Military Weapons of the III Reich
By ¬¬ - Uscha. Schäfer
During the late 1920's & throughout the 1930's the German armament industry was gearing itself for a future war. The Treaty of Versailles in 1918 had imposed great restrictions on weaponry in general & the armed forces in particular, therefore most of this work was forced underground and carried out in a clandestine environment.
Many different types of infantry weaponry were developed & manufactured, however, this report will deal with the most common or popular types of small arms that saw everyday use with the Waffen-SS and those that would be most appropriate for members of the SBG to own or use during our official activities.
Most German weapons had designations which consisted of letters followed by numbers, for instance the 'P08' Luger. This meant that the weapon was a 'Pistole' (pistol) and was manufactured in 1908. The rest of the weapons will have similar designations & will be explained in each case. Captured weapons had a bracketed letter after the numbers, & these denoted the country of origin, i.e. (R) 'Russia.'
Arguably, the most famous German pistol was the P08 Luger. First manufactured in 1908 by DWM, the gun was very accurate but difficult and expensive to mass produce. It also had tendencies to be unreliable due to it's intricate mechanics. Other companies, including Mauser, made simpler versions of this weapon almost up until the war's end, over 499,000 being issued to the Wehrmacht alone during 1939-42. It contained eight 9mm cartridges in an internal magazine inside the handle. A few variations were made such as the Artillery and Naval Lugers which had much longer barrels.
Despite the accuracy of the Luger it was decided by the High Command that a less intricate and cheaper pistol should be developed. Thus in 1938 the 'Walther Armee-Pistole' was trialled & accepted, this was adopted as the 'P38' during April of 1940. Due to the expected high numbers of P38's to be manufactured, the workload was spread over a number of companies including Walther, Mauser-Werke, & Spreewerke. The gun itself had a reputation as being an excellent combat weapon, containing eight 9mm cartridges also within an internal magazine. 1.2 million were manufactured during the war, the greatest number of any German pistols made.
The 'PPK' or Polizei-Pistole Kurz (short) was originally introduced during 1930-32 & issued to police officers, notably in Munich. Another version of this was the 'PP' or Walther-Polizei-Pistole which was slightly larger in dimension. The PPK was later adopted by the Sturmabteilung, or 'SA', in particular. Approximately 172,000 of the 'PP' & 'PPK' versions were procured by the Wehrmacht, although many others were acquired privately by officers & the paramilitary organisations. The PPK had a 7.65mm calibre & had a magazine capacity of 7 cartridges. PPK’s are usually seen carried by Officers.
Page 2 "Rifles"