The military manuals
Basically there are 4 different types of military manuals without taking the reprints into account:
1) Beschreibung der Maschinenpistole 38 (M.P.38) mit Handhabungs- und Behandlungs-Anleitung.
2) Merkblatt für die Ausbildung mit der Maschinenpistole 38 und 40 (M.P. 38 u. 40.)
3) D (Luft) 5602 Die Ausbildung mit der Maschinenpistole 38 und 40 (M.P.38 und 40)
4) D167/1 and 2 Maschinenpistole 40 Beschreibung, handhabungs- und Behandlungsanleitung (a set of two booklets)
In fact the D (Luft) 5602 can be considered the same manual as the “Merkblatt” series of manuals. This was the Luftwaffe’s (Air force) version of it. Most of the text is identical.Before going into detail with each manual there are a few general remarks to be made about these military manuals.
• The manuals make use of two basic text structures one being more focused on the training of the soldier (The Merkblatt series and the D-5602 Luft) and one more focused on the technical description of the MP38 and MP40 and its parts (the “Beschreibung der M.P.38 and the D167/1).
• The military manuals were not printed for the individual soldier. They were written for trainings-personnel, weapons technicians and administrative personnel. Some of the observed manuals have unit stamps on them. Due to the frequent renaming of certain units some manuals have many crossed out stamps on the cover or the second page. The individual soldiers were equipped with the “Ausbildungsvorschrift für die Infanterie” (Training Manual for the infantry) which also included a small section about the training with the MP38 or MP40.
• All printed Military manuals make use of the aged “Fraktur” font. This is contrary to the printed “civilian” manuals which use a mix of the aged “Fraktur” and a more modern font. In general most military publications used the “Fraktur” font.
• There were only manuals issued for the Wehrmacht (Army) and the Luftwaffe (Airforce). No specific Kriegsmarine (Navy) manual was published for the MP38 or MP40.
• The release of a new manual usually was announced in the “Heeres verorndungsblatt” (Army Gazette)
• All manuals refer to other instruction books or manuals. The paragraphs, off all manuals, that refer to the cleaning of the MP state that cleaning tool 34 is to be used according to h.Dv. 256. Only the Luftwaffe Manual, the D (Luft) 5602, refers to a airforce manual of the cleaning tool 34, the L.Dv. 409. When it comes to the safety measures paragraph all Army (Heeres or Wehrmacht) manuals refer to h.Dv. 225/2.
Beschreibung der Maschinenpistole 38 mit Handhabungs- und Behandlungs-Anleitung
The „Beschreibung der Maschinenpistole 38 mit Handhabungs- und Behandlungs-Anleitung“ (Description of the machinepistol MP38 with users and handling manual) was the first manual ever published for the MP38. This first manual was more of a technical description and is in fact the predecessor of the later and better known D167/1. The cover and the back were printed but the inner pages were typed out or mimeographed. Only two pictures were depicted in the manual. These pictures were not printed but real photo inserts that were pasted onto the last two pages of the manual. Three staples with a glued cover were used to bind the very few copies made of this manual.
Apart from the more standard paragraph indicator and title every title is also printed right from the text. The exact purpose is unknown but it gives definitely a better oversight.
The manual has 23 text pages and 2 pages with photos referred to as “tables”. The printer is not mentioned in the manual. On the cover it says “Gedruckt im Oberkommando der Wehrmacht” which means “Printed in the High Command of the Wehrmacht”. On the cover above the main title is an underlined text stating “Nur für den Dienstgebrauch” which means that the contents of this manual was confidential and meant for official use only. On the inside of the cover another statement is made that suggest the manual was not widely spread like the later MP manuals. It states: “Dies ist ein geheimer Gegenstand” which means this is a secret article. These two indications are logical since the manual was part of a series of documents all relating to a weapons testing program as the texts and stamps on the cover reveal. It is stated that the manual is an attachment to a weapons testing document (Wa Prüfung 2/III) and several other documents all relating to this testing program. Another indication that the manual was an attachment is the double page numbering. First there is the original page numbering printed on top and in the middle of every page. Secondly there is a stamped page numbering in the right top corner of every page which starts with page 13 on the cover.
Description of contents:
The manual is divided into 10 chapters, Chapters A through Chapter K. It is interesting to see that a Chapter with the letter “i” is missing. The skipping of the letter “i” is seen more often in German letter chronology. (Serial numbers for instance) this to prevent a mix up with the letter “j”.
Chapter A. is divided into 3 sections and presents a general description of the MP38; the main parts of the MP38 and the equipment used with the MP38.
Chapter B. describes the proper handling of the MP38 and is subdivided into 7 sections. These subsections describe the proper loading of the magazine; how to “lock and load”; how to “unlock”; the firing process; and finally the disassembly and assembly of the MP38.
Chapter C through Chapter K describe the possible malfunctions, proper cleaning, repair and replacement procedures, size and weight, ammunition, shooting distances and results, security measures and finally the tables with the two photos. The photos depict the left and right view of the MP38, the disassembled MP38 in its four main parts and the accessories that belong to the MP38.
Apart from the common chapter and paragraph partition in Capital letters and Roman numbers there is a second more unusual partition in this manual. As from page 7 every page has in a left column a regularly numbered partition from paragraph 1 to 30. This partition system is also seen in the earlier print of the D167/1. This way of presenting paragraphs allows the reader to have a very quick overview.
1) The manual from 1938 is, logically, only focusing on the MP38, abbreviated “M.P.38” while in the later manuals only the words “Maschinenpistole” or “MP40” are used.
2) It is specifically mentioned that the MP38 can also be used with the stock folded. In none of the other manuals this is mentioned.
3) The MP38 depicted on the pasted photos is obviously some sort of proto type. This MP38 is a version where the longitudinal grooves are over the full length of the receiver (see picture), the trigger is formed differently. The handgrip has a different angle and is fitted with wooden handgrips just like the EMP36.
4) All the equipment depicted on the photo on the last page are non-production items;
a. The depicted magazine pouch seems has only 4 cells to insert the magazines. The pouch is a type that never went into production.
b. The hinged muzzle cap seems to be a cruder version than its successor. The top part is much higher shaped and does not step down in shape (from the connector to the sight of the MP38) as its production successor.
c. The magazine loader is the 1938 version of the loader. This loader differs from the later magazine loaders that it has a welded front end of the push handle.
d. The magazine is also a very early MP38 magazine with the commercial “Haenel” logo stamped on the left side.
The „Beschreibung der Maschinenpistole 38 mit Handhabungs- und Behandlungs-Anleitung“ is the rarest manual of the MP series. The version described here is currently the only known version and is part of the massive document collection of the Militärarchiv (Military archives) department of the Bundesarchiv in Freiburg (Germany).
Merkblatt für die Ausbildung mit der Maschinenpistole 38 und 40 (M.P. 38 u. 40.)
The „Merkblatt für die Ausbildung mit der Maschinenpistole 38 und 40 (M.P. 38 u. 40.)“ (Instruction leaflet for the training with the sub-machinegun 38 and 40) from 1939 was the manual that was published and printed in 4 different versions and reprints based on surviving examples. If the Luftwaffe manual D (Luft) 5602 is included (the text is almost identical) there are 5 different versions of this manual. The whole focus of this manual is the training of the “schütze” (rifleman). Apart from the more general paragraphs like the description of the parts and a description of the equipment this manual explains also how to carry the weapon in different positions and most importantly it describes a complete shooting training session and the desired results.
As stated in the introduction, the manual was not meant for the individual soldier. In the case of this manual it was for the training officer who was responsible for the weapons instruction and shooting lessons. The manuals were distributed at the Company or Battalion level.
Over a period of 5 years, four different versions of the „Merkblatt für die Ausbildung mit der Maschinenpistole 38 und 40 (M.P. 38 u. 40) were issued. These were;
1. Version 1: “Merkblatt”- The original version from the 4th of December 1939 (27 pages)
2. Version 2: “Merkblatt”- The original version from the 4th of December 1939 but with blue hardcover
3. Version 3: “Merkblatt”- A reprint from 1942 with blue hardcover (27 pages)
4. Version 5: “Merkblatt”- A reprint from 1944 with beige hardcover (22 pages)
The original first “Merkblatt” manual from 1939 (version 1) measures 147mm x 103mm. It has 28(including cover pages) pages which are stapled together with two staples. The earliest print from the 4th of December 1939 did not have a cardboard cover as some later prints do. The cover page was made of the same paper as the internal pages. The printer is not mentioned in the manual. On the cover it says “Gedruckt im Oberkommando der Wehrmacht” which means “Printed in the High Command of the Wehrmacht”.
Description of contents:
The manual consist of 8 chapters. These chapters are numbered with Roman numbers. In the first chapter a general description is given. In chapter II all parts of the MP are explained as well as the assembly and disassembly of the weapon, the technical process and the cleaning of the process. Chapter III deals with the malfunctions that can take place when shooting the MP and the correct process for clearing a malfunction. In chapter IV the equipment is described. In chapter V a detailed description is given about the handling of the weapon, the correct way to carry and correct firing positions for the MP. The last three chapters give a detailed description of all the steps of a training shooting session. Chapter VI includes a specific table with four different shooting position and their distances, targets, mode of fire, firing intervals, and minimum number of hits on the target
1) The manual is from the 4th of December 1939 and already describes the MP40 although the depicted weapon is still a MP38.
2) On page 5 it is interesting to see that the remark made on the bottom of the page is wrong. It is stated that the MP38 has a smooth housing and the MP40 a housing with longitudinal grooves. One could think the author of the manual has mixed things up with the magazine holder but in 1939 the mp40 also still had a smooth magazine receiver.
A second version of the original was issued as well, the only difference being the hardcover. No corrections were made in this version.
Reprint from 1942 Merkblatt für die Ausbildung mit der Maschinenpistole 38 und 40 (M.P. 38 u. 40.)
This version of the „Merkblatt für die Ausbildung mit der Maschinenpistole 38 und 40 (M.P. 38 u. 40.)“ was the first corrected reprint of the original. There were only a few corrections made in this manual. Nevertheless these corrections were considered to be vital since they were mainly related to the challenges with the magazine and feeding system of the MP38 and MP40. By 1942, the German Wehrmacht had accumulated a great deal of field experience through their many campaigns, and the High Command decided it was time to incorporate this knowledge and publish a reprint of the 1939 manual.
When we take close look at the cover we can observe that an additional title was added in the left top corner stating; Vorschrift ohne Nr.: Anh 2 zur h. Dv. 1a Seite 40, lfd. Nr 4. Meaning: Vorschrift ohne Nr.: Anhang 2 zur heeres Dienstvorschrift 1a Seite 40, Laufende Nummer 4 (Instruction without number.: Attachment 2 to main directory of printed army manuals 1a page 40, serial number 4.) Interesting here are the numbers 40 and 4 because in the reprint from 1944 the cover had the number 40/4 added to the title. This might be a bit too much of a coincidence. Important to mention is that with this additional title an explanation is made that this manual is an attachment to the HDv1a. from the fifth of may 1939. The HDv1a was basically the directory for the printed Army manuals.
Under the main title we can see “berichtigter Nachdruck” which means that this manual is a corrected reprint.
Differences to the original manual of 1939:
1) The 1942 reprint was issued as a hardcover. As stated, the original was also already issued with a hardcover
2) 2) The footnote at page 5 is completely changed. In the original print a wrong comment was made about the receiver (see point 2 under remarks with the original Merkblatt für die Ausbildung mit der Maschinenpistole 38 und 40 (M.P. 38 u. 40). The footnote was changed with an unnecessary comment that the usage of the MP38 was similar to that of the MP40 with only a small exterior difference of the receiver.
3) On page 13,chapter V two additional comments are made;
a. Only undamaged and clean cartridges are supposed to be used.
b. Special attention needs to be paid to the careful filling and the soft handling of the magazine.
4) On page 17 another addition with regard to the magazine position is made. “Special attention needs to be paid to the fit of the magazine. Again the problems that were experienced with the inferior magazine and its position were taken into account.
As stated it’s clear that these additional comments were added after the negative experiences with the MP38 and 40 magazines and feeding system in the first 2 years of the war. Furthermore there were no differences noted by the author. The chaptering, the number of pages, sizes and dimensions all remained exactly the same.
Insert to the Merkblatt für die Ausbildung mit der Maschinenpistole 38 und 40 (M.P. 38 u. 40.) Merkblatt für die behandlung der Machinepistolen zum verhindern von Hemmungen.
On the 15th of November 1941 it was announced in the Heeres Verorndungsblatt (Army Gazette) that an instruction leaflet was issued together with the Heeres Verordnungsblatt to all soldiers equipped with the MP38 or MP40. The leaflet gave a series of additional instructions that were supposed to be executed in order to keep the machine pistol firing when needed. Apparently the problems that were encountered in the field with the magazines and the feeding system were so big that the corrections on the instructions made in the “Merkblatt” reprint of 1942 were simply not enough. What follows is a translation of the „Merkblatt für die behandlung der Machinepistolen zum verhindern von Hemmungen“:
Supplement to h.b.Bl.1941 part C Nr. 985
Instruction sheet for handling the machine pistol to prevent jamming
A) Measures before use
1) Check the function of the bolt assembly, by moving the bolt back and forth in the bolt channel without the magazine in place.
2) Prevent dirt from entering the barrel by placing the muzzle cap on the muzzle.
3) Do not fill the magazine with bent or dirty cartridges.
4) Before filling the magazine, check if the magazine’s interior is clean, as follows:
a) Clean the follower and follower spring.
b) Clean the inner sides of the magazine housing with cloth and grease it afterwards.
c) Do not fill bent or dented magazines.
d) Check the strength of the magazine spring. If the length of the magazine spring is two windings longer than the magazine housing, then it’s acceptable.
5) It's recommended that after filling the magazine the top cartridge is pushed 5 to 10 times with the magazine loader until it "rolls" smoothly.
6) Clean the magazine pouches inside and out from sand and dust.
7) Always place the magazines with their “opening” downward into the cells of the magazine pouch.
B) Measures during use
8) When inserting the magazine into the magazine housing, listen for the click of the magazine catch.
9) To prevent sand and dust from entering the weapon and magazine, as well as to make sure the weapon is still ready for instant use, make sure the bolt is in forward position. Also make sure that the magazine is put in the weapon when the bolt in forward position.
To prevent the bolt from moving rearward due to a heavy bump, a provisional solution in the form of a leather strap has to be utilized, as seen in the drawing. As seen on the drawing. In order to start firing, the only thing that needs to be done is to pull the leather strap off the retracting handle and then pull the bolt rearwards. Pulling back the bolt onto the safety slot is only needed when immediate shooting is not necessary.
10) When the weapon is laid down make sure the magazine is not bumped at the bottom.
11) When holding the weapon, especially when firing, always hold the weapon under the magazine housing with the left hand. Grabbing a hold of the magazine when firing leads to damage of the magazine housing, and jamming of the weapon is the result.
12) During break in combat fighting, dis-assemble and examine the MP, magazines and magazine pouches.
13) Always close the clasp of the magazine pouch after taking out or putting in a new magazine.
14) The magazines should only be loaded when anticipating going into combat. The magazines require special care, especially when steel cartridges are used to fire the weapon.
9002 41 2 A
The leaflet is on A4 format in the color pink. Apart from this issued leaflet an exact copy of the leaflet was also printed in this “Heeres Verorndungsblatt” (Army Gazette) of 15 November 1941.
Almost 2 years later, on the 25th of September 1943, an order was issued in the “Heeres Verordnungsblatt” (Army gazette) that this leaflet had to be inserted in the earlier prints of the „Merkblatt für Ausbildung mit der Maschinenpistole 38 und 40 (M.P. 38 u. 40)“.
Reprint from 1944 -Merkblatt 40/4- Merkblatt für die Ausbildung mit der Maschinenpistole 38 und 40 (M.P. 38 u. 40.)
In 1944 another reprint of the Merkblatt für die Ausbildung mit der Maschinenpistole 38 und 40 (M.P. 38 u. 40.) was published. The cover reveals some interesting changes; an additional title „Merkblatt 40/4” was added in the left top corner. As stated before this coding refers to the Attachment 2 to the directory of printed Army manuals 1a page 40, serial number 4. Also “1944” was added to the cover. Worthy of note was that the “Gedruckt im Oberkommando der Wehrmacht” (Printed in the High Command of the Wehrmacht) was removed although it was still mentioned at the last page.
Three significant changes were made to this 1944 reprint:
1) The previous discussed insert, the „Merkblatt für die behandlung der Machinepistolen zum verhindern von Hemmungen“ was now included as complete chapter (chapter IV). Logically all chapters were pushed one place backward.
2) The paragraphs that deal with the handling and the related photos in the original chapter V are left out in this reprint. The chapter has been renamed from “V Handling of the M.P.38 and 40 and shooting instructions” to “VI Shooting instructions for the M.P.38 and MP40”. All paragraphs about loading the Magazine, picking up and putting away of the MP38, way of carrying, lock and load, unlock, change of magazine and unloading the MP were removed from this new manual. Maybe the High command decided that it was no longer necessary to explain this in detail to the experienced soldiers that were equipped with the MP38 and MP40?
3) All the photos of the M.P.38 were substituted by drawings of a M.P.38. The clarity of the original photos in the earlier prints was indeed of low quality. To improve the visibility of the pictures the photos were replaced by drawings.
It’s remarkable to see is that the correction of the 1942 reprint at the bottom of page 5 is gone and that the wrong note from the original manual is back in place. So much for “Deutsche Gründlichkeit” (German thoroughness) probably the editor took the original text again from the original 1939 print. One other thing that comes to mind is why did the editors not decide to update the drawings of the MP38 with the upgraded retracting handle? They had to draw the pictures anyway.
On the cover, it was no longer mentioned that the publication was a corrected reprint. Understandable because it wasn’t. All the corrections made on the text in the 1942 reprint were excluded in this 1944 reprint. Furthermore no differences were noted by the author.
D (Luft) 5602 Die Ausbildung mit der Maschinenpistole 38 und 40 (M.P38 und 40)
As stated in the introduction of this chapter the text of the Luftwaffe’s (Airforce) “D (Luft) 5602 - Die Ausbildung mit der Maschinenpistole 38 und 40 (M.P38 und 40)” manual was a close copy of the Army’s “Merkblatt” series of manuals. The chaptering, the pictures and the referrals to other manuals were altered to the Luftwaffe’s standards. Externally the D (Luft) 5602 manual fits into the standard design of the Luftwaffe manuals, a blue cover with usually a black horizontal band. The publisher was Dr. M. Matthiesen & Co, a regularly used publisher of books relating to military aviation and military (Luftwaffe) publications.
The D (Luft) 5602 manual uses only the first five chapters from the Merkblatt series of manuals leaving out the chapters that deal with the shooting and combat exercises. The last three chapters are replaced by one small paragraph (paragraph 39) in which a referral is made to the “L.Dv. 4/1 – Schieβvorschrift für Gewehr (Karabiner), Leichtes Maschinengewehr, Pistole und Maschinenpistole.” (Shooting regulations for rifle (carbine), light machine gun, pistols and machinepistol). The L.Dv. 4/1 manual is the Luftwaffe’s version of the h.Dv240 used by the Army. The Army however never added the specific machinepistol shooting instructions to this manual. This confirms that the M.P.38 initially was never intended for the Army, but only for the “Fallshirmjager” (Paratroopers) of the Luftwaffe! Apart from the chapters the Luftwaffe also added a second partition system. All paragraphs received a number from (paragraph 1 till 39). This is in fact a more logical system and is similar to the paragraphing system used in the very first “Beschreibung der Maschinenpistole 38 mit Handhabungs- und Behandlungs-Anleitung” manual.
When going in detail there are several interesting differences between the “D (Luft) 5602” and the Merkblatt series.
1) The photos used in both manuals are very different. When it comes to the specific M.P.38 photos a different set is used. For example the first photo of the M.P.38 in the D (Luft) 5602 manual is shown without a sling. In the Merkblatt series it is showing the sling. Also the positions of the M.P.38 are different. The picture with the disassembled M.P.38 has the bolt and telescope spring is in both manuals very different as well as the description of the photos.
2) All the pictures displaying a soldier are in the D (Luft) 5602 manual a Luftwaffe soldier and in the Merkblatt series a Wehrmacht soldier.
3) Interesting to learn is that the D (Luft) 5602 manual is not listing the 6 cell pouch in the equipment listing. This confirms the authors belief that the 6 cell pouch was “officially” never used by the Luftwaffe but was originally intended for armored vehicle crews.
4) The magazine loader is also not mention in the equipment list.
5) Referrals to other manuals are different since the Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine all used their own set of manuals. For example the manual for the “Reinigungsgerät 34” (Cleaning device 34) was coded H.Dv. 256 for the Wehrmacht, L. DV. 409 for the Luftwaffe and M. Dv.Nr. 378 for the Kriegsmarine.
The D (Luft) 5602 is together with the M.P.38 manual from 1938 currently probably the rarest manual for the mp40.
Apart from the D (Luft) 5602 manual, the more widely spread “civilian” manuals like the “Schmitt: Maschinenpistole 18I/28II/Erma/38/40/34 Leucht Pistole” manual and Heinz Denckler’s “Die Maschinenpistole 40, Beschreibung und Handhabung” are also using the text of the Merkblatt series. The Heinz Denckler manual is creatively adapting the words and sentences used in the Merkblatt series. Probably some copyright infringements had to be prevented. Also it adds the text of the “Reinigungsgerät 34” (Cleaning device 34) manual and the small insert “Merkblatt für die behandlung der Machinepistolen zum verhindern von Hemmungen”. The publishers of the Schmitt manual however simply copied literally most of the paragraph of the Merkblatt series.
D167/1 Machinenpistole 40 Beschreibung, handhabungs- und Behandlungsanleitung (25.9.42 original date 12.12.1940)
The „D“ series of manuals was a series of manuals that did not fit into the regular manual series like the “H.Dv. Heeres Dienstvorschriften” (Army regulations),the “L.Dv. Luftwaffen (Airforce regulations) Dienstvorschriften”or the M.Dv. Marine Dienstvorschriften” (Navy regulations).
Basically the “D”series were an unscheduled set of regulations that were insufficiently covered or not covered at all by the previously mentioned regulations. This was partly due to unexpected outcome of the war. For instance massive amounts of weapons and other material were confiscated from all the armies the German army defeated. For these confiscated enemy weapons new manuals had to be written in the German language.
As we can read in the first “D” manual, which was basically the total overview, the “D1 Verzeichnis der Auβerplanmaβigen Heeresvorschriften“ ( List of unscheduled Army regulations (D), the “D” Manuals subject are divided into the following parts:
D 1 - 99 Für alle Waffen (For all sections of the armed forces)
D 100 - 179 Infanterie (Infantry)
D 180 - 199 Kavallerie (Cavalry)
D 200 - 399 Artillerie (Artillery)
D 400 - 499 Munition (Ammunition)
D 500 - 599 Pioniere (Pioneers)
D 600 - 699 Panzertruppe und Heeresmotorisierung (Troops in armoured vehicles and Motorised troops)
D 700 - 1099 Nachrichtentruppe (Signal corps)
D 1100 - 1125 Nebeltruppe und Gasschutz (Smoke screen troops, Gas protection troops)
D 1126 - 1150 Nachschub- und Verwaltungseinheiten (Ordnance and administrative units)
D 1151 - 1299 Eisenbahnpioniere (Railway pioneers)
The D167-1 and 2 fitted logically in the infantry section. The D167-1 was a successor of the very first MP38 manual, the “Beschreibung der Maschinenpistole 38 (M.P.38)”. The reason why this very first manual was not integrated in the “D” series of manuals was that the “D” manuals did not appear until the 15th of December 1938. Although the text was at some points written in a different way the general content and the chaptering was the same. Remarkable to see is that there was apparently still confusion about the models under the administrative and technical personnel because a third preliminary remark is added stating that “the manual also applies to the MP38 as the design of the MP38 only slightly differs from the MP40 in the operation and handling”. Other notable differences between the manuals are:
1) Slightly „off“ paragraphing.
2) Just like the very first MP38 manual a second paragraphing index was added. The only difference here is that this second index is left of the main text on left pages and right to the text of the right pages. In the M.P.38 manual the index was to the right of the text on every page.
3) The paragraph that deals with the “Mundungsschoner” (Hinged muzzle cap)is replaced with the „Mündungkappe“ (Rubber cap). The over-complicated early metal muzzle cap was replaced with the practical rubber muzzle cap that in case of emergency could be shot through.
4) The paragraph about the magazine is much more detailed. A logical result from all the feeding issues with the magazine.
5) A very significant detail is that the mysterious “Übungsgerät” (training device) is suddenly introduced in the D167/1 with full description. It’s the general consensus that this device has never been issued. It’s therefore unexplainable to the author why this device suddenly is described in the D167/1 and 2.
6) Chapter 5 which deals with unloading the MP has been switched with chapter 6 that handles the disassembly and assembly of the weapon. Maybe the writer/editor of the D167 thought this was a more logical order.
7) Due to the field experiences additional information regarding the maintenance was added also an additional chapter about the cleaning of the accessories was included in the D167/1
8) Since the D167/1 describes the MP40 the paragraph that dealt with the dimensions and weight logically describes a lighter weight since the MP40 had less machined parts then the MP38.
9) The D167/1 added a short paragraph about the rate of fire
10) An additional appendix is inserted in the D167 describing the sighting in of the Mp40 with a drawing example of the target to be used.
11) The D167/1 offers more extensive photographs. All the accessories are pictured and also a cutaway picture of the MP40 is inserted. The pictures are now also in print and not inserted as real glued photos.
The original date of this first print of the D167/1 is the 12th of December 1940. This date is not on the cover but on the last text page. On the cover is stated the date of the 25th of September 1942 which is also the date of the succeeding D167/1 print. Since the first D167/2 is dated the 20th of November 1940 one might expect that there should be an earlier version of the D167/1. The author cannot confirm this since so far no earlier version is reported to exist. It seems that the D167/2 was written earlier than the D167/1. Maybe explainable if the very first MP38 manual is considered to be the direct predecessor of the D167/1.
The question should be raised why the D167/1 and 2 were necessary additions to the “Merkblatt” series. The main difference between the two manual series was the untended use, because of this, there is an overlap in describing the parts, the operation, the handling and the troubles. Some descriptions are even simply copied. The main difference is that the Merkblatt series was intended for the instructors that were involved in training the troops. The D167 series were meant for administrative and technical personnel like the “Waffenmeisters” (Armorers). The D167/1 is far more technical and detailed in giving information about the accessories, the ammunition, shooting performance but on the other hand does not give information about the training. Another clue is that the “Merkblatt” series were 50% smaller so easier to carry around for the instructors.
This first print of the D167/1 measures 210 mm x 148 mm counted 24 pages including the “sighting in” attachment page and the photo pages. The booklet had a cardboard hardcover and was stapled with 2 staples. No printer is mentioned on the cover or internally.
D167/1 Machinenpistole 40 Beschreibung, handhabung und Behandlungsanleitung (Vom 25.9.42)
As stated a reprint of D167/1 was released with the same date (25.9.1942) on the cover. This time the 1940 date was removed from the last text page and other important changes were made which will be described later. Scarcity was the main reason that another print of the D167/1 was needed as well as maintenance and safety improvements on the MP38 and MP40. Most remaining D167 manuals had numerous unit stamps on the first inner page. Even typed out versions of the D167/1 existed. A surviving example of such a typed out version belonged to the “Luftgau-Flakartillerieschule Belgiën-Nordfrankreich (Air District - Anti Aircraft Artillery school Belgium Northern France). The text matches 100% the first D167/1 print from the 25th of September 1942 . If these manuals were widely spread these cheap copies would not have been needed. These manuals were carefully preserved and retained by the administrative staff.
Just as the “Merkblatt” series similar changes to the text of the manuals were made. These changes all relate to the issues with the feeding system and the safety measures. The second edition of the D167 introduced a very interesting novelty in this manual saga. The photo pages have been replaced by fold-out pages. This proves to be very useful. While reading the technical descriptions the reader can fold out the actual photo page that the text refers to. Apart from this physical difference the content of the D167/1 reprint also differs:
1) The version from 1940 has a second paragraphing in the left column of the left page and in the right column of the right page just like the first „Beschreibung der Maschinenpistole 38 mit Handhabungs- und Behandlungs-Anleitung“
2) In the preliminary remarks of the newer version there is added a 4th remark stating that the accessories for the MP38 and MP40 are the same.
3) The magazine brush is added to the accessory list and is also described in the text.
4) In the third part of the operations chapter, a new paragraph is added in the new print of the manual. The paragraph is describing how to secure the MP with the new 2 piece retracting handle. In the older print 2 safety modes are described in the new version 3 safety modes.
a. The weapon is cocked and the bolt is in SAFE position.
b. The weapon is cocked and the bolt in the SAFE position and loaded.
c. The weapon has the bolt forward (uncocked) and thereby SAFE and loaded.
5) The older print ends with “Berlin den 12.12.40” the newer one with “25.9.42”
Interesting to see is that the older print has the name “Koch” (Chef Oberst Dipl. Ing. Koch)written under the “Oberkommando des Heeres” (Army High Hommand). Chief engineer Koch was the officer in charge of the “amtsgruppe für Entwicklung und Prüfung (Wa Prüf)(development and testing support group). In the later print the name was removed while the text remained more or less the same.
D167/2 Maschinenpistole 40 und Maschinenpistole 38 Teil 2 Einzelteile (Vom 20.11.40)
Once the MP38 and the MP40 were put into use with the different parts of the German armed forces it happened that weapons broke down and parts got lost during battle or training. One can assume that ordering new parts can be quite confusing since the proper nomenclature was basically unknown. (Try to think how to describe one of the specific pins of the trigger assembly) Chances were high that miscommunication arose with the result that wrong parts were ordered and delivered. Since the weapon was so widely distributed a standard nomenclature was needed. Since there was already a more technical description of the MP38 („Beschreibung der Maschinenpistole 38 mit Handhabungs- und Behandlungs-Anleitung“) it was decided that this manual had to be combined with a standard nomenclature together with technical pictures. This combination had to be hosted by “D” series of manuals. The preliminary remarks state that the tables have the purpose to ease the recognition and assign the correct descriptions to the parts for weapons technicians and Administrative staff. Basically the D167/2 is an order list which is explained by a footnote referring to part 72 and 73 stating that it is better to order these parts combined.
The cover reveals that this version is dated the 20th of November 1940. The publication is however from 1941 (Berlin 1941). Right under the original dating it is stated that it concerns an unchanged reprint. So again here the dating suggests that this version is not the very first publication but when it comes to content and shape it is the same. The manual was printed by Ernst Steiniger Druck- und Verlagsanstalt. A well known publisher in those years of numerous technical manuals and National Socialistic publications.
This first print of the D167/2 measures 210 mm x 148 mm like the D167/1. It counts 32 pages. 11 text pages and 21 remaining photo pages or empty pages. The photo pages cannot be folded out in this first print. The cover is made of cardboard.
In order to understand order of the nomenclature described in the D167/2 tables it is important to know the elements and explanation of the categories and groups. Looking at it top-down the first partition is made in:
A: Identical parts of the MP40 and MP38
B: Distinctive parts for the MP 40
C: Distinctive parts for the MP38
A second separation is the 5 different main parts as described in the D167/1:
Group I: Barrel with receiver and magazine holder
Group II: Stock with frame and shoulder stock
Group III: Bolt with firing pin
Group IV: Carrying Sling
Group V: Magazine
The parts that are listed can be divided in 2 groups. The specific MP parts (marked “J”) and the non-specific parts (Marked “W”) which are mainly the pins and rivets.
The parts marked as “J” in the indicator requirement column have a specific build up of the “Zeichnungsangabe” (Drawing specification) it exists out of 4 or 5 positions. (5 positions if a subgroup is concerned) As an example the first listed part which is the Barrel nut:
Part number Description Indicator Requirement Drawing specification
1 Barrel nut J 53038 01 E 3227-1
Part number; This is the sequential number of the list
Description; Part description
Indicator requirement Kl. ;Does the part require a specific indicator “J” or a standard part “W”
Indicator requirement Nr.; Part number if marked as “J”, if not it is left blank
Drawing specification; See below
The drawing specification is the most complex code. It exists out of 4 or 5 positions. As an example again the barrel nut; 01 E 3227-1
01: All parts marked as „J“ start with 01. No exception in this manual. Interesting to see that in the reprint of the 11th of December 1942 also the accessories all start with 01. Just one exception in the complete list is the magazine brush which has number 47.
E: Refers to the function of the part:
A: Only used for pins and rivets
B: Basic connecting part (Only the receiver is marked with a B).
C: All parts that are used as a platform for other (smaller) parts.
D: All main parts that are involved to operate the weapon.
E: Like D but secondary. All sub-parts that are involved to operate the weapons
F: All parts that connect, lock or hold parts together like specific pins, screws.
3227: refers to the grouping and the distinctive parts to the MP38 or MP40. It is important to realize that the newer specific parts of the MP40 have higher numbers and are not in line with the older MP38 numbers. For example the 3312
3227 Group I: Barrel with receiver and magazine holder
3228 Group II: Stock with frame and shoulder stock
3229 Group III: Bolt with firing pin
3291 Group IV: Carrying Sling
3251 Group V: Magazine
3293 Distinctive parts for the MP 40; Group I; Barrel with receiver and magazine holder
3294 & 3312 Distinctive parts for the MP 40; Group II; Stock with frame and shoulder stock
3227 Distinctive parts for the MP 38; Group I; Barrel with receiver and magazine holder
3228 Distinctive parts for the MP 38; Group II; Stock with frame and shoulder stock
1: Another sequential number to the grouping number explained above.
If the drawing specifications consist out of 5 positions, including a “U”, it concerns a part that exists out of a combination of parts. For example part 29 (the complete trigger assembly) which coded as 01 D 3228 U 3. The “U” stands for “Untergruppe” (sub-group).
Like the early print of the D167/1 the last table page is signed off with a “Oberkommando des heeres” and a “Heereswaffenamt” print. This time it was not supervised by Mr. Koch (as the D167/1 but delegated to Engineer Paul Dreckman who was in charge of the Infantrieabteilung/Waffen Prüfung 2 (Infantry department/Weapons testing) from the 16th of November 1940 till the 20th of April 1942.
D167/2 Maschinenpistole 40 und Maschinenpistole 38 Teil 2 Einzelteile (Vom 11.12.42)
On February the 5th 1943 the Heeres Verordnungsblatt announced the publication of the reprint of the D167/2. Two years had been gone by and the parts list needed an update. The MP40 had undergone quite a facelift due the feeding issues, safety measures and production improvement. Think of the reinforced (ribbed) magazine holder, the magazine itself (from smooth to ribbed), the cocking handle with build in safety, the removal of the metal muzzle cap connector and the nut for the barrel muzzle.
On the cover the printer was no longer mentioned. Just as the reprint of the D167/1 the D167/2 also had the new fold-out pages which prove to be very handy when comparing the parts listing to the photos. Due to changes the number of pages expanded to 36. The measurements remained the same. Remarkable is that the successor of engineer Dreckmann has been removed but his successor at the development department of the “Heereswaffenamt”, engineer Friedrich Kittel (responsible from 20 April 1942 till 20 April 1944) is no longer mentioned.
Looking at the parts list two paragraphs were added. Additional to the list with the weapon parts a list of the accessories was added. Also a paragraph about the spring measurements was added.
Apart from the additional paragraphs the list also became longer because a lot of explanatory descriptions to the parts were added. Apparently the old D167/2 list still caused communication errors. Another reason for a further expansion of the text was that some parts were divided into subparts like the braces of the shoulder stock, the receiver and the cocking handle.
One other small but interesting detail caused the list to become longer. Initially the barrel rest was made of casted aluminum. Later the Bakelite rest and the sheet metal were added. These versions are also specifically mentioned in the D167/2 list. It is not assumed that these different versions could be separately ordered.
The photo pages also underwent a significant change. First of all a complete new set of pictures was included. The angle of the photos is slightly different from the photos in the first print. All the new features as described above were incorporated in the new set of photos. One additional photo page pictured all the accessories including the new rubber muzzle cap but also the mysterious blank cartridge device that according to several sources was never issued.
Conclusion to the military manuals
As stated in the introductions there are only 2 basic text structures of the MP38 and MP40 manuals. One text configuration centered on general information, training and shooting. This concerns the Merkblatt series and the Luftwaffe D (luft) 5602 manual. Secondly there is the more technical and for identification purposes oriented text configuration. This is the MP38 manual and the D167 series of manuals. Under influence of the combat experiences, safety measures and production efficiencies the text and photos of the manuals gradually were adapted to the upgraded weapon.
Apart from these specific manuals the MP38 and MP40 were also described in other military publications. These manuals concerned more general manuals in use with the armed forces and police. In all cases parts of the text were copied and sometime slightly adapted from the military manuals. The following military and police manuals use smaller or greater parts of the texts from the previously described basic manuals:
H.Dv. 130/2a Ausbildungsvorschrift für die infanterie (Training regulation for the infantry). This was the general handbook of the soldier. The chapter that deals with the MP38 and MP40 is directly copied and here and there slightly modified from the “beschreibung der Maschinenpistole MP38”or the D167/1.
Unterrichtsheft der M.L.A. Teil 1 1944 (Instruction booklet of the Navy’s NCO department). This booklet explains how the Navy NCO needed to behave and explains the handling of the most commonly used weapons and grenades. The chapter about the MP38 and MP40 is a shortened version of the „Merkblatt“ series of manuals. Text is literally copied from this manual.
Waffentechnischer Leitfaden für die Ordnungspolizei-K.Fischer- 1941 (Technical weapons guide for the police) This book was issued to the police and gave an broad overview of weapons in use with the police. Several reprints were issued. A unique detailed cross section picture of an early MP40 is depicted together with other drawings of sub-machineguns in this manual.