The Japanese did not make very extensive use of paratroopers and development of specialized weapons for them also lagged. Japanese airborne troops jumped armed with pistols and grenades, and their rifles and machine guns were dropped separately in containers. The experiences of the airborne attack on Palembang in Sumatra, Dutch East Indies, February 13-15, 1942 may have provided the impetus for the Japanese to get serious about paratrooper weapons. In that battle, canisters ended up landing in swamps some distance from the men, who then had to fight with just their pistols, bayonets and grenades.

World War II Record of Nippon Parachute Troops (1942-1944)

In order to allow paratroopers to keep their rifles with them, a rifle was developed that could be taken apart into 2 parts, which could be carried in a pouch during the jump. The Japanese experimented with several versions of paratrooper rifles, including ones with folding stocks and an interrupted thread-style take-down before settling on this one, which has a screw-in wedge that holds the two halves together.

The Imperial Japanese Army developed some special rifles for paratrooper, called as TERA (Teishin Rakkasan Assault/Raiding Paratroopers) Rifle. All designs were capable of either being broken down or folded into two parts and easily assembled or disassembled. There was one production model and two prototypes: Type 100, Type 2 and Type 1. Type 100 and Type 2 were based on Type 99 Rifle Arisaka and Type 1 was based on Type 38 Cavalry Rifle. Type 1 was not separated but folded. Type 1 was not introduced, because its folding mechanism was not enough reliable.

Type 2 Rifle was the most common production variant. The Type 2 is the only paratroop rifle that was produced in any real quantity. Actual production began in late 1943 and only about 21,200 were produced. Production ended in 1944 when the Japanese military realized that it would not be conducting any offensive airborne operations any time soon. The Type 2 was issued and used by both Army and Navy airborne units. The Type 2 is based on the Type 99 and is similar to it except the added take-down feature. By then Japanese airborne troops were usually delivered by landing the transport planes at the target rather than by jumping.

Type 02 paratroop rifle specifications.- 

  • Caliber: 7.7x58 - Overall length: 1150 mm - Barrel length: 620 mm - Weight: 4.05 kg - Magazine capacity: 5 rounds

Type 2 Rifle was separated into two parts: stock and action, and barrel and sights. This was done to make it more compact and easier to air drop with the rifle then quickly reassemble it once on the ground. This rifle is also often associated with a short version of knife-bayonet previously now known as the Test Type 1 (there was also a "Special Purpose Test Type 1" that showed some German influences).


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