A Trip to the Bundeswehr’s Fantastic Defense Technology Museum in Koblenz, Part 4: Submachine Guns, Cont’d [GUEST POST]

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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!

We previously looked at some of the great selfloading rifles and SMGs at the Koblenz museum, and today we’re going to continue, starting with another weird French folding SMG, the MGD PM-9, which features a highly unusual rotary action:

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A Beretta 38A, which I would contest earns the title of most attractive-looking SMG of World War II:

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A German language diagram illustrating the operation of the 38A’s twin triggers:

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Also Italian, but much uglier, a prototype of the TZ-45 submachine gun:

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Here’s a surprise: A British Experimental Model B SMG. I had not realized this weapon existed:

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Here is something truly weird: A Solothurn tripod- or bipod-mounted S-17-100. Calling this an “SMG” would be stretching it, but it does fire pistol ammunition:

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A gaggle of Swiss SMGs. The Solothurn “thing” is at the top, followed by the SIG MKPS (its close relative, the MKPO, still exists in inventory with the Swiss Guard… But then so do halberds), the MP41, and the strange looking Furrer MP41/44:

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The huge Rexim Favor Mk. 4 (with its Croatian-sized length of pull) top, then the United Defense 42 SMG with its paired magazines. Below that is the unusual Cook SMG, whose eccentric designer insisted would revolutionize warfare. Below that, a relatively pedestrian M3A1 Grease Gun:

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Detail of the Cook SMG. M.Sgt. L.C. Cook was a bit of an odd dude, who at one point claimed the 10″ barrel of his submachine gun would double the velocity produced by the 1911 handgun!

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And then we have this rather unusual contraption, labeled only as “Prototype Machine Pistol”. It appears to use pistol magazines (they look like P-38 mags to me) arranged in series, instead of a conventional stick magazine:

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Next to it is a rare Mauser MP-57, designed by a Frenchman, Louis Camillus. It lost out to the Uzi in Bundeswehr trials:

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The Walther MP-K, more compact brother to the excellent Walther MPL:

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Last for today, another competitor to the Uzi in Bundeswehr trials, the Erma MP-60. Below it is a Vietnamese M-50 SMG, based on the PPSh-41:

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That’s all for now! We’ll continue looking at the great submachine guns of Koblenz next time!



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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  • wetcorps

    OK I’ll take one of each.

  • roguetechie

    Cook was strange, and prolific!

    He also built a bullpup BAR that was pretty wicked cool.

    • Here is a link to the Congressional questioning that resulted when Cook made a public stink over his SMG. Besides the odd claims for doubling the velocity, he also claimed that it weighed half as much as the prototype he submitted for testing.

      http://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.35112104230976?urlappend=%3Bseq=1109

      For examples of the press coverage, check this link.

      https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1798&dat=19530303&id=mAEdAAAAIBAJ&sjid=NYoEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3268,207079&hl=en

      And of course, here are the patents related to Cook’s bullpup BAR:

      https://www.google.com/patents/US2777366
      https://www.google.com/patents/US2786293

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/885d92ce47118f9ee713198fee3d6aaadc3fc8daf24ab96cb81b1c205fbff6dd.jpg

      • Paul Epstein

        Those seem like the worst possible attributes to lie about, since they can be rated in a truly objective manner immediately. If you’re going to fluff, talk about ‘practical accuracy’ or recoil controllability or ease of maintenance- something that requires subjective evaluation over time, and might end up with some testers convinced.

        • iksnilol

          You forget that this was the age before proper science. I doubt their chronometers were good in that day.

          • They had chronographs back then.

          • iksnilol

            Yeah, but like, water-driven chronographs which counted in crow caws.

            So I doubt most people would know the difference between 5 and 6 caws and that it didn’t translate to double the velocity.

            /sarcasm by the way 😛

          • Paul Epstein

            They’d know from the amount of bullet drop at set distances, and also by the fact that the bullet didn’t have a sharp crack as it broke the sound barrier- according to ballistics by the inch, military ball wouldn’t have been supersonic even out of a 10″ barrel. You can fool people, but physics is a bit harder.

            I suppose a VERY hot +P+ .45 load with a very light bullet (say, wood core or aluminum) could have inched over 1660 out of a 10″ barrel, but if you’re proposing a custom cartridge that isn’t really compatible with anything else, you might as well use a different cartridge entirely.

          • demophilus

            SMG Cook’s claims are probably BS, but let’s not not forget the old issue .45 ACP SMG ammo was loaded hotter than 1911 fodder, and it looks like the bolt and bolt throw on the Cook design was different than grease or Tommy guns. He might have had a scientific basis for his claims.

            If it’s an open bolt advanced primer ignition design that doesn’t come to a full stop on the recoil stroke, it could also be controllable. Looks like it could have used an overtraveling bolt, too, but I guess that wasn’t state of the art at the time.

            Strangely, the Cook design almost looks like it could be as easy to build as a Sten. You might even build something better out of AR parts.

          • Here’s a discussion of competing chronograph designs from 1922.

            http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1922PAAS….4..316H

            The Aberdeen Chronograph is credited to Alfred L Loomis. The following link goes to his patent.

            https://www.google.com/patents/US1409304

  • iksnilol

    That MGD PM-9 would make an awfully handy pack rifle. Make a pistol grip that folds backwards and up when the stock is folded for added practicality.

    I mean, that sucker is soooo small. I bet it could fit in one of those warning triangle sheaths (that you have for your car).

  • roguetechie

    I’ve been fascinated by it forever too iksnilol.

    I found a picture of one from the early 90’s still kicking around Southeast Asia having changed hands god knows how many times and still appearing very functional and deadly.

    Between that mechanism and the Holek designed zb-47 mechanism I get the feeling that we still haven’t exhausted all the possible really good configurations for guns yet.

    Mind you, unless you’re a neosapien from the cartoon exosquad the zb-47 probably isn’t the gun for you…

    But it sure makes a guy think.

  • SP mclaughlin

    I had no idea the Walther MP had wood grips.
    Also wonder if the Uzi was selected as the MP2 over German designs due to political reasons.

  • Fruitbat44

    A collection of the weird and wonderful. I do like the comment, “Still exists in the armoury of the Swiss Guard… But then so do halberds.”

    • iksnilol

      Never know when you’ll need a blessed halberd.