German Karabiner 98Kwas an accurate, powerful, and reliable bolt action rifle.
It was the primary rifle for all German soldiers of World War Two. The "K" in
"98K" meant "kurtz". This version was first seen in 1935, and was manufactured
by Mauser, which isit's nickname,to which it is most familiar. It used the 8mm
round, but the round was actually a 7.92 X 57mm., with the 7.92 just being
rounded to 8. It had a 5 shot integral magazine, and weighed 8.60 lbs. unloaded.
This weapon was first developed in 1898, and was slightly modified many times
over the course of it's service length. This weapon was used for military purposes
from 1935 to 1945. This weapon had spectacular accuracy at long distances, around
500 meters. normally, but if it was equipped with a scope, a skilled marksman could be
effective up to 800 meters. Like many bolt action weapons at the time, it was bulky, heavy,
and had a slow rate of fire due to the bolt mechanism. The Germans during World War Two
did not persue semi-automatic weapons as much as did the Allies. They stuck with their bolt
action weapons and tactics for the majority of the war, as the Germans had little success with
semi-automatic weapons. Without a doubt, the Kar98k saw the most action on the German
side during World War Two, serving in every theater. Many other nations took the Kar98k and
altered them for their own use, as over 10 million had been made, they were an ideal
weapon. There was also a version of the Kar98k with a folding stock, for paratroopers. During
the later years of World War Two, the Kar98k was being replaced with the MP-44, which was
much more suited for close quarter combat, and had a small rifle like cartridge, with a very good
rate of fire. The Kar98k has remained in use to this day, and is a valuable collectors item.
The MP-44 was first invented in 1944, after the invention of the MP-43, which
was similar. The MP-44 had only a few changes. The MP-44 carried a newly
invented round, the 7.92 X 33mm Kurtz round, Kurtz meaning short. The idea
of the smaller cartridge was to have the power of a rifle cartridge, yet being
smaller, and having the capability of being in an automatic rifle. The weapon was
fed by a 30 round detachable box magazine, and it weighed 11.24 lbs. unloaded.
A odd feature was that the weapon could use the "Krummlauf Attachment",
which allowed this weapon to shoot around corners. The rifle was given the
name, "Sturmgewehr", meaning "Assault Rifle". This name was supposed to
have been given byHitler himself. If it is even true, the name still well describes
the role the gun played in World War Two.But still, the weapon came too few,
too late, to make any difference.
The Gewehr 43 was a improvement over the Gewehr 41. It had a
10 round detachable box magazine, which held 7.92 X 57mm
rounds. It weighed 9.5 lbs. unloaded, and it have a dove tail reciever,
for a scope mount. The Gewehr 43 was much easier to manufacture
than the gewehr 41. This rifle was generally used for sniping, but was
also used as an infantry weapon in small numbers. The Germans decided
that they needed a semi-automatic rifle to suit the kind of combat they were
in, as bolt action rifles did not always work well in a battle at close range.
On the Russian front, German soldiers started taking Tokarev SVT40 rifles,
and copied the design for their own use. The eventual product was the G-43.
The G-43 had an effective range of about 400 meters, but could also be fixed with
a scope for greater accuracy. The sniper version worked so well that it remained
in service with the Czech army several years after the war. A total of 402,713 G-43's
were produced during World War Two.
The MP-40 was re-done
in 1940, to simplify manufacturing. It's original design, the MP-38, was very
similar except for a few differences such asthe ejector, the reciever, and the
magazine catch. The MP-40 used stamped metal instead of welding.The
MP-40 was masses producted, with over 1 million being made, and saw
much combat throughout World War Two. The MP-40 weighed just under
10 lbs. unloaded, and held 30 rounds of 9mm ammunition in a detachable
box magazine.The MP-40 did go through various changes in design, but none
of them were as sucessful as the original MP-40. The MP-40 was a fairly reliable
weapon, but it did have a weak magazine. It was sensitive to dirt and dust, and
it had a single-column magazine. German soldiers were told not to grab the magazine
when shooting, but the magazine housing or the underside instead, as holding the
magazine may cause feed problems.
The MG-34 was first invented in 1934, after improving the design of the
MG-30. The MG-34 used either a 75 round drum, or a 250 round belt,
holding 7.92 X 57mm ammunitionIt weighed 26.5 lbs. unloaded,
and had a maximum rate of fire of 900 rounds per minute. The MG-34
could be fired in single or fully automatic shots, which was controlled by
the pressure put on the trigger.A very useful feature was how the barrels
were changed. To change the barrels, a hinge on the reciever would open.
You would take out one barrel, put in another, and close the hinged
reciever. Then the gun was ready to fire again. The MG-34 did sometimes
jam is dirty conditions. Still, this Machine Gun was used very extensively
by German forces in World War Two.
was designed to be easier to produce, and more reliable than
the MG-34. The MG-42 was similar to the MG-34, yet it weighed 1 lb.
lighter, and the most noticeable difference, was the new barrel jacket.
The MG-42 had the highest rate of fire of any machine gun, 1200 rounds
per minute, and was fed by a 50 round belt of 7.92 X 57mm ammunition.
With such a high rate of fire, and few ammunition, this required frequent
reloading. And also because of it's high rate of fire, it over heated very easily.
This made the use of the MG-34's barrel changing system. The change took
no more than 5 seconds. The MG-42 was much more tolerant to dirty conditions
than the MG-34. By wars end, over 750,000 MG-42's had been made.
Falschirmjagergewehr (paratroop rifle) 42, also know as the FG-42, was
first introduced in 1942. It was an odd weapon, but proved to be quite
effective. The FG-42 had many useful features, such as a folding bipod,
which was helpful when this weapon was equipped with a telescopic sight.
Also under the barrel was a folding bayonet. The FG-42 also went through
changes in it's hand grips, the first one being slanted back. The FG-42 was
designed to be a paratrooper weapon for the Luftwaffe, but it was only used
in very limited numbers. The FG-42 carried the 7.92 X 57mm round, which
proved to be much too powerful. The gun was fed by a 20 round detachable
box magazine that stuck out of the left side of the gun, and it weighed just under
10 lbs. unloaded.
This Luger, or P08 Parabellum,
was a version modified from the Borchardt pistol, by Georg Luger. After being put
into production in 1908, the Germany army quickly adopted it. The Luger was
produced on a wide scale and used in World War One. The Luger carried eight
9 X 19mm rounds, and weighed almost 2 lbs. unloaded. Even though the P-38
pistol was adopted to the German army in the early 1930's (mostly for production
purposes) the Luger still lived in World War Two. Also further back in 1914, a
model of the Luger called the "Artillery Model" was invented. The difference was
the longer barrel. This model even incorporated graduated sights. A snail drum could
also be attached, holding 32 rounds. A stock could also be attached to the grip.
With the stock and snail drum, the ordinary Luger would become a Carbine. The Luger
remaining in production until 1945, with over 2 and a half million made.
The German amry adopted the
P-38 in the early 1930's, because it was alot easier to manufacture.
The P-38 carried eight 9 X 19mm rounds. It was issued to mostly
officers and NCO's. The prodcution of this pistol lasted until the
late 50's. The P-38 had a double action trigger, which meant that
the loader could carry a loaded pistol with the hammer down, and
pull the trigger for the first shot. By wars end, over 1 million had been