Hunt (DD-194)
Buchanan, USS (DD-131)/ HMS Campbeltown
Burnham, HMS/ USS Aulick (DD-258)
Burwell, HMS/ UUS Laub (DD-263)
Buxton, HMS/USS Edwards (DD-265)
Caldwell, HMS/ USS Hale (DD-133)
Cameron, HMS/ USS Welles (DD-257 )
Campbeltown, HMS/ USS Buchanan (DD-131)
Castleton, HMS/ USS Aaron Ward (DD-132)
Chaser, HMS
Chelsea, HMS/ USS Crowninshield (DD-134)
Chesterfield, HMS/ USS Welborn C Wood (DD-195)
Churchill, HMS/ USS Herndon (DD-198)
Clare, HMS/ USS Abel P Upshur (DD-193)
Crowninshield (DD-134), USS/ HMS Chelsea
Emperor, HMS
Empress, HMS, Ruler class escort carrier
Erin, HMS
Fencer, HMS
Furious, HMS
'G' Class Fleet Destroyer
Georgetown, HMS/ USS Maddox (DD-168)
HMS Glowworm
HMS Glorious
Hunter, HMS
Khedive, HMS
Lancaster, HMS/ USS Philip (DD-76)
Lawrence, USS (DD-250)
Leamington, HMS/ USS Twiggs (DD-127)
Leeds, HMS/ USS Conner (DD-72)
Lewes, HMS/ USS Craven (DD-70), USS
Lincoln, HMS, / USS Yarnall (DD-143)
Ludlow, HMS/ USS Stockton (DD-73)
Nabob, HMS
Malaya, HMS
Mansfield, HMS/ USS Evans (DD-78)
Montgomery, HMS/ USS Wickes (DD-75)
Newark, HMS/ USS Ringgold (DD-89)
Newmarket, HMS/ USS Robinson (DD-88)
Newport, HMS/ USS Sigourney (DD-81)
Queen, HMS, Ruler class carrier
Queen Elizabeth class battleships
Queen Elizabeth, HMS
Patroller, HMS
Premier, HMS
Puncher, HMS
Pursuer, HMS
Rajah, HMS
Ramsey, HMS/ USS Meade (DD-274)
Ranee, HMS
Ravager, HMS
Reading, HMS/ USS Bailey (DD-269 )
Reaper, HMS
Richmond, HMS/ USS Fairfax (DD-93)
Ripley, HMS/ USS Shubrick (DD-268)
Rockingham , HMS/ USS Swasey (DD-273)
Royal Oak, HMS
Ruler class escort carriers (UK)
Ruler, HMS
Salisbury, HMS/ USS Claxton (DD-140)
Searcher, HMS
Shah, HMS
Sherwood, HMS/ USS Rodgers (DD-254 )
Slinger, HMS
Smiter, HMS
Speaker, HMS
Stalker, HMS
Stanley, HMS/ USS McCalla (DD-253)
St. Croix, HMCS/ USS McCook (DD-252 )
St. Francis, HMCS/ USS Bancroft, USS (DD-256 )
Striker, HMS
Thane, HMS
Tracker, HMS
Trouncer, HMS
Trumpeter, HMS
Valiant, HMS
Ward, USS (DD-139/ APD-16)
Warspite, HMS
Wells, HMS/ USS Tillman (DD-135)


Alecto self-propelled gun
Archer Mk I Tank Destroyer (Vickers)
Avenger, Self-Propelled Gun, A30
Baron Mine-Clearing Vehicle
Bishop, Carrier, Valentine, 25pdr gun
Black Prince Infantry Tank (A43)
Churchill Infantry Tank Mk IV (A22)
Churchill I
Churchill II
Churchill III
Churchill IV
Churchill IV NA75
Churchill V
Churchill VI
Churchill VII
Churchill VIII
Churchill IX
Churchill Mk X
Churchill Mk XI
Churchill Ark (Assault Ramp Carrier)
Churchill AVRE (Assault Vehicle, Royal Engineers)
Churchill AVRE with 'Goat' Explosive Device
Churchill Crocodile
Churchill 'Jumbo' Bridging Tank
Churchill Octopus
Churchill Oke
Churchill with 'Carrot' Explosive Device
Churchill with 'Onion' Explosive Device
Cruiser Tank Challenger (A30)
Cruiser Tank Comet (A34)
Cruiser Tank Mk I (A9)
Cruiser Tank Mk II (A10)
Cruiser Tank Mk III (A13)
Cruiser Tank Mk IV (A13 Mk II)
Cruiser Tank Mk V, Covenanter (A13 Mk III)
Cruiser Tank Mk VI, Crusader (A15)
Cruiser Tank Mk VII, Cavalier (A24)
Cruiser Tank Mk VIII, Centaur (A27L)
Cruiser Tank Mk VIII, Cromwell (A27M)
Cruiser Tank Sherman VC (Firefly)
Firefly, Cruiser Tank Sherman VC
Furious, HMS
'G' Class Fleet Destroyer
Gun Carrier, 3in, Mk I, Churchill
Heavy Assault Tank, A33, Excelsior
Heavy Assault Tank, A39, Tortoise
Heavy Tank, TOG
Heavy Tank, TOG II
Infantry Tank, Valiant, A38
Light Tank AA Mark I
Light Tank AA Mark II
Light Tank Mk I, A4 (UK)
Light Tank Mk IA, A4 (UK)
Light Tank Mk II, A4 (UK)
Light Tank Mk IIA, A4 (UK)
Light Tank Mk IIB, A4 (UK)
Light Tank Mk III, A4 (UK)
Light Tank Mk IV, A4 (UK)
Light Tank MK V, A5 (UK)
Light Tank MK VI (UK)
Light Tank Mk VII 'Tetrarch' (A17)
Light Tank Mk VIII 'Harry Hopkins' (A25)
M22 Light Tank/ Locust
Matilda CDL
Matilda Dozer
Matilda Frog
Matilda MK I / Mk II
Matilda II Infantry Tank Mk II (A12)
Matilda Mk I, Infantry Tank Mk II
Matilda Mk II, Infantry Tank Mk IIA
Matilda Mk III, Infantry Tank Mk IIA*
Matilda Mk IV, Infantry Tank Mk IIA**
Matilda Mk V, Infantry Tank Mk IIA**
Matilda Murray
Matilda Scorpion I
Matilda with AMRA Mk Ia
Matilda with Carrot
Meteor, Gloster
Self-Propelled Gun, Avenger A30
Shelled Area Infantry Tank A20
Sherman VC, Cruiser Tank (Firefly)
Stuart Light Tank
TOG Heavy Tank
TOG II Heavy Tank
Tortoise Heavy Assault Tank, A39
Valentine Infantry Tank Mk III
Valentine I, Infantry Tank Mk III
Valentine II, Infantry Tank Mk III*
Valentine III
Valentine IV
Valentine V
Valentine VI, Infantry Tank Mk III***
Valentine VII, Infantry Tank Mk III***
Valentine VIII
Valentine IX
Valentine X
Valentine XI
Valentine Bridgelayer
Valentine DD
Valentine Scorpion III
Vickers Archer Mk I Tank Destroyer


25-pdr Field Gun 1939 - 1972: Part One
25-pdr Field Gun 1939 - 1972: Part Two
Enfield P14 and M1917 Rifles
Fairbairn-Sykes (Commando) knife
Ordnance, 7.2in Howitzer Mk I-V
Ordnance, 7.2in Howitzer Mk 6
Ordnance, QF 3.7in mountain or pack howitzer
Ordnance, QF 4.5in field howitzer
Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC)
Sten machine carbine

United Kingdom and weapons of mass destruction

The United Kingdom possesses, or has possessed, a variety of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. The United Kingdom is one of the five official nuclear weapon states under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has an independent nuclear deterrent. The UK has been estimated to have a stockpile of approximately 160 active nuclear warheads and 225 nuclear warheads in total. [3] It had renounced the use of chemical and biological weapons in 1956 and subsequently destroyed its general stocks.


Official history of Britain’s home front in the Second World War, from the Phoney War, through the Battle of Britain and the Blitz to victory in Europe.


The first in the 18-volume Official History of the Second World War covers the defence of the British Isles on land, sea, and in the air. Beginning with disarmament after the Great War in 1918, Basil Collier traces Britain’s gradual rearmarment in the face of the renewed threat from Germany. There are chapters on the ‘Phoney war’ of 1939-40 and on the effects of the disastrous Norway campaign and the Dunkirk evacuation. The Battle of Britain in the summer of 1940 is extensively covered, as is ‘Operation Sealion’, Hitler’s abortive plan for a seaborne invasion of southern England. Collier describes the Luftwaffe’s switch from daytime raids on RAF fiighter stations to night bombing of the cities in the darkest days of the 1940-41 Blitz. He recounts the German bids to blockade Britain, and the energetic measures for home defence – including the formation of the Home Guard – taken by Churchill’s government. Finally, the book tells of the terrifying threat from the V1 Flying Bomb or ‘Doodle Bugs’ and ‘Hitler’s secret weapons’ – the V2 rockets launched in the last stages of the war in Europe. Profusely illustrated with 32 maps and 29 photographs, and accompanied by 50 appendices on specialised aspects of the war on the home front.

Additional information

J.R.M. Butler (Editor) Basil Collier (Author)

Usually despatched within 2-5 Days

2004 N&M Press reprint (original pub 1954). SB. xxii + 664pp with 43 maps and numerous contemporary photos
Published Price £22

WW2 Vehicles: American, British, and German

The following article on WW2 vehicles is an excerpt from Barrett Tillman' D-Day Encyclopedia. It is available for order now from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. This article focuses on WW2 vehicles used by Americans, the British, and Germans. The types of vehicles varied greatly on the theatre of war and particular battle conditions.&hellip

21" (53.3 cm) Torpedoes

21" (53.3 cm) Mark VIII and VIII**

Ship Class Used On All Submarines from the "O" Class on and MTBs
Date Of Design About 1925
Date In Service 1927
Weight 3,452 lbs. (1,566 kg)
Overall Length 21 ft 7 in (6.579 m)
Negative Buoyancy 804 lbs. (365 kg)
Explosive Charge Mark VIII
750 lbs. (340 kg) TNT

The Mark VIII was the first burner-cycle torpedo in service. The principal World War II version was the Mark VIII** and this torpedo was used far more than any other British torpedo during the war. 3,732 were fired by September 1944, 56.4% of the total. This torpedo was still in use in British ships as late as 1983 and was used longer in other navies.

21" (53.3 cm) Mark IX and IX**

Ship Class Used On Leander and later cruisers, "A" and later destroyer classes
Also replaced the old Mark VII in some 8" (20.3 cm) cruisers during the war
Date Of Design 1928
Date In Service 1930
Weight 3,732 lbs. (1,693 kg)
Overall Length 23 ft 10.5 in (7.277 m)
Negative Buoyancy 732 lbs. (332 kg)
Explosive Charge Mark IX and IX*
750 lbs. (340 kg) TNT

Mark IX*
11,000 yards (10,050 m) / 36 knots
14,000 yards (12,800 m) / 30 knots

First appeared in 1930 and was considerably improved by 1939.

21" (53.3 cm) Mark X, X*, X**, X*** and X****

Britain supplied modified torpedoes for ships from nations taken over by the Axis powers. The principal difference between the various versions was the overall length.

21" (53.3 cm) Mark XI

Ship Class Used On Post-War Destroyers
Date Of Design 1942
Date In Service 1944
Weight 3,632 lbs. (1,647 kg)
Overall Length 22 ft 5 in (6.833 m)
Negative Buoyancy 734 lbs. (333 kg)
Explosive Charge 710 lbs. (322 kg) TNT
Range / Speed 5,500 yards (5,000 m) / 28 knots
Power Electric batteries

The Royal Navy had little interest in electric torpedoes prior to World War II as they had poor performance compared to the burner-cycle units already in service and there seemed to be little need for a trackless torpedo. After some German G7e-T2 torpedoes were captured in 1940, Britain started a low-priority development program, but not much was done until 1942 when there was a need for trackless torpedoes for use in the Mediterranean. The first prototype was ready for trials in May 1943 but the surrender of the Italians again lowered the developmental priority. The first production torpedo was finally issued in August 1944 and some were delivered to the Far East but the war ended before any were used in action. Used two batteries with 26 cells each and a total weight 1,475 lbs. (669 kg). The motor produced 98 BHP at 1,755 rpm and took 960 amps at 91 volts. If the batteries were not heated prior to firing, then the range was reduced to 4,500 to 5,000 yards (4,100 to 4,570 m) at 28 knots.

The Defence of the United Kingdom

Collier Basil:

Published by London: The Imperial War Museum, 1995

The reprint of the official history volume. A book written from an inter-service viewpoint, with full access to official sources, of a series of major actions in which the air arm was predominant. Hardcover, xix, 590pp, with b/w illustrations and 32 maps throughout. 16 x 24cms. A Fine copy without inscriptions in Green cloth covers.

More buying choices from other sellers on AbeBooks

WW2 Weapons

World War 2 required a massive outpouring of manufacturing capabilities, giving rise to one of the world's largest industrial producers in the United States of America. The war, and its global reach, challenged many-a-nation to rise up and fight the Axis spread, which was led by German leader Adolph Hitler in Europe, and the empirical reach of Japan across Asia and the Pacific. With its roots planted firmly in The Great War, World War 2 was more or less an extension of the preceding conflict, seeing the growing fusion of man and machine into a more terrifying fighting force. The war was one of very defined heroes (the Allies) and villains (the Axis powers), each supporting their respective freedoms and tyranny while others played the game as it evolved (the Soviet Union of instance). In any case, the war set the stage for the regional conflicts we now witness in our 21st Century and have had a lasting impact on current and upcoming history.

Note: Weapons in development during the war (such as certain jet/rocket aircraft and some heavy tanks) are included in this listing though they may have not reached serial production nor operational service before the end of the conflict.

Bren Infantry LMG

“Ronnie the Bren Gun Girl” in Toronto, Canada, with a finished Bren Gun, 1941.

The Bren Light Machine Gun was a powerful, easy to use weapon that could always be relied upon and was the linchpin to British infantry platoons. The licensed British model of the Czechoslovakian ZB vz. 26, the Bren was adopted by the British Army as their main light machine gun and they placed three in each platoon, one per rifle section.

It was said a soldier could fix any problem with the Bren by just hitting it or adjusting the regulator for the gas piston. Equipped to take the .303 round used in the standard issue Lee-Enfield bolt-action rifle, the Bren was fed by a 30-round magazine (100-round pan magazine for anti-aircraft use) and could fire at a rate of 500-520 rounds per minute. The Bren and its Czech equivalent have been used by armies all over the world, even to this day.

Recent Groundbreaking Discoveries of World War II Artifacts

The Second World War was fought from the waters off the Antarctic to the Aleutian Islands. Ships were stalked by submarines and aircraft in the frigid waters above the Arctic Circle to the steaming Southwest Pacific. Spies and enemy agents crept about the alleyways and streets of communities around the world. Airbases and logistics camps were carved out of deep jungles, to be abandoned when their usefulness ended, or when they were overrun by the enemy. Ships of many nations went out to sea, never to be seen again. Likewise with aircraft dispatched on missions which were never completed, and from which they never returned. Some mysteries, such as the fate of the B-24 named Lady Be Good, were eventually solved. Others, such as what happened to famed trombonist and band leader Glenn Miller, never have.

The B-24 named Lady Be Good and the fate of its crew was discovered in the Libyan desert long after the war ended. US Air Force

More than seventy years after the end of the Second World War discoveries around the globe surprise explorers and researchers, or in some cases reward then after years of diligent search. The wrecks of great warships have been found in some cases, while in others they remain elusive. Aircraft, tanks, unexploded bombs and shells, communications equipment, and other forms of military detritus continue to be unearthed across the globe, in areas which were torn by combat and in some that were well behind the fighting lines. Occasionally the remains of some of the victims of the global calamity are discovered as well.

Here are some of the recent discoveries linked to the Second World War that remind later generations that it was far more than a passage in the history books.

USS Juneau, the sinking of which was the cause of the loss of the five Sullivan brothers, was discovered by Paul Allen. National Archives

1. The USS Juneau was the ship which carried the five Sullivan brothers

The United States Navy light cruiser Juneau was engaged in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal when it was heavily damaged by a torpedo launched from Japanese destroyer. The following morning, November 13, 1942, the damaged cruiser was steaming in company with two other cruisers when it was again torpedoed, that time by a Japanese submarine. Juneau broke in half and sank in less than a minute, and the violence of the explosion convinced the commanders of the other cruisers that there could not possibly have been survivors. The more than 100 survivors in the water clung to wreckage and rafts as they grimly watched the American warships steam away in the distance. Only ten would survive and be rescued. Among the dead were the five Sullivan brothers.

The sinking of the Juneau and the loss of the Sullivans became a war propaganda coup for the US Navy when the film The Fighting Sullivans was released, and a destroyer was named in their honor. The Navy kept quiet the fact that at least two of the brothers were among the sailors who survived the initial sinking, and several of the ten who did survive claimed they had seen three of the brothers alive in the water. In March of 2018 &ndash on St. Patrick&rsquos Day &ndash the wreck of the ship on which the five brothers had served was discovered on the ocean floor by a team led by Paul Allen and Robert Kraft. The ship is over two and a half miles beneath the surface near the Solomon Islands, a war grave for the nearly 800 men who perished in it and in the waters of the Pacific after it sank.

Lend-Lease and Military Aid to the Allies in the Early Years of World War II

During World War II, the United States began to provide significant military supplies and other assistance to the Allies in September 1940, even though the United States did not enter the war until December 1941. Much of this aid flowed to the United Kingdom and other nations already at war with Germany and Japan through an innovative program known as Lend-Lease.

When war broke out in Europe in September 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that while the United States would remain neutral in law, he could “not ask that every American remain neutral in thought as well.” Roosevelt himself made significant efforts to help nations engaged in the struggle against Nazi Germany and wanted to extend a helping hand to those countries that lacked the supplies necessary to fight against the Germans. The United Kingdom, in particular, desperately needed help, as it was short of hard currency to pay for the military goods, food, and raw materials it needed from the United States.

Though President Roosevelt wanted to provide assistance to the British, both American law and public fears that the United States would be drawn into the conflict blocked his plans. The Neutrality Act of 1939 allowed belligerents to purchase war materiel from the United States, but only on a “cash and carry” basis. The Johnson Act of 1934 also prohibited the extension of credit to countries that had not repaid U.S. loans made to them during World War I—which included Great Britain. The American military opposed the diversion of military supplies to the United Kingdom. The Army’s Chief of Staff, General George C. Marshall, anticipated that Britain would surrender following the collapse of France, and thus American supplies sent to the British would fall into German hands. Marshall and others therefore argued that U.S. national security would be better served by reserving military supplies for the defense of the Western Hemisphere. American public opinion also limited Roosevelt’s options. Many Americans opposed involving the United States in another war. Even though American public opinion generally supported the British rather than the Germans, President Roosevelt had to develop an initiative that was consistent with the legal prohibition against the granting of credit, satisfactory to military leadership, and acceptable to an American public that generally resisted involving the United States in the European conflict.

On September 2, 1940, President Roosevelt signed a “Destroyers for Bases” agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, the United States gave the British more than 50 obsolete destroyers, in exchange for 99-year leases to territory in Newfoundland and the Caribbean, which would be used as U.S. air and naval bases. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had originally requested that Roosevelt provide the destroyers as a gift, but the President knew that the American public and Congress would oppose such a deal. He therefore decided that a deal that gave the United States long-term access to British bases could be justified as essential to the security of the Western Hemisphere—thereby assuaging the concerns of the public and the U.S. military

In December 1940, Churchill warned Roosevelt that the British were no longer able to pay for supplies. On December 17, President Roosevelt proposed a new initiative that would be known as Lend-Lease. The United States would provide Great Britain with the supplies it needed to fight Germany, but would not insist upon being paid immediately

Instead, the United States would “lend” the supplies to the British, deferring payment. When payment eventually did take place, the emphasis would not be on payment in dollars. The tensions and instability engendered by inter-allied war debts in the 1920s and 1930s had demonstrated that it was unreasonable to expect that virtually bankrupt European nations would be able to pay for every item they had purchased from the United States. Instead, payment would primarily take the form of a “consideration” granted by Britain to the United States. After many months of negotiation, the United States and Britain agreed, in Article VII of the Lend-Lease agreement they signed, that this consideration would primarily consist of joint action directed towards the creation of a liberalized international economic order in the postwar world.