Under the Radar

'The Weapon Hunter' Goes In-Depth on Military Artifacts

Season Two of the Smithsonian Channel's  The Weapon Hunter premieres on Sunday February 12th at 9 p.m. ET/PT with an episode called "Vietnam Road Warrior."

Host Paul Shull describes himself as a "renaissance punk" who picked up an interest in military memorabilia after hearing his grandfather's World War II service stories. We've got a clip from the new season below.

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In this first episode, Paul helps Vietnam vet Sammy Seay rebuild a Gun Truck. These weapons played a vital role in the Vietnam War, escorting supply convoys through regions most likely to come under attack. The two of them put the truck to the test, in a staged ambush that reveal just how tough the machines were, as well as the men who rode them.

Here are descriptions and showtimes of the other five episodes from the six-episode season. If you don't get the Smithsonian Channel at your house, check out their TV and mobile device apps or search for the show online. Compared to other channels, the network is remarkably generous with sharing its programming without a login.

1. THE WEAPON HUNTER: BIG BAD B-25

Premieres Sunday, February 19 at 9 p.m. ET/PT

Paul is looking for the final missing piece of a World War II B-25 bomber, which is being restored by the United States Commemorative Air Force. The piece in question is the heart of this flying weapons system - the Norden bombsight. Paul’s search takes him into the arid Californian desert. Then he heads on to a unique flight school where he learns to fly a B-25 and to use the World War II targeting scope to drop a bomb.

2. THE WEAPON HUNTER: PEARL HARBOR PAYBACK

Premieres Monday, February 26 at 8 p.m. ET/PT

Paul attempts to rebuild a weapon that helped America move on from the devastation of Pearl Harbor, the 20mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft cannon. While hunting down parts for this kamikaze-killer, Paul meets a Navy veteran who describes the carnage of Pearl Harbor. He also experiences the deadly capabilities of a vintage Japanese Zero fighter plane, all in a bid to understand how and why the Oerlikon cannon helped turn the tide in the Pacific theatre. 

3. THE WEAPON HUNTER: WORLD’S FASTEST WEAPON

Premieres Sunday, March 5 at 9 p.m. ET/PT

Paul sets out to fix and fire the fastest gun ever built: the Minigun - a rotating six-barrel monster that can fire up to 6,000 rounds per minute. Teaming up with Vietnam helicopter pilot Fred Behrens, Paul must track down the parts they need to get Fred’s vintage weapon firing again. Along the way, Paul investigates the evolution of machine gun speed, from hand-cranked Gatling guns, through the Nazi’s MG42, to the present day. 

4. THE WEAPON HUNTER: D-DAY DETONATOR

Premieres Sunday, March 12 at 9 p.m. ET/PT

Paul intends to reconstruct the entire experience of D-Day from the point of view of a GI on the front lines.  His focus is four key elements: the airborne attack; the Naval bombardment; the tank assault; and the massive infantry invasion. He finds and fires the classic weapons of the Normandy Invasion, and he speaks to WWII veterans who provide personal insight into these events. And with the help from a world-renowned explosives expert, Paul builds his very own Bangalore torpedo, a device critical to the bloodiest battle of the invasion, the landing at Omaha beach.

5. THE WEAPON HUNTER: IWO JIMA FRANKEN-GUN

Premieres Sunday, March 19 at 9 p.m. ET/PT

In the season finale, Paul rebuilds a one-of-a-kind World War II machine gun, the Stinger. Built by Marines during the invasion of Okinawa, the unique firearm was made from the internal mechanisms of three different weapons. Now Paul must track down parts from each one in order to bring it to life. During his quest, he discovers why and how this franken-gun came into being, and he learns the heroic story of Tony Stein, the American Marine who won the Medal of Honor with The Stinger slung at his side.

 

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