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The Gewehr 41 or G41 (M) or (W) (depending whether the manufacturer was Walther or Mauser) was a semi automatic, gas-operated rifle that was used by Germany during World War II.

Description

The G41 fired the 7.92x57 mm Mauser round from a ten round magazine. It suffered from mechanical failures and proved to be unreliable. The total weight of the system was about 4.9 kilograms empty and it had a total length of about 113 centimeters.[1] Despite being part of the requirements for the new standard German weapon for the Eastern Front, the Gewehr 41 was not capable of being used like a bolt-action rifle should the gas-system fail. The maximum range of the Gewehr 41 was supposedly up to 1,200 meters, but in reality, effective range was only about 400 meters.

The Gewehr 41 utilizes a "bang" gas system, named after its designer and what many German soldiers complained about was not only the fact that in the freezing cold of the Eastern Front, the internal components of the rifle would simply break, but also because of the unique gas system used, the rifle became front heavy, making it rather awkward to hold.

Variants

Although the Gewehr 41 didn't really have any variants besides its successor the Gewehr 43, the Gewehr 41 was primarily made by two manufacturers. These manufacturers, Walther and Mauser, made their rifles very similarly, but they had some key differences, the most obvious being that the Mauser design failed but this was because it followed the design regulations too closely making the weapons very unreliable.[2] As mentioned above, the Walther designed rifle simply ignored most of the regulations. Only about 6,600 (M) models were made before production ended. In total, up to 100,000 Gewehr 41 rifles were produced.

History

The Gewehr 41 was created out of the obvious need for a weapon that could compete with the Soviet semi-automatic weapons like the SVT-38 or the fully automatic submachine guns like the PPSh-41. These weapons outmatched the standard German rifle, the Karabiner 98k, greatly because of the fact that they could lay down much more fire in a shorter amount of time. This spurred the two large German arms manufacturers, Walther and Mauser to rush out a design for the recently opened Eastern Front. These designs eventually resulted in the creation of the Gewehr 41, which was used throughout the war, but by the middle of the war, most had been replaced, but towards the end, as German production was quickly declining, troops like the Volksturm utilized any weapons available, for example early war weapons like the Gewehr 41 or even World War I-era Karabiner 98 rifles.

References

  1. http://world.guns.ru/rifle/autoloading-rifles/de/g41-w-e.html
  2. http://www.gunsofthereich.com/?page_id=10&page=3


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