The father of all semiautomatic guns. MP 43, MP 44, StG 44 Grenadiers operating in the area of Aachen, Germany in 1944 As work moved forward to incorporate this new firing system, development temporarily came to halt when Hitler suspended all new rifle programs due to administrative infighting within the Third Reich, ordered that more, newer submachine guns were to be built and strongly disagreed with the use of the new ammunition. To keep the MKb 42(H) alive, the Waffen Amt (Armament Office) re-designated it into the Maschinenpistole 43 (MP 43) and making a few improvements, billed as an upgrade to existing submachine guns. This deception was eventually discovered by Adolf Hitler who again had the program halted. In March 1943, he permitted it to recommence for evaluation purposes only. Running for six months until September 1943, the evaluation produced positive results and Hitler allowed the MP 43 program to continue and in order to make mass production possible. The first MP 43 were distributed to the Waffen-SS, and in October 1943, some especially to the 93rd Infantry Division on the Eastern Front when war was raging. Production and distribution continued to different troops until April 1944, where Hitler ordered it re-designated MP 44 with adding minor updates after taking some interest in the weapon tests. In July 1944, at a meeting of the various army heads about the Eastern Front, when Hitler asked what they needed, a general exclaimed, "More of these new rifles!". This caused some confusion (Hitler's response is reputed to have been "What new rifle?"), but once Hitler was given a chance to see and test-fire the MP 44, he was impressed and gave it the title Sturmgewehr. Seeing the possibility of a propaganda gain, the rifle was again renamed as the StG 44, to highlight the new class of weapon it represented, translated "Storm (Assault) rifle, model 1944", thereby introducing the term.[9] Seeking to enhance the propaganda value of the new weapon, Hitler ordered it re-designated StG44 (Assault Rifle, Model 1944), giving the rifle its own class. Production soon began with the first batches of the new rifle being shipped to troops on the Eastern Front. A total of 425,977 StG44s were produced by the end of the war and work had commenced on a follow-on rifle, the StG45. Among the attachments available for the StG44 was the Krummlauf, a bent barrel that permitted firing around corners. These were most commonly made with 30° and 45° bends. By the end of the war, some 425,977 StG 44 variants of all types were produced. The assault rifle proved a valuable weapon, especially on the Eastern front, where it was first deployed. A properly trained soldier with a StG44 had an improved tactical repertoire, in that he could effectively engage targets at longer ranges than with an MP 40, but be much more useful than the Kar 98k in close combat, as well as provide covering fire like a light machine gun. It was also found to be exceptionally reliable in the extreme cold of the Russian winter. The StG44's rate of fire varied between 500 and 600 rpm. The StG 44 was an intermediate weapon for the period; the muzzle velocity from its 419 mm (16.5 in) barrel was 685 m/s (2,247.4 ft/s), compared to 760 m/s (2,493 ft/s) of the Karabiner 98k, 744 m/s (2,440.9 ft/s) of the British Bren, 600 m/s (1,968.5 ft/s) of the M1 carbine, and 365 m/s (1,197.5 ft/s) achieved by the MP40. One unusual addition to the design was the Krummlauf; a bent barrel attachment for rifles with a periscope sighting device for shooting around corners from a safe position. It was produced in several variants: a "I" version for infantry use, a "P" version for use in tanks (to cover the dead areas in the close range around the tank, to defend against assaulting infantry), versions with 30°, 45°, 60° and 90° bends, a version for the StG 44 and one for the MG 42. Only the 30° "I" version for the StG 44 was produced in any numbers. The bent barrel attachments had very short lifespans – approx. 300 rounds for the 30° version, and 160 rounds for the 45° variant. The 30° model was able to achieve a 35x35 cm grouping at 100 m.[10] StG 44 equipped Volksgrenadiers fighting in the Ardennes. The Sturmgewehr was also at times fitted with the Zielgerät 1229 infrared aiming device, also known by its codename Vampir ("vampire"). This device consisted of a large scope, rather like modern starlight scopes, and a large infra-red lamp on top, the scope being able to pick up the infra-red that would be invisible to the naked eye. A primary use of the MP44/StG44 was to counter the Soviet PPS and PPSh-41 submachine guns, which used the 7.62x25mm Tokarev round. These cheap, mass-produced weapons used a 71-round drum magazine or 35-round box magazine and though shorter-ranged than the Kar98k rifle, were more effective weapons in close-quarter engagements. The StG 44, while lacking the range of the Kar 98k, had a considerably longer range than the PPS/PPSh submachine guns, a comparable rate of fire, an ability to switch between a fully automatic and a default semi-automatic fire mode and surprising accuracy. Furthermore the StG44's inline design gave it controllability even on full-auto. In short the StG44 provided the individual user with unparalelled firepower compared to that of all earlier handheld firearms, waranting other countries to soon embrace the assault rifle concept. [edit] Late prototypes The Gerät 06 ("instrument or device 06") prototype. An attempt to further simplify the MP 43/44 and StG 44 series of weapons. The pictured example is incomplete; captured and evaluated at Aberdeen Proving Ground after the war. In a somewhat unrelated development, Mauser continued design work on a series of experimental weapons in an effort to produce an acceptable service-wide rifle for the short cartridge system. One of these prototypes, a product of the engineers at the Light Weapon Development Group (Abteilung 37) at Oberndorf, was the MKb Gerät 06 (Maschinenkarabiner Gerät 06 or "machine carbine instrument 06") first appearing in 1942. This gun used a unique gas piston-delayed roller-locked action derived from the short recoil operation of the MG 42 machine gun but with a fixed barrel and gas system. It was realized that with careful attention to the mechanical ratios, the gas system could be omitted. The resultant weapon, the Gerät 06(H) was supposedly slated for adoption by the Wehrmacht as the StG 45(M). The operating principle lived on in postwar designs from CEAM/AME, CETME, and most famously, Heckler & Koch. Towards the end of the war, there were last-ditch efforts to develop cheap so-called Volksgewehr rifles in the 8x33mm caliber. One of these, the VG 1-5 (Volkssturmgewehr 1-5), used a gas-delayed blowback action based on the Barnitzke system, whereby gas bled from the barrel near the chamber created resistance to the rearward impulse of the operating parts, which ceases when the projectile leaves the muzzle, allowing the operating parts to be forced rearward by the residual pressure of the cartridge case. This principle has been used most successfully in the P7 pisto

johnbr, Nov 24, 2011
    There are no comments to display.
  • Category:
    Uploaded By:
    Nov 24, 2011
    View Count:
    Comment Count: