Sunday, December 29, 2013

Kurz & Volkssturm.

This is coolbert:

Some miscellany regarding the intermediate Kurz round and the German Volkssturm.

1. The Kurz intermediate round. Ammunition as fired from the VG1-5 and StG-44.

Kurz a round larger and more potent than a pistol round but less powerful than a conventional high-power military round. Allowing the troop to fire an assault rifle on automatic from the shoulder and do so in a controlled manner.

Kurz adequate as a man-stopper out to about 200 meters. Nothing more than that needed. A compromise that met requirements deemed as appropriate.

"the Kurz round was substantially shorter and delivered less recoil than full-length 7.92x57mm, but was still as effective when engaging targets at typical combat ranges of 300 m (328 yd)."

"7.92x33mm Kurz, is a rifle cartridge developed in Nazi Germany prior to and during World War II . . .  It was specifically intended for development of an automatic carbine (assault rifle). The round was developed as a compromise between the longer 7.92x57mm rifle and the 9x19mm Parabellum pistol rounds, and is known as an intermediate cartridge"

2. Volkssturm. German militia of the World War Two era.

Comprised of middle-aged men beyond draft age, those members of the Hitler Youth, and persons previously deemed as physically unfit for military service.

Volkssturm greatly resembling [?] the levee en masse from the time of the French First Republic.  Conscripted men issued a weapon and the most rudimentary training, relying on sheer numbers and overwhelming mass to defeat the conventional enemy on the battlefield.

"The Volkssturm . . . more figuratively 'people's army' or 'national militia' was a German national militia of the last months of World War II . . . It conscripted males between the ages of 16 to 60 years who were not already serving in some military unit as part of a German Home Guard."

Volkssturm on parade. Middle-aged men beyond draft age. Carrying lots of anti-tank rocket propelled grenade [panzerfaust], and in the foreground one man hoisting over the shoulder a general purpose machine gun. Volkssturm beyond small arms not possessing any heavy weaponry at all.

This elderly Volksstrum volunteer learning how to fire a panzerfaust. An anti-tank rocket propelled grenade. NOT much more effective than when fired at a target less than thirty meters away! That armband if worn uniformly by all the Volksstrum would qualify for prisoner of war status and fair treatment under the Laws of Land Warfare if captured.

Thanks to LoneSentry we have this allied intelligence appraisal of the Volkssturm:

"At present any turnout of the Volkssturm is likely to present a rag-tag-and-bobtail appearance, in dress as well as armament. The only item of clothing or insignia currently issued is a black arm band with the lettering 'Deutscher Volkssturm' in a light color and with the word 'Wehrmacht' directly underneath this. The Nazis have asserted that this arm band officially makes the Volkssturm members a part of the Wehrmacht (Armed Forces)."

Under the right conditions the Volksstrum could have given a good account of themselves? Especially in the type of close-quarters city fighting the use of heavy weaponry negated.

Primarily, the issuance of weapons to middle-aged and older men and also Hitler Youth was a clear and obvious signal to the German people that the end of the war was at hand. Extreme conditions call for extreme response that indicate trouble not ameliorated by conventional means.


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