The Nazis’ Italian Puppets Developed Their Own Submachine Guns
The OG-43 was an innovative failure
by MATTHEW MOSS
In 1943, Giuseppe Oliani developed the OG-43, an innovative stamped submachine gun for the Repubblica Sociale Italiana — the German puppet state that controlled northern Italy after the Kingdom of Italy surrendered in September 1943.
Oiliani’s design was extremely compact. The magazine doubled as a pistol grip. It boasted a folding stock and foregrip.
The OG-43 was the product of the puppet state’s effort to boost small-arms production. The same initiative also produced two other, new submachine guns — the FNAB-43 and TZ-45.
Gun-maker Società Anonima Revelli Manifattura Armaguerra built the OG-43 prototypes at its factory near Cremona. The OG-43 featured an L-shape bolt that ran above the barrel, much like the bolt on the later Walther MP. This allowed for a shorter, slimmer and lighter weapon.
Oliani’s prototypes, which were chambered in nine-by-19-millimeter, took advantage of a simple blowback action. They fed from Beretta M38A double-stack, double-feed magazines.
With its stock folded. the OG-43 was approximately 47 centimeters long. Extended, it measured 72 centimeters. The later, fixed-stock OG-44 was 78 centimeters long.
The OG-44 prototype that succeeded the OG-43 is markedly more conservative in its design. The weapon’s fixed stock connected to the pistol grip and hinged downward for disassembly. This change required the designers to move the trigger assembly from in front of the breech to behind it.
Unlike the FNAB-43 and TZ-45, neither of Oliani’s prototype submachine guns entered serial production. Still, the OG-43 marked an important milestone in submachine gun design. It was one of the first, if not the first, submachine gun to combine stamped manufacture, an L-shape bolt and a pistol-grip magazine-housing.
For one reason or another, Oliani’s designs remained in limbo after the war. Other Italian manufacturers such as Beretta seized the market.