Ulwchbster Mark I

In June 1940 Great Britain was in a very serious situation. Her expeditionary force had been compelled to make a hasty evacuation, mainly through Dunkirk, leaving behind it the bulk of its heavy weapons, and there was a very real risk that the victorious German Army would invade the country. One of the weapons which had belatedly impressed the British military authorities was the sub-machine gun. but although large numbers had been ordered from the United States there was no British model available. Arrangements were therefore hastily made to copy the German MP 28 which was known to be reliable, and a British version was designed by Mr George Lanchester of the Sterling Armament Company, after whom the completed weapon was named The new weapon was at first intended for the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy, and in the event most of them went to the latter. The Lanchester.

which bore an obvious resemblance to its parent arm, was a robust and reliable gun: British industry had not then been converted to a war footing so that the machining and finish of the weapon was of a very high quality, with a rifle type walnut stock (complete with brass buttplate). and a brass magazine housing. It was also fitted with a standard and boss to allow the ordinary Lee Enfield bayonet to be fixed if necessary.

It had a simple blowback mechanism and could fire either single rounds or automatic as required. It functioned well with most of the standard makes of 9mm rimless cartridge with the exception of the one for the Beretta. There was also a later Mark I which only fired automatic The Lanchester saw little real service except with the occasional boat or landing party, but it remained in service with the Royal Navy for a long time. Many years after the war most HM ships carried racks of them, chained for security, though rarely used.

Great Britain STEN MARK I

By mid-1941 large numbers of sub-machine guns were arriving from the United States. Great Britain and the Commonwealth were, however, engaged in raising and equipping new armies and in addition there were urgent demands for supplies and replacements for North and East Africa where British and Colonial troops were operating against the Italians. It was thus clear that there was an urgent requirement for a simple, home-produced sub-machine gun. and by the middle of 1941 a weapon had not only been designed but was in limited production and undergoing user trials. This was the famous Sten, which took its name from the initial letters of the surnames of the two people most closely concerned with its development Major (later Colonel) Shepherd who was a director of the Birmingham Small Arms Company and Mr Turpin. the principal designer, allied to the first two letters of

Above: German PoW escorted by sailor with Lanchester Mark I.

Above left: British soldier fires Sten Mark 1 from shoulder.

Enfield, the location of the Royal Small Arms factory where it was first produced. As soon as the few inevitable weaknesses revealed by the trials had been rectified the Sten gun went into large-scale production and in its various forms was to provide an invaluable source of additional automatic fire power to the British forces.

The Sten worked on a simple blow-back system using a heavy bolt with a coiled return spring, but in spite of its simple concept the first models made were still relatively elaborate, with a cone-shaped flash hider and a rather crude forward pistol grip which could be folded up underneath the barrel when not in use. It could fire either single shots or bursts, the change lever being a circular stud above the trigger It also had some woodwork at the fore-end and as a bracer at the small of the butt.

Great Britain

Great Britain STEN Ă–TIN MAJUC 8

Utilitarian to the point of crudity, the Sten Mark 2 was probably the ugliest weapon ever used by the British Army Nevertheless, it gave good service during World War II.

Great Britain

STEN GUN MARK 8 (SECOND PATTERN)

Homebuilt Submachine Gun Plans

This Sten, made at the famous Long Branch factory in Canada, has a somewhat better finish than the weapon above Note its bayonet: examples of this type are now very rare

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