German wwii submachine gun

German wwii submachine gun DEFAULT

This was the first weapon using the new technique of stamped steel to make more effective and cheaper production.

MP38 was produced in the old fashion way while MP40 was made at large extent from stamped steel

The MP38/MP40  was wrongly called "the Schmeisser" by allied troops,
It was not designed by Hugo Schmeisser, but by Heinrich Vollmer at Mauser Werke.
The German Military preferred K98 to submachine guns. "Maschinen Pistole" - MP.
There were only 3 machine pistols per company of troops.
The MP38 was expensive to produce and it had problems with its function.
The economical fact forced a more modern construction adopted to mass production - MP
It was made almost entirely of stamped parts, which were easy to produce and perfect for wartime conditions.

MP40 became the first weapon successfully produced by the new methods with stamped steel.

It was also very effective for close range fighting, because of its rapid rate of fire.
The MP 40 was produced in huge numbers up until the end of the war,
as it was an extremely simple and effective weapon.
The weakness of the construction was single line magazine, which jammed in the snow and the mud of Russia
and the very limited effective shootingrange.



MP 40 Schmeisser submachine gun

MP 40 Schmeisser submachine gun history

In , the German Army was given a new machine gun, called MP 38, which was equipped with a retractable stick. It had to accompany the paratroopers and the crews of tanks and troop carriers. But the encouraging performance of the weapon allows him to equip the German infantry in general.

In , German engineers decided to develop a new model of the MP 38, which immediately became known as the &#;Schmeisser&#; in the Wehrmacht, called MP

One of the biggest flaws of the weapon lies in its structure, which lacks external protection. Thus, after a long or intense use of the MP 40 machine pistol, the weapon heats and burns the hands of its user if it takes it elsewhere than by the handle and the charger. However, the famous &#;Schmeisser&#; has a high rate of fire and its relatively good precision at short distance will develop its use in the German army.

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MP 40

WWII German submachine gun

"MP40" redirects here. For the locomotive, see MPI MPXpress.

Submachine gun

The MP 40 (Maschinenpistole 40) is a submachine gun chambered for the 9×19mm Parabellum cartridge. It was developed in Nazi Germany and used extensively by the Axis powers during World War II.

Designed in by Heinrich Vollmer with inspiration from its predecessor the MP 38, it was heavily used by infantrymen (particularly platoon and squad leaders), and by paratroopers, on the Eastern and Western Fronts as well as armoured fighting vehicle crews.[5][6] Its advanced and modern features made it a favorite among soldiers and popular in countries from various parts of the world after the war. It was often called "Schmeisser" by the Allies, after Hugo Schmeisser, who designed the MP 18, although he was not involved in the design or production of the MP The weapon's other variants included the MP 40/I and the MP 41. From to , an estimated million were produced by Erma Werke.


MP on display for the Springfield Armory National Historic Site Archives

The Maschinenpistole 40 ("Machine pistol 40") descended from its predecessor the MP 38, which was in turn based on the MP 36, a prototype made of machined steel. The MP 36 was developed independently by Erma Werke's Berthold Geipel with funding from the German Army. It took design elements from Heinrich Vollmer's VPM and EMP. Vollmer then worked on Berthold Geipel's MP 36 and in submitted a prototype to answer a request from the Heereswaffenamt (Army Weapons Office) for a new submachine gun, which was adopted as MP The MP 38 was a simplification of the MP 36, and the MP 40 was a further simplification of the MP 38, with certain cost-saving alterations, most notably in the more extensive use of stamped steel rather than machined parts.

The MP 40 was often called the "Schmeisser" by the Allies, after the weapon designer Hugo Schmeisser. Schmeisser had designed the MP 18, which was the first mass-produced submachine gun. He did not, however, have anything to do with the design or development of the MP 40, although he held a patent on the magazine.


The MP 40 submachine guns are open-bolt, blowback-operated automatic arms. The only mode of fire was automatic, but the relatively low rate of fire enabled single shots with controlled trigger pulls. The bolt features a telescoping return spring guide which serves as a pneumatic recoil buffer. The cocking handle was permanently attached to the bolt on early MP 38s, but on late production MP 38s and MP 40s, the bolt handle was made as a separate part. It also served as a safety by pushing the head of the handle into one of two separate notches above the main opening; this action locked the bolt either in the cocked (rear) or uncocked (forward) position. The absence of this feature on early MP 38s resulted in field expedients such as leather harnesses with a small loop that were used to hold the bolt in the forward position.

MP front sight and muzzle

The MP 38 receiver was made of machined steel, but this was a time-consuming and expensive process. To save time and materials, and thus increase production, construction of the MP 40 receiver was simplified by using stamped steel and electro-spot welding as much as possible. The MP 38 also features longitudinal grooving on the receiver and bolt, as well as a circular opening on the magazine housing. These features were eliminated on the MP

One feature found on most MP 38 and MP 40 submachine guns was an aluminum, steel, or bakelite resting bar or support under the barrel. This was used to steady the weapon when firing over the side of open-top armored personnel carriers such as the Sd.Kfz. half-track. A handguard, made of a synthetic material derived from bakelite, was located between the magazine housing and the pistol grip. The barrel lacked any form of insulation, which often resulted in burns on the supporting hand if it was incorrectly positioned. The MP 40 also had a forward-folding metal stock, the first for a submachine gun, resulting in a shorter overall weapon when folded. However, this stock design was at times insufficiently durable for hard combat use.

Although the MP 40 was generally reliable, a major weakness was its round magazine. Unlike the double-column, staggered-feed magazine insert found on the Thompson M/ variants, the MP 40 used a double-column, single-feed insert. The single-feed insert resulted in increased friction against the remaining cartridges moving upwards towards the feed lips, occasionally resulting in feed failures; this problem was exacerbated by the presence of dirt or other debris. Another problem was that the magazine was also sometimes misused as a handhold. This could cause the weapon to malfunction when hand pressure on the magazine body caused the magazine lips to move out of the line of feed, since the magazine well did not keep the magazine firmly locked. German soldiers were trained to grasp either the handhold on the underside of the weapon or the magazine housing with the supporting hand to avoid feed malfunctions.


U.S. Army Signal Corps instructional video from

At the outbreak of World War II, the majority of German soldiers carried either Karabiner 98k rifles or MP 40s, both of which were regarded as the standard weapons of choice for an infantryman.

However, later confrontations with Soviet troops such as the Battle of Stalingrad, where entire enemy units were armed with PPSh submachine guns, the Germans found themselves out-gunned in short range urban combat which caused a shift in their tactics, and by the end of the war the MP 40 and its derivatives were sometimes issued to entire assault platoons. Starting in , the German military moved to replace both the Karabiner 98k rifle and MP 40 with the new, revolutionary StG By the end of World War II in , an estimated million MP 40s had been produced of all variants.

Post-war usage[edit]

During and after the end of World War II, many MP 40s were captured or surrendered (upwards of ,) to the Allies and were then redistributed to the paramilitary and irregular forces of some developing countries. The Norwegian army withdrew the MP 38 from use in but used the MP 40 for some years more. In particular, the Territorials (Heimevernet) used it until about , when it was replaced by the Heckler & Koch MP5.


MP 40/I[edit]

The MP 40/I (sometimes erroneously called MP 40/II) was a modified version of the standard MP 40 with a dual side-by-side magazine holder (for a theoretical ammunition total of 64 rounds), designed for special operations troops on the Eastern Front to compensate for the enemies' PPSh larger magazine capacity. However, the design proved unsuccessful due to weight and reliability issues. Authentic versions, in addition to the dual mag magazine well, also have a smaller buttpad and shortened ejector.[21]

MP 41[edit]

An MP 41 with wooden stock

In , Hugo Schmeisser designed the MP 41, which was, in reality, an MP 40 upper receiver with a lower receiver of an MP 28 submachine gun. It saw limited service, however, and was issued only to SS and police units in The MP 41 was also supplied to Germany's Axis ally Romania.

Later in , rival company Erma Werke sued Haenel, at which Schmeisser was Chief Designer, for patent infringement. Production subsequently ceased on the MP[23][24]


The MP 38 or MP 40 also served as a design template for various other submachine guns and self-loaders. Including:

Details of the MP 40 have also been adopted for other submachine guns, which otherwise differ significantly from a technical point of view:

  • For the construction of the US-American M3 "Grease Gun" (from ) captured MP 40 and surrendered Sten-submachine guns were examined for further usable construction details. The Allies chose their submachine gun armament based on the use of captured German ammunition, which is why the French Résistance, for example, preferred to use the British Sten Gun and American submachine guns,which were specially manufactured in 9×19mm caliber for delivery to European resistance groups (e.g. UD).
  • The retractable shoulder rest became the model for many subsequent submachine guns. During the Second World War, the Soviet PPS (from ) was developed, the folding shoulder rest of which is based on the shoulder rest of the MP The AK in version S also uses this construction element.
  • Due to its almost identical design, the MP 40 magazine can also be used for the Belgian Vigneron submachine gun developed in


During World War II, the resistance and the Allies sometimes captured MP 40s to replace or supplement their own weapons.[25][26][27] The MP 40 was used for several decades following World War II by many countries around the world in armed conflicts. Some found their way into guerrilla groups such as the Viet Cong or African guerrillas.

Its operators have included:

  • &#;Algeria: the National Liberation Army used MP 40s supplied by Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.[28]
  • &#;Austria
  • &#;Bosnia
  • &#;Bulgaria
  • &#;Croatia[32]
  • &#;Czechoslovakia
  • &#;France: French resistance used captured guns during World War II. MP 40s were also carried by French Army in the French Indochina[33] and French Algeria.[34]
  • &#;Greece[35]
  • &#;Guatemala: MP 38/40 supplied in from Czechoslovakia,[36] still in service with the police at the end of the Guatemalan Civil War.[37]
  • &#;Hungary[38]
  • &#;Indonesia
  • &#;Israel[a]
  • &#;Iran: Used in small numbers by the 55th Airborne Brigade and Iranian Imperial Guards.[41]
  • Italian Partisans: Used examples captured from German soldiers.[42]
  • Kosovo Liberation Army
  • &#;Nazi Germany used by the Wehrmacht, military police, Gestapo, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm, and Hitler Youth at the end of war.
  • &#;Norway
  • &#;Polandcaptured MP 40s, were used by Polish rebels during the war.
  • &#;Romania
  • &#;Soviet Union: captured MP 40s were used by Soviet partisans and Worker-Peasant Red Army. After the war, the MP 40 with other weapons, were sold to others countries in the Eastern Bloc.[25][26][48]
  • &#;Spain: copied as the Star Model Z
  • &#;South Vietnam: used by the South Vietnamese Popular Force.[49]
  • &#;Syria: used against Israel.[50]
  • &#;United States: captured MP 40s used by United States during World War II and by Special Forces and their Civilian Irregular Defense Group program at the beginning of the Vietnam War.[51] Some also apparently captured in the Iraq War.[citation needed]
  • &#;Vietnam: captured from the French Far East Expeditionary Corps and used by the Viet Minh, the Viet Cong and the People's Army of Vietnam.[49]
  • &#;Yugoslavia
  • &#;Zimbabwe: used by ZIPRA and ZANLA.[52]

Civilian ownership in the United States[edit]

Following the Allied occupation of Europe in , U.S. servicemen shipped home thousands of captured firearms as war trophies,[53] including MP 40s. This practice required proper registration of automatic weapons in accordance with the National Firearms Act before they could be imported, but this was curtailed later in the occupation, meaning a relatively small number of civilian-transferable MP 40s remain in circulation and are valued at around $20,, as of , with some selling for almost $50,[54]

There are several semi-automatic variants and cosmetic replicas of the MP 40 available for civilian ownership in the U.S. Beginning in , American Tactical Imports began importing an MP 40 replica manufactured by German Sporting Guns GmbH chambered in LR,[55] and since has also imported a pistol variant chambered in 9mm.[56] The LR variant features an all-metal construction with period-accurate Bakelite furniture, a folding stock, and a faux-suppressor to meet barrel length import requirements. The 9mm variant is classified as a pistol and therefore does not ship with a folding stock. Both variants are closed-bolt, blowback-operated semi-automatic firearms that vary substantially from originally manufactured MP 40s in internal operation, making them more of an affordable cosmetic replica than a faithful reproduction. Neither of the GSG-manufactured variants are compatible with originally manufactured MP 40 parts and magazines.[citation needed]

See also[edit]



  1. ^"MP 40 - Role & Tactics". YouTube.
  2. ^"MP40 Sub Machine Gun | ParaData". Retrieved 27 March
  3. ^The WW2 Double-Magazine MP40/I
  4. ^"MP41". Imperial War Museums. Retrieved 5 July
  5. ^"MP Schmeisser". Modern Firearms. 27 October Retrieved 5 July
  6. ^ abSakaida, Henry (20 May ). Hook, Christa (ed.). Heroines of the Soviet Union . Bloomsbury Publishing. p.&#; ISBN&#;.
  7. ^ abCornish, Nik (20 June ). Karachtchouk, Andrei (ed.). Soviet Partisan . Bloomsbury Publishing. p.&#; ISBN&#;.
  8. ^Weckstein, Leon (). , Heroes: Italian Partisans and the American OSS in WWII. Hellgate Press. p.&#; ISBN&#;.
  9. ^Windrow, Martin (). The Algerian War, . Men-at Arms London: Osprey Publishing. pp.&#;10& ISBN&#;.
  10. ^Brnardic, Vladimir (17 November ). Aralica, Višeslav (ed.). World War II Croation Legionaries: Croation Troops Under Axis Command —45. Bloomsbury Publishing. p.&#; ISBN&#;.
  11. ^Windrow, Martin (15 November ). The French Indochina War –54. Men-at-Arms Osprey Publishing. p.&#; ISBN&#;.
  12. ^"L'armement français en A.F.N."Gazette des Armes (in French). No.&#; March pp.&#;12–
  13. ^McNab, Chris (). 20th Century Military Uniforms (2nd&#;ed.). Kent: Grange Books. p.&#; ISBN&#;.
  14. ^Perutka, Lukáš (September ). Checoslovaquia, Guatemala y México en el Período de la Revolución Guatemalteca: Ibero-Americana Pragensia - Supplementum 32/ (in Spanish). Karolinum Press. p.&#; ISBN&#;.
  15. ^Montes, Julio A. (4 December ). "Police Small Arms Arsenals in the Northern Central American Triangle". Small Arms Defense Journal. Vol.&#;7 no.&#;5.
  16. ^Tibor, Rada (). "Német gyalogsági fegyverek magyar kézben" [German infantry weapons in Hungarian hands]. A Magyar Királyi Honvéd Ludovika Akadémia és a Testvérintézetek Összefoglalt Története () (in Hungarian). II. Budapest: Gálos Nyomdász Kft. p.&#; ISBN&#;.
  17. ^"Silah Report Podcast V Iranian Submachine Guns ()". 21 June
  18. ^Gianluigi, Usai; Riccio, Ralph (28 January ). Italian partisan weapons in WWII. Schiffer Military History. pp.&#;– ISBN&#;.
  19. ^Williams, Anthony G.; Popenker, Maxim (15 January ). Sub-Machine Gun: The Development of Sub-Machine Guns and their Ammunition from World War 1 to the Present Day. Crowood Press UK. p.&#; ISBN&#;.
  20. ^ abEzell, Edward Clinton (). Personal firepower. The Illustrated history of the Vietnam War Bantam Books. pp.&#;42– ISBN&#;. OCLC&#;
  21. ^David Campbell (). Israeli Soldier vs Syrian Soldier&#;: Golan Heights –73. Combat illustrated by Johnny Shumate. Osprey Publishing. p.&#; ISBN&#;.
  22. ^Rottman, Gordon L. (25 July ). Green Beret in Vietnam –73. Warrior Osprey Publishing. p.&#; ISBN&#;.
  23. ^Abbott, Peter; Botham, Philip (15 June ). Modern African Wars (1): Rhodesia –80. Men-at-Arms Osprey Publishing. p.&#; ISBN&#;.
  24. ^"Chapter XVIII: The Occupation Troops". Retrieved 5 January
  25. ^"Lot German - MP 40". Retrieved 19 March
  26. ^Grant, Jim (19 January ). "ATI's GSG MP40, the quintessential bad-guy gun". Retrieved 5 January
  27. ^Johnson, Steve (24 February ). "BREAKING NEWS: ATF Approve ATI MP40 9mm Pistol (Pistol Version of German WWII MP40 Submachine Gun) - The Firearm Blog". The Firearm Blog. Retrieved 5 January


  • Axworthy, Mark (). The Romanian Army of World War II. Osprey Publishing. ISBN&#;.
  • Bishop, Chris (). The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. ISBN&#;.
  • Dunlap, Roy (). Ordnance Went Up Front. R & R Books. ISBN&#;.
  • Fowler, William (). Stalingrad, the Vital Seven Days. Spellmount. ISBN&#;.
  • Hobart, Frank (). Pictorial History of the Sub-machine Gun. Scribner Publishing. ISBN&#;.
  • Hogg, Ian; Weeks, John, eds. (). Military Small Arms of the 20th Century. Arms & Armour Press. ISBN&#;.
  • Hogg, Ian (). Submachine Guns. Greenhill Books. ISBN&#;.
  • Ingram, Mike (). The MP40 Submachine Gun. Zenith Imprint. ISBN&#;.
  • Katz, Samuel (). Israeli Elite Units Since . Osprey Publishing. ISBN&#;.
  • Myatt, Frederick; Ridefort, Gerard, eds. (). New Illustrated Guide to Modern Rifles & Sub-Machine Guns. Smithmark Publishing. ISBN&#;.
  • Neil, Grant (). Mauser Military Rifles. Osprey Publishing. ISBN&#;.
  • Peterson, Philip (). Standard Catalog of Military Firearms: The Collector's Price and Reference Guide. F+W Media, Inc. ISBN&#;.
  • Priestley, Rick; Cavatore, Alessio, eds. (). Bolt Action: World War II Wargames Rules. Osprey Publishing. ISBN&#;.
  • de Quesada, Alejandro (). MP 38 and MP 40 Submachine Guns. Osprey Publishing. ISBN&#;.
  • Rottman, Gordon L (). The AK Kalashnikov-series Assault Rifles. Osprey Publishing. ISBN&#;.
  • Willbanks, James (). Machine Guns: An Illustrated History of Their Impact. ABC-CLIO. ISBN&#;.
  • "Erma MP and MP submachine gun (Germany)". World Guns. Retrieved 7 March
  • "MP40 Manufacturers and Markings". Medal Net. Retrieved 7 March

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to MP40 and MP41.

Why WW2’s MP40 is one of the best submachine guns ever

Though not technically the first submachine gun deployed in combat, the German army&#;s Machinenpistole 40, or MP40, is certainly one of the most recognizable.

From &#;s-era newsreel clips to just about every World War II movie ever made, the iconic MP40 has become synonymous with the Nazi troops that conquered Europe. Loosely derived from the earlier MP18 which was deployed late in World War I as a trench sweeper for the German army, the MP40 fires a 9mm pistol round out of a nearly inch barrel.

German soldier with an MP40

That&#;s a good combo for an accurate, easy to control weapon. Add on a full-length folding stock and the MP40 stands as one of the most devastating submachine guns ever built.

But there&#;s more to it than that. The MP40 had a very heavy bolt that combined with the weapon&#;s auto-only operating system to make for a slow rate of fire that allowed the shooter to control muzzle rise and stay on target.

Watch this operator fire an MP40 and see for yourself how this early submachine gun design withstands the test of time.


Wwii submachine gun german

German MP40 "Maschinenpistole " Submachine Gun

Physical Description
German MP40 "Maschinenpistole" submachine gun, caliber.
General History
The Maschinenpistole 40, commonly known as the MP40, is similar to the Thompson, but uses a smaller 9-mm round. This submachine gun evolved out of the MP38, which was prone to misfirings that had sometimes lethal results. A simple technical innovation to the hammer eliminated the problem, and the MP40 was born. Total production is unknown but it is believed that more that one million of these weapons were produced between and
Object Name
gun, submachine
Other Terms
gun, submachine; gun, submachine; Firearms; Center Fire; 9 Mm; Rifled
Erma Werke - Erfurter Maschinenfabrik
Erma Werke - Erfurter Maschinenfabrik
Place Made
Germany: Thuringia, Erfurt
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
overall: 11 in x 34 in x 3 in; cm x cm x cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. Medical Museum
related event
World War II
The Great Depression and World War II
See more items in
Political and Military History: Armed Forces History, Military
Price of Freedom
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History

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The Rarest Guns of World War II

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