During the North and East African campaigns, huge stockpiles of Italian weapons fell into British hands. Likewise, the Germans captured most of the BEF’s heavy equipment and small arms during the Dunkirk Evacuation. While food or fuel can be universally utilised, small arms, vehicles and artillery often require specialised training to be used. What was usually done with such materiel? Were Allied and Axis forces able to overcome unfamiliarity with foreign equipment, or were they generally unable to use this equipment in the field? If not, where did they end up? Which authorities were responsible for the distribution of this materiel? How did this vary across the various theatres of war? - Thanks
I know that in WW1 the Germans captured so much Russian ammunition and guns that they started to produce some. Maybe they did the same in WW2 if there was enough Soviet equipment being used by German soldiers. Sidenote: The American M3 “Grease Gun” was based on the German MP40.
As for Dunkirks captured weapons and equipment, I remember reading that the germans were able to fully equip several divisions worth of soldiers. As of captured tanks, they were used extensively. Especially czech (Panzer 35(t) & Panzer 38(t)) and french tanks were used, but as war progressed also US and Soviet Union tanks.
There were several infiltration attempts using captured US tanks in 1944-1945 in the west front.
I would guess that most captured equipment went to the rearguard units and garrisons or other non-vital units. Because in the frontlines if you have 10 weapons using different kinds of ammunitions, it is a huge strain on logistics.
As for tanks, the Germans actually used captured French Somua S-35 tanks and British Matilda tanks in North Africa. The Afrika Korps also used captured British heavy trucks to get through the desert and as supply lines. A few T-34s were also captured by the Germans an used in several incursions against the USSR. As for the Allies, I’m not really sure if they used captured Axis vehicles.