POTD: STG-44 with the Ultra Rare Experimental Krummlauf Curved Barrel
Welcome to today’s Photo of the Day! Have you ever wanted to shoot around corners? Well, you can definitely do that with an STG44 with a curved barrel although I do not recommend trying it at home. This has been proven to be doable by experiments like the one depicted here. The downside of these guns or any curved barrels is that they wear out after a few rounds of high-powered rifle ammunition. This potentially leads to catastrophic failures of the barrel and its integrity compromised.
“This is really a super rare, late war “StG 44” Assault Rifle. This assault rifle is rare on its own while this example has been fitted with an even rarer experimental “Krummlauf” curved barrel for use in armored vehicles. These were really an enigma to the U.S. troops with most believing they were a joke. However the earliest documented research in the use of curved barrels began in 1942, primarily for use in proof firing heavy anti-aircraft machine guns at short ranges. This later progressed to use with the K98 rifle which eventually piqued the interest of the German Armored Corps for use against dismounted infantry in and around tanks and armored vehicles. During this last development phase it was discovered that the best weapon for this use was the MP43/44 and StG assault rifles firing the shorter 7.82×33 Kurz round. They were intended to be mounted on armored vehicles or tanks via a ball-turret mount on top or the side of the vehicle through which the curved barrel was inserted and the ball turret allowed the firer to sweep the outside of the vehicles. The Krummlauf barrel arrangement used a special 1.5x optical sighting device with a 12 degree field of vision, mounted directly on top of the barrel that allowed the firer to sight down the barrel at an angle using the front sight. The last and final version (Variant V) which is this example of this barrel had two rows of five vent holes on the top rear portion of the barrel. This was intended to help bleed off excess gas to prevent bursting of the barrel as the bullet rounded the curve. This required a triangular shaped deflecting wedge, be mounted on top of the barrel directly below the optical sighting device to deflect the hot gases away from the view of the firer. It is estimated that approximately 20,000 units were ordered in total with only approximately 500 ever delivered with almost no examples being encountered on the collectors market today. “
Lot 1469: German STG-44 Assault Rifle WWII Original. (n.d.). Rock Island Auction Company. photograph. Retrieved November 3, 2021, from https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/62/1469/german-stg44-assault-rifle-wwii-original.