Erma Werke

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Erfurter Maschinenfabrik (ERMA) was a German weapons manufacturer founded in 1922 by Berthold Geipel. Prior to and during World War II they manufactured many firearms, including the K98k, MP40, and several other submachine guns.

They are also noted for having produced various forms of military training rifle, including the famous EL-24 and other models of subcaliber training device that allowed .22 long rifle ammunition to be fired from many infantry rifles such as the K98k and Steyr-Mannlicher M1895 through use of a special action conversion kit and a thin-walled .22 caliber barrel inserted within the larger rifle's bore.

History[edit]

Erfurter Maschinenfabrik B. Geipel GmbH was formed in 1922 in Erfurt, Thuringia, by Berthold Geipel.

Post war[edit]

In 1954 Geipel was arrested and imprisoned by the Allied occupation forces in Germany due to his involvement with the Nazi party. He was eventually freed and underwent denazification, after which he worked for Vollmer GmbH as Assistant Director to Heinrich Vollmer.

Following the end of the war, the Thuringen region found itself in the Soviet occupation zone. Marshal Shukow of the Soviet occupation forces ordered what was left of ERMA Werke to be liquidated on 31 August 1948.

Geipel re-established Erma Werke in Bavaria in 1949 and in 1952 the company moved to Dachau, near Munich. Geipel's son Rudolf became the chief Engineer of the new company and for the first few years production was devoted to household appliances. Around 1952 ERMA was awarded a contract by the government of West Germany to service and produce parts for the various Allied forces weapons that had been supplied to the German police.

Following the foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany in May 1955, the Federal government gave Erma permission to research and develop a new submachine gun, as West Germany's police and army wished to replace the weapons given to them by the Allied forces. ERMA's design was, however, outbid and out-performed by a submission by Walther, the MP (MPK / MPL). The financial resources expended in developing the submachine gun had been quite substantial, and as a consequence ERMA was taken over in 1961 by Fiberglide, a division of Lear-Siegler, who traded under the Erma Werke name.

In October 1997 Erma Werke commenced bankruptcy proceedings and in 1998 was taken over by Suhler und Sportwaffen, a division of Steyr-Mannlicher, following which the ERMA Werke name ceased to exist.

Weapons manufactured[edit]

  • EMP / MPE
  • MP38 / MP40
  • EMP 44, experimental low cost SMG
  • M1 Carbine, ERMA manufactured parts for these weapons in the early 1950s and produced a .22 caliber training rifle modeled after the carbine that proved so popular it was commercially marketed as the EM-1.
  • Various low cost .22 caliber pistols resembling the Luger Parabellum
  • ESP 85A
  • TP-22, .22 caliber pistols resembling the PPK.
  • TP-25, .25ACP variant of the TP-22 pocket pistol.

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]