I’m more knowledgeable about the Soviet AK-47 than I am the German Sturmgewehr 44 (StG 44). The main reason I even known about the StG 44 is from reading about it in books that cited it as being an inspiration to Mikhail Kalashnikov and his design team. But was it really – I’ve heard some heated debates about this.
I had some time and watched this brief video where Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons has a Chinese Type 56 sitting next to a StG 44 as he talks. They were both on loan from the James D. Julia auction company.
Ian gave a very interesting perspective that the AK-47 was essentially designed as a more powerful replacement for the Soviet’s PPS-43 that fired the 7.62×25 Tokarev pistol round.
In constrast, the Germans were wanting a controllable automatic fire weapon that would increase the firepower of soldiers especially during tactical withdrawals. They had the German 7.92×57 bolt action K98 and the famous MG42 belt fed machine gun also in 7.92×57 but they needed something different hence the StG 44.
Now, I have no doubt Kalashnikov and his design team got ideas from the StG 44. Any good engineer would take an existing design and learn from it. The Soviets needed to build up a hero so there is a lot of myth mixed in with history so I am not sure where to draw the line myself.
The video shows you the two rifles and actually shows live firing of the two so you can see how the StG 44 was actually more controllable. I thought this was really cool because the slow motion really shows the difference.
Here’s the video:
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