Watch: The Evolution of the Sturmgewehr

   10.18.17

The Sturmgewehr (assault rifle) is the grandfather of all modern selective-fire rifles that use an intermediate-sized cartridge. During World War II, German engineers realized the military needed a rifle chambered in a cartridge smaller than the full-sized 8mm Mauser, but larger than a typical handgun cartridge.

The 8mm was plenty powerful to reach out there when fired one-at-a-time, but fully automatic fire from a shoulder-mounted rifle was almost impossible to control. On the flip side, handgun cartridges lacked the energy to engage targets out to several hundred meters.

The proposed solution was a rifle chambered for a cartridge that was midway between the full-grown 8mm bottleneck rifle cartridge and a handgun round. Thus, the Sturmgewehr was cambered in 7.92×33mm Kurz (Kurz = short).

During the course of the war, Adolf Hitler was opposed to the Sturmgewehr. His idea was that a battlefield rifle should use a full-sized rifle cartridge. His generals realized how valuable the Sturmgewehr could be, and they used various deceptions to get around Hitler’s objection to the rifle.

Ian over at Forgotten Weapons put together an excellent video talking about the various Sturmgewehr models.

The video covers:

  • MP43/1
  • MP44
  • StG44

Why should we care about the Sturmgewehr? Because just about every modern military rifle was in some way influenced by it.

The Sturmgewehr was experimented with in various ways, such as adding a grenade launcher, silencer, scope mount, etc. Most of the additions never materialized in production.

A special thank-you to Ian and everyone else who helped make the video possible. Keep up the excellent work.

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