×
Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Infantry Arms Warships & Submarines Military Pay Scale Military Ranks
Advertisements

HOME
INFANTRY
MODERN ARMIES
SPECIAL FORCES
COUNTRIES
MANUFACTURERS
COMPARE
BY CONFLICT
BY TYPE
BY DECADE
COLD WAR
MODERN
VIETNAM WAR

M40 (RR)


106mm Recoilless Rifle (1955)


Infantry Small Arms / The Warfighter

1 / 1
M40 Recoilless Rifle atop an M38A1 JEEP; Image from the Public Domain.

Jump-to: Specifications

The American-originated M40 Recoilless Rifle series appeared during the mid-1950s, during the height of the Cold War period, and still finds use on modern battlefields.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 09/04/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.
Advertisements
As more and more stout Soviet-originated tanks permeated possible battlefields of the Cold War, the United States military funded many anti-tank weapon ventures. One chief development emerging from the later stages of World War 2 (1939-1945) was the recoilless rifle, a relatively lightweight weapon attempting to counter violent recoil forces by jettisoning some of the escaping propellant gasses to the rear while the projectile exited the gun tube at front. Many tank counters were eventually designed around this basic principle including the classic world renown Carl Gustav launcher from Sweden (detailed elsewhere on this site).

The M40 entered service with American forces in the middle of the 1950s, missing out on service in the Korean War (1950-1953) but was heavily featured in the Vietnam War (1955-1975) that followed. Since then, the weapon has gone on to see considerable action in conflicts like the Algerian Civil War (1954-1962), the Indo-Pak War (1971), the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) and - more recently - in the Libyan Civil War (2011) and the ongoing Syrian Civil War (2011). Its overall simplicity and low operating / procurement costs have made it a battlefield fixture despite its 1950s origins (particularly favored by modern-day rebel forces like those in the Syrian conflict).

Manufacture of the guns stemmed from the Watervliet Arsenal of Watervliet, New York. The weapon was developed from the largely M27 105mm gun series which gave less-than-stellar performance for its time as a frontline weapon. It saw most of its service in the Korean War and was remembered for its excessive handling weight and general reliability issues (the latter largely due to its hurried development phase). Additional work on the line produced the "T136" developmental designation until finalization begat the "M40". The new gun was, therefore, an improved form of the original M27 which had its own roots in the latter stages of World War 2.

The M40 was designed to fire a fixed projectile arriving in several flavors: High-Explosive, Anti-Tank (HEAT), HEAP (High-Explosive, Anti-Personnel), APERS (flechette) and Canister shot (among others). The gun was chambered to fire a 105x607mmR projectile which helped differentiate it from the earlier M27 recoilless rifle (this weapon's 105mm projectiles were not compatible with the M40). Beyond its usefulness in the anti-tank/anti-armor role, the M40 could be used against dug-in enemy infantry through special anti-personnel rounds issued and as a "bunker buster" when attempting to tackle hardened structures. The weapon could be featured on its standard tripod assembly or mounted atop a vehicle for a fast, hard-hitting assault approach. The original projectile held value against armor some 400mm thick.

As a complete system, the M40 weighed 462 lb and featured an overall length of 11 feet. A heavy-duty tripod supported the weapon through all facets of its operation (unless vehicle-mounted). The operating crew numbered at least two personnel and loading/reloading of the shells was through the breech-end of the tube. A sighting device allowed for accurized fire at range but engagement angles were strictly limited to Direct-Line-of-Sight (DLOS). An M8 .50 caliber rifle was seated above the tube for spotting purposes. The tripod gave an inherent -17 to +65 degree of elevation reach as well as full 360-degree traversal left or right of centerline. Muzzle velocity of the exiting shells was 1,650 feet per second and effective ranges were out to 1,480 meters. Maximum range was listed at 6,870 meters.

The M40 series went on to see considerable export sale / usage in its service years. Operators ranged from Australian and Austria to Uruguay and Venezuela. Some later, foreign-developed projectiles gave increased penetration of armor up to 700mm thick. The M40 recoilless rifle was the featured weapon on the American M50 "Ontos" tracked vehicle (detailed elsewhere on this site) and six such weapons were installed on the compact tank (though all had to be reloaded externally). The Japanese Self-Defense Force (JSDF) developed the "Type 60" tank destroyer which seated two M40 guns in a side-by-side arrangement over the right side of the hull. Iranian defense industry produced the M40 locally as the "Anti-Tank Gun 106".

Many M40 systems have been retired by fist-rate armies of the world particularly with the rise in effectiveness of Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs). The U.S. Army adopted the Hughes BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missile series to succeed weapons like the M40. The BGM-71 series appeared in 1970.

Production of the M40 has been vast with participants found (whether through legal or illegal production means) in Austria (Lohner GmbH), China (NORINCO), India (Ordnance Factory Board), Iran (Defense Industries Organization), Pakistan (Pakistan Machine Tool Factory Ltd), South Korea (KIA Machine Tool Company), and Spain (Santa Barbara Sistemas).

Specifications



Service Year
1955

Origin
United States national flag graphic
United States

Classification


106mm Recoilless Rifle


Watervilet Arsenal - USA / NORINCO - China (among others)
National flag of Angola National flag of Australia National flag of Austria National flag of Bahrain National flag of Bangladesh National flag of Bolivia National flag of Brazil National flag of Cameroon National flag of Canada National flag of Chile National flag of Colombia National flag of Cyprus National flag of Denmark National flag of the Dominican Republic National flag of Ecuador National flag of Egypt National flag of France National flag of Gabon National flag of Greece National flag of India National flag of Indonesia National flag of Iraq National flag of Iran National flag of Israel National flag of Italy National flag of modern Japan National flag of Jordan National flag of Lebanon National flag of Libya National flag of Malaysia National flag of Mexico National flag of Morocco National flag of Myanmar National flag of New Zealand National flag of Nicaragua National flag of Niger National flag of Nigeria National flag of Norway National flag of Pakistan National flag of Peru National flag of the Philippines National flag of Portugal National flag of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia National flag of Singapore National flag of South Africa National flag of South Korea National flag of Spain National flag of Sri Lanka National flag of Sudan National flag of Somalia National flag of Switzerland National flag of Syria National flag of Taiwan National flag of Thailand National flag of Turkey National flag of Tunisia National flag of the United Arab Emirates National flag of the United States National flag of Uruguay National flag of Vietnam National flag of Venezuela National flag of Yemen National flag of Zimbabwe Angola; Australia; Austria; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Bolivia; Brazil; Burkina Faso; Cambodia; Cameroon; Canada; Central African Republic; Chile; Colombia; Cyprus; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Denmark; Djibouti; Dominican Republic; Egypt; Ecuador; El Salvador; Estonia; France; Gabon; Guatemala; Greece; Haiti; Honduras; India; Indonesia; Iran; Iraq; Israel; Italy; Ivory Coast; Japan; Jordan; Laos; Lebanon; Liberia; Libya; Luxembourg; Madagascar; Malaysia; Mauritania; Mexico; Morocco; Myanmar; New Zealand; Nicaragua; Niger; Nigeria; Norway; Pakistan; Peru; Philippines; Portugal; Rhodesia; Saudi Arabia; Singapore; Somalia; South Africa; South Korea; Spain; Sudan; Suriname; Sri Lanka; Switzerland; Syria; Taiwan; Thailand; Tunisia; Turkey; Uruguay; United Arab Emirates; United States; Venezuela; Vietnam; Yemen; Zimbabwe
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Anti-Armor / Anti-Tank / Anti-Material
Designed to engage and defeat armor / enemy tanks at range.


Overall Length
3,400 mm
133.86 in
Barrel Length
3,400 mm
133.86 in
Empty Wgt
462.97 lb
210.00 kg
Sights


Integrated Optics.


Action


Single-Shot; Reusable Gun Tube; Recoilless

(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)


Caliber(s)*


105x607mmR

Rounds / Feed


Single-Shot
Cartridge relative size chart
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources.
**Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.
Max Eff.Range
4,430 ft
(1,350 m | 1,477 yd)
Rate-of-Fire
12
rds/min
Muzzle Velocity
1,650 ft/sec
(503 m/sec)


M40 - Base Series Designation
M40A1
10.6cm rPAK M40A1 - Local Austrian designation; production by Lohner GmbH.
Type 75 - Local Chinese designation; production by NORINCO.
CSR-106 - Local Spanish designation; production by Santa Barbara Sistemas.
Anti-Tank Gun 106 - Local Iranian designation; production by Defense Industries Organization (DIO).


Military lapel ribbon for the American Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2


Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns / operations.

Advertisements





Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies


2022 Military Pay Scale Army Ranks Navy Ranks Air Force Ranks Alphabet Code DoD Dictionary American War Deaths French Military Victories Vietnam War Casualties

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft, and SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane.


Facebook Logo YouTube Logo

www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-