Fallschirmjägergewehr 42 – FG 42

History, technical sheet and photo

Image : FG 42

FG 42 automatic rifle history

The Fallschirmjägergewehr 42 (literally the parachutist’s weapon) or FG-42 was designed to equip the German airborne forces with a weapon easily transportable during airborne operations and still allowing a significant firepower to the units serving it. The FG-42 is equipped with a bayonet foldable under the barrel, a bipod and the charger (10 to 20 shots depending on the model) is inserted on the side.

The first model (F) appears in 1942 and the first returns are rather negative: expensive to produce, this weapon is not precise, difficult to stabilize during the automatic shooting (even with the bipod) due to a very strong retreat . In addition, the ammunition capacity of the loader is too low. The second model (G) brings certain improvements but does not eliminate its important general shortcomings: reduction of the rate of fire, increase of its total mass, prolongation of the bipod.

For some weapons authors, the FG-42 is the equivalent of the American M1918 BAR or the first assault rifle in history, even before the STG 44. However, if the second comparison is admissible, Considering the tactical use of this weapon for the Germans: the FG-42 was not used as a weapon of support as was the BAR, but rather as the main tool of the parachutist fighter.

The FG-42 was used during the Battle of Normandy, but much more sporadically than other individual weapons, mainly because of its technical shortcomings.

FG 42 automatic rifle specification

Creator/User: Germany
Denomination: FG 42 (F)

Caliber: 7.92×57mm Mauser
Feed system: 10/20-round magazine
Effective firing range: 600 m
Rate of fire: 900 rounds/min

Weigth: 4,38 kg
Length: 937 mm