The history of European submachine guns in the 1920s and 30s is a complicated one. A lot of guns were made that look very similar at first glance, and most of them ended up named the MP-something. Well, today we’re going to look at one in particular – the Danish MP32/MP34/MP35/MP35 I.
The MP32 (also known as the Bergmann Machine Pistol 32 or BMP32) was designed by Emil Bergmann in Denmark. The first batch of guns were made by the Danish firm Shulz & Larsen, and adopted by the Danish military (in 9mm Bergmann caliber, matching their Bergmann M1910/21 handguns). Bergmann improved the design and introduced the MP34 in 1934, and this model was ordered in large numbers by Germany and manufactured by Walther. Further improvements to allow better mass production were introduced as the MP35 and MP35/I.
The Bergmann MP32 has several feature that distinguish it from other guns of the time. First, it uses a magazine mounted on the right side of the receiver, and ejects our the left side (the reverse is much more common on submachine guns). Second, it has a a bolt handle located at the very back end of the receiver, which is rotated up to the vertical position and pulled back to operate (similar to the Hotchkiss Portative). Thirdly, it has a trigger that appears to be skeletonized.
The trigger mechanism of the MP32 allowed the shooter to fire single shots by pulling the trigger partway back, and full auto fire by pulling the trigger fully to the rear. On the original MP32 version, the safety was located at the rear of the receiver, to be operated by the firing hand. In later refinements (the MP34 and MP35) the safety was moved up to the side of the action, to be operated by the support hand. In addition, the MP32 used a proprietary box magazine (32 round capacity), which would be replaced by standard Schmeisser MP28 mags on later variants. Two barrel lengths were available from the factory, a 200mm and a longer 320mm with a bayonet lug.
Gallery of photos of an MP32 (click to download in high resolution):
Gallery of photos of an MP32 magazine (click to download in high resolution):
In addition to an original German-language MP32 manual, we have a series of 1933 and 1934 dated reports from German testing of the MP32 and MP34 prior to large German orders for the guns:
Copenhagen Police Machine Pistol Nr 7, that’s what the stamping on the top says. The serial number looks like 1354 of 1334? No stampings from whoever made it?
I fired an MP35/I yesterday for the first time yesterday. It is an absolutely interesting piece. The two-stage trigger takes some getting used to. I found that getting reliable full auto fire requires one to use the lower end of the trigger or you will simply get single shots. The bolt-action style of operation is also very interesting. The arrangement of the magazine and ejection port make this a bit awkward for right handed shooters. Overall a very nice gun. Trigger mechanism is absolutely woth studying. I’ll send along some photos.
A Danish gun? Not at all. The Emil Bergmann you mention was a German, in fact a son of a very well-known German gun manufacturer, Theodor Bergmann. In point of fact, he used double names, Theodor Emil, and was the heir of the Theodor Bergmann Industriewerke. His sole Danish connection was that Denmark bought the BMP 32, and first guns were manufactured by Messrs Schulz & Larsen, a renowned sporting gun establishment, famous for its bulls-eye rifles. Anyway, after Danish contract was made, Bergmann contracted Walther to manufacture the subsequent SMGs, and after Walther shrugged his orders to manufacture the PPK, chosen as a Brown Shirt regulation side-arm (with an overnight contract for 1.5 million copies after several years of begging to sell a dozen), the SS High Command ordered company called Junker & Ruh to take over and deliver 40 000 MP 35/Is for Police and Waffen-SS troops, delivered as late as December 1944.
So it wasn’t a Danish gun – it was only license-built in Denmark.
Thanks for the corrections/clarification – I’ve updated the page to reflect them.
seems to be a SMG for left handed person
With the charging handle arrangement the magazine placement makes perfect sense,the user would never have to take their left hand off of the gun.
Here is the only WWII footage of the MP35 I have been able to find – https://youtu.be/BzcVhWjxaEs?t=47m49s.
Does anyone have info about the bayonet shown on the long barrel MP32 above. It is a Danish M1915 bayonet originally made for the Krag Jorgensen rifle M1889. Apparently it has been fitted to the Bergman MP, but how and why has a Danish bayonet been adapted for this weapon?
A family friend has a Bergmann machine gun, model AF 43, caliber 38 (?), serial number 1790 D, the deceased owner was thought to have fought at the Buldge and the Remagen Bridge ! Have any info on that gun at all ? I can’t find anything ! Steve
perhaps made for a left handed person
MP 35 Bergmann made of Schultz & Larsen, Otterup, Denmark. I have a photo of it.
Regards http://www.SchultzLarsenClub.DK JC
Can you provide a review of the Bergmann MP 20?
Hi, anybody has a schematic of bolt? rear part? I need to disassemble it for renovation and making a stud which is broken.