Welrod Silent Gun

Probably, it will not be a secret for anyone that war, despite all the negative moments that it carries with it, is the most powerful catalyst in the development of science and technology. Naturally, the prioritization in such a situation is quite specific and, despite the fact that in principle all industries are developing, the military industry, including the firearms, receives the greatest development. weapon. In addition to the very rapid modernization of those models that already exist, new ones appear, sometimes radically different not only in their design, but also in the specifics of their application from generally accepted samples. A striking example of this is the silent pistol Welrod, which lasted in service with the British army from the middle of World War II until the end of the twentieth century.

Welrod Silent GunAt the beginning of the fortieth year, the command of the British Army was forced to reconsider their views on the conduct of hostilities. Now, preference was given to sabotage operations, which showed significantly greater efficiency than the attack "in the forehead." But it is not enough just to change the views on the conduct of war, in addition to this, there was a need for equipment and weapons that would be suitable for the performance of various tasks. If there were no special problems with equipment, then there were actually no special weapons, which should be armed with small detachments for conducting operations on enemy territory. In particular, for such operations a completely silent weapon was required, which would not betray the shooter either by the operation of automation, or, naturally, by the sound of the shot itself. Already existing samples were immediately discarded, since even being equipped with silent firing devices, they were not completely silent. The arrow gave the sound of the mechanisms of the weapon, and most non-self-loading samples simply were inconvenient to transport or were capricious in adverse operating conditions. The creation of a completely silent weapon for the British Army was entrusted to a design bureau known as the “Ninth Division”. Giving preference to small dimensions and weight, it was decided to make an absolutely silent non-self-loading pistol.

It should be noted that the welrod noiseless pistol is the end result of the development; a Model-1 pistol was created before it, which, due to certain shortcomings in the design, did not become widespread. So the most important distinguishing feature between the two models was that the end result had a removable handle, which was a regular rubber-covered store for a more comfortable retention. When transporting the handle-shop was detached, and the weapon could be easily transported, without creating absolutely any inconvenience. Weapon control elements underwent changes as well, if the Model-1 had a rather unusual trigger system (the trigger was on the left side of the weapon), then Welrod became more close to the classic models. To be honest, the Model-1 and Welrod differ only in a redesigned trigger mechanism and shutter handle, otherwise the pistols are identical to the design of the device for silent shooting.

By itself, a Welrod pistol is a steel cylinder, divided into two parts. One of them is a silent firing device, but about it a little later, for the time being we will analyze the gun itself in more detail. The barrel of a weapon is installed in a steel tube housing, while the barrel has rows of holes that are designed to divert the powder gases to the first of the chambers of the silent shooting device. This made it possible to significantly reduce both the dimensions of the pistol and increase the effectiveness of reducing the sound of a shot, but it adversely affected the speed of the bullet. On the back of the hull tube is a bolt, which is an upgraded Mouser version, which is often used in rifles. By the way, if in the Model-1 pistol a shutter handle similar to rifle was used, in the Welrod pistol it was removed, instead of it there is a small knurled knob on the back of the pistol. This made it possible not only to reduce the size of the weapon, but also to make reloading more convenient for the shooter, moreover, now it became possible to use the weapon with both the right and the left hand, which could not be said about the Model-1 - the handle of the shutter interfered. Recharging was carried out quite simply and quickly. After the shot, without lifting the holding hand from the pistol grip, it was necessary to turn the rotary knob of the bolt counterclockwise, pull it back, removing the cartridge case and cocking the trigger mechanism, and then push the bolt forward and turn it clockwise. With a certain skill, the shooter could fire at a sufficiently large pace, which, in sum, with almost complete noiselessness was a great plus for the weapon.

And everything would be great in this gun if it were not for the silent shooting device. The fact is that for the sake of higher efficiency, the designers sacrificed its resource, so that one could not even dream of a durable, silent weapon. However, the Welrod pistol silent shooting device did not lose its qualities during the 15 shots, and this was often enough to complete one operation. In addition, the CBE could be updated by the shooter himself, so his wear was due to the wear of the rubber pads inside the device for silent firing, and with a fairly simple design of the weapon, their replacement did not take much time or effort. By itself, the device silent shooting pistol Welrod can be divided into two parts. One of them is a large chamber in which powder gases fall from the holes in the barrel; it is connected to the second part of the CBE by means of a metal washer with holes. The second part is divided into several chambers with metal washers and rubber gaskets. The most interesting is that there was no standard set of gaskets, they could alternate in a wide variety of sequences, perhaps the only unchanging point was the rubber gasket at the muzzle of the gun and directly at the very exit of the device silent shooting. As noted above, this design was short-lived, for this reason, the fighter had a spare set of gaskets for PBS, which were most often already assembled in a certain sequence and mounted on a steel pin, for ease of replacement.

Naturally, the pistol itself is far from everything that interests in a silent weapon, and the ammunition that is used is also important. In this case, the designers did not reinvent the wheel and, saving government money, made their weapons in two versions - under the cartridges 7,65x17 and 9x19. The truth is usually a little confusion. The fact is that initially the Welrod pistol was created for the 9x19 cartridge, respectively, received the designation Mk.I and only after that appeared the Mk.II for the 7,65x17 cartridges. The armament of the pistols was taken in reverse order, which is why they are constantly confused. Outwardly, both models differ primarily in size, besides the version for 9x19 cartridges has a safety bracket.

The Welrod Mk.I pistol has a kilogram weight of 1,5 and a millimeter length of 360. His store is single-row, it contains all 6 xNNXX 9 cartridges. The length of the "leaky" gun barrel is 19 millimeters, and the speed of the bullet is 95 meters per second.

Gun Welrod Mk.II has a more modest weight and dimensions. So its mass is 1,09 kilogram, with a length of 310 millimeters, the length of the barrel remains the same - 95 millimeters, the bullet of the 7,65х17 cartridge has a speed when the 215 silent shooting device departs from the meter per second, but the weapon magazine already holds 8 cartridges. Despite the much lower efficiency of the used ammunition, which has already decreased due to the reduced speed of movement, this sample attracted more attention of officials, which is not surprising in view of the lower weight, size and greater capacity of the store. Nevertheless, practice has shown that this model is effective at a very short distance and already at a distance of 10 meters cannot guarantee the assured defeat of the enemy. It was also noteworthy that there were cases when the bullet fired from this pistol could not penetrate the solid Aryan forehead. This was the main reason for adopting an older model. Subsequently, it was slightly modernized, the sights, the ejection window of the spent cartridges and so on changed, that is, the gun underwent cosmetic changes, after which the letter “A” was added to its name.

But these two models of pistols are still far from useful, which the designers of the 9 section were able to squeeze out of their design. On the basis of the second model, a single-shot silent shotgun was created for the 7,65 cartridge millimeters - Sleeve Gun. This device was all the same Welrod pistol, but no longer had a store, and the fire was controlled by a swinging lever in the place where the front sight was located near the pistol. According to the developers, this device had to be mounted in the sleeve of the shooter’s clothes, which, provided the application was silent, made it an absolutely invisible weapon. The objectives of this device were supposed to be the senior military officials of Nazi Germany. Officially, this shooting object was not adopted, as well as no mention of its combat use, which is quite possible to believe in the form of certain features of such weapons. The fact is that in order to reload the device, it was necessary to unscrew the bolt of the weapon, get the cartridge case, install the new cartridge and screw the bolt in, which required a lot of time. In addition, there could be no talk of aiming shooting due to the fact that the shooter literally fired a shot, although with a certain amount of training from such shooting it could well be a good thing. If one could fantasize a little and add a laser designator to this device, then, of course, it would be much more popular, but, unfortunately, at that time nobody could think of a compact flashlight with a reduced beam of light.

The use of Welrod pistols was not limited to the Second World War at all; they were successfully used afterwards, besides, these pistols attracted the attention of armies of other countries. So the most famous fact of using this weapon is its use in the 70-ies in Laos, Cambodia, Northern Vietnam. This gun was also highlighted in military operations for control of the Falkland Islands. The last of the hostilities where these weapons were officially used is Operation Desert Storm. And almost everywhere, these models of pistols were noted as one of the most reliable and trouble-free images of silent weapons, which is understandable in its structure to everyone, and its maintenance takes a few minutes.

Based on the above, it should be noted that sometimes the key to success for a weapon is its simplicity and high reliability in a variety of conditions. On the other hand, recently this rule has been violated. Designers create more and more complex devices, manufacturers produce them, and the end user has no choice but to put up with what was given to him. Already there are plenty of examples of the fact that a weapon operating under ideal conditions and passing a reliability test, which calculates every grain of sand that gets into it, in reality fails after every tenth shot due to the same sand or dirt. In principle, there is nothing wrong with the fact that many of the samples can only be used with perfect purity; after all, they can be used both within the city and inside buildings. But if you plan to use a weapon in the desert or marshland, then it would be more reasonable to sacrifice its combat performance for the sake of greater reliability, because a shot, even in the case of a miss, is in many situations much better than no shot at all.
Karasik Kirill
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