Sturmgewehr 44 StG44 (Assault Rifle 44) was a result of many years of failed attempts to create a deadly weapon with a high rate of fire and large capacity magazine to fire automatic series of shots for shock effect, covering fire or close-quarter combat.

Early attempts failed mostly because the ammunition which was used was high-powered rifle ammunition, and noone could build an automatic rifle which was light enough to be carried by an infantryman.

The key to developing the rifle was a new type of ammunition and in April 1938 there was an order to develop a weapon that used the specially developed Maschinenkarabiner-Patrone 7.92x33 or Kurzpatrone - essentially a shortened Mauser 7.9mm standard rifle cartridge filled with pistol ammunition powder.

The army commissioned Haenel and Walther to design a new machine-carbine (Maschinenkarabiner, MKb). The two resulting models MKb42(W) from Walther,and the MKb42(H) from Haenel. The latter chosen for field-trials in 1942.

The development of these weapons were held secret from Hitler and the High Command. Because it was known that Hitler would stop the production if he found out that a new ammunition type was put into production. Hitler, however, eventually found out and cancelled the production.

But the army decided to continue the production under a new name, Maschinenpistole 43 (MP 43), to fool Hitler. Who once again found out and cancelled the project again. But this time, considerable amounts of the weapon had reached the armed forces, and the commanders of the receiving units were extatic over it's performance. Hitler finally changed his cancellation after desperate pleas from his Generals.
Finally, the weapon entered production to replace the MP 40, and after some tailoring it entered service as the MP 44 or StG44.

Among some peculiar extras used with this weapon were Vampir - an infra red night sight. Krummlauf - a skewed barrel allowing the shooter to fire bullets at an angle between 30 and 45 degrees (mostly used by Armored Vehicle personell to ward off assaulting infantry).

After the war, several nations like Czechoslovakia retained and used many MP 43s. Some were used in the Arab-Israeli conflicts. And some still show up amongst the "freedom fighters" in Africa.

Caliber: Kurzpatrone 7.92x33mm.
Clip: 30 Rounds banana-clip.
Rate of Fire: Theoretical: 500 rpm, practical: 100 rpm.
Action: Fully Automatic, Gas Operated.

Back to German Infantry Weapons

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.