It will be difficult to find a compatriot who, at least on TV, has not seen the German MP-40 submachine gun. Residents of the countries of the former Soviet Union recognize this machine almost faster than the Kalashnikov. At the same time, the overwhelming majority of people call German weapons "Schmeisser" by the name of the famous German engineer Hugo Schmeisser. The only problem is what the MP-38/40 did - Heinrich Volmer.
In fact, there is a whole story around the name MP-40 in the republics of the former USSR, almost a detective story! But first, you need to go back in time long before the Second World War. That way in the XIX century, and maybe even earlier. The Schmeisser family was well known in the German lands even before the country of beer, sausages and eccentric philosophers became a single state in 1871. Schmeissers are hereditary gunsmiths. Although, of course, the greatest talent in their family was destined to become precisely Hugo Schmeisser, who worked already at the beginning of the 20th century. It was he who at one time developed the first German MP-18 submachine gun (which was quite good). They even managed to put it into service a few months before the end of the First World War.
And then came July 28, 1919, when the Treaty of Versailles, the most shameful for Germany, was signed. According to its results, the country, which tried to break out by military means among the leading states, was prohibited, among other things, from developing its own firearms, especially automatic ones. True, the young and energetic Hugo Schmeisser was not stopped by any prohibitions from France and England. He and his brother Hans left Bergmann and founded their own company, immediately starting their own experiments with weapons.
The 1920s came, and the rise to power of the Nazis began in Germany. And there, not far off, was 1933, when Adolf Hitler became Reich Chancellor and Fuhrer of Germany. The country of Kant, Hegel and Feuerbach moved in a marching line to a new world war. To do this, she needed a lot of new and modern weapons, and therefore people like Hugo and Hans Schmeisser she really needed. The brothers' company rose very well in the 1930s on government arms contracts. The company actively fought for the right to produce its own weapon models, although, as already noted, Hugo and Hans had nothing to do with the creation of the MP-38. The famous submachine gun, like its "40" model, was created by another talented German gunsmith Heinrich Volmer.
Hugo Schmeisser is related to the 38/40 submachine gun project only in the sense that the famous German in 1941 developed his own model on the basis of the design proposed by Volmer, which received a wooden stock and the name MP-41. True, the machine was not very successful, and therefore it was released in an amount of only 26 thousand copies. But a representative number of stores with the inscription “MP-41. Schmeisser's patent ", which were also produced under the MP-40, since the caliber of the assault rifles was the same. As a result, some of the elements of ammunition supply from Schmeisser's enterprises fell into the hands of Soviet soldiers, who, without much understanding, associated them with the machine gun made by Volmer. Most likely, most of the Red Army fighters did not even know about the existence of the latter.
The fact that Hugo really made an excellent machine gun during the war years also contributed to the formation of the myth about the name. We are talking about the famous "Sturmgever" - StG-44, born in 1943. He was also called "Schmeisser" by the name of the creator, which contributed to the consolidation of this nickname for the Volmer submachine gun. In the end, this whole story is a great illustration of how important good PR is.
Continuing the topic, read about why does a German machine gunner need there was a wooden backpack over his shoulders.