Difference between revisions of "Sturmgewehr 44"
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Revision as of 11:39, 25 August 2020
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The Sturmgewehr 44(STG44) can be considered the worlds first Assault rife. The German army facing the increased fire power of soviet troops armed with the semi-automatic rifles STV40 and the PPSH41 submachine realised they needed to rethink the infantry weapons. The German army had been attempting to introduce semi-automatic weapons such as the Gewehr 41, but these proved troublesome in service, and production was insufficient to meet requirements. Several attempts had been made to introduce lightweight machine guns or automatic rifles, but recoil from the powerful 7.92×57mm Mauser round was too difficult to control in automatic fire.
Hitler having served in the trenches of the First World War believed that more submachine gun where what the infantry need so he suspended all new rifle programs due to administrative infighting within the Third Reich. Hitler ordered that newer submachine guns were to be built. To keep the MKb 42(H) development program alive, the Waffenamt (Armament Office) re-designated the weapon as the Maschinenpistole 43 (MP 43) and, making a few improvements, billed the weapon as an upgrade to existing submachine guns. Adolf Hitler eventually discovered the designation deception and halted the program again. 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 in order to make mass production possible. The weapon made extensive use of for the 1940s advanced cost-saving pressed and stamped steel components rather than machined parts. The first MP 43s were distributed to the Waffen-SS; in October 1943, some were issued to the 93rd Infantry Division on the Eastern Front.
Production and distribution continued to different units. In April 1944, Hitler took some interest in the weapon tests and ordered the weapon (with some minor updates) to be re-designated as the MP 44. 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!". The exclamation caused some confusion (Hitler's response is reputed to have been "What new rifle?"), but once Hitler saw the MP 44 being demonstrated, he was impressed and gave it the title Sturmgewehr. Seeing the possibility of a propaganda gain, the rifle was again renamed as the Sturmgewehr 44 (StG 44), to highlight the new class of weapon it represented. The designation translates to "Assault rifle, model 1944", thereby introducing the term "assault rifle. The STG44 was an weapon that inspired weapons designers and influences various firearms to this day.