Soldiers and Submachine guns

Discussions on the small arms used by the Axis forces.
V. Andries
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Post by V. Andries » 09 Jan 2006 09:06

Hey thanks chris I found the KtSn for the large amounts of Mp44s, but i cudnt find the KtSn for the MP40s.
There were no KStN with MP40-equipped MPi-Züge... Two KStN for 1.9.44 appear like that on Christoph's page, because the original KStN by mistake did not make the difference between MP40 and MP44. All other contemporary documents pertaining to those companies (of a VGD) point out the use of the MP44.

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Christoph Awender
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Post by Christoph Awender » 09 Jan 2006 12:41

V. Andries wrote:
Hey thanks chris I found the KtSn for the large amounts of Mp44s, but i cudnt find the KtSn for the MP40s.
There were no KStN with MP40-equipped MPi-Züge... Two KStN for 1.9.44 appear like that on Christoph's page, because the original KStN by mistake did not make the difference between MP40 and MP44. All other contemporary documents pertaining to those companies (of a VGD) point out the use of the MP44.
Ah OK. Yes the KSTN do list them as "Normal" MPi. so I was mistaken as I thought they used them as "test versions"

\Christoph

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Post by V. Andries » 09 Jan 2006 15:32

Ah OK. Yes the KSTN do list them as "Normal" MPi. so I was mistaken as I thought they used them as "test versions"
Hi Christoph,

It's just a misleading mistake of the people who edited the KStN and did not add in the handwritten [ ] to differentiate between MP40 and MP44 (like the way it was done with the 1.8.44 KStN 1114a (gp.)). Sadly the mistake got a post-war life of its own. To see how the remaining ten MP38/40 were divided over the Stellen of the company, see KStN 131 1.11.44.

All VGDs were raised along the 1.9.44 set of KStN and received MP44 accordingly. E.g. on 20.11.44, 340. VGD reported an Ist of 1299 MP44 (Soll: 1317) against only 105 MP38/40, while 26. VGD reported 1395 MP44 on 1.12.44, against 108 MP38/40 and 166 MP (ital.). The figures for MP38/40 were well below establishment, as by this stage of the war this weapon was always in short supply.


To Vegemite:

If you're so desperate to find a unit entirely equipped with automatic weapons for your wargaming, go with 1. Infanterie-Division. In mid-June 1944 it was decided to use the division for large-scale testing of the MP44 and it was assigned 2.800 such weapons, enough to equip each Grenadier platoon with the weapon (also note that this division by exception still had three battalions in each regiment).

cheers,

Andries

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Tim Smith
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Post by Tim Smith » 11 Jan 2006 00:56

Excuse me, but I thought this thread was about submachine guns?

The MP44/StG 44 was not a submachine gun (despite the MP44 designation - that was only to fool Hitler.) It was an assault rifle. Therefore it shouldn't have been mentioned in this thread.

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Der Weisse Wolf
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Post by Der Weisse Wolf » 14 Jan 2006 06:17

1939: Majority of squad leaders were equipped with rifle and many platoon leaders with pistol only

1940: Still many squad leaders with rifle, but most platoon leaders had a SMG in addition to pistol

1941: Most squad leaders with SMG and practically every infantry platoon leader with SMG also.

1942: Slightly increased deployment of SMG's due to captured Russian PPSH's and also more MPi's are produced by Germans.

from 1943 onwards: In addition to captured Russian SMGs and increased MP-40 production, the introduction of MP43(later MP44/StG) makes possible to equip whole platoons, and in 1944 whole companies, with MP's. Unlike some(not all) Russian SMG formations, Germans did use LMG as support weapon with their SMG squads also.

So in later half of the war, you could run to German squad(most likely Panzergrenadier SPW squad) armed with some 4-5 SMG's/Assault Rifles, 2 LMG's, couple of Panzerfausts, and a few bolt action rifles with LMG ammo carriers. Good luck to survive against them :)

I don't think one can find absolute truth from KStN and training manuals about this topic, though. Officers could and DID reorganize his troops with special purpose weapons if the situation made it necessary. So even as early as 1940 there was German SMG squads. How did this happen? For example: Bataillon or Kompanie CO could temporarly collect squad and platoon leader SMGs and redistribute these weapons to special purpose, hand picked squads known as the Stosstruppe. Used for assault, probe attacks and violent reconaissance. They were also given extra amount of LMG ammo(or even extra LMG) and of course, more hand grenades and possibly demolition kits or geballte ladundgs(simply Stielhandgranates bundled together).

Stosstruppe style tactics and equipment were in use with many armies, so nothing special here. During Finnish Winter War, official TO&E for automatic wepons within platoon were just 2 SMGs and 2 LMGs. So those Suomi SMGs in 1939-40 served as dual purpose weapon: squad leader weapons and section support weapons(!). But in many cases (motti of Raatteentie etc.) officers redistributed weapons so that assault groups had SMG's as primary weapons and platoons in reserve had to rely on their bolt action rifles only.
Last edited by Der Weisse Wolf on 14 Jan 2006 06:25, edited 2 times in total.

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Der Weisse Wolf
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Post by Der Weisse Wolf » 14 Jan 2006 06:22

Tim Smith wrote:Excuse me, but I thought this thread was about submachine guns?

The MP44/StG 44 was not a submachine gun (despite the MP44 designation - that was only to fool Hitler.) It was an assault rifle. Therefore it shouldn't have been mentioned in this thread.
Yes, but that weapon did serve as a substitute for SMG also. The whole idea and concept of assault rifle was to make SMG an obsolete weapon in primary military use. And guess what happened? :)

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Christoph Awender
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Post by Christoph Awender » 14 Jan 2006 06:30

Der Weisse Wolf wrote: I don't think one can find absolute truth from KStN and training manuals about this topic, though. Officers could and DID reorganize his troops with special purpose weapons if the situation made it necessary. So even as early as 1940 there was German SMG squads. How did this happen? For example: Bataillon or Kompanie CO could temporarly collect squad and platoon leader SMGs and redistribute these weapons to special purpose, hand picked squads known as the Stosstruppe. Used for assault, probe attacks and violent reconaissance. They were also given extra amount of LMG ammo(or even extra LMG) and of course, more hand grenades and possibly demolition kits or geballte ladundgs(simply Stielhandgranates bundled together).

Stosstruppe style tactics and equipment were in use with many armies, so nothing special here. During Finnish Winter War, official TO&E for automatic wepons within platoon were just 2 SMGs and 2 LMGs. So those Suomi SMGs in 1939-40 served as dual purpose weapon: squad leader weapons and section support weapons(!). But in many cases (motti of Raatteentie etc.) officers redistributed weapons so that assault groups had SMG's with primary weapons and platoons in reserve had to rely on their bolt action rifles only.
Hello

Personal weapons (like Stellengruppen) were distributed and sent to units according to the KStN. A MPi. was registered to a man with weapon number in his personal documents and in the various company and Waffenmeister files of his unit. He was responsible for it. I would be interested in sources which give examples of forming a Stoßtrupp by collecting all MPi. of a company and give them to other soldiers. Extra ammo, explosives etc.. is clear but giving MPis of NCO´s and officers to other soldiers is very new to me.

\Christoph

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Der Weisse Wolf
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Post by Der Weisse Wolf » 14 Jan 2006 07:18

Christoph Awender wrote: A MPi. was registered to a man with weapon number in his personal documents and in the various company and Waffenmeister files of his unit. He was responsible for it. I would be interested in sources which give examples of forming a Stoßtrupp by collecting all MPi. of a company and give them to other soldiers.
Yes, but in the war they did not always play by the book. Ad-hoc assault troops didn't serve as long range reconaissance patrols, ie. they could use their "loned" weapon during capturing of a village or a hill, for example, and then the weapons were returned for original users. There are mentions of squads assaulting with SMGs in German war memoirs early in the war, so since the official TO&E/KTsN does not reveal how these extra MPis were attained, temporarly redistributing has to be the only explanation(in addition to captured PPSh's at the eastern front).

And one ad-hoc "SMG squad" could really mean just a few extra SMGs per squad. Let's say that there are two 9 men groups selected for a demanding task. Section leaders and assistant leaders most likely have their MPi's as an official personal weapons. LMG schutze has of course the MG34/42, and his 2 ammo bearers stick with their Mausers. So there are 4 riflemen left(per assault group, 8 in total) with unsuitable bolters for incoming assault mission. Platoon or Company CO orders that 2 rear squads(whose primary mission is to support the assault with LMG and rifle fire) exchange their MPis for bolters with 2 sections that will do the charging. Now there is 4 more MPi's more for two assault groups and with only 2 assault troopers left per gruppe with bolt actioners who would use bayonets and grenades, if there is no captured automatic weapons available. For me this is just a common sense how the officer in command would act. There certainly wasn't a Waffenmeister to argue with prior to every mission in frontline.

Since you want hard data, meaning KStN or straight quote from vets(and I respect that) there is probably no satisfactory answer for you about this.


edit: I mentioned that Bataillon or Kompanie CO could issue the order of temporary redistribution of SMG's, and thus suggesting that whole platoons or even companies equipped as somekind of ad-hoc SMG stosstruppe, that is of course wrong. I said Bataillon CO only because he could also order the Company or Platoon commanders to equip some of their squads for an incoming assaulting task/mission.

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Post by V. Andries » 14 Jan 2006 13:21

First of all the Sturmgewehr was developed as an MKb or Maschinen-Karabiner: a weapon categorised between a leichtes Maschinen-Gewehr and a Maschinen-Pistole, to possibly replace the Kar, MP and le.MG within the infantry squad. It was indeed renamed Maschinen-Pistole 43 to fool Hitler, but when again renamed MP44 his adverse opininions had already changed. The final redesignation as a Sturmgewehr only occurred in Autumn 1944 and this no doubt had propagandistic purposes. The word Sturm, together with Volk, seems to have been popular those days... (Goebbels' expression: ""Nun, Volk, steh auf und Sturm brich los!" :roll: )

'Weisse Wolf',
Unlike some(not all) Russian SMG formations, Germans did use LMG as support weapon with their SMG squads also.
Yes, but they only learnt this through troop trials.
The first tactical manual for the MPi-Zug (remember: MP43-equipped), dated february 1944, did not leave one single le.MG with the platoon: the le.MG was theoretically considered to be of a burden to the MPi-Zug, which was to be used as the company's fast reserve for patroling, nightfighting, AFV escorting, etc.
One le.MG was reintroduced for the 3. Gruppe of the MPi-Zug in July, when the Grenadier-Divisions were raised. Apparently troop trials had learnt that at least one le.MG was still necessary within the platoon, to provide a base of fire and enable the platoon to perform more general combat tasks.
In September '44 two extra Le.MG were assigned to the MPi-Zug of the VG-Div. Yet, these were to be in platoon reserve and only to brought forward when the platoon was in a defensive position: from now on two platoons in the Grenadier-Kompanien of the VG-Div. were to be MPi-Züge. Hence a single MPi-Zug was no longer the company's reserve, but the two Mpi-Züge now formed its main manoeuvre element for both offensive and defensive tasks, and for this it needed longer-ranged firepower.
Finally, in November the concept was updated for a last time: the MPi-Zug was renamed to Sturm-Zug, in accordance with the name change from MP44 to Sturmgewehr 44 in the previous month, and instead of two le.MG in the platoon's reserve, there were now to be two le.MG in the 3. Gruppe (as apparently the base of fire needed even further extending) and only one le.MG left in the platoon's weapon reserve. This was still to be brought forward in defensive positions.
So in later half of the war, you could run to German squad(most likely Panzergrenadier SPW squad) armed with some 4-5 SMG's/Assault Rifles, 2 LMG's, couple of Panzerfausts, and a few bolt action rifles with LMG ammo carriers.
I'm afraid that needs some correction:
1. MP38/40 were always in short supply, especially from 1944 on. Only one such weapon per Gruppe was normal, i.e. as the weapon for the Gruppenführer. G41 and K43 were to make up for this shortage as the dedicated weapon for the Stellv. Gruppenführer.
2. The Infanterie had priority on large MP44 deliveries, over the Panzergrenadiere: Pz.Gren.Gruppen with their assigned 2. le.MG already had extra firepower over the infantry.
3. Whenever the Pz.Gren.Kompanien of certain units by exception disposed over large quantities of MP.44, they too concentrated them in separate platoons, as MPi-Züge with less or no le.MG.

Andries

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Der Weisse Wolf
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Post by Der Weisse Wolf » 14 Jan 2006 14:46

Thanks for a good and detailed post V. Andries. Actually I knew about Volksgrenadier receiving MP/StG-44 in quantities, and shortage of MP40s makes also sense because of those Volksgrenadier SMG formations.(=less available to others)

So is this "SMG heavy SPW-panzergrenadiers in 1943-45" a myth? In another words, there were no extra(more than 1 or 2 at max.) SMG's in any late war panzergrenadier squads/gruppes? (if captured weapons are not counted.). It makes some sense though, since 2 LMG's were alone indeed a great advantage in firepower over regular infantry.

And you say that Gew/Kar 43 and 41 saw more service with panzergrenadiers(as assistant squad leader weapon?) than with others? I had an imperssion that escpecially Kar 43 were mostly issued to snipers, MG-teams and some late war Jäger and Volksgrenadier divisions.

This is a very interesting topic!

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Christoph Awender
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Post by Christoph Awender » 14 Jan 2006 15:35

Hello

It is hard to argue against someone who says forget manuals, KStN and regulations in reality they did it completely different. I never heard about this "lending" of personal weapons and all photos, accounts etc.. I saw did not contradict the regulations about how to equip, arm and bring a Stoßtrupp or Spähtrupp into action.
And you say that Gew/Kar 43 and 41 saw more service with panzergrenadiers(as assistant squad leader weapon?) than with others? I had an imperssion that escpecially Kar 43 were mostly issued to snipers, MG-teams and some late war Jäger and Volksgrenadier divisions.
This would be again documented in various KStN and OKH orders but as you say reality didn´t follow regulations and KStN it is hard to convince you.

\Christoph

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Der Weisse Wolf
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Post by Der Weisse Wolf » 14 Jan 2006 15:56

Christoph Awender wrote: It is hard to argue against someone who says forget manuals, KStN and regulations in reality they did it completely different.
Actually it's not hard :), since I have not said that "forget manuals, KStN and regulations" (I just said there must have been exceptions) and in fact, you and especially V. Andries have convinced me in many points. I'm ready to believe that official distirbution of SMGs with Panzergrenadiere was much lower than I knew.

How about those half-squads or halbgruppen who rode the SPW 250/1 in Panzer-Aufklärungs SPW kompanies? Were these 5 or 6 men groups equipped with more SMGs than regular infantry?

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Post by Christoph Awender » 14 Jan 2006 16:53

You mean these companies?
http://chrito.users1.50megs.com/kstn/ks ... 1mar42.htm

\Christoph

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Der Weisse Wolf
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Post by Der Weisse Wolf » 14 Jan 2006 17:40

Christoph Awender wrote:You mean these companies?
http://chrito.users1.50megs.com/kstn/ks ... 1mar42.htm
Yes! So according to those authentic looking pages, the answer is no. I think I've seen those tables before, but they are obvioisly not the ones spreading the "smg myth". :)


edit:

I see those pages are linked from the very same site you host and that "ww2 day by day" is also hyperlinked under the Axis Forum logo. I now understand you a bit more.

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Post by V. Andries » 14 Jan 2006 22:37

Actually I knew about Volksgrenadier receiving MP/StG-44 in quantities, and shortage of MP40s makes also sense because of those Volksgrenadier SMG formations.(=less available to others)
Really, at the risk of becoming a bore, I have to point this out again: never were the established MPi-Züge of Grenadier-Kompanien (either of a refitted type 44 Infanterie-Division, a Grenadier-Division or a Volks-Grenadier-Division) to be equipped with any other MP than the MP44.
The shortage of MP38/40 late in the war had everything to do with reduced production capacities and the poduction priority being given to the MP44: while in 1943 some 220.527 MP38/40 were still produced, the number dropped to 74.564 in 1944 and 189(!) in the first three months of 1945. Compare this to the MP43-44-Stg44 production numbers: 281.860 in 1944 and still some 124.616 in the first three months of 1945 (figures from 'Lexicon der Wehrmacht').

So please forget about Volksgrenadiere with large amounts of MP38/40: the 'mistake' comes from a misprint on the original KStN, as posted with more detail higher up in this thread. Any other contemporary document (like the tactical guidelines for the MPi-Zug of February and November '44, and the guidelines for the VG-Regiment and the VG-Division...), all point to the use of the MP44 within the MPi-Zug.
The misprint was however incorrectly interpreted by Allied Intelligence, when the 'Handbook to the German army' was composed in March 1945. Since many post-war writers and wargamers have based themselves on this otherwise good document or on the single KStN 131V 1.9.44, rather than on further source-material, the idea of MP40-equipped volksgrenadier platoons got a life of its own, and was still repeated in a 2004 Osprey title on WWII infantry tactics.
So is this "SMG heavy SPW-panzergrenadiers in 1943-45" a myth? In another words, there were no extra(more than 1 or 2 at max.) SMG's in any late war panzergrenadier squads/gruppes? (if captured weapons are not counted.). It makes some sense though, since 2 LMG's were alone indeed a great advantage in firepower over regular infantry.
Yes, indeed.
And you say that Gew/Kar 43 and 41 saw more service with panzergrenadiers(as assistant squad leader weapon?) than with others? I had an imperssion that escpecially Kar 43 were mostly issued to snipers, MG-teams and some late war Jäger and Volksgrenadier divisions.
No, I haven't been clear enough. You were referring to a Pz.Gren.-unit, so I answered accordingly, but the G41 and later K43 did not see more service with Pz.Grenadiers than with any other unit type.
I wanted to point out that, when available to any kind of unit, the G41 or K43 were to be used as a replacement for the missing MP38/40 and for sniping. This was specifically stated by an OKH order on July 20th, 1944 (a date with another more historic meaning...), and the proposal to use the K43 as the future replacement for the K98 was thereby cancelled, as its production could not be expected to be sufficient.
You are right that at times large quantities of K43 were available to VG-Divisions: raised during the months of August to November '44, they had priority on deliveries of newly produced weapons. With even the Kar98 in short supply at that time, some VGD's received a rather high number of K43, apparently as a compensation (e.g. 26. VGD on 1.12.44: 1.893).

Obviously, there are lots of myths about small unit armament, which keep being propagated in some publications, in wargames and mostly in computer games. I too had to dig before I knew a little more.
And for how much WWII small arm developments might be interesting, history showed they're definitely not the war-winners the German leadership thought them to be.

kind regards,

Andries

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