The Schmeisser MP41: A Hybrid Submachine Gun

Most people think that the MP41 is simply an MP40 in a wooden stock, but this is actually not the case – and unlike the MP40, the MP41 can be accurately called a Schmeisser – because it was Hugo Schmeisser who designed it.

The MP41 is actually a combination of the upper assembly of an MP40 with the lower assembly of an MP28 – the gun which was Schmeisser’s improved version of the MP18 from World War One. Where the MP40 fires only in fully automatic mode, the MP41 has a push-through selector switch located above the trigger which allows either semiauto or full auto function.

For the typical user, however, this mechanical distinction is not particularly important, as the MP41 handles very much like the MP40. It has the same relatively low 500 rpm rate of fire, and weighs about 82 pounds (3.7kg). It uses the same magazines as the MP40, although the magazines made and sold with the MP41 were marked “MP41”. As with many other SMG designs, the MP41 was never formally adopted by the German military. In this case, the majority of MP41 production (26,000 guns in 1941 and another 1,800 or so in 1944) went to Romanian troops.

44 Comments

  1. If you wonder why Schmeisser insisted on placing own name on this weapon:
    Shortly after First World War ended Bergmann moved to Switzerland, with plans of MP18, which were used by SIG to create SIG Model 1920 “Brevet Bergmann”:
    http://modernfirearms.net/smg/switch/sig-1920-1930-e.html
    when Bergmann leaved Germany, he also leaved workers of his factory, including Schmeisser. Bergmann argued that he is main author of MP18 to get benefits.
    So later Schmeisser’s designs have SCHMEISSER text to avoid any doubts.

  2. Wow, 82 pounds! Ok, I know, it was a typo, you meant 8.2 Lbs. But that’s still pretty heavy for an SMG. But between that and the cyclic rate, probably very controllable.

  3. I understand that many viewers are still extremely sensitive about the depiction of the Swastika. But that’s not the main point here. The MP-41 appears to be an example of combined elements working together properly once the individual components changed to match each other thus creating a complete system. The wooden stock is probably less awkward to handle than the folding stock of the MP-40 and much more durable for long term usage (aside from bashing someone’s face with the butt). There is also a lack of a resting bar at the muzzle, since most troops given this weapon would not stick it over the upper-hull armor of a Sd.kfz 251 given the shortage of such vehicles later on (no thanks to P-47 Thunderbolts and Hawker Typhoons buzzing around during the daylight hours of every week on the Western Front and no thanks to the swarms of Ilyushin Il-2’s on the Eastern Front). The selector switch is likely a hold-over from ammunition supply issues, but it seems a bit better than the double-trigger for sake of space saving (and also to avoid spraying Hans in the posterior should the weapon have some accidental tumble out of one’s grasp).

    Did I miss anything or mess up?

    • Spraying Hans in the posterior will do him no good, I am an advocate of “stumbling fire” You “accidentally” hit the enemy. Which is good: The enemy is incapacitated, permanently or otherwise. It’s complimentary to hitting them on purpose, which is ideal, or an ideal. Better than a miss, all these hits add up and take a toll, on the enemy.

          • Maybe that’s… A differential, is the Ppsh a “defensive” idea. Which can be used offensively clearly. As oppose an offensive idea, having to be used defensively I.e. In retreat.

          • Hope that made sense, what I mean is. Is the Mp40 good on paper for trained troops who are supposed to “win”. But the Ppsh is for untrained troops who, needed to win. And as it turned out won.

          • If so, the lesson is. Design weapons which are less, conformist to military doctrines on paper. Because your assuming you’ll win, type thing. So assuming you may actually be in deep poo, helps designs be more, more realistic? If you got a Ppsh that worked well, between it and the mag; the Germans used them over the Mp40, which suggests they thought the Ppsh was superior.

            May have been captured ammo, but… Maybe it wasn’t. The Soviets armed entire battalions with Ppsh’s and they won, perhaps they understood it was the “Daddy”. Like U.S troops did in Korea later.

          • If there’s anything in that, I attribute it to two main elements… 1. The Cartridge, 7.62x25mm is better than 9mm per se in high fire rate Smg’s; a high fire rate in 7.62 Tokarev is better than 9mm Parabellum at a slower rate, because it’s more controllable than the other would be meaning that’s the only reason they are slower “because they choose a duff calibre” not because 7.62x25mm doesn’t kill as effectively.
            2. Wood stocks beat folders.

          • When you need something to shoot, and if possible faster than a pointed stick or a bolt action rifle, taking what you get is a good idea.

            Apparently, Russian troops also looted what they could get. (MP40, MG…). When we look today at some Soviet monuments, the regular “liberator” soldier is armed with a PPSh 41 and Partizan women with MP40.

          • “Design weapons which are less, conformist to military doctrines on paper.”
            PPSh (as well other Soviet small-arms) was created to meet requirement, which emerge from doctrine. If it would fail to do that, it would be abandoned.

    • “I understand that many viewers are still extremely sensitive about the depiction of the Swastika.”
      If I am not mistaken, the flag depicted here is 1930s Kriegsflagge of Kriegsmarine. Which seems to be to not fit for that weapon, unless it was actually used by said branch.

      “lack of a resting bar at the muzzle, since most troops given this weapon would not stick it over the upper-hull armor of a Sd.kfz 251”
      Sd.Kfz.251 [notice orthography – K uppercase as it stands for Kraftfahrzeug which is ] in its most common iteration (Sd.Kfz.251/1) was APC, using it in role of IFV would be error – or in other word it has to deliver soldiers.

      “The selector switch is likely a hold-over from ammunition supply issues, but it seems a bit better than the double-trigger for sake of space saving (and also to avoid spraying Hans in the posterior should the weapon have some accidental tumble out of one’s grasp).”
      There are 2 different issues : safety and selecting mode of fire, in some designs they were integrated (like Thompson or Owen), but in some others not.
      Having properly working selector does not guarantee good safety and inversely.

      • is: “is ]”
        should be: “is noun and dot after z – in Deutsch dot is used if last letter of word is used in abbreviate, but this is not case – Kraftfahrzeug]”

    • There was always a shortage of Sd.Kfz. 251 in the Wehrmacht. The design had a sophisticated track steering system to help turning, which made it much more expensive to produce than the basic French style half-track the US forces used (yes, half-track was a French invention). The Panzer divisions never had their allocated numbers of half-tracks and most German Panzergrenadiers (mechanized infantry) rode to battle in regular soft-skinned trucks throughout the war.

  4. Again, an excellent presentation and indeed I tend to agree that MP41 (shown here) is superior to its predecessor. There is no substitute for solid wooden (nowadays plastic) stock. Anything else is just fashionable statement of vanity.

    Visible (German) quality on this weapon is undeniable.

    • I wonder if the Schmeisser MK.36 III can be found. Last time I found any photographs of it, the gun was at the James D. Julia auction house in 2008. Let’s just say that Vollmer threatened to sue Schmeisser over patent infringement concerning the operating spring, which totally made sure that the prototype is likely the ONLY example of the design!! For those who don’t know what it looks like, picture a K98 with the receiver of the MP-28 and a magazine sticking down just forward of the rear tangent sight.

    • “There is no substitute for solid wooden (nowadays plastic) stock. Anything else is just fashionable statement of vanity.”
      Further development of sub-machine gun does not support that.
      Kpist m/45 (Swedish K in U.S. parlance) has metallic stock, used by many, without wooden stock – if it would be problem someone would probably add such stock.
      Port Said and Akaba sub-machine guns also have not wooden stock.
      Patchett sub-machine gun also have not wooden stock.

  5. Wasn’t the 9mm was designed for the Luger to achieve a gas seal appropriate to the design as applicable to the .30 Luger which was used previously, as far as I remember off here. It’s not necessarily the best cartridge, for Smgs. Multiple hits, extremely rapidly aren’t applicable to a Luger. So in a Smg… 9mm, I just don’t understand the 9mm love, I think it’s a historical legacy, even political etc.

    No good accept the foreign round is better, and make the “enemy” frown by using their awesome creation against them; They won’t like that.

    They don’t like it up them, they just do not like it.

    • We can dress up in leather chaps, like the Ymca band guy, and pump their posteriors full of hot Western lead.

      “That probably sounded a bit gay”

      Anecdotal evidence, it’s like… Soooo, not my thing.

    • About 9mm Luger suitability for SMG…. My opinion is that it indeed is unsuitable round and it is as you say, result of carry-over from times of WWI. 7.62 Tokarev is much better. But then, look at reality worldwide.

      • After WW2, I assume the doctrine about not having ammo interoperability with potentially invading rival was still in use.

        For the West, switching from .45 or 7,65 Long to standard & beefed up 9mm Parabellum they could get from English, German & Italian stocks rather than starting production lines for a refined version of 7,62x25mm seemed economical.

        We should not underestimate the power of words :
        When we hear classic Uzi with specially designed ammo can deliver a shot equivalent to .357 Magnum, standard reader is impressed. The reader who knows more will start to realize it is still under a 7,62x39mm shot.

        (About standard reader, it’s sometimes funny to read article written by journalist without gun proficiency then commented by readers who know a little but not enough :
        a shooting happened with a 7,65mm (pistol), the reader wrote “a war weapon with ‘heavy’ calibre have been shot. How can the police let people shoot each other with such dangerous military rifle calibres?”

        • (We are used to read such things :
          When something fired is bigger than standard pistol calibres, journalist refers to “heavy weapons”. They should check the definition of Heavy Weapon… But they are “standard journalists” not gunloons ; they don’t have time to loose checking for accuracy, they must write next news as emotional/spectacular as possible)

          • Oh sure, and I suspect that journalists would go bananas if I went out on a shooting spree with a .70 tanegashima match lock musket against terrified left-wing politicians.

      • “About 9mm Luger suitability for SMG…. My opinion is that it indeed is unsuitable round and it is as you say, result of carry-over from times of WWI. 7.62 Tokarev is much better. But then, look at reality worldwide.”
        Pistol cartridges have two applications: automatic pistol and sub-machine guns. So there is need to have some compromise, unless you accept different cartridge for automatic pistol and sub-machine gun, like for example 5,7×28 FN or 4,6×30 HK or 4,38×30 Libra or .22 SCAMP

    • “Wasn’t the 9mm was designed for the Luger to achieve a gas seal appropriate to the design as applicable to the .30 Luger which was used previously, as far as I remember off here. It’s not necessarily the best cartridge, for Smgs.”
      What is gas seal in context of automatic pistol (not revolver)?
      9×19 mm Parabellum what, if I am not mistaken, developed for customer for whom 7,65 mm was too small diameter / bullet too light. As it was developed before First World War, its only application would be in automatic pistols. Here flat trajectory wouldn’t be much worry.

  6. Ian both of my MP41’s are WaffenAmt’ed marked indicating that they were accepted by the German Ordnance Department. The top receiver while similar to the MP40 the receiver is different especially at the trunnion area. The cut outs for the fire control unit on the bottom of the receiver are also in a different location. I suspect that the MP41 came about because of wanting to have a more stable stock than the folding MP40 stock. They are listed in the Wehrmacht listing of 1944. The majority of the MP41’s seem to have been issued to the Waffen SS and the Field Police. Harry

    • “MP41 came about because of wanting to have a more stable stock than the folding MP40 stock”
      Reason are unclear, but seems to be linked to patent dispute – there was patent dispute between Schmeisser (C.G.Haenel) and Vollmer (ERMA) about telescope spring, which was won by second, however with notice that it might be used in Schmeisser sub-machine gun (which is now known as 1941).
      http://zonwar.ru/pp/mp_41.html

  7. First of all, I really appreciate all the effort put in making the vids, and the overall high quality of this site. A pleasure to check on your page everyday Ian, thanks.

    But regarding the youtube censorship thing about swastikas, I think a small tweak could be of great help dealing with it.

    I know about the Full30.com channel option, and I really like it to be honest. If only because I usually check InRangeTv more often that way. But I think not having a direct way to the vids there from here, prevents a lot of people, both aware or not of Full30.com, to circumbent youtube if the want to.

    Could you embed the Full30 vids in here too? Or at least put a direct link to them in the posts?

    Regards.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*