MANUFACTURER(S): Uzinele Metalurgice Copsa Miza si Cugir (UMCMC) - Romania
ACTION: Blowback; Automatic Fire
CALIBER(S)*: 9x19mm Parabellum
SIGHTS: Iron Front and Rear
Detailing the development and operational history of the Orita Model 1941 Submachine Gun (SMG).
Entry last updated on 7/11/2017.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The Romanian Army of World War 2 (1939-1945) utilized a variety of foreign-born weapons during its participation as a member of the Axis powers. This inventory included German rifles and Czech light machine guns as well as various submachine gun types. It was decided at some point to design and develop an indigenous submachine gun weapon for mass production and serial issue to which work began in 1941. The design of the weapon involved Czech Leopold Jasek and Romanians Nicolae Sterva and Army Captain Marin Orita. The new submachine gun went on to bear the Captain's name as the "Orita Model 1941". Despite its designation, it was not adopted until 1943 with manufacture handled by Uzinele Metalurgice Copsa Mica si Cugir (UMCMC).
The Orita became the first locally-designed and produced Romanian submachine gun.
The Orita Model 1941 (or "M1941") appeared in line with submachine guns of the period - some of its design approach seems to have been influenced by the German MP38. A single-piece wooden stock made up most of the slim profile of the gun and integrated the forend, pistol grip, and shoulder stock as one complete unit. The metalwork was inlaid with the barrel protruding a good distance away from the center mass of the weapon. The submachine gun was fed from a 32-round detachable straight box magazine inserted into a port well ahead of the trigger group. The trigger was slung under the action in the usual way and featured a side-to-side safety button set just ahead of the trigger guard. A large changing handle was set to the right side of the gun's body. Sighting was through an iron front and rear arrangement though the rear unit was considerably oversized and graduated out to 500 meters. It also lay well ahead of the operator's face along the top of the receiver. Effective range was closer to 200 meters and muzzle velocity reached 1,315 feet per second. The cartridge of choice was the ubiquitous 9x19mm Parabellum German pistol cartridge.
The Orita seems to have appeared in large numbers for the Romanian Army during its wartime years. The guns were well-finished products though the drawback being their generally overall expensive production costs - typical of many first-generation/prewar submachine guns like the MP38 and M1 Thompson. In practice the weapons were well-received and reliable, allowing them to see frontline issue well beyond the war years. One version - the Model 1948 - appeared with a folding metal tubular stock to promote a more compact profile as well as the wooden solid stock option. Issuance of the Orita continued into the 1970s before the type was abandoned in full - in favor of a locally produced variant of the famous Soviet Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle, the "Pistol Mitraliera Model 1963/1965".