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"The ‘Little Joe’ Crossbow, Weapon of the OSS" Topic

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302 hits since 18 Nov 2020
©1994-2020 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP18 Nov 2020 9:01 p.m. PST

"On October 27, 1942, the U.S. Office of Strategic Services, the nation's wartime intelligence agency, asked the National Defense Research Committee to come up with a silent, easily concealed weapon that its covert operatives could carry deep into occupied territories and use for such purposes as eliminating sentries or guard dogs. The OSS's proposed specifications included a muzzle velocity of 1,000 feet per second and a minimum reloading time of 30 seconds. Wrestling with the challenge, the NDRC's engineers set aside ideas for propellant weapons and, looking to the past for inspiration, decided instead to investigate the potential of crossbows.

One of their ideas, which reached prototype form in February 1943, was the "Little Joe Penetrometer"—essentially a hand-held, vertical-profile pistol crossbow. The frame was made from heat-treated aluminum; the bowstring from 50 rubber bands. A section of graphite-coated linen in the center of the bowstring was the contact point for an 8-ounce bolt with a broad-headed metal tip…"
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Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP18 Nov 2020 9:44 p.m. PST

A 1,000 ft. per second is a very, VERY lofty bar.

Even modern, full-sized crossbows don't get anywhere near that velocity. That's more like pistol velocity, as opposed to anything with a bow.

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP18 Nov 2020 11:11 p.m. PST

M1911 firing .45 ACP is only 900 fps.

Interesting but seems a bit bulky to smuggle under your shirt.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek
Bunker Talk blog

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP19 Nov 2020 4:43 a.m. PST

Does at least suggest that those Mad Max pistol crossbows are actually feasible. They never looked very dangerous to me…

dale mcroberts19 Nov 2020 5:42 a.m. PST

But as used by Waylander? Deadly. :-o

General Kirchner19 Nov 2020 6:55 a.m. PST

it looks like 50 ft/sec is a lofty goal with that thing….

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP19 Nov 2020 10:59 a.m. PST



bsrlee20 Nov 2020 2:19 a.m. PST

The photo in the story does not have the original rubber bands – it used hundreds. There was an article on these decades ago in the Journal of the Society of Archer Antiquaries which had photos of them with the original bands – the bands looped over steel pins that fitted in the claw shapes.

Australia also developed a 'silent' crossbow weapon for the Pacific Theater, but it fired 1 inch diameter explosive and incendiary bolts do destroy supplies and buildings, not anti-personel.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP20 Nov 2020 12:04 p.m. PST



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