This showroom is the only Showroom open to the public of the Light Weapons. Representative weapons of every phase of R.O.C. Army are all collected. Each weapon represents a difficult and arduous history. From the 500 rifles of the Whampoa Army, these weapons tells valiant stories of these soldiers, carrying their limitless heavy burden and spirit to sacrifice and fight for their fellow countrymen.
Exhibits on display in this Exhibition Room:
- Souvenir Guns
- Machine Guns
- Submachine Guns
- Heavy Weapons
- Sabers and Swords
- International Light Weapons
2. Plan of Showroom #5
The strength of a nation hinges mainly on the power of national defense. Hence, most nations around the world have made all-out efforts to research and develop weaponry. The military often regards the weapon as its second life. The weapons on exhibit are representative of the weaponry of our armed forces over the past decades and a record of the founding of the Republic of China. The weapons are an expression of blood and sweat of our officers and soldiers; in fact, every weapon tells a history, and loads with infinite responsibility and struggle and untold sacrifices by our martyrs and courageous stories about battles against our enemies. On exhibit are pistols, guns, rifles, machine guns, mortars, swords and various types of pistols and guns presented by foreign leaders to our defense ministers and chiefs-of-staff.
Leaders of foreign nations have the tradition of presenting guns or pistols to our defense ministers, chiefs-of-staff or generals as a token of gift. Because of provisions of the law governing control of guns, cannons, swords, and ammunition, these guns presented by foreign leaders must also be registered with the competent organs and apply for ownership of the guns every two years, so such commemorative guns or pistols are donated to the museum for storage. They include pistols, rifles, machine guns and hunting guns.
Most of them are commemorative guns while some generals also present their personal guns to their counterparts as a token of gift.
On exhibit are various types of handguns including revolvers, automatic handguns and different shapes of pistols. Revolvers are more reliable and durable than are semi-automatic pistols. Its disadvantage is it can carry less bullets and takes longer time to replenish. Semi-automatic pistols have two major sources of unreliability that revolvers do not share - the automatic feeding of fresh cartridges into the chamber, and the automatic ejection of empty cases. Revolvers usually are designed to hold six or nine bullets. Compared to semi-automatic handguns using bullet cartridges revolvers are still slow in replenishing bullets. However, due to more complicated mechanical design of the automatic handgun, its failure rate is high and troubleshooting is more difficult.
The long gun is the earliest light weapon. The earliest long gun dates back to the 14th century. In the early period, long guns focus on development of the ignition mechanism; in the middle period, the focus is on mechanical improvement; recently, focus is on improving materials, ergonomic design and improvement of the manufacturing processes. The appearance of semi-automatic and automatic rifles shows changes in tactics.
Rifles and machine guns are the main weapons in the battlefield. Various rifles and machine guns are on exhibit in the museum including Russian made rifles, domestically made rifles and machine guns and also machine guns made in Czechoslovakia. They show the evolution of rifles and machine guns and the evolution of firepower and military tactics.
Machine guns are important firearms used by the infantry and also a supplementary firearm to the artillery. They are generally divided into light machine guns, heavy machine guns, general purpose machine guns and special purpose machine guns. In the early stage, the heavy machine guns were developed from the “quick firegun”. Germany started to use the modern machine guns in the second year of World War I.
The submachine guns are often referred to as the hand carry machine guns. The submachine guns are heavy in weight, automatic and use pistol bullets with short barrels. The Taiyuan Armory in China started mass production of the U.S. M1921 45-inch Thompson submachine guns in 1925.
A mortar is a muzzle-loading artillery piece that fires indirect shells at low velocities, short ranges, and high-arcing ballistic trajectories. Typically a modern mortar consists of a tube into which is dropped a mortar shell (bomb) onto a firing pin resulting in the detonation of the propellant and the firing of the shell. Mortars are relatively simple and easy to operate artillery pieces. Light and medium mortars are man-portable, and are usually used by infantry organizations. Mortars on exhibit are calibers of 60mm, 81mm, 82mm and 120mm. A mortar can be carried by one or more people, or transported in a vehicle.
The Whampoa sword is also called the “soldier spirit short sword” or the “sword of sacrifice.’ After founding of Whampoa Military Academy, Principal Chiang Kai-shek used to present certificates and a type of short swords to the outstanding graduates. The revolutionary soldiers were educated not to surrender or be captured by the enemy; rather they were instructed to sacrifice themselves with the short sword. More varieties of swords are being developed later. Generally, the swords used by the army have more designs after Whampoa Academy models; the navy usually uses the anchor motif for design; and the air force uses the eagle for design.