Flexible assault rifle of the German ‘blue helmets’ – Heckler & Koch G36
PANAGYURISHTE, (BM) – Having adopted the Heckler & Koch G 3 assault rifle in the Bundeswehr in 1958, Germany for a long time remained practically the only country that had as its main rifle, designed to use cartridges of 7.62 × 51 mm caliber.
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At this time, Germany’s partners in NATO and their opponents from the “camp of socialism” switched to the use of small-caliber cartridges. This made it possible to significantly reduce the mass-dimensional characteristics of the weapon and at the same time significantly increase the penetrating ability of the bullet, while maintaining its destructive power and stopping effect acceptable.
At the same time, in the 1980s, which saw the peak of the transition to small-caliber cartridges, few people paid attention to their main drawback. A bullet fired from such a cartridge, although it had a high muzzle velocity, had a low stability. Any obstacle encountered in flight could knock her off course.
Germany’s lagging behind in this matter was due to the presence of a certain number of 5.56 mm assault rifles HK 33 and G 41 in service with the Bundeswehr and the enthusiasm in the late 80s. XX century very ambitious projects for creating weapons for a caseless cartridge of 4.7 mm.
As a result of the failure (the most common reason is lack of funding), the caseless assault rifle G 11, created by Heckler & Koch, although it was put into service, did not become the main rifle of the Bundeswehr, and Germany was practically left without small-caliber automatic weapons.
In the late 1980s. this gap became most obvious after the troops of the Bundeswehr were faced with the need to interact with other armies of NATO countries. In 1990, the leading arms company Heckler & Koch received an order (Project 50) for the development of a universal 5.56 mm rifle capable of becoming the base for a family of small arms from a submachine gun to a machine gun, as well as replacing an assault rifle in service rifle G 41.
The first samples of the new rifle were presented for testing in August 1997. Its versatility was achieved through the use of an unconventional for Heckler & Koch weapon, but the most widespread in the world, gas-operated automatic system with locking the barrel by turning the bolt and a short stroke of the gas piston. At the same time, the rifle used a modular trigger mechanism, traditional for the company, connected into a single block with a fire control handle and detachable during incomplete disassembly.
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In 1999, the Bundeswehr command had the need to send units of the German “blue helmets” to participate in the resolution of the Yugoslav crisis. Naturally, the servicemen of this unit had to be armed with weapons designed to use a 5.56 mm NATO cartridge.
This accelerated the process of adopting a new assault rifle developed by Heckler & Koch and designated the G 36. However, the adoption of this rifle was not a matter of course. Weapons “Heckler & Koch” had to pass demanding military tests, which involved two samples of each of the 10 rifle models on the market and 7 – light machine guns.
In the future, as planned, the G 36 rifle became the basis for a number of modifications, the most famous of which are: G 36 K – a carbine with a shortened barrel and forend and MG 36 – a machine gun with a reinforced barrel, bipods and a drum magazine with a capacity of 100 rounds. The MG 36 machine gun has increased firepower and is intended for use as a light support weapon for an infantry squad. Outside Germany, export modifications are more known, respectively G 36 E, G 36 KE and MG 36 E.
The identity of the design of the rifle and machine gun and the same methods of handling them can significantly simplify the methodology for training soldiers and reduce the cost of production, repair and maintenance.
Small size, weight and recoil, larger ammunition, built-in telescopic sight that allows you to quickly and accurately “capture” the target in almost any visibility conditions, and other design features of the new weapon determine its advantages over the “tandem” rifle that was previously in service in Germany G 3 and MG 3 machine gun.
Each G 36 rifle and MG 36 light machine gun are subject to acceptance tests. According to the norms, the maximum diameter of the scattering circle when firing a single fire in groups of 5 shots at a distance of 100 m should not exceed 12 cm, but in practice it is much smaller. At the beginning of the XXI century. the G 36 assault rifle was officially in service with the army units of Germany and Spain, as well as the London police.
Quite common in many developed countries and quite expensive civilian modifications. According to experts, the rifle has a great future, and soon it will be able to compare in popularity with the famous G3.
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