The Thompson submachine gun (informally known and referred to as the Tommy Gun and Chicago Typewriter) was an American machine gun famously used during the Prohibition era used by law enforcement individuals and mafia criminals. It came in different variants, including the M1928A1 and the M1A1.
The concept was born around 1915 when John T. Thompson came across a patent by John Bell Blish that detailed adhesion on inclined surfaces under pressure and formed his auto-ordinance company a year after. In 1918, two experimental versions were developed: The Annihilator and the Persuader. The Persuader was belt fed, and the Annihilator used 20-30-round box magazines.
Upon 1919, the first model, the Model 1919, was developed with 40 units ever being made, with various variants being made. In 1921, the Model 21 was developed, of which it required $200 to manufacture, and was the first mass-produced model, with over 15,000 being made. It became infamous among gangsters due to the Prohibition Era. This particular model contained an adjustable rear end, a blued, finned barrel, a vertical grip, and the Blish lock, as well as its high quality wood furniture and finely-machined parts, the last two contributed to the expensive cost to manufacture. In 1923, the Model 1923 was introduced to potentially expand the auto-ordinance product line and was demonstrated for the U.S. Army. It utilized the more powerful .45 Remington cartridge with a 14-inch (356mm)barrel. However, it was not formally adopted into the Army, as they already were fond of the M1928 Browning automatic rifle.
In 1926, the Thompson was mass-produced under the BSA (standing for Birmington Small Arms) Thompsons line for distribution around the world. The M1927 was developed by modifying an existing M1921 as an open-bolt semi-automatic-only version. The M1928 was eventually developed and became the first of the Thompson line to officially enter military use, under the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps. The original models were M1921s with added weight to the acutator, slowing down the rate of fire. Just before the Pearl Harbor attacks, a variant of the M1928s, the M1928A1, entered mass production after on-hand stocks ran out. The M1928A1 had a horizontal forend replacing the pistol grip, and the provisation of a military sling.
During World War II, it was issued major contracts to France, UK, and China, as well as to the American forces. Despite this, however, only two factories were able to supply them during the early stages of the war. It was also technically compatible with drum magazines, but they had a tendency to jam during active combat, as well as being too heavy and bulky for patrol duties, making them inadvisable. 562,511 were made. They were also originally issued to Red Army members for their M3 Light Tanks, but they were mostly put in storage due to the Soviet Union lacking the .45 ACP cartridge. A light machine gun variant, called the Thompson .30 Carbine, was also developed around this time, although it wasn't officially used due to the M1 Carbine being issued instead, although it still formed the basis of the Thompson Light Rifle.
On April 1942, the M1 was standardized as the United States Submachine Gun, Cal. .45, M1 due to requesting further simplifications, and was developed in 1943 and featured a simple blowback operation. Eventually, the M1A1, officially designated as the United States Submachine Gun, Cal. .45 M1A1, was developed in half the time as before, with the cost also being reduced (it originally cost $209 to produce in 1939, but by 1942, it cost $70, and eventually reached $42 by February 1944).
It was eventually replaced with the M3 "Grease Gun", although it still saw some action during the Korean War. Several Thompsons were also distributed to the Chinese military until the regime fell to Mao Zedong's communist regime in 1949. It was also utilized by the South Vietnamese Marine Corps as well as the defense militias during the early stages of the Vietnam War.
During Operation Snake Eater, the M1A1 variant of the Thompson submachine gun was used by The Pain, a member of the Cobra Unit. He used it during his fight against Naked Snake. After he was defeated, his M1A1 was presumably destroyed with him when his microbomb detonated.
The Thompson submachine gun was later used during American intervention in the Vietnam War before it was replaced by the M16 rifle. Likewise, the Vietcong also utilized the Thompson, either via captured models or by mass-producing their own variants. Around 1974, the Thompsons developed the M1927A1 as a civilian collector's version of the M1927.
- Main article: Peace Walker Incident
During the Peace Walker Incident, the Militaires Sans Frontières procured design specs for the M1928A1 variant of the Thompson submachine gun and later developed it. They eventually improved upon the design by adding a grip to it, as well as increasing its ammo capacity by including a drum magazine.
Behind the scenes
- "One of the very first submachine guns ever produced. In its long and storied history, it has seen use by everyone from armies and police forces to gangsters, guerillas and Chinese warlords.
It uses the same large-caliber ammo as the M1911. While its rate of fire is nothing spectacular, it makes each shot count with devastating firepower.
The M1928A1's elegant design makes it easy to handle, in effect helping to improve its accuracy.
However, it is unusually heavy for a submachine gun abd takes two hands to wield properly; thus, it cannot be used with a shield.
(Rank 2) This model has been modified with an added grip, giving it improved control and accuracy during sustained fire.
(Rank 3) This model has been modified to accommodate a drum magazine, significantly boosting its ammo capacity. Hence, it does not need to be reloaded as often, giving it a tactical advantage over models that use standard magazines."
- ―M1928A1 description in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
Prior to the unveilment of the Windurger S333 CombatSpecial bonus, the special weapon preorder code included in Ground Zeroes was given the silhouette of a Thompson submachine gun.
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