• German MP43/MP44/StG44 Sturmgewehr

    German MP43/MP44/StG44 "Sturmgewehr"

    (Click PIC to Enlarge)

    Caliber: ....................... 7.92mm Kurz
    Rifling & Twist: ............. 4 groove, 1:10 RH twist
    Barrel Length: .............. 16.5 in, 419 mm
    Overall Length: ............ 37.0 in, 940 mm
    Weight: ....................... 11.5 lbs, 5.22 kg
    Magazine Capacity: ....... 30 rounds
    Rate of Fire: ................. 500-600 rounds/min
    Muzzle Velocity: ............ 685 m/s (2,247 ft/s)
    Qty Mfg: ...................... 425,977 (approximately)

    Source: .... Sturmgewehr!-From Firepower to Striking Power by Hans-Dieter Handrich ISBN-13: 978-0889353565, Wikipedia, Historic Firearm of the Month, February 2000

    StG44 "Sturmgewehr"

    Manufactured by Steyr (click here)
    (10 picture virtual tour)

    Manufactured by Erma (click here)
    (18 picture virtual tour)

    Manufactured by Sauer & Sohn (click here)
    (12 picture virtual tour)

    Observations: (by "Claven2 & drm2m")
    Note: General pics provided courtesy of Milsurps.com member "drm2m".
    Note: Specific pics of Sauer & Sohn phosphated StG44, kindly provided courtesy of Milsurps.com member Jacques “Weimajack” Langevin.

    As early as 1934 the German arms industry was examining the practicality of an intermediate length cartridge, the idea being to produce a shoulder fired automatic rifle that was far more controllable than efforts up to that point. This first took the form of the 8x46mm round manufactured by RWS (1934) and was rapidly followed in 1935 by a 7.75x40mm cartridge from Geco. Following testing, of these earlier rounds, a 7x39mm round was developed by Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken (DWM) in 1939. Despite many successes, the German General Staff remained hesitant to widely equip its forces with a cartridge which was perceived to have much less overall utility than the then-standard 7.92x57mm IS cartridge.

    (Click PIC to Enlarge)

    Successes early in the war using the MP38 and MP40 sub-machineguns at the squad level began to highlight the importance of volume of fire, but at the same time neither weapon successfully realized the full tactical potential that would have been possible had a more powerful cartridge capable of accuracy in the 200m range been available. Around the same time, the Polte Cartridge Factory in Magdeburg was then developing what would become the 7.92x33 Kurz cartridge which ultimately would result in the successful StG44 platform and spawn an entire new class of arms: the Assault Rifle.

    For size comparison purposes, note the StG44 compared to the MP40 and the K98k:

    (Click PIC to Enlarge)

    The first ever assault rifle was eventually fielded by Germany in 1944 and 1945 and was designated Model MP43/1, MP43, MP44, and StG44. These different models were fundamentally similar guns with some production differences.

    The MP43 was officially renamed on April 25 1944 to MP44 and on October 22 1944 the MP44 was renamed StG44.

    One of the principal reasons for the delay of adoption of this gun was tied to the negative feelings Hitler had about adding a new cartridge to suite of munitions already being manufactured under the duress of war. The K98k rifle (which he had a great deal of confidence in), the MG34 and MG42 all used the longer 7.9x57mm S-Patrone cartridge.

    It has been widely theorized that Hitler's concerns over the higher rate of fire of this gun and the resulting impact on the required production capacity of the new cartridge possibly delayed the adoption of the StG44. It is a known fact that Hitler rejected the adoption of the StG several times for some of the reasons mentioned above despite the positive recommendations from numerous high ranking officers of the Third Reich's military establishment. The development of this gun, however, was secretly continued without his knowledge, even after he had first rejected it.

    Prior to the eventual acceptance of the StG44, the supporting element within the German military were suggesting that the G43 would replace the bolt action K98k and the MP43 would replace the MP40 SMG. This was likely a ploy to allow development to continue since Hitler had previously expressed no objections to the machine pistol.

    Karl Otto Sauer finally convinced Hitler at a meeting at Hitler's headquarters on September 30 1943 to replace the MP40 with the production of 30,000 MP44s on short notice. In order to ensure for the start of production of the necessary ammunition, 30 million rounds of pistol ammunition that were scheduled to be produced was switched to production of ammunition for these MP43's.

    A soldier could carry 50% more of the new 'Kurz' ammunition as compared to the 7.92x57mm rifle ammunition by weight, thus, increasing the potential fire power of the individual soldier in the field. The cost savings in material, gunpowder, and manpower in the production of the new 'kurz' cartridge (because of its smaller dimensions) was one of the arguments that were put forward by the supporters of the adoption of the gun. The recoil with the new Kurz round was also significantly less than with the 7.92x57mm rifle cartridge.

    The eventual acceptance of the StG44 may also have been prompted by political issues associated with the changing fortunes of the German forces on the Eastern Front and was billed as one of Hitler's new Siegerswaffen, or "super weapons". These weapons were direly needed by the average "Feldgrau" as by the summer of 1943 the Russians were equipping substantial parts of their infantry with PPSH-41 and PPS-43 submachine guns as well as the Tokarev SVT-40 semi-automatic rifle and were using them to deadly effect.

    The StG44 functioned in both semi- auto and full automatic mode from the closed bolt position with a cyclic rate of fire in automatic mode of approx. 500-600 RPM. It utilized a 30 round removable curved box magazine and fired the 7.92x33mm 'Kurz' (short) cartridge.
    The earlier guns were 'blued' while the later guns were partially or totally phosphated or finished with only a clear lacquer-like finish.

    Haenel................................ 185,000 (including the Mkb42)
    Erma.................................. 104,000
    Steyr.................................. 80,000
    Sauer................................. 55,000
    TOTAL PRODUCTION............. 425,977 (approximately, depending on the reference)

    Both left and right magazine pouch were issued with three magazines in each pouch resulting in a total carry capacity was 150 rounds, each magazine holding 25 rounds, plus an additional 100 rounds was carried in the soldier’s bread bag. For all types of fighting 250 rounds was considered appropriate.

    (Click PIC to Enlarge)

    The MP43/MP44/StG44 utilized the standard K98k sling.

    (Click PIC to Enlarge)

    Firing pin.
    Take down tool.
    Spare parts bag.

    (Click PIC to Enlarge)

    Examples of Manufacturer's markings:

    Steyr's late war manufacturer's code 'swj'.

    (Click PIC to Enlarge)

    Steyr's earlier manufacturer's code 'bnz', as well as its Waffenamt marking WaA623 and an eagle over Swastika 'firing proof'

    (Click PIC to Enlarge)
    (Pic provided courtesy of member "bas")

    Erma Erfurter Machinenfabrik B. Geipel GmbH, Late Erma manufacturer’s code ‘qlv’ with Eagle over 280.

    (Click PIC to Enlarge)

    Sauer & Sohn phosphated StG44 manufacturer's markings.

    (Click PIC to Enlarge)

    Haenel “fxo” code MP44 manufacturer's markings.

    (Click PIC to Enlarge)
    (Pic provided courtesy of member "bas")

    Collector's Comments and Feedback:

    1. StG44 magazines were not recommended to be loaded to full capacity because of excessive magazine spring compression which could possibly result in unreliable cartridge feeding. 25 rounds was recommended instead of possible total of 30. Original well marked magazine pouches are very rare and extremely costly when found….. as are the magazines.

    The best-known and the most widespread assault rifle in the world today, the Russian Avtomat Kalashnikov (AK47), owes considerable debt to Hugo Schmeisser. In October 1946, along with thousands of other German specialists, the then 62-year-old Schmeisser was ordered by the occupying Soviets to relocate in the Soviet Union in order to assist with the development of new weapons.

    He was sent to work in Factory No 74 located in Ishevsk, the secret Russian center for arms development and production. At the time of his arrival, the 27- year- old Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov, a former sergeant in the Tank Corps, had begun the development of what was to become the AK47. Hugo Schmeisser, was the chief designer at the Haenel firm which was the principal developer and assembler of the rifle which eventually evolved into the 'Sturmgewehr44'.
    .......... (Feedback by "drm2m")

    2. Note the different number of vent holes on the MP44 (left) and StG44 (right) handguards. Also note the muzzle nut on the MP44 (left) is absent on the StG44 (right). .......... (Feedback by "drm2m")

    (Click PIC to Enlarge)
    This article was originally published in forum thread: German MP43/MP44/StG44 "Sturmgewehr" started by Badger View original post
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. nidge's Avatar
      this rifle is the grandfather of assault rifles , it actually opened the door for gun designers in small arms development at the time
      Warning: This is a relatively older thread
      This discussion is older than 360 days. Some information contained in it may no longer be current.