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Wwi Thompsons


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#1 machine2k

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Posted 01 July 2005 - 01:07 PM

I was watching an episode of History of the Gun on the History channel and noticed that they mentioned that a shipment of Thompson SMGs were sitting on the docks in NY harbor on Nov 11, 1918, destined for use in the trenches, but never made it due to the end of the war. Is this fact or fiction?
If it is true, then it probably could not have been more than a few guns, probably pre-Model 1919 prototypes.
Can anyone shed any light on this?

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#2 giantpanda4

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Posted 01 July 2005 - 02:15 PM

Read Helmer's and Hill's books....

I believe they finished (perfected) the design within a week of War's end. that would be some very fast manufacturing.....
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#3 TSMGguy

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Posted 01 July 2005 - 02:51 PM

As I recall, the first TSMGs adopted by the US military went to the Marines and were used by them to guard railroad mail shipments. They then went to Nicaragua in the late 1920s where they were used to good effect .
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#4 machine2k

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Posted 01 July 2005 - 03:30 PM

I have Hill's book, I'll check it again. I don't recall seeing any mention of these guns. I just placed an order for Helmer's book. Does anyone know what design these guns were? Annihilator I's? How many? Box mags, or the earlier belt-fed type? It's odd because the History Channel episode only has Hill saying that it was a big blow to Thompson to not have had the gun ready for combat in WWI... nothing with him actually saying that the guns were ready to go in November 1918 (the narrator says that). Was this an official army combat trial?
I'd have to imagine that the army was eager to get their own SMG into use with the Germans already having their own trench-broom in use (the MP18) at that time.


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#5 Zamm

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Posted 01 July 2005 - 05:42 PM

The war ended way before the gun went into production.
Z
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#6 Ron Mills

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Posted 01 July 2005 - 06:54 PM

Zamm is correct.

The narration must be mistaken on that History Channel episode. Tracie Hill had serial #17 (or at least had a pic of it), the Model of 1919. The war was obviously over. No Thompsons "over there". The Camp Perry trials were not held for the Thompson until 1921.

So, machine2k, welcome to the boards. You'll get a lot of questions answered here, and a few good entertaining spars as well. All good in clean fun...wink!

Ron

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#7 Jay Baker

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Posted 02 July 2005 - 07:25 AM

I would speculate that it is more likely to have been a shiment of 1918 BAR's. I understand that the army was hesitant to introduce this new weapon because they were afraid of it falling into the hands of the enemy. Thus, they chose the French made weapon converted to .30-.06 which performed with such devastating results...for the other side. I can hear Pershing now, "Send me the BAR's!"
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#8 Jay Baker

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Posted 02 July 2005 - 10:38 AM

Phil,
I picked up that tidbit of info somewhere. It was one of the reasons they didn't work too well, asside from the obvious magazine flaw. I have heard they were reasonably reliable in their original caliber, whatever that was. I do reserve the right to be misinformed.
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#9 TSMGguy

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Posted 02 July 2005 - 11:33 PM

The Chauchats issued to US forces in WWI were in the original French 8mm Lebel chambering. They didn't work any better for the French than they did for us!
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#10 Norm

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Posted 03 July 2005 - 09:53 AM

QUOTE
Had such a DEWAT 40+ years ago, and it had been 8mm Lebel.


Philohio,

How hard could it have been to DEWAT a Chauchat? From what I understand they were practically DEWATed when they were made! laugh.gif
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#11 October1971

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Posted 03 July 2005 - 08:19 PM

There were some Chauchats made in .30-06 caliber and they took an unusual magazine with raised ribs on the outside of it and it didn't have the cut-outs in the mag to view the rounds. I bought one from Landies about 20years ago and he correctly pointed out that you better not buy a .30-06 Chauchat that doesn't have the mag with it 'cause you'll never find the mag for it!

I never fired my .30-06 Chauchat before moving it on to another collector.
There's a good book from Collector Grade Publications called "Proud Promise" that tells you more than you'd ever need to know about the Chauchat.

It also pictures the .30-06 Chauchat with mag in that book. FWTW
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#12 Wes

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 01:21 PM

My great uncle "Will" was a machine gunner in the 2nd Marines during WW1. In his journal her refers to it as that Damn French gun and really hated it. He seemed to blame the magazine which was almost impossible to keep dirt out of. He was issued an american gun he really liked (I assume it was a BAR) but was wounded and his assistant killed right after it was issued. It was only weeks before the war ended. He does mention meeting Mrs. Wilson in a french hospital on Christmas. Walked with a limp the rest of his life.
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#13 Merry Ploughboy

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 06:43 PM

According to my French/English dictionary, "Chauchat" is French for "boat anchor" wink.gif
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