View Full Version : WWII nomenclamenture systems

11-05-2008, 01:02 PM
I´d like to hear opinions on, and examples of WWII nomenclamenture systems.

What was the worst, least sensible, most confusing way of naming/designating equipment?

Was it the US Army after abandoning the widespread model year naming (M1917 f.eks.), and then go looking for new names for everything new.

Here we have a new rifle, lets call it M1. We also have a new carbine, think we´d better call it M1, and a new submachine gun, which we´ll call M1, and our new 60mm and 81mm mortars, let´s call ´em both M1, a new 37mm AA gun, let´s be really inventive and call it ...erhm...M1.
A few more items of the period:
Flame Thrower M1
2.36-in rocket launcher M1 (Bazooka)
57mm Anti Tank Gun M1
75mm Pack Howitzer M1 (on Carriage M1)
90mm AA M1
120mm AA M1
155mm Gun M1 (on Carriage M1)
203mm Howitzer M1 (on Carriage M1 (same as 155mm gun, different from the 75mm How. carriage)
203mm Gun M1
240mm Howitzer M1
Light Tank M1
Medium Tank M1
And probably a lot more M1 that I don´t know. For some reason other numbers were also overwhelmed with items named by them.
Personally I hate the M-All system, as there is little system in it.

Little system was also a feature of RAF naming/numbering, but this was partially mitigated by the British talent for naming (not numbering) military equipment. The US borrowed names invented by the British for US aircraft, but the USAAC did have a sound system for numbering aircraft, while the USN aircraft designations could be annoying. There´s too many letters in a XSB2C-1 f.x.

Or was the worst the RLM allocating numbers in blocks to manufacturers, not even knowing whether the numbers would be used, and then deviating from this practice if lobbyed (The He 100 and Fw 200 had numbers "stolen" from other manufacturers), but being adamant about calling the Heinkel Volksjäger 162 (a number previously used by a Messerschmidt aircraft) despite Heinkel lobbying for the number 500? There were also other examples with the same number assigned to more than one type. The many /R and /U designations are confusing, but lets those in the know keep track of slight variations in production and modifications.

Or the German army? (which I forgot, now added by edit)
Fx. SdKfz 231 and SdKfz 247 both covered two different vehicles, which meant that anybody concerned must mention the number of wheels as well to make the nature of the vehicle clear. (Why using so many and so high numbers, and still using one number for more than one vehicle; I mean there ought to be numbers enough, no matter how many different kinds of vehicle you build...)

"Panzerselbstfahrlafette 1 für 7,62cm PaK 36(r) auf fahrgestell-Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf. D" (Yep, that´s its name and it´s explanatory all right, but ....Addghk!!! ...it´ll never sound good or read well). (I thought this was the first Marder (now that´s an easier name), besides being the "SdKfz 132", but there no reference to that name in the book here with me).
Anyway the poor "Panzerselbstfahrlafette 1c 5cm PaK 38 auf Panzerkampfwagen II Sonderfahrgestell 901" had no other name...

Or was it Soviet airborne guns...?
Called f.x.:
ShKAS, Berezin, ShVAK, B-20, ShA-20M, VYa, NS-23, Ya Taubin MP-6, Sh-37, MPSh-37.
Most of which give no clue to the nature of the item, can hardly pronunced, while there´s no way to remember whether letter are small or large.
Most if not all letters are derived from the weapons inventor. In case of the Sh-37 this was Boris Shpitalny and the caliber 37mm.

The best system?
I like the USN numbering system, assigning a 2 or 3 letter code to all categories of ship from BB (Battleship) to IX (unclassified miscellaneous) and then chronological numbering. This is a good thing considering what names the USN could come up with in WWII:
Monogahela, Tappahanncock, Ocklawaha, Ponaganset, Chewaugan, Maquoketa, Susquehanna (all tankers) or the unending name calling of US Destroyer and DE classes; Hilary P. Jones, and Charles P. Hughes (whoever they were) simply s#cks as ships names.

While the Royal Navy must be uncrowned champion of ship naming (with the possible exception of the IJN), the ships also carried numbers, the meaning of which has always eluded me.

I have a strong dislike for assigning ships numbers only (in common with IJN sailors who demanded their ships named, when new DD´s sometime in the 1920´s were assigned numbers only). The Germans though never gave much thought to naming smaller vessels (of 1500+ submarines built during two world wars they only bothered to name 11), while the USN kept naming their fish-named subs after fish-yet-to-be-discovered when it ran out of real names.

:) to the USN for being systematic and creative, to USAAC for making sense
to the RN and RAF for unforgetable names
to IJN (for f.x Ayanami (which means something like: waves which beauty reminds of figures woven in silk)

:( to the Red Navy for re-naming every ship they ever laid their hands on (twice, more often than not)
to the Soviet and German systems mixing small and large letters
to the US Army for calling scores of systems by the same name (many times over)

11-05-2008, 04:48 PM
for f.x Ayanami (which means something like: waves which beauty reminds of figures woven in silk)
That is a cool name! :)
Japanese poetry is really great!

11-05-2008, 05:03 PM
What about the MP43,MP44 and the Stg44?So many people think it's a different weapon ,it's not even funny anymore.

11-06-2008, 10:23 AM
Originally Posted by snebold View Post
for f.x Ayanami (which means something like: waves which beauty reminds of figures woven in silk)
That is a cool name!
Japanese poetry is really great!

It is:D
-nami names = different kinds of waves (Tsunami carried over to other languages) (16 Japanese destroers with diiferent -nami names in WWII (we do not have that many words for waves in my country...)
-kaze names = different kinds of winds (Kamikaze (= divine wind), quite well known;) ) (35 Japanese destroers with diiferent -kaze names in WWII)

What about the MP43,MP44 and the Stg44?So many people think it's a different weapon ,it's not even funny anymore.

No differencies between MP43 and MP44? (Guess they decided that the weapon didn´t fit the MP category after all, after naming it twice in that category;) )