The Sturmgewehr 1944, or MP44 as it is also known, is regarded as the first real assault rifle. The term Sturmgewehr means assualt rifle in german, sturm having the dual meaning both storm and assault. The weapon was designed in 1943, by weapons designer Hugo Schmeisser working for the german weapons manufacturer Haenel on a contract by the Wehrmact. The aim of the weapon was to make something affordable, automatic, and powerful. It was hoped that this weapon design would push back against the Allied forces. The StG was the most advanced mass produced weapon used by any side in the war. The Allies did not have assault rifles, so the StG. as it was also known could have had a major impact - had it been extensivly used.
In 1939 the german army sent out a contract for a 'maschinen karabiner', based around the new 'intermidiate' cartridge being developed called 7.92mm kurz, as opposed to the more common full lenght Mauser 7.92mm which was used in the K98 and MG42 and was very powerful but also suffered from recoil that would be uncontrollable in an automatic personal weapon. The first weapons from the program, the Mkb.42 (H) and Mkb.42(W) were produced in 1942 by Haenel and Walter, and after fieldtesting on the eastern front, the Haenel weapon was chosen for mass production.
The aim of the project was to have a cheap and powerful rifle that was reliable, and could overwhelm the Allied forces. The StG. fulfilled some of these requirements (it was actually too expensive when it was produced). There was one small problem in the StG. plan. Hitler did not want the military to focus on rifles. He wanted cheap and plentiful SMGs, such as the MP40. It was agreed between the Nazi Generals that they would risk lying to Hitler in the hope of the weapon production being accepted. To do this, they decided on a new name for their rifle: the Maschinenpistole 1943, or MP43.
Some of these prototype rifles were then given to the Afrika Korps, but finding a rifle that was used in Africa is extremely difficult. However, this 'real world testing' showed that the Sturmgewehr had potential to be a real tide turning piece of equipment. During an inspection of the camp by Hitler himself, he enquired as to what the Afrika Korps needed. The general in charge of the camp asked for "more of these new rifles", which were the Sturmgewehrs. It was assumed that Hitler would halt weapon production now he knew the weapon was a rifle, and not part of his planned lineup of sub machine guns and long range rifles.
Oddly though, Hitler chose to personally test fire the weapon himself. After sampling the Sturmgewehr for himself, he decided to encourage the production. He felt that it was a good weapon for the German army, even if it did go against his planned weaponry. Serial production of the new weapno started slowly in 1943 under the name MP43, in 1944 some minor modifications were made and the weapon was now referd to as MP44. Later in 1944 a 'fuhrerbefel'. that is a direct order from hitler, called for the weapon to be known as the Sturmgewehr 44, and the term assault rifle was born.
The first of the newer model rifles were given to the Waffen SS. After this, the plan was to have every German soldier armed with a Sturmgewehr. The StG44 entered the battle too late to make an impact on battlefields, but it saw some usage during Operation Market Garden, and other final moments of the German Reich. The StG was a powerful weapon, and versatile weapon. It was however released in too few numbers to a german army allready beaten on every front.
- The StG. 44 was in service for less than a year. It was used from July 1944 until May 1945.
- The StG is just under a meter long, at 940mm, or 94cm.
- The StG has seen use in recent Middle Eastern conflicts, although the only country to produce 7.92mm rounds anymore is Latvia.
- The rifle can fire the Russian 7.62mm rounds, as the two are extremely similar.
- Had the war continued, there were plans to drop the STG after less than a year and replace it with a cheaper model, called the STG. 45. Only five prototypes of the '45 were ever made.
- There was a curved barrel prototype for the StG. 44. It was known as the Kummerlauf, and was intended to fire around corners.
- Sniper scopes existed for the StG. 44, and versions fitted to the prototype were known as the MP43/1 rifles.
- Altough superficialy similar to the AK-47, the internal mechanism and the design is completely different.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
The STG. 44 appears in Call of Duty 4 as the MP44. It is the final assault rifle to unlock, at Rank 52 (General). The weapon is in the game due to the occasional usage in Middle Eastern conflict, and also as a homage to previous Call of Duty games from Infinity Ward. Technically, it is not the MP44 at this stage, as it would be the STG in today's standards.
Owing to the extremely late unlock during online multiplayer, the MP44 sees very little usage online before players prestige. Additionally, at the time the game is set, the MP44 is a 68 year old rifle, and there are no attachments for it. Some players find this as a downside, but if someone has played previous Call of Duty games they are likely to have adjusted to the rifle's sights, which are somewhat similar to the G3 and MP5's. However, the similarity is difficult to notice in some cases. The MP44 does not appear at all during campaign. According to an image in one of the briefing scenes, Viktor Zakhaev uses an MP44. However, when he is encountered he uses a Mini Uzi and an M1911.
Call of Duty: World at War
In Call of Duty: World at War, the STG is unlocked at Rank 37. The STG is arguably the easiest weapon to use in Hardcore
mode due to the fact it is automatic, and it is a one hit kill. Unlike in Call of Duty 4, there are different attachments available for the STG. These attachments are the same as those of other weapon: an Aperture Sight, Silencer, and Telescopic Sight.
In single player, the STG can be found occasionally. When it is found, it is mainly useful as a longer range rifle, as it causes extremely high damage to targets in single player mode. Online, the STG has a lower rate of fire than many players expected, and does lower damage than even the MP40. Despite this, it is much easier to control than its SMG sibling, and can be extremely accurate if fired by an experienced player.
The STG appears in the Nazi Zombies maps, but it can only be upgraded in Der Riese with the use of the Pack-a-Punch machine. When it is PAP'd, the STG becomes the 'Spatz 447 '. The Spatz has a larger ammo capacity than the standard STG, and does more damage. Additionally, the muzzle flash becomes a more red color, and the weapon has a different texture.
Red Orchestra: Heroes of Stalingrad
An early prototype of the StG 44 called the Maschinenkarabiner 42 or MKb.42, is available for high ranking players in Red Orchestra: Heroes of Stalingrad. The model used is the Haenel Mkb.42(H) as opposed to the Mkb.42(W) which was made by the Walter Company and used a different gas system. Historically about 10000 Mkb.42 rifles were sent to front line units in the middle of 1942.