Gustloff Werke Weimar’s rifle production was unique among the German rifle makers in several ways, and in many ways it would be the model for the others to follow by the wars end. Beginning in October 1938 the decision to rationalize the concerns industrial activity resulted in the formation of a “consortium” of sorts where smaller firms would supply components for rifles that would be assembled in the corporations Weimar’s operation.
These firms would be called the “Sachsengruppe”, a group of 18 smaller firms making components for Gustloff Werke Weimar (at the time BSW Weimar) to assemble under their ordnance code “337”, later this code would become “bcd”. This was not a new concept of course, not even amongst the German rifle producers, the “Suhl Consortium” had long existed where J.P Sauer, V.C. Schilling and C.G. Haenel collaborated in rifle contracts, indeed, their World War One production was a collaboration, all their Gewehr98’s were made with “collective” activity.
However in this context it was a rather new concept because the new firms really had no previous experience with rifle manufacturing, for many it was a radical deviation from their previous manufacturing experience. These new firms were a wide mix of firms, many sewing machine makers, bolt & screw makers, furniture manufacturers, bicycle makers, even steel makers. The list of firms would expand during the war, as this concept was broadened industry wide, within and outside the small arms industry.