The German military establishment during WWII had a reputation for innovation and excellence, which is pretty well deserved. But even they produced some real goose eggs, and the Gewehr 41 is one of them. That the G41 was even remotely successful is a tribute to the creativity of the Walther and Mauser engineering staffs, as the gun was fatally flawed from the start by the conditions put on the design. Primarily at fault was the military insistence that the barrel not have a gas port drilled in it. I’m sure there was some theoretical rationale for this requirement, but it was not a reasonable one. Some of the other restrictions were similarly silly, like the requirement that the gun must be able to operate like a bolt action using the same manual of arms as the K98k, and that there be no moving parts on the top surface of the gun (it is revealing that both Walther and Mauser flat out ignored one or more of these written requirements, despite being German companies). The root of the G41 procurement conditions can only really be a suspicious distrust of self-loading rifles that cropped up in many pre-WWII ordnance departments worldwide. It’s the same stubborn lack of foresight that produced repeating rifles with magazine cutoffs.
Anyway, Walther and Mauser both provided sample designs for the G41, and after trialling both, the Walther design was accepted for mass production (the Mauser design was rather more complex and intricate). The designs flaws were quickly realized, and production moved to the G43, which used essentially the same receiver but with a standard gas port system.
Our focus today is the G41, though, and we have put together a video explaining its inner workings:
Thank you, really enjoyed your video on the Gewehr 41(W). I bought one of these in 1975 from a WWII vet that he had brought home after the war, he had been an MP during the occupation and was able to return with several rifles. He told me that they had civilians help to round up all weapons that could be found and piled in warehouses and his superiors let the GI’s in his battalion pick out what they wanted to keep. He picked out the Gewehr 41(W) and two 7mm black powder indoor target rifles. The Gewehr 41(W) was in excellent shape with no dings all matching numbers with sling, it looked almost brand new. The black power rifles were works of art and he would not part with them. He had kept them cleaned and oiled and wrapped in GI wool blankets since he returned home. I am ashamed to say that I only paid $35.00 for the Gewehr 41(W), he said make him a offer and that’s what I said I would pay and he said sold. I enjoyed shooting this rifle and field stripping it as I was fascinated with how it worked, I have always thought that the Germans could over engineer toilet paper and it was proved with this weapon. I no longer have this rifle as I took it to a gunshow somewhere around the mid 80’s and had two dealers almost get in a fight over which one was going to buy it and i had to let it go as i had my mind set om buying some other weapons. Thank you again as i have been enjoying your web site and video’s.