Unknown Post-War StG-44 Derivative

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The MP-44, also known as the “Sturmgewehr”, was a very influential weapon to post-war thinking. Even the Americans – who at the time rejected the “assault rifle” concept as we now know it – took notice and immediately began development in March of 1944 of a shorter round for infantry weapons, which later became both the .308 Winchester and 7.62 NATO rounds.

However, much less discussed is the direct line of ancestry of the MP-44 design as it continued post-war. The Gerät 06 and Gerät 06H that eventually led to the whole suite of Spanish and German roller retarded designs both were parts of a program for an improved, second generation assault rifle, but were each developments of Mauser, not Haenel, and mechanically had little to do with the famous Sturmgewehr.

There is a dearth of information on the post-war lineage of the Sturmgewehr which may lead some to assume there was no further development of the design after 1945. However, this is not the case! Below is an article in Czech giving us some tantalizing details of a post-war, improved MP-44 rifle, probably designed in East Germany:

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The article was originally posted to the Internet on the forum Valka.cz, and shows a weapon that is clearly MP-44 derived, and just as clearly absolutely not a modified original rifle. The weapon is un-named; even the author of the article calls it simply “7.62mm automatic NDR”: the acronym presumably being Czech for “German Democratic Republic”, i.e., East Germany. The weapon has many fundamental improvements versus its parent; the article states it is much lighter than an original MP-44, at less than 8lbs without magazine (the MP-44 was considerably heavier, at between just under 10 pounds to over 11 pounds unloaded, depending on the example). Second, the rifle has a simplified stamped receiver design, probably made possibly by the use of much higher quality steel*. Third, the bolt carrier arrangement has been substantially improved; where the original MP-44 used a Bren-like unshrouded “claw” that is visible (and vulnerable) through the weapon’s ejection port, the post-war rifle uses a more modern bolt carrier arrangement that not only improve’s the mechanism’s mass ratio, but also protects the unlocking cams from dirt and debris. The return spring arrangement has also been improved, moved from the stock (where in the MP-44, it could be impeded by wood expansion in damp environments) to the receiver and partially telescoped inside the bolt carrier.

Other changes include a rear sight mounted to the rear of the receiver, front sight mounted to the gas block, unified selector/safety, and – of course, given the GDR’s status as a Warsaw Pact nation – chambering in the Soviet standard 7.62×39 cartridge, instead of the Nazi 7.92×33 round.

Though other details may be illuminated in the text of the article, I (unfortunately) do not read Czech. If any of our readers do, though, feel free to let us know in the comments about anything interesting you find!

*It was a firm requirement of the wartime machine carbine program that the weapon had to use as little alloy steel as possible – this was largely accomplished, but resulted in a weapon that was much heavier than necessary.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Vitsaus

    Wow, I’ve never even heard of this. Looks a lot like some of the early pre-7.62×51 CETME experimental rifles.

  • May

    Rather interesting design, I wonder if it’s creation shows the East Germans (similar to the Poles and the Czechs) were hoping to develop an indigenous assault rifle rather than licensing the Kalashnikov.

    • mikewest007

      Poles never developed an indigenous assault rifle design before late 1970s. The 70s prototype was canned anyway, leaving us going on AKs and its very simple modifications until very recently, when the MSBS came out.

  • plingr2

    they say that weapon has 3 round burst or single shots trigger( no full auto) , non reciprocating charging handle, 20 round magazine and last round bold catch (sorry for my bad english)

    • pbla4024

      Long stroke piston, hammer fired.

  • plingr2

    bold was modified to be more resistant to dirt

  • plingr2

    bolt sorry

  • pbla4024

    I am Czech (and I have read that article while ago). What part do you need translated?

    • Since I do not read Czech, I cannot say which parts are interesting or not. Anything jump out at you?

  • MPWS

    According to source the weapon was presented to comparative test with vz.58 in 1956. Does it mean that Ossies wanted to compete with Vz.58? If they did, I do not see why they would not give it run for the money.
    The weight was cca 0.5kg less which means more stable; the 3round burst is far preferable over f/a and the construction looks cheaper. Shame it did not see full scale production run.
    Additional data: barrel gas tap location is 310mm from chamber giving comfortable pressure drop and piston stroke is 46mm, well over what is necessary. Reliability must have been very good then.

    • MPWS

      The year of presentation is 1959, not 56; my screw-up.
      The other thing I like about it is that it has less components to strip although, the loose firing pin (?) is not good idea..

      • Zachary marrs

        Lots of battle proven firearms have loose firing pins

  • Hey no free advertising ——

  • Lance

    East Germany until 1956 had no Army. Instead the Volks Polizi or Peoples Police was the defacto armed presence of the East German government. At first they were armed with left over weapons from both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. VOPOs had STG-44s and PPSH-41/43 SMG as well as Mausers and Mosin Nagant rifles. Very possibly the East Germans at this time experinmented with differnt calibers for its mixed arsenal. It wasnt till around 1961/2 when the NVA (East German Army) had enough AKs and SKSs that they spread them into the Police use.

  • Joe

    Improved MP44 in 7.62×39. Is there one in a museum somewhere we can throw in a 3D scanner?

  • noob

    I wonder how rigid the upper to lower receiver interface was with this arrangement. Would the magazines wobble in the sheet metal magwell?

    If Stoner had put the front pivot pin at the rear of the magwell as in this design you could swap the cartridge overall length and the associated magazine with the upper.

    Imagine all the ar-10 vs ar-15 and multicaliber angst that would have saved…

  • Gjert Klakeg Mulen

    Im pretty sure this is called the STG 59, ot is written a bit about on the G3’s wikipedia page under the foreign variants part of the page.

  • Secundius

    I would have stuck with the 7.92×33 Kurz, far more accurate and longer-ranged. I can see why the Soviets Killed It…