Type 2 (Rifle Grenade Launcher)
Rifle Grenade Launcher
The Type 2 served the Imperial Japanese Army throughout their conquest of the Pacific.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
The Type 2 was a weapon system in service with the Imperial Japanese Army by the time of World War 2. The system attached to the barrel end of the standard issue Japanese infantry rifle and served as a "rifle grenade launcher". The Type 2 could fire 30mm or 40mm grenades as needed.
The Type 2 could be fitted to the business end of either the Type 38 or Type 99 rifles. The Type 38 of 1905 origin was a bolt-action system and produced in 3,400,000 examples, seeing action from the Russo-Japanese War into the Vietnam War. The Type 99 of 1939 was another bolt-action rifle of newer design and was produced from 1939 to 1945, seeing actions in the Second Sino-Japanese War up through the Chinese Civil War. Regardless, the Type rifle launcher was designed to fit the barrel of either weapon and the operator had the choice of two grenades to fire.
The 30mm grenade featured a length of 6.4 inches with a weight of 8.1 ounces. It was fitted with a half TNT / half RDX explosive compound to make short work of unarmored targets. The 40mm grenade was 7.1 inches in length and weighed in at 13 ounces. It was also fitted with the half TNT / half RDX compound but maintained some armor penetration properties up to 3.88 inches. The two projectiles were differentiated by their external design - the 30mm type was more streamlined while the 40mm type featured a noticeable division between the upper and lower body. Both sported rifling at their bases to provide the needed spin when launched. This spin helped to achieve some level of accuracy when in trajectory.
The Type 2 launcher was clamped over the muzzle of the Japanese service rifle. The actual grenade was activated by way of a wooden bullet or blank cartridge inserted by the operator and fired during the standard bolt-action firing procedure.
As a weapon system in the jungle-filled Pacific, the Type offered the regular Japanese soldier the capability to dislodge an enemy from a dug in position or apply a certain psychological effect to the battle. The grenade extended the reach and lethality of the typical soldier, allowing him to fire the projectile by way of trajectory without exposing himself to enemy fire.