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Discussion: Use of StG '44 and K43.

Discussion in 'Small Arms and Edged Weapons' started by harolds, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. leccy1

    leccy1 Member

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    By late 1944 weapon shortages were beginning to be felt. The Volksturm were issued weapons from before WW1 upto modern cheap produced Volksturm specific weapons with a whole plethora of captured weapons from many countries of origin in various calibers (many with limited, finite munition supply's such as mortars).
    German industry was increasingly incapable of producing enough weapons as it was without the constant diversion and short production runs, they simply had run out of time to have the luxury to keep producing many different weapons and supply them with the different ammunition.
    The German military relied very heavily on captured war stocks to provide it with everything it needed throughout the whole war.

    Yet another item in the supply chain would not make much difference to the QM who were supplying so many different weapons, parts and munitions, quicker to produce weapons were needed and preferably in existing calibres.
     
    formerjughead likes this.
  2. superbee

    superbee Member

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    All good, valid responses, and many thanks :)

    Shortages of materials and a disrupted transportation system would had to have had a negative effect on the production and distribution of all weapons, weapon systems, and munitions.

    I suspect a big reason for not wanting to tool up to produce huge quantities of 7.92 Kurz ammo was that the Stg was simply not viewed as a "war winner" by German authorities - and rightly so, in my opinion. As fine as the rifle was, it would not be able to stop, neutralize, nor counter the hordes of tanks, rain of artillery shells, and fleets of bombers that assailed the Reich on all fronts.
     
  3. harolds

    harolds Member

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    I'm not sure if a shortage of materials was really the case. Certainly the transportation system destruction did a number on weapons getting to the troops. The K43 that I once owned was picked up new out of a boxcar on a railroad siding by a GI shortly after the war. There were many boxcars full of munitions there. Several of these boxcars contained K43s that couldn't get anywhere. I'm sure that destruction of the German economy in early '45 put the ki-bush on any serious war-making capacity. However, these weapons WERE put in production with the hope that they would increase the effectiveness of the troops that were left. They were both designed with the idea of being easily and inexpensively produced. On the other hand, I would believe that the German top brass had absolutely NO CLUE how fast a bunch of poor benighted gravel crunchers could go through ammo when their fannies was in serious trouble!
     
  4. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

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    I've not really seen any indication that the Germans intended the G43 to completely replace the Kar98 at Squad level. The late war KStNs indicate authorised issue was two per Squad, one of which was to be fitted with a telescopic sight in Rifle Coys, and one per Squad in Pioneer Coys. That doesn't differ too much from Red Army scales, where from memory the issue of SVT self-loading rifles was sufficient for three per Squad, on paper at least. The G43 looks more to have been intended as a way of thickening up the firepower of the average Squad, and with just a couple issued could be placed in the hands of more experienced men.

    The Stg44, once it emerged from the shadows, did see a number of new subunit organisations introduced. One of the earliest I've seen is for the Sperr Divisions (Barrier), which appeared during mid 1944 as the precursor to the Volks Grenadier formations. In the Sperr Rifle Coy the third Platoon replaced its MP40s and rifles with MP44s, but kept its three LMGs. The later Volks Grenadier organisation moved towards two Pls in the Coy being armed entirely with Stg44s (backed up by one, later two LMGs in their third Squads), and the third Pl using the usual MP40, LMG and Kar98 mix.

    I think the G43 and the MP43/MP44/Stg44 represented two different developments, each of which was incorporated in different ways. Neither have the straightforward approach taken with the .30-cal M1 rifle, which simply became the standard rifle for US forces, thanks to a long gestation period pre-war and massive production capability. Even when the G43 appeared I don't think the Germans viewed it as in any way challenging the supremacy of the MG34/42 as providing the primary Squad level firepower, but helping to augment it. The Stg44 was a very different proposition, and I think that's illustrated in the way that it was integrated into revised small unit organisations (Pls and Coys) rather than sprinkled around existing ones like the G43.

    Gary
     
  5. sf_cwo2

    sf_cwo2 Member

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    This is where buying, and reading, books comes in handy. The info you seek can then be readily found-- with little effort. There is no boilerplate answer to your basic question. Each weapon was evaluated differently based on intended application. During each evaluation a questionaire is handed out and feedback sought. This feedback covered issuance. So, just look for a book with the developmental history of a particular weapon you are interested in.

    Regardless of side, one thing armies tend to do is avoid sending "new" weapons into an area that may soon be lost to the enemy. The BAR saw little use in WW1 for that very reason. Troops arriving with BARs in the summer of '17 had to turn them in for Chauchats! The order to deploy the BAR was finally given in September.
     
  6. marc780

    marc780 Member

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    It's hard to find out how the first assault weapons were actually used, vs how they could/should have been employed...the first large scale use was of the Mk42 or MP42/43 in the Demyansk "pocket", Russia in early 1943. The new weapons were air-dropped (several hundred or a few thousand depending on the source) plus ammo were dropped to a large unit of Germans that were trapped in the area that was threatenign to turn into another Stalingrad. Using the new weapons, and possibly because of them, the unit was able to fight its way out. This is a battle that has not been discussed much but significant if only for its first known use of the "assault rifle" in battle.

    As you say the Germans never had enough of the new sturmgewehr rifles(only 500,000 were made by war's end). In this case Hitler's promises of wonder-weapons came true, but not because of Hitler, in spite of him. The story has been told often enough of his opposition to the new weapons, but it is notable that Hitler himself was responsible for naming them (and that's about all). The Germans had plans to replace all the KAR 98's with the MP 44 but of course, the war ended before they could do it.

    As to how a good commander would issue the weapons (and the Germans, more then any other army, had very many good commanders) you'd want to cluster them in platoon or larger units to make ammo resuply easier. Front-line units would get them first and units engaged in urban or woodland fighting would have first priority. SS units engaged in some of the hardest fighting and so they would be (and in fact were) issued the MP44's first.

    Support units and tank crews would naturally retain their KAR 98's and MP 40's.

    Interestingly in the book "The Forgotten Soldier" by Guy Sajer (1967), Sajer mentions his units' receiving what could only be, the MP 44, late in 1944. However maybe it is a mis-translation or difference in nomenclature, but Sajer refers to it as the "F.M."
     
  7. MikeRex

    MikeRex Member

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    According to the Collector's Grade title on the STG, there was a pretty bad shortage of the new 8mm kurz ammo and magazines for the STG-44s, which no doubt blunted the impact of what was otherwise a very nasty weapon. I've read more than a few memoirs of German soldiers who mention that they got shiny new STG-44s, but could almost never obtain ammunition for them.

    German logistics late war was quite a mess.
     
  8. harolds

    harolds Member

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    I suspect this was due to the gun being made by one company, the magazines by another and the ammo by a third, all compounded by the Allied Air Transportation Plan. I once owned a relatively brand new G43 that my boss's father picked up in Germany in a boxcar on a railroad siding. It never made it to the front!
     
  9. MikeRex

    MikeRex Member

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    Unfortunately, the book in question is on short-term loan to a friend so I can't find the exact numbers or quotes. What it sounded like was that the whole program of 8mm kurz ammo production was mismanaged, and the actual quantities asked for were impractically low (something like a few thousand rounds and a handful of mags per rifle). Add in the fact that in 44 and 45 they were almost never hitting production quotas anyway, and that that which they did produce rarely made it up to the front, the STG-44 (and all the other wunderwaffe) couldn't have amounted to more than the occasional nasty shock.

    Again, I'd need the book back to check exact figures, but I wouldn't be shocked to learn that the entire run of Soviet milled-receiver AKs (which they considered an interim stop-gap!) was larger than the entire production run of STG-44s. The production figures for Soviet stamped-receiver AKs was probably two orders of magnitude larger.
     

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