Lot 1032: ** WAFFENFABRIK BERN, SWITZERLAND A SCARCE 9mm (PARA) FULLY AUTOMATIC SUBMACHINE GUN, MODEL ''MP41/44'', serial no. 18410,
December 8, 2016
London, United KingdomLive Auction
WAFFENFABRIK BERN, SWITZERLAND
A SCARCE 9mm (PARA) FULLY AUTOMATIC SUBMACHINE GUN, MODEL ''MP41/44'', serial no. 18410,
circa 1945, with 12 1/12in. barrel including ventilated shroud, protected fore-sight, two position rear-sight, right hand magazine well with fire selector, tubular bolt housing with applied crescentic cover for the toggle action, cocking lever on the right, ejection port to the left and take-down nut to rear, walnut half-stock with applied full pistol-grip and folding grip to front of fore-end, bayonet lug below barrel and fitted with its original issue sling along with a pair of neck suspended magazine carriers with spare magazine, much finish throughout
Other Notes: Possibly the most impratical (and costly) submachine gun ever manufactured, the MP41 and MP41/44 as presented here was not a huge success to say the least. It was adopted in 1941 by the Swiss army, when they realized that they were falling behind other countries by not having a submachine gun in their arsenal.
The MP41 (not to be confused with the German MP41, which was a completely unrelated gun) was designed by Adolf Furrer, who, it appears, had a fixation with toggle locking actions. He had originally worked at Waffenfabrik Bern building Luger pistols and Maxim machine guns, and had already designed the larger and similar operating LM25 light machine gun. A 9mm submachine gun like the MP41/44 does not need a locked breech at all (most of the more successful designs use simple blowback actions), Furrer, however, was not convinced and designed this to be recoil operated and toggle locked. Upon firing, the barrel, barrel extension, and bolt assembly all move backwards a short distance, and a cam on the inside of the receiver forces the toggle joint to break, unlocking the action. At this point in most guns, the barrel would stop and the bolt would continue rearward under inertia, but the MG41/44 is different. The barrel and bolt parts remain connected at all times – so the barrel continues recoiling backwards under the bolt is fully open. The geometry of the toggle lock legs is such that the bolt is accelerated open faster than the barrel moves backwards, allowing the empty case to clear the chamber and eject. At the end of travel, a recoil spring in the rear pushes the whole assembly forward, forcing the bolt shut again and chambering a new cartridge. Furrer claimed that his design would be quick and easy to put into production, which in hind-sight was a bare-faced lie. The gun turned out to be one of the most expensive production submachine guns ever made, and only a few were built before the design was modified to the 41/44 standard (as here, and still incredibly over engineered), but which simplified many elements. Ultimately, only about ten thousand were produced before the Swiss gave up on it and concentrated on building the MP43/44, which was a far more simple licensed copy of the Finnish M31 (Suomi) submachine gun. Visually, the MP41/44 can be distinguished from the earlier MP41 by having a bayonet lug, two-position fixed rear sight, vertical forward grip, and protective wings on the front sight.