For the first time since 1959, the German military is planning to change over their primary infantry rifle to one not made by Heckler & Koch.
The Bundesministerium der Verteidigung, Germany’s combined ministry of defense, announced last week that the firm of CG Haenel GmbH in Suhl has tentatively won the €25 million ($29.6 million) initial tender for the country’s new Sturmgewehr Basiswaffe or Assault Rifle Basic Weapon, replacing the HK-made G36. While the model was not disclosed by the ministry and Haenel has not released a statement, firearms publications on both sides of the pond are confirming the model chosen was the company’s MK556, a select-fire 5.56 NATO piston carbine.
This is ironic because Haenel, which dates back to 1840, was the house of Hugo Schmeisser, the inventor of the StG44, the world’s first “assault rifle” and during its East German phase cranked out Kalashnikov-pattern MPiK/MPiKM rifles for the DDR.
You know, these
So in a way, the Bundeswehr is just changing back to long-held family traditions.
Of course, the MK556 looks far more Stoner/Sullivan than Schmeisser/Kalashnikov.
More in my column at Guns.com.
Some 20 years ago this month, the largest deployment of the German Bundeswehr since it was established in 1955 got underway. With United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 adopted on 10 June 1999, what became known as KFOR, some 50,000-strong, was soon stood up. Of these, 8,500 came from Germany and the force included both heavy and light armor as well as mountain (Gebirgsjäger) and parachute (Fallschirmjäger) units, the first time such detachments saw use in the Balkans since 1945.
Soldier of the Panzer Grenadier battalion 112 on a Marten AFV. On June 12., 1999
A convoy of German KFOR troops during the move into Prizren, Kosovo.
German Fallschirmjäger 1999 KFOR, note the newly-adopted HK G36
Prizren sniper overwatch KFOR June 1999, German Scharfschütze mit dem G22, an Accuracy International AWM with matched Zeiss 3–12×56mm glass
A convoy of several Leopard 2 A4 MBTs drives out of the camp at the airfield. KFOR
Strassenszene in Prizren – Waffenträger Wiesel der Fallschirmjäger. You have to love a Wiesel.
A TPZ Fox secures the bridge to the Prizren, Kosovo, old town area near the iconic Sinan Pasha Mosque, the latter built in 1615 by the Ottomans. (November 1999).
Ein Kampfpanzer Leopard 2 A5 in destroyed village near Nasec.
In the past 20 years, 135,000 Germans have taken part in KFOR operations, and 70 are still deployed today.
The Kampfschwimmer units are the rough equivalent of the U.S. Navy SEALS and, as noted in a video from the German military, they really dig that Heckler & Koch.
The above spot is in German, but relax if your Deutsch ist rusty because you could fit all the dialog onto a fortune cookie strip. The gist is: innocent German citizens are in deep sauerkraut somewhere sketchy and the KSM get tasked to pull them out before bad guys with Kalashnikovs can do weird scheisse to them.
After jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, the German frogmen are taken aboard a sneaky little Type 212 diesel-electric submarine — which has a convenient compartment for combat swimmers while their gear gets passed out via 533mm torpedo tube. Then, said KSM platoon pops up silently all spec ops pimp in the shallow water offshore and moves in. That’s when you see the beauty that is tricked-out HK MP7 SMGs along with G38 and G36 rifles and other assorted goodies right from the Willy Wonka of precision steel schmidt that is Oberndorf am Neckar.
After finding the good guys, then checking their names and mother’s names, the group exfils under the cover of snipers armed with what looks like HK417s in 7.62x51mm, dusting some Eurotrash clowns in a tiny pursuit vehicle.
“Request for hot extract” is universal.
Despite some issues and a controversy over accuracy, the Lithuanian Army is doubling down on HK G36s.
Oberndorf, Germany, August 31, 2016:
Heckler & Koch will supply the Lithuanian armed forces with additional G36 assault rifles and the new 40mm grenade launcher, the HK269. The Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence placed the order at the end of August 2016. The contract is for approx. €12.5 million (USD14 million). Delivery will be in 2017.
The G36 has been the Lithuanian Army’s standard assault rifle since 2007. The new order is for a modified version of the G36, which the Lithuanian armed forces have designated the G36 KA4M1. The weapon configuration that has been ordered corresponds to the experience, observations and recommendations of the users. The modular G36 KA4M1 will be equipped with new buttstocks, slimmer handguards and modified sight rails. The 40mm HK269 that is being introduced at the same time differs from its predecessors in that it is possible to open the barrel on either side, so that the weapon can be used with ease by both left and right-handed users.
It’s not the only update to the country’s military, as Lithuania has received about 200 combat and medium-lift Mercedes-Benz GD vehicles, trucks and other military vehicles from the Netherlands in a $7 million deal to supplement and update the Baltic country’s military fleet.
This comes as NATO has announces a commitment to base four mechanized battalions (drawn from U.S., British, German and Canadian forces) in Eastern Europe backed up by a further 5,000-man Joint Task Force.
But in the spirit of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” Lithuania is passing 150 tons of surplus Cold War Soviet ammunition, mainly 7.62x39mm cartridges, to embattled neighbor Ukraine. Nostrovia!
Plagued with issues (mainly exceptionally poor accuracy past 100m when operating in temperatures over 80 degrees), the German Bundeswehr is moving to scrap their entire 178,000 rifle stockpile of HK G36s– but are chalking it up to the age of the guns although they were acquired in 1996.
While a contender hasn’t been named, the ‘Heer picked up 1,200 AR-10-ish HK417s last month.
“The G36 was procured with a service life of 20 years in mind, which will be reached in 2016. Furthermore, the current forces’ requirements by far exceed the potential of modifications that could be made to the G36,” said Katrin Suder, German State Secretary for Defence Procurement, as noted by Janes.
Maybe the Germans can donate them to a country or three that doesn’t send a lot of people to the sandbox. Perhaps the Baltics. As long as the Russians don’t invade in August they should be good.
It looks like the Heckler and Kock G36 wunderschtuzen is stumbling and falling– due to accuracy issues.
German Kampfswimmers with the HK G36 underwater
As reported by German media:
Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen announced on Wednesday that the controversial G36 rifle ‘has no future in the German Army,’ signalling the end of a two decade relationship between the army and the dodgy weapon.
In recent weeks the Defense Ministry had admitted that the rifle, which the Bundeswehr has used since the mid-1990s, has “accuracy problems,” specifically a loss of accuracy when the rifle gets hot – either due to the air temperature or sustained firing.
Then came a report from the UK that the weapon, used by British counter terror and domestic security units, is in hot water there as well.
A study found that, “when the atmospheric temperature reached 30C (86F), bullets missed their mark by about 50cm (20 inches) at a range of 200m (220 yards) and by up to six metres – about 20ft – over 500m (546 yards)”