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German Automatic Rifles 1941-45

German Automatic Rifles 1941-45 Cover

German Automatic Rifles 1941-45

Gew 41, Gew 43, FG 42 and Stg 44

By Chris McNab; Ramiro Bujeiro (Illustrator); Alan Gilliland (Illustrator)

Osprey Publishing (UK), Paperback, 9781780963853, 80pp.

Publication Date: March 19, 2013


This book explores the origins, development, combat use and lasting influence of Nazi Germany's automatic rifles, focusing on the Gew 41(W), Gew 43/Kar 43, FG 42 and MP 43/StG 44. The Blitzkrieg campaigns of 1939-40 convinced many observers that most infantry combat took place at closer ranges than the 750-1,000m for which most contemporary rifles were designed. In addition, current bolt-action rifles could not provide the rate of fire required for such engagements. From 1941 Germany's arms designers took note and produced a new series of infantry firearms that not only transformed squad firepower, but also laid the foundations for postwar assault rifle design.

The Gew 43/Kar 43, fitted with a telescopic-sight rail as standard, was one of history's first semi-auto sniper rifles. The FG 42, designed specifically for airborne soldiers, had a landmark straight-in-line design and other features frequently seen in subsequent small arms, notably the US M60 machine gun. Most influential was the MP 43/StG 44, arguably the world's first true assault rifle, which delivered formidable full-auto fire from a shortened 7.92mm round. This weapon also went on to influence the design of the greatest assault rifle of all time - the AK-47.

This study not only provides a detailed technical description of each weapon, but also explores how the firearms performed on the battlefields of World War II. The combat takes us from the FG 42 in the hands of Fallschirmjager at Monte Cassino through to StG 44s being used by Waffen-SS soldiers on both the Eastern and Western Fronts. Postwar service is also studied, such as the Gew 43's adoption by the Czech Army and the StG 44's use by the Viet Cong in the Vietnam War. Setting each firearm in its tactical and historical context, and employing striking photographs and full-colour artwork, firearms expert Chris McNab sets out the absorbing story of this distinctive and influential series of weapons.

About the Author
Chris McNab is an author and editor. To date he has published over 25 books, including A History of the World in 100 Weapons, Hitler's Armies and The Uzi Submachine Gun for Osprey. Chris has also written extensively for major encyclopedia series, including African-American Biographies (2006), USA 1950s (2006) and Reformation, Exploration and Empire (2005), and has contributed to The Times on the war in Iraq.

Praise For German Automatic Rifles 1941-45

"Photos, drawings and paintings season Osprey's study ... Alan Guilliland's cut-aways ... proved excellently informative.  An index and summary of primary and secondary sources complete contents.  And the whole thing is annotated!"
- David L. Veres, (May 2013)

"In this book, author Chris McNab covers the development of automatic rifles including those developed by other countries and how they influenced German design. Each of the major types, Gew 41/43, FG 42 and StG 44 are fully covered in their means of operation and their development. The book has many period photos as well as photos of extant guns. This is further enhanced by a few nicely done pieces of artwork showing these guns in use. It is a great addition to the Weapons line of books and is a title that any enthusiast needs to have on their shelf."
- Scott Van Aken, Modeling Madness (April 2013)