Hugo Schmeisser (1884-1953)
As a son of Louis Schmeisser, one of the best known weapon designers of the 19th century, young Hugo must have been impressed by the work is father did. Anyway he must have had enough reasons to follow his father in his footsteps. Apart from all the things he learned from his father, Hugo learned the in’s and out’s of weapons technology at the “Waffenfabrik Theodor Bergmann” based in Suhl. During the First World War Period Hugo Schmeisser was not enlisted for military service because of his crucial knowledge of (automatic) weapons. In 1916 Hugo Schmeisser developed the mp18.1 “kuglepritz” as a result of a request from the German Rifle Testing Commission. Without going in detail on the mp18.1, it is important to mention that Schmeisser’s blowback operated open bold system is a milestone in the development of sub-machineguns and to be used in many other sub machine gun designs including the mp40. Also the the double stack single feet magazine design, the “mp18.1 Systeme Schmeisser” is something we see back in almost every submachine gun design after the mp18.1.
In 1919 the cooperation between Theodor Bergmann and Hugo Schmeisser ended because of the restrictions of the Versailles Treaty. Hugo Schmeisser started his own company "Industriewerk Auhammer Koch und Co" together with his brother Hans Schmeisser. In this same period they started their long term cooperation with C.G. Haenel Waffen und Fahrradfabrik in Suhl. In order to protect his patents, in case of a bankruptcy, Hugo Schmeisser started up a second company “Gebrüder Schmeisser” in 1922. Since it was a very difficult time for the weapons industry, bankruptcy was a contstant thread. Therefore Auhammer and Haenel merged. Haenel took full liability and responsibility. In 1928 Hugo schmeisser developed from the mp18.1 the mp28.II. This very succesful sub-machine gun was produced by the “Haenel Waffen und Fahrradfabrik in Suhl”.
Hugo Schmeisser proved to be an opportunistic businessmen. During the rise of the National Socialists Party, he became good friends with colourful Ace-aviator Ernst Udet who was an acquintance of Hermann Goering. As a result of this friendship Hugo Schmeisser did get quite some influence in military production decisions of the third Reich.
To be continued, please let me know if you have more information about Hugo Schmeisser (info(at)mp40.nl)