The StG-44 was a revolutionary weapon that enhanced individual soldier firepower and influenced small arms development decades later.
In the final stages of World War II, the Nazi army, although surrounded by the Allies, was able to equip a new, revolutionary assault rifle designed to make German soldiers the most powerful on the battlefield.
The Sturmgewehr-44 (StG-44) was the first, mass-produced assault rifle. This weapon, essential as Germany increasingly lost the war, served as a template for future weapons, including today’s AK-47 and M4 carbine.
During World War II, the Nazi Army was equipped with two small arms for infantry, the Karabiner Model 1898 (Kar 98AZ) rifle and the MP submachine gun. These two guns were evenly distributed in the combat units of the German army.
The 98k rifle was an improved version of the Gewehr 98, used in World War I, but with a shorter length; the gun weighs was 3.72kg, used an internal loop magazine and had an effective range of 500 meters; Although it has high accuracy, long range, but the rate of fire was slow.
The MP submachine gun, including the MP-38, MP-40 and MP-41 models, is a new design of the compact, folding stock submachine gun. The MP submachine gun weighs about 4.1 kg when fully loaded, uses a 32-round straight magazine, is removable and has an effective range of about 180 meters.
The tactics of a combination of large-caliber rifles and submachine guns were useful in trench warfare during World War I. But by the beginning of World War II, it was clear that the nature of warfare had changed, and became even more apparent, as the Germans began to lose the battle.
As the German Army fought throughout the Eastern Front, it became clear that the German infantry arsenal was not up to the task. While accurate, powerful, and reliable, the 98k rifle could not provide enough firepower to repel large numbers of Russian infantry, especially in urban combat
As for the firepower of the MP series submachine guns, although it can fire 9 millimeters round, the destructive power of this ammunition was limited and the weapon has a relatively short range; low level of accuracy.
The urgent requirement for the German army at this time was to need a new infantry weapon, using ammunition that did not need to be as powerful as the 98k rifle bullet, but had more power than the 9×19mm ammunition, which the MP submachine gun use.
The new infantry gun will use a removable, high-capacity magazine for quick reloading and can fire fully automatically. It will be a compromise weapon, between the traditional battle rifle and the submachine gun and so-called assault rifle
The advantage is that in the 1930s, Germany developed such a ammunition, which was the 7.92×33mm round. This is a new bullet, with the same bullet diameter as that used on the 98k rifle, but the bullet length is 24mm shorter and uses half the amount of propellant; meet the requirements of modern warfare.
In 1942, the famous German small arms designer, Hugo Schmeisser, produced the first version of a new infantry gun, at the request of the German army, named Haenel MKb42 (H).
This is a piston-driven gun, using a wooden stock, a 30-round curved magazine, weighing 5.02kg. This weapon was easy to used, was made up of six different parts, easy to disassemble and store.
The prototype MKb42 (H) was redesigned by Schmeisser and converted to the MP-43 assault rifle, which entered the German army in 1943. In April 1944, the weapon was renamed Sturmgewehr-44 and abbreviated as MP-44
After the success of the MP-44 on the battlefield, Field Marshal Hitler ordered the cessation of the production of MP rifles and submachine guns, in order to focus on the production of MP-44 guns. Despite the wartime shortage, German industry still produced 425,977 StG-44s for the German Army
The StG-44 is a truly revolutionary weapon that gives firepower to every soldier. Without a doubt, Mikhail Kalashnikov, the father of the AK-47 assault rifle, was later greatly influenced by the design of the StG-44.
The true legacy of the StG-44 is its design philosophy that, when using intermediate ammunition, is combined with a fully automatic weapon with a removable magazine. It has both the advantages of a classic rifle and the fast rate of fire of a modern submachine gun.
The later similarities of the British SA80, the Chinese Type-95 and the American M4 carbine assault rifles all relied on the StG-44 as standard. Although it was short-lived in fascist hands, the StG-44 inspired the development of small arms decades later.