1918 submachine gun
From May to October 1918, Fritz
Walther filed a series of patents protecting a submachine gun which was
probably designed in response to the Prussian Rifle Testing Commission's
request for a light automatic weapon chambered in a pistol caliber. It
operated on a short-recoil action in which the barrel and breech block
reciprocated together against the force of a recoil spring wrapped
around the barrel. The breech block contained a separate firing pin
which was actuated by an internal hammer. When the breech block came
back, the hammer was pushed into the cocked position and the firing pin
retracted. A new cartridge was loaded into the chamber from the magazine
as the barrel reciprocated forward. As the breech block closed the
chamber, the hammer came back up and struck the firing pin, which in
turn struck the cartridge in the chamber.
The Walther submachine gun employed a helical magazine that can best
be compared in shape to a tin can. It was fitted into the feeding
position by a screw-threaded attachment point on the lower receiver.
The internal arrangement of the magazine was an ascending spiral which
rotated upon the movement of the bolt and carried fresh cartridges up
to the feed position.
Alternate version of the Walther
submachine gun, as per the original patent
sketches of DE320168. This employs an unusual buttstock design.
The Walther submachine gun was made in two different prototypes: a model
with a wooden rifle stock and a model with a pistol grip. These guns
were probably submitted for testing by the German Army in 1918, but the
decision to adopt the Bergmann M.P.18,I had already been made and there
was no intention of introducing another submachine gun into German
service. Photographs also exist of the wooden stock model being tested
by what appears to be an Austrian, French, or Swiss soldier - possibly
Walther submachine guns were trialed in Austria-Hungary, as was the case
with the Schwarzlose submachine gun. In any case, the Walther submachine
gun never went into production, and the end of the war in November
eliminated any requirement for a weapon of this type.
A photograph of the Walther
submachine gun undergoing testing, probably
c.1918, by what appears to be a non-German solider - possibly Swiss?