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The MP 18 manufactured by Theodor Bergmann Abteilung Waffenbau was the first practical submachine gun used in combat. It was introduced into service in 1918 by the German Army during World War I as the primary weapon of the Sturmtruppen, assault groups specialized in trench combat. Although MP18 production ended in the 1920s, its design formed the basis of most submachine guns manufactured between 1920 and 1960.
The weapon’s impact on the major powers at the time has been overstated in light of the outsized influence it had on weapons from World War II and beyond. As Paul Corning observes in Machine Guns and the Great War:
It is frequently repeated as fact the Bergman Muskete had so impressed the Allies that they specifically banned its production and military issue. In fact no such prohibition appears in the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.