In 1941 in the USSR, perhaps the strangest weapon of domestic production was created and put into service. It fired at the enemy with glass and tin ampoules filled with various substances. Today, the discovery of a mysterious weapon of destruction is considered a rare success among search engines and archaeologists. What was it like?
We are talking about a 125-mm ampulo-gun of the Red Army, model 1941. As you might guess from the name, the weapon was intended for shooting with the very same metal (tin) and glass ampoules. Ammunition could start with an incendiary family (most often), a smoke charge, or even poisonous gases (only in theory). In fact, ampoule throwers were the forerunners of modern jet flamethrowers. This weapon was developed and released precisely as a replacement for the ROKS flamethrower in a defensive war.
It was proposed to use a 125-mm ampulomet against tanks, armored trains, vehicles, trenches and fortified positions of the enemy. In the first years of the war, in addition to tin and glass ampoules, shells filled with propaganda leaflets were made for these weapons. The ampulomet was charged by lining up a 12-gauge cartridge, which was inserted into the breech of the gun. The throwing range of the charge could be from 250 to 500 meters.
The design of the ampulomet was quite simple. It could be made at almost any factory and even handicraft with tools. They were made, for example, in besieged Leningrad from scraps of sewer pipes. The weapon consists of an ampulomet (pipe) itself weighing 10-15 kg and a machine with wheels weighing 5-18 kg. The sighting range of this strange weapon was 100-120 meters. The rate of fire reached 5-8 rounds per minute.
The ammunition used by Soviet artisanal mortars was originally made not for them, but for aviation. 125-mm tin and glass balls with incendiary or smoke mixture were dropped from aircraft to enemy positions or equipment. It was a very effective weapon, which was used until 1945, in contrast to the ampoule gun, which was removed from service already in 1942. True, some mortars were still used by the NKVD to throw propaganda shells at German positions.
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