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German Weapons

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MP 44

MP 44

MP 44

Basic Information
Type Assault rifle
Place of Origin Nazi Germany
In service October 1943 - May 1945 by Nazi Germany
Wars World War II, then appeared in other world conflicts
Manufacturer C.G. Haenel Waffen und Fahrradfabrik, CITEFA
Designed in 1942
Produced October 1944
Number built 425,977
Technical Specifications
Length 940mm
Weight 5.22 kg
Barrel Length 419mm
Cartridge 7.92x33mm Kurz
Action Gas-operated, tilting bolt
Muzzle Velocity 685 m/s (2,247 ft/s)
Feed System 30-round detachable box magazine
Sights Adjustable sights, rear: V-notch; front: hooded post

The StG 44, also referred to as Sturmgewehr 44, “assault rifle model 1944,” and MP 43 and MP 44, was an assault rifle developed in Nazi Germany during World War II. It was the first of its kind to see major deployment, considered by historians to be the first modern assault rifle.


MP 43, MP 44, and StG 44 were different designations for what was essentially the same rifle, with minor updates in production. The variety in nomenclatures resulted from the complicated bureaucracy in Nazi Germany.

At the start of the Second World War, German infantry were equipped with weapons comparable to those of most other military forces. A typical infantry unit was equipped with a mix of bolt action rifles and some form of light or medium machine guns. One difference from other armies was the emphasis on the machine gun as the primary infantry weapon.

During weapon testing Adolf Hitler ordered that more, newer submachine guns were to be built and strongly disagreed with the use of the new ammunition. However, his own army continued work on the weapon, disguising the weapon as the MP 43 (Machine pistol.) In April 1944, Hitler decreed that the MP 43 be renamed the MP 44 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.


The rifle was chambered for the 7.92x33mm Kurz cartridge, also known as 7.92 mm Kurz (Pronounced "koorts," German for "short"). This shorter version of the German standard (7.92x57mm Mauser) rifle round, in combination with the weapon's selective-fire design, provided a compromise between the controllable firepower of a submachine gun at close quarters with the accuracy and power of a Karabiner 98k bolt action rifle at intermediate ranges. While the StG44 had less range and power than the more powerful infantry rifles of the day, Wehrmacht studies had shown that most combat engagements occurred at less than 300 m with the majority within 200 m. Full-power rifle cartridges were excessive for the vast majority of uses for the average soldier.

The StG 44's receiver was made of heavy stamped and welded steel as were other contemporary arms such as the MP 40 and MG 42. This made for a fairly heavy rifle, especially one firing an intermediate-power cartridge. Difficulties with fabrication, the need to use available non-priority steels, and the exigencies of war resulted in a heavy receiver. U.S. military intelligence criticized the weight of the weapon along with the inclusion of the fully automatic feature which it considered "ineffectual for all practical purposes", as full automatic fire with StG 44 was permitted in emergencies only. The British were also critical saying that the receiver could be bent and the bolt locked up by the mere act of knocking a leaning rifle onto a hard floor. Many of these criticisms are more a testimonial of the Allied aversion rather than an accurate view of the weapon's characteristics which were proven during combat in the war.

Photo gallery (7)

See also

  • MKb 42 (H), MP44, Stg 44 series replica products at store

  • References

  • "StG 44." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 06 Aug. 2010. .

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