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NORWEGIAN SMALL ARMS OF WORLD WAR II, PART II: FROM KRAGS TO KULSPRUTEGEVAR.

In Part I of this report, we examined the small arms used by the Norwegian army when it's country was invaded by Nazi Germany in April 1940. Despite its tenacious, but uncoordinated, resistance, the small Norwegian army was overcome by the Wehrmacht's Blizkrieg tactics.

After Norway's defeat, the Germans installed the collaborationist Vidkun Quisling as head of the Norwegian government. Quisling created a fascist paramilitary militia, the Hirden, to maintain internal security and, in 1941, established the Norske Legion, which was taken into service with the Waffen SS. The Nazis also enlisted Norwegians, and volunteers from several occupied northern European nations in the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking (Viking), which served right through Germany's surrender in 1945.

Norwegians who served with the Waffen SS on the Eastern Front were equipped with standard German weapons including the Mauser Karabiner 98k, Sturmgewehr 44, Maschinengewehr 34 and 42, Maschinenpistole 40 and various 9mm and 7,65mm pistols.

Like many of the Waffen SS's elite units, the Wiking Division allotted more automatic weapons than most Wehrmacht units, and late in the war, received numbers of Sturmgewehr 44, the first "assault rifle."

The 7,9mm Pistolenpatrone 43 consisted of a 33mm bottlenecked, rimless case containing a 125-gr. FMJ boattail bullet that was propelled to 2,250 fps.

Following the German occupation, a resistance organization called Milorg was formed in May 1941, as a way of organizing the various groups that wanted to participate in an internal military resistance. With the approval of the Norwegian government in exile, it operated clandestine radio stations reporting on German military movements. Later, with weapons--primarily No. 4 Lee-Enfields, Ml Carbines, Sten guns and Bren guns--and other materials supplied by the British, they engaged in sabotage, assassination of German personnel and Norwegian collaborators.

The Milorg established permanent bases in remote parts of the country to train and organize fighters, and by the time of the German capitulation on May 1945, Milorg was able to field 40,000 fighters. They engaged German forces during the liberation of the Finnmark (see below) and after the war, they played an important part in helping to stabilize the country.

Small Arms of the Free Norwegian Forces

Unlike the Norwegian Navy and Air Force, after the German conquest of their country it proved difficult for army personnel to escape to Great Britain. The Norwegian government in exile arranged for some of the soldiers who made it to England to form the Norwegian Independent Company 1 and 5 Troops of the No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando, the Bergkompani 2 (2nd Mountain Company) and the Norwegian Parachute Company (a branch of the Norwegian Air Force). Smaller units were stationed in Iceland, the Arctic islands of Jan Meyen and Svalbard and South Georgia Island in the South Atlantic.

The Free Norwegian Forces in Great Britain were equipped with standard British army weapons, including No. 1 and No. 4 Lee-Enfield and Pattern 14 rifles, Sten Machine Carbines, Bren Light Machine Guns and various .380 revolvers. Numbers of Thompson submachine guns and U.S. M1 Carbines were issued to Norwegian commandos. (1)

In October 1944, ships of the Royal Norwegian Navy transported approximately 300 soldiers of the Bergkompani 2 to the Russian port of Murmansk, where they were placed under Soviet command and took part in the liberation of the Finnmark region of northern Norway. (2) Additional troops were brought in from England, while others were recruited locally until there were approximately 1,500 Norwegians under arms. January 1945 saw 1,440 members of the Norske Polititroppene (see below) arrive from Sweden to help maintain order in the liberated areas. Along with the Soviets, Bergkompani 2, and ever-growing numbers of Milorg fighters, they engaged enemy forces until the Germans surrendered on May 8, 1945.

Small Arms of the Norske Polititroppene

While the Swedes went to great pains to maintain their neutrality--and placate the Germans--by 1943, nearly 50,000 Norwegian refugees had fled to Sweden. Realizing that a German defeat was inevitable, the Swedish government sent an envoy to London suggesting that some of them be "secretly" organized into police units (Norske Polititroppene) with the avowed purpose of reentering Norway once the Germans had surrendered, to maintain order. The British and Norwegian government in exile readily agreed to this plan.

In December 1943, the Swedish government approved the clandestine training of 8,000 Norwegian reservists and 1,500 former male and female members of the Norwegian national police, the Rikspoliti. Training would take place in four separate camps, and weapons would only be provided to one-third Of the troops.

The Polititrooppene were equipped with standard Swedish army small arms, the Gevar m/96 and m/38 Mauser rifles, Automatisk repeteristol m/40 (Lathi), Kulsprutepistol m/37-39 submachine guns (Suomi) and limited numbers of Kulsprutegevar m/21 light machine guns (BAR).

While the Polititroppene's duties called for them to maintain order in regions liberated from the Germans, they sometimes engaged in combat along with Norwegian soldiers and Milorg fighters. After the end of hostilities, they acted as a national police force with one of their prime duties the rounding up of collaborators.

On May 9, 1945, the day after German forces in Norway surrendered, the British 1st Airborne Division and the Norwegian Parachute Company landed in Norway and, assisted by Milorg fighters, occupied Oslo without incident.

I would like to thank the following for providing materials used to prepare this report: Tim Hawkins, Morten Stamland, Karl Egil Hanevik, Anders Jonasson, Christian Sahlberg, Stuart Mowbray, Joe Puleo, Lisa Warren, Capt. Monty Mendenhall, Joel Kolander, Frank Iannamico, Peter Rasmussen, Uffe Paaske Larsens, John Brown, Norwegian Armed Forces Museum, Rock Island Auction Company and James D. Julia Auctioneers (www.jamesdjulia.com).

Norwegian Milorg fighters armed with M1 Carbines, Sten guns, Bren guns and No. 1 Lee-Enfield rifles.

STOPPING HITLER'S ATOMIC BOMB

Germany depended upon Norway for strategic materials, iron ore (from Sweden), its bountiful natural resources, including timber, fish, agricultural products, and--thanks to its extensive hydroelectric power--aluminum. In addition, its airfields were close to England, while German U-Boats operating out of Norwegian ports could attack the Allied convoys bringing vital supplies to the USSR.

Of special importance was heavy water (dueterium oxide). The Vermok Hydroelectric Plant in Norway was the first to commercially produce heavy water, a material Germany needed if it was to produce nuclear weapons.

The Royal Air Force bombed the plant several times without success. In February 1943, British-trained Norwegian commandos enfiltrated the facility and succeeded destroying enough machinery that production ceased. The Germans attempted to remove the heavy water that had already been produced, but Norwegian resistance forces, the Milorg, were able to sink the ferry it was being transported on, dooming Germany's plan to produce an atomic bomb.

(1) After the war, the M1 Carbine, known in Norway as the Selvladekarabin M1, became the standard long arm of the Rikspoliti, Norway's national police.

(2) The British wanted a Norwegian presence in the Finnmark region to ensure that the Soviets left after the end of hostilities.

(3) Identical to the Norwegian the 6,5mm M/25 skarpe Gevaeratroner. EDI

Photos by: Nathan Reynolds, Paul Budde & James Walters (unless otherwise indicated)

Caption: Norwegians serving with the Waffen SS were armed with the Karabiner 98k Mauser.

Caption: Norwegian soldiers of the SS Wiking Division on the Eastern Front armed with MG42s and Sturmgewehr 44.

Caption: Norwegians serving in the Waffen SS were provided Maschinengewehr 34s. (Courtesy James D. Julia Auctioneers, Fairfield, ME, www.jamesdjulia.com)

Caption: The SS Wiking Division was provided large numbers of Sturmgewehre 44 by the Germans. (Courtesy James D. Julia Auctioneers, Fairfield, ME, www.jamesdjulia.com)

Caption: A soldier of the Wiking Division with a Sturmgewehr 44 that he has camouflaged with a coat of white paint.

Caption: Soldiers of the Norske Volunteer Legion armed with the Maschinengewehr 34.

Caption: The Norwegian Volunteer Legion and Wiking Division both used large numbers of Maschinengewehr 42. (courtesy James D. Julia Auctioneers, Fairfield, ME, www.jamesdjulia.com)

Caption: Free Norwegian soldiers receiving instruction on the No. 1 Mark III* Lee-Enfield rifle.

Caption: The Maschinenpistole 40 was very popular with Norwegian SS soldiers. (Courtesy Capt. Monty Mendenhall)

Caption: Norwegian Milorg fighters armed with M1 Carbines, Sten guns, Bren guns and No. 1 Lee-Enfield rifles.

Caption: These Milorg fighters were provided with M1 Carbines, Sten guns and No. 1 Lee-Enfield by the British.

Caption: The English No. 1 Mark III* Lee-Enfield was widely used by Free Norwegian Forces.

Caption: The British No. 4 Lee-Enfield was widely used by Free Norwegian forces.

Caption: American General Dwight Eisenhower reviewing a unit of Free Norwegian troops armed with No. 4 Lee-Enfield rifles.

Caption: Free Norwegian forces received numbers of M1928 Thompson submachine guns from their British allies. (Courtesy Frank Iannamico)

Caption: A Free Norwegian commando armed with a M1928 Thompson submachine gun.

Caption: King Haakon VI examining a Sten Machine Carbine.

Caption: Two Norwegian commandos armed with M1 Carbines. Note one has camouflaged his with a coat of white paint.

Caption: Finnmark, 1945. Officers of the Norske Polititroppene wearing bolstered Swedish Automatisk repeteristol m/40s.

Caption: Milorg fighters armed with Mi Carbines.

Caption: Members of the Norske Polititroppene drilling with Swedish Gevar m/38 Mausers.

Caption: The Norske Polititroppene were equipped with the Swedish Automatisk repeteristol m/40.

Caption: Two female members of the Norske Polititroppene with Automatisk repeteristol m/40s.

Caption: The Swedes provided the Norske Polititroppene with limited numbers of the Kulsprutegevar m/21, a Swedish made BAR. (Courtesy James D. Julia Auctioneers, Fairfield, ME, www.jamesdjulia.com)
KARABINER 98K

Caliber:          7,9mm Patrone sS
                  (7.9x57 Mauser)

Overall length:   43.7 in.

Barrel length:    23.6 in.
Weight:           8.6 lbs.

Sights:           Front: Inverted V-blade
                  Rear: V-notch adj. by tangent
                  from 100 to 2000 meters

Magazine:         5-round, charger loaded

Bayonet:          Knife style with 10 in. blade

MASCHINENGEWEHR 34

Caliber:           7,9mm Patrone sS

Overall length:    48 in.

Barrel length:     24.7 in.

Weight             26.7 lbs.
(unloaded):

Magazine:          50- & 250-rd. belts

Sights:            Front: Inverted V-blade
                   Rear: V-notch adj. by leaf

Rate of fire:      800-900 rpm

STURMGEWEHR 44
(A.K.A. MASCHINENPISTOLE 43/44)

Caliber:           7,9mm Pistolepatrone 43

Overall length:    37 in.

Barrel length:     16.5 in.

Weight:            10 lbs.

Sights:            Front: Inverted V-blade
                   Rear: V-notch adj. by tangent
                   from 100 to 800 meters

Magazine:          30 rd. detachable box

Rate of fire:      Selective single shot or 550 rpm
                   in full auto

Bayonet:           None

MASCHINENGEWEHR 42

Caliber:            7,9mm Patrone sS

Overall length:     48 in.

Barrel length:      21 in.

Weight              25.5 lbs.
(unloaded):

Magazine:           50- & 250-rd. belts

Sights:             Front: Inverted V-blade
                    Rear: V-notch adj. by tangent
                    from 200 to 2,000 meters

Rate of fire:       900 to 1,200 rpm
                    (with different bolts)

MASCHINENPISTOLE 40

Caliber:           9mm Patrone 08
                   (9mm Parabellum)

Overall length:    32.8 in. (stock extended),
                   24.8 (stock folded)

Barrel length:     9.9 in.

Weight             8.75 lbs.
(unloaded):

Magazine:          32 rounds

Sights:            Front: Blade
                   Rear: U-notch for 100 & 200 meters

Rate of fire:      550 rpm

SHORT MAGAZINE LEE-ENFIELD NO. 1 MK. III *

Overall length:   44.5 in.

Barrel length:    25 in.

Weight:           8 lbs. 10 oz.

Magazine:         10-round charger-loaded box

Sights:           Front: Blade
                  Rear: U-notch adj. by tangent
                  from 200 to 2,000 yards

Bayonet:          Sword style with 17-in. blade

RIFLE NO. 4 MK. I

Caliber:           .303 Mark VII

Overall length:    44.4 in.

Barrel length:     25 in.

Weight:            8.7 lbs.

Magazine:          10-round charger-loaded box

Sights:            Front: Blade
                   Rear: 300 yd. battle sight &
                   aperture adj. by leaf from 200 to
                   1,300 yards

Bayonet:           Socket style with 8-in. cruciform
                   spike

RIFLE, MAGAZINE, .303 INCH, PATTERN
1914, MARK 1 *

Caliber:           .303 Mk. VII

Overall length:    46.2 in.

Barrel length:     26 in.

Weight:            9.1 lbs.

Magazine:          5-round, charger-loaded box

Sights:            Front: Blade
                   Rear: Aperture fixed for 400 yards
                   with fold up leaf aperture adj. from
                   200 to 1,650 yards

Bayonet:           14-in. single-edged blade

GUN, MACHINE, BREN, .303 IN., MARK II

Caliber:           .303 Mk. VII

Overall length:    45.25 in.

Barrel length:     25 in.

Weight             22 lbs. 5 oz.
(unloaded):

Magazine:          30-rd. detachable box

Sights:            Front: Blade
                   Rear: Aperture adj. by leaf from
                   200 to 1,800 yards

Rate of fire:      500 rpm

MACHINE CARBINE, STEN, MARK II

Caliber:           Cartridge, S.A. Ball, 9mm,
                   Mark 1z

Overall length:    30 in.

Barrel length:     7.75 in.

Weight             6.5 lbs. (unloaded)
(unloaded):

Magazine:          32-round detachable box

Sights:            Front: Blade
                   Rear: Aperture fixed for 100 yards

Rate of fire:      550 rpm

Bayonet:           None

THOMPSON SUBMACHINE GUN Ml928

Caliber:           .45 ACP

Overall length:    33.75 in.

Barrel length:     12.5 in.

Weight:            10.75 lbs. (unloaded).

Magazine:          20- & 30-rd. box magazines;
                   50-rd. drum magazine

Sights:            Front: Blade
                   Rear: U-notch set for 50 yards
                   & aperture adj. from 100 to 600
                   yards

ROF:               725 rpm

U.S. CARBINE, CALIBER .30, M1

Caliber:           Caliber .30 Cartridge,
                   Carbine Ball M1

Operation:         Semiautomatic

Overall length:    35.6 in.

Barrel length:     18 in.

Weight             5.4 lbs.
(unloaded):

Magazine:          15-rd., detachable box

Sights:            Front: Blade
                   Rear: L-flip aperture set
                   for 100 & 300 yards

Bayonet:           None

GEVAR M/96

Caliber:          6,5 skarpa patroner m/94

Overall length:   49.5 in.

Barrel length:    29 in.

Weight:           9 lbs.

Magazine:         Five-round, charger-loaded box

Sights:           Front: Inverted V-blade
                  Rear: V-notch adjustable from
                  300 to 2,000 meters

Bayonet:          Knife style with 8-in. blade

GEVAR M/38

Caliber:          6,5mm sk ptr m/94 prj m/[41.sup.3]

Overall length:   44.1 in.

Barrel length:    23.6 in.

Weight:           8.6 lbs.

Magazine:         Five-round, charger-loaded box

Sights:           Front: Inverted V-blade
                  Rear: V-notch adj. from 150 to
                  600 meters

Bayonet:          Knife-style with 8-inch blade

AUTOMATISK REPETERISTOL M/40

Caliber:           9mm skarpa patrone m/39

Overall length:    10.3 in.

Barrel length:     5.5 in.

Weight             38.7 oz.
(unloaded):

Magazine:          8-rd. detachable box

Sights:            Front: Square blade
                   Rear: Fixed U-notch

Grips:             Plastic

KULSPRUTEPISTOL M/37-39

Caliber:           9mm skarpa patrone m/39

Overall length:    30.35 in.

Barrel length:     8.25 in.

Weight             8.75 lbs.
(unloaded):

Magazine:          50-round double column,
                   detachable box

Sights:            Front: Blade
                   Rear: U-notch adj. from 100 to
                   300 meters

Rate of fire:      900 rpm

Bayonet:           None

KULSPRUTEGEVAR M/21

Caliber:          6,5 skarpa patroner m/94 &
                  6,5mm sk ptr m/94 prj m/41

Overall length:   43.7 in.

Barrel length:    24 in.

Weight            19.6 lbs.
(unloaded):

Magazine:         20-rd. detachable box

Sights:           Front: Blade
                  Rear: Aperture adj. by leaf
                  from 200 to 1,200 yards

Rate of fire:     500 rpm
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Author:Scarlata, Paul
Publication:Firearms News
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Dec 10, 2017
Words:2402
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