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German Automatic Rifles 1941-45, by Chris McNab

Discussion in 'Book Reviews' started by ColHessler, Sep 6, 2018.

  1. ColHessler

    ColHessler Member

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    Length: 80 pages, including index

    This is a concise history of four ground-breaking German semi-auto and full auto rifles. The weapons covered are the Gewehr 41, Gewehr 43, Fallschrimgewehr 42 and the Sturmgewehr 44.

    The author starts off with a little history of 20th Century tries at semi- and full auto rifles for the soldier in the field, such as Mondragon's rifle and the rifles of Soren Bang of Denmark. The Bang rifles had their influence on the first two semi-autos Germany made in WWII, the Gewehr 41 and 43.

    McNab then gives us the FG 42 and its select fire capability built around the 8mm Mauser round. The Sturngewehr 44 was built around the first "intermediate" cartridge, the 7.92 by 33 "short" Mauser round, to give us the first "assault rifle." The influence of this on the AK-47 is argued by showing that the Russians did test the weapon and their designers came up with their 7.62 by 39 round, around which the Kalashnikov was built, and then Kalashnikov himself arguing he couldn't have known about the German weapon.

    I like that McNab gave us the history and anecdotes about the weapons involved and even after action reports by Americans describing what it was like to be on the receiving end of these weapons.

    I didn't like that he didn't have pictures for every weapon he discussed, like the Volksgewehr 1-5, though I know you could look online for it.

    This is one of the Osprey Weapon series, and would fit well into any collection about WWII.
     
  2. JJWilson

    JJWilson Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like an interesting read..........beautiful and unique creations those 4 rifles are!
     
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  3. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    I know the influence of the MP43/StG44 on the AK-47 is an ongoing controversy, but we might consider that the Russians already had submachine guns firing the 7.62x25 round, a necked cartridge similar to a rifle cartridge but shorter, which seems a lot like the definition of an assault rifle. Their conventional rifle round was 7.62x54, so Kalashnikov's 7.62x39 was right in the middle. It seems like a logical innovation whether or not he had the example of the German weapons.
     
  4. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    The AK and STG have only an external resemblance to each other with very different operating systems, which (I think) is/was Kalashnikov's usual point. I've never read anything where he denied ever seeing an STG, though perhaps he did trying to defend his concept. You could drag the M1 carbine into the fray which had ballistics approaching both "assault weapon" cartridges and predating both.
    The idea of "intermediate" cartridges was in the air in many countries throughout the pre and post-war period with the argument that since you can't see an enemy at 800 yards (whatever), why design rifles for that? The fossils killed the .280 British/NATO cartridge for the FAL well after the war and it took another ten years before we caught up with the Soviets. The FAL operating system by the way, does borrow much from the STG - far more than the AK.

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  5. ColHessler

    ColHessler Member

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    McNab also mentions the FAL and the .280 caliber. His biggest point was the influence the German weapons had on post-WWII designs and thinking.
     

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