German Volkssturm Weapons

German Nazi flagThe arming of the German Volkssturm (People’s Storm, the equivalent of the British Home Guard) in the last war phase.
Volkssturm rifle VG-1, VG-2, Volkssturm carbine VG-45, MP 3008.

Volkssturm men admitted into a ditch

Volkssturm men with the Panzerfaust are be admitted into a trench.

The German Volkssturm was mainly intended to fight tanks and was therefore widely equipped with the Panzerfaust.
The Volkssturm soldiers were to be armed mainly with provisionally manufactured rifles. The VG-1 (Volkssturmgewehr 1) and the Volkssturmkarabiner 98, a simplified version of the Karabiner 98k, were mainly intended for this purpose.

Volkssturmgewehr VG-1

VG-1

Volkssturmgewehr VG-1

During the last months of the Second World War and actually also quite late under the pressure of the collapsing fronts and the extension of the fighting to Germany itself, the Nazi leadership created the German Volkssturm.
It consisted of men who had not yet served in the Wehrmacht – mostly older semesters, youths and even children – or who were not actually fit for military service or indispensable in their home country.

Since no regular weapons were available for these Volkssturm units, the production of quickly and simply constructed and roughly processed Volkssturm rifles began.

The VG-1 had a simple twist-cylinder bolt, a coarsely machined beech stock with a short forearm and a simple and non-adjustable visor.
The best part was the magazine of the semi-automatic rifle Gewehr 43 with 10 rounds.

The VG-1 was manufactured in 1945 in the Czech Brno weapons factory. The caliber is 8×57 IS, the length is 42.125in (107 cm), the weight 8.28lb (3.75 kg) and the magazine capacity is 10 cartridges.

Volkssturmgewehr VG-2

Volkssturmgewehr VG-2

Volkssturmgewehr VG-2

The VG-2 is a bolt-action rifle with a rotary cylinder breech, which was manufactured in the last phase of the Second World War for the Volkssturm.
The case for the breech has steel plate and the visor is also not adjustable and just like the VG-1 the magazine of the semi-automatic rifle 43 with 10 rounds was used.

The VG-2 is roughly processed and all parts were manufactured and assembled with a high tolerance only. Nevertheless, the rifle, just like the VG-1, is effective at shorter firing distances, where the hardly trained Volkssturm men could only expect hits anyway, and had a large magazine. In addition they were extremely easy and fast to produce as well as cheap to manufacture.

The caliber is 7.92 mm, the length 41.9in (106.5 cm), the weight 9.16lb (4.15 kg) and the magazine capacity is 10 cartridges.

Volkssturmkarabiner VG-45

Volkssturmkarabiner VG-45

Volkssturmkarabiner VG-45

This self-loading carbine was designed in late 1944 by Karl Bernitzke, a designer at Gustloffwerke. This weapon was also roughly assembled with stamped parts and used as few cast or machined parts as possible.

The function was carried out by an unlocked breech with delayed opening. This was done by discharging parts of the powder gases at the muzzle of the barrel into a container between the surface of the barrel and a metal cylinder close above, which was firmly attached to the breech.
The short 7.92 mm cartridge (33 mm long) should be used as ammunition, as on the StG-44 or StG-45.

This automatic weapon, actually a primitive form of the assault rifle Sturmgewehr 44 of the regular units of the Wehrmacht, was to be produced in enormous numbers in several factories and delivered to the Volkssturm. However, the rapidly deteriorating war situation in 1945 thwarted such plans.

The caliber is 8×57 IS, the length 37.8in (96 cm), the weight 9.4lb (4.27 kg) and the magazine capacity is 30 cartridges.

MP 3008

MP 3008

Sub-machine gun MP 3008

In the course of the Second World War the SD (German security service) began to use already captured British Sten sub-machine guns. Since the weapon proved to be useful for secret and command operations, a replica of the Sten Mk II began to appear in Germany under the name ‘Potsdam’.

In the course of 1944, this easy-to-manufacture weapon was to be mass-produced as a sub-machine gun for the Volkssturm. For this purpose the Sten Mk II was revised by the Mauser company under its designer Vorgrimler, where some defects of the British version were fixed and even the production became easier and cheaper than it already was for this coarsely sluggish weapon.

The most conspicuous modification was the relocation of the magazine to the position below the barrel, typical for German sub-machine guns, instead of the left side of the British original.

Until the end of the war some smaller weapon factories started to produce this simple weapon, whereby the individual models again differed clearly from factory to factory.

The caliber is 9 mm Parabellum, the length 31.3in (79.5 cm), the weight 6.73lb (3.05 kg) and the magazine capacity is 32 cartridges.


Arming the Volkssturm

Sundays military shooting of Volkssturm men

Volkssturm men pull Sundays in rank and file to ‘military shooting’, with which the SA operates the pre-military military training.

The armament of the German Volkssturm 1944-45 as well as other equipment and training was insufficient. By November 18, 1944, the Gauleiter (Nazi district leaders) had to report to NSDAP (Nazi party), Organisation Todt, Wehrmacht, Waffen-SS, which stocked and private civilian weapons in their area could be issued to the Volkssturm.

The reports even had to include shotguns and small bore rifles. Thus, for example, the NSDAP district leadership Lichtenfels-Staffelstein in the Gau Bayreuth (Bavaria) reported as of November 25: 21 Gewehr 98, 15 Kar 98k, 42 Italian, 44 French and 1 Romanian captured rifles, 19 hunting rifles, 81 shotguns and 7 small bore rifles. Of these, 36 rifles, 107 hunting rifles and all small bore rifles were privately owned.

In December 1944, individual families were to be checked to see whether they still had weapons at home. Suitable clothing, shoes, boots and caps were also to be ‘donated’ to the Volkssturm.

For the first (1,850 battalions) and second contingent (4,860 battalions) Himmler’s Volkssturm command had to find 4 million rifles, 181,170 rifle grenade launchers, 203,150 light machine guns, 25,680 machine guns, 25,680 medium mortars, 5,500 guns, and 40,260 Panzerschreck anti-tank rocket launchers.
The third contingent of the Volkssturm had not yet been equipped with any weapons, and the fourth contingent was supposed to get only armed with captured weapons and hunting rifles.

In the autumn of 1944, 200,000 Karabiner 98k carabiners were produced each month, but the demand of the Wehrmacht was actually already 300,000 rifles. Profiteers from the armaments industry, however, wanted to step in and build ‘Volksgewehre’, ‘Volkskarabiner’ and ‘Volksmaschinenpistolen’ (people’s sub-machine guns) out of pressed sheet metal parts in addition to the military armaments program. In addition there was a ‘Volksgranate’ (people’s grenade) from the company Sprengstoff AG Reinsdorf.

The orders were awarded by the High Command of the Army to leading companies in the individual Gauen (districts). As suppliers and subcontractors, these leading companies had to integrate all suitable companies and even the smallest craftsmen’s businesses in the respective district for the production of Volkssturm weapons.

The main committee ‘Weapons’ in the Ministry of Armaments under Speer expected a production of 100,000 to 150,000 rifles per month, which meant at least 3,000 to 4,000 weapons for each Gau.
In January 1945, Styr-Daimler-Puch AG had completed only 500 Volksgewehre. In February, another 4,000 rifles were added, built by the Gustloff factories in Suhl. Rheinmetall-Borsig AG in Düsseldorf received an order for 50,000 rifles in January 1945.

The individual district had to take care of the necessary material, machine tools and the transport of the rifles. Some raw materials were also provided by the Ministry of Armaments, but only to the extent that the armaments production for the Wehrmacht was not affected.

In addition, the Volkssturm received a further 25,000 rifles from the police and postal service until the end of 1944. In December 1944 and January 1945, a total of 13,000 Karabiner 98k, 2,000 rifle grenade launchers, 1,351 MG 42, about 900 medium-sized mortars, and 100,000 Panzerfaust came from the Wehrmacht.

This, of course, was by no means enough, and so captured weapons were issued to the Volkssturm, especially Italian Mannlicher-Carcano rifles – but with little ammunition.
In the district of Naugard in Pomerania only about 10 percent of the Volkssturm soldiers received rifles – and in addition up to six different types with sometimes only 5 cartridges.
For the battalion ‘Breslau-Land No. 3’ there were 100 rifles of different models with an average of 15 cartridges available.

Exercise of soldiers of the German Volkssturm

Exercise of soldiers of the German Volkssturm with Panzerschreck.

Himmler’s staff could in no way provide the necessary armament for the Volkssturm. A battalion of the first contingent with 649 Volkssturm men would have had to receive 649 rifles, 27 rifle grenade launchers, 31 light and 6 heavy machine guns, six medium mortars, three guns and 6 anti-tank rocket-launchers Panzerschreck to fulfill the TOE.

Since the Volkssturm could in no way be armed from German stocks or current production, initiative was called for. Gauleiter Koch in East Prussia procured equipment for his Volkssturm on the black market in Northern Italy, mediating by Speer.

It therefore proved to be quite laborious to persuade the men called up to the Volkssturm to voluntarily let themselves be sent into enemy fire if they could not even obtain a carbine. More and more recognized in it the bankruptcy declaration of a regime that only wanted to send them to the slaughterhouse for a lost cause.

At the beginning of 1945 the problems of arming the Volkssturm battalions sufficiently increased. These already began with the rifles and so far it had only been possible in the rarest cases to equip the battalions with the three intended guns. With the exception of Volkssturm artillery units in the fortified cities, the majority of all battalions never received a gun.

On 15 January 1945, for example, the Volkssturm in Gau Bayreuth had a total of

  • 1,148 rifles Model 1888 (obsolete 8mm cartridges),
  • 1,265 rifles Modell 1898 (from World War One),
  • 543 Karabiner 98k,
  • 5 Gewehr 43 (semi-automatic rifles),
  • 17,562 Italian Mannlicher-Carcano rifles,
  • 1,974 French captured rifles,
  • 64 Russian rifles (Mosin-Nagant),
  • 1 Romanian rifle,
  • 34 Dutch rifles,
  • 129 Belgian rifles,
  • 134 Czech rifles,
  • 13 Polish rifles,
  • 2 British rifles,
  • 34 Austrian rifles,
  • 173 9mm pistols,
  • 2,038 7.65mm pistols,
  • 982 6.35mm pistols,
  • 1 Italian pistol,
  • 19 French pistols,
  • 25 Belgian pistols,
  • 3,576 different pistol models,
  • 3 MPi 40,
  • 2 MG 13,
  • 4 MG 34,
  • 2 Polish machine-guns,
  • 2 Czech machine-guns,
  • 1 French machine-gun,
  • 1 Austrian machine-gun,
  • 2 Czech heavy machine-guns,
  • 1 mortar 5cm,
  • 1 mortar 8cm,
  • 1 French gun,
  • 4,436 pieces Panzerfaust,
  • 690 grenades Eierhandgranaten,
  • 720 grenades Stielhandgranaten.

Volksopfer 1945

Between January 7-28, 1945, the long time suffering and impoverished German population is called to the ‘Volksopfer’ (people’s sacrifice) to equip the ‘Volkssturm’.

On January 25, 1945, the OKH (army high command) informed Himmler’s Volkssturm command staff that, with immediate effect, only weapons would be handed over to active Volkssturm units.
And despite the inadequate armament of the Volkssturm, at the beginning of March 1945 the Volkssturm had to hand over all Karabiner 98k carabiners to the Wehrmacht, which had lost about 3.5 million pieces from June 1, 1944 to March 1, 1945 and was suffering from a severe shortage.

On January 5, 1945, the ‘Volksopfer’ (people’s sacrifice) was called upon to collect equipment and all kinds of uniforms for the Volkssturm.
The final date for the ‘Volksopfer’ was 11 February and about 60,000 tons of collected goods could be brought in. Another 20,000 tons were lost in the east due to the rapid advance of the Red Army.
The Wehrmacht alone, however, needed 200,000 tons for its current personnel during this period.

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Today 75 and 100 years ago and daily World War Report:

Il-2M3 Stormovik

soviet flagRussian close support and ground attack aircraft Ilyushin Il-2M3 Stormovik.
History, development, service, specifications, pictures and 3D model.

Manoevrable, incredibly tough and with devastating forward-firing armament, the Il-2 was no easy prey even for Luftwaffe fighters. These are rear-gunned models in 1944.

Manoevrable, incredibly tough and with devastating forward-firing armament, the Il-2 was no easy prey even for Luftwaffe fighters. These are rear-gunned models in 1944.

Ilyushin Il-2 Stormovik.
Type: Close support and ground attack aircraft.

History:

‘It is at least as essential to the Red Army as oxygen and bread.’ These were the words that Stalin used in 1941 to describe one of the most effective aircraft to emerge from Russian factories during the war. He was talking about the Ilyushin Il-2, a veritable ‘flying tank’ which turned out to be the best ground-attack type of the war.

More than 36,000 Il-2s came off the produc­tion line in several versions. The career of the ‘Stormovik’ (as the Il-2 and its direct successors were known) con­tinued after WW2 , with the Il-10 going to Soviet satellite countries (Hungary, Romania, China, North Korea, Albania, Czechoslo­vakia, Bulgaria and East Germany) and serving in the Korean War.

Design of the Stormovik was begun in 1938 by Sergei Ilyushin and his team in answer to a specification calling for a single-engined monoplane for ground attack and tactical bombing. The same request was issued to Pavel Sukhoi, who came up with the undistinguished Su-2.
The first Stormovik appeared in the spring of 1939 under the designa­tion TsKB-55. Flight-test results were not outstanding, however: the engine was not powerful enough, and there was also some longitudinal instability. It was not until the development of the third prototype, which took to the air in October of the following year, that the Il-2 was regarded as accept­able. The Il-2 then went into immediate production.

The most original aspect of the Il-2 design was the fact that the entire forward part of the aircraft (from the engine compartment to the cockpit) was a single armoured shell that also had structural functions. This solution provided maximum protection for the engine, its main accessories and the crew. It was also substantially lighter than traditional armour plating. The steel armour of the Il-2 varied in thick­ness from an average 4-8 mm to 13 mm on the rear fuselage. There was also duralumin armour 5 mm thick on the upper surfaces, and the cockpit canopy had bullet-proof transparencies and a 65 mm-thick windscreen. The fuselage was conventional in structure, being made originally of wood and later of metal.

The first Stormoviks went into ser­vice in the summer of 1941 and proved to be extremely effective against enemy tanks. As better German types entered the field, it became necessary to im­prove the Il-2’s offensive and defensive armament.

July 1942 saw the appear­ance ofthe II-2M3 with a more power­ful engine, better armament consisting of two 23 mm cannon plus three machine guns, and a second crew member.
This was the most numerous variant. The Il-2M3 took part in every major operation on the Eastern Front, winning particular distinction in the Battle of Kursk in the summer of 1943, when Stormoviks attacked massive formations of German tanks.

Users: Soviet Union (Russia).


Animated 3D model Ilyushin Il-2M3 Stormovik


Specifications Ilyushin Il-2M3 Stormovik

Specifications
Ilyushin Il-2M3 Stormovik Specification
Type close support and ground attack aircraft
Power plant one 1,750hp SM-38F vee-12 liquid-cooled engine
Accommodation 2
Wing span 47 ft 11 in
Length overall 39 ft 4.5 in
Height overall 11 ft 1.75 in
Wing area 414.4 sq.ft
Weight empty 7,165 lb (Il-2), 9,976 lb (late models Il-2M3)
Weight loaded 12,947 lb (maximum take-off late models: 14,021 lb)
Max wing loading ?
Max power loading ?
Max level speed (clean) 281 mph
Max level speed (loaded) 251 mph
Max level speed (with 1,323 lb bomb load) 231 mph
at height 2,500 – 4,290 ft
Cruising speed ?
at height ?
initial climb (Il-2) 490 ft/min
Time ?
to height ?
Service ceiling 28,870 ft
Range 375 miles
Range with maximum bomb load 373 miles
Range maximum 475 miles
Combat radius ?
Armament
Ilyushin Il-2M3 Stormovik Specification
to front Two 20-mm VYa (later 23-mm or 37-mm) guns and two 7,62-mm MGs in wings
to rear One manually aimed 12,7-mm-BS MG in rear cockpit
external load bomb load 1,323 lb or 200 x 5.5-lb-PTAB hollow-charge anti-tank bombs or 8 x RS-82 or RS-132 air-ground rockets
Service statistics
Ilyushin Stormovik data
First flight (BSh-2) 30 December 1939
First flight (TsKB-57) 12 October 1940
First production (Il-2) March 1941
First production (Il-2M3) September 1942
Final production (Il-2M3) June 1944
First production (Il-10) early 1944
Final delivery ?
Unit costs ?
Total production figure (all versions) over 36,000 Il-2 and Il-2M3 + 6,330 Il-10 (average production per month 1,200)

Diary October 22, 1943

 Greek destroyer lost its bow

This Greek destroyer lost its bow, but was able to run backwards to North Africa under own power.

WW2 War Diary for Friday, October 22, 1943:

Sea War

Mediterranean: 3 Allied destroyers mined in Aegean (October 22-24).

Diary October 22, 1918

Admiral Reinhard Scheer

Admiral Reinhard Scheer, the hero of the Juetland naval battle, was promoted in August 1918 to Chief of the Admiral Staff and Commander of the Naval War Command. With the command to the High Seas Fleet operation he triggers the mutiny in Kiel, which finally led to the November Revolution in Germany.

World War One Diary for Tuesday, October 22, 1918:

Sea War

North Sea: Levetzow delivers verbal operational order (Operations Plan No 19) to Hipper at Wilhelmshaven: ‘High Seas Fleet shall attack and engage in battle the English Fleet.’ Nothing is to be allowed to delay the operation because the country ‘is rushing toward an armistice at full speed’. Plan envisages coordinated raids to Thames Estuary and down Flanders coast with 22 U-boats of Scotland.
Adriatic: Italian warships shell south of Giovanni die Medua, Albania, as Austrians evacuate.

Home Fronts

Germany: Liebknecht released in general amnesty. Chancellor presents Reichstag with constitutional reform, equal suffrage voted (October 26).
Austria: ­Czech Socialist Klofac tells Emperor Czech lands slipping away from Crown.
Britain: ­New 10s note design issued.

Air War

Adriatic: 142 Italian flying boats and 56 Caproni bombers raid Pola.

Western Front

Scheldt: British First Army closes in on Valenciennes, 3rd Canadian Division clears Foret de Raismes in 4-mile advance.

Norwegian Armed Forces 1940

Lieutenant (left) and Corporal, Norwegian Army

Lieutenant (left) and Corporal, Norwegian Army, 1940

Strength and organization of the Army, Air Force and Navy of Norway in April 1940

In 1939, after more than a hundred years of peace, Norway did not possess a large standing army and her government considered that effective national defence against a major power was impossible.
The Russian invasion of Finland in 1939 was a severe shock, and during the winter a sizeable Norwegian force was established in northern Norway. After Russia signed an armistice with the Finns in March 1940, however, the force was disbanded.

When the Germans invaded on 8 April, the Norwegian Army was only partially mobilised and in the process of training new recruits. But despite these disadvantages, Norway put up a stubborn fight and it was two months before the country was completely overrun and the British, French and Polish contingents evicted. The government finally capitulated on 9 June 1940.
Despite bitter fighting casualties had been light; the Norwegians lost just 1,335 killed and wounded. Small contingents of Norwegians managed to escape to England, while others crossed into Sweden.

King Haakon VII was Commander-in-Chief of a basically territorial army, which when fully mobilised, was to have had a strength of about 100,000 men. A small cadre of regular officers and NCOs was responsible for running the Army and for the training of conscripts.
The country was divided into six Military Districts or Commands with their headquarters in Halden, Oslo, Kristiansand, Bergen, Trondheim and Harstad. Each Command was initially expected to field a brigade, later to be expanded to a division and garrison and ancillary troops.

An infantry division comprised a staff, two or three infantry regiments, and either a field artillery regiment, or a mountain artillery battalion.
The 2nd Infantry Division in Oslo included the Royal Guard and a cavalry regiment. The 5th and 6th infantry divisions had, in addition, a pioneer and flying battalion.

An infantry regiment had a strength of 3,750 men armed with Krag-Joergensen M1894 rifles. Some regiments had a bicycle company for reconnaissance duties, which in winter became a ski troop.

Map about the German invasion of Norway

Map about the war in Norway and the deployment of the Norwegian divisions on April 9, 1940 (in blue letters).


Norwegian Army Divisions
Infantry Division
Units total 6
Infantry regiments 2-3 (each with 3,750 men)
Total men ?
Machine guns 264-396 (192-288 x light 6.5mm Madsen, 72-108 x heavy Colt-Browning M29)
Mortars 16-24 (heavy)
Artillery 24-36 (16-24 x Kongsberg 120mm field howitzers, 12 x Ehrhardt 75mm M1901 field guns)
Anti-aircraft guns ? (Madsen 20mm heavy machine guns, Kongsberg 75mm M1932 anti-aircraft guns)

Norwegian pilot

A Norwegian pilot with the rank of lieutenant.

Norwegian Air Force

By midday on 9 April 1940, the German armed forces had occupied nearly all the airfields and seaplane bases south of Narvik, and most of Norway’s semi-modem fighters (Gloster Gladiators) had been destroyed in the defence of Oslo on the opening day of the German invasion. Thereafter, the Air Force took little part in the fighting.

The Air Force was organised in three flights (one each of fighters, bombers and reconnaissance aircraft) with a total of 76 aircraft and 940 men, and was intended to play a ground-support role.


Norwegian Navy

Norwegian submarine 'HNMS Ula'

The Norwegian submarine ‘HNMS Ula’ returns to a British port after a mission at sea; the crew displaying their combat record in a somewhat unorthodox manner.

On 8 April 1940, the day before the German invasion, 5,200 officers and men were serving in the Navy and its Air Service. Despite the fact that the bulk of the vessels of the Norwegian Navy were obsolete, they gave a good account of themselves, during the hostilities with Germany. Indeed, during the fighting most of them were put out of action or sunk.

There were initially 113 vessels, comprising:
2 small armoured cruisers;
10 minelayers;
7 destroyers;
3 large Trygg class torpedo boats;
14 torpedo boats;
9 submarines;
8 minesweepers;
9 patrol boats;
49 vessels converted to patrol boats.

Seaman of Norwegian Navy, 1940.

Seaman of Norwegian Navy, 1940. This ‘Dekksmann’ wears Norwegian Navy ‘square rig’ with his rank badge on the left sleeve.

Only 13 of these made British ports after capitulation.

On 22 April 1940, while fighting was still in progress, the Norwegian Government decided to requisition the whole Norwegian merchant fleet still under its control. 1,000 ships (totalling 4,000,000 tons) manned by 30,000 seamen were saved for the Allied cause, and played an indispensable part in the Battle of the Atlantic.

In addition to the fleet there were coastal fortifications armed with guns of various calibres at Oscarborg, Oslofjord, Kristiansand, Bergen and Agdenes, which were manned by 308 officers and 2,095 other ranks.

The Norwegian Naval Air Service had been formed as early as 1915, and because of its small size necessarily played only a limited role in the war against Germany. Some Navy aircraft did, however, fly to northern Norway after the initial German attack, and they continued to operate from there until fighting ceased on 7 June 1940.