Infantry weapons of World War 2 began mostly as the standard issue weapons that had been used in World War 1, but by the end of the war, numerous modern assault rifles, automatic pistols, and machine guns were being made. These weapons were made in the millions, and some were the standard issue in front line forces around the world well into the 1970s.
Rifles like the M1 Garand, Lee-Enfield, and German Karabiner 98, along with the famous Tommy Gun, Sten Gun and MP44 are familiar from countless war movies and documentaries. These weapons changed the nature of combat, allowing soldiers to lay down constant fire, and produced in gigantic quantities. Indeed, many irregular forces in conflict-ridden hot spots still use weapons made in the 40s, bought from one of the superpowers on surplus or captured through other means.
These are the most iconic weapons of World War 2.
M1 Garand Rifle
Standard rifle of the US armed forces for two decades. Called “the greatest battle implement ever devised” by General George S. Patton.
Super raid-fire German machine gun that outclassed all others.
Iconic German submachine gun, seen in countless war movies.
German fully-automatic assault rifle – the first of its kind.
Colt M1911 Pistol
Standard US sidearm from 1911 until 1985.
50 caliber machine gun used by US forces from 1933 until now.
Browning Automatic Rifle
Main light machine gun used by US infantry.
Thompson Submachine Gun
Iconic “Tommy Gun” that was used by Allied forces around the world.
Iconic German officer’s pistol that was prized by Allied troops as a war trophy.
Standard rifle of the German Army in World War 2. Nearly 15 million were made.
Mk 2 Pineapple Grenade
Iconic American grenade.
US antitank rocket launcher that became a pop culture icon.
German Anti-Tank weapon based off of the American made Bazooka
Short-range rifle used by US troops with specialized training.
Standard German army service pistol of World War 2.
There’s many more weapons of World War 2 that we didn’t list here, what did we miss?, let us know below.
Sources: Mike Rothschild,