A while back, a video made the rounds of a cache of StG-44 rifles being found in (allegedly) Syria – I commented on it here, in fact. It was pretty much without any context, though. Where did they come from? How did they get to Africa, considering that the German Afrika Corps was never equipped with StGs? Well, here’s an excellent post from the very cool blog WWII After WWII discussing the how and why of Sturmgewehrs in Africa:
To quote a small section:
Contrary to some more romanticized accounts, the Algerians did not discover long-lost caches from Rommel’s WWII Afrika Korps, as no StG-44 had ever served in any German unit in Africa during the war. Rather, these guns had arrived to Algeria via Czechoslovakia. When WWII ended in 1945, the Soviet army retained and stored every StG-44 it found. By best estimate, in 1948 there were about 102,000 StG-44s in Soviet custody. As the SKS and AK-47 were already entering Soviet use, the captured StG-44s were not issued to Soviet units but rather made available for transfer abroad, with Czechoslovakia being the first and main recipient, followed by East Germany. Hungary also received a small (about 4,000) batch, and Yugoslavia also received some prior to it’s split with the east bloc. These joined StG-44s captured by the Yugoslavs themselves. Finally the Soviets transferred a few to North Vietnam; these in turn were joined by more transferred from Czechoslovakia and East Germany (which themselves had come from the USSR) as those two countries phased the type out.
Good stuff! The whole blog is equally interesting – definitely something you should check out.