Danish M1941 Suomi SMG

When the Tikkakoski company bought the rights to produce the kp/31 “Suomi” submachine gun in the 1930s, they attempted to make a bunch of export sales, although none were very successful. By the late 30s more countries were interested, but by that time Finnish military needs took precedence. While a few export sales were made during World War Two, the more significant exports were in the forms of licensed production. In particular, Sweden, Switzerland, and Denmark all bought the rights to manufacture Suomis.

In Denmark, this was the Model 1941, produced by both Madsen and Hovea with approval of the German occupying authorities. About 1400 were made between the 1941 and 1943 before the Germans lost confidence in Denmark and disarmed its military. The M1941 is mechanically identical to the standard Finnish kp31 except for:

– Front sight protective wings
– Triangular front sling swivel
– Rear sling swivel (instead of a sling bar)
– Aggressive pistol-grip stock design

Interestingly several of these changes were also incorporated into Tikka’s 1942 prototype improved kp31, which never saw production.

21 Comments

  1. HV stands for Hjemmeværn, or Home Guard, and that marking was obviously put there after the war. The Home Guard being a voluntary military organisation (or militia) raised after the war, to act as a ready-made, State funded, and State trained resistance group to be activated in case of another invasion.
    A common slogan heard in Hjemmeværnet to this day is “Aldrig mere 9. april”, meaning “Never again 9th of April”, the date of Germanys occupation of Denmark, to which the Danish military response was woefully inadequate.

    • “(…)Danish military response was woefully inadequate.”
      https://en.natmus.dk/historical-knowledge/denmark/german-occupation-1940-1945/
      government in Copenhagen decided that the German military superiority was too great to justify further resistance. At the same time heavy bombardment of the Danish cities and towns was feared. Therefore after only a few hours it was decided to surrender.
      Was not surrender logical decision in situation as seen by Danes back then?
      Also how much more could Denmark do in 1940 keeping in mind that it was at disadvantage in virtually (all?) aspects like attacker-friendly mostly flat terrain, many times lower population and many times lower industrial power?

      • Sure, the Germans would have invaded no matter how stiff a resistance the Danish military put up. Yes, the invasion would have resulted in a surrender within days of the invasion. The shame comes not from being occupied; but from having hardly put up a fight. There were warnings of an imminent German invasion that were not acted upon. The government was all too eager to collaborate with the Germans in order to avoid trouble. That phenomenon has a name: cowardice. It was not an honourable surrender after a stiff-but-hopeless fight.
        The Home Guard was a response to this, and many Resistance men from the war joined the Home Guard soon after the war. The Home Guard was at first made up of many small, autonomous groups without any government oversight or control. The arms were often either captured German weapons, or airdropped Allied weapons. The government couldn’t close down this spontaneous and autonomous citizen milita, and so did the next best thing: Made it an official and State approved Milita. And so it has been ever since.

  2. “(…)About 1400 were made between the 1941 and 1943 before the Germans lost confidence in Denmark and disarmed its military.(…)”
    Following conclusion of German attack at Denmark in 1940 (unlike many European countries occupied by Germany) Denmark’s monarch and government stayed and managed to hold control over internal affairs in their hands. They used that to among others avoid enacting anti-Jewish laws. When Germans launched “solution” to “question” of Jews many of them were smuggled to neutral Sweden
    https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/king-christian-x-of-denmark

    • Hilariously, many German soldiers stationed in Denmark didn’t want to deport Danish Jews to concentration camps because this would anger the Danes (whose property are you standing on!?). If you are a guest in someone’s house, it is best not to piss off your host. The guy in charge of the local SS (or whatever) ordered his troops to allow Jewish folks to board ships to Sweden. His reply when someone higher up asked why he didn’t deport those people to the concentration camps: “You wanted the place ‘Jew-free’ and I made it exactly that.” I could be wrong.

  3. Listing the prewar importers of Suomi, one could mention Poland as well, with ca. 250 guns bought as early as 1934 and used by the State Police in riot squads. And Polish Suomis had stocks with the same dramatically angular (as compared to Finnish or Swedish ones) pistol grips.
    Ian, do not make a big deal out of the lack of the Danish 20-rd mag: as you correctly commented, the Danish Suomi could take all Suomi mags. The Danes used both a copy of the Finnish 20-rd staggered row mag (not their own, as you stated) but even before 1943 they must have switched to a copy of the Swedish 50-rd four-stack. Interestingly, there is no Danish magazine pouch known for the 20-rd magazines, yet there is a leather belt-worn pouch with three pockets for 50-rounders, and it can be seen in May 1945 photos, worn alongside the Swedish 4x50rd magazine bag (worn on its own leather strap), that came along with the Danish Brigade soldiers from Sweden, armed with the Swedish Kpist m/37-39 (aka the Swedish Suomi).
    The right-angled pistol grip and front sight protectors were already featured in the Estonian Suomi, or püstolkuulipilduja m/39 – National Library in Tallin has a manual online, with photos showing these features, as well as the side-mounted selector lever, shared with the Polish model.
    Finnish sling was attached to a rear sling swivel as well – the sling-bar mentioned in the video was only a postwar modification, along with reinforcing bolt thru pistol grip – so it was not a Danish-only modification.
    @Cattus+Borealis – re: movies featuring the Danish Suomi: Reptilicus (a Danish take on Godzilla movies) featured the Maskinpistol M/44, or Swedish Kpist m/37-39, as well as their replacement, the Hovea MP M/49, which was a half-brother (and competitor) of the Swedish Carl Gustaf Kpist m/45 (Swedish K). If you want to see a real Danish MP M/41 in a movie, see the Norwegian Resistance hero saga “Max Manus” where Max has a Danish Suomi in his Winter War in Finland reminiscenses, and then is shown bodyguarding the crown prince Olav entering Oslo on 13 May 1945 armed with a Sten(!), even though the well-known photo taken on the occasion shows him clearly with a Kpist-37/39 (aka MP M/44).

    • Poland as well, with ca. 250 guns bought as early as 1934 and used by the State Police in riot squads??? The Finns talk about exporting 20 smg to Poland in 1933

      • @losot,
        Sir, I don’t know what the Finns say (even if they did attempted to, I can’t speak Finnish further than “Perkele”), but I have read Polish Police materiel reports, numbering their armament stocks. As well as I have handled (and made a scan thereof) of the Polish State Police’s User Manual for the Suomi, printed in 1934, a 48-pp w/ 4 fold-out tables of a very neat, sewn (not stapled) and canvas bound booklet. No one would bother with making something that beautiful for a mere 20 guns, where a mimeographed bundle of typewriter sheets, stapled in a corner, would suffice.
        According to the said materiel reports, 130 Suomis were present by 1936 at the regional police HQs (in their “ready commands” of steel-helmeted, tactical units, instructed in clearing streets of the rioters – hence “riot squads” I mentioned), with 96 more added in 1937 for the central Police HQ reserve stock (for a grand total of 226) with 4 more handed over to the Police from the Polish arms export company Sepewe in 1938, bringing the total for 1938 to 230, along with 300 000 rounds of SAKO-supplied ammunition, for which the locally-made equivalent with 124 gr bullet in commercial HS (FAS) was commissioned from the State Ammunition Works (the regular 9 mm for Vis pistol was of 115-gr variety in military, dated HS).
        The fall of 1938-dated document expresses “every intention to purchase more as soon as possible”. OK, so “ca. 250” I wrote about was BS, of course – I was typing the comment above without checking hard data, and so I winged the number. But even if the real number remained at only 230, it is still nearer to the 250, then the 20 your Finnish sources wrote about.
        Thanks for the interest, I hope the additional details would prove useful for you in any way.

        • thanks, wg AAN KGP polska Policja Państwowa (226 pistoletów maszynowych Suomi zakupiono do 1938 r. Sn 44 p.s Suomi – 3095,3096,3098,3114,31603165,3111,3144,3145,3152,3154,3155,3158,3092,3083,3166,3133,3137,3132,3082,3162,3139,3147,3150,3172,3180,3110,3094,3161,3085,3106,3170,3109,3097,3105,3148,3171,3130,3118,3136,3168,3164,3091,3108)

          • Please look up article by Tomasz Świerczyński, Jacek Walaszczyk “Pistolety maszynowe w polskiej Policji Państwowej” in “Policja. Kwartalnik Kadry Kierowniczej Policji”, 4/2016. They cover all the relevant KGPP documents along with AAN archive signatures, and show VERY rare photos of the Suomis used by the Police.
            Well, sir, even the document you quote now more than doubles the number of 20 in the Finnish sources you cited earlier. Perhaps the contents of the other documents listed there would enable you to find the rest of the stray lambs.

          • I managed to find so many police suomi numbers from the documents in the AAN KGP, content 4/2016 of course, thank you again

  4. hi,
    Thank you for very interesting story, with many nuances of weapons production.

    For you information the Danish Suomi ;o) have been in the news recently as documents about sales have surfaced.

    the research have been done by Mathias Blædel, @mathiasblaedel on Twitter

    here is an article in Danish (requires membership to read the full text. Not sure if it’s freej):
    https://frihedsbrevet.dk/dokumenter-afsloerer-maersk-fabrik-solgte-vaaben-til-diktatorer-brutale-regimer-og-cia-firma/

    cheers
    Bjørn

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