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I'm a HUGE fan of anything WWII, movies, artifacts, articles, even attended a D-Day landing re-enactment in Conneaut, OH a few years back .... well worth the time & effort.

Although WWI related, I found this article interesting .... never knew, learn something new everyday. From the article:

There are even reports that American soldiers skilled in skeet shooting were placed along the front trenches to shoot enemy hand grenades from the air, deflecting or destroying the devices before they could hurt American troops.
Full article:

This awesome 'trench gun' terrified Germans in both World Wars
 

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"The German government lobbed an official protest against the weapon, saying that the weapon inflicted unnecessary cruelty. America responded that the claim was hollow coming from the nation that introduced chemical weapons and flamethrowers into warfare."

We'd have fallen all over ourselves to profusely apologize in more recent times and probably released frozen assets too.

"But the big reason that the Model 97 became so popular was that it could be “slamfired.” Typically, an operator readies a pump-action shotgun by pumping it to feed a round into the chamber and eject any empty casing currently in it. Then, they pull the trigger while aimed at their target to fire. Repeat.

But when slamfiring, they keep the trigger held back while pumping the weapon. When the new round feeds into the chamber, it will automatically fire. This meant the weapon could be fired as quickly as the operator could pump the handle.

The Model 97 held six rounds of 00 buckshot, each shell of which held nine pellets. A trained soldier slamfiring could fire all six rounds, 54 total lead pellets, in approximately two seconds. At the close ranges in many World War I trenches, the effect was devastating.


I have to wonder if this bit isn't just romantic conjecture on the part of the author. That this was a taught trench warfare technique or was a general practice is suspect. A skeet shooter wouldn't habitually employ such a method in pursuit of his avocation. He would place his shots on enemy targets though with greater facility because of his avocation.
 

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When I read the thread title, I never imagined hand grenades as targets. But I DID think of German...carrier pigeons! If I recall correctly, they had little Iron Crosses stenciled on their wings :image035:
 

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Trench warfare was nasty business. I fail to see why shooting someone with a shotgun is more cruel than chopping him up with a sharpened shovel. But I've read that Europeans tend to view shotguns as barbaric, apparently thinking that submachine guns are more civilized weapons.

I don't think I'd want the job of grenade-shooter, but I'd probably be grateful if someone else was doing it for my trench.
 
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