The MP28 has its roots deep in the deadlock of the Great War. Both sides had tried great waves of infantry, poison gas, vast artillery barrages but none of these seemed to do anything to break the stalemate of the Western Front.
As history has shown us, the Tank ultimately won the day but for a while it looked as though specialised raiding parties that were highly trained, aggressive and well equipped may be the secret. The MP18 was one of the first attempts to miniaturise the killing power of the machine gun and make it portable. At just over 9lbs it was still no side-arm but it definitely gave soldiers who carried it an edge in close-quarters fighting.
MP18 with Luger Snail magazine
The MP18 was the firstborn in a long line of submachine guns that carried on serving into the 1970s, so many people copied the design (with some minute changes) including the Chinese, Austrians, Finns and Estonians. In spite of a ban on the study and development of automatic weapons put in place by the Treaty of Versailles, from this evolved the MP28. This used a straight 20 round magazine that sat perpendicular to the barrel (later there was also a 32 round magazine made available).
This design was also shamelessly copied, with the Danes, British and Chinese all getting in on the act. The British Lanchester SMG is a copy so direct that the bolt and magazine from an MP28 can be used in it, though it wins some man-points for being able to use the 17-inch SMLE bayonet!
Lanchester with SMLE bayonet and 50 round magazine. Courtesy of deactivated-guns.co.uk.
The MP28 served with German forces until at least 1945. Its derivatives served with countless other nations for years afterwards, with the Royal Navy using the Lanchester until the 1980s. The MP28 saw use by riot police in the 1920s, the Second World War, its derivatives in numerous French colonial wars, by the Japanese in the Pacific, the Koreans against the Japanese at so on and so on….
Everyone killed everyone with this gun.
So, when a client asked for an MP18 or 28 I was only too happy to oblige!
As ever, if this has inspired you for a project of your own, do drop me a line on the usual email address to discuss! firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, join us on our new Facebook page!