Three German soldiers returning from a training exercise, 1941

Every time this image is posted on the Internet, a caption from the book "The K98K Rifle" is attached to it, which claims that these soldiers came out of a gunfight. However, the original Bundesarchive caption read: "Frankreich. - Erschopfette Soldten mit Gewehr K98b Einer Obung/Marsch, Leutnant mit Maschinenpistol in der mit Gehend; pk 695".

It clearly states that this is a training exercise in France. Moreover, these people do not look like they have just returned from war. Their uniforms are filthy at all, they have almost no gear (the officer doesn't even have magazine pouches), rifles have metal muzzle covers and they all have helmets on their belts. If they were close to the front at all, they would not look like this. They'll be dirty, their guns ready to fire, and they'll be carrying more kits.

Those on the side are armed with K98 walnut stocks and flat buttplates, while officers carry MP40 submachine guns on their shoulders. The Mauser Karabiner 98k rifle was widely used by all branches of Germany's armed forces during World War II.

It saw action in every theater of war involving German forces, including Europe, North Africa, the Soviet Union, Finland and Norway.

Although compared to weapons fielded by Germany's enemies at the start of the war, its disadvantages in rate of fire became more apparent as American and Soviet armies began to place more semi-automatic weapons among their troops. Nevertheless, it remained the main infantry rifle of the Wehrmacht until the end of the war.

In Wehrmacht service, the MP-40 suffered from a number of shortcomings. The most important of which was that its relatively high production cost meant that it was issued exclusively to paratroops and infantry squad leaders.

However, later experiences with Soviet tactics, such as the Battle of Stalingrad, where entire Russian units armed with submachine guns outnumbered their German counterparts in short-range urban combat, caused a change in strategy, and by the end of the war the MP -40 and its derivatives were being issued to the entire attack platoon on a limited basis.

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.