Monthly Archive for March, 2010

Page 2 of 2

9 mm M.P. 181 (Bergmann): Submachine Gun

9mm M.P. 18 Bergmann Submachine Gun

The 9 mm German Submachine Gun, M.P. 181, Germany’s original submachine gun introduced toward the end of the first World War, is still in use today. Several other models, modifications of this weapon, are, however, more widely used at the present time.

The gun is operated, like all the later types, by blowback action and carries on the left side a 32-round drum magazine of rather complicated design, consisting of a short straight portion terminating in a small drum. For loading, a lever in the bottom of the magazine is turned until a catch drops into a recess in the bottom plate, thereby taking the tension off the coil spring. The cartridges are then inserted into the mouth of the magazine. After it is fully loaded, the catch is released and pressure applied to the cartridges by the coil spring. A safety recess marked “S” is formed at the rear end of the cocking handle slot. To prepare for firing, the cocking handle is pulled back and rotated upward, the magazine is inserted, and the cocking handle is disengaged. There is no provision for single shots, the weapon being automatic.


Caliber         9 mm (actually .347 in.)
Weight 9 lb., 2 oz. without magazine
Length 32 ins.
Rate of fire 550 rds./min.—cyclic
Ammunition 9 mm Parabellum
Effective range 218 yds.

German: p. 204

8.8 cm Flak 18, 36, 37: Multi-Purpose Gun

German 88mm Flak 18, 36, and 37

This multi-purpose weapon emerged as the most highly publicized artillery piece of the German army during the North African campaign. It is primarily an antiaircraft gun adaptable to antitank and general artillery use. In its antitank role it is fitted with a shield. In its mobile form it is towed on four wheels, usually with an 8-ton half-tracked tractor.

The tube assembly of the gun is of a construction not comparable to any design now in use in this country. It consists of an outer tube or jacket, an inner locking tube and a loose three-section liner. The front and center sections of the liner are keyed in place so as to align the rifling and prevent relative rotation.

The mount is provided with two outriggers for stability when firing in traverses other than directly front or rear. These are hinged to the bottom carriage to travel in a vertical position. During firing the outriggers are let down and secured by half-round locking pins.

The mount is equipped with three means of fire control depending on the usage: data transmission for antiaircraft fire, direct laying for antitank fire and indirect laying for indirect fire.

Specifications listed herewith are based on tests conducted at Aberdeen Proving Ground of a captured 88 mm model Flak 18, under Ordnance Program 5772. The mechanical-type fuse setter and the azimuth indicators were examined at Frankford Arsenal.

The differences implied by the nomenclatures, Flak 18, 36 and 41, refer to different methods of construction.


Caliber        8.8 cm (3.46 ins.)
Length of tube 184.6 ins.
Weight (travelling position) 7.9 tons
Weight (firing position) 5.5 tons
Length (travelling position) 25 ft., 3 ins.
Length (firing position)
Height (travelling position) 102 ins.
Height (firing position) 63 ins.
Width (overall); (traveling position) 94 ins.
Width of trail spread
Length of bore 162.4 ins.
No. of grooves 32
Diam. of grooves 3.552 ins.
Depth of grooves
Diam. of lands 3.473 ins.
Muzzle velocity (H.E. shell) 2,690 f.s.
       (A.P.) 2,624 f.s.
Max. range (horizontal) 16,183 yds.
Max. range (vertical) 11,591 yds.
Rate of fire 15 to 20 r.p.m.
Traverse 2 x 360°
Elevation +85°
Depression -3°
Length of recoil (H.E.) 31.5 ins.
Ammunition H.E. and 3 types of A.P.
Wt. of projectile (H.E.) 20.35 lb.; (A.P.) 20.75 lb.

German: p. 111

l. Pkw. K 1 (typ 82): Volkswagen “Jeep”

Kubelwagen - Volkswagen, German Jeep

The German Volkswagen (“people’s car”) was converted to military use at the outset of the war. It is a very economical and cleverly designed vehicle, although it is cheaply constructed. It weighs 1,600 pounds.

For a frame the Volkswagen has a central tube to which the components of the front and rear axles are attached to form the chassis. The floor, which is ribbed, helps reinforce the central tube. The body panels are light, being made up mostly of about 18-gauge black iron stampings. Tubular struts, designed in such a way as to serve as grab rails for the four occupants, are used for the basic structural members of the body. All wheels are independently sprung and torsion rods are used for all suspensions instead of the common semi-elliptic leaf spring. Shock absorbers are fitted to the front and rear. The steering gear and connections are of more or less conventional type. The brakes are mechanical, cable-operated.

The four-cylinder, air-cooled engine, the transmission (with four speeds forward and one reverse), and the positive-locking differential comprise a unified structure secured to the floor at its extreme rear end. At each side of the differential are universal joints providing centers about which the housings for the two rear driving-axles may articulate. The rear wheels are stabilized laterally from the differential housing. An overdrive in 4th gear gives a ratio of .80 to 1. Also, certain design features which we generally accept as necessary have been omitted from the engine. For instance, there are no counterbalances on the crank shaft, and no lubricating oil filter.

The Volkswagen has a maximum speed of 50 m.p.h.


Weight         1,600 lbs.
Length 12 ft., 3 ins.
Width 5 ft., 3 ins.
Height 5 ft., 5 ins. (with top raised)
Ground clearance 11.5 ins.
Wheelbase 7 ft., 10½ ins.
Width of front track 53.4 ins.
Width of rear track 53.5 ins.
Fording depth 18 ins.
Theoretical radius of action
   Roads 250 miles
   Roads 50 m.p.h.
Normal fuel consumption 1 gal. per 29.5 miles
Engine 4-cylinder, horizontally opposed, air-cooled, 24.5 B.H.P. at 3,300 r.p.m.
Transmission 4 speeds forward, 1 reverse
Steering Normal
Crew 4

German: p. 59