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What Happened to all the Thompsons After WW2?


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#21 buzz

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 01:56 AM

If you read commentary about guns, even in books, you get lead up some blind alleys.

 

A lot of information is just stories that went back and forth for decades.

 

Most people will quickly believe a story that romantic or interesting, and they ignore the boring version that is actually the truth.

 

Unless you can verify a story, you shouldn't believe it too much.


Edited by buzz, 18 December 2017 - 10:59 AM.

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#22 Adg105200

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 07:03 AM

The number of Thompsons produced was close to 1.8 million. Of those still around, I think you will find most overseas in some form of deactivation or another, although there are still a number of countries with live tsmg's.

As far as what is better or preferred between US service weapons, I think there probably were GIs that swapped their Garands for a Thompson. It is all subject to situation and preference.

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#23 kanemono

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 10:42 AM

Thousands of Thompson's were given to the Chinese during WW2. Many more thousands were given to the Nationalist Chinese to fight the Communist's during the Chinese Civil War. When the Chinese Communists crossed into North Korea and fought the Marines at the Chosen Reservoir thousands of Chinese were armed with Thompsons. Here is a Thompson captured from the Chinese at the Chosen and used by the Marines.

Attached Files


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#24 Roland the Thompsongunner

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 12:59 PM

I just watched a documentary on tv on the korean war and one clip showed a whole squad of chinese walking by all armed with thompsons. A lot ended up being turned on us for sure.
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#25 Paladin601

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 01:01 PM

When talking about guns, one must be careful to separate actual facts from gun shop factoids.

 

The Thompson M1A1 weighs 10.6 lbs empty and the MP40 weighs 8.8 lbs empty.

 

I'm sure the extra 1.8 lbs made the soldier's arms pull right out of the sockets.

 

You hear a lot of people blah-blah-ing about this gun being better than that gun, but it's mostly just gun shop bubba talk.

That is why American soldiers were so muscular in the propaganda photos, heavy guns, big muscles


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#26 APEXgunparts

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 02:59 PM

Just when I was graduating high school I bought a book titled "Arsenal of Democracy, American Weapons Available for Export" By Tom Gervasi

 

Here is a review of it:

https://www.washingt...m=.240679d640c6

 

The book not only describes the weapons systems, it documents who we gave them to or sold them to.

I haven't opened the covers for some time, but I know it lists who received Thompsons and how many each country was provided.

 

Richard


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#27 colt21a

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 04:01 PM

Half got turned into parts kits, Half ended up in the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans,Half had gotten burned & destroyed battle damaged. and half of the last half are still running around on the planet still functioning.

 

I think at this point I ran out of Thompson's. But hey the important one is the one or two you have and own.

 

Who cares what the other half doe's. Colt21aRon

p.s. and we can have this same old tale on another ten guns during the war. And it has been hashed on since WW2, what Happened to the 12 Million K-98s' and the 5 million 45 auto's and on and on..


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#28 Petroleum 1

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 07:10 PM

There were also thousands sent to the bottom of the north Atlantic by german Uboats.There were staggering amounts of military equipment lost that way in the early years of the war but our great manufacturing might just made more. 


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#29 buzz

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 07:47 PM

This is a really interesting topic and I find it kind of funny that it never occurred to me before.

 

What the heck did happen to all those Thompsons?  bottom of the sea?  smelter?  warehouse in greece?

 

we collectors and US police forces are holding a tiny fraction of the total production.


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#30 Bridgeport28A1

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 08:22 PM

There were also thousands sent to the bottom of the north Atlantic by german Uboats.There were staggering amounts of military equipment lost that way in the early years of the war but our great manufacturing might just made more. 

 

Tom Davis Jr. (TD.) Great Britain - The Tommy Gun Story book has the documented number of shipping losses by U-boats. Not as Thompson's at the bottom of the Atlantic as everyone had speculated.


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#31 Ron Mills

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 08:25 PM

This is a really interesting topic and I find it kind of funny that it never occurred to me before.

 

What the heck did happen to all those Thompsons?  bottom of the sea?  smelter?  warehouse in greece?

 

we collectors and US police forces are holding a tiny fraction of the total production.

Buzz,

Yes, yes, and yes.  It is pretty amazing, isn't it?  And not just for Thompsons!  As Colt21aRon points out, so many other weapons too, and not limited to the USA.  Add BARs, mess kits, 60mm mortars, the list is endless.  There have to be many storehouses, warehouses, ship-sized containers etc. all over this country and the world filled with treasures.  Local lore has it (western Nebraska) that the US Army, in the dead of night, buried countless tons of .30 and .50 ammo along with M1 carbines, Browning M2s, in ravines southwest of McCook.  The really old boys around there say it's true but are not providing any coordinates.  So there's another scenario. 


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#32 Paladin601

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 10:31 PM

There is always a story about some veteran that dies and their kids find a gun, grenade or something hidden in the Garage. There is a book on the Thompson cannot think of the name (blue Cover) that while in France researching the book, a number of people showed him Thompsons and other guns that were not turn in after the war, in case France was invaded again.

In England an Woman died who had been in MI-6 during the war, and she still had her Sten Gun in the attic.

I am sure many more will start turning up as the veterans get fewer from that war.


Edited by Paladin601, 18 December 2017 - 10:36 PM.

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#33 Barry

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 11:15 PM

A lot were dewats sold in magazine adds that now sit in the back of lockers


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#34 TSMG28

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 03:05 PM

As noted above, a lot of U.S. materiel went to "allies" at the time.  I know that both Turkey and Israel received Thompsons, mags and parts. The unfortunate turn of event in China did bring those  back in our face in Korea, along with some that were made in China.

 

When the Turks were supporting the Turkish Cypriots during the civil war on Cyprus, they carefully provided only select Thompson parts, requiring the Turrks to manufacture the rest of the guns locally.  Initially the guns were made in brass, but they switched to steel when the brass versions couldn't hold up over time.  Providing complete weapons would have angered both the U.S. and U.N., who had peacekeeping forces there in the late 60's and early 70's.

 

We have seen a number of Thompson XX magazines that are marked as being officially part of the Israeli military.  Most were green parkerized, but some were left blued.

 

Roger


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#35 m3bobby

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 04:02 PM

Are they really scarce? I dont think so. Maybe in the USA they are scarce because of your laws but in Europe they are common place. Theres been 100s for sale for the last 20 + Years. I have 4 and I dont even collect them.
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#36 Petroleum 1

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 06:36 PM

m3bobby...are yours live fire guns or display only??


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#37 geefal

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 06:48 PM

When talking about guns, one must be careful to separate actual facts from gun shop factoids.

 

The Thompson M1A1 weighs 10.6 lbs empty and the MP40 weighs 8.8 lbs empty.

 

I'm sure the extra 1.8 lbs made the soldier's arms pull right out of the sockets.

 

You hear a lot of people blah-blah-ing about this gun being better than that gun, but it's mostly just gun shop bubba talk.

Don't know about you, but a "loaded" Thompson and a "loaded"  MP40 each with "loaded" (unless you have a habit of carrying unloaded weapons around) extra magazines, well, the difference is significant and I would rather "by far" carry an MP40 and kit than a Thompson.  Plus it is a far handier weapon with the collapsible stock.  I own both, am not by most counts a "weeny" either (bench over 350), but I can honestly tell.  The Thompson is NOT a handy gun by any means.  And besides, you are immensely undergunned with either a 9mm or a .45 so that part REALLY MAKES NO DIFFERENCE.

 

I love my 28.  Fun gun to shoot.  Really it is.  But if I had to carry one or the other into battle, the first thing I would do is curse my luck at having to carry either one, then reach over and pick up the MP40.

 

Your mileage may vary.

 

To compare to a Garand is beyond pointless.  With a Garand you can actually kill stuff on a consistent basis.

 

FWIW I shot a racoon last night with the Thompson.  I shot him 6 times before he quite moving forward.  230gr .45 acp fmj hardball.  Now as a given, coons are tough as snot.  Probably tougher than I am as far as getting shot.  But still.  anytime someone tries to tell me a .45 is so much better than a 9mm it is just almost an instant giggle on my part.  Both suck so hard it is completely pointless to argue. 


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#38 buzz

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 11:57 AM

A lot of times when gun collectors compare similar guns, they pick over small differences between the guns.

 

And then the differences are played up to an extreme degree.

 

The whole conversation does not conform to any historical information from actual combat use.

 

For example, you might see some thread where 1911s are compared to P38s.

 

The people in the thread will make very exaggerated statements about the guns like "The 1911 was TOTALLY OBSOLETE by WWII and COMPLETELY OUTCLASSED by the P38."

 

But in truth, these little differences have zero effect on the use of the guns in combat. 

 

If you equipped the US troops with P38s and MP40s and the Germans with Thompsons and 1911s, it would not have made the tiniest little scrap of a difference in the outcome of any battle.

 

That's my point.

 

The internet is littered with threadS where guys are making dramatic statements about this gun or that gun and those statements have nothing to do with the actual use of the gun in combat.

 

My craftsman screw drivers are TOTALLY OUTCLASSED by snap-on screwdrivers but I have never encountered a screw I couldn't tighten or loosen with with craftsman screwdrivers, even though the snap-on screwdrivers are A HUNDRED MILLION TIMES MORE ERGONOMIC.


Edited by buzz, 21 December 2017 - 11:59 AM.

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#39 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 12:25 PM

If you equipped the US troops with P38s and MP40s and the Germans with Thompsons and 1911s, it would not have made the tiniest little scrap of a difference in the outcome of any battle.

 But if you equipped U.S. troops with Mauser K98 and Krauts with M1 Garand ( "the greatest battle implement ever devised"*) your declaration falls flat.

 

* Gen. Patton


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#40 richard w.

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 12:43 PM

We all love to study and collect Small Arms so I think there's a tendency in the community to give them much more credit for the outcome of the war than they deserve.


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