If you think that the AK-47 is the world’s first “assault rifle”, then you’d be dead wrong. That honor goes to the STG44, this was the first rifle to fire an intermediate cartridge, the 7.92×33mm Kurz (a.k.a. 8mm Kurz or Pistolenpatrone 43) and could fire in semi-auto, or fully automatic. Initially, when shown the STG44, Adolph Hitler wasn’t impressed, he was of the belief that the standard bolt action rifle used by the Wehrmacht (the Karabiner 98 kurz) was a superior weapon and would not allow the STG44 to be issued to his troops.
If it wasn’t for some ambitious( and daring) individuals within Hitler’s staff, this rifle would never have seen combat, going above Hitler’s head, the STG44 was initially issued to a limited number of Wehrmacht troops late in 1944 and the response by those troops was phenomenal and so a greater number of troops were issued this “wonder weapon”, sadly, even with this rifle, the war was going against Germany by late 1944 and so even with it, it made very little impact on the battle field. But, as they say, the “genie was out of the bottle,”, and the era of the assault rifle was born.
According to Wikipedia:
The StG 44 (abbreviation of Sturmgewehr 44, “assault rifle 44”) is a German selective-fire assault rifle developed during World War II by Hugo Schmeisser. It is also known as the MP 43 and MP 44 (Maschinenpistole 43 and 44). The StG 44 was an improvement of an earlier design, the Maschinenkarabiner 42(H).
MP 44 (StG 44) from the collections of the Swedish Army Museum
|Place of origin||Germany|
|Used by||See Users|
|Variants||MKb 42(H), MKb 42(W), MP 43, MP 43/1, MP 44|
|Length||94 cm (37 in)|
|Barrel length||42 cm (16.5 in)|
|Cartridge||7.92×33mm Kurz (a.k.a. 8mm Kurz or Pistolenpatrone 43)|
|Action||Gas-operated long-stroke piston, tilting bolt, selective fire|
|Rate of fire||~500-600 rounds/min|
|Muzzle velocity||685 m/s (2,247 ft/s)|
|Effective firing range||
|Feed system||30-round detachable box magazine|
|Sights||Adjustable sights, rear: V-notch; front: hooded post|