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Maker/Manufacturer:GUSTLOFF WERKE
Date of Manufacture:1945
Eminent Figure:
Catalog Number:SPAR 1690
Measurements:OL: 88.6CM 34.9" BL: 37.8CM 14.9"

Object Description:

Manufactured by Gustloff Werke, Suhl, Germany in 1945 - Standard Volksgewehr Type II rifle. Magazine fed, retarded blowback, semi-automatic rifle known as VGII. Has unmarked 10-shot box magazine which is probably not correct for this weapon. (Magazine removed and put on SPAR-1592). Button magazine release. Complete with gas mask sling. Lacks safety lever and front sling swivel. Officially referred to as GUSTLOFF VOLKSGEWEHR. No known German service use. Although placed in production, these weapons were reportedly procured and issued under the supervision of "Political zone" leaders (Gauleiter). No "Wa" acceptance or government markings. This weapon possibly produced for use in Thuringia.

Unmarked except for Th5672 stamped on left side of butt stock. Officially refered to as GUSTLOFF VOLKSGEWEHR. Magazine should be 30-rd. MP44 series magazine.

Notes: The barrel is rigidly assembled in the receiver. Surrounding the barrel and extending behind it over the receiver is a thick-walled, machined operating cylinder. At its front, the cylinder is closed by a long cylindrical collar (interrupted threads and catch). At its rear, the cylinder has a half cylindrical bolt body pinned into it. For two-thirds of its length at the rear, the cylinder is cut away along the bottom. A recoil spring is mounted around the barrel, compressing between a shoulder on the barrel and the forward collar of the cylinder. On firing, the head of the cartridge case bears against the face of the bolt body, initiating blowback. At the same time combustion gas escapes through 4 radial gas ports in the barrel, 2.5" behind the muzzle, this gas is trapped in a cavity formed by the operating cylinder collar and the barrel. This gas pushes forward against the collar and backward against a shoulder on the barrel, thus retarding the opening of the action. After 1" rearward travel, the ports are exposed; normal blowback continues, loading against the recoil spring.

Item No. 2, File NO. XXX-14, Copy No. 23. "REPORT ON VISIT TO ARMS FIRMS ZELLA-MEHLIS AND SUHL THURINGIA. C.I.O.S. Trip NO. 547 - 1. INTRODUCTION. 1.1. Nature of the Target - The target consisted of the various arms manufacturing firms, some of medium size and some very small in the towns of Zella-Mehlis and Suhl in Thuringia. These towns were centres for the manufacture of sporting rifles, shot-guns and hand weapons of all sorts in Germany and it was known that their capacity had been turned over to the production of military weapons for the German armed forces.
1.2 Object of the Visit - The party was to examine the various firms to see what development in new weapons may have been in progress and to watch for any improved manufacturing processes. Two members of the party, Col. H. Peploe and Mr. S.L. Moon were also looking for ammunition development and to this end visited Erfurt and Schleusinger. Their report will be rendered separately on these places. 1.3 Condition of the Target - There had been no fighting in either of these towns and the firms were largely untouched by war. The foreign labour had, however, celebrated their liberation in the usual fashion with the result that much wanton damage and looting obscured the activities of the firms. It was discovered that a thorough technical investigation of the firms had been carried out by U.S. Army Ordnance Corps personnel, hence the visit was largely abortive so far as producing new knowledge was concerned. Such information as was gained in set out below....
3. FIRMS IN SUHL. 3.2. Gustloff Werke. This factory was a large modern works extremely well equipped with buildings and machine tools. It was the property of the Nazi part having been founded on expropriated Jewish concerns of the Simson organization with considerable expansion before and during the war. In the tool room, for example, were found four jig-borers; one Pratt & Whitney, one Societe Genevoise, and two of German manufacture. The remainder of the works was on a commensurate scale. The chief designer was a Herr Barnitzke who wasThese were all discussed by him with previous investigators and all samples were removed by them.
The blow-back modification to the M.P.43/1 mentioned under the paragraph on the Haenel Works, was an attempt to simplify the mechanism of the gun. It was realized that the more powerful cartridge of this weapon would present problems if the recoiling parts were not specially slowed down and this first attempt included a gas buffer. The barrel and gas cylinder shield, the gas block, and the piston and breech block assembly were removed from the standard weapon. The gas vent in the barrel was covered by a sleeve which blanked it off and the original gas block replaced on the barrel, without drilling a new vent, purely as a bearing for a new 'control' rod. The piston extension was fitted with a longer, and smaller diameter rod that the original piston rod, and had the standard breech block welded to it. This was welded on in the same relative position it would have in the normal gun in the closed and locked position. The locking shoulder was then ground off to enable the breech block to move backward and forward freely. At the muzzle end of the control rod a cylindrical gas chamber was fastened. This could slide back over the barrel of the gun and act as a pneumatic buffer when filled with the muzzle gases so as to ease the backward movement of the recoiling portions. While not a practical service weapon it served to prove the possibility of blow back operation with the more powerful 7.92 M.P. round. Herr Barnitzke had been thinking of other and more practicable means of providing a system of delayed opening but no design work had been done on paper.
The remaining items which were removed by previous investigators were discussed briefly but no useful report can be made on them in this paper."

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