The FG 42 (German: Fallschirmjägergewehr 42, “paratrooper rifle 42”) is a selective-fire automatic rifle produced in Germany during World War II. The weapon was developed specifically for the use of the Fallschirmjäger airborne infantry in 1942 and was used in very limited numbers until the end of the war.
It combined the characteristics and firepower of a light machine gun in a lightweight form no larger than the standard-issue Kar 98k bolt-action rifle. Considered one of the most advanced weapon designs of World War II, the FG 42 influenced post-war small arms development, and most of its design was copied by the US Army when they developed the M60 machine gun.
The weapon system underwent continuous development. Its expedited development, remedial changes to the original design and ever-changing Luftwaffe requirements resulted in a myriad of variants. Post-war literature typically identifies three versions, however the Germans did not give them separate designations; the “Model I”, “Model II” and “Model III” were never officially referenced and period documents simply refer to the weapon as the “FG 42”, and the reference was always made to the latest production model.
Stg 44 was the first Automatic Assault Rifle. Its also known as Mp 44. It proved to be widely successful against allies. Stg 44 was the first successful weapon of its class and the concept had a major impact on modern infantry arms development. By all account, Stg 44 fulfilled its role admirably.
Also known as Mp40. It was heavily uses by German soldiers, it’s advanced and modern features made it favorite among soldiers and popular in countries from various parts of the world after the war Mp40 was an easy to operate submachine gun. Designed with almost no recoil and easier to manage when compared to other submachine guns during the war, making it the best submachine gun during world war 2.
The ZG 1229 Vampir 1229 (ZG 1229), also known in its code name Vampir, was an active infrared device developed for the Wehrmacht for the Sturmgewehr 44 assault rifle during World War II, intended primarily for night use.
Vampir gear was first used in combat in February 1945. However, small arms infrared device introduction took place in early 1944. 310 units were delivered to the Wehrmacht at the final stages of the war. Eastern Front veteran reports consist of snipers shooting at night with the aid of ‘peculiar non-shining torches coupled with enormous optical sights’ mounted on their rifles. Similar infrared gear was fitted both to MG34 and MG42 machine guns.
MG34 and MG42
The MG3 (originally the MG1) is the MG42 design rechambered to 7.62 x 51mm NATO caliber. It is the primary general-purpose machine gun of the modern German armed forces (Bundeswehr). A number of other armies around the world have adopted versions of the original, especially the MG3, and it remains in widespread service today. Its belt-feed mechanism was copied and used in the design of the M60 machine gun. The trigger mechanism of the FN MAG or MAG-58 is a virtual copy of the MG 42’s and the MAG-58’s belt-feed is also very similar.
The rate of fire of the MG3 is 1200 rounds per minute.
The MG3 is still in use in about 35 countries, including Denmark, Norway and Germany.
The general-purpose machine gun (GPMG) originated with the MG 34, designed in 1934 by Heinrich Vollmer of Mauser on the commission of Germany to circumvent the restrictions on machine guns imposed by the Treaty of Versailles. It was introduced into the Wehrmacht as an entirely new concept in automatic firepower, dubbed the Einheitsmaschinengewehr, meaning “universal machine gun” in German. In itself the MG 34 was an excellent weapon for its time: an air-cooled, recoil-operated machine gun that could run through belts of 7.92×57mm Mauser ammunition at a rate of 850 rounds per minute, delivering killing firepower at ranges of more than 1,000 meters. The main feature of the MG 34 is that by simply by changing its mount, sights and feed mechanism, the operator could radically transform its function: on its standard bipod it was a light machine gun ideal for infantry assaults; on a tripod it could serve as a sustained-fire medium machine gun; mounting on aircraft or vehicles turned it into an air defence weapon, and it also served as the coaxial machine gun on numerous German tanks.
During World War II, the MG 34 was superseded by a new GPMG, the MG 42, although it remained in combat use. The MG 42 was more efficient to manufacture, more robust, and had an extremely high cyclic rate of fire of 1,200 to 1,500 rounds per minute. One of the Einheitsmaschinengewehr (Universal machine gun) roles was to provide low level anti-aircraft coverage. A high cyclic rate of fire is advantageous for use against targets that are exposed to a general-purpose machine gun for a limited time span, like aircraft or targets that minimize their exposure time by quickly moving from cover to cover. For targets that can be fired on by a general-purpose machine gun for longer periods than just a few seconds the cyclic firing rate becomes less important. Arguably the finest all-round GPMG ever produced, it was nicknamed “Hitler‘s buzzsaw” by troops of Allies, and alongside the MG 34 it inflicted heavy casualties on Allied soldiers on all European and North African front of World War II. Following the end of the war the victorious Allied nations took interest in the MG 34 and MG 42, influencing many post-war general-purpose machine guns, many of which are still in use today. They lent design elements to the Belgian FN MAG and the American M60, while spawning the Zastava M53, Swiss M51, and Austrian MG 74. Such were its qualities of firepower and usability that it became the foundation of an entire series of postwar machine guns, including the MG 1 and MG 3 – the latter is still in production and service to this day.
- German Heckler & Koch HK21, is based on the Heckler & Koch G3 rifle and widely exported.
- German Heckler & Koch MG5, the new standard machine gun of the German Army.