Welcome, we will talk today about the H & K MP5 Submachine Gun, and to tell your story we must start with the city of Mogadishu. Most of you have never heard of this city before the movie Black Hawk Down in 1993. Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, is a coastal city located in the state of Banaadir, in the Indian Ocean region. The Mogadishu fighting in 1993 became known as "Rangers' Day", it was part of an international peacekeeping operation following the massive civil war that occurred in that country, known as Operation Gothic Serpent, this is the Modadishu that most people know.
For the 86 passengers and 4 surviving crew of Lufthansa Flight 181, this city was already outdated as early as 1990. The Boeing 737-200, called the "Landshut", took off as a routine flight from the Mediterranean islands Palma de Mallorca to Frankfurt, West Germany, on 13 October 1977. However, there was a hijacking in mid-flight, and the plane landed in six different countries. After six days of confinement and the execution of the pilot, the passengers found themselves at a dead end in Mogadishu, and were just waiting for their destination. The kidnappers wanted to swap the hostages for the release of 10 terrorists from the "Red Army" faction, who were imprisoned in Germany, two Palestinian terrorists arrested in Turkey and fifteen million dollars.
Because they thought the terrorists' demands would never be met, all the hostages thought their fate would be the same as that of pilot Jurgen Schumann. But what they saw next was what was written in the opening pages of the modern book on anti-terrorism tactics.
At 2:07 am (local time) on October 18, 1977, the paramilitary group GSG-9, armed with H & K MP5 submachine guns, stormed the plane through the front door and shouted for all the hostages to lower themselves, and that was the first test of its new H & K weapons, what can be described as the biggest one-sided attack since Russia took Berlin in 1945. A German paramilitary, 3 passengers and a crew member were slightly injured. All the kidnappers were shot and three of them died. The world then gained new standards on how to deal with terrorists, as well as a new submachine gun for these purposes.
The creation of MP5 started in West Germany, its name was H & K 54 and was part of project 64 (64year of this project). The H & K 54 was based on the operation and design of the H & K G3 rifle, at 7.62x51mm NATO. The design of the rifle was made by the team of designers: Tilo Moller, Manfred Guhring and Halmut Baureter, who worked for two years to create a reliable submachine gun with stripped lower receiver attach on it, using the same roller locking system, floating chamber and blowback retarding action of their relatives. The name H & K MP5 was given by the German Border Guard and by the German Police in 1966.
The interchangeability of the MP5's fire controller and its larger "cousins" is nearly 99%. The trigger kit of the MP5 can be used on automatic rifles and vice versa. This information is important because many owners of these types of weapons have exchanged trigger kits that can be swapped from an H & K G3, at 7.62x51mm, to a H & K 33, at 5.56x45mm for, of course, an MP5 at 9mm Parabellum .
There are 9 standard MP5 models, with 8.9 "barrel, which consists of several fire control settings, six models of the MP5K (in which K means Kurz, short in German) that have 4.5" or 5.8 " and eight MP5SD models with 5.7 "barrel and a noise suppressor, these weapons are made to fire supersonic 9mmP ammunition by reducing its velocity to a subsonic ammunition while the gases escape through the" doors "of the suppressor.
The MP5SD's original noise suppressor is made of aluminum and has both old metal meshes and modern deflector stacks. The new MP5SD-N2, used by the US Navy, uses a stainless steel suppressor from Knights Armament. More than 80 countries, apart from Vatican City, have at least one H & K MP5 model in their stockpiles.
In May 1980, Operation Nimrod would place MP5 again in international eyes, when six terrorist members of DRFLA, an Arab group of separatists from Kuzesh, a province of Iran, seized the Iranian embassy in South Kensington, London. After six days, negotiations failed and the terrorists executed one of the remaining twenty-one hostages and threw their body through the window, causing the SAS (Special Air Service) with about 30 to 35 operators to immediately invade the building, windows, ceiling and door, wearing black clothes, S6 NBC respirators and carrying H & K MP5 submachine guns.
The next seventeen minutes belonged to the SAS and its MP5s with a ar 15 lower receiver, when they were able to release the remaining hostages. Five terrorists were killed, and one was arrested. Only one hostage was killed and two were injured by the terrorists and a law enforcement officer was also injured. Some call it an ironic twist on what followed: the Iranian government blamed Margaret Thatcher and the SAS for the action and stated that the dead hostages were martyrs of the Islamic Republic of Iran. At the same time, the Iranian government abducted 52 Americans in Tehran.
Obviously, with the success of any weapons system, there are also failures.
In the book "Company of Heroes" Officer Michel Durant talks about his experience in Mogadishu with MP5 on October 3, 1993; part of the crew of Operation Gothic Serpent Mike Durant, riding a Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk Helicopter, were shot dead from the Bakara Market, Mogadishu district, which was flying over, members of the Somali militia were hit the helicopter. Around 16:40 local time, an explosive 93mm was fired from an RPG-7 and hit the helicopter that Durant piloted, the explosive removed the rotor from the aircraft causing a spiral descent and then falling on the streets of the city below.
During the action, his co-pilot and two crew chiefs were seriously injured. The only immediate rescue team consisting of Delta Force snipers, Randy Shughart and Gary Gordon, both posthumously received a Medal of Honor for their actions in this episode. Immediately after the arrival of the snipers, an incredible firefight began around the fallen helicopter, Durant, as pilot, carried an MP5K as a self-defense weapon.
He says he needed to constantly resolve breads during the shooting. At some point in the battle someone handed him a 5.56x45mm CAR-15, possibly belonged to Gary Gordon, before all of his crew and rescue crew were killed, and Durant was taken hostage.
It is impossible to retrieve Durant's weapon to see why it has failed so much, but we can imagine some factors that caused the malfunction of a weapon that was until then reliable: a helicopter falling from the skies at a speed high enough to break the bones of the crew and turn the seats would surely damage the receiver stamped this weapon. Even a moderate ripple in the metal blade could create failures in the bolt cycling.
We must also imagine the possibility of the weapon being maintained with an aero precision to its max capability and at the correct intervals and by a competent gun dealer on the day of the Durant Helicopter fall, Murphy's Law acted and damaged the extractor or the bolt of the gun, obstructing the normal cycling operation of the weapon.
H & K MP5 has been in service since the mid-1960s. It has been in action in most international armed conflicts since the mid-1970s. Their success stories are far greater than their failures. However, failures such as those found by Durant in 1993 led several agencies to look for other platforms. Heckler & Koch MP5 is still in production but has introduced H & K UMP, a more modern submachine gun, into its manufacturing line. A number of US agencies have traded their old MP5 for UMP's, but the US Secret Service still uses their H & K MP5 in 9mmP as a backup of their P-90 FN.
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