Sturmgewehr 44 Assault Rifle

The following report on the German StG 44 (Sturmgewehr 44) assault rifle was published in Foreign Military Weapons and Equipment, Vol. III, Infantry Weapons, Pamphlet No. 30-7-4, Department of the Army, 1954.

7.92-mm Submachine Gun MP-44
(STURMGEWEHR M44)

Sturmgewehr 44 (StG 44) Assault Rifle

The German MP44 was developed in 1942 to provide an intermediate weapon between the rifle and the submachine gun. The standard 7.92-mm rifle cartridge was shortened and bottle-necked to take a 120-grain boattail bullet. With this cartridge the weapon provided better ballistic characteristics than those available with the standard German 9-mm submachine guns. It also had provisions for full automatic fire and thus a greater firepower capability.

Ease of mass production was achieved by the extensive use of steel stampings. The receiver, frame, gas cylinder, and barrel jacket are all made from stampings. The parts of the trigger mechanism are riveted in place; therefore, the trigger assembly cannot be disassembled, although a complete trigger mechanism can be quickly inserted into the weapon.

Despite its cheap construction, it is a very serviceable weapon. The various models of this weapon, including the MP43, MP43/1, and the MP44, were all designated the STURMGEWEHR 44 in 1944. They differ only in minor detail. Ballistically, they are identical.

This weapon can be recognized by: (1) The stamped receiver and barrel jacket; (2) the prominent front sight base; (3) the curved, stamped magazine; (4) the gas cylinder on top of the barrel; and (5) the short, bulky buttstock.

Large numbers of these weapons were captured by the Soviets during World War II, and many probably are still held in reserve stocks.

RECOGNITION FEATURES

Sturmgewehr 44 Assault Rifle Recognition

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FG42 Automatic Rifle

The following report on the FG42 Automatic Rifle (Fallschirmjägergewehr 42) was published in Foreign Military Weapons and Equipment, Vol. III, Infantry Weapons, Pamphlet No. 30-7-4, Department of the Army, 1954.

7.92-mm M42 (FG42) Automatic Rifle
(7.92-mm FALLSCHIRMJÄGERGEWEHR 42)

FG42 Automatic Rifle - Fallschirmjägergewehr 42

This weapon, referred to very often as the German “Paratroop” rifle, is designed more like a light machine gun than a rifle. It is gas-operated, has selective automatic or semi-automatic fire, is fitted with a permanently attached folding bipod, and is fed from a 20-round magazine. It was originally designed for use by parachute troops as an automatic rifle, but it can be used as a light machine gun or as a machine carbine.

The FG42 underwent extensive tests and progressed through several design stages before a final model was adopted by the German High Command. It was late 1944 before the rifle was finally introduced in combat in significant numbers. It is fitted for a bayonet, compensator, telescopic sight, and rifle grenade launcher.

The salient recognition features of this weapon are: (1) A horizontal box magazine which feeds from the left side of the weapon; (2) a pronounced rearward slope of the hand grip; (3) the attached folding bipod; (4) folding post-type sights; and (5) a selector lever on the left side of the trigger housing permitting settings for automatic or semi-automatic fire or for “safe”.

RECOGNITION FEATURES

German FG42 Automatic Rifle - Fallschirmjägergewehr 42 - Diagram

CHARACTERISTICS

System of operation Gas-operated, air-cooled, selective automatic or semi-automatic fire
Caliber 7.92-mm (.312 in)
Weight (incl. sling, bipod, and bayonet):  
     Unloaded 4.9 kg (10.5 lb)
     Loaded 5.5kg (11.5 lb)
Length over-all:  
     With bayonet 110 cm (43.5 in)
     W/o bayonet 98cm (38.5in)
Length of barrel 48 cm (19 in)
Feeding device 20-round magazine
Sights:  
     Front Both have special folding post sights
     Rear Graduated 100-1,200 m
Muzzle velocity 750 m/s (2,461 fps)
Effective rate of fire Semiautomatic 20 rpm; auto 40-60 rpm
Effective range 400 m (440 yd)
Ammunition Standard German 7.92-mm automatic

Additional U.S. intelligence reports: