This German submachine gun has eagle/”N” proof marks on top of the bolt handle and rear receiver. The wooden stock is marked “H”, indicating Army issue (Heer). The serial numbers on the receiver, magazine well, and barrel shroud all match. It is made to fire in semi-automatic and fully-automatic. This ERMA EMP has been deactivated by filing the chamber with weld, as well as welding the receiver to the barrel tube through the chamber, and grinding off the face of the bolt and extractor. While the selector switch and safety function correctly, this submachine gun is currently not functional.
In the early 1920’s, Heinrich Vollmer began developing submachine guns that were somewhat similar to the MP18. One of his designs, the VMP1925, was secretly tested by the Reichswehr (German military force), which was prohibited from having submachine guns by the Treaty of Versailles. Just as secretly, Vollmer received funding to continue development, which resulted in the VMP1926 which, unlike its predecessor, no longer had a cooling jacket. The VMP1928 differed in its 32-round box magazine which attached to the left side, and finally, the VMP1930 had a telescoping main spring assembly. In 1933, Vollmer’s application for a patent was approved, and his company, Vollmer Werke, produced about 400 of these, which were sold to Bulgaria. When the Reichswehr cut off the financial backing in the late 1930’s, Vollmer sold his company’s rights to Erma Werke, which began selling the submachine guns in 1932 under the name EMP (Erma Machinenpistole), which was the VMP1930 with the cooling jacket restored.
Erma Werke produced three main variants. One of these, sold to Bulgaria or Yugoslavia, had a 30cm barrel, bayonet lug, and tangent rear sight. A second variant, often referred to as the MP34, had a 25cm barrel, no bayonet lug, and varying sights. The third variant only differed in the foregrip which was an MP-18 style stock with finger grooves. Erma manufactured about 10,000 of these machine pistols, which were adopted by the SS in 1936. Many of these were sold to countries in South America, Mexico, and Spain.
In 1939, many Spanish Republicans fled to France, resulting in the confiscation of about 3,250 EMPs, which made their way to a French warehouse. The French tested these submachine guns, and decided to adopt them. Since the French were only able to obtain approximately 1,500 magazines for these, only 700-800 EMPs were distributed to French forces, mainly the Mobile Gendarmerie. After the Nazi invasion of France, some EMPs were used by the Legion of French Volunteers Against Bolshevism, which later became part of the SS Charlemagne division. Many EMPs have been discovered in the last-stand battlefields of the SS Charlemagne division, most without German military stamps or markings. Around 1942, the EMP was replaced by the MP40.