As early as 1934 the need for a compact selective fire weapon was shown to be necessary but encountered opposition from staff officers and also from Adolf Hitler himself who preferred the infantryman to use the traditional weapon of the rifle as he had done during W.W.I. This bias hampered the development of this weapon up to the end of the war.
A prototype was not ready until 1940 due to problems with a suitable cartridge design and after several experiments with different size cartridges, it was decided to use the standard size rifle round with a shortened cartridge (kurz) and make the necessary adjustments to the rifle design. The cartridge was known as the 7.92mm Infanterie Kurz Patrone 7.92 x 33mm (Standard was 7.92 x 57mm).
The initial contract was given to C.G. Haenel who started work on a weapon known as Maschinenkarabiner (Mkb) with Hugo Schmeisser (of MP40 fame) being the lead engineer on this project. By 1941 a prototype was ready, basically a gas operated rifle produced from pressings which were subcontracted out to the steel fabrication firm Mertz Werke. An order was placed for 50 pre-production weapons was filled.
Preproduction orders were placed with both Haenel and Walther (who ha...