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| Thompson submachine gun




Thompson submachine gun

 

But perhaps no weapon in the history of mankind was more advanced for its time than the Thompson submachine gun, also known as the “Tommy Gun”.  Designed by General John T. Thompson sometime between 1917 and 1919, the Thompson submachine gun was invented to sweep out trenches that enemies would hide in, waiting to ambush troops.  This purpose gave it another nickname, the “Trench Broom”.

The Tommy Gun was first produced as the M1921.  It was priced far too high to be in widespread civilian use, although it was available to them.  Its first large scale sales were mostly in Central and South America.  The United States Post Office made a purchase of them to give to the U.S. Marine Corps troops whenever they were protecting mail.

It was further popularized as it made its way into the hands of gangsters during the Prohibition and Depression eras.  Hollywood films highlighted the use of the weapon by gangsters, and it became a film icon.

It was finally adopted by the U.S. military during World War II, in 1938.  Its use spilled over into the Korean War, and finally into the first part of the Vietnam War.  It was also used by the U.K. and France.

The Thompson SMG had two types in military use.  The M1928A1 could use either box magazines or drums.  Box magazines were preferred because the drums would often rattle.  The ratting was obviously a serious problem for troops trying to remain silent as they traveled or attempted an ambush.  It also had cooling fins in the barrel, and a charging handle at the top of the receiver.

The M1 or M1A1 had a plainer barrel with no cooling fins.  It only took box magazines, which wasn’t a problem since they were preferred anyway.  The charging handle was on the side rather than the top of the receiver.  A special 30 round box magazine was developed specifically to be use with the M1.

The Tommy Gun stayed in relatively wide use until the 1960s, when sales began to slow.  Its last real tour of duty was in the beginning of the Vietnam War, after which other weapons were adopted as standards and the Thompson began to fade into obscurity. 

While it may no longer be in widespread use in first-world military regimens, it will forever live as a legend, preserved for posterity in history books and on DVD, thanks to those wonderful gangster-era movies that are still so popular today.

thompson submachine gun

 

 

Specifications

Weight: 10.8 lb (4.9 kg) empty (M1928A1) 10.6 lb (4.8 kg) empty (M1A1) Length 33.5 in (851 mm) (M1918A1) 32 in (813 mm) (M1/A1)
Cartridge: .45 ACP (11.43 × 23 mm) Action Blowback
Rate of fire: 600-1200 rounds/minute
Muzzle velocity: 920 ft/s (280 m/s)
Feed system: 20 or 30-round detachable box magazine 50 or 100-round drum

 

 

 

 

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