7 Reasons I Don’t Like The MP-44 Sturmgewehr

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In the early summer of this year, a car-full of gun nerds set out to capture the rare Pedersen rifle on camera for the first time. The passenger with the van Dyke mustache and ponytail had just mentioned how if he could own any machine gun, it would be an StG.44, the German assault rifle of the second World War. Upon this, the driver, a tall, blonde Texan in cowboy boots, rebounded that one of the other passengers was the only person he’s ever met who wasn’t impressed with the German ur-sturmgewehr, which caused a great deal of whiplash to the others as their heads spun around to look in surprise and incredulity at the overweight one with the unkempt beard and brown mop of hair.

It’s true, I’m “not impressed” with the MP.44, though that’s not to say that there are no elements of its design or history that I feel positively about. When he mentioned that, Alex surely had in mind my reaction upon seeing his MP.43-marked rifle displayed prominently at the front of his gun safe. My memory fails as to what it was, exactly, but it was probably something like a grunt. To some degree, my indifference towards the legendary Schmeisser assault rifle is due to me being a fairly contrarian person; something I see no point in denying or trying to hide. However, there are what I think are some very good reasons for lowering the pedestal we gun nerds have collectively put the MP.44 on, and they are as follows:

 

1. It Wasn’t The First (Not By A Long Shot)

One of the very first articles I ever wrote for this blog discussed the Sturmgewehr’s largely unknown predecessors, which hailed from around the world, including the United States and France. It’s definitely true that Nazi Germany was the first nation to enthusiastically embrace the assault rifle concept, but it was definitely not the first, or even fourth or fifth assault rifle ever developed. Most accomplished small arms designers of the period would have probably been aware of the concept, and certainly everyone involved in military small arms design would have been familiar with the basic problem it aimed to solve, and the numerous solutions that had been proposed up to that time.

P10306224

The StG-44 was an important step towards the universal adoption of the assault rifle concept for infantry weapons, but it wasn’t the first, or even fourth or fifth assault rifle ever. Thanks to Alex C. for the photo.

 

2. It Wasn’t Particularly Innovative

Besides being the first assault rifle made in very large numbers, there isn’t very much that the MP.44 can lay claim to having pioneered. Intermediate cartridges have been around essentially since the metallic cartridge case was invented, the weapon’s layout was well characterized and common by that point, and even stamping technology – although still in its infancy at the time – had been applied to many firearms by the early 1940s. Mechanically, even, the MP.44 is essentially just a ZB.26 turned upside down. Put together, these account for a certain degree of innovation, it’s true, but to hear some talk about it, the MP.44 changed firearms history forever. That’s really true only in a pedantic sense, as at best the MP.44 is an incarnation of a several existing concepts, albeit produced in impressive quantities for a country well on its way to losing a total war.

P1030630

Taken as a whole, the MP.44 was an advanced weapon for the time period, but in detail it didn’t innovate very much. Here’s the bolt group, essentially copied from the Czech ZB.26. Thanks to Alex C. for the photo.

 

3. Its Ammunition Is A Lot Weaker And Not Any Lighter

One of the major advantages of the assault rifle concept is the reduction in ammunition weight. A rifleman armed with an M16 can carry twice as many rounds of ammunition as one armed with an M14, for the same load. You will hear this touted as a major advantage of the sturmgewehr-armed German soldier of WWII; he who can shoot more can effect the battlespace more, and is more likely to win.

But is the MP.44’s ammunition any lighter? The answer is surprising. A round of Krz.Ptr.43 ammunition for the MP.44 is only 17.05 grams, according to a Polte drawing. This is only 63% of what a round of .30 Cal. M2 AP weighs, according to my scale which reads 27.1 grams. That is not the final word, though, as en blocs and magazines must also be accounted for. An 8-round M1 en-bloc clip weighs 25 grams. In contrast, a 30-round MP.44 magazine weighs about 395 grams. Therefore, a loaded en-bloc clip of M2 AP weighs 241.8 grams, while a loaded MP.44 magazine of Kz.Ptr.43 weighs 906.5 grams.

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This blued MP.44 magazine weighs 398 grams; quite heavy! A parkerized mag weighed in the same session clocked 392 grams.

 

To put that in equal terms, then, thirty 8-round en-bloc clips of .30 M2 AP together weigh 7.254 kg; eight 30-round magazines of Kz.Ptr.43 weigh 7.252 kg. So much for the idea that the Sturmgewehr had lighter ammunition!

In practice, then, the MP.44-armed soldat could not carry any more ammunition than the M1-armed US GI; therefore the MP.44 is probably better viewed as trading bulk, power, and range for controllable fully automatic ability, vs. the M1. Which brings me to…

 

4. Full Auto Probably Didn’t Count For Much

It’s quite impressive to imagine German soldiers blazing away at their enemies with fully automatic weapons, but the postwar experience has shown that even controllable fully automatic weapons are much less useful than previously thought. Certainly, the infantry squad needs fully automatic weapons, and certainly there is a call for assault rifles as infantry weapons, particularly to help in certain situations, such as ambushes. However, many feel that the fully automatic capability of the MP.44 put into the hands of every soldier in the squad totally changed the game of infantry combat in World War II, and that’s probably not the case. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the MP.44 shouldn’t have been select-fire, or that the fully automatic fire mode gave no advantage, but I also do not think the stumgewehr-armed German infantry squad was at such a massive advantage in firepower as to make any difference in the war. I reject the idea that, had the MP.44 appeared a couple of years earlier, the Allies would have had any more trouble winning the war. Most likely, they probably would have hardly noticed.

 

5. Most Of Them Were Dead Weight

A great deal of the Nazi war materiel was found in warehouses and depots, undelivered and unused. It’s very likely that the MP.44 granddad brought back from the war and registered was one of these; it probably wasn’t pried from the cold, dead hands of a slain SS officer. Many of these captured rifles were subsequently shipped off by the Allies to the Middle East or Africa to arm new post-colonial governments in those regions (and they still turn up there to this day). German industry also had a very hard time making enough ammunition and magazines for the guns, which likely further reduced the utility of fully automatic fire, as all but the best equipped soldiers would find their ammunition supplies dwindling quickly if the rifle was used as a submachine gun too often.

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This MP.43-marked rifle is in excellent condition – almost like it was never issued. We may never know the history of this gun, but most MP.44s encountered on the Western Front were captured unissued from stockpiles. Thanks to Alex C. for the photo.

 

6. It Was A Byproduct Of A Failing System

Closely related to the last, this point relies on a lot of additional context regarding German industry during the war. The Nazis are often portrayed as having at their disposal a war machine of unparalleled power and capacity, but history paints a different picture. The Nazi economy was a mess, and the Germans struggled the entire war to maintain a competitive output of war materiel. One major reason for this was the funding of countless harebrained projects that should have been rejected out-of-hand, such as the useless, 188-tonne Maus heavy tank. In effect, if not in intent, the Nazis adopted a “shotgun” approach to development: Fund everything and see what sticks. It’s not so surprising, in that context, that it was the Nazis who first took the plunge and adopted an assault rifle as standard issue. The project started out the same way that any of the many useless, superfluous Nazi programs did, but incidentally proved to be a good idea, and took off from there. The adoption of the MP.44 as a standard arm for Nazi Germany is on close inspection one more piece of evidence for the deep systematic problems that nation had at effectively fighting a war of economy.

 

7. It Was Less Influential Than You Think

It’s easy to think that the Sturmgewehr kicked off a revolution in small arms. It was, after all, an early example of the type that is the standard model for infantry rifles today. The response to the MP.44 was, however, surprisingly conservative. Even the Soviets, who adopted the assault rifle concept most quickly after the Germans, continued to develop and issue other kinds of infantry rifles for many years afterward, indicating a certain level of reluctance to fully embrace it. This makes sense, as the need for rifles to reach out to greater distances than is practical for an early assault rifle was still strong in living memory. It would be wrong to say that the MP.44 sparked no interest at all, of course; many designers leapt to their drawing boards to design analogues, in many cases even retaining the original German caliber. However, despite that interest among the design firms and idea men of the world, military leadership did not initially cotton to the idea very much. It’s worth noting, as well, that in the West the assault rifle only really took off once the primary flaws expressed in the MP.44 had been worked out, through lighter weight ammunition and magazines.

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The MP.44 strikes a distinctive silhouette that is now familiar to anyone with an interest in military arms. However, after the war most military officers in charge of procurement – especially those in the West – still favored the older style of arm. Thanks to Alex C. for the photo.

 

To Conclude

All this is not to say that the MP.44 was a bad weapon, or that it was not noteworthy, but rather that it has in my opinion received something of an inflated reputation. None of these things, individually or together, mean that we shouldn’t be interested by the rifle, or that we shouldn’t like it. Instead, I think the MP.44’s status as a key development in small arms history is not as well-warranted as is widely thought, and a more sober perspective towards it is most appropriate.



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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  • Giolli Joker

    A lot of effort to convince Alex C to undersell his own. 😛

  • Martin Grønsdal

    Ok. This article stands out as different, in a positive way.

    However, following these arguments, what rifle DO you like?

  • thedonn007

    Good article, thanks.

  • Tim U

    Sometimes it’s refreshing to read the opposing view. I believe the Stg44 is still noteworthy because it does represent the first time any military power tried the concept, even if that power was one prone to mass experimentation and even if it was not really utilized to its full potential in altering the course of the war.

    And to make some Russians very angry, I dare say that without the Stg44 there would be no AK-47, which no one can argue how influential the AK has been over the last near 70 years.

    • lapkonium

      You’d be ignorant in saying that latter bit – Max Popenker has an extensive piece on why this isn’t so. Also, look up Fedorov’s Avtomat.

      • Scott P

        Exactly.

        The Russians had numerous arms designers in the 40’s designing assault rifles that have been all but forgotten because of the adoption of the AK like Korobov, Sudaev, Prilutsky, Kusmishev, Degtyarev, Tokarev, Simonov, Shpagin, and Korovin.

        Russians are not as backwards or a bunch of copycats as Western propaganda makes them out to be and numerous invasions by “superior” Western forces proves this. This is coming from an American as well.

        • Rock or Something

          I wouldn’t equate the amount of times a country has been invaded by foreign powers as a testament to the overall strength of the nation. But also interesting to note is that the AK has designs features from Western arms as well (M1 Garand and Remington Model 8 for starters).

    • Thank you for the compliment!

  • greek preparedness

    you don’t like the MP-44 ? sacrilidge! sacrilidge!

    Honestly, it is always good when a different opinion to a dogma is voiced.

  • Tom – UK

    Regarding Point:

    3. The Jerries carried 8mm ammo, comparing it to 30-06 while sensible as most US readers will have an acquaintance with it is also daft. The rifle was used to replace the 8mm Mauser k98 with its 5 round stripper clips. The improvement seen from K98 to STG 44 would be more appropriate. But I also appreciate that the point is being amde that there already was a standard issue semi auto rifle with it’s specific capability.

    I guess a more fair comparison between the K98, M1 and STG 44 would be “How long does it take for an individual to fire all their issued ammo on target”. Now that would certainly show the STG 44 as boss.

    It’s good to have your view on the STG 44, I certainly agree with many points. Ultimately I see the main influence of the STG 44 being that it inspired the Soviet Union to do something similar. Which lead to 100 million + AKs being produced.

    • The KrzPtr43 in mags would compare even less favorably to 8mm on stripper clips.

      Though you are absolutely right that the MP.44 has some importance for being one of Germany’s first widely produced selfloading rifles.

  • Anon

    Cool story

    • MR

      Bro

  • Major Tom

    The big thing about the StG-44 wasn’t that it was innovative, it was that it was the first one to put all the concepts and innovations surrounding the modern assault rifle that were invented in the 30 years or so prior into a production model.

    If you define assault rifle as “select-fire, mag fed infantry rifle” then the Russian Fedorov Atvomat in 1918 would be the first assault rifle. But the Fedorov was never made nor issued in much quantity.

    • lapkonium

      Although Fedorov may not be the very first assault rifle, I think 25 thousands on order and several thousands made is a good start for mass-introduction of an assault rifle.

      Of course, StG was probably cheaper and with more refined production technologies than Fedorov’s Avtomat – yet the AK was cheaper than MP 44 and with a lot better mass-production tech too. So the Russians got both ends of the innovativeness-massiveness scale when it comes to the assault rifles. :p

      • Esh325

        The AK saw continued development where the STG44 after WW2 for all intents and purposes was shelved. So it’s not really fair to compare them. And it took about 10 years for the Russians to truly perfect mass production of the stamped sheet metal receiver with the AKM.

    • kyphe

      The Italian Cei-Rigotti predates the Atvomat by 15 years though never accepted for service. though I believe the definition of assault rifle is based around an intermediate cartridge.

        • kyphe

          An assault rifle in concept is a job description, that being a rifle able to effectively fill the role of both infantry rifle and sub machine gun though not necessarily as well as either. The cartridge is relevant only in as much as few if any full power automatic rifles have ever managed to fill that dual role to the required degree, hence the common convention of not including full power automatic rifles in the assault rifle category. There is no rule that says a nation can not designate a bren gun as an assault rifle, yet we would just regard it as a pretty crappy one and dismiss it out of hand. To me a battle rifle is any rifle you can hit someone over the head with without reducing the prime function of the rifle as opposed to a sporting or marksman rifle, stretching to those rifles who have some kind of close combat capability with bayonet or fully automatic fire. Thus to me all assault rifles are battle rifles, as are lee enfield and the baker rifle.

  • Edeco

    I like either the Garand or AK better, long story. But comparing ammo in mags to ammo in clips just on the bases of weight and ballistics :S I mean, yeah clips are lighter, can be lighter even together with bigger cartridges, but they’re a historical fart in the wind compared to mags.

  • Tritro29

    I’m not going to lie, this article made me die a little inside. There’s cherry picking and bear poking in there. Disclaimer, I do not like the Mkb’s and the follow up. I’m an AK guy, served with one, appreciate the black rifles too. But this is based on flawed claims.

    1. Who says it was the first? Even ze Germans don’t.
    2. Same issue for my personal favourite the AK, not “really” innovative, just done right and it literally changed the face of infantry warfare.

    3. That’s bewildering. It was lighter when compared to what the average German infatnerist was running around and operating with. You compare that with the US infantryman. Why? Let’s don’t talk about the real issue, that while you have to load 4 clips, the landser is still firing (and moving).
    4. Do you know this as a fact? The problem with full auto should take note of the Germans issues in close combat, IN Russia, where my people, would use FA in a very straightforward suppressive move. Blast the Niemcy with PahPah FA cross the street to close the distance.

    5. Context fail, they were being build, stored and distributed while ze Germans had my GrandPa and yours “giving them hell”. The rifle came too late to have in impact especially with log lines being shaky and Germans retreating from everywhere.

    6. “My” AK was the “byproduct” of a dysfunctional and long deceased system. The STG was the product of system that thrives to this day. Unlike what you point, the STG was done the normal way Germany had done its previous military procurement business. For an historian maybe you should concentrate on Germany’s cartelization (both political and industrial), which was 50% of the reasons that brought Nazism to power. The response to the STG was conservative, because ze Germans were being raped (literally) by the top 3 of then military powers. They had more pressing needs than refining a rifle that wasn’t “that bad”. If you want to actually call the German 3rd Reich a failed system, I’d say that to the contrary, the German 3rd Reich was less so than the Soviet one. Hell, they even kept working on such devices (VK line and Gerat 06/07) . Maybe sometimes one should look at context as a whole, instead of looking at “evidences”.

    7. I don’t know how one can say that the STG wasn’t influential. The fact is that the Soviets were having BIGGER issues on their own (like rebuilding a country devastated by 4 years of war and mourning anywhere from 20 to 27 million of dead people) and that fielding another type of firearm shouldn’t have been exactly high on their priorities. It was merely a “byproduct” of the said example that made them pick a “jack of all trades” instead of a dedicated battle rifle like the “West” would do for a while until Mr. Stoner would make thing interesting again.

    On a conclusive note, I’d say that the STG (and it pains me to reckon it) was influential in my neck of the woods. Sure Mishka drew from many sources his inspiration (Jean Garand, Tokarev, Simonov, Schmeisser) but ultimately the applied sum against which he pitted the AK rifle against, was the STG then the rest of the Soviet m43 automatic rifles.

    Your assessment of the STG is yours to keep, but personally I do not see much substance in this list. A rifle is a fighting system and as such it has to operate within a fighting doctrine. That’s maybe the main flaw of the STG, it had no coherent doctrine. It was a jack of all trades.

    • skusmc

      Also, as for 5, it’s my understanding that (most of) the STG/MPs’ turning up in Syria among other places are (generally) post war copies and are actually chambered in 7.62.

      Do we have any source material for warehouses of STG’s being found by the Allies/Soviets? Not calling it wrong, it’s just I’ve never heard of it. Seems incredible that a nation that was expending every raw material and even using horse drawn carts to keep their supply lines up late-war would let a resource like that sit around.

      • ostiariusalpha

        There are no post war copies of the StG 44 chambered in 7.62×39. Seriously, not so much as a single one was ever made. Each & every StG 44 in the Mid East is chambered for the Kurz. The PTR 44 is a quite recent clone attempt, and I think the 7.62 chambering is not yet in production for it.

        • skusmc

          Alrighty. Any idea where the author got the idea that most STG’s sat in warehouses instead of being issued? Seems to me that most would have been Russian captures like K98’s. Never heard of allies finding a stockpile of un-issued STG’s.

          • ostiariusalpha

            You know the Russians were members of the Allies, yes? Nate never mentioned anything about the Western Allies capturing innumerable warehouses of StG 44s, though they managed to find several caches with substantial inventories in the territory they controlled. It was always understood that the Soviets confiscated the lion’s share of them, and it was they who distributed the gun all over to various client states and anti-capitalist factions throughout the world.

          • Tritro29

            Well that’s simply not true, the Soviets recovered less than a third of the weapons supposedly captured. The estimates are between 100 and 130 thousand. Of these 25 thousand were belived to have been given to Yugoslavia, about 20 000 to the Czechs, the rest were locked somewhere around the Rodina. The biggest portion was actually in Western Allied hands.

          • skusmc

            “You know the Russians were members of the Allies, yes?”

            I think we all know it’s more nuanced than that. Not that it matters for my point if you include the USSR as part of the Allies or a separate Comintern at war with the same enemy.

            Nate said;

            “A great deal of the Nazi war materiel was found in warehouses and depots, undelivered and unused”, and he seems to insinuate that most STG’s did actually stay in warehouses. All I asked is if anyone had a source for the Allies (include the USSR if you want) finding such a warehouse or depot. Thought it would be interesting. I’m assuming no one has such a source for such a claim.

          • Miguel Raton

            Well, it’s pretty clear that FDR [the dumber of the two Roosevelt presidents] considered Iosef Jughashvilli an ally, whereas Churchill correctly recognized that Stalin was the enemy of his enemy Adolf Hitler [ie, a party in a “separate Comintern war” per your example.] 😉

          • I don’t think I said that “most” sat in warehouses, I said many of them did. There are accounts retold in Sturmgewehr of entire units being issued MP.44s but no magazines or ammo. Not hard to see why those would stay at home in a depot somewhere…

          • skusmc

            You did say that most were dead weight and did insinuate that that it’s more likely one was found in a warehouse than off of a dead soldier. To my casual reading that implied ‘most’. We can argue about your choice of words but I have no interest. I just wanted to know if anyone had a primary source of GI’s finding warehouses full of STG’s. It would be interesting if they did.

          • I note below that I might be in error on that point.

        • mikee

          Some StG 44s have been rechambered to 7.62 x 39 in Pakistan to comply with their perceived firearms laws. However, there are technical issues that makes this conversion somewhat troublesome in regards to reliability.

          • Iggy

            I think you got that backwards, I’ve heard of Pakistani AK’s being rechambered in Kurz, but not the other way round.

          • ostiariusalpha

            You’ve got that backwards, mikee. It’s actually AKs that are rechambered for 44 (the Pakistani idiom for 7.93×33 Kurz), because 7.62×39 is what’s restricted from civilian use. There are absolutely no 7.62×39 StG 44 rifles.

      • iksnilol

        Horses were widely used in WW2 by all sides, it is just that most pictures are of the motorized vehicles because those were way more interesting.

        7.62 STGs simply don’t exist, those in the middle east retain their original chambering. It is a halfway common chambering in Pakistan.

        • The Allies were far more mechanized than Germany was, however.

          • Miguel Raton

            Easier for us to be: we had more fuel!

          • And Detroit.

      • Tritro29

        Syrian STG’s have two origins so far, East German and Yugo. Thus they cannot be on m43 calibre, since the Yugos never done anything to the arsenal they got from Germany. They adopted it as their own and even received machinery to produce ammo. Then Tito had a “little disagreement” with Koba. There are at least a couple of pictures around Potsdam with stacked crates of STG’s taken by Soviets. I suppose the same can be found for the US. But the biggest heaps of them, were captured around Poland from the RKKA taken from surrendering (or dead) German troops.

        • The StG-44s that have turned up in Syria are Nazi-production items in 7.92×33 caliber. That caliber is in fact so prolific in Africa and the Middle East that you’ll find AKs rechambered to be able to use it:

          https://www.forgottenweapons.com/pathan-44-bore-ak-in-8×33-kurz/

          • Tritro29

            Given that the Yugos never produced STG’s fully that’s normal. But the “origin” of the weapon (how Syria got hold of them), especially when you see the logs of the Syrian MOD, are from Yugoslavia and start popping up from 1963. Guess what happens in 1963? Kragujevaç started its own AK program after serializing the m59 rifles (SKS). After 1966 only STG’s in JNA are for the paratroopers (about 4000 of them, while Yugo STG stock was over 25000). We can have this discussion as much as you want.

          • Are you saying the MP.44s came from Yugoslavian stocks or that they were Yugo-made?

          • Tritro29

            This is why I shouldn’t be allowed to type on English without a translator :-). The 5000 or so STG’s from the infamous Syrian videos were JNA stocks most probably, but Nazi-era weapons. The Yugos never built more than “some parts” for the rifles. Among them the ZF4 optics and mounts. Some other STG’s shown still had DDR markings and were probably from Egypt.

          • Heheh, no issue.

            It occurs to me that I say in the article that the Allies shipped the MP.44s out to the Middle East and Africa after the war, but I should double-check that; it might not be true.

          • Tritro29

            Check Algerian STG’s…you will be surprized where the FLN got them from.

          • Oh, wow, disregard, I totally misinterpreted the post you made above. My fault.

    • Georgiaboy61

      Nathaniel is still a relatively young guy, but he’s a tough old hombre and difficult to impress when it comes to historic firearms. Well, at least the MP44 Sturmgewehr is in good company – if memory serves, he’s not all that impressed with the Garand, either….

      • I try to be critical of everything. Strip away the “first assault rifle” mystique and the StG-44 is pretty cool but not incredible.

        I would say I am more impressed with the Garand than the StG-44, as that was truly the labor of love of one very talented and humble man. I have a tremendous amount of respect for John Garand, as well as the design he brought forth. The article you’re probably thinking about is here, and I wrote it under heavy influence of my experience on some gun forums, where to hear people talk about it the M1 is still a state of the art weapon, even today. Hopefully I made that clear enough in the conclusion.

        • Georgiaboy61

          Early adopters of any technology have to be willing to put up with the inevitable teething problems, glitches, and other difficulties which accompany a new design.

          Some FA history buffs will tell you that the .30-cal. M1 carbine (especially in its M2 full-auto variant) qualifies as the first “assault rifle,” since it meets many of the criteria for that type of weapon, depending on how one judges the .30-carbine round itself – which is essentially a hot-rodded pistol round. Whether you buy that or not, I don’t know of anyone who would claim that the design is an archetype of assault rifle design in the way that the StG44 or the AK-47 were.

          Myself, I wouldn’t claim that the StG-44 is the be all and end all of assault rifles, but I do think that it is one of the prototypical designs which paved away for many to follow. However, if I was a typical German Landser or perhaps a member of the Fallschirmjäger, I would not have complained upon being handed a StG42 over an FG42, except perhaps from the standpoint of ammunition supply. Think controlling the recoil of the 30-06 Springfield cartridge was hard work in the semi-auto Garand? Try firing an FG42 on fully auto with the 7.92x57mm instead! Just thinking about it makes my shoulder sore…

          Your treatment to date of Garand and his design has been pretty even-handed. I still think you are tough customer, though… ; )

      • Esh325

        The Garand is extremely heavy, but for the time I don’t think there was a more reliable and durable self loading rifle than the Garand. It did become quickly outdated after WW2 however.

        • Heh, the Garand had a ton of reliability issues. I think it most qualifies as being the most reliable and durable of the time by not having any real competition.

          • Esh325

            I had read an article when they were trialing the M1 Garand against the Springfield,Johnson rifle, that the M1 Garand failed the sand test, but the Johnson rifle failed in other ways. It might have been the early gas trap Garand though. Generally in service the Garand had a reputation for reliability. It may not have been as reliable as newer designs like the AK,SCAR,etc but it was still fairly reliable.

          • There was also the corrosion issue in the Pacific, and the rainwater/oprod galling issue, besides the dust resistance problems.

            This helps explain why troops landed on the beaches in Normandy with plastic covers on their rifles…

          • Esh325

            In maritime conditons, I think plastic covers are issued for a lot of weapons. At least it didn’t have the all the problems the M16 did.

          • It actually had most of the same problems the M16 did. 🙂

          • Esh325

            Considering the fact that one is a select fire rifle with a detachable magazine vs a clip fed fixed magazine semi auto only rifle, some of the problems that could happen with the M16 couldn’t happen with the M1 Garand. Flimsy magazines that were meant to disposable that could be easily dented and couldn’t be loaded to full capacity isn’t something that could happen with the M1 Garand. Not to mention some of the malfunctions related to the M16 in Vietnam were aggravated by full auto fire. Not to mention I never read anywhere were there powder problems with the M1 Garand.

          • The biggest problem was the bare chambers in humid climates, which affected both rifles.

          • Esh325

            A chrome lined chamber is most certainly preferable and an advantage over a non chromed line chamber, but there were a lot of small arms lacking chrome lined chambers used during WW2 in humid climates. The problem +aggrivated by other issues seemed to have effected the M16 much more so than other small arms like the carbine,springfield, and Garand. If the problem were as serious with the Garand as it was with the M16, they would have retrofited the chambers with chrome lined bores, just as they went away from gas trap rifles. It’s a complex subject though and I could be wrong.

          • Esh325

            Not to mention, the North Vietnamese also used a large number of non chrome lined rifles including early AK-47’s,early SKS’s,Mosin Nagants,Mausers,etc under the same conditions and I don’t recall ever reading that they had the issues.

          • Well, can you read Vietnamese?

          • Esh325

            I can’t but it would seem the USA who knew about the capabilities of the North Vietnamese would have known something about this. A lack of chrome lined chambers and barrels was a problem for smalls arms, but an even bigger problem in the M16.

          • No denying the M16 had its fair share of unrelated issues, but I am not sure why you think any other non-chromed selfloading weapon would be less susceptible to rust…

          • Esh325

            I think the lack of a non chome lined bore and barrel in the M16 was aggrovated by factors that weren’t as prominent in some other small arms like rapid semi and fully automatic firing,the M16 ran dirtier plus the ball powder, and perhaps being a .22 caliber bore and barrel might have made things worst.

          • But the M1 had the exact same issue…

          • Esh325

            Was it with the m1 carbine and other automatic weapons during WW2? Like I said, while it was an issue with the M1 Garand, I highly doubt it was as serious of an issue as it was with the M16. It’s very well documented with the M16, but not with the M1 Garand or M1 Carbine.

          • Why do you think the M1 is specially rust-proof? If the chamber is made of steel and not chromed, that will be an issue.

          • Esh325

            It’s not rust proof at all. Dirtier operating system with dirtier powders plus higher round counts because of full auto fire lead to more fouling therefore more rusting.

          • That’s not how rust works.

          • ostiariusalpha

            The fouling from 5.56 ammo is not hygroscopic, it doesn’t increase rust. The only real drawback to the Stoner internal piston is that it dries out the lubricant inside the action faster. No gun, even an AK, would keep running with the kinds of calcium carbonates that the WC846 ball powder was depositing without the same intensive maintenance that it imposed on the early M16.

          • Esh325

            Like I said before, I could be wrong about reasons why it may or may not more protected against the problem, but there is very a scant amount of historical evidence to suggest that the M1 Garand and M1 Carbine faced the same problems to the degree the M16 did with regards to the bore and barrel rusting. On the other hand, it was a heavily documented problem for the M16 in Vietnam. Like I said before I’m sure barrels and bores on M1 Carbines and Garands DID rust, but it wasn’t as big of a problem with them as the M16. As for the exact reasons why it wasn’t as big of a problem, I don’t know.

          • ostiariusalpha

            As far as rusting? No, there’s reams of documents about the Garand and M1 Carbine’s problems with humidity. Of course, they didn’t have ABC, CBS or NBC news breathing down their necks in WWII, each trying to out-do the other in trying to broadcast to John Q. Public what garbage the military was equipping those brave lads with. The M16 rusting issue was only 15-20% of it’s problem, the real sticky widget was the powder (which was either inconsistent from batch to batch like the IMR4475, or had terrible calcification like the WC846) and the overly thin webbing on the case (because the brass spec hadn’t been changed when the Army raised the cartridge pressure requirements to boost velocity). The weak brass would stick or even split in the chamber and jam the gun up, which wasn’t helped by the pitting in the chamber from rust. With good ammo, the M16 wouldn’t have faired any worse than the Garand in humid climates – it would have presented some definite problems, but not a media frenzy.

          • My understanding is not that the brass was too thin, but too soft. This wasn’t because the spec hadn’t been changed after pressure increases, but that there was no spec for brass hardness at all.

          • ostiariusalpha

            You are correct, the brass entirely lacked a spec for hardness, I should have added that. The thin webbing on the case was real though, some manufacturers increased the thickness to compensate for the higher pressure and others just kept loading brass made for the original .223 Remington pressure.

          • Miguel Raton

            “..original .222 Remington pressure.”

            There, fixed it for ya!

          • Esh325

            I mean maybe the best argument that it was an issue was that the direct successor to the Garand, the M14 had a chrome lined chamber and bore from the very start of production I believe.

          • And the M1 never did…

          • Esh325

            Depending on the country and date of manufacturer, not all SKS’s and AK’s have chrome lined barrels. Early Russian SKS’s I’ve handled such as those from the early 1950’s do not have chrome lined bore and chamber. Early Russian AK’s like the Type 1 and Type 2 also lacked chrome lined barrels and bore. Yugoslovian AK’s and SKS, mostly didn’t have any chrome lined bores or chambers.

          • I don’t think many Yugo AKs and SKSes made it to Indochina by the 1960s…

            Early models, perhaps, but again it’s not like the Vietnamese records are translated and on hand.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Well, weren’t McNamara & cohort under the impression that the Chrome-Moly steel was some kind of humidity-proof super metal? There were a lot of dumb things that kept the M16 from being refined for the rigors of combat.

          • I’ll have to check my books, but they initially thought chrome-lining would be unnecessary and cost prohibitive for .22 cal barrels.

            I don’t think McNamara had much input on the AR-15’s design, so far as I can tell he basically accepted what the engineers told him about it.

          • nadnerbus

            With regard to sticking in the chamber (which is one of the problems encountered with the early M16), the 7.62×39 round has a fairly aggressive taper to it, versus the relatively straight case wall of the 5.56 or 30 06. I have read elsewhere that the taper on the Russian round allows for easier extraction, less resistance to overcome.

            If that’s the case, it’s more about the dimension of the round than the reliability of the relevant actions.

          • Georgiaboy61

            Don’t forget the corrosive primer salts used in those days, which could pit a barrel very quickly if the user didn’t clean it promptly after use.

          • ostiariusalpha

            The Garand was actually very sensitive to powder charge changes, because it didn’t have a gas metering system. It would start to bend the oprod if there was even a small overpressure situation, which can easily happen in hot, tropical climates. That’s why Springfield was so keen to use the White gas cut-off system in the M14.

          • Georgiaboy61

            Yes, that’s correct. The Garand was designed to work within a specific set of powder burn-rates and gas port pressures. Reloaders typically use either IMR-4895 or IMR-4064 or a powder with a similar characteristics, and load slugs in the 147-175 grain range. Stay within those parameters, keep your M1 cleaned, lubricated and greased properly, and most-likely, it will function fine.

          • Miguel Raton

            Really? The M1 had jamming problems from improperly-loaded ammo and the troops being told it didn’t require cleaning? I don’t recall hearing any of that before. Please elaborate! ;-D

            The M16 had relatively few problems in comparison to the Garand, given that it hadn’t been in development for 20 years before being fielded like the M1 rifle was. But then again, Eugene Stoner wasn’t working in a vacuum either: he was able to lift Melvin Johnson’s multi-lug bolt & barrel-extension ideas, the AB42 Ljungman’s DI gas system, and other lessons learned from WW2 & Korea while developing the AR-10 [which led to the AR15/M16]

            And the M16’s problems weren’t quite as easily solved as the M1’s “Oh, it needs extra grease in the rain.” ::)

          • “Materials to clean and oil the small arms were much in demand. Cleaning and preserving (C&P) materials had been in short supply to begin with. Many of the M1 rifles had been issued without oil and thong cases. Often when the men had the cases they simply threw them away to lighten the load they were carrying. By 3 December the shortage of gun oil, small individual containers for oil, brushes, cleaning rods, and other C&P items was serious enough to effect operations. One combat officer, observing that the first thing the men stripped from the Japanese dead or wounded was the neat bakelite oil case they carried, reported that gun oil was ‘very precious and always short.’ Urgent messages characterized the condition of small arms at the front as ‘deplorable’ and ‘terrible.’”

            – The Ordnance Department: On Beachhead and Battlefront

            “The M1’s were going to ruin for lack of cleaning in the holes up front-the poor guys did not have anything to take care of them with, and often were not in a position to shoot them often enough to keep the barrels clear of corrosion (grass won’t grow on a busy street-regardless of the corroding primer compound, if a .30-06 barrel gets a bullet through it every six or eight hours it will stay in pretty good shape). As a result of the fouling of gas cylinders and pistons, a large percentage of our semi-automatics were becoming singleshots.”

            – Ordnance Went Up Front

          • Georgiaboy61

            Compare apples to apples, friend. The basic design of the Garand is more than eighty years old, whereas the FN SCAR is – by comparison – brand new.

            Those who judge the past (especially the more-distant past) by the standards of the present would be termed by trained historians as being “ahistorical,” i.e., lacking in the proper historical perspective or context. In simpler terms, that means when we judge someone or something from the past, we should do so using the standards of that time, as well as those of our own.

            By the standards of today, the Garand is heavy, needlessly complex and expensive to manufacture, and difficult to field strip and clean. Its action is also needlessly exposed to the elements, and its internal magazine holds only eight rounds. Its en-bloc clip system was needlessly cumbersome, and it was chambered in a full-power rifle cartridge – making the infantryman’s basic combat ammo load both heavy and limited in number of rounds carried. Amongst other issues, etc. etc.

            By the standards of the time in which it was designed, manufactured and fielded, on the other hand, it was darned near a masterpiece – and many elderly GIs and Marine grunts will be more than willing to tell you so.

            A case in point: an elderly uncle on my wife’s side of the family was an army infantryman during the Korean War, and saw heavy combat against the Chinese Communists north of Seoul, South Korea after the Chi-Coms came in. In one battle, he and his unit fought off human wave attacks, some at point-blank range. This man, before being wounded and evacuated, was one of the last men in his unit still alive and fighting. Ultimately, he was one of the few to survive to return home. Today, that same uncle says he was lucky to make it out alive – and he also speaks almost reverently not only of his buddies who carried him to the battalion aid station – but of his Garand, the rifle which saw him through the very worst of combat in Korea and never failed him.

            I’ve studied the history of WWII and the Korean War for very long time, and have met many combat infantrymen veterans along the way – and I have never run across a GI of that time who thought poorly of the Garand. Not saying they don’t exist; just saying I have never met one. At most, they’ll complain that it was heavy – that’s the one complaint I’ve heard periodically.

            Time marches on and technology, design and engineering all improve – but that shouldn’t blind us to what an enormous achievement John Cantius Garand attained with his design.

          • GB,

            I think judging the past both by its own standards and by the (technical, not moral) standards of the present, separately, is the best way to go. With the former, you’re trying to get inside the head of those who lived at the time, and to do that you need to clear out all the anachronistic context you get from hindsight and from your time period, and gather a tremendous amount of period context. This is the only way to evaluate history on its own terms, and it’s what’s normally meant by “history”, and what’s prescribed by the best historiographers, for example Butterfield (who tackles the same thing, but regarding morality).

            However, my study isn’t just historical, it’s also technical. Therefore, there is a direct relationship between the work of the past and the work of the present. I agree that Hindsight Is 30/06 is far too harsh of an assessment from a purely historiographical perspective (and in fact, I say pretty much that in the conclusion), but from a technical perspective, as in, what’s good and bad about the M1 and what can we learn from it moving forward to create new superlative firearms designs, that flavor of analysis is not just warranted, but necessary.

            Does that make sense?

          • Georgiaboy61

            I think we’re pretty much on the same page….

        • Miguel Raton

          The Garand isn’t “extremely heavy.” The M1 weighs in very close to it’s predecessor, the 1903 Springfield [as one of the US Army requirement for it demanded.] And in fact, it’s difficult for any semi-auto firing a full-power cartridge to get any lighter: look at the AR-10 or the FAL, which despite their use of more advanced materials and manufacturing techniques [and a smaller cartridge!] only weigh in about, what, 1/2 pound less. That’s one of the points behind intermediate cartridges: you don’t need a 20# BAR or even a 12# Johnson LMG to maintain control when going cyclic.

          The M1 could have weighed less [and had a 10rd clip] if MacArthur hadn’t nixed the planned switch to .276 Pedersen and famously directed Springfield armory to concentrate semi-automatic rifle developments on standard M1 ball [which John Garand had wisely kept in mind while proceeding with his .276 efforts.] Pedersen’ s rifle couldn’t be redesigned, & he was out. Too bad Melvin Johnson was still years away from having a workable prototype for his recoil-operated action, or John Garand might have had some competition! But that’s another story…

      • Tritro29

        I would like to repeat my position here.

        1. The STG isn’t the holy Grail. But the idea did impact Soviet doctrine.
        2. It is no different from the AK on many doctrinal aspects. Only Germany had no doctrine for the rifle. For instance it was given to AT troops.
        3. If one wants to criticize something, it should take in account its context (at least).
        4. Comparisons should be made with comparable items. Comparing US imperatives with German ones is really misleading.
        5. There are many issues with the STG that aren’t brought forward as an infantry rifle. Sights for instance are properly horrible for any long range engagement.
        6. This isn’t personal, it’s based on his article. Some of this article flaws are a bad use of histography, which, in return, begs an addendum or erratum.

        Now on the fact he’s young, I will not lie and say he’s got a more deep and diverse experience than me which makes him a far more interesting person (than me). Critique will always be easier. However when he steps up and makes some claims, he should be sure about them, or at least explain his opinion in such a way people can look at his point and say, well that’s sensible (even if not wholly accurate).

        BTW the “SturmGeschutz 44” name is just a propaganda gimick. I don’t see how one can make the claim from there and certainly ze Germans don’t.

        • 1. I don’t recall saying it didn’t impact Soviet doctrine. For example, they adopted the intermediate cartridge idea basically as fast as they could. What’s remarkable to me is that they had several opportunities to adopt assault rifles from 1944-1950, but didn’t in favor of more conservative stripper-clip fed carbines. Note that this period was one of heavy military reform and progress for the Soviets, where they replaced almost all of their military equipment with new models, e.g. Tu-4, IS-3, T-54, Il-28, etc. It seems odd that if the Soviets really fully believed in the assault rifle as soon as they encountered significant numbers of them in German hands that they didn’t adopt the AS-44 or an assault rifle variant of the SKS in the immediate postwar.

          2. Right, this goes back to my point about it being basically a happy byproduct of a system that was flailing around and wasting time and money.

          3. I hope I did?

          4. I compared it to the Garand because that was the only standardized semiauto service rifle at the time, and also because it’s highly relevant to the Western opinion of the MP.44.

          5. Not sure why everyone’s down on the sights… They’re basically your standard Mauser pattern. Sure, I’d much rather have a Garand’s sights, but the MP.44’s are absolutely nothing remarkable.

          6. Such as?

          I’m flattered by the compliment, but I’m sure you’re a very interesting person in your own right, too. I feel pretty sure about these claims, though I’d definitely defer to, for example, Hans-Dieter Handrich who is a bona fide expert on the MP.44

          • Tritro29

            1. Then we agree. Probably lost in translation.
            2. But they weren’t. That’s how the Germans were, are and will be doing business. For anything. Nazism was just a veneer. The guys behind the “spending’ weren’t Hitler & C°, but the guys that were getting the actual orders. That cartelization was something the US occupying authorities understood and tried to break.
            3. Comparing a German project to a US one and saying it doesn’t work for you, is going exactly against the context, which is, German rifle replaces German rifle out of German imperatives. Now there’s a big problem with those imperatives indeed, just not those you point out.
            4. Problem is that the context isn’t “Western Opinion”, but actually the OKW’s opinion and approach to warfare. By the numbers the AVS/SVT’s were as many as the full production of the STG. Yet I do not compare both. I understand you point here, which boils down to : the rifle isn’t all that. Yes when you have a Garand. But the Germans had not. And as such it truly stands out. Again context.
            5. The sights of the STG are comparable to those of the AK. Usually that’s how the AK’s get blasted. Oh and they truly are poor at distance. But ze Germans got there first with dedicated scope mount, that my folks got inspiration from for their own quick detach.

            6. Such as you judging this gun from the wrong perspective. You’re taking it out of its own context, which is a wartime rifle, with lack of political will to push it forward, build under duress, without a clear idea what to do with it and how to have it become useful, notably by handling the supplemental log strain of a new caliber and new parts.

            If the Germans would have built this in the Interwar period and built a doctrine for it, maybe the course of war would have not been changed, but the rifle and its refinement would have been beyond what it was in May 1945.

            I reckon that I’m a little stirred here.

          • 2. The Germans certainly did waste a lot of time and money on silly, wasteful projects. It would take me a very long time to draft up a reasonably comprehensive list.

            3. Again, you’re missing the point that this mostly concerns the Allied reaction to the MP.44. Note that nowhere do I say the Nazis shouldn’t have produced the MP.44. On the contrary, ammunition production issues aside, I think the MP.44 was the ideal weapon for their situation at the time.

            4. OK.

            5. Sure, but the MP.44 wasn’t designed for distance shooting. I also would rank the AK’s sights as being somewhat better, I really dislike the Mauser notch.

            6. This is an article about reasons why the MP.44 is overrated, not reasons why it deserves some of the praise it gets. There are good things about it, but that’s not the focus of this article.

            Yeah, you might be a little triggered. 😉

          • Secundius

            @ Nathaniel F.

            The Tupolev Tu-4, was an “EXACT” copy to the B-29. Right Down to the C-Rats can Patches where the “Reverse Engineered B-29” Bullet Hole’s Were…

          • I know; so?

          • Russian sheet aluminium was of different gauge than that available to the US, so the Tu-4 was definitely different from the B-29, in some cases the sheet metal was thicker/stronger, others thinner, with the stringers moved correspondingly.

          • Also, the idea that the Tu-4 copied patched bullet holes is absurd. Exactly how dumb do you think Russian engineers are?

          • Re: Tu-4, that myth comes from Suvorov, who apparently also says that the engineers were so terrified of Stalin that they didn’t even paint red stars on the sides of the planes. All this is nonsense; the Tu-4 differed considerably in its subsystems, for example the use of Russian armament and weapons mounts, plus having a different fuel system.

    • 1. Loads of people do: http://i.imgur.com/DtP4NEO.png

      2. Sure.

      3. No, it certainly was not lighter than a Kar.98k with stripper clips. I can do the math on that, if you really need me to.

      4. You would probably need a battery of extremely advanced and practically omniscient supercomputers to know it “for a fact”, but it’s a pretty good guess, I think.

      5. Right, so how does that make them any less a waste of resources? I think a lot of people see the “500K” number and think the StG-44 must have been in the hands of almost every German soldier, but that’s not true.

      6. What? The Nazi system died in 1945. It also had major materiel production and distribution problems that neither the Western Allies nor the Soviet Union had.

      7. Yet they fielded the SKS in very large numbers (every one of which could have been a select-fire and made with detachable magazines), they fielded new tanks, airplanes, artillery, etc, but not an assault rifle until the 1950s. That seems to indicate that they didn’t think the assault rifle was a good idea until the 1950s.

      Mikhtim was tasked with making something equivalent to an MP-44 (before the government told him to do this, he was working on an SKS-like carbine), absolutely. It’s not to say that the Russians scoffed at the idea of the assault rifle (that would be the Americans), but that it took them a surprisingly long time to fully embrace it. I wonder how much uncertainty there was in Russia about it.

      • Tritro29

        1. Seriously. We’re talking among gentlemen. Plebeans also claim AR-15’s are assault rifles and Putin ate my baby. I think I can find more people to claim that Putin ate my baby.
        2. I know you like the AK. That’s also a bad habit ;-).
        3. Sure you can, you can find 30/40 grams even half a kilo difference. But the reality is that the Kar is the worst rifle. Because it’s a bolt rifle and the STG has all more rounds ready to fire per load. So yead it’s “lighter”.
        4. Once again, the FA issue, in the Soviet Union was a glaring problem, especially in the Ratten krieg. This doesn’t need Deep Blue on steroids, it needs to read Soviet concusions on how to clean buildings.
        5. Off course it wasn’t in every hand, that’s for a reason. It’s called logistics and it’s what the pro’s look when fighting wars (that’s what US general said anyway). Those log lines were crumbling, because the Germans were being battered. You cannot speculate on an item because it came too late. I’d present you with the same concept, but coming in time. The T34. Same kind of hype like the STG, same kind of shortcomings, but it came in time and could be developped far enough to make for the shortcomings.
        6. The Nazi ideology and political dominion died in 1945, but the konzern system didn’t until 1950’s, when the US literally split the German cartels. Funny enough since then the Germans did it again with the same kind of moves as a result (I hope you haven’t bought VeeDub diesels). The konzern system made Germany and will still make it.
        7. Off course but would have been more complicated. KISS and all that. They fielded nothing “new” until well after 1948. The only thing that was “new” was forced upon my people because the US blew the Japanese out of their kimonos. Yet the Politburo was allowing the production of so many SMG’s as well, turned out they all got into reserve or in some forsaken country in need of revolution of decolonization.

        • 1. I am being serious. Many people believe it was the first, though I’d be very glad to hear that I’ve done something to change that.

          2. I like the AK for what are entirely irrational reasons, for the most part. Boxed up and stored away like that, it’s a non-issue.

          3. The contention wasn’t that the Kar.98k, or even the M1 are the better rifles, it was that the StG-44 is “lighter” due to its lighter ammo. That’s not true.

          4. I think you’re taking this point the wrong way. In the article, I acknowledge that there are some very good reasons to want full auto capability, but that it probably wasn’t the revolutionary, terrifying advantage many think it was, especially since the Allies also had fully automatic weapons.

          5. What good is a weapon that you can’t take advantage of? I don’t really care how fancy your rifle is, if you don’t have any ammunition or magazines for it, or if the guns aren’t being shipped. That was the reality for many German troops.

          6. That doesn’t address my point, which is that the Germans had substantial materiel production and distribution issues in World War II, and particularly that they had a very bad tendency of funding every harebrained idea to reach the desk of some official.

          7. That’s not really true, but it’s not worth arguing the point. Yes, many of the projects (SKS included) didn’t see mass production until the late Forties. My point has nothing to do with that, it’s pointing out that even the Russians weren’t so sold on the assault rifle idea that they didn’t also have other projects that they brought all the way to mass production.

          • Tritro29

            Last reply.

            1. Then this is a vulgarization crusade. Which is good. My bad then.

            2. Hah.

            3. There’s a semantic issue here. The lighter cartdrige is an advantage. The fact magazine design and weight, renders that advantage null, cannot make this a simple scale matter. After-all the magazine could have been refined with enough time.
            4. I think, I take it from the German perspective, which when it comes to the STG, its the obvious point. They lacked an alternative to their MP’s. So they made one in which they could have both worlds. It’s a huge advantage to have one weapon doing the job of two. Was it perfect for both…
            5. Once again, you cannot point to the gun and say, it is a failed gun, because the log system is bad. You need to look at why the log is bad. Then you understand that going against three world powers with a continental economy and questionable political choices has more to do than the actual quality of the rifle.
            6. This is something you just don’t want to understand, that’s probably because you have never had to come to terms with ultra bureaucratic systems in your life. It’s not the way you think it is. The system that saw the Nazis experiment with all kinds of looney ideas, is called the konzern system, which is basically an oligarchic rule, when people get the state by the balls while having the appearance of a (free) market. It’s an oligopoly on steroids. That was just dressed up with fancy words and crazy ideas. Why do you think people like Speer had no issue with the system?
            7. The fact another bureaucratic system going the other way (State having the market by the balls) had the same issues with how to deam with infatry weapons, should actually indicate that less about the “Assault weapon”, than the way both systems viewed the needs of their military.

          • 3. It’s not semantic if the soldier actually carrying the MP.44 can’t carry more ammo than one carrying an M1 or Kar.98k.

            4. Huh? I mean, they had the MP.40, G.43, etc. They did not have to adopt an assault rifle, and there’s an argument to be made that they shouldn’t have, as it added another ammunition type (which resulted in significant wasted production since they had a very difficult time making enough ammo).

            5. I never said it was a failed gun.

            6. I don’t understand how that means it’s A-OK for the industry to basically be a bunch of war profiteers not actually focused on winning the war. I mean, I’m glad they were, because I’m glad the Nazis lost, but your argument appears to be “your argument that the Nazis couldn’t fight a war of economy to save their lives is invalid, because sucking at wars of economy is a cultural trait of the German people!” Hokay.

            7. They didn’t really have the same issues, though. Now you’re taking things out of context, because you’re making the assumption that the Russian military procurement officers should have just “known” the assault rifle was the right answer, but that’s really an assumption that depends on our hindsight.

          • Tritro29

            3. It actually is, if you have more ammo, but less of it is ready to be fired continuously towards the enemy. The ammo being lighter the issue is still the magazine.
            4. G43 isn’t an automatic rifle, nor is it able to do what an MP36/38/40/41 does. From a german POV there was nothing like the STG available (BAR the FG).
            5. My bad I got carried away. Still you can’t pin poor logistics on the gun (at least not on it exclusively, adopting a rifle in the midst of an existential war is going to FUBAR the logs).
            6. Well, it simply doesn’t compute with the STG being the byproduct of a “failed system”. Germany has the evolution of that system today.
            7. I agree, they did’t “know” that. But they had similar issues in how they worked out an idea. Germans and Russians are the two extremes of the same paradigm.

          • 3. Are you suggesting the StG-44 have been modified for stripper-clip feed? I am confused.

            4. Sure, but I wasn’t arguing about that.

            5. No, but I can point out that had an effect on how important it was during the war.

            6. Firstly, I said “failing system”, and I was referring to Nazi Germany specifically (which failed and is no more). Whatever flaws of the Nazi system are retained by the current German one is not really relevant to the point I was making, which is that the Germans funded all sorts of wacky projects, and therefore it’s not terribly surprising that some of them ended up being good ideas.

            7. Yeah, I’m not at all sure what your point is.

          • Tritro29

            3. Nope what I’m saying it’s more subtle. More powerful, bigger, hotter ammo, couldn’t be used the same way, the 7,92k was used. The round being lighter (in all ways) permitted the “high capacity” magazine. The STG is thus an important step and the lighter ammunition a fundamental one. Let’s not forget that the STG is a stillborn rifle, while even the Garand evolved into something different (M14). You cannot compare the two and be less than impressed, when looking through their development phase.
            4. But again, I told you the Sturm thing is a propaganda Gimmick, something that came after. If Adolf found the name cool and menacing, the Germans themselves didn’t elaborate on it, nor didn’t create a specific doctrine for “Sturming” with that Gewehr. It was in limbo. It even was used for AT troops, who by then needed anything BUT the STG. We are arguing post hoc, about something that the Germans didn’t look as we are looking it. For them it could have been a Pferd/RitterGewehr, what’s in a name? They needed a system to have semi/full auto, large magazine and enough range. To me they wanted the better of both worlds, doesn’t mean, this was for assaults or defense specifically. It’s just a name that was coined, just like battle rifle, to me those are just artificial labels trying to put in brackets certain weapons. Hence the German story is funny, they evolved a “battle rifle” from an “assault” rifle…from Stg45 to G3. Again what’s in a name.
            5. I personally find it arguable, logistics, by the 1944 were bad for all types of devices. Sure more items on that line would made them even worse, but that’s a two front war for dummies.
            6. I point out that the STG saga is in line with how the Germans managed their procurements before and after. The STG 44 development, was halted, but the rifle that replaced it was Nazi on its on right. Even fascist at that (you know how that term is popular at home). So there historically, I stand by my point.
            7. Nothing just saying that influence of the STG is important for the USSR, maybe not for the US and maybe that’s the problem.

          • 3. Yes, you’re right about this. A .30-06 MP.44 would have even heavier ammunition. My original point was that the idea that the German soldier with an MP.44 could carry more ammunition is false. He could not.

            4. I see this as a similar issue to the Panther tank, as an example. The Panther has been lauded as this hugely influential tank (in fact, some tank experts have called it “the first MBT” which, I, uh, disagree with), but very few of its concepts were copied in any significant post-war tank designs, and it itself was a direct response to the Soviet T-34. So the Germans don’t have any automatic rifles, and develop the MP.44 automatic rifle. A step up for the German infantryman? Surely, but then why does the post-war analysis consider it totally revolutionary? Same with the Panther, though in that case you can also throw in its atrocious reliability which weakens the analogy a bit.

            5. Right, but the point stands that a lot of MP.44s made were dead weight most of the time due to logistical problems.

            6. Fine, but that doesn’t really address the heart of what I was getting at.

            7. In the article I definitely say the MP.44 is important to postwar Soviet arms development. The aspect of that I was highlighting is that even the Soviets seemed a little hesitant to totally embrace it, at first.

          • Tritro29

            3. Depends on the configuration. 4 mags and “non housed” ammunition for the rest is maybe not practical but surely something I had to do, back in the glorious days. But let’s say there’s no purely weight based advantage.
            4. That “post-war” analysis has much to do with a staple of Western (and Eastern) histography. The Cold War. Those who laud the Panther the way they do, do so because the other alternative would be the T-34, you can’t have a commie tank being influential can you? Especially when it comes to “development”, think about the whole “Reds copy us” period with the T-4 and Nene jet engines. It’s a false positve, spread in a tension period.
            5. Let’s say that a new rifle when you can’t sort out the other items was going to worsen the log train. They also become dead weight because the kind of war you’re facing isn’t the one where the landser is given 120 rounds of 7.92 and he has to deal with it. It’s far more “circumstantial” than an actual inbuilt flaw. The funny part is that the STG is supposed to be an assault rifle, while most of the time is was fired in anger to …DEFEND.
            6. Probably there’s where my foreign origin is showing. We see this through a different prism and my semantic shortcomings become evident. Let’s agree that we’re defending a different position, equally valid to our own views.
            7. Again, maybe I gave you an intention you didn’t have. Scratch this once again to my English status.

  • Bal256

    I agree that the MP44 is kind of oversold as a GAMECHANGA, but I think the fact that it was the first widely fielded assault rifle gives it a lot of points for me, personally, even if it wasn’t “the first”. Personally, I find conceptual designs less impressive than ones that are actually utilized. For example, breech loaded firearms appeared in the 16th century, but the cost and complexity of production, as well as other limitations kept them backseat to muzzle loaded weapons for centuries.

    Its like the article about the Garand. The fact that widespread adoption of the rifle was made possible by the designer himself designing the tooling for mass production is probably one of the most impressive aspects of the rifle.

    • lapkonium

      In which case, the AK is a lot мore impressive than MP 44.

      • Miguel Raton

        Not really: no crash-wartime development, Soviets were already standardized on a smaller bore than the antiquated 8mm the Nazis were stuck with, they had lots more opportunity to learn from the mistakes the Germans had made, learn from their own difficulties with the SVT, etc. etc. etc. What’s impressive is that they even bothered with the skS when they already had to know they were going to leap-frog it in short order with the AK.

        • lapkonium

          Maybe not in the process of development, but in the end result, i.e. – the gun – most certainly.

    • Miguel Raton

      Well, it was “the first,” if you’ll accept the premise that Federov’s Avtomat wasn’t officially adopted, it was a field trial of an experimental weapon concept [that failed to capture the imagination of his superiors, & therefore wasn’t followed up. Good thing too: can you imagine how much more troublesome the Soviets would have been if they’d adopted an assault rifle 30 years earlier than they eventually did?] Since nothing else qualifies as “assault rifle” given the parameters [full auto capable, detachable box mag feed, intermediate cartridge [Federov used the 6.5x50mm Arisaka cartridge, which is a borderline case for “intermediate” status, but it was the best he had to work with, & he clearly understood what he wanted & would have chosen something more clearly in the intermediate range if it was available]], I’m still going to go with the MP43/44/StG44 as the 1st assault rifle. As a 1st effort [it’s pretty clear in retrospect that the Nazis were working from 1st precepts & unaware of Federov’s experiments] it’s a pretty workable system. Comparing the ammo loadout of the StG44 against the M1 Garand isn’t entirely fair, since the M2 ball uses 150gr bobos, and even M2AP is only 174gr: the correct comparison is the 8mmK’s 123gr bobo vs. the full-power 8x57mm load using the 192gr bullet. Yeah, that’s going to add up over time. And let’s not forget, the critical savings in cartridge brass that the 8mmK represents vs. its full-size counterpart: that was a big part of the justification for the switch. And let’s not forget either that the Nazis had had very poor results trying to field a full-power semi-auto rifle [which makes John Garand’s achievements with the M1 even more admirable] while the StG was more successful all-around than its full-size semi-auto competition. The MP43 was impressive enough to cause the Soviets to examine it and STANDARDIZE AN INTERMEDIATE CARTRIDGE ANALOGUE TO THE 8MM KURZ BEFORE THEY EVEN HAD A RIFLE IN THE PIPELINE TO SHOOT IT WITH. So yeah, by modern standards the StG44 is pretty lack-luster, but it has to be judged against its contemporaries: you don’t compare a skate-boarding 70 y.o. with his teen-aged fellow skateboarders, you compare him with his cronies using walkers to get around!

      • Jackson Andrew Lewis

        technically the fedetoiv isnt an itermediate cartridge either and te delicate for battle conditions…..

        wheras the germans forst attempt was easy to produce, fired a true intermediate cartridge, and worked reliably in the dirt…..

        Like you said when compared to contempraries the next closest thing of the time would be…… an sks….. and it has no auto capability, 10 round capacity and was haevier and more expensive to produce…

  • RickH

    So……..you don’t like it at all?

    • Fun fact: The original title was “7 Reasons I’m Not Impressed With The Sturmgewehr”, but the editor wanted a shorter, catchier title.

      The MP.44 is alright, but beyond its historical value it doesn’t really do anything for me.

      • RickH

        It was designed and developed during the smoke of war, as a cheap almost throwaway weapon to be produced in mass quantities, not quality. In the scope of that, only a short sighted person would not be impressed with what was produced in several short years. And neither title is catchy.

        • You’re right that it was designed at least in part as a last-ditch weapon.

          I wrote the introductory paragraph hopefully to let the reader understand that I’d had other people tell me I was unimpressed with the StG-44, which is certainly more true for me than for most people, and that the article is explaining why I have a different perspective on it.

          As I mention in the article a couple of times, that does not mean that there is nothing about it I appreciate, but the article is basically a list of reasons my perspective is more lukewarm than most.

  • Pete Sheppard

    My gripe with the StG44 would be the metal handguard. From what I’ve seen elsewhere, that thing gets hot fast, requiring gloves for extended shooting.

    • Tritro29

      Curiously no one is pointing out the generally sub-par sights of the rifle, nor the sighting radius, while these pop up on every AK-bashing subject.

  • I like them because they shoot well, have low recoil, and are accurate. I generally don’t decide to dislike a firearm based on its historical or developmental attributes.

    • iksnilol

      If you want low recoil you could go for the following build:

      Heavy AR in 5.45, with muzzle brake or suppressor. Should be even more controllable.

      I agree with you, I care about how useful/fun a firearm is.

      • ostiariusalpha

        That actually sounds like just about the best performance vs. recoil ratio you could hope to achieve with readily available firearm components.

        • iksnilol

          Buddy, I have a good idea occasionally. xD

          Was thinking 5.45 since it has a bit less energy than 5.56. Heavy barrel and heavy stock together with good muzzle device for obvious reasons. Would probably be a somewhat heavy sucker. + the AR system with its low reciprocating mass should help. Also a good adjustable gas block would be a nice addition.

          • Esh325

            Apart from the semi expiremental Russian rifles like the AN-94 and AEK, I can’t think of an assault rifle mechanism that controls the recoil better than the AR15, AR15+5.45×39+muzzle brake+adjustable gas block should really produce an ultra low recoil in fully automatic and burst.

          • You’ve never shot an AK-74, I guess…

          • Esh325

            I have limited experience with them in semi automatic, and do I recall they have very little recoil, perhaps even less than the M4 in semi auto.

          • They are in my opinion the best balanced (in terms of impulse) service rifle there is. When I shoot mine, it feels like I’m shooting a laser pointer, only smokier.

          • Esh325

            And the AK-12 is suppose to have even less recoil!

          • Yeah, have you seen the latest AK-12 photos? It’s beginning to look downright slick.

          • Esh325

            Yes I have.They appeared to have redesigned the muzzle brake,combined the front sight with the gas block, changed from to 3 to round burst,different handguard, etc. It is shaping up to look good.

          • BrandonAKsALot

            The percussion is the most notable part of the recoil and the next is the action cycling. Actual recoil from the projectile is barely perceptible with the 74 muzzle device. The AK-74 and 5.45 could be properly tuned into a pretty kick ass competition rifle, but you’re looking at extensive modifications at that point.

          • iksnilol

            You could go for something like the Ultimax mechanism. That sucker stays still during FA from what I have seen.

          • Esh325

            It does weigh about 10 pounds though. I think you can make anything controllable by just adding weight, but making the rifle relatively light weight and controllable in full auto is the challenge I think.

          • iksnilol

            Um, heavy barrel and stock isn’t a lightweight AR gonna make 😛

          • ostiariusalpha

            Hasn’t Jim Sullivan been working with Surefire to try adapting the Ultimax constant recoil & open bolt FA system for a modified M4?

          • iksnilol

            I don’t know, I know they’ve made the “Stoner LMG” which is essentially a modernized belt fed Ultimax . Really lightweight too.

          • Yes.

          • Tassiebush

            Yes and it’s really awesome!

      • Bobing

        Why in particular 5.45 instead of 5.56? They’re more or less a wash, and you even say it’s a tad weaker in energy in a later post.

        Just personal preference?

        • iksnilol

          Tad weaker is about 300 joules difference.

          Less energy = less recoil

          • ostiariusalpha

            Smaller caliber for same bullet weight also equals less hydraulic force on the projectile, therefore less rapid acceleration and less recoil.

      • gunsandrockets

        Why not just use a lighter load in .223 instead? I’ve fired reloads that spit a 55 grain bullet out at about 2,770 fps from a 20 inch barrel that functioned just fine in my AR. About the only practical difference was the empties ejected 90 degrees from the boreline, straight out from the ejection port.

        Perhaps a lighter load might also reduce the cyclic rate of an M16 too?

      • Kivaari

        In Ezell’s The AK47 Story says the AK74s muzzle brake depresses the muzzle during full auto. Russians claim a 2.5 times improvement in targets hit, compared to a standard AKM.

    • Neither do I, but it made for a catchier title. 🙂

      • Miguel Raton

        Clicks. The boss is trying to catch clicks [says the guy who clicked on the stub in the email thinking “What’s not to like about the Sturmgewehr?” knowing full well it has many flaws… 😉 ]

  • Mikhail Lapikov

    >Soviets, who adopted the assault rifle concept most quickly after the Germans, continued to develop and issue other kinds of infantry rifles for many years afterward

    We have more than enough documents in archives about military contests which ended with AK in mass production. Started back in 1942, tested more than ten gun models each year. Most of them never seen by public even at our side of the Rusty Curtain. None the less – documented, photographed and test-shot (if workable) back in 1940ies. Compared by the same testers back then with known world analogues. Still largely unknow out of small circle of military history specialists, but Max Popenker or Andrey Ulanov could shed some very LSD-coloured light on story of this development if you ask them.

    • The Germans began working on an assault rifle in 1942, and adopted it more or less as standard issue (wishful thinking, maybe) in 1944. In contrast, the Soviets started working on an assault rifle in 1944, had several designs ready by 1945, but didn’t adopt one as standard issue until 1949 or possibly even later.

      So I’m saying even they (who were pretty enthusiastic about it) were pretty conservatively minded. And then we can talk about the West, where the assault rifle idea didn’t catch on until the 1970s.

  • mosinman

    yeah it seems to have a ton of hype around it, like most ww2 Nazi Wunderwaffles

  • Wolfgar

    Knowing Nathaniel’s tendency to have articles that get people to show their teeth, I wont bite LOL. Opinions are like a certain body type, we all have one. This is Nathaniel’s…..

    • Bronezhilet

      Except most of what he says is a fact, not an opinion.

      • Wolfgar

        If most of what he is saying is fact then what part is he saying that isn’t fact?

        • Bronezhilet

          Did you read the conclusion?

          • Wolfgar

            Yes I did, and I’m starting to see your teeth. My point in fact.

          • Bronezhilet

            So because in his opinion the sturmgewehr is overrated, those 7 facts are opinions as well?

            k den.

          • Wolfgar

            Re-read my first post. By the way I love your smile.

          • Bronezhilet

            I know my smile is loveable.

            By the way, where’d you get that red and white flag with that black cross-thingey from?

  • MPWS

    We seem to live in time of historical revisionism, so why not… keep blasting away, wise man! I can see the biggest problem of this design and it is undeniable – it is not murican.

    • I blame it on all the sensationalist garbage written during the Cold War, especially regarding Russian technology.

      • Wolfgar

        Nathaniel, your argument keeps getting stronger all the time. This looks like another opinion fact I may have to change in my life. I’m not quite there yet but getting closer. Keep on agitating, it takes us old farts longer to be convinced.

  • Sianmink

    It’s really pretty easy not to like the STG-44 as a fighting arm.
    It was the first of its kind and compared to what was made even a few years later, it’s hopelessly awkward and outdated. Historically significant does not always mean good. In fact they’re usually mutually exclusive.

    • 6.5x55Swedish

      You didn’t read did you?

  • Vitsaus

    Next article from Nathaniel: George Washington was a terrible general and worse president.

    • marathag

      GW didn’t win all that much, early on.

      He just avoided losing badly, which is actually harder than it sounds with undertrained troops in linear warfare.

      • crackedlenses

        Not losing badly was a brilliant strategy considering what Washington was up against.

        • marathag

          But doing a Fabian defense is difficult, from a political sense, as retreating all the time is a way to lose command, even when it is the best strategy.

          • crackedlenses

            True; it is probably testament to Washington’s leadership ability that he held the Continental Army together long enough to win.

    • Zebra Dun

      He had General Atlantic ocean on his side.

  • Cymond

    I think the STG-44 is a lot like the iPod. It wasn’t the first, or necessarily the best, but it came at the dawn of a revolution*. It was produced in significant numbers, it was influential, and it was the benchmark that future designs were tested against in many cases.

    *A matter of good timing. I’m not saying it started the revolution.

  • Ed

    Think biggest flaws in my opinion was a metal hand guard which is more susceptible to heat ans the mags where overly long making prone shooting more difficult The round itself was somewhat under powered compared to its soon to be Soviet counterpart the 7.62x39mm round.

  • Esh325

    All the previous assault rifles designs and intermediate cartridges were premature and only conceptual, where the STG44 was actually put through its paces and caused many other countries including the USA and Russia to take a hard look at their small arms. Up until the STG44, rifles had machined receivers where only SMGs and LMGs had stamped sheet metal receivers, the STG44 changed that. I can’t really really say the Russians didn’t accept the assault rifle design. The other infantry weapons they issued such as the SKS to my understanding were really issued because of the dire need for a self loading rifle.

    • Sir, Fedorov and Winchester are here to see you.

  • Bronezhilet

    Hey, at least I didn’t use an ad hominem.

    • Wolfgar

      Your comment about a red white flag thingy is an ad hominem. My comment was a reply to your ad hominem subject. Your welcome 🙂

  • abecido

    The main reason I don’t like the MP-44 is that I can’t buy one in semi-auto for the price of a good AK.

  • Blake

    Awesome Article. I’d say that the most historically important aspect of the MP44 was that it proved that the mass-produced assault rifle was a viable concept, paving the way for the success of Mr. Kalashnikov’s rifle. Kinda like Deep Thought designing Earth in H2G2.

  • Jay

    Nobody gives a crap what you think. It doesn’t need you to get it’s place in history.
    It got it’s place in history , when your daddy was wetting diapers.
    Go bore someone else with your “valuable input”.

    • doesn’t matter got paid

    • janklow

      OPINIONS ON THE INTERNET THAT I DON’T AGREE WITH MAKE ME SO ANGRY

  • Bob

    No offense, but these seem to be personal reasons concerning the background of the weapon and have little bearing on a lot of people, including yours truly. I mean, if I had the money to get one, I’d be more concerned about how well it shot and would value its historical significance that it does have, not be hung up on whether or not it is over-rated by fanboys who have never handled one. It’s fine by me that you don’t care for the rifle due to these considerations, but to many your reasons are hardly sufficient to deter them from wanting to own a STG.
    .
    For example, the fact that some fanboys go on and on about how great volley fire was and repeat what is probably an urban legend about how the Germans thought they were facing machine gun nests when it was just a bunch of Tommys with Lee-Enfields doesn’t faze me and my love for my own No4 in the least. It’s just trivia really. I own a surprisingly accurate rifle made in 1943 that may have been used to shoot at Nazis, nit-picking aspects of its history won’t change any of that or the rest of its value to me.

    • Absolutely, Bob, this is just a peek inside my head, really. Like I say in the conclusion, this all shouldn’t be taken to mean that no one should like the MP.44 or be interested in it and its history – and I’ll add to that that if someone wants to buy one, great, more power to them! Actually, I am interested in its history, and I like it OK (despite the title of the article), it just doesn’t get me excited the way it does some other people.

  • Matthew Groom

    It is interesting to consider that except in terms of range, accuracy, and power, the much ballyhooed STG44 is merely the equal of the M1 Garand in practical terms.

    Take capacity, for example: 30 rounds is a huge amount when firing semi-automaticly ONLY, but it isn’t much of an advantage in full auto. Modern Assault Rifles have burst limiters to prevent wasting ammo, since even at close range, full-auto makes hits difficult. A very practiced operator may be able to manage three-round bursts with the STG44, but that would only give you ten bursts per magazine, and except for at close range where almost any rifle cartridge is incredibly effective, no increase in lethality.

    However, in the heat of battle, when people are shooting at you and your friends are dying all around you, even a trained and experienced soldier might loose alternating three and four round bursts:
    3+3+4+3+3+4+3+3+4=9 bursts
    4+4+4+3+4+4+4+3=8 bursts
    4+4+4+4+4+4+2=8 bursts
    Now you’re just equal to the M1 Garand in actual number of trigger pulls before you reload.

    Which brings us to the importance of accuracy. The M1 family of service rifles had sights which were unmatched by any service arm of any nation in history up to that point, and a very decent trigger to boot. Sights that were merely as good were not available until the adoption of the M-16A2 in 1985, with the possible exception of standard optical sights on the AUG in 1977.

    Adding optics to every STG44 would have only increased weight and expense. Only hits count, and if a US GI with an M1 could easily dispatch an SS Trooper with an STG44 at 200-500m, then the benefit of full auto at ranges of <200m becomes extremely limited, to non-existant. I doubt that your average German soldier would have been able to make hits with the STG44 at ranges beyond 200m with iron sights with the level of training that was available to the Germans at that point in the war.

    • The_Champ

      You talk about accuracy as though most engagements involved a well set up and supported shooter carefully aligning his sights on a fully standing and exposed enemy soldier and then squeezing off that perfect shot with his precision rifle.

      Through all of the military history reading I’ve done, there are plenty of anecdotal stories like the above, but I’m certain the vast majority of firefight were quite the opposite of this. The strengths of high capacity, low recoiling assault rifles have clearly won the day as it is now the standard, and there are no more M1 Garands on the battlefield.

      I’ve heard people lament that militaries during and after WWI stopped training their soldiers to be precision shooters….. but the truth is the brutal and harsh reality of modern mass industrialized warfare showed that such training was largely wasted.

      • Rock or Something

        You are correct about the changing nature of war, and the reflection of small arms because of it. But not all conflicts are huge slugfests on mass industrial scale. If a country is engaged in “peace keeping” or low intensity warfare, the training required for individual precise shooting is much more valuable due to the political dimensions.

        • The_Champ

          I guess you are right that there will always be value in better trained shooters, and better trained soldiers in general of course. But even looking at combat in a conflict like Afghanistan, most of the time, engagements were decisively ended with the use of artillery, air power, and sometimes armor. A platoon of the worlds greatest marksmen cannot do what that higher level firepower does.

          • Matthew Groom

            As a former Marine artilleryman, no part of me would argue that small arms have as measurable an effect in total war scenarios as most people like to imagine they do.

            However, as an Expert Marksman and Iraq veteran, I can assure you that accuracy is king when facing conscripted or fanatical troops with little to no marksmanship training. In Iraq, our guys were getting so many headshots at extended ranges with the accuracy trifecta of M-16A4, ACOG, and M855 ammo (along with the necessary marksmanship training) that we were investigating the belief that Marines must be executing prisoners. If both sides have assault rifles now, then why would the casualties from small arms fire be so absurdly one sided?

            Answer: Marksmanship.

          • Trey

            and (as you well showed) Tactics.
            Thanks for your service!

          • The_Champ

            Your points on marksmanship and training are well taken.

            I’ve always read that in the big wars, artillery and to a lesser extent, machine guns, were the major killers. It would be very interesting to see those stats for more modern conflicts.

            Only a guess, but I would suspect air power to be the prime killer in Iraq and Afghanistan.
            Now wait, what was the original article about? I fear I’ve taken us a little off topic 🙂

          • Rock or Something

            Even in Afghanistan and Iraq, where most engagements against the enemy ended after the use of CAS, artillery or whatnot, it still required countless hours of going door-to-door in order to conduct cordon and search operations or raids. In those circumstances, the superiority of combined arms is, in effect, nullified, which is why individual marksman is worth it’s weight in gold.

      • Well, not no more… 😉

        Right, I think clearly the “set them up and knock them down” concept of infantry combat is essentially a fantasy except in very rare circumstances. Instead, individual weapons are used as area denial/suppression weapons to facilitate maneuver for the close, where they naturally double as a killing implement.

        It just turns out that semiautomatic fire is the more common fire mode used to achieve this. Right or wrong, current military thinking holds that full auto is only useful in a few situations (where it is VERY useful).

        • The_Champ

          Very cool photo in your link.

          BTW, it’s amazing how your articles can get people riled up 🙂

          I disagree with you a bit on this one, but to be honest I think you really weren’t that hard on the old Sturmgewehr.

          • Not as hard as I was on the poor Uzi Pro, certainly. 😐

  • I see I’m bringing over admirers from MG&A, hahah.

    The M16 was not adopted because of the AK. In fact, M14 production had stopped by 1963, so by the time there were regular units on the ground in Vietnam, there was only really one option for buying new rifles: Buy M16s from Colt.

    Actually, no, NATO members could keep 7.62mm weapons if they wanted to. Both rounds were standard. Germany, for example, did this, only replacing its G3s in the mid 1990s.

  • Zapp Brannigan

    “It Wasn’t Particularly Innovative”

    So what. It wasn’t made to be a showpiece or a technology demonstrator. It was made to be effective in combat and easier/cheaper to mass produce than existing infantry rifles.

    You are judging this rifle by very strange criteria.

    • I felt that was an appropriate thing to address, given that the rifle is so often held up as this keystone of modern small arms design.

  • Hah! I hadn’t thought of it that way, you’re probably right!

  • datimes

    “fully automatic weapons are much less useful than previously thought” Some one should have told that to the Soviets.

  • William Taylor

    When did Saive have his original, small cartridge FAL ready to go? If he could have had the support necessary to perfect it and get it into production approx. mid-War, there is an excellent chance the M-14 and M-16 would never have been invented. Western armies might STILL be using updated versions of Saive’s brilliant design.

    • They made one prototype 7.92×33 FN Universal Carbine in late 1947.

  • Jaybird

    If you didn’t like it send it to me! I like them just fine.I’l be glad to take it off your hands!

  • Dave

    “Reticence”? Please look it up. It is not a fancy form of “reluctance” and we are hearing this confusion more and more these days. Sorry to be petty, but you gore my StG ox, I gore yours.

  • Zebra Dun

    I have never held one, fired one and only seen one on display.
    I admire the design it’s tactical ideas being studied.
    It is an impressive looking weapon.
    I would not turn one down, a wall hanger or shooter.
    Yet, If I could only have but one Rifle/carbine/Machinegun/assault rifle this 71 year old design would not be it.
    The caliber might have merit but doesn’t actually improve on what is already in production then and now.
    I watched R. Lee Ermy shoot one on his TV show and then watched him shoot it in his bloopers reel DVD R. Lee’s observations were illuminating.
    The fact is, the Nation and government and it’s military lost that war.
    Whether enough of these in the hands of it’s troops would have made a difference is speculation and conjecture.
    I am not an expert, nor a professional and this is merely my opinion on the weapon and this very informative and interesting article.

  • A guy named Joe

    Really would love a semi auto

  • Dan Stewart

    Hey stupid 8 mags of 8 rounds weigh less than 8 mags of thirty round mags but carry far less ammo. 30 round mags carry more thus u have to carry less mags to equal the number of rounds. Your assumptions are assinine. Testimony from us combat troups testified to the capibility of this rifle and formidability of it in the hands of the ss troups to whom they were issued. Go and read up on history a bit before you spew out this dribble. For that matter take a few basic writing classes where you are taught to research your topic before writing about it. The rifles did make it to the ss troups and with plenty of ammo and were very effective in the hands of small squads taking on larger groups way out numbering them and those ss troups were FEARED for a reason. Please do not try to feed us your pearsonal dribble THANK YOU!

    • If you re-read the article, I think you will find that’s not what I said.

  • Jimbo

    The gun was designed and produced during the collapse of the German war machine, hard hit by allied bombing. Probably built out of materials that were not optimal. Supplies of ammunition were dwindling. Why is it surprising it isn’t perfect?

  • BrandonAKsALot

    Achievement unlocked: Ultra-hipster status.

    No stone unturned and no place left unsearched, the elusive ultra-hipster will always find the older and more obscure example and proceed to explain why what you’re talking about isn’t as great as you think. Occasionally even the ultra-hipster is unsure if the example they are giving even exists, but will continue with great confidence never the less.

  • William Burke

    And we are supposed to be impressed by your list of likes and dislikes because why?

    • Maybe it will make some people think about it. Maybe not, for others.

  • LCON

    #5 & #6 I think were the most critical not just for the StG44 but for the whole of the German war effort. The German War effort produced some fine advances but they were running programs and efforts that soaked up recourses. Went out of there way to produce very high tech and sophisticated systems but at the cost of war needs. More and more Wonder weapons and foolish actions that drained men and material. The result was a Empire that burned Europe in a bright bloody fire.

  • (1). You missed the link to the second article I ever wrote for this website, which covers 12 such examples. Here’s the link: http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2014/04/02/sturmgewehr-assault-rifle-developments-prior-1942/

    (2). I did, in the article.

    (3). Does that make the ammunition lighter somehow? If so, how?

    (4). I’ve written a few articles about that very subject, actually. Here are two of them: http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2014/11/05/sturmgewehr-first-encounter-1943/
    http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2015/10/28/an-even-earlier-encounter-with-the-sturmgewehr-1942/

  • Norm

    I would certainly agree with the idea that the STG 44 has been a bit mythologized in the gun world, much like the Garand. However, your article is somewhat short of the standards normally put out on this blog. The AK47 is not a wonder of innovation. It’s a combination of various ideas put together in a way that works. So it was with the STG. The stamped receiver might have been the most innovative part, setting the stage as it did for following generations of rifles. Overall, this seemed like a hit piece that was just badly thought out. Your comparison about ammo/magazine-en bloc clip weight was poorly done, and meaningless in the context of the ammunition and it’s intended strengths/weaknesses. You lumped the development of the rifle into the German fantasyland realm without addressing the studies the Germans had done about combat ranges that led to the development of the ammunition and then on to the rifle. I’ve seen your work and this was not up to that standard.

    • Hi Norm,

      Thanks for the criticism. There are some things I’d do differently if I had the chance to run the article again. First, I think I’d have changed the title, since that significantly misled some of the readers and added more of a “clickbaity” tone that I didn’t really want (I definitely wanted to catch folks’ attentions, but not at the expense of the article itself). Second, I’d make it clearer that it was not a serious research piece like some of the other articles I’d written, and that this was my explanation for something that has been mentioned to me several times in person (that I don’t seem very impressed with the MP.44). Third, while I knew that some readers would get bent out of shape having their favorite rifle criticized like that, I think the article is overly negative. I did that deliberately to try to shake the conversation about the MP.44 up, but in retrospect I think I could have thrown in a few positives. Another reason I did not do that was because the word count was already excessive.

      In the sense that I want people to re-evaluate and objectively consider the MP.44’s place in history and the very high pedestal it’s been put on, I suppose this was a hit piece; it did have an agenda (an honest one). However, in the sense that I want to totally trash the MP.44’s reputation, or that I was going for an “everything you know is wrong” angle, no, it was not a hit piece. As I mention in the article, there are many positive aspects of the MP.44’s design, history, and development, and I don’t want people to throw all those out the window, even as they reconsider whether the rifle deserves quite the level of fawning worship it receives.

      • Norm

        Nathaniel,

        Thanks for responding. I’m sorry, but your email went to my alternate email, and I don’t check it much. After reading your rationale for the article, I can see where you were trying to go with it. I put in the acknowledgement in my first sentence about the myth cycle that has grown up around the Stg 44. I understand the weapon’s impact and capabilities has probably been exaggerated to some extent. I just thought that the points you made were not terribly salient, (not without truth to some extent, let me be clear, just not well presented.) and your reasoning was dicey on most points, in my opinion. Like I said, not up to your usual good quality. I look forward to seeing more of your posts in the future.

  • Chief competitor to the Stg-44 was the M-2 Carbine, also equipped with 30 round magazines, firing an intermediate cartridge, but with ammunition much lighter in weight than the Stg-44. The few hundred feet per second slower muzzle velocity wouldn’t make much difference in most situations.

  • Ambassador Vader

    You’re absolutely right! they are terrible! So if you have any originals just feel free to send them my way.

  • Forget

    Forgotten Weapons pretty much ripped this article apart, point-by-point.

    • Unfortunately, Ian and Karl addressed a number of arguments I didn’t actually make. Here’s the comment I posted to InRange’s video:

      “Well, there’s a lot of stuff you address here that I never said. Since I want to represent myself properly, here’s a list of stuff I didn’t argue that you talk about in the video:

      1. I never disputed that the MP.44 was the first assault rifle made in large quantities. I said it wasn’t the first, which is important. In other words, the concept had already been around.

      2. There’s a long section where you talk about the controllability of the MP.44 and assault rifles by extension, which is never something I disputed.

      3. You characterize my argument as “full auto is not useful”, which runs directly contrary to the actual text I wrote. The actual argument I made is that full auto is situational, and the fantasy that some people have of MP.44-armed German troops blazing away and overwhelming the Allies is just that (especially since the Allies had effective fully automatic weapons, too). I very specifically target the idea that “had the MP.44 come sooner, the Allies would have been in trouble.”

      4. My point about many of the rifles not being used either because they weren’t shipped to the front or because they lacked ammunition or magazines was not to say that the rifle wasn’t present on the battlefield in large numbers. The point was that although 500K were made, the Germans had a very difficult time supplying their troops with the weapons, ammunition, and magazines, they had made. This was, as Karl mentioned, a problem for Germany across the board.

      5. I never said the MP.44 was a waste of resources (besides the ones that did not see action, obviously). My point was that it makes sense that Germany would be the early adopter of radical concepts, because of the scatterbrained nature of their development and procurement system.

      6. I never said that the MP.44 had a political doctrine.

      7. Finally, at no point did I say that I thought the M1 or any other weapon for that matter was “better” than the MP.44, nor that I’d rather have something else if for some reason I was called to fight. In fact, I don’t believe that, and I do recognize that the MP.44 is one of the best individual small arms of World War II (though it’s not all alone at the top, things like the SKS and M2 Carbine come to mind). To put your mind at ease, Karl, yes, I’d rather go into battle with an MP.44 than an M1 rifle.

      Just to clear that up!”

  • None of that has anything to do with the fact that, magazines included, the MP.44 doesn’t reduce the soldier’s load or allow him to carry more ammunition.

  • The Federov went into full-scale production, as did the select-fire 1907 Winchester.

    • Federov was a failure, and not in an intermediate cartridge and the Winchester was a failure as well, never saw widescale use. Still reaching.

  • Kivaari

    Excellent. Thanks, I came back to this before I read the counterpoint article tonight. I have always liked the concept – but the MP44 instantly told me the Germans were not very sharp one more time. I looked at the rifle just as it existed and wondered, Just what the hell were they thinking. A couple little things, that to me are bigger issues in actual use. 1.) sling swivel on the wrong side. 2.) no heat shield having the metal forend close to a very hot barrel. 3.) heavy. 4.)Tall, all added to your comments.
    A friend had a custom Ruger M77 barreled in 7.92x33mm. I tried to talk him out of it, but he had the money. When it performed like an under-charged mortar he was baffled.
    As you pointed out, there were quite a few other intermediate assault rifles in the pot in the same era. Several 7.5K Swiss rifles. Even the Soviets had toyed with a 5.5mm, damn close to the 5.45mm and that was before WW2. We issued a handy little M1 carbine that I would have chosen over the Kraut gun. There is a huge weight advantage to the M1 carbine.
    Going back to my grade school days we were bombarded with how great the Germans did various scientific crap during the war. Neat stuff. Planes to carry massive amounts of troops, that could be shot down by a kid with his 1891 Mosin. Ships like the Bismark that had a weak stern that fell off when the ship went down. Yet they never built a decent heavy bomber and a Navy fearful of getting wet. They built an artillery piece using enough steel to build hundreds of tanks, but could be stopped with one load from a B17 or a strafing run by a Thunderbolt. Then they went to war once again on two fronts without having the brains to understand that they would lose. German greed for land, materials racist supremacy and weapons factories dampened any common sense. We need to be thankful that those great German minds were filled with stupid ideas.

  • Calvinius

    Your point about how reluctant western military leaders were to accept the assault rifle concept doesn’t reflect badly on the Sturmgewehr, it just shows that (as usual) military leadership couldn’t keep up with the times. It’s no different from how reluctant militaries were to adopt repeating rifles, and how reluctant most were to adopt semi-automatic rifles. It took many generations before they could get past the fear of “soldiers will waste ammo!” and finally clued it that it’s quicker and easier to buy more ammo than to train up new soldiers to replace the ones killed because they lacked sufficient firepower.

  • Eric Blatter

    The fact that “you” aren’t sufficiently impressed with this weapon 70 years or so later is totally irrelevant. The fact is the guys who got and used it for real were happy to have it. AndI may point out that firearms designers have been “ripping each other off” for many hundreds of years.

  • Vince L

    If I were a Wehrmacht Soldat on the Eastern front, I’d probably be grateful that my sturmgewehr was the only weapon of it’s type on the battlefield and 2 generations ahead of the 19th century relics arming the enemy.

    Sturmgewehr

  • barry soetoro

    you would be much better off comparing the 44 to the m2 carbine instead of the m1 rifle.