Army Special Forces StG 44


Now here is something you don’t see everyday. An Army Special Forces soldier in the earl 1960s firing a STG44. Probably during some foreign weapons qualification or some such.


  1. I always find it interesting how today everyone scoffs at the idea of “shooting from the hip” but back in the day that was how all the hard asses did it. Now to be clear this is not the same as the Hollywood style but still.

      • SF periodically took anyone who could breathe and wear a uniform. Assuming, of course, that they could get through the “Q” course, that is. There were times in the early days where I was told that they’d waive a bunch of stuff for those with practical experience, like OSS or Jedburgh experience.

        Some historical periods, the guys getting into SF are Captain America; other periods? LOL… Yeah, right–They took in guys who’d been the friggin’ SS. Larry Thorne was not the only guy with an “interesting” background–Supposedly, there were more than a couple of former Waffen SS and Brandenburger types running around Bad Toelz for a long, long time. One guy I was told about was a “sheep-dipped” Waffen SS Major that the Soviets wanted for actual war crimes, but it’s questionable if the actual crimes he committed were more than winning against them.

        The rank thing was another periodically waivered “issue”–You could, for several different periods, actually enlist off the street for SF, and so long as you passed the selection phase and the “Q” course, you were good to hook. You would usually see promotion to Sergeant after completion of training, and what you’re probably seeing in that picture above is a guy who’s in the course, not a graduate. If I remember right, you were supposed to pin on at least Sergeant before assignment to an in-country SF Group during Vietnam–You wouldn’t want a PFC or even a Specialist-4 telling foreign nationals what to do. Just wouldn’t work.

        • I doubt that even under the most relaxed conditions would the let a guy going through the selection course wear the Green Beret. I’m no expert on it but several times in his books John Plaster mentioned that by mid war the SF would let people not SGTs enter the program, He wasn’t a SGT even by the time he got to SOG
          I read that famous SF trooper and SOG recon man Jerry Mad Dog Shriver was one of the guys who never went through the SF course but volunteered for SOG from his normal duty in Germany and was considered SF qualified after a time being in SOG. But I am not sure how accurate that is because I have only read it from one sources and old vet’s memories are not infallible after 40 plus years

          • Yeah, the fact the guy is wearing a beret would be a major clue, but back in the day, the beret was not all that big a deal–There were periods in the early days where everyone in the unit wore it, from truck drivers and clerks to actual SF guys we’d call “tab-wearers” today.

            The black-and-gold US Army tape in conjunction with the OD green printed name tape put this picture somewhere in the period around 1966-7 when the transition was made. Before that, it would have been a white name tape; after, subdued US Army.

            Assuming that is black-and-gold on that US Army…

            It’s gone back-and-forth, over the years, about who was authorized the green beret in the SF units. There was a time when it was just tab-wearers, there were times when it was everyone on the MTOE, even leg support troops. Keeping track of that crap is like a huge game of Trivial Pursuit, and I can recall a period during the mid-1980s when even the guys over at the SF Group were confused by what the rules were. Someone came back from a deployment, saw some of their support guys in green, lost their shit, and then the Group CSM had to set them straight…

            Honestly, I’m kinda ambivalent on the whole thing. To my mind, the uniform doesn’t maketh the man, the man maketh the uniform. If you put the Rangers and SF guys in pink polka-dotted bloomers as their dress uniforms, then pretty soon, pink polka-dotted bloomers would be a mark of distinction, and bring fear to the hearts of America’s enemies around the world.

            Doubt me? Look at the history of the Soviet/Russian Telnyashka–Can you imagine a more ridiculous look than blue-and-white striped wife-beaters under uniform blouses open to the navel? I mean, gawdalmighty, why the hell not go full-on Mr. T, and add in some gold chain?

            That’s a respected and strongly desired symbol of elite forces in the former Warsaw Pact. Looks ‘effing reeeediculous to my eyes, but if I’m suddenly seeing a bunch of guys wearing those coming at me, I’m not gonna be laughing.

  2. I once worked with a vet who was SF in Vietnam in the late ’60s. He said they “went places” in the “deniable missions” while using the StG 44. I have looked for any backup on that claim for decades, and you have delivered! Thanks.

    • I wouldnt go that far. I think this was a picture taken during a Fam Fire stateside . I seriously doubt they used the STG44. A few in SOG in the first year of Shinning Brass did use the MP 44 however

    • I may be mistaken, but I believe there were Stg44 weapons in Indochina from the French, just as some of the Syrian ones came from French stocks.

      Tracing out some of this stuff that went on in the post-WWII era is just flippin’ nuts. You had the CIA, the various intelligence agencies of the West, the Soviets, the Eastern Europeans who were out for themselves…

      I think the JNA got its paratrooper StG44s from about four different sources, if what I remember reading was accurate–They had a few from captured WWII stock, traded with the Czechs for some, got some from the French, and there was a fourth I can’t remember. Somewhere, there’s an article or a post on a bulletin board that outlined it all.

      Supposedly, they got some of the machinery for building the damn things, but they decided against doing it for ammo commonality reasons.


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