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Savage Restores U.K. Bound Sea Damaged Colt TSMGs


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#1 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 28 July 2019 - 12:21 PM

In  American Thunder III Frank Iannamico included correspondence from  former Auto-Ordnance employee John Hamblin. Hamblin worked at the Savage Utica, New York plant from around April to September 1941 before his assignment to the Bridgeport facility.

 

"We handled many cases of Colt manufactured guns in shipping department for the degreasing and full "check out" and test firing which had U.S. Navy stamped right into the metal frame. This shipment  had been torpedoed at sea and submereged but not sunk so were shipped back to Savage for degreasing, test firing-the works- before being shipped out again. This was my first assignment before being elevated to Final Inspection."

 

The only ship that comes close to resembling the scenario Hamblin recounts seems to be the  Ramon de Larrinaga (see photo).  After leaving New York port on February 8, 1941, this British cargo ship sprang a leak in the Atlantic Ocean 75 nautical miles of the coast of New Jersey. The ship headed back to port and beached in the Delaware River and then subsequently capsized and sank on February 10, 1941. She was refloated June, 26, 1941 and towed to Philadelphia to be put back in service. 

 

This passage is fascinating for it raises several questions.

1. There were still Colt TSMGS available to fill an order as late as February, 1941

2. Savage had no qualms working on Colt manufactured TSMGs

3. The cosmoline coating successfully protected the crated Colt TSMGs even after being submerged in sea water for four months.

4. Savage preparation for fulfilling orders included test firing. Did any of these Colts have the "JHB" stamp and did Savage add the "GEG" stamp somewhere  inside/outside the receiver/frame after this post sinking inspection/test firing?

5.  Did the British know they were originally getting Colt TSMGs and not Savage ones and did AOC adjust the price on these examples after their 4 months in Davy Jones' Locker?

 

Attached File  Empire Mersey under her former name Ramon de Larrinaga.jpg   47.64K   15 downloads


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#2 thompsonteenager

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Posted 28 July 2019 - 07:27 PM

Did they recently restore them?
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#3 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 28 July 2019 - 07:37 PM

Did they recently restore them?

 

Hamblin was speaking about how Savage restored them back in Summer of 1941 when he was just starting his employment with AOC. 

 

Could have made that more clear using the past tense of restores in the thread title.


Edited by Arthur Fliegenheimer, 28 July 2019 - 07:39 PM.

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#4 reconbob

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Posted 28 July 2019 - 07:58 PM

   Interesting that the ship sprung a leak and ended up in the Delaware River which is

probably 100 miles south of New York. You would think that if it were headed for England

it would have ended up north of New York. Perhaps the plan all along was to try to make 

it to the Philadelphia Navy Yard where, perhaps, there were facilities immediately 

available for repair?

 

Bob


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#5 cbmott

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Posted 28 July 2019 - 09:51 PM

   Interesting that the ship sprung a leak and ended up in the Delaware River which is
probably 100 miles south of New York. You would think that if it were headed for England
it would have ended up north of New York. Perhaps the plan all along was to try to make 
it to the Philadelphia Navy Yard where, perhaps, there were facilities immediately 
available for repair?
 
Bob

My thoughts would be either that maybe it was headed to another location supporting British forces that werent in mainland England or it took a less direct route as a way to avoid German attacks. I found a picture of shipping routes from the US. Maybe that will shed a bit of light.

Attached Files


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#6 TD.

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Posted 29 July 2019 - 10:41 AM

Arthur,

Excellent research. I have always found that letter (page 143) from John Hamblin interesting. Assuming Mr. Hamblin is talking about something that happen it late 1941, there is no way cases of new Colt manufactured guns existed. While I never doubted Mr. Hamblin's veracity, I always thought his recollection did not conform to the known facts of Thompson production. But I was open minded hoping something would surface that may explain the information in his letter. And something did!

 

See page 23 of Great Britain - The Tommy Gun Story, "The Last Colt Thompsons." Documentation exists that indicates the number of Colt's in Auto-Ordnance inventory in January 1940 was 600 guns. Documentation also exists that the Swedish government purchased 500 of those guns. The question has always been what happened to the remaining 100 guns. I believe Auto-Ordnance sold most of the remaining "new" guns in small lots like Frank documented in American Thunder II on page 168. This is a sale of 8 Thompson guns and accessories to the US Marine Corps, dated January 16, 1940. We also know two Colt's were shipped to Great Britain in March 1940 - see page 3, GB-TTGS. 

 

When AOC did not honor the French contract for delivery of Savage manufactured Thompson guns on schedule, Auto-Ordnance had to pay a penalty for non-compliance with the contract. The British had legally assumed the French contracts so they were the recipient of this penalty. As per a November 6, 1940  letter from the British Purchasing Commission, the penalty consisted of "149 new guns and about 40 second-hand guns, the later being thoroughly reconditioned in every way." Since the first Savage Thompson guns did not come off the assembly line until April 1940, it is hard to imagine any second-hand Savage Thompson guns in existence in November 1940. Since it has been documented Auto-Ordnance did have a number of "Second-Hand" guns in inventory over the years, I believe these second hand guns were the remnants of the Auto-Ordnance inventory of Colt Thompson guns. It is very likely these guns were shipped to Savage Arms for updating to the 1928 model, the addition of a compensator, refinishing and what ever else was necessary. The shipment of these penalty Thompson guns to Great Britain fits the time line of the British ship Ramon de Larrinaga leaving the port of New York on February 8, 1941 and the ensuing problems referenced in your post. Apparently, none of the cargo was lost. While there is no way to know with absolute certainty, the time frame of Mr. Hamblin's letter could explain how he saw Colt manufactured Thompson guns at the Savage plant undergoing the treatment he described. 

 

 


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#7 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 07:23 PM

Since it has been documented Auto-Ordnance did have a number of "Second-Hand" guns in inventory over the years, I believe these second hand guns were the remnants of the Auto-Ordnance inventory of Colt Thompson guns. It is very likely these guns were shipped to Savage Arms for updating to the 1928 model, the addition of a compensator, refinishing and what ever else was necessary.  

 

But Hamblin specifically mentions he saw on these Colt TSMGs the "U.S.Navy stamped right into the metal frame."   This means that these Colts were already updated to the MODEL OF 1928 before they got to Savage.  Even if Savage gave these Colts the 1928 treatment, they would never stamp "U.S. NAVY" on them.   The fact that these 1921 Colt TSMGs had been converted to Navy Overstamps indicates they might already have been part of an order that was sold as the buyer requested the conversion, but for some reason remained in AOC inventory. Cancellation of order? This would account for why the disposition of the 15,000 Colt TSMG by 1941 may have been thought to be exhausted as shown in sales records. 

 

If the Ramon de Larrinaga was loaded with the February 7, 1941 AOC order "#9346 of 10,626 guns/parts",   the restoration of these salt water Savages  would be quite a job. That Hamblin distinctly remembers handling Colt U.S. Navy TSMGs included in this water logged shipment makes for a persuasive recollection.

 

Another question, was this shipment of 10,626 TSMGs counted among the  27,300 TSMGs that were claimed lost at sea between Summer of 1940 and early 1943? Then again, when Savage shipped these TSMGs  back out to GB in 1941 the ship carrying them might have been sunk in the Atlantic.

 

TD., on 06 Jan 2013 - 16:26, said:
"My theory is the craftsman at Savage Arms would not sell anything with the Colt name on it. Hopefully, original research will answer this question one day

 

It seems the day has come.


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#8 TD.

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 09:19 PM

Given the number of Thompson guns in AOC inventory in 1939, the order of 951 Thompsons by the US government in June 1939, the order of 3000 Thompsons by the French in (I believe) November 1939, and the order of 500 Thompson guns by the Swedish government in January 1940, along with other small orders and deliveries, would have depleted the remaining Colt's in AOC inventory. The above orders are all documented with no hint of cancellations. If there was a cancellation, AOC simply would have simply made another direct sale without involving Savage. Remember, all these Colt's were at Hartford. Savage Arms did not enter the picture until December 1939. 

 

We don't know if your suspicions of Thompson guns being on the Ramon de Larrinaga are correct. Please point to the 1941 AOC order in question. I would like to see if the Ramon de Larrinaga is referenced. It's hard to comment without seeing the referrenced documentation. If the cargo was salvaged, I don't think it would be counted as lost. 

 

I still don't believe Savage Arms would knowingly sell anything with the Colt name on it. If my suspicions about the remaining second-hand Colt's in AOC inventory are correct, AOC simply contracted with Savage Arms to recondition these second-hand Colt guns and AOC later provided the guns to the British free of charge as part of the penalty. It makes perfect sense as AOC was closing its offices in Hartford and Savage was in full production by November 1940. I feel pretty certain this happened because of the British Purchasing Commission letter. Whether or not these are the Colt's with the US NAVY markings Hamblin saw is but a guess. If your narrative about the ship and cargo is correct, it seems to fit the timeline. I don't consider Hamblin's observations as undisputed fact without more information. It's only one piece of a puzzle. 

 

Regarding the British possible concern of receiving Colt's or Savage Arms manufactured Thompson guns, you seem to forget all the Thompson guns were Auto-Ordnance Corporation Thompson guns. Colt's and Savage were sub-contractors. Period. The British were contracting with Auto-Ordnance. Period. The British would not have cared who made them as long as the Thompsons were delivered. And worked - which they did quite well. The British would have only worried about their own inspection markings, which was really not a concern in 1940. 

 

All good stuff!!!


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#9 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 01 August 2019 - 05:24 PM

We don't know if your suspicions of Thompson guns being on the Ramon de Larrinaga are correct. Please point to the 1941 AOC order in question. I would like to see if the Ramon de Larrinaga is referenced. It's hard to comment without seeing the referrenced documentation. If the cargo was salvaged, I don't think it would be counted as lost. 
 
I still don't believe Savage Arms would knowingly sell anything with the Colt name on it. 
 
The British would not have cared who made them as long as the Thompsons were delivered.  The British would have only worried about their own inspection markings, which was really not a concern in 1940. 

 
Forget the  February 7 order (which was actually a U.S. Government contract)  as that would be impossible to be ready for a February 8  shipping date.
 
In order to match up the Ramon de Larrinaga with Hamblin's recollection of a sea water damaged TSMG shipment during his first months of employment at Savage Utica, New York, we would need to know the period of time that elapsed between a British contract with AOC and that order being processed by Savage and then arrange for a British cargo ship ( or ships in order to split up the order as a precaution against  the likelihood of the entire order being sunk) to be in  NYC port and  then arrange delivery to the docks and then loading of cargo and then time table and routing of ship to avoid Axis Navy.
 
The only British Contract that could provide for enough time to meet these demands would be the October 31, 1940 A-2308  for 54,000 Savage TSMGs.  According to Frank Iannamico Savage had  delivered  to AOC 42,954 total 1928 TSMGs by end of 1940.    That gives AOC three months to complete the order and arrange for the vessel.
 
That the Ramon de Larrinaga's cargo was submerged for four months before Savage could examine the damaged TSMGs, it would seem logical to assume that AOC would have temporarily classified the shipment as lost and subsequently took it out of the loss column.
 
Frank Iannamico confirms the congenial relationship between Savage and Colt. 
 

"Colt and Savage seemed to have a good rapport and corresponded frequently discussing production of the Thompson."

page 102 American Thunder III
 
 As Savage was not allowed to stamp their name on the TSMG receivers coming out of their factory, the British might be confused that it was indeed Savage who made them.  They had no difficulties figuring out Colt manufactured the earlier shipment of TSMGs to U.K.
 
As for the British inspection markings,  the Inspection Board of the United Kingdom and Canada was not formed until October, 1940.  Its headquarters were in Ottawa, and it had an office in New York City. 

 

It was the representative inspecting authority on behalf of the UK Ministry of Supply, and the Canadian Department of Munitions and Supply.
It was to inspect the production of war goods and resources, supplies and stores in Canada and the United States. It was dissolved on 31 March 1946, to be replaced in Canada by the Inspection Board of Canada

 
As Frank Innamico states in American Thunder III
 

"The Joint Inspection Board of The United Kingdom and Canada were allowed to place inspectors in U.S. factories like Savage to mark Thompsons procured  by the British Purchasing Commission"

 
This would account for the Crown W stamps on Savage receivers on TSMGs in Utica, New York  that were shipped to U.K. before the U.S. government Lend Lease program was enacted.
 
Frank Iannamico might be able to shed more light on the credibility of Mr. Hamblin's story.  Why would the subject of Colt Navy TSMG even come up when the subject was his time at the Utica and Bridgeport plants? If Hamblin had worked at AOC in the 1920/30's  it might be a question of misremembering, but AOC was supposed to b out of stock of Navy Colts during his time inspecting TSMGs.  It is difficult to dismiss his first hand account of handling a sufficient number of Colt Navy TSMGs in Summer of 1941 that he vividly recalled them 60 years later.   

Edited by Arthur Fliegenheimer, 01 August 2019 - 05:26 PM.

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#10 TD.

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Posted 05 August 2019 - 10:41 PM

OK, I will forget the good ship Ramon de Larrinaga. Regarding the British contracts with Auto-Ordnance (AOC) and shipping, consider it ongoing after the first shipment on April 16, 1940. I have no idea when the reconditioned second-hand guns were shipped but I assume it was sometime after the November 1940 British Purchasing Commission letter. I don't believe AOC was responsible for classifying losses at sea. It seems logical to me AOCs responsibility ended when the Thompson guns arrived at the dock. 

 

Again, all the Thompson guns sold to the British Ministry of Supply (MoS) under Cash and Carry were Auto-Ordnance Corporation Thompson guns. The British were certainly aware Savage Arms was manufacturing the Thompson guns for AOC. The number of Colt manufactured Thompson guns from all sources provided to the British military was statistically insignificant. See pages 107 & 108 of Great Britain - The Tommy Gun Story. In addition, I have never seen anything to indicate any confusion. I doubt many in Great Britain would know the difference given these weapons were going to war, not collections.  

 

Feel free to reach out to Frank regarding Mr. Hamblin's story. You just missed him at the All Thompson Show & Shoot but he will be at the Thompson Collectors Association Show & Shoot next month. You should join the TCA and attend.

 

While I do not dismiss Mr. Hamblin's story, I also don't consider his observations as undisputed fact without more information. It's only one piece of a puzzle. Perhaps one day more information will allow us to understand more clearly what he saw. The second-hand guns are certainly a possibility, nothing more. Unfortunately, all the points you raised when starting this thread appear to be only speculation.  

 

 


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#11 Mk VII

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 03:03 PM

One of the PRO files I examined was AVIA 22/3320 ‘Stores From British Purchasing Commission Lost At Sea’

 

This contained Copies for the BPC of ‘Daily Casualty Lists’ i.e. tables of vessels lost carrying BPC orders.

The tables are divided into two sets, one for ‘enemy action’ and one for ‘marine causes’ [the ordinary hazards of the sea]. They list Class (M.V. or S.S. etc) List no., name of ship, nationality, gross tonnage, D.W., Service, Type, e.g. tramp steamer, date & time, cause of loss/damage & approximate position, voyage details & cargo, and latest information available, e.g. ‘Bombed in engine room. Disabled. Towed and beached off the Nore Light Vessel. Salvage possible (no casualties)’.

Actually the marine causes ‘losses' are often not lost all, just delayed while the vessel puts in for repairs.

The cargo is only very briefly described – often raw materials or just ‘general cargo’.  As such it did not contain enough detail to be useful and I only copied a couple of representative pages. But the vessel might be listed somewhere in there. 


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#12 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 10:56 AM

 Unfortunately, all the points you raised when starting this thread appear to be only speculation.  

 

Except that I am taking John Hamblin's first hand account at face value.  Don't imagine I am talking out of school to say If Frank didn't consider John's information credible he wouldn't include the correspondence in his ATIII.

 

Working backwards from his information,  the Ramon de Larrinaga is the only possible ship in the time period that had water damaged cargo, made it back to the Eastern seaboard and that could practically be brought back to Savage for  restoration.

 

The October 31, 1940,  British Contract  A-2308 for 54,000 Savage TSMGs is also the only British order that existed in the time period that matches Hamblin's time at Savage and a cargo submerged in sea water that was salvaged. The next day, November 1, 1940, the U.S. Government ordered  5,502 TSMG from AOC.  Before the AO Bridgeport plant opened, Savage was producing no more than 22K TSMGs a month.  That gave Savage November, December and January to complete the U.K. order,  have the  BPC  inspectors stamp them, then give them the cosmoline treatment, crate them, ship them by New York Central Railroad /West Shore Railroad to NYC harbor, load them iinto the cargo hold of the Ramon de Larrinaga. 

 

Back in 2013, you theorized that Savage Arms would not sell anything with the Colt name on it.  Ok. What first hand account did you base that on?


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#13 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 11:11 AM

The cargo is only very briefly described – often raw materials or just ‘general cargo’.  As such it did not contain enough detail to be useful and I only copied a couple of representative pages. But the vessel might be listed somewhere in there. 

 Mk VII,

 

Interesting.  Newspaper accounts only refer to cargo of "pig iron."  Of course the United Kingdom would not put out for publication that the U.S. was supplying them with arms before Lend Lease. The capsizing of this ship was front page news. The Ramon de Larrinaga also had a history of transporting war material. In October, 1939, it shipped artillery pieces and armored vehicles  from U.K. Newport to Nantes and St. Nazaire ports in France.

San Pedro News Pilot, Volume 13, Number 294, 11 February 1941

CREW TAKES TO ICY WATER AS FREIGHTER CAPSIZES OFF DELAWARE. The 5,791-ton British freighter Ramon de Larrinaga turned over on her port side three miles off shore in the Delaware breakwater near Lewes, Del., forcing the crew to take to the icy water. The ship was bound for England with a load of pig Iron. The cargo shifted in a heavy sea off Atlantic City and she was beached on a shoal in an attempt to prevent her from capsizing.

 

THE NEW YORK TIMES.FEB. 11, 1941
LEWES, Del., Feb. 10 -- Singing 'Roll Out the Barrel," forty-seven members of the crew of the British freighter Ramon de Larrinaga slid down the ice-coated sides of their capsized ship early this morning to safety in the three boats of the Lewes Coast Guard station.

Attached File  Ramon de Larrinaga capsized in Delaware Breakwater.jpg   46.03K   5 downloadsAttached File  Ramon Sailors singing.JPG   147.49K   5 downloadsAttached File  Delphos Herald Ramon capsizing cover.JPG   124.34K   5 downloads


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#14 TD.

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 09:21 AM

OK, I am back with the good ship Ramon de Larrinaga. And I agree that it is possible Thompson guns were aboard, later salvaged, and returned to Savage Arms for reconditioning or whatever was necessary after being submerged in salt water. Your research has established the letter written by John Hamblin may reference the Thompson guns aboard the Ramon de Larrinaga. The British Purchasing Commission letter dated November 1940 indicates about 40 second-hand Thompsons were given to the British as part of a penalty for not performing on the French contract. I contend the only second-hand Thompson guns available by Auto-Ordnance in November 1940 would have been the remnants of the Colt's in Auto-Ordnance inventory. It is also quite likely many of these remaining second-hand guns were the US NAVY model and so marked. This is further supported by the fact none of the 951 Thompson guns ordered in June 1940 by the US government, the 3000 by the French government in November 1939 (I believe) and the 500 by the Swedish government in January 1940, have been observed with US NAVY markings. It is quite likely the US NAVY marked guns were not shipped in these 3 large orders but were later provided free as part of an agreed on penalty. While more information is needed to say with absolute certainty these were the guns Hamblin observed, it is certainly plausible taking everything we know at face value. Taking it a step further, the reason none of these "free" US NAVY marked Colt's have never surfaced may be they were sunk in a subsequent shipment. Or simply used up in the on-going war. 

 

Savage Arms did not sell Thompson guns. Savage Arms was a sub-contractor to Auto-Ordnance. All Thompson guns manufactured by Colt's and Savage Arms were Auto-Ordnance Thompson guns and sold by Auto-Ordnance.   

 

I like your research. Your welcome to tell the story like you want too but please do not ignore established documentation unless you find some other documentation that contradicts known facts. I do not consider the Hamblin letter as solid documentation Colt Thompsons in cases were available for sale by Auto-Ordnance in 1941. What I am suggesting above is something that actually happened and could explain the Hamblin letter. I welcome Frank's input too. 


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#15 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 08:28 PM

The number of Colt TSMGs in AOC inventory in 1939 confused even Eugene Daniel Powers, Russell Maguire's attorney and executive vice president of Auto-Ordnance. His  memoirs state,  "By 1939, 2000 guns were still in inventory."

 

Of course this figure would not be able to account for the he 1939  U.S. Army order of 951, the 1939 French order of 3,000, the 1940 Swedish order of 500, and the 1940 British order in February/March of 750, not to mention the number of unaccounted for serial numbers that supposedly remained in the USA.

 

Dale Clarke states in his 2016 book, "Britain's Final Defence: Arming the Home Guard 1940-1944"

 

"According to  Home Guard monthly returns the  first thousand Thompsons didn't arrive until April 1941"

 

That is one year after Savage started production of the TSMG.  As  Bill Yenne stated in his "Tommy Gun: How General Thompson's Submachine Gun Wrote History' :

 

"Somewhere within the British arms procurement establishment. someone was scribbling on a piece of paper, calculating what proportion of the 107,500 tommy guns on order would reach Britain without being sent to the bottom of the Atlantic by a German U-boat."

 

Published accounts estimate the number of TSMGs lost in the Atlantic to U-boats  anywhere from 25,000 to 100,000 between 1940 and 1941. This figure would tend to support the notion that it required many British cargo vessels sailing in different convoys with  partial orders of TSMGs in their holds to attempt to make the Atlantic crossing  in order to get a 1000 TSMG to the U.K. as late as April, 1941.

 

Concentrating on Hamblin's recollection that these sea water damaged Thompsons  were not only of Colt manufacture, but were stamped  "U.S. Navy,"  is the fly in the ointment.

 

The Cash & Carry British AOC order for 750, while placed in February/March of 1940,  could be met with existing Colt TSMGs still in inventory, but how quickly were they all placed aboard a British cargo vessel(s)?  Could they have been included in subsequent British orders even after Savage was able to produce thousands of Savage TSMG for export by February, 1941?   It is not so much that ACO still had Colts in inventory in 1941, rather were all the ones they had in inventory sold for export in early 1940 still in the USA by February, 1941?  

 

As shown from the surviving examples of the French and Swedish Colt TSMG orders, they were not stamped "U.S. NAVY."     There seems to be some discrepancy as to whether the Colt  MODEL OF 1928 TSMGs for export to U.K. never had "U.S. NAVY" stamps on them.  The Colt #3386 as shown in TUTB as an example of  a MODEL Of 1928 sans "U.S. Navy"  stamp is actually a Colt MODEL OF 1921A  with British proof marks.  As Gordon Herigstat states in his serial numbers book, this Colt appears in British WWII 1928A1 training manuals, but the MODEL OF 1921 was edited in the photo to change it to a MODEL OF 1928. No need to airbrush out the "U.S. Navy" as it would never have been stamped as such. 


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#16 TD.

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 10:07 PM

Arthur,

All of this is covered from documented sources in the records of the British Nathional Archives in my first book, Great Britain - The Tommy Gun Story. With 358 footnotes, I was very careful to document everything regarding the British orders, shipments, arrivals, losses, Home Guard and much much more. A great deal of  incomplete and/or misinformation had been previously published and bantered about on the Internet by Thompson experts that I wanted to insure the reader understood what transpired - and the underlying documentation. To date, not one word has been shown to be incorrect. My $30 book addresses all your speculation. Regarding the Hamblin letter in Frank's book, what I have stated above is a possible explanation to what he saw. Or not. Without more information, it really does not matter. 

 

I also cover the very small number of Colt's that found their way to Great Britain and from what sources. Regarding the number of unsold Thompsons gun still in inventory at Auto-Ordnance in January 1939, I suggest you look to Blish v. Thompson Automatic Arms Corporation (64 A.2nd 581).    


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#17 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 11:12 AM

 I suggest you look to Blish v. Thompson Automatic Arms Corporation (64 A.2nd 581).    

 Sure. That has been the go to authority for  authors on this subject since WJH's book. This information is recalled by Charles Terry Jr. nearly ten years after the date in question.  Eugene D. Powers is mentioned in the above stockholders suit and he claimed there were only 2,000 Colt TSMGs in AOC inventory in the early part of 1939. 

 

"...and from 1922 until 1939 AUTO's entire corporate activity was spent in liquidating these guns upon the open market. Sales did not meet expectations, as in January, 1939 approximately 4500 guns remained unsold. These guns, together with tools, jigs, cutter and fixtures (the patents having long expired) constituted the entire corporate assets of the company."

 

Supreme Court of Delaware
Filed: December 7th, 1948
Author: Charles L. Terry Jr.

 

There is always that caveat "approximately."   

 

TD: Posted 22 February 2017 - 12:04 PM

 

"We know the US military acquired over 1700 Colt era Thompsons starting with the US Marines in 1926 and ending with the June 30, 1939 order for 951 guns. We also know the French government purchased 3000 Colt manufactured guns that were delivered before France fell to Germany.  That is 4700 guns so let’s add in another 300 for miscellaneous small orders or other acquisitions (confiscations?) and the number is approximately 5000."

 

Gordon Herigstad made Herculean attempts to retrieve the EXPORT Colt TSMG serial numbers from BATFE.  His efforts were rebuffed.

 

Gordon documents the total of Colt TSMGs (but of course not the serial numbers) exported to foreign countries (France, Sweden, GB)   in 1939-40  at 4250.  GH is  subtracting the June, 1939 U.S. Army order of 951 Colt TSMGs from the 7,100  figure shown in the September 30, 1938 NFA document as having been registered since  July, 28, 1934.  Other authors have subtracted this number from the available AOC inventory by March, 1940 thereby precluding the GB order of 750 TSMGs  being  Colts regardless of the fact that Savage had not manufactured any TSMGs until April  19, 1940.

 

How many of these Colt TSMG made it across the pond to the U.K. during the "Happy Time" of 1940–41 in the North Atlantic and North Sea is another matter.  


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#18 TD.

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 02:46 PM

Where is Blish v. Thompson Automatic Arms Corporation cited in the Helmer book? 

 

Agree about "approximately." But since this figure is taken directly from court records, one could assume both sides agreed to the number. It also fits perfectly with known AOC sales in 1939 & 1940. 

 

Only 2 Colt's were shipped by AOC to the British military in 1940, on March 14th to be exact. Not sure when the reconditioned second-hand guns provided free by AOC as part of the French contract penalty were shipped but agree it could have been early 1941. I have always found it amusing some enthusiasts believe the British military used a great number of Colt manufactured guns during World War II. Of course, no one can point to where these guns came from. Starting with the six Colt's issued to the British Expeditionary Force in late 1939, I can document not only the numbers I cite, but the possible sources. Again, Colt's were statistically insignificant, to the point of being non-existent.   


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#19 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 06:42 PM

But since this figure is taken directly from court records, one could assume both sides agreed to the number. It also fits perfectly with known AOC sales in 1939 & 1940. 

 

Only 2 Colt's were shipped by AOC to the British military in 1940, on March 14th to be exact.

 

Not sure when the reconditioned second-hand guns provided free by AOC as part of the French contract penalty were shipped but agree it could have been early 1941.

 

Yet Charles L. Terry Jr.  does not include or mention the documentation submitted as evidence regarding AOC inventory in 1939. As you say, it is an agreed upon number as the proceedings were interested in other things.

 

Certainly Gordon Herigstad is acutely aware of AOC sales during the time period in question as he devoted much time and capital pursuing when and where Colt TSMGs were sold. 

 

What are the serial numbers of these  two (2) Colt TSMGs? What Model of Colt? And what is the name of the vessel that transported them to G.B.? Why bother to ship 2 Colt TSMGs in March 14, 1940 when AOC could ship the first Savage TSMGs 30 days later on April 19, 1940?  

 

Let's examine these "free TSMGs" AOC agreed to throw in the deal as a penalty for non delivery. The British Purchasing Commission letter of  November 6, mentions:

 

 “149 new guns and about 40 second-hand guns, the latter being thoroughly reconditioned in every way”  

 

By November, 1940, the new TSMGs would have to be Savage MODEL 1928, but the seconds could also be Savage MODEL 1928 as well.  That there were so many Colt receivers Numrich  found in the Maguire crates makes it unlikely these seconds were factory rejects.  If these were AOC sales samples that were complete and fully operational, AOC would have sent them out in March, 1940 as you state. 

 

The following is from your 2013 SAR article 

 

"Auto-Ordnance agreed that it did not meet the delivery schedules in the contract negotiated by the French and about one-half (1,500) of the guns remained undelivered."

 

By extrapolation this sentence implies 750 TSMGs, despite the menace of U-boats, were delivered to G.B.  By November, 1940, Savage had no problem filling orders for AOC.  This sounds like AOC only being able to deliver existing available TSMGs in this quantity before June, 1940. That would make them of Colt manufacture, no?  

 

This is  why access to the BATFE EXPORT sales records of Colt TSMGs is crucial in this discussion.


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#20 TD.

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 08:31 PM

There was a time when all these questions had merit. Thankfully, these questions and many more have been answered. All of this is covered from documented sources in the records from the British National Archives in my first book, Great Britain - The Tommy Gun Story. With 358 footnotes, I was very careful to document everything regarding the British orders, shipments, arrivals, losses, Home Guard and much much more. A great deal of  incomplete and/or misinformation had been previously published and bantered about on the Internet by Thompson experts that I wanted to insure the reader understood what transpired - and the underlying documentation. To date, not one word has been shown to be incorrect. My $30 book addresses all your concerns and speculation. 


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