RIA: Spreewerke VG-2

Five different companies in Germany produced designs for the last-ditch Volkssturm bolt action rifles, and they were designated VG-1 through VG-5. The VG-2 was developed by the Spreewerke company, and differed from the others in its use of a sheet metal stamped receiver (and consequently a pretty distinctive look).

In total, somewhere between 16 and 18 thousand VG-2s were manufactured, although they remain very scarce in western collections (most likely because most of them were lost or captured in areas overrun by the Red Army rather than the US or British forces). They retained a basic Mauser mechanism, and used spare Luftwaffe aircraft MG barrels. Unlike some of the Volkssturm arms, the VG-2 appears to have been pretty much unchanged throughout its production run.

34 Comments

  1. Interesting rifle. It’s a blessing they didn’t have the time or resources to refine it but it would have been interesting to see where this gun would have gone.

    • This is an excellent source; pictures are immaculate. It looks kind of funny in Russian language: vintovka folksshturma. 🙂

      Btw, it seems that Germans did not have use for word “defence”; everything was “sturm” – attack, offensive. I had short conversation with a German from Berlin while visiting in Cuba. We spoke of events related to WWI and I mentioned that time British had “Ministry of War”. He chuckled and said: “see, that time they were still honest”. 🙂

      • Technically “abwehr” and “schützen” (though the latter technically derives from the word for “shooter” have that connotation. But much the way Hitler made “grenadier” the entry level army rank in 1942 over the traditional “schützen”, the “sturm” in “volksturm” was meant to boost morale.

      • “Btw, it seems that Germans did not have use for word “defence”; everything was “sturm” – attack, offensive.”
        They have Panzerabwehrkanone (canon that defend against tanks – AT cannon) and Fliegerabwehrkanone (canon that defend against aeroplanes – AA cannon)

  2. It is interesting you call it a Mauser action;To me it is very Enfield looking. The rear locking bolt handle lug and what looks like the cock on closing bolt and even the shape of the rear of the receiver looks Enfield. Just a thought . Cheers Ross

      • Technically, the action is closer to the 1888 “Commission” rifle, which had two front locking lugs and the bolt handle locking down in front of a split receiver bridge as well.

        Note that the VG-1 used a similar setup, and both were likely taken from the M1888, the Italian Carcano, the Hungarian M33/40, the Mosin-Nagant M1891, and/or all of the above.

        cheers

        eon

  3. Fascinating. Thanks!

    I must say that while viewing I suddenly thought: “OMG! Soviet-refurbished VG-2s in a crate imported from one or another successor state…!”

    @Daweo: In the photo gallery of VG2 pictures you linked to, what museum is it that has the tricolor and ČSR-marked German helmets and VG2s on display? Presumably near Grottau/Hrádek nad Nisou in the Czech Rep.?

    Insofar as these employed a two-piece wood stock and a slab-sided, all metal receiver, I detect a hint of the MAS-36 design in the VG2. Sort of an all stamped, detachable mag, cock-on-closing with front locking lugs version if you will…

  4. Actually, not much rougher or crappier-looking than some of the bargain off-brand rifles and shotguns found at Midwestern hardware stores around 1970 – when the supply of cheap surplus had dried up after the ’68 GCA – and Bubba’s deadbeat brother-in-law needed something that looked right in the gun rack of his primer-and-rust 15 year old pickup. Remember some really ugly cheap guns that I don’t think I’ve ever seen on the used market in years since.

    • I’ve never heard anyone call my brother Bubba,

      but the rest of the description fits. I do have a bit of a thing for vehicles that have already done their depreciating, and for guns with an emphasis on function over form…

      and no, I’m not for selling
      😉

  5. Gau were Nazi Party regional administrative organizations which operated in parallel to the civil government Lander (or provinces). The Gauleiter would be the head of the Gau party organization, and reported directly to Hitler.

    In practice, the Gauleiters had virtually unlimited power within their Gau and thus controlled the provincial governments.

    A good analogy would be how the SS were part of the Nazi Party, not part of the German Army. Their primary purpose was to ensure the Nazi Party wasn’t overthrown in a military coup. Since they weren’t part of the army, they had their own weapons supply channels, and so didn’t necessarily have the same weapons as the army.

    When things started falling apart near the end of the war, more authority was placed in the hands of the Gauleiters to arm local militias with last ditch weapons from local resources. This is why the army wasn’t involved much; it wasn’t really part of their area of responsibility. These weren’t for army soldiers, they were for party militia.

    I would not be surprised if these weapons didn’t see much use in the war. The idea of holding off the Soviet army by last ditch efforts was a fantasy.

  6. That is interesting

    Like several other WWii German gun ideas (roller delay blow back, gas buffered blowback, VP ->VP70 )

    I suspect that this has a post war bastard child…

    The stellite* locking insert in the (German**) Voere Titan and Titan II (I think that they were called Shikar ii in America) bolt action sporters.

    The Shikar i, was an unpleasant rifle that had lots of expensive milling required in the receiver

    The Titans (and whatever Kliengunther called the ones he received in America) had an un hardened thick walled steel tube receiver with a steel angle piece MIG or TIG welded under the ring for a flat bedding surface to resist torque, and as a recoil lug.

    The locking surfaces were formed in a stellite ring which was pressed into the counterbored receiver “ring” and secured there by the barrel threaded in ahead of them.

    Browning later copied the idea for its (IMO excrable) replacement for the FN M98 receivers.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    *German Voere and Austrian Voere are run separately and produce different guns, the Austrian Voere use a Spanish made commercial mauser 98 action for their centrefire sporter (allegedly similar to the “Santa Barbara Mauser” action.).

    ** Yeah, Stellite. both Voeres are into gimmicky metals, the mag followers in Austrian Voere sporters are aluminium but anodized the colour of brass. German Voere allegedly used bronze for mag followers.

  7. Hmm… I would rather grab an outdated single-shot Haenel-Lorenz Wehrmanngewehr in terms of having a rifle that won’t explode when used with proper ammunition. At least it will hit its target (duh, the Wehrmanngewehr is a target rifle).

    Weapon of choice scenario:

    Oh, crap. It looks like the party responsible for funding and building the nuclear superweapons is out to get us in revenge for our meddling in their business. Right now I’m hiding in some old shack in the deep, dark, woods just outside some urban ruins. Too bad for me the weapons drop didn’t go as planned and now the weapons canister is sitting on top of an apartment building close to the opposing team’s field command post (thankfully they didn’t see the canister, so somebody on our side might be able to get to it). Even worse, the bad guys brought out another bipedal armored vehicle (it’s about the size of a barn). This one is manned by the enemy commander, and while it can’t launch nukes it’s got more than enough fire power to trash an entire company of regular M1 tanks and helicopter gunships. This “Metal Gear” can also KICK a tank and send the tank flying three city blocks away. Bad news: this “Metal Gear” can neutralize cruise missiles with a built-in directional electromagnetic pulse generator and an ion laser, so don’t try spamming the area with Tomahawks. Good news: “Metal Gear” broke a leg while searching for me in the ruins. While the commander is yelling at his minions to hurry up and fix that darned leg, it is now possible to sneak back into the ruined city on foot and take out the other team (no air strikes, they’ve got MANPADS).

    If you’re with me in the woods (now crawling with enemy soldiers), get a scavenged weapon and do something to get to that weapons canister through the woods and across the city.

    1. Spreewerke VG-2 and plenty of magazines
    2. Steyr-Kropatschek 1886
    3. Custom 5-shot M1 Garand sporting rifle chambered for 8×57 IS, fitted with scope (huh?)
    4. MK 22 Mod 1 Hush Puppy
    5. M1938 120mm mortar
    6. Stevens 520 with “inhumane” grenade rounds.
    7. BT-5 tank (just run away?)

    If you’ve already gotten to the weapons canister, get something out of it and help trash that “Metal Gear” along with its escorts.

    1. Carl Gustav Recoilless Rifle
    2. M4 Carbine with under-barrel grenade launcher
    3. FN P90
    4. Packs of C4
    5. KS-23 loaded with “Barricade” rounds
    6. Screw this! DAVY CROCKET!!!!

    This mission is totally voluntary. You are not required to participate if you do not wish to do so. Please keep any and all criticism of this post humane and free of foul language.

    Thank you,

    Cherndog

  8. Interesting piece. Necessity definitely is the mother of invention. It’s a good example of using what ever you have on hand.

  9. The safety, or more properly, trigger block I suppose, was later re-used by the Czechs on their dandy little Samopal sa23,24,25,26 9mm and 7.62x25mm SMGs, yes?

  10. This is interesting sample and on more than one level. One is that it shows how much overbuilt is on standard issue rifles; they can be made much simpler. Second is sort of “instruction” to those who choose to make illicit firearm (although it needs heavy pressings). The third is related to history itself: why would over-burdened Reich’s war machine take resources from main production to produce something so shoddy? It is a testimony of despair of the time.

    Anyway, being of European background I appreciate how Ian struggles with German pronunciation. It must be extremely hard (there is kind of reverse sound perception) and so much of value for purpose of this web.

  11. The front of the bolt face most likely influenced the design of the SAKO 590 series of actions. The sliding “crossbolt” type safety is well thought out. There are some interesting features in this action.

  12. The VG2 is certainly crude, but effective.

    It is perhaps surprising that modern manufacturing techniques as used on the MP40 and MG42 were not used on bolt action rifles too. With a bit more time and trouble, such as a decent set of sights, a turned down bolt handle, and an overall better standard of finish (which I feel is good for morale), a rifle such as this could have been produced far quicker and cheaper than the Kar98k, and would have helped alleviate Germany’s persistent shortage of rifles during the War.

    Perhaps it is just as well they didn’t do it!

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