The use of wooden bullets by Axis powers in WW II

The use of wooden bullets by Axis powers in WW II

TCUNC76
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TCUNC76
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Joined: November 26th, 2007, 7:29 pm

March 6th, 2011, 9:57 am #1

    While watching a dvd documentary on Normandy 101st paratrooper Ed Manley said he encountered a German machine nest firing wooden bullets at him on D-Day and I have read or seen other sites mention this use of wooden bullets by Axis powers........perhaps a shortage of ammo production by Germany & Japan ? Saw this comment on another site and wonder if any of you had read similar things on this topic ?


                                                TC
To forum members:

Over the years, this issue might have surfaced and discussed in the past, 
but there still seems to be some confusion regarding the accuracy of the 
following observation:

My dad once mentioned that, as he entered Germany at the close of the war, 
he saw piles of "wooden bullets." Many have discounted this as one of the 
myths of war, noting that these wooden bullets were simply training rounds 
used for nothing more than practice, security, or target sighting. What 
seems consistent in the accounts is that they are often described as being 
more visible late in the war.

One point of contention was that such rounds would certainly not be lethal, 
and would not work in machine guns without a special adapter. 

Others claim that wooden bullets were indeed found among both the German 
and Japanese forces, and that these represented ammunition being in short 
supply. 

Maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Any insights, explanations, or deconstruction from forum members on this 
topic?
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gjd52
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March 6th, 2011, 11:52 am #2

What we are talking about is the projectile itself being wooden. The casing could be either brass or steel and steel was used later in the war with a layer of shellac or something similar to prevent rusting. The "wooden bullets" given to me by 101st guys had either a purple or red colored wooden projectile. Both were 8mm rounds and it's possible one of them turned into a purple color after exposure to the sun-but I don't really know.
Some 321st guys swear that the Germans were using these type of bullets against them reason being they were just trying to put more hurt on their enemies. 
After reading numerous explanations for the intended use by the Germans such as tracers, blanks to launch rifle grenades, evil nazi devices and so forth the most plausible seems to be a cheaper manufactured target training round. Seriously doubt a rifleman would get any accuracy or range from firing tree parts. Somebody call "mythbusters"!
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adam517
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March 6th, 2011, 12:32 pm #3

I read somewhere online that Wooden bullets were indeed a cheaper alternative but that the Germans used them for close in fights because of the damage they could inflict upon a victim.



Adam
Ignorance means life is lost.
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Ron
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Ron
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March 6th, 2011, 6:22 pm #4

I dont think it was a "cheaper price" the Germans were after. Although it was a side benefit for them.(they had a lot of slave labor ,material was of value though).

My dad said that he was shot at in Normandy with them , not so much in the Bulge or Holland.

Said "you knew it when they shot at you with a wooden bullet" it made a different sound that the copper cased bullets."

The reason they did this if, you were hit and it killed you, fine, but if you were wounded it took more effort and manpower to get you to an aid station and thus less men on the line, also it tied up the Medics. And if you were hit, you may not return to the front anyway soon as the splinters were hard to find and remove.

I have a theory of why they made a different sound too, all my years of chonographing handloads, I believe they had to load them at a lower velocity to keep them together, ( vaporizing) thus a different sound when they missed you.

Ron
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Cimarron 44
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Cimarron 44
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March 6th, 2011, 8:38 pm #5

Interesting article on wooden bullets
http://bit.ly/hqt1oa
Paul Clifford
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Coevering
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Joined: December 12th, 2007, 7:54 am

March 6th, 2011, 11:31 pm #6

A long time ago I heard from a local in Best that Cole was killed with a wooden bullet.... for what it's worth....
I find it odd that a civilian would have that intel but on the other hand... the German had wooden bullets and that is info hard to obtain for a civilian too....
Jurgen.
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adam517
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adam517
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March 7th, 2011, 2:05 am #7

For a sniper to hit Cole with a rubber bullet over distance would take some shooting wouldn't it?



Adam
Ignorance means life is lost.
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Tom Kibler
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March 7th, 2011, 6:18 am #8

A dear friend of mine, Gordon H. Cullings Medical detachment C/508 was shot in the chest on 7 January 1945 with a wooden bullet. In his account, he believes, as did the doctor that treated him, that he was NOT killed because it was a wooden bullet. The Doctor removed what was left of the wooden round after Cullings was evacuated by jeep, train and ?? to get to France.



Over the years I've seen them and handled them.... But that's all I can add.
(Cullings is pictured in my avatar)



TK
Always on the lookout for WW2 Airborne items: tlckkibler@msn.com
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currahee506
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March 8th, 2011, 2:40 pm #9

TC:
I know an area WWII 2nd Ranger who recalls the wooden bullets - even brought a few home with him!!!
I'll have to see if I can dig up the pictures.
Rich
The point I was trying to make is that you have to be prepared to give to the people you lead. You must give in every way. You must give of your time, and you must be consistent in your treatment of them. You must never take from people you lead. Later, at Brécourt Manor, Compton did a fantastic job leading his men.

     
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mike lloyd
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March 8th, 2011, 4:36 pm #10

One marine I know who fought on Iwo said a bunch of his buddies were hit by wooden bullets.  The Japanese used them because they were NOT lethal, and wounding one man meant taking 2-3 out of the fight because they stopped to care for the wounded soldier. 
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