Jump to content
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
  • Welcome to the forum!

    Welcome to the War History Online Community Forum, please register or login to start commenting.

Joris

What was the best submachine gun of WWII?

What was the best submachine gun of WWII?  

155 members have voted

  1. 1. What was the best submachine gun of WWII?

    • MP40
      67
    • Thompson Submachine Gun
      42
    • Sten gun
      10
    • PPSh-41
      36


Recommended Posts

the MP40 is a long lasting weapon, used until 2011 in the Libyan Civil war, and in Syria as well.  it did have a feed problem that was corrected with better training and with proper training could be fired single shot, which was great considering it was a fully automatic weapon.  accuracy was about the same as the Thompson and the ammo count was the same in the stick magazine.  It was a toss up, but I went with the MP40 due to longevity.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Thompson was very expensive to produce, hence the M1 and the M1A1 versions that were introduced during the war, but even those were replaced by the M3 Grease gun.

 

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The  PPSh 41 was a confidence weapon in every enviroment but I think it´s underpowered. The 7,62 x 25 isn´t a good military round. The 9 Para is a better cartridge for this kind of weapons. My vote is MP40

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is one thing to think about with the MP40 it was the gun every resistance group wanted to get their hands on in WW2 in occupied Europe from the Warsaw Ghetto to France.  It had ROF accurate easy to make cheap and could be copied pretty easy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that in this poll 2 important SMG are missing. 

The italian Beretta MAB38 and the finnish Suomi KP31. 

The first one was defined by many authors the best SMG of the war, was produced in italy and used only starting from 1941 in limited quantities. When the production became enough big to equip an acceptable number of solider, was alredy 1943, so most of those were used by the RSI. Even the German Army really pareciate the weapon, using a large number of those and considering it a little bit heavy but sightly more accurate and reliable, due the high quality manufacturing and producing progress.

The Suomi KP31, was the main SMG of the finnish army, and was produced since the early 30's, really well designed, the soviets noticecd immediatly the advantages of this amazing SMG that was used to inspire the great PPSH. In general, the Suomi KP-31 was a highly effective,reliable and accurate gun, but too expensive to manufacture.

breda30 mab38.jpg

dlr8Yko.jpg

Edited by 𝕱𝖆𝖚𝖘𝖙𝕻𝖆𝖙𝖗𝖔𝖓𝖊42
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

   I always liked the U.S. M3-A1.  I guess the Carl Gustav M/45 was developed too late for consideration.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/3/2017 at 9:59 AM, Joris said:

The Thompson was very expensive to produce, hence the M1 and the M1A1 versions that were introduced during the war, but even those were replaced by the M3 Grease gun.

 

 

Given that, at the heart of the Thompson design was the so called "Blish piece" which delayed blowback (through a reluctance of phosphor bronze to slide on steel) The discovery that the expensive bronze part wasn't necessary - and was totally left out of mass-produced war time weapons means... we're actually talking here about TWO, fundamentally different, weapons. One featuring "delayed blowback", the other "direct blowback". There are plenty of difference between the various models of Sten, with the Mk3 at its crudest, and the Mk 7 at its most ornate. But at least all Sten Guns operated the same way: "direct blowback, with advanced primer ignition." (Or as the army insists on calling it "Gas and spring".)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My vote goes to the Sten. It changed the way armies looked at firearms - they were no longer like watches, to be looked after and repaired. If a Sten stops working, you throw it away, and indent for a new one. As disposable as a plastic razor. With the massive losses of equipment at Dunkirk, the UK needed replacements FAST, and the Sten came out of the trap like a champion greyhound - from idea to working prototype in just weeks. It was heavily influenced by the iconic Mp40 (Misnamed by many after Hugo Schmiesser) but WITHOUT the MP40's "unique selling point" - the mainspring of an MP40 is packaged up as a telescopic tube; when you disassemble the gun under field conditions, what falls out looks not like a spring, but more like a bicycle pump. Helps keep out the crud. Advanced Primer Ignition was not a new idea with the Sten, but is a clever idea to have incorporated. When you pull the trigger, and the sten's bolt moves forward, picking up a round along the way, it fires that round BEFORE the bolt has fully closed.  The "bang" comes when the bolt is still moving forward - and that "bang" includes recoil, starting to push the bolt BACK before it fully closes. This impacts on the rate of fire: forces it down to a controllable level. It was retained in the Sterling (sucessor to the Sten, and the hardware I was encouraged to lug around with me rather a few years later.) In 1940, the Sten filled a dangerous gap in the country's armament, but didn't just "do the job"; it did it well enough to remain in production (as the Sterling) and be exported worldwide for several decades. It was produced with a built-in Maxim silencer - which worked very well - it was air dropped in huge numbers to resistance fighters all over the world. Many of the Stens dropped on Warsaw fell into German hands, and at the end of the war were pressed into German service (as were straight copies, made in Germany called the "Potsdam aparatus".) Stens were produced in sheds and garages all over occupied Europe by the resistance - it's just THAT simple a design. When the ENEMY is copying your gear... you know it's good.

Mk2Sten.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A LOT of fans of 9mm Parabellum here, as well as .45" ACP. I seem to recall that the Sten gun was made in 9mm Parabellum to utilise captured stocks of enemy ammunition... but it wouldn't have been MY choice. (9mm Mauser "Export", used in some Hungarian and Swiss SMGs, which gives much higher muzzle energy, and longer range as well.) The USA developed the M1 carbine (and then the M2, with a "rock and roll" option, and post-war, an M3 variant with a night vision scope, used during the Korean War, and the Man from UNCLE TV series by the baddies.) because pistols and SMGs while they were eminently portable,didn't have much range. For troops who'd find a regular rifle to be over-encumbering llke artillerymen, or drivers, the carbine made sense. It fired a better-than usual pistol-sized cartridge, with better than usual pistol range.Being so lightweight, it was snapped up by combat troops, glad of anything lightweight to carry... but they then complained about the lack of "knock-down power" compared to a full powered rifle.Hence the M2 carbine, fitted with a fire select switch, which (thanks to the round's lowish power) remained controllable (and to an extent made up for the lack of "knock-down", by hitting the target repeatedly,)  I've seen the M2 carbine proposed  as candidate for the first assault rifle... But it seems to me to be merely a glorified SMG. ALL early SMG's were wood stocked, so it's not a disqualification)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/1/2017 at 11:12 AM, Joris said:

Your votes, please!

Which submachine gun will be the winner?

 

I have fired all 4, (NOT owned by me, but by friends) and in my personal (biased and un scientific) opinion it's the MP40.

 

The Sten was cheap and easy to make, but was "flimsy" (for want of a better word) and I found it less than accurate. (I own many Firearms, and go to the range often, so am, I feel, a better than average shot, as such in this regard I will claim to know whereof I speak).

 

The Thompson was a good weapon, but was more expensive to manufacture, even in mass production. And while the .45 ACP round is bigger than the 9mm, it is particular to that weapon and the M1911, so if ammo becomes an issue, you can't use British 9mm for their Stens, or captured German 9mm from their pistols and SMG's in your Thompson. In a wartime environment that can actually be a critical issue. Especially as in Europe all the .45 ammo had to be brought in, while 9mm could be found almost everywhere.

 

NATO recognized this, and now all Assault Rifles are 5.56 and pistols 9mm, so it doesn't matter whose ammo it is, we can use it to get the job done. 

The PPSh I fired was a good, solid weapon. A little light on the accuracy (but for what The Soviets used it for that was no big issue) Having a box or drum magazine is nice as you can have more rounds ready to go with the drum, which is great in CQB to be sure. It was cheap to produce and was reliable, and to my mind is a close second.

The MP40, perhaps the most iconic of all WWII SMG's and the most recognizable, was well manufactured, even those produced near the end of the war. Had fewer stoppages due to stove-piping of ejected rounds, and had the least amount of rise (at least that's what I found) of the 4.

 

Just my $0.02 worth. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Which of the many different models of Sten did you try? The Mk3 was truly crude and basic, but some of the later models - particularly the silenced version - were really rather better, and paradoxically usually claimed to have at their weakest feature the magazine, which was essentially the same as that used by the MP40 (Their magazines are interchangeable) Patchett's improved model incorporated a substantially redesigned (curved!) magazine. Likewise, WHICH Thompson? Joris carelessly failed to indicate whether the weapon he's inviting us to vote for is the "classic" M1928 famed as "the Gun which made the twenties roar"... or the substantially different gun which was the Thompson M1.Despite being universally (and erroneously!) called the "Schmeisser" by the Allies, Hugo Schmeisser didn't get his hands on the design or production of the MP40 until the war was nearly over, when he belatedly added a fire selector (Neither the MP38, MP40, nor MP38/40 had a "single fire" option) and returned to the wood-stock of the MP18, MP28 and so on (Designs in which he HAD played a part) For reasons unknown my local military museum has an MP41 on display. It's not just the mags which the Sten and MP40 have in common.... it's also the way that people who haven't been trained to use them HOLD them the wrong way - i.e. by the magazines. The movies have a LOT to answer for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, just spoke with him, It is a Canadian made Mark II. The Thompson is an M1A1. The MP40 is a 1943 manufacture and was apparently a Luftwaffe issued weapon.

As to holding a weapon by the mag, I shudder when I see that as well.

I personally have a Sig P226 and a Remington 812 for personal home defense. I get by with them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Mk2 Sten was the "definitive" model, generally reliable (unless you stuff it full of rabbit food!) Kubis and Gabcic (the assassins sent to assassinate Heydrich in Prague) were given a Mk2, and transported it to the scene of their attempt disassembled into barrel unit, receiver, and stock, in a briefcase, hidden under a pile of grass (Czechs, for whom food was rationed, liked raising rabbits for food, so collecting fodder for them was common) The gun jammed at the crucial point. They test new designs for dirt, mud, grit, sand... but they don't test that guns work after being immersed in rabbit food!

IS the M1A1 truly a "Thompson" at all? Its creator's design called for a delayed blowback weapon. The "delay" relied upon the reluctance of a small slab of phosphor bronze (called the "Blish piece") to slide against steel. The weapons originally supplied to the USMC, and those sold to the Brits, (and for that matter to Al Capone) were ALL M1928's, (WITH the Blish piece) and quite expensive to produce... when the war came they decided that it worked acceptably well without delaying blowback at all, and the Blish piece was dropped, as was the top- mounted cocking handle, AND the ability to take a drum magazine.SO no interchangability of parts between the two guns (aside from the stick magazine and the walnut stock!) My economics tutor was the adjutant to the 2nd Parachure regiment in 1944, and equipped with the M1928 (and an M1911 as a sidearm) he speaks highly of the 1928. (But his name was Thomson, so maybe he was biased?!) What do you get when you cross a Thompson with a Lee-Enflield SMLE? A Delisle Carbine. Probably my favourite weapon in the world. Came fitted with a Maxim suppressor as standard which reduced the sound to almost zero: more noise from the bullet hitting the target than from the gun itself. Good out to about 250 yards for the quiet removal of inconvenient sentries.

Still not a fan of the MP40... the MP41 maybe,but that only got issued to the SS and supplied to some German allies.

The 226 is a fine weapon, and I believe the one which actually WON the competition to replace the M1911, except the "Beretta" was a lot cheaper. First pistol I ever owned was an M1934. Beretta - iconic but under-powered.  First chance I had to handle (and disassemble) a French example of the M92 led me to comment "This isn't a Beretta, it's a Walther P38(K)!!" There aren't many ways to delay blowback; Briwning's way is probably the best (which is why it's so widely copied!) But it's not the ONLY way to do it (look at the Luger, Mauser 1896, the Savage... and the Walther P38. Each demonstrates their own solution to the problem.) The transfer bar running OUTSIDE the receiver, the slide-mounted rotating safety. And delay caused by a swinging wedge below the barrel. It's the SAME gun. Walther used to make a pocket version of the P38 - the 38(k) - which featured an open-top receiver, with the fore-sight mounted on a "bridge" over the barrel. Bigger/smaller magazine capacity is the only major difference. I hear that the M92 is being phased out and replaced by... your SIG?!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now



×