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The Gewehr 43 or Karabiner 43 was a semi-automactic rifle made in Nazi Germany based on the Gewehr 41 and the soviet Tokarev SVT-40


Before the start of the World War II, German army had little interest in self-loafing rifles. Their tactical doctrine centered around infantry squad with MG-34 universal machine gun as primary source of firepower, supported by the riflemen with Karabiner 98K bolt-action rifles. By the 1941, two companies submitted the self-loading rifles for consideration of German Army - Walther and Mauser. These rifles were designates as Gewehr 41(W) and Gewehr 41(M), respectively, or G41(W) and G41(M), in short. Both rifles were somewhat similar in that they were gas-operated self-loaders, both utilizing the Bang-type annual gas pistons, located at the muzzle of the gun, within the relatively large muzzle cap. Both were fed from fixed 10-round magazines. Both rifles were tested in combat and both proved as poor performers. The Bang-type muzzle gas system was among the key sources of the problems, so, by the late 1943 Walther engineers mated the G41(W) action with the much more effective and reliable gas system of the Russian Tokarev SVT-40 rifle. The resulting design was designated as Gewehr 43, or Gew.43, or G43 in short. In the 1944 the Gew.43 was re-designated as Kar.43 (Karabiner 43, K43), with no visible changes made, and under this designation it was manufactured until the end of the war. Kar.43, made in relatively large numbers, was issued mostly as a specialist's weapon and issued to soldiers who wouldn't be directly on the frontlines, where the rifles when exposed to combat conditions, often jammed and malfunctioned, it was issed to soldiers such as snipers, demolitions teams, etc. It was often fitted with a ZF-4 optical telescope sight. Like many other German weapons, made during late stages of the war, the Kar.43 showed little attention to the finish in all areas, where finish was insignificant for functional needs. There were several experimental developments on the basis of Kar.43, including selective fire versions, as well as versions chambered for 7.92x33 Kurzammunition and adapted for STG-44 magazines. Neither version entered production. During the early post-war period, Czechoslovak Army used some Kar.43 rifles as sniper weapons. {C

The Gew-43/Kar-43 is a gas operated, semi-automatic weapon. The short stroke gas piston is loc

A German Grenadier with his Gewehr 43 on the Eastern Front

ated above the barrel. The bolt is locked by two flaps, which extend into the locking recesses in the receiver walls. When unlocking, these flaps are retracted into the bolt body. The receiver and bolt groups are machined from steel castings, with many surfaces being mechanically unfinished. Lots of stampings also are used throughout the construction. The rifle is fed from detachable box magazines, which held 10 rounds. Each G.43/K.43 rifle had the dovetail, which can accept the telescope sight mount, in addition to the standard adjustable open sights. The German troops were glad to have a semi automatic rifle available (though in very limited numbers) to them, when their bolt action rifles were simply not enough firepower compared to the Russian SVT-38/40 and the American M-1 Garand and Carbines. However the G-43 still had plenty of jamming problems that the G41 had, and still had to be loaded with two stripper clips one at a time, since only 2 box magazines were issued to the solder. The rifle's egronomics were also a bit awkward, especially in combat, and depending on the time of the war the rifle was produced, it could either be sabotaged by slave laborers, or be poorly made and rough machined parts, leading to excessive reliability or accuracy problems. In combat, many German troops simply swapped out the G43 in favor of the Russian SVT-40, or in Europe, the much prized American Garand rifle or M-1 Carbine, such illustrated in the picture above.

File:800px-Walther G43 8 x 57 IS Semi-Automatic Sniper Rifle.jpg

The Gewehr 43, equipped with the standard ZF-4 telescope.

See also

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