German Parachute Troops Automatic Assault rifle FG-42 (Fallschirmjägergewehr 42; FjG42).
History and specifications of FG-42 from Second World War.

German full-automatic rifle model 42 (FG-42)

FG-42 (Fallschirmjägergewehr 42, FjG42)
Type: Automatic assault rifle.


When the MP43 development began, the German Parachute Troops took an interest in it, since they felt that a selective-fire weapon would fill a void in their armoury, since airborne operations always demand the maximum firepower in the smallest package.
On further examination, however, they rejected the design on the grounds that the short cartridge, around which the new weapon was being developed, was insufficient for their particular needs, and they demanded a similar weapon taking the full-sized service round.

This demand arose from experience during the airborne invasion of Crete, where they had been the targets for long-range Lee-Enfield rifle fire by British troops, and also from the fact that they considered that the standard 7.92 mm round would be more easily available on any fighting front.
The Wehrmacht were not interested in such a weapon, so, since the Parachute troops were part of the Luftwaffe, they re-submitted their demand through Air Force channels and had it approved.

The weapon was designed by Rheinmetall-Borsig, who received the specification late in 1940 and had a prototype ready for testing in mid-1942. The specification had, in fact, been put out to eight companies, but only the Rheinmetall design was considered worth pursuing. Although it was eventually put into production there were numerous design changes and modifications, and the design was still not finalized when the war ended.

The FG42 was a sound design, based on well-tried principles. It was gas operated, and the bolt mechanism was so designed that when firing single shot the bolt closed on the cartridge, after which pressing the trigger fired the weapon, which then automatically re-loaded. On automatic fire, however, the bolt remained open when the trigger was released to allow the chamber and barrel to cool down between bursts. Much of the weapon was fabricated from cheap steel pressings, while the furniture was of laminated wood or plastic.

While it was an ingenious and effective weapon, it was difficult to shoot accurately due to the heavy recoil of the full-sized cartridge, and due to its lightness and flimsy bipod it was hard to control in the automatic mode.

button go Here to Part II: Fallschirmjaegergewehr 42 – manufacturing, service, pictures and video

Specifications FG-42


TypeAutomatic assault rifle
Caliber7.92 mm
Length37.0 in
Weight9 lb 15 oz
Barrel 19.75 in long, 4 grooves, right hand twist
Feed system20-round detachable box magazine
System of operation Gas; turning bolt
Muzzle velocity 2,500 feet/sec
Cyclic rate of fire 750-800 rpm

Service statistics:

Manufactures Heinrich Krieghoff Waffenfabrik, Suhl
Production delivery1942-43
First combat useSeptember 1943
Final delivery1945
Production figure c.7,000
Price per unit ? (cheap steel pressings, laminated wood or plastic)

button go here to Part II: Fallschirmjaegergewehr 42 – manufacturing, service, pictures and video

References and literature

The Encyclopedia of Infantry Weapons of World War II (Ian V.Hogg)
Infanterie im 2. Weltkrieg (J.B.King, John Batchelor)
Illustriertes Lexikon der Waffen im 1. und 2. Weltkrieg (V. Dolinek, V. Francev, J. Sach)
Hitler’s Sky Warriors (Christopher Ailsby)
The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II (Chris Bishop)

for sharing:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top