Soldiers and Submachine guns

Discussions on the small arms used by the Axis forces.
Fallschrimjager
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Post by Fallschrimjager » 17 Jan 2006 00:16

Yes it was almost always true a German Infantry squad in say the Wehrmacht in 44, 9 man squad 1 NCO armed with a MP38/40, 4 armed with Kar 98s and 4 men operating the LMG/MMG. But in Anti-Tank squads a single soldier carried a Panzerfaust/Panzershreck the rest carried a rocket and their weapons were mostly all MP40s.

There was some Squads/platoons that were classified as SMG Units, mainly the russians employed the most, they almost always got to battle on the back of a fast moving T-34. Armed with either the PPSH41s or PPS's, some even were using Finnish MP18 Bergmanns and Suomis, whatever was available I suppose.

Dima
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Post by Dima » 18 Jan 2006 00:24

Hi,

very interesting topic!

And how many MPi had Aukl.Trupp?

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Christoph Awender
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Post by Christoph Awender » 18 Jan 2006 11:21

Dima wrote:Hi,

very interesting topic!

And how many MPi had Aukl.Trupp?
What do you mean exactly? A Trupp in a Aufklärungskompanie or a Spähtrupp?

\Christoph

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Post by Dima » 18 Jan 2006 12:15

i guess Spähtrupp :).

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Christoph Awender
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Post by Christoph Awender » 18 Jan 2006 19:22

The standard Spähtrupp was a Gruppe which means the MPi. of the group leader and the rifles of the men usually without the M.G.Trupp.
According to the mission a Spähtrupp could look different in all possible ways.

\Christoph

Karl_F
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Re: Soldiers and Submachine guns

Post by Karl_F » 27 Jul 2023 22:17

Hi,

I am well aware this message constitutes a massive 'necro'. Around 17 years I'd warrant! But I wanted to chime in.

I do have several documents that show 'ausstattung mit M.Pi' occurred. It does not seem to have happened on the scale of which the Soviets used 'SMG Companies' in every Infantry Division - instead the Germans seem to have sometimes used spare SMG's to replace lost LMG's, or other times equipped units with them that were in an Assault Wave.

In terms of written documents:

Hans Wijers - Winter Storm - The Battle for Stalingrad and the Operation to Rescue 6th Army - Wijers cites Lieutenant Colonel Richard Wolf, commander of the 208. I.R., 79. I.D., as having organized his troops into special assault waves when attacking the Red October on October 20th. He states "Wolf organized the middle assault group into two attack wedges, the right wedge consisting of the 2nd and the left wedge consisting of the 1st Battalion. Every wedge consisted of two waves, which were each organized with the following smaller groups. The first group, the assault party, was reinforced with engineers. They had received different weapons in accordance with their orders to achieve their objective at any circumstance without regarding what is happening to the right, left, or rear. The rifles, which were problematic in the street and house fighting, were left behind. They were replaced by machine pistols, and in addition, hand grenades of all sorts and satchel charges up to three kilos were handed out liberally. (It then goes on to describe the covering party, equipped with light machine guns and explicitly rifles, as well as hand grenades and mortars, and then the clean-up group, armed with additional supplies of grenades and satchel charges.)

This account begins page 75 of the E-Book I named above (I do not have a physical copy and it's quite likely the page number is different.) Its source is a personal account by Richard Wolf which I have not been able to locate electronically, but which appears to exist physically in U.S. archives - and furthermore is obviously endorsed by the U.S. Army, having been featured in their documentary video on the assault on the Red October:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1K0SFr2gPbc (p.s. Enjoy!)

Two more physical documents exist amongst NARA files which I have encountered for units in the Stalingrad fighting:

NARA T315 R1942 - document 00263.jpg (I do not know the frame number, just the electronic .jpg name.)
This page (which can be found in many places throughout this NARA roll on different dates) is from the 294. I.D., and describes the weaponry of its Nachrichten Abteilung - (unfortunately similar documents describing its Infantry cannot be found.)
This document clearly shows that the unit is short 2 le.M.G., but has 5 beute M.Pi. (russ.) that it also explains are being used *in place of the lost le.M.G.*. Very fascinating document. Furthermore all of this units' le.M.G. are Czech! Either MG-26(t) or MG-30(t), it is unclear. What is clear is that one of the squads in this Abteilung would've had 4 Sub-MG's, and this was just an intelligence and communications unit, hardly an assault troop!

NARA T315 R1109 - document 0016.jpg - describes the organization of a Sturmkompanie. It details 3 Gruppe for each Stosszug, each made up of 1 Uffz. and 7 men, wherein the Uffz. is carrying an M.Pi, and amongst the Schützen it states that their weapons all consist of Gewehr but Schütze 1 and 2 carry M.Pi! However, visible on the document is that the type-written 'M.Pi.' on the Schützen is crossed out and nearby replaced by a cursive 'Gewehr', whereas the type-written 'Gewehr' is similarly crossed and replaced with a cursive... what appears to merely say 'Pistole'. Very interesting, at least to me! There is a lot more exciting stuff regarding the Sturmkompanie's organization... for example, Stosszug-trupp can (optionally) have 2 M.Pi.; one for the Zugführer and one for the Zugtruppführer - while KStN 131c is pretty clear about only the Zugführer having a Sub-MG. Additionally none of the Platoon-leaders nor Squad-leaders of any of the supporting platoons (Heavy M.G., Mortar, and A.T. Gun) have any Sub-MG amongst them. Probably these guns were... yes... re-distritubed to those Stosszug.

There is also photographic evidence to support things not being adhered to perfectly according to 'KStN' or 'Weapon Registration'.
Within Jason D. Mark's "Angriff: The German Attack on Stalingrad in Photos" there are quite a few photos of Infanterie fighting in the city which clearly depict Gefreiter and Obergefreiter carrying MP 38/40. Definitely the KStN of the time would have allowed NO MP 38/40 to be given to those men. The arm badges are clear as day, and the photos are confirmed by Mark to be from the fighting in the city.
Furthermore there are also several photos of Gruppenführer who are carrying Kar 98k's instead of their 'assigned' Sub-MG's - and if my memory is serving me, there may even be one or two featuring an NCO with K98k while the Gfr. or Ob.Gfr. astride him is carrying an M.Pi. Phenomenal book if you haven't seen it, and I believe it to be extraordinarily well-researched.

Anyhow, all that to say 'the best-laid plans of mice and men'... at least, in relation to following regulations to the most strict standard in an active battlefield.

Karl_F
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Re: Soldiers and Submachine guns

Post by Karl_F » 29 Jul 2023 02:33

Here I have attached the documents from the NARA rolls I mentioned above. I had to reduce them 50% of size to attach here, but they are still high-resolution.
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Karl_F
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Re: Soldiers and Submachine guns

Post by Karl_F » 30 Jul 2023 23:28

The mystery deepens!
I have found yet another document of interest.

In NARA T315 R2164, for the 371st I.D., image 0057.jpg, we have (within a series of pages describing how 19th Wave Infanterie Divisions are to be created in early 1942; including the formation of the 371. I.D.) - a page that states 900 MP 38/40 (and it is explicit) are to be supplied to each 19th Wave division. It also remarks only 4 magazines are to be supplied with each gun (as opposed to 6 or 7.) 900 is a lot more than most divisions active during 1942. The standard Infantry Division had only 688 Machine Pistols allotted at this period of the war - so these new ones are getting ~212 more, at least on paper.

p.s. The 371st and 376th Divisions, both part of this 19th Wave, were encircled and destroyed at Stalingrad. However, I don't think they were used in the offensives into the city itself...

I've attached that page from the roll.
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Karl_F
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Re: Soldiers and Submachine guns

Post by Karl_F » 03 Aug 2023 04:09

Karl_F wrote:
30 Jul 2023 23:28
The mystery deepens!
I have found yet another document of interest.

In NARA T315 R2164, for the 371st I.D., image 0057.jpg, we have (within a series of pages describing how 19th Wave Infanterie Divisions are to be created in early 1942; including the formation of the 371. I.D.) - a page that states 900 MP 38/40 (and it is explicit) are to be supplied to each 19th Wave division. It also remarks only 4 magazines are to be supplied with each gun (as opposed to 6 or 7.) 900 is a lot more than most divisions active during 1942. The standard Infantry Division had only 688 Machine Pistols allotted at this period of the war - so these new ones are getting ~212 more, at least on paper.

p.s. The 371st and 376th Divisions, both part of this 19th Wave, were encircled and destroyed at Stalingrad. However, I don't think they were used in the offensives into the city itself...

I've attached that page from the roll.
Whoops! Looks like this claim I made is incorrect. 688 Machine Pistols would be for a 2-Battalion*3-Regiment Infantry Division; 900 is correct for the more-common 3-Battalion*3-Regiment Division. I will leave it up, but 19th Wave == standard.
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Karl_F
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Re: Soldiers and Submachine guns

Post by Karl_F » 03 Sep 2023 18:51

Hi again,

I've got some more information to add to the narrative that SMG's may have been used slightly more concentrated than only that which the KStN's detail.

Up first will be images, with descriptions beneath to explain them. Then I will have some pages from books and a single video clip later on. Some of the books are either primary sources or the next best thing to them.


Gefreiter.jpg
First up, a Gefreiter from I.R. 577 (305 I.D.) crouching with an MP 40 in the ruins of the Barrikady, Stalingrad, 1942. Confirmed authentic by Jason D. Mark in Angriff: The German Attack on Stalingrad in Photos.


Obergefreiter.jpg
An Obergefreiter from 6th Army on the approach to Stalingrad, early September 1942. Also in Angriff, Mark is however uncertain of the unit, but suggests 94 I.D.



20230903_134016.jpg
Another Gefreiter from Angriff, Pz.Gren.Rgt. 103, 14. Panzer, October 1942.



Obergefreiter 2.jpg
Another Obergefreiter from Angriff, 305 I.D., October 1942. He is loading an MP 40 magazine.



Panzer Grenadiers.jpg
A couple of Panzer Grenadiers also from Angriff exploring the wreck of a T 70 on the outskirts of Stalingrad. Their ranks cannot be identified; they appear to be wearing the Drillich tunic. 24. Panzer, September 1942.
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Karl_F
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Re: Soldiers and Submachine guns

Post by Karl_F » 03 Sep 2023 19:07

Redoubt.jpg
Fighting position on the rural parts of Stalingrad. An MG 34, 5cm Gr. W, and MP 40 can be seen - crewed by only two men. A large heap of ammunition boxes can be seen nearby. While the MP 40 gunner's rank cannot be made out, this just strikes me as an odd, and very heavily armed, duo. Unknown unit.

Image1.png
Troops from Gruppe Winterfeld, 24. Panzer, fighting inside Stalingrad. From Jason D. Mark's Death of the Leaping Horseman, The 24th Panzer Division in Stalingrad. The man on the far left is armed with a PPSh-41, and the man near the center astride the right side of the Panzer III appears to be carrying MP 40 ammunition pouches, but it is hard to make out. No ranks can easily be discerned either, unfortunately, so it doesn't say much - but slightly more concentration of SMG's than should be present for 10 men...

Two Machine Pistols.jpg
This is from a Stalingrad video reel of which I unfortunately have lost the source... but it is very interesting, because the unit leader is armed with not one, but TWO submachine guns! Something similar will be mentioned in an account by 71 I.D. further below, in the 'documents' post I will make.
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Last edited by Karl_F on 04 Sep 2023 03:15, edited 1 time in total.
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Karl_F
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Re: Soldiers and Submachine guns

Post by Karl_F » 03 Sep 2023 19:09

Next up, a series of photos of the 25. Flak Rgt. involved in a security patrol in Stalingrad, the Grain Elevator can be made out in the distance of a couple photos. While Unteroffizier do appear to be carrying SMG's, some personnel ranks cannot be identified, there is an abundance of automatics, and some weapons are quite rare; MP 34 and MG 15.
356673797_10225527762603160_4169046108303089331_n.jpg
347628099_257539496729225_4015966811235517525_n.jpg
347405880_6380636398648906_3420005998925638723_n.jpg
315514783_184795124003663_7112540570455400478_n.jpg
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Karl_F
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Re: Soldiers and Submachine guns

Post by Karl_F » 03 Sep 2023 19:24

The following images are on a bit more shaky research ground... I will remark on that in their descriptions.
Gefreiter.jpg
Above is a Pioniere Gefreiter who appears armed with a sub-machine gun, though no magazines can be discerned. The weapons' length is too short to be a rifle, or it would be jutting out at either the front or back...
This image appears mislabeled as Leutant Wolfgang E.F. Stein in Hans Wijer's Winter Storm, The Battle for Stalingrad and the Operation to Rescue 6th Army. He is clearly a Gefreiter... compared to the books by Jason D. Mark, Wijer's does appear to get some labels correct - but not all, and very likely not this one. Nonetheless, possibly 1942, Stalingrad.
Jaegers.jpg
A group of Infantrymen who appear to be from 100. Jaeger in Stalingrad; however the source was just the public web, so it's not exactly strong. One man armed with PPSh-41, another MP 40. If it is a genuine photo, it's quite an interesting one, even if (like the Gruppe Winterfeld image) not necessarily suggesting any 'extra SMG's were going to Enlisted men - since the MP 40 pouches are on an officer, and the rank of the PPSh soldier cannot be seen.

Bundesarchiv_Bild_101I-083-3376-08,_Russland,_Häuserkampf,_Infanterie_an_Hauswand - three MP40s, could this be Stalingrad or Rynok.jpg
From the Bundesarchiv, a group of sub-machine gunners step out from a house. At least two of them have MP 40's; furthest right, and 3rd from right. 2nd from right is hard to make out but it could well be an MP 40 as well. This image is allegedly from late 1942, possibly Stalingrad, possibly Rynok. No ranks can be made out. Nonetheless, a bit extra concentration of automatics...
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Karl_F
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Re: Soldiers and Submachine guns

Post by Karl_F » 03 Sep 2023 19:27

Lastly, some 'public internet' pictures... all Pioneer Gefreiter and Obergefreiter, armed with MP 38/40. Two of these are clearly from training, but they all show some Enlisted men at least being familiarized with the weapon!

Pioniere Gefreiter or Obergefreiter.jpg
Pioniere Gefreiter with MP 38.jpg
Rankless MP 38.jpg
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Karl_F
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Re: Soldiers and Submachine guns

Post by Karl_F » 03 Sep 2023 19:45

Now for some documentation!

Descriptions may surround the images in this post, rather than only providing a description beneath.

First up, a page from the Die 71. Infanterie Division 1939-1945, published by Dörfler.
thumbnail_20230903_102739.jpg

This page describes a first-hand account of a Gefreiter fighting with not one, not two, but three weapons - a 'Soviet' M.Pi., likely PPSh-41, a Soviet self-loading Sniper Rifle, likely an SVT-40 equipped with PU optics, and a Kar 98k he took from a straggler from the 305 I.D. This account, paired with the image further above of a soldier firing a PPSh while his MP 40 is slung over his back, suggests to me one way of 'getting around' the regulations - and that at least two real persons did so.


Following this, a page from German Infantry in Action (Minor Tactics), published by the British War Office in February 1941, which includes a section on "Assault Detachments". It shows the following table:
Image4.png
This table states that, amongst the 'Support Parties', there may be 2-3 Parties of 2-3 men, who may carry "Rifles, machine-pistols and L.M.G.s. according to ground and cover." Vague, and yet clear. Clear as mud?



Next an account allegedly by Vasilli Zaitsev, from Osprey's MP 38 and MP 40 Sub-Machine Guns, by Alejandro de Quesada. Not the strongest of sources, for two logical reasons... but nonetheless interesting. See red highlights.
Image3.png


And lastly for documents, from Mark's Death of a Leaping Horseman, an after-action reflection which includes a passing remark on the importance of Sub-Machine Guns in Assault Groups.
Image2.png


And now, for the very... very last thing... a video clip citing a TsAMO source I was unable to access, but if accurate, then incredibly interesting. Timecode provided. Describes a raiding party broken into three groups; two of which are 5 men each, armed with 3 smg's, 1 'automatic rifle' (must be SVT-40) and 1 scoped rifle. November 1942.

https://youtu.be/aY-qlwnscXw?si=eoY38_OlomUPaqN7&t=444
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