Tank-O-Rama: German Small Arms by Buffalo1 ()
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German small arms from World War II were excellently crafted, and that turned out to be a bit of a problem. The sand of North Africa and the bitter cold of the Eastern Front tended to be at odds with the fine tolerances of German weapons. The result was that if the weapons were not kept clean, they would jam. A German vet of the Russian front told me that even he rugged Mauser 98K rifle had to be cleaned with naptha during the winter to prevent freezing. For up close and personal defense he preferred a captured Soviet PPSH-41 submachine gun which always worked. An Afrika Corps vet commented that 9mm MP-38 and 40 machine pistols (not pictured) would jam up in the desert sand and dust. He also had a preference for an enemy weapon-the Thompson submachine gun. "You could throw a Tommy gun into the sand and dust, jump on it, then pick it up, shake it out and it would shoot. A German machine pistol would have to be cleaned."
The weapons depicted are all quite deadly and versions of some are still in use. Probably the least successful is the semi-automatic rifle at the top. The Gewehr 41(W) made by Walther and weighed 11 lbs. It fired a standard 8mm Mauser (7.92x57mm) round as used by the Mauser 98k and the MG 34 and 42 machine guns (not pictured). The G41 had a ten round magazine loaded by two 5 round stripper clips. Mauser also made a different version of the G41, but it was not used in combat. About 100,000 G41(W) rifles were manufactured. The middle rifle is the sturdy, reliable and accurate Mauser 98K. It is the carbine version of the standard World War I long barrel Gewehr 98. It is arguably the best bolt action military rifle ever made, although my vote goes to the British Lee Enfield. The German army based its squad on the MG 34 or 42 machine gun. The riflemen would carry the machine gun ammo and provide close support so a semi-automatic rifle like the G41 was not viewed as particularly important. Millions of the 98K were made during the war and captured by the Soviet Union. The Russians passed many out as military aid after the war. Versions of the 98K were made by Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Yugolsavia both before and after World War II. The result is that the 98K still appears on battlefields today. The lower rifle is the Sturmgewehr (StG) 44 - the first true assault rifle. The bolt action 98K was just not good enough by 1943. The love the German soldiers had for the Soviet PPSH-41 submachine gun was noted. The German army decided a round more powerful than the 9mm pistol caliber was needed and adopted a shortened version (7.92x33mm) of the 8mm Mauser round for a weapon called the MP43. Instead of a machine pistol, the German soldiers got the fully automatic StG44 rifle with a round that could controlled in automatic mode. The StG44 rifle had a great effect on German soldiers morale, but it came too late to have a major impact. It did serve as a model for later assault rifles, including the famous Soviet AK-47.The Pistole P08 was designed by Georg Luger and hence is simply known by his last name. The 9x19mm "parabellum" pistol round was made specifically for the Luger. The round is now referred to as the 9mm Luger. The Luger entered production in 1900 and was used during World War I, World War II, and by the post-war East German police. Over 20 countries ordered the Luger for either the military or police. This included the U.S. Army's purchase of 1,000 7.65mm pistols and a few later 9mm models. The pistol on the right is the Walther P38, a design that was supposed to replace the P08 Luger. The P38 carried eight 9mm Luger rounds in a magazine. Over 1 million were made during World War II and production continued after the war for the French and Soviet forces. The P1 is the postwar version of the P38 and is still produced and used by the police and military around the world.
Image Comments (11)
Richardphotos () Online Now! 9:49PM | Fri, 03 July 2015
very good capture. did you read that the German government confiscated a tank, cannon, and other WWII equipment from one of it's citizens?
Buffalo1 () 12:32AM | Sat, 04 July 2015
Richard, yes I did read that story. Amazing that everyone knew about the collection. How could you miss a Panther tank plowing snow in the neighborhood after a blizzard? I guess the government took the stuff after there was some problem with an investigation over stolen art. I also saw an article where the anit-government Syrian forces found a chache of StG44s with ammo and are putting them to use against the dictator Bashar Al-Assad.
debbielove () 6:02AM | Sat, 04 July 2015
Fine selection mate, your notes have it spot on.. And German Quality is standing true today (BMW's Merc's etc..), the Sturmgewehr (StG) 44 is yet another case of war changing equipment coming to late to cause great change.. Imagine if it had reached units a year or two earlier.. The firepower would be immense! We can all breath another sigh of relief! Great selection mate Rob
junge1 () 11:40AM | Sat, 19 December 2015
Fine collection. My dad, who served in the German Army during WWII and had been on the Eastern Front, told me the same thing, about the fine tolerances not working too well when it suddenly turned cold. The same holds true with current handguns. I have a Sig Sauer P 225 9mm and also a Makarov .380. The Makarov looks like a piece of junk compared to the Sig, but it works all the time whether cleaned or not.