Simson Werke – BSW – Gustloff Weimar

One of the firms that made the Kar.98k during the war was designed to be a model for National Socialist industrialization. The firm was organized as part of the Gustoff-Stiftung (state owned trust), which was primarily made up of Simson Suhl assets and assorted other nationalized concerns (Jewish owned).

Originally the firm was organized around a small operation owned by Simson Werke located in Weimar Germany, a small operation that made wagons and machine tools before the war.  After nationalization, the Army provided funding to greatly expand the operations; by 1938 a special arrangement was made with a dozen small firms throughout Thüringen and Saxony to provide component parts to the Weimar operation to assemble Kar.98k rifles. At the time rifles were made at the Simson-BSW operation at Suhl, but the new owners of the Gustoff-Stiftung and Army had plans for the Suhl operations that didn’t include rifle manufacture.

Sometime during 1939 rifle manufacture was ended at Gustloff-Werke Suhl (BSW – 936 – dfb) and began at Gustloff-Werke Weimar (337 – bcd). Many receivers and parts that were not finished by the Suhl operation was transferred to the Weimar operation, but most were sold to the Army and supplied to the ordnance depots. These parts would eventually find their way on depot built rifles during the Russian campaign as an expediency measure.

Part 2 to follow.


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