Discussion in 'Small Arms and Edged Weapons' started by EagleSquadron12, Feb 9, 2017.
Even Brad Pitt had one when he played a tank commander in the film "Fury"
That's no surprise. There's an outfit around Hollywood that rents firearms to movie makers. Every now and then they're showcased in some special. Last I knew they had several and this may be the largest deposit of StGs in the world. I suspect however, that most of them have been altered to fire blanks.
A French company is making STG44s and importing them into the US in original 8mm kurz. They are expensive and the ammunition is also expensive and only available from that company. These are semi-auto versions, but said to be a faithful copy.
A German company is making a version in .22 LR and these are widely available, reasonably priced (about $400) and popular among WWII collectors and other eccentrics.
KB: I think PPU or some other European ammo companies makes 7.9 Kurz as well. If you want to talk about expensive, a company in the USA is making a semi-auto version of the M-3 submachine gun (AKA "grease gun") for the sum of around $1200! When you realize they originally cost about $20 to produce in the 1940s that's quite a mark-up even taking inflation into consideration.
I admit that i didn't knew that StG 44 production was only one out of 6 firearms in the last months of the war. So it must have been a very rare thing to pick up.
Very rare is probably an exageration, that would apply to the full power cartrige FG42 that was produced in rather limited numbers but I believe there were over 400.000 MP44/StG 45 built..
That would be about correct.
However, it's doubtful that anywhere near that number was ever issued to the troops. The German rail system was so screwed up by that time that much war material sat on sidings not going anywhere. I once bought a bring-back K 43 from someone who was then my boss. His father found it at the end of the war in a rail car that was full of cases of K 43s. Apparently, there were several such box cars. I believe most StGs were issued to either waffen ss units or volks grenadier divisions. I don't believe that the troops in general infantry divisions saw much of them.
Actually, most of them went to Volkssturm militia units (the Volksgrenadiers were formed around veterans of other units and were a much better fighting entity). Giving these advanced rifles to the Volkssturm sounds counter-intuitive, but it was thought the rifle would give these poorly trained units an edge. The Waffen SS, Paratroopers, other elite units got their share also. Close to a half million were made, so there were quite a few of them around. The real problem, as mentioned earlier, was ammunition. Both the ammo production and the supply lines were mangled by the end of the war.
Somewhere around here I have a book by a late war conscript into the 1st Waffen SS. He arrived as a replacement just after they had been decimated along the Ambleve in December, 44 and was told to grab a rifle off a pile nearby, but when he quickly grabbed an STG his sergeant told him it was a poor choice because they had little ammunition and no prospect of getting any more in the near future. He picked up a K98 instead and finished the war with it.
You're right KB, I meant to say volkssturm but had a brain fart. I suspect that problems with the ammo was also exacerbated by the destruction of the rail lines. 7.9X57 ammo was everywhere and made in several places, but not the kurz stuff.
If ammunition and even magazines were hard to come by for german soldiers, i wonder how an allied soldier managed it to use a captured StG 44 as his personal weapon.
His situation might be that he didn't need a weapon all that often, but when he did, he needed a lot of firepower.
A war trophy is a war trophy...
How much ammunition do you need to guard POWs with anyway.
It wasn't a problem for an allied soldier. He had a Garand or other weapon in the supply truck. When he got low on Kurz ammo, he could just pick up his issue weapon.
StG/MP44s were issued in quantity to the Volksgrenadier units which fought in the Ardennes offensive. There are a few photos extant of VGD soldiers carrying the weapon. There are also some first-hand references from VGD veterans in Roland Gaul's 'The Battle Of The Bulge In Luxembourg Vol. 1 : The Germans'. One in particular is quite disparaging about his MP44, calling it a 'flame spitter' and dumping it at the earliest opportunity to pick up a K98 instead......
All types of units got some of these rifles. The Volksturm was supposed to have one soldier in four issued an STG, though they never came close to reaching that goal. I found that interesting and confusing at first, but again, the logic was that outfitting the militia with the best rifles and extra fausts and shrecks would give them an edge to help overcome their lack of training.
In the Ardennes, the Sixth Panzer Armee (the north prong) had all types of units, but the fallschirmjaeger accompanying the spearhead (Peiper) were heavily armed with the STG, while the 1st Waffen SS had relatively few in comparison. That's odd isn't it? You'd expect the fallschirmjaeger to be heavily armed with their FG42, while the SS had first call for the STGs.
It can be very confusing. The German TOEs didn't mean much by that point in the war. It seems like whatever weapons and ammo reached the front were distributed at the whim of the command, or maybe just first-come-first-served.
Volksturm morale was obviously very brittle. Giving them the best weapons was indeed logical in order to keep them, hopefully, from turning tail at the first sight of an American tank or surrendering en mass. At least this way they could possibly be convinced that they had a chance in battle!
Flicking back through Handrich's book, there's an interesting note on how the supply of magazines and pouches proved in some ways more of an issue than the supply of guns.
The ideal was six magazines available per weapon, as new supply or in service, with the reality being two to four. By the turn of 44/45 the deficiency of magazines is listed at a quarter million.
Plans put in motion to rectify that number followed by a regular monthly supply need of 50,000 magazines.
Obviously... events overtook that.
A glimpse at intended issue of MP43 variants planned in Jan '44:
1800 Inf Battalions (5,400 Companies) - 1 platoon of each company. All fronts: 180,000
1800 Inf Battalions - All three platoons of each company. All fronts: 540,000
1230 Inf Battalions - (3,690 Companies) 1 platoon of each company. Eastern Front: 123,000
1230 Inf Battalions - All three platoons of each company. Eastern Front: 369,000
Obviously, again, the whole story of actual issue becomes 'whatever can be done' as the situation deteriorated for them (though as often seems the case late war - available production figures appear quite impressively robust. Guns & butter... The Butter's run out, but still so much focus on guns...),
I like the fact Volksgrenadier vs Volksturm's come up in passing here.
Thinking about it, I don't recall so many threads discussing the two. So often they get conflated.
Apparently they had some STG-44s to spare as they around supplied 4000 to the Hungarian army.
Maybe (!) StG 44s were given to Volkssturm units because of the poor ammunition figures?