Gustloff VG1-5 With Forgotten Weapons

Ask and ye shall receive – another Forgotten Weapon’s post, that is. It seems I am not the only one fascinated by unique and/or historically relevant firearms, and the recent run of daily posts on YouTube by Ian of Forgotten Weapons has been fantastic. I can only hope it lasts just a bit longer.

Next up is the Gustloff VG1-5, a rifle with the full, proper name of Volkssturmgewehr Gustloff (translated as the “People’s Assault Rifle”). It entered service in 1945 and was used by Nazi Germany, as Ian’s video title rather heavily implies: “Gustloff VG1-5 Nazi Last-Ditch Rifles”. Although it’s a bit inaccurate to refer to it as the VG1-5 it is a great deal simpler than writing out the full-length name – which I could have, admittedly, typed out faster than this wordy sentence – so we’ll go with that. The VG1-5 was chambered in 7.92x33mm Kurz (also called 8×33 Polte and 7.9mm Kurz) and was a bolt-action, but don’t think it that means it was limited when it came to firing. Actually, it was a semi-auto weapon with a detachable 30-round StG 44 box magazine.

Part of what makes this rifle unique is that it utilizes a gas-delayed blowback, and although Ian has gone over one of these rifles before he felt these others were interesting enough to warrant another video. Take a look.

A word from Ian on the rifle: “Mechanically the Gustloff uses a system quite unusual in rifles – gas delayed blowback. Chambered for the 8×33 Kurz cartridge, there are 4 small gas vent holes in the front half of the barrel which vent gas into a chamber in the front muzzle plug. Pressure in this chamber acts to keep the slide closed, thus delayed the opening of the action. A nearly identical system is used in the much later Steyr GB pistol.

One of these in particular still has its original sling, which is a neat feature (the other clearly was issued with a sling but has lost it). In total 10,000 of these were manufactured, but they were not able to make a significant impact to prolong Germany’s war effort.”

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  • Cymond

    “The VG1-5 was chambered in 7.92x33mm Kurz […] and was a bolt-action,”
    “Part of what makes this rifle unique is that it utilizes a gas-delayed blowback,”

    So you’re saying that it’s a gas-delayed blowback bolt action rifle?

    • Anonymoose

      There’s some confusion here, even for people who think themselves versed in German last-ditch rifle designs. There were actually FIVE Volkssturmgewehr (VG1-5 is 1 “through” 5, not 1 “dash” 5) designs that were all basic, oversimplified bolt-actions, made for the planned postwar insurgency, and never produced in any numbers. The Gustloff Volkssturgewehr (not part of the five) is branded “VG1-5” by commercial reproducers, but the German government never called it that.

  • anon

    “The VG1-5 was chambered in 7.92x33mm Kurz (also called 8×33 Polte and 7.9mm Kurz) and was a bolt-action, but don’t think it that means it was limited when it came to firing. Actually, it was a semi-auto weapon with a detachable 30-round StG 44 box magazine.”

    Semi auto bolt action with removable high capacity assault clips with unlimited firing capability.

    Another great article, Katie.

    • Agitator

      Seriously. What does she do for the site, again? Semi-literate regurgitation of the works of her betters aside.

      • iowaclass

        No need for hatin’. People who really think it can be done better can submit their own posts.

        • Kip Hackman

          We aren’t hating, we are simply stating that she is an amateur who regurgitates the research and hard work of others and uses it to get her paycheck rather than researching and writing an original article herself. She brings down the TFB name that has been built up by fantastic hard working writers such as Alex C, Nathaniel F, and Ian McCollum himself. The editors of this blog would do a service to themselves to distance their name from her.

          • Don Ward

            Indeed. There seems to be too much of that here and elsewhere. Now, there’s nothing wrong with taking a Forgotten Weapons video and expanding upon it with further information, research or opinions.

            “Here is FW’s Youtube video on the German ScheissSchnauser VGI297Kerplat. This is why I think the weapon is neat for these features. It is difficult to come across today but goes for this price on this collectible website. I think it would be great if reproductions were made. As a woman, this weapon appeals to me because…”

            Or whatever. Have an independent take on the subject you are writing about. Even if the opinion is wrong.

          • Kip Hackman

            Agreed completely. As I’ve said to others who accuse me of hating Katie A; I don’t hate her, and if she wrote a well researched original article I would applaud her for it. But posting someone else’s video and adding essentially what they said in the video to get your post count up is simply lazy. I look at the stuff that Alex does with TFBTV, that takes a lot of time and effort to do, he earns his pay and right to post here. Nathaniels articles as well. I feel like I sat through a college class on historical guns after reading one of his pieces. Katie’s cross posting of articles just seems like a lazy way to get something posted and get her quota for the month. It’s wrong and should be stopped by the editors.

    • Kip Hackman

      I assume you say “article” sarcastically since she basically wrote down what Ian says in the video. Seriously, calling this an article is doing a disservice to all the other hardworking writers here. She is basically cross posting, much like one would on facebook. This is in no way an “article”

  • Jose

    The VG1-5 was not the only Volksturm weapon; there are others, specially bolt-action carbines, called, the “Volks Gewehr”. Most of them are Mauser type rifles, with a half stock.Some were single shot, others used the magazine from the Gewehr-43 semi-auto rifle. There was even Kar-98k rifles chambered for the 8×33 Kurz ammunition that were manufactured until the end of the war; but their numbers are small, compared to the 11 million plus Kar-98k rifles made. Just for curiosity, Schwaben Arms is making duplicates of the Kar-98k , in 8×33 Kurz; 8×57 Mauser; and .308 Winchester, for civilian sales in Germany and Europe (They also manufacture HK pattern weapons and UZI sbr’s.)
    Just saying.

  • For the record, “Volkssturmgewehr” does not mean “people’s assault rifle”, it means “rifle of the Volkssturm”, the Nazi last-ditch militia.

    • Kip Hackman

      Are you serious? Katie A can’t even be bothered to research & write her own original, thought out articles, why do you think she’d be bothered with checking whether she has proper translation?

      I sure hope you and the other writers that spend a lot of time on your thoroughly researched and well written pieces are putting pressure on Steve and Phil to put a stop to this nonsense. You guys are busting your behinds, and she’s embedding someone else’s video, saying “gee guys I find this really interesting, here’s a paragraph of what Ian said in the video” and boom, she has an “article”. You deserve better.

    • Anonymoose

      It can mean either/or, but your definition is the most accepted one. “People’s (assault) rifle” has a pretty catchy ring to it though.

      • It’s grammatically ambiguous, yes, but the intended meaning is very clear.

  • Franciscomv

    Ian’s videos are always excellent, as a lover of historical weapons and firearm oddballs they always bring a smile to my face.

    I watch them on Full30, not YouTube, because I like the idea of a gun friendly video site and try to support them.

  • Tassiebush

    It’s been fantastic to see these covered in recent years. I recall reading about these years back in a book and never imagined years from then I would be able to see them in so much more detail.