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The Term ‘Assault Rifle’

HISTORICAL TRIVIA: HOW HITLER COINED THE TERM ‘ASSAULT RIFLE’


In 1943 the German Army began fielding the Maschinenpistole 43 (MP43) a new kind of automatic rifle which was chambered in the intermediate 7.92 Kurz round.  It was instantly popular with the Wehrmacht and when Hitler asked his commanders what they needed more of they requested more of the new rifle. The MP43 had been developed without Hitler’s immediate oversight and he was unaware of the new rifle.  But on testing the weapon himself and hearing of the weapon’s success in the field he quickly hailed it a miracle weapon.  

As part of the propaganda push to raise the morale of the German people, who faced ever increasing dangers and hardships and who knew the war was going badly, Hitler decided to rename the MP43 the Sturmgewehr 44 or when translated into English the ‘Storm/Assault-Rifle 44’.  He described it as one of the Third Reich’s new wonder weapons, along with the Me-262 Jet Fighter and V-Weapons, which would turn the tide of the war for Germany.

In April 1945 US Intelligence ran an article about the renaming of the weapon in its monthly briefing publication, Tactical and Technical Trends:

To bolster troop and civilian morale, the German High Command is now widely advertising the general issue of an automatic small arm which Adolph Hitler has personally designated the “Assault Rifle 44” (Sturmgewehr 44). The much-touted “new” weapon is actually the familiar German machine carbine with a more chest-thumping title.

As a result the rifle came to be known by this translation and the term ‘Assault Rifle’ was used in reports on the testing of captured examples of the StG-44.  Over time the term entered military vernacular and came to describe the next generation of infantry rifles which were “short, compact, selective-fire weapons that fire a cartridge intermediate in power between sub-machine gun and rifle cartridges.”   These weapons were heavily influenced by the first true assault rifle, Germany’s Sturmgewehr 44.

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As a result the rifle came to be known by this translation and the term ‘Assault Rifle’ was used in reports on the testing of captured examples of the StG-44.  Over time the term entered military vernacular and came to describe the next generation of infantry rifles which were “short, compact, selective-fire weapons that fire a cartridge intermediate in power between sub-machine gun and rifle cartridges.”   These weapons were heavily influenced by the first true assault rifle, Germany’s Sturmgewehr 44.

Source:

Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 57, April 1945. (x)

https://www.historicalfirearms.info/post/45688959145/historical-trivia-how-hitler-coined-the-term

From Historical Firearms For some reason It won’t me me embed the link

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