A Trip to the Bundeswehr’s Fantastic Defense Technology Museum in Koblenz, Part 3: Submachine Guns [GUEST POST]

The history of modern small arms is in part so fascinating because of how many firearms have been developed even in obscure circumstances, and how many of those obscure small arms still exist in museums and private collections around the world. Even though I make learning about obscure modern small arms my hobby, I am continually surprised by the new and unique weapons I uncover both on the Internet and in real-life excursions to some of the aforementioned collections.

TFB reader Bronezhilet recently visited the Bundeswehr’s (German Army) Defense Technology Museum in Koblenz, Germany, and shared with TFB the photos he took of the small arms in the collection there. Over the course of a few installments, we’ll be taking a look at groups of these photos. For the moment, we won’t be taking an in-depth look, but I encourage our readers to check out these weapons for themselves!

Previously, we checked out some of the selfloading rifles are the museum, but today we’ll be shifting gears and taking our first look at their submachine gun collection. Let’s start with an odd weapon from the beginning of World War II, the Smith & Wesson 1940 Light Rifle:


Follow that with the ultimate Steampunk accessory, a British Lanchester Mk. 1:


Older? Sure. Here’s the grandaddy of the submachine gun, the Italian Villar Perosa:


How about rare German SMGs? Here’s an Erma VMP of 1930 in the center. It was the ancestor to the more-famous-but-still-obscure Erma EMP:


And its ancestor, the Erma VPF of 1925:

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Koblenz has rare Finnish SMGs, too. Readers may recognize the Winter War-era Soumi KP/-31, but above that is its direct ancestor, the KP/-26, with its lower profile curved magazine, and strange stock shape:

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The unique and tiny French MAS-38:


The French MAS-48 SMG, a stamped steel predecessor to the MAT-49:


Speak of the devil! The MAT-49:

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Two descendants of the PPS-43, top the Spanish DUX Model 1953, and bottom a German-produced DUX Model 1959:


That’s all for now. Next time, we’ll continue looking at more of the great submachine guns at Koblenz!

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 is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


  • Buisman

    A few years ago i was there too.
    They realy have a very large collection of all kinds of militairy stuff they used in the German army.
    You Just can’t see it in one visit.

  • Dougscamo

    The KP/-26 appears to be suffering from satyriasis…..

    • Miguel Raton

      That’s because it was chambered in 7.62×25, not 9mmP like the later KP31 “Suomi.” A sharply tapered cartridge like that leads to curved magazines as seen above.

  • DanGoodShot

    That museum is definitely getting a spot on my bucket list. Right next to the Normandy coastline.

    • That’s a lot of coats– it gets pretty cold along the English Channel in the Winter.

      • DanGoodShot

        Getting my “bluenose”, THAT was cold… I don’t think I ever felt anything before or after that was that cold… just gotta chill thinking about it. Ahhhh, them good ol’ days…. I don’t think they can even do that anymore. I think its considered “hazing”. Whatever that means. I think it’s some leftard word for p*ssy.

  • Herr Wolf

    Still prefer Wehrmacht over Bundeswehr.

    • …Because you like war crimes?

      • Alex Agius

        You really want to open this can of worms? Because the Wehrmacht is far
        from the only army to have committed war crimes, in fact one of those
        armies still exists, and many people (including me) like that nation and
        its armed forces.

        • iksnilol

          You mean we can like Nazi Germany and the Wehrmacht but not like their war crimes?

        • n0truscotsman

          Its one thing to research vehicles, small arms, and uniforms, having an interest in the history. However, to dismiss their crimes by claiming ‘well everyone else did them too” is tu quoque BS.

        • We were talking about the Bundeswehr, though.

      • iksnilol

        Yeah, but they had waaay cooler uniforms and logos.

        • User

          Uniforms? Tarnfleck and Wüsten-Tarnfleck looks damn great!

          • iksnilol

            Yeah, but the Hugo Boss with the skulls on it was really neato too.

          • Ranger Rick

            US Army “Pinks and Greens” was a pretty good look.

          • That was SS, not Wehrmacht.

          • iksnilol

            Aw shucks, you’re right.

            Well, then Wehrmacht doesn’t really do it for me.

          • datimes

            Hard to beat those stylish Hugo Boss uniforms.

          • VanDiemensLand

            Bahaha, it was very suave!

      • Joseph Goins

        Linguistically, there is a difference. Defense Force (Wehrmacht) v. Federal Defense (Bundeswehr). Also, I just feel like pointing out that Germany wasn’t the only country that committed war crimes during the Second World War.

        • VanDiemensLand

          But not many genocides, if we are honest.