Simson Werke – BSW – Gustloff Weimar – Part 2

The characteristics of rifle manufacture at Weimar is well known to collectors, generally it was simply assembly of parts other firms supplied, this would remain the case through most of the war. This would change to a degree when a relationship was arranged for the concentration camp at Weimar, KL Buchenwald, to supply labor to the Gustloff-Werke during 1942. The relationship was primarily one of construction at first, a rail line and buildings, but developed into a more complex relationship involving slave labor in manufacturing.  By 1943 they had built a large complex within the KL Buchenwald operation, primarily to manufacture self-loading carbines (G43), this was bombed by the USAAC in August 1944 and closed down, but between 1943 and 1944 a significant number of kar.98k barrels were made and show up on a small number of rifles (all rifles were assembled in the main operation in Weimar, not at Buchenwald). They vary widely in range and almost all are found on rifles assembled in 1944, the quality was such that most barrels were rejects or problem barrels, it is believed that the vast majority made were never used, which is not surprising considering postwar reports on the operations at Buchenwald.

Rifle production was only a minor part of the operations at Gustloff-WerkeWeimar, they made many things, artillery related mostly, large cannon barrels were a major part of their operations. By 1943 Gustloff-Werke was assembling a lot of rifles, basically on par with the operation of JP Sauer, Suhl, but significantly less than operations at Mauser Oberndorf and Brno.

BSW-Gustloff Weimar (337-bcd)

1939 – 14,000 (est.)

1940 – 110,000

1941 – 143,000

1942 – 219,000

1943 – 321,000

1944 – 261,500 (plus 31,700 G/K43 and increase of heavy guns)


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