MP3008 (Maschinenpistole 3008)
Submachine Gun (SMG)
A desperate Germany copied the British STEN Mk II submachine gun in the final months of the war.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
1945 proved a disastrous year for the German military. By April, Hitler's territories had shrunk to previously-unthinkable levels as the Allies closed in the from the South and West while the Soviets moved in from the East. The relentless air campaign led by the British and Americans had disrupted the German war machine to immeasurable lengths while critical production regions fell into enemy hands, severely restricting resources and war-making capabilities of the Third Reich. Due to the deteriorating conditions, several "People's" programs were initiated by the government to supply militia groups, local police and the common German with adequate weaponry in the final defense of Germany itself. The weapons would be crude in their general construction for quick production and their operation would be just as simplistic in the hopes that a unified national pride could, somehow, turn the tide of the war in Germany's favor.
The MP 3008 (Maschinenpistole 3008) was a last-ditch submachine gun design intended to arm all manner of German defenders. Design work began in early 1945 and the system proved nothing more than a "reimagined" British STEN (Mk II) submachine gun with only subtle German influences to suit the pressing requirement - mainly in its bottom-mounted feed (the classic STEN fed from a side-mounted magazine). Amazingly, the copy proved sound and overall performance was roughly equivalent to the British STEN Mk II.
It bears note that the German concern of Mauser had already produced a local, unlicensed copy of the British STEN Mk II in the "Gerat Potsdam" beginning in the latter part of 1944. These examples were exact copies complete with English markings, perhaps for use with German clandestine units at some point. Some 28,000 of the type were believed manufactured.
The British STEN itself proved a war-winning design for the English and her allies, serving from 1941 into the 1960s throughout a plethora of conflicts beyond World War 2. The STEN name was derived from its two designers - Major Reginald Shepherd and Harold Turpin - their last name initials ("ST") preceding the place of initial manufacture, Enfield Lock ("EN"). Collectively, the weapon came to be designated as the "STEN" and some 3.7 to 4.6 million believed produced. Crude yet functional, the STEN was born of an equally pressing need to arm the British in the event of a German invasion of the British Isles - how the tide had since turned in 1945.
The MP 3008 remained just as basic as her British counterpart, featuring a largely metal design with a tubular receiver housing the major working components which ran most of the length of the weapon. Overall length was a handy 30 inches with a weight of just over 7lbs. The trigger area was integrated through an attached support structure held underneath the receiver while the trigger was enclosed within a thin-wired large rectangular guard. The stock varied between a hard metal tube or a wooden butt and was affixed to the rear in the traditional sense, intended to support the weapon against the shoulder (a shoulder pad being integrated at the butt's end). The barrel protruded a short distance away from the tubular receiver and sights were basic - a front blade with a rear aperture installation for some level of ranged accuracy. The magazine feed was set under the forward portion of the receiver, much in the same way as in the MP38/MP40 submachine gun series, and could double as a forward hand grip. The cocking handle was set to the right side of the body with its internal spring clearly visible along a cut-out slot. The ejection port was also set to the right side of the receiver, over the magazine feed, and ejected spent shell casings to the right of the operator.
The MP 3008 was designed around an open-bolt blowback system of operation (as was the STEN Mk II before it) and listed a rate of fire of 450 rounds-per-minute. The weapon fed from a standard 32-round detachable straight box magazine (again, as in the STEN Mk II) and fielded an effective range of 100 meters. Muzzle velocity was 1,200 feet per second. As such, the weapon could put a fair amount of fire against a target or target area with relative ease.
Some 10,000 MP 3008 units were produced before war's end though their availability did little to stem the tide of the German defeat. The MP 3008s that managed an existence varied from others in the production pool simply because there were not any uniformed facilities outputting the type on a large scale. As such, workshops charged with its production made due with whatever materials were on hand and this led to several variations of the base idea - hence the use of the welded wire butt or solid wooden stock. At any rate, the weapon was of minor note in the grand scheme of the war though it bears a mention as one of the final desperate projects to emerge from Germany before its collapse in May of 1945.