Weaponry and communications

Owen Machine Carbine

The Owen machine carbine gun was first introduced into the Australian Army in 1942, and quickly developed a reputation for being simple to operate, hard-wearing and reliable. It fired 9 mm pistol ammunition and was capable of fully automatic fire. The Owen's cyclic rate of fire was about 600 rounds per minute, but it was usually fired in two- to three-round bursts, as the magazine only held 33 rounds.

A short-range weapon, the Owen had been ideal for jungle fighting during the Second World War, but in the longer-range fighting of the Korean War it was less useful. It was best during the close-quarter fighting carried out by raiding parties and patrols during the stalemate phase of the war. Two Owen machine carbines were issued to every Australian infantry section (10 men).

HOBJ3996Corporal R.F.A. "Tosh" Smith from Prahran, Victoria, shows his Owen machine carbine to Sergeant First Class Robert Steare of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Note the top-mounted magazine, a distinctive feature of the Owen machine carbine. HOBJ3996