Unlike the armies of the USA and the USSR, the Deutsche Wehrmacht never tried to make a semi-automatic or automatic rifle their standard, and most Germans carried the venerable Mauser 98 bolt-action rifle until V-E Day. But they supplemented their Mausers with all kinds of other small arms, from the submachine guns common during the war to the assault rifles changing infantry armament at the end. One of these supplements was the semi-automatic K.43 and G.43 rifle (the same weapon was known by both names, we’ll call it G.43 for the rest of this post). This rifle fired 7.92 x 57mm Mauser ammunition from a 10-round box magazine. This is a standard G.43 (image from the Imperial War Museum, London):
The G.43 was a gas-operated rifle using a tilting bolt, and was the product of several years of experimentation and preliminary models. (In the video embedded at this link, you can see Ian and Karl shoot a G.42 and one of its predecessors, the G.41(m), in a match).
As it was developed midwar, new developments were readily combat-tested, usually on the Eastern Front. The magazine was detachable, and in combat an empty magazine could be replaced with a fresh one, or reloaded with Mauser chargers, at the soldier’s option. Today, these standard but less-common German infantry weapons are collector pieces selling for several times the price of a K.98k, and the rare scoped versions are higher yet. But we’re going to show you a very rare variant indeed:
What you’re looking at is a G.43 factory-built to accept the 7.92 x 33mm kurz, the MP-42/43/44/St.G.44 magazine, and with a selector switch. It was called the G.43 DFE, for Dauerfeuereinrichtung, or automatic-fire equipment. While it looks like it would have been a one-off or few-off prototype, Russian researchers found evidence that it was combat-tested near Leningrad (the Communist-era name for St. Petersburg), and, in fact, in the same area where the ur-assault rifle, the MkB.42(h), was tested.
The evidence? 7.92 kurz ammunition packed in Mauser-like chargers. Most often, 7.92 x 33 was packed loose in boxes.
These could, however have been used to reload magazines out of the firearm, like the chargers used with the US M16 or the Soviet AK-74. There’s Evidence for that proposition? There is an extant and known 7.92 kurz charger that is used to load magazines, and contains a wide area that attaches to the mag.
In any event, production of these firearms was not extensive. The illustration above (from a book by S.B. Monetchikov, although the only book by him we know of — and have on order — is History of the Russian Assault Rifle) shows a firearm with a two-digit plus-a-leading-zero serial number, possibly 019. With a few more serial numbers we could run the Panther Tank Problem to estimate total production, but we can’t do it with one data point.
Monetchikov’s caption, po-Anglicky:
7.93 x 33 automatic rifle G.43 Dauerfeuereinrichtung (DFE). Probable designation model 1944. This firearm was equipped with the detachable 30-round magazine from the MP-43.
A close-up in Monetchikov shows the selector at the left rear of the receiver cover.
Caption, quick and dirty meatball translation:
Close-up of the 7.92mm automatic rifle G.43 Dauerfeuereinrichtung (DFE) for the “short” cartridge 7.92 x 33. It contains a fire-control mechanism that enables both single and automatic fire. Probable designation model 1944 by the Walther firm. On the left side of the action is the switch to select mode of fire.
The G.43 DFE is also covered briefly in Senich’s The German Assault Rifle: 1935-1945, in both the 1987 hardback and 2008 paperback editions.
This whole discussion took place on the guns.ru forum back in 2007. (Pretty poor google translation). It would be interesting to see what else has been unearthed (literally) by those investigators since then.