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Fg 42

The meaning of «fg 42»

The FG 42 (German: Fallschirmjägergewehr 42, "paratrooper rifle 42") is a selective-fire 7.92×57mm Mauser automatic rifle[1][2] produced in Nazi Germany during World War II.[7] The weapon was developed specifically for the use of the Fallschirmjäger airborne infantry in 1942 and was used in very limited numbers until the end of the war.

It combined the characteristics and firepower of a light machine gun in a lightweight form slightly shorter (but considerably bulkier and heavier) than the standard-issue Karabiner 98k bolt-action infantry rifle. Considered one of the most advanced weapon designs of World War II,[8][9] the FG 42 influenced post-war small arms development, and many features of its design, such as general shape, stock style, gas-rotating bolt operation (itself copied from the Lewis gun) and sheet metal and plastic construction were copied by the US Army when they developed the M60 machine gun.[10]

At the time of the Battle of Crete (Operation Mercury), German Fallschirmjäger (parachute infantry) were equipped with the same assortment of small arms as the Heer, carrying only 9×19mm Parabellum chambered pistols and hand grenades on them during parachute jumps, with 9×19mm Parabellum submachine guns, 7.92×57mm Mauser chambered rifles and crew-served weapons stored separately in containers that were dropped from the wing of the exit craft. The German RZ parachute harness, with one single riser and two straps attached to the body, making the paratrooper land on his hands and knees in a forward roll, did not allow heavier equipment such as rifles and machine guns to be safely carried during jumps. At Crete, long-range rifle and machine gun fire from dug-in Commonwealth defenders inflicted heavy casualties on the outgunned German paratroopers in the early stages of battle as they attempted to retrieve their support weapons from containers scattered all over the battlefield.[11] These combat experiences demonstrated the need for a rifle that could be carried by the paratrooper during a drop.

The classifications of the development and production Ausführungen (types) are as follows:

In 1941, the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) requested a selective-fire hand-held weapon for the paratroopers; Senior Staff Air Secretary Ossenbach at the GL/C Erprobungsstelle-6 (GL/C E-6—the Luftwaffe Weapons Development Branch at Tarnewitz near Wismar) was approached informally to develop this special new weapon.[11] The Reich Air Ministry (Reichsluftfahrtministerium or RLM) sought to develop a universal shoulder-fired automatic rifle that could replace the bolt-action rifle, submachine gun, and light machine gun in the air assault role.[8] The proposed weapon would also simplify logistics and provide greater firepower to the individual paratrooper.

The RLM attempted to initiate a formal weapons development program through the Heereswaffenamt (the HWaA, or Army Ordnance Department)—responsible for German small arms development—but conflicting priorities and friction with the Army (the HWaA dismissed the undertaking as unrealistic and offered their G 41(W) semi-automatic rifle instead) led to an independent development by the Luftwaffe. Plans were laid out to form a central authority for the new program at the Luftwaffe's Erprobungstelle coastal testing station at Tarnewitz. The engineers on staff had acquired considerable expertise developing lightweight automatic weapons, having successfully converted the MG 15 aircraft machine gun to a ground configuration.[12] However, due to the high casualties sustained by the paratroopers during Operation Mercury, Hitler changed his mind about the usefulness of airborne assaults and the plans were terminated.[12] Nevertheless, Luftwaffe Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring privately ordered the continuation of the project.[12]

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