Military Review

Volmer, not Schmeisser

Firstborn Hugo Schmeisser

In December, 1917, at the height of World War I, a talented German gunsmith, Hugo Schmeisser, patented “a light machine gun chambered for 9x18 mm” - nothing more than a submachine gun. Created with all thoroughness, Schmeisser PP, who received the MP-18 / 1 index, resembled in appearance a “normal” light machine gun. Equipped with a heavy wooden lodge, a rifle butt with a neck, a massive perforated casing, it had a large mass and was served, like a regular machine gun, by a two-person calculation - an arrow and a carrier of ammunition. Meals were supplied from a drum shop designed for Luger pistols with a cartridge capacity of 32. Weapon It had a reversible sight for shooting at a range of 100 and 200 m. In 1918, the PP began to be mass-produced at the factories of Theo Bergman and soon entered service with the “stormgroup” of the Kaiser Army. Despite the fact that after the defeat of Germany in the First World War, weapons of this type were removed from service under the terms of the Versailles Treaty, the MP-18 served as a prototype for a large family of PPs, not only in Germany, but also in England and Japan.

Volmer, not Schmeisser
SS man freshened from the pot. The 9-mm submachine gun of the Schmeisser system MP 28.II hangs on the shoulder.

Having found a loophole in the conditions of a peace treaty, the German designers began to improve the PP as a "police" weapon. In 1928, the MP-28 was adopted by the German police - the development of the MP-18 with a fire selector, a sector sight “notched” at a distance of up to 500 m and a simple 20 or 32 box magazine cartridge. The same cartridge “Parabellum” was regular for the MP-28, but export versions of the 7,63, 7,65 and even 11,43 mm were produced! The most successful option was under the extremely powerful Mauser cartridge 7,63x24 mm with a bottle sleeve and good ballistic characteristics. This model was widely used by the Franco during the Spanish War 1936-1939. In addition, these PPs were successfully sold to Latin American countries. But by the beginning of the Second World War, the PP Schmeisser was hopelessly outdated and remained in service only with the police forces.

The PP Schmeisser-Bergman was the prototype for the creation of later samples - MP-34 (long-barreled) and MP-35 (short-barreled), which differed in some original technical solutions - in particular, both of these samples had a plunger handle behind the bolt box. She was equipped with a disconnector and did not move when fired. In addition, on the MP-34 / 35, the problem of fire selection was originally solved - when you clicked on the upper part of the trigger, a single shot was fired, and on the lower part, automatic shooting was opened (similarly, the selection of fire was carried out on German light machine guns). But these two samples inherited most of the flaws of the MP-28 - bulkiness, large mass, unbalanced design, aggravated by the location of the store on the right. For some time the MP-34 / 35 stood in service in the Luftwaffe, the police and the tank crews, but soon a new, very successful and well-known German PP appeared on the scene ...


The Wehrmacht was one of the first armies in the world in which parachute troops appeared. As the elite military units should have done, the German paratroopers, the Green Devils, were armed with the latest weapons specially developed for them. In 1937, the company Erma Waffenfabrik to arm parachutists was created simple and compact (relative to the samples available in Germany in service) PP. It had a distinctive, very elegant appearance and had a number of absolute advantages over its contemporaries. Its index was MP-38, and it was designed by Hanno Vollmer. It is not clear why in our country this PP is called nothing but “Schmeisser”.

Submachine gun MP-28-II (Schmeisser)
1 — Latch Box; 2 - cutout for shutter release; 3 - shop latch; 4 - charging handle; 5 is a translator of fire.

Submachine gun arr. 1940 (MP-40)
1 - cut-out for locking the fuse in a loaded submachine gun; 2 - cut for setting the shutter to the stowed position; 3 - shop latch; 4 - the stopper of the bolt box.

The main reason for the failure of most software is clogging of the cavity of the breeder with mud through a long slot for the cocking handle. On the MP-38, this problem was solved in a very original and effective way. The bolt box inside had longitudinal milled channels, into which dirt was diverted, without interfering with the movement of the bolt. And the return spring was protected from contamination by three tubes, when the shutter moved, telescopically entered into each other. These tubes also performed the role of a pneumodemper - the air enclosed in them, when the valve rolled back, began to compress, slowing the latter down. As a result, the MP-38 had a fairly low rate of fire - 450 rds / min.

The barrel did not have a casing in order to maintain compactness and save weight. But the front sight was defended by a massive muffler, and under the barrel there was a heel - an emphasis for firing from the vehicle, from the viewing slots of the armored personnel carrier and other small embrasures. The box and handle were made of bakelite. The massive butt plate was quite good in hand-to-hand combat as a percussion weapon. A folding butt was attached to the back plate, when retracted, it did not protrude beyond the contours of the weapon and did not interfere with the shooting.

The power supply was carried out from a box-shaped “horn” with a capacity of 32 cartridge, unified with the stores of earlier types of PP. Reversible sight allowed to fire at the "standard" range in 100 and 200 m. Protection was carried out by inserting a cock in the crankshaft slot of the bolt box, locking the bolt in the rear position. In addition, the cocking handle could be retracted when entering a special recess on the bolt box, locking the bolt in the forward position. It was also important that the PP simply understood and assembled without the use of tools.

The flaws in the MP-38 was not so much - especially heated trunk and the absence of the fire selector caused special complaints. In addition, the location of the left side of the cocking knob caused some inconvenience when carrying. The PP was rather heavy for its size (4,85 kg with a magazine) and expensive - the milled receiver of a complex shape was extremely non-technological. As a result, it was decided to switch to the manufacture of the bolt box by stamping from steel sheet. At the same time, its cross-section was not circular, but figured, in order to ensure the removal of dirt from the gate. In this form, PP Volmer was called MP-40. It turned out to be cheaper and easier without losing combat performance. On some series of weapons, instead of the retractable platoon grip, a simple pin was installed.

By 22 June 1941 in Germany, PP type MP-38 / 40 were in service with infantry, troops, tank crews, pilots, sailors, SS troops ... He became extraordinarily popular, his mass production was adjusted. By the end of the war, more than 2,5 million MP-38 / 40 were produced in the factories of Germany, as well as its satellites and conquered countries! Probably, only the submariners did not have it “in the state”, although often one or two BCPs of this type were still taking a hike - it was necessary to defend something from the sailors from the sunk ships, which represented a mortal danger for the submarine ...

Volmer's weapons fell in love with reliability and unpretentiousness for external conditions and temperature - both in Africa and near Moscow, in the 30-degree frost, the MP-40 fired equally well. It was with his help that the Wehrmacht soldiers showed the world at the first stage of the world war the importance of the density of fire on the front. The Soviet soldiers with three-lines, the use of which implied the ability to shoot well over long distances, felt the advantage of a quick-fire melee weapon in full.

According to the experience of the battles near Moscow at the end of 1941, Mr. Hugo Schmeisser suggested “crossing” the MP-40 and the MP-28, taking from the latter a wooden butt with a lodge and a fire selector. The result was the MP-41 — a rather strange and inconvenient PP sample that lost the MP-40 grace and noticeably submerged. He did not receive much distribution.

Slot machine pistol MP-40
1 - trunk; 2 - gate box; 3 - coupling; 4 - barrel nut; 5 - retaining ring; 6 - intermediate ring; 8 - the base of the front sight; 9 - fly; 10 - front sight fuse; 11 - support tire; 12 - muzzle coupling; 13 - the base of the sight; 14 - sighting stand; 15 - folding bar; 16 - holder; 17 - reflector; 18 - shop latch; 19 - shutter; 21 - drummer rod; 22 - peen; 23 - outer tube; 24 - medium tube; 25 - inner tube; 26 - reciprocating side spring; 27 - piston; 28 - buffer spring; 29 - the body of the handle; 30 - shoulder rest; 31 - head; 32 - support axle; 33 - trigger box; 35 - stopper; 34 - box cover; 35 - stopper; 36 - button; 37 - the trigger lever; 38 - trigger thrust; 39 - trigger; 40 - trigger spring.

Submachine gun arr. 1941 MP-41
1 - charging handle; 2 - cutout for shutter release; 3 - padlock latch; 4 - translator of fire; 5 is a shop latch.

By the end of the war, the manufacturing quality of German BCPs was greatly reduced. This did not slow down the combat qualities of the weapon - barrel wear came after a couple of dozens of issued horns. But the reserves of these PP warehouses were so great that after the end of the war he officially was in service with many countries - Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, France, Spain, Portugal ... The single facts of the application of the Folmer PP were recorded during the Vietnam War and even in 80 years, in Afghanistan.

Copies and imitations

By the end of the Second World War, the Wehrmacht began to experience a shortage of PP - well-proven MP-38 / 40, the production of which was dispersed across a large number of enterprises, became too expensive. In December, 1944 was decided to copy the British STAN. A copy of STAN MK.2, dubbed "Potsdam Herat", was planned for release at the Mauser plant. At the beginning of 1945, the installation batch was released, but blind copying turned out to be too expensive - the price of one “Potsdam Herat” turned out to be equal to 1800 for the Reichsmark! (more than the machine gun). As a result, STEN was additionally adapted to the conditions of production in Germany. Outwardly, this was reflected in shortening the casing while lengthening the barrel and "turning" the store neck down. In this form, the PP went into production under the symbol MR 3008. Before the end of the war, around 10 000 units of German STANs were released.

Attempts were made to copy the Soviet PPS, adapting it to the Parabellum cartridge, but this work did not come out of the experiment stage.

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  1. Black Colonel
    Black Colonel 19 July 2012 09: 16
    For some reason, Schmeisser is considered to be the designer of the legendary PP. And our PP designers turned out to be at least as good. It is a pity that the lessons of the Finnish war were not taken into account by our leadership, where the Finns widely used the Suomi PP .. Article +
    1. borisst64
      borisst64 19 July 2012 11: 27
      "And our PP designers turned out to be at least no worse"

      Our Sudaev is the best submachine gun in all respects !!
    2. Poppy
      Poppy 19 July 2012 12: 02
      Have been considered. It's just that PP is a temporary way out, and SVT should have become an automatic weapon. But they did not have time to rivet a lot. And PPSh in any artel sculpted.
      1. Stas57
        Stas57 19 July 2012 22: 35
        Namely, and even under an intermediate cartridge, had the war of years been delayed on 5 everyone would have been running with automatic rifles
    3. Andrey77
      Andrey77 21 July 2012 14: 31
      PP makes sense at combat distances of up to 100 m and less. The USSR made a bet on the Mosin rifle (and did it right!) With a full cartridge 7.62x54R. Personally, I prefer to have a heavier, but longer-range. But in close combat there is a gun. PP are needed, but in limited quantities. 1 per branch is enough.
  2. cth; fyn
    cth; fyn 19 July 2012 09: 41
    Very informative, perhaps these PPs were produced at a factory owned (or where he was the chief designer) by Hugo Schmeiser.
  3. Gamdlislyam
    Gamdlislyam 19 July 2012 09: 43

    Black Colonels
    It is a pity that the lessons of the Finnish war were not taken into account by our leadership, where the Finns widely used the Suomi PP ..

    Dear colleague Bazilevs, these are the lessons of the Finnish company that led to the mass production of PP in the USSR (rather than small-scale production, as it was before).
  4. ShturmKGB
    ShturmKGB 19 July 2012 10: 34
    Simplicity of construction and simplicity of production ultimately prevail.
  5. Brother Sarych
    Brother Sarych 19 July 2012 11: 23
    From Wikipedia:

    The designation “Schmeisser” arose due to the inscription PATENT SCHMEISSER, which was available on the receiver of MP 40 stores and, accordingly, referring specifically to the authorship of its design.
    In the Western literature on small arms, published in 1940-1945, all the then German submachine guns immediately received the general name "Schmeisser system." The term took root and migrated to Soviet literature.
  6. Poppy
    Poppy 19 July 2012 12: 00
    An interesting photo: a private soldier in a rather rare cap, model 42, they were quickly replaced by caps. A non-starter in an ordinary cap.
  7. morning
    morning 19 July 2012 12: 44
    As far as the number of PPs in the Red Army is concerned, all the factories remained under the Germans, the "peasants" automatic rifles were thrown on the battlefield like shooters (they could not serve there was not enough culture), and the Germans collected them and appreciated them very much, automatic rifles remained from sailors (discipline above). The result was urgently adjusted the Mosin rifle, and the PP as a cheaper weapon. The PP was cheaper in production than a rifle.
  8. SIT
    SIT 19 July 2012 14: 12
    And then from the PP came to the need to create an assault weapon with an intermediate cartridge. It was created by Hugo Schmeisser. This is MP44 or Stg44 for caliber 7.92X33. And then everyone created such an intermediate cartridge and caliber 7.62X39 and 5.56X51. And now everyone suddenly discovered that the optimal caliber for an assault weapon is 6.5mm. Pancake! This is the caliber of the Fedorov assault rifle, model 1916 !!!! Well, how long will this continue in Russia !? Why do we always have no prophet in our Fatherland!?!? 100 years ago, a man came to the conclusion that now they are just starting to introduce it. So it was necessary to follow everyone through the PP and automatic machines under an intermediate cartridge in order to come to their own done 100 years ago!
    1. Poppy
      Poppy 19 July 2012 14: 32
      The Fedorov assault rifle was powered by a cartridge from the Japanese Orisaki. It was chosen for the lack of a protruding rim. The "three" cartridge is very inconvenient for firing automation.
    2. Brother Sarych
      Brother Sarych 19 July 2012 14: 48
      Yeah - Fedorov had no other cartridge at hand except Japanese, so all the fame should go to them ...
      1. SIT
        SIT 19 July 2012 16: 05
        Quote: Brother Sarich
        Fedorov did not have at hand a cartridge other than the Japanese

        Quote: Poppy
        He was chosen for the lack of a protruding rim.

        The M98 Mauser cartridge from K30 was without a rim, the United States 06-7,63 from Springfield, too, and finally, all the Mauser 9 pistol cartridges and 20 parabellum were also made for automatic firing. But rifle cartridges were too powerful for firing bursts of relatively light weapons, and pistol cartridges were not suitable for army tasks. Therefore, the choice fell on the cartridge from Arisaki, who solved army problems and allowed firing bursts. If we continued to develop in this direction and replaced the short-stroke barrel automatics with a more reliable gas outlet, then we would enter the Great Patriotic War with an assault rifle, which will be in service in the 21s of the XNUMXst century.
        1. Poppy
          Poppy 19 July 2012 17: 17
          It’s just that Arisaka was very good, at one time they planned to replace Mosinka with her.
          In addition, what Mauser or parabellum cartridge can be during the war with the Germans ???
          And the Japanese in World War I were allies.
          1. SIT
            SIT 19 July 2012 17: 50
            Quote: Poppy
            In addition, what Mauser or parabellum cartridge can be during the war with the Germans ??? And the Japanese in the First World War were allies.

            Mausers S-96 were purchased during the war just in Japan and in England, where they were manufactured under license, because since 1913, these pistols were in service with parts of the Russian imperial army, in particular aviation. Cartridges for them were also purchased, but in the 20s it was produced by the Podolsky plant and then, based on this cartridge, a TT cartridge was developed.
        2. wasjasibirjac
          wasjasibirjac 19 July 2012 19: 12
          Fedorov’s assault rifle was designed under its own cartridge, but they could not establish its production in RI. then the machine was adapted for the arisaki cartridge as the closest in ballistic characteristics
  9. Prohor
    Prohor 19 July 2012 15: 15
    I may be wrong, but it seems that the MP-38/40 was produced "only" 600 thousand, so it, unlike our PPSh and PPS, did not play a special role in the war.
    1. Poppy
      Poppy 19 July 2012 17: 21
      See our films, so in general the main weapon :-))))
      but in reality - the squad leader, platoon, tank crew
      And they stopped releasing them (if I'm not mistaken) at the end of the 43rd or in the 44th
    2. philosopher
      philosopher 22 July 2012 21: 07
      If you will, then I will supplement your comment with a quote from the book
      "Soviet small arms" by D.N. Bolotin, Moscow, Military publishing house, 1986, p. 311.
      "In Germany, from 1939 to 1945, 10327,8 thousand rifles and carbines, 1256,8 thousand submachine guns and 1175,5 thousand machine guns of all types were manufactured."
      Thus, as a whole you are right: the Germans are in the hands of the machine guns, only in feature films. When you watch a German documentary chronicle, it’s completely in the hands of a rifle or carbines.
      By the way, in the same book on page 310, it says about the production of weapons for the Red Army: "In total, during the war years (June 1941 - August 1945), the USSR produced 12139,3 thousand rifles and carbines, 6173,9 thousand submachine guns and 1515,9 thousand machine guns of all types ").
    3. Enigma
      Enigma 26 January 2020 11: 54
      First approx. 1 million 200 thousand pcs. (and taking into account post-war foreign clones and copies - 2 million)
      Secondly, it was not produced for ordinary infantry. It was used by officers, squad leaders, paratroopers, scouts, motorized infantry and armored vehicles crews.
  10. Andrei
    Andrei 19 July 2012 17: 35

    The Arisaka cartridge was chosen by Fedorov for several reasons. The absence of a rim, and a lower powder charge plus the use of a less powerful cartridge compared to domestic and foreign ones made it possible to reduce weight.

    In addition, the Arisaka cartridge had smaller dimensions all (which is understandable, he was also "weaker") and they could be "crammed" more into the store, while the latter had normal dimensions and would not look like a box for a machine gun belt and was relatively compact, agree this is important.
  11. loc.bejenari
    loc.bejenari 19 July 2012 18: 00
    MP 41 was made specifically for the line infantry as it had a normal wooden butt
    By the way, in films about the war he never starred in our films
    seen only in Italian and Romanian films (series about Commissioner Miklovan)
  12. Chukcha
    Chukcha 19 July 2012 21: 47
    Article plus.
    Learned new.
  13. Chern
    Chern 19 July 2012 22: 54
    ] "It is unclear why in our country this PP is called nothing other than" Schmeisser ""

    Smoke Wikipedia:

    "The developer of the MP38, as popular literature often mistakenly informs, was not Hugo Schmeisser, but the engineer Heinrich Volmer who worked at the Erfurt firm ERMA. This is also due to the fact that the MP38 store and, accordingly, the MP40 was developed and produced under the Schmeisser patent [5], which and was marked on the submachine gun magazine with the corresponding brand. "
  14. Bugor
    Bugor 20 July 2012 08: 55
    I read somewhere that the Wehrmacht was armed with carbines and rifles not from the fact that there was no PP, but from the fact that this weapon (vintar) shoots further and more accurately. At 300 meters, try to get into someone thread from this bundle, at least Schmeisser, at least Volmer, at least PPSh. And the cartridge is much weaker.
    They put into service the landing and tankers because of the dimensions of the weapon. The same sappers were given PP because they had nothing to do at the front line, and PP would be enough to shoot in close combat.
    But in our films all the tanks of the Germans are based on the T-55, and in their hands they must have MP-40.
    Article plus, of course.
    1. Enigma
      Enigma 26 January 2020 11: 49
      It is logical that PP is not an exact weapon. It was as if created for near-middle distances -_-
  15. Prohor
    Prohor 20 July 2012 11: 11
    SS-ovskuyu creature in the photo - straight with his bare hands to kill the hunt, bite !!! am
    1. Nuar
      Nuar 20 July 2012 17: 30
      Quote: Prokhor
      SS-ovskoy creature in the photo - straight kill with your bare hands hunting, bite !!
      This is not tolerant. It must be anally punished.
      1. Andrey77
        Andrey77 21 July 2012 14: 44
        For what? Because he was not from the SS troops at all, but the Military Review was puzzled? You can punish. By the way, a photo from the newspaper. Who wants to break their eyesight can read the back strip. :)
    2. Andrey77
      Andrey77 21 July 2012 14: 40
      Personally, did he do something to you? And why did you decide that he was an employee of the SS troops? In camouflage and the absence of insignia - he is a paratrooper. Airborne Schnick in our. And you need to read the captions for the photos, but no one has canceled the thought.
  16. philosopher
    philosopher 22 July 2012 20: 49
    "People fell in love with Volmer's weapons for their reliability and unpretentiousness to external conditions and temperatures - both in Africa and near Moscow, in a 30-degree frost, the MP-40 fired equally well."
    Let me disagree with this statement. He was not so reliable, trouble-free and adapted to all climatic conditions. Volmer, this is not Shpagin, not Sudaev, not Makarov, not Kalashnikov. The most reliable and tenacious were only Soviet designs. And it was the most diverse climatic and natural conditions of the USSR that forced them to make weapons capable of fighting in these conditions. Moreover, given the "nationwide" and not the professional army, all weapons should have been extremely easy to use. Of course, in some ways it could be "no worse than the weapon of a potential enemy."
    This is probably why Soviet small arms are used all over the world. And the Germans in the Great Patriotic War, and the Americans in Vietnam, and partisans, and terrorists, and soldiers of ALL the Liberation and People's Armies in the world. By the way, it is customary for many to scold the PM pistol. And the Anglo-Saxons recognized it as "the best pistol in its class" (PP), admitting only one drawback "great weight". It remains only to advise the British police and military: devote more time to physical training, then the weight of 830 grams with cartridges will not seem big.
    Without going into polemics, but expressing, and not only my opinion, I want to say: "Soviet means excellent!"
    1. philosopher
      philosopher 22 July 2012 21: 37
      I forgot to add that many countries of the world also openly copy and produce Soviet small arms for themselves and for sale.
  17. Leut Horn
    Leut Horn 12 December 2014 09: 41
    Sorry, author, I hope this is not your article .. The one who wrote this in his hands did not hold the battle MP-38 and MP-40.
    MP-38/40 in the cold was unreliable !!!!! Currently, I have an MR-38 converted to a blank cartridge, which completely refuses to shoot at -25. The reason for this is the telescope, part of the trigger mechanism, in which there is a return spring ..
    But MP-28, MP-34 work out on Ur .. Like PPSh, since there is no such design ..
    So what about "equally reliably fired," nonsense ... But yes, the device is reliable in certain conditions, there is simply nothing to break there ..
  18. Enigma
    Enigma 26 January 2020 11: 44
    Amendment for the author. The designer of the Maschinenpistole 38/40 was Heinrich Volmer, not Hanno. Moreover, such a designer (and, in principle, a person with that name) like Hanno Volmer never existed.