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.”