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For the modern company, see Haenel Defence.

C.G. Haenel Waffen- und Fahrradfabrik Suhl was a German arms manufacturer active from 1840 to 1945.


Haenel was founded in 1840 by Carl Gottlieb Haenel, a Prussian arms commissioner; the company originally produced bicycles in addition to arms. Haenel joined forces with Valentin Christoph Schilling to create the Suhl Consortium to produce the Reichsrevolver around the 1870s and 1880s; the company was also responsible for manufacturing Gewehr 98 rifles during World War I.

Famed arms designer Hugo Schmeisser joined Haenel in 1922. While the arms he designed were highly successful, Haenel came close to bankruptcy numerous times during 1929 to 1934.[1] Haenel then joined forces with some nine other arms companies based in Suhl and Zella-Mehlis to become Vereinigte Suhl-Zella-Mehlisser Waffenfabriken. During this time, Haenel experienced a significant booms in arms production, with the various companies in Suhl setting up production facilities in Berlin.[2]

Haenel was partly responsible for the design of the MKb 42 rifle, which evolved into the StG 44, often regarded as the first assault rifle. American forces occupied Suhl in 1945 and subsequently imposed a ban on all arms production; after they evacuated, the Red Army occupied the old Haenel facilities and the company was subsequently shut. By 1946, the company's equipment was largely removed, having been mostly transported to the Soviet Union as reparations; the facilities were later taken over by the Ernst Thälmann weapon factories in the 1940s.

A company carrying a similar name and logo was founded in 2008; while based in Suhl it is under different ownership and is not related to the original Haenel company apart from name.


Haenel was known for the production of the MP 28, MKb 42 and StG 44. The company also manufactured straight magazine conversion kits for the Bergmann MP 18.[3]


  2. Norbert Moczarski: Die Ära der Gebrüder Schmeisser in der Waffenfabrik C. G. Haenel Suhl 1921–1948. Ein weitgehend unbekanntes Kapitel Suhler Industriegeschichte. In: Jahrbuch des Hennebergisch-Fränkischen Geschichtsvereins 1999, Hildburghausen, p. 237–268.