Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

German small arms of WW2

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Mark Tyson, Nov 9, 2003.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Mark Tyson

    Mark Tyson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Messages:
    2,523
    Location:
    Where the one eyed man is king
    I have a historical question. What was the primary German battle rifle of WW2?
     
  2. 444

    444 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    7,950
    Location:
    Ohio
    98 Mauser chambered in 8mm Mauser
     
  3. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2002
    Messages:
    7,956
    Location:
    Below the Manson-Nixon line in Virginia...
    More specifically, the Kar98k.

    It was shorter than the Gewehr 98 of World War I, hence the Kar, for Carbine, with the following k meaning kurz, for short.

    It was adopted in 1935, and was an offshoot of the K98 and K98a carbines of World War I.
     
  4. clint1911a1

    clint1911a1 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2003
    Messages:
    69
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Yea, and it's a bolt action by the way. I find it ironic that the German armed forces' standard issue battle rifle was still a bolt action. They were so far ahead of everyone else in nearly all other types of weaponry. What on Earth were they thinking?

    P.S. The Stg44 was a great idea, though to little, to late.
     
  5. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Messages:
    18,528
    What were they thinking? Rapid expansion of the 100,000 man Reichswehr to a respectable army. Small arms are small issues in an era when the Panzer and close air support (Stuka) were on the forefront of military thought. BTW, those "pocket-battleships" weren't that hot. Commodore Harwood had the right idea of how to take one on.
     
  6. 444

    444 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    7,950
    Location:
    Ohio
    Well, I wonder what they were thinking with those Mauser 98 sights ?

    Keep in mind that they were using a bolt action rifle, but also had plenty of sub-guns in service at the same time.
     
  7. Abominable No-Man

    Abominable No-Man Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2003
    Messages:
    273
    Location:
    Over here.
    The StG was offered earlier in the war, but Hitler turned it down.

    The German Army was built opposite of everyone else's. The riflemen in a squad were there to protect the machine gunner. The machine gun was the basis for the German Army tactics of the time, and I guess that the idea was they didn't really need anything else.

    ANM
     
  8. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2002
    Messages:
    7,956
    Location:
    Below the Manson-Nixon line in Virginia...
    Well, consider that every nation other than the United States went to war in 1939-45 with rifles that had been state of the art in 1900...

    Britain had the Lee-Enfield. The basic design had been adopted in 1895 with the adoption of the Enfield rifling.

    The Moisin-Nagant dated from right around the same time.

    The Mannlicher-Carcano? Ditto, right around 1895.

    The Arisaka? About 1905.

    The United States was the only nation that committed early to the concept of a self-loading rifle as a military firearm, and was the only nation that allowed development to continue, with governmental funds, through the Depression.

    Other nations had occasionally thrown money at the concept, but the money was never extensive, the programs were never backed officially at a government aresenal, and once the Depression hit, funding dried up everywhere in favor of the status quo.

    The nations that did field self-loading rifles during the war in any appreciable numbers -- the Soviet Union and Germany -- did so after crash development courses starting late in the 1930s when it was pretty evident that there was going to be another war.

    Those designs that did see use, the SVT 38 and 40 in the Soviet Union and the G41 and G43 were servicable weapons, but were, in comparison to the Garand, delicate, fiddly, and not suitable for being general issue weapons.
     
  9. Badger Arms

    Badger Arms Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Messages:
    3,738
    Location:
    Harnett County, NC
    The question of what was the principle battle rifle is a bit deceiving. The principle infantry weapon of the German Army was, in fact, the MG-42. The Mausers were intended to defend and support the MG-42. The effectiveness of this combination was proven time and time again. Had the Germans been able to field an effective assault rifle or semi-automatic battle rifle early in the war, the battles would still have gone the way they did. I don't feel that anything would have changed, myself. The battles were won or lost with logistics, air power, maneuver, artillery, and intelligence. Small arms are way down on the list of war-winning tools.

    To purists, yes, the MG-34 was right there being emplyed in the same way.
     
  10. telewinz

    telewinz Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    2,305
    Location:
    Ohio
    The Russians were satisfied enough with the SVT 40 that they had intended to issue it as their MBR. The need to standardize for mass production resulted in the SVT being issued only to NCOs and production was finally terminated in favor of their bolt action MBR. The Germans respected the SVT40 so much that they restamped and proofed captured rifles and issued them to their own troops, something they never did with the M1 Garand:scrutiny:
     
  11. 444

    444 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    7,950
    Location:
    Ohio
    German military philosophy aside though, the primary battle RIFLE is the K98. The main machine gun, sub-machine gun etc. is another story.
     
  12. Badger Arms

    Badger Arms Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Messages:
    3,738
    Location:
    Harnett County, NC
    Surely you don't mean to suggest that the SVT40 was superior to the Garand in any way shape or form! The Germans also stamped dozens of captured types of pistols, rifles, and SMG's and used them as their own. They were never able to capture significant American arms to do so with. I'd bet they had a boatload of French small arms... wait, nevermind.
    True. It's another story. However, one cannot presume that because the Germans kept their bolt guns throughout the war that the K98 was considered the equal to the Garand or the Enfield in their organizational structure. It was not. Their concept of a 'battle rifle' was different than that of the Allies, the Russians, the Japanese, or pretty much any other army of their time. Much the same, their philosophy of the pistol differed greatly in various ways. Any discussion of what their main battle rifle was must include a definition from the German organizational structure.
     
  13. Badger Arms

    Badger Arms Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Messages:
    3,738
    Location:
    Harnett County, NC
    I'll go a little further than that. German philosophy on small arms and infantry organization was so completely different, that they had trouble naming some of their weapons. The FG-42, for instance, was intended to duplicate the organizational use of the K98, the MG-42, and the MP-40. How do you classify such a weapon in the American sense? Hmmmm, somewhere between a Garand and a BAR, but compact enough to use as a Submachinegun?

    The Germans also had difficulty with their StG-44. It wasn't a proper battle rifle nor was it a proper carbine nor was it a proper submachinegun. In battle, it took the place of all of these weapons and ate into the operational employment of even the MG-42/34's being fielded. So how do you classify the weapon? You don't... you must change the orgnaizational makeup and structure to reflect the unique capabilities and exploit strengths and weaknesses.

    By the US definition, the K98 would certainly be labeled the main battle rifle but operationally we used our Garands differently. The US did not have an equal to the MG-42 until the M-60 (Somewhat of a derivative of the MG-42 itself) was adopted. When we had the M-60, we also got a pretty-good representation of the FG-42 concept in the M-14 rifle. Strange how it took the Americans twenty years to figure out what the Germans had figured out quickly. The FG-42 concept doesn't work!
     
  14. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2002
    Messages:
    23,648
    Location:
    Los Anchorage
    I'm not sure where folks get the idea that the Mauser '98 design was "antiquated" by WWII. It's not even antiquated now! You can find the basic platform in every gunshop in the nation, under an array of labels. Also, for fighting beyond 25 yards it's far more effective than a Thompson or MP-40. Perhaps a self-loader would have provided a marginal advantage--but only marginal.
     
  15. BigG

    BigG Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    7,081
    Location:
    Dixieland
    Badgerarms: I read with interest your exposition of the various war implements fielded by the Wehrmacht in WWII. It surely seems to me that a lot of the definitions/applications are academic hair-splitting and submit that many times things were pressed into service because they needed arms, not necessarily that it fit some OKW grand strategic niche. BTW, if the German order of battle was so danged advanced, refresh my memory: "Wer hat der Krieg gewonnen?" ;)
     
  16. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2002
    Messages:
    7,956
    Location:
    Below the Manson-Nixon line in Virginia...
    Telwinz,

    It wasn't a question of the Germans respecting the SVT40, it was a question of their capturing so damned many of them that it would be stupid for them not to employ them.

    The Germans also adopted the PPSh submachine gun, rebored to 9mm, along with at least one artillery piece using the interrupted screw breach mechanism, which the Germans never adopted on any other artillery piece (when you capture nearly 3,000 pieces and a million rounds of ammo, why not?), and a variety of other equipment.

    The Soviets also ran into another interesting problem with the SVT...

    It WAS to delicate and fiddly -- in the hands of the average, untrained Soviet conscript. Early unit tests had shown that the SVT required a level of care that the average Soviet soldier either couldn't, or wouldn't, give, and the tests were nothing short of a disaster. That's why they were largely pulled from general issue and given to specialist troops.

    Had the Germans captured Garands in the kind of quantities that they got the SVT in, I'm sure they would have employed them.

    In fact, it probably wouldn't have been very difficult at all to convert the Garand to fire 8x57 ammo.
     
  17. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2002
    Messages:
    7,956
    Location:
    Below the Manson-Nixon line in Virginia...
    Cosmoline,

    Why did you use the term "antiquated" when no one else did?

    You seem to misunderstand the very nature of the discussion that's going on.

    It's not that the K98k was antiquated, it's that its technology curve was being passed by developments made since the original design was laid down.

    I don't think anyone would claim that the revolver is antiquated. After all, revolvers once armed military forces the world over.

    But the technology progressed to something that was seen to have distinct advantages.

    The same is true with the K98k.



    Badger,

    The FG42 was designed to fill a VERY narrow niche -- it was truly a specialists weapon. Unlike the M14, it was never intended to be a main battle rifle, squad automatic weapon, etc. etc. etc., for the whole German army.
     
  18. MuzzleBlast

    MuzzleBlast Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    498
    Location:
    Arkansas
    I'm sure all that would have been necessary is a new barrel.
     
  19. Oleg Volk

    Oleg Volk Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Messages:
    9,155
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Grassis always greener? German paratroopers complained that English riflemen outranged them during the Crete invasion...MP40 wouldn't fight SMLE at a distance. Russians complained that MP40 would make a sieve of a guy armed with a Mosin.

    Looking at the options Germany had, it seems that they never were very efficient or had a big industrial base...so they used what they could make, refurbish or capture and coudln't afford to discard older weapons or the training which went with them.
     
  20. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2002
    Messages:
    7,956
    Location:
    Below the Manson-Nixon line in Virginia...
    Muzzle,

    Actually, I'm thinking more along the lines of reaming the existing barrel and installing a chamber insert a la the .308 Garands.
     
  21. Bart Noir

    Bart Noir Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Messages:
    887
    Location:
    Mossy part of Washington
    Two thoughts: first, the FG-42 was never a German Army rifle. It was designed for the paratroopers, who were part of the Air Force. So the people who assigned names probably wanted to keep it very distinctive, inter-service rivalry being what it is.

    Also, the French had a semi-auto rifle in production, and issued, during WW1. See the link. They used it in North Africa for a while, and then went back to a bolt gun. Tells you something about reliability, don't it?

    http://www.cruffler.com/historic-june00.html

    Bart Noir
     
  22. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2002
    Messages:
    7,956
    Location:
    Below the Manson-Nixon line in Virginia...
    I'd forgotten about the Mle 1917.

    What the move back to bolt-action rifles tells me, more than anything, is the changing political and economic climate in the Post WW I years.

    Most nations cut their military budgets drastically in the 1920s with the feeling that such a war could never happen again.

    The Mle 1917 was available in thousands, whereas the Chauterault-Bethier (sp) variants on the Lebel rifle were available in the millions. With the Estates General stripping the military of its funding, it's not surprising that the decision was made to stay with the most numerous design.
     
  23. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2002
    Messages:
    7,956
    Location:
    Below the Manson-Nixon line in Virginia...
    Bart,

    Given the wording of the original question "What was the primary German battle rifle of WW2..." for whom the FG42 was made isn't really important.
     
  24. Bart Noir

    Bart Noir Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Messages:
    887
    Location:
    Mossy part of Washington
    Mike Irwin, none of this is important. It's just fun. If we had a debate master keeping us on topic, no deviation, the board would be much more boring. I rather enjoy the "oh by the way" comments that come up after the initial post. Until they get too weird or repetitive, and then I move on.

    Bart Noir
     
  25. CWL

    CWL Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    Messages:
    6,505
    The Mauser 98 rifle is the father or at least the inspiration of most modern bolt-action rifles. The Springfield 06 was a direct rip-off of the design.

    Nazi Germany, while a great propaganda machine and utilizer of new technologies, never attempted to fully escape from the trappings & methods of 'old Europe'.

    Example, the primary means of military transport for the Wehrmacht remained the horse. Mechanized forces were always a small part of their total armed forces.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page