Hitler Hated the Nazi Assault Rifle
What a 'coincidence' its the same kind of weapon they are trying to ban in America today!
By 1944, the Third Reich pulled out all the stops when it came to technological marvels. It was the year of the Wunderwaffe, the “wonder weapon” — devices born out of a combination of science and desperation that Nazi Germany hoped would knock the Allies back on their heels.
The V-2 intermediate range ballistic missile, the V-1 cruise missile, the Me-262 jet fighter are the weapons that most often come to mind in the Wunderwaffe category.
But there was another super weapon that had been around before that watershed year but still had 1944 in its name. Inspired by the Germany’s experience with urban combat on the Eastern Front, it was a firearm that used an intermediate round that was larger than a pistol cartridge but shorter than the standard rifle cartridge used by the German army.
What’s more, it was designed to fire both in semi-automatic and full-auto, and had a 30-round detachable box magazine.
It was the Sturmgewehr 44 or StG-44, the grandfather of all modern assault rifles … and its appearance on the battlefield was nothing short of revolutionary. The Sturmgewehr didn’t change the outcome of the war, but it did change the philosophy of military rifle design forever.
It was also a weapon with a tortured development history. Adolf Hitler almost killed it in the cradle.
...There was just one problem — Hitler hated the new weapon. The reasons why are complex, partly rooted in own experiences as a soldier during World War I, partly because he often thought he was the greatest military genius who ever lived.
Hitler ordered production stopped. However, the generals did something rarely risked while Hitler was in charge — they went behind his back. They re-named the MKb42 (H) the Maschinenpistole 43 or MP-43, claiming it was an upgrade to existing submachine guns. Of course, it wasn’t a submachine gun … and eventually Hitler discovered the deception.
Finally, Hitler actually fired an MP-43. He was so impressed he wanted it named “Sturmgewehr” — meaning “storm rifle” as in “taking the objective by storm” — for propaganda purposes. But the more common synonym in English is “assault” — and the assault rifle as we know it today made its first appearance as the StG-44 with some minor modifications.
Unfortunately, it still inflicted terrible damage on advancing Allied troops. For example, many G.I.s first encountered the weapon during the Battle of the Bulge, where U.S. soldiers were poorly supplied and underequipped. The surprise attack caught the Allies completely off guard, giving the Germans the initiative.
Beleaguered American soldiers found themselves pinned down by withering fire from weapons that outmatched even the otherwise excellent M-1 Garand, which can only fire eight .30–06 rounds per clip. The Germans also produced accessories that made the StG-44 even more dangerous. One was an infra-red night sight called the Vampir that allowed soldiers to spot — and kill — their enemies after dark.
Perhaps the oddest device was the Krummlauf, a barrel curved at 30 or 45 degrees that allowed the operator to shoot around corners with the aid of special periscopic mirror sights. It was designed for street fighting — but few were actually used in battle.
The Sturmgewehr changed the battlefield forever. After World War II, militaries around the world began arming themselves with select-fire rifles or carbines that fired intermediate rounds.