In 1940 the Germany Army, currently equipped with bolt-action weapons so far as rifles and carbines were concerned, issued a requirement for a semi-automatic (or self-loading) rifle to succeeded the various Mauser weapons of the Gewehr 98 series. The requirement elicited very similar designs from Mauser and Walther, and the German authorities ordered prototypes of each type for competitive evaluation before any major production contracts were placed.
Mauser’s Gewehr 41(M) rapidly revealed itself to be inadequate for service, while Walther’s Gewehr 41(W) (see specifications) received the order. The Gew 41(W) was based on virtually the same gas-operated mechanism as the Gew 41(M), namely a variant of a Danish system. This Bang system trapped muzzle gases and diverted them rearward to power a piston that operated the ejection/loading mechanism.
As well as being difficult to produce, the Gew 41(W) was not an operational success for it was difficult to load quickly and its complicated mechanism led to an unacceptably low level of reliability. Other limitations were the weapon’s considerable weight and also a design that made the weapon unhandy. Production was terminated after the advent of the Gewehr 43, but the type remained in service to the end of World War II, being used mainly on the Eastern Front.
- semi-automatic rifle
- 7.92mm (0.312in)
- 1.175m (46.25in)
- Length of Barrel
- 0.5525m (21.75in)
- 5.1kg (11.25lb)
- Muzzle Velocity
- 775m (2543ft) per second
- 10-round fixed straight box magazine