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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 14:15 pm 
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That could explain it.

I wonder if I'm reading the document I have from Tunbridge Wells HG wrong. Whether the number isn't a count, its a date. Hard to say.

On the Thompson, folklore has it that it was removed from HG units to equip the new Commando force. Whether this is true or not is questionable I'd say. It certainly was true that it did go, but when exactly I don't know. I'd be inclined to suggest that the Sten replaced it and withdrawal was more to do with supply chain of ammo than any other reason. As such you'd probably be able to align the withdrawal of the Thompson to the start of production of the Sten. Certainly there was a broader decision to use 9mm SMG ammo in the Western European theatre and 45ACP in North Africa and Italy.

BTW I am enjoying this conversation very much, it reminds me how much fun this forum used to be.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 14:41 pm 
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Hi Andrei .. yes very enjoyable ... I believe the withdrawal of the Thompson began in 1942, the official reason at the time being .. 'to equip field units' .. ??
If there was a shortage due to the sinking of ammo ships it would be a logical reason perhaps, that the Sten replaced it is indisputable of course, the two dates, ie; removing the Thompson and issuing the Sten, being somewhat synchronised, to use a word ?

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 14:51 pm 
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From the same source as the previous info ....

The Home Guard Auxiliary Units were some of the first to see the Thompson sub-machine gun as GHQ prioritised supplying these units with the best equipment available. However in the regular Home Guard, units did not start to receive Thompsons until 1941. Numbers peaked at 43,017 issued by April 1942 when they were then rapidly withdrawn to be issued to the Field Force and replaced by the Sten gun.

A simple design, originating from Enfield that could be produced using stampings, relatively unskilled labour and a minimum of machining tools was tested and ready for manufacture by early 1941. This was the Sten gun,

There were a number of models of the Sten; in terms of issue to the Home Guard the Mk II and Mk III are the relevant models. The Sten both met a tactical need for such a weapon in the Home Guard and also allowed every man to be armed if rifles were unavailable.

In total, 2.6 million Mk II’s were manufactured between 1941 and 1943. A total of 876,794 Mk III’s were produced between 1942 and 1943. Both Mk II and Mk III’s were issued in substantial numbers to the Home Guard.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 17:44 pm 
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From your very excellent document you kindly provided the link to (which I am reading like crazy and loving it!):

Home Guard returns show the first thousand Thompsons arriving in April 1941, and
numbers climbing to a peak of 43,017 one year later, after which they rapidly declined
as the weapons were transferred to the Army.43 Auto-Ordnance Corp. in the USA
produced 217,420 Thompsons during 1940-41, mostly for export to Britain; of these,
Hobart (1973, p.38) states, ‘over 100,000 were lost to U boat sinkings in the Atlantic.’
Given the desperate imperative to provide submachine guns to the British army, and the
fact that half the guns ended up at the bottom of the Atlantic, that any were issued to the
Home Guard must be taken as evidence of the importance of the Home Guard as a
military force – to share such a scarce resource in desperate circumstances, cannot
easily be dismissed as ‘tokenism’. Indeed once sufficient supplies of the mass-produced
Sten ‘machine carbine’ were available in 1943, all Thompsons were withdrawn from the
Home Guard and issued to regular units.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:01 am 
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As to manufacturing issues with the No. 4 rifle, my dad could attest to that. He was stationed in India, being trained to be an engineer (he wound up as a sapper, but that's another story). During a route march they stopped for a rest. He laid his rfle down and watched the foresight svivel around the barrel. At the range he fired ten[?] rounds and the bolt seized up and he had to kick it open.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2018 23:26 pm 
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A few points.
Thompson SMG's inventory with the HG were reduced but they were never completely withdrawn.
Hobart is wrong if he stated that 100.000 ended up at the bottom of the atlantic. The true figure was that less than 5% of shipments were sunk.
Pattern 17 rifles were never dumped in the sea after the war. They were sold off by the Ministry of Supply, disposals.

Regards

AlanD
Sydney


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 13:00 pm 
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Just to come back to this for a moment as it has been bugging me somewhat ..

Nowhere I think has any statement been made that ALL Thompsons were taken away from the HG ....

If as you claim Hobart is wrong, can you please supply statistics to prove that ... there was an awful lot more than 5% of shipping lost during the war, and it stands to reason then that there was a lot more than 5% losses of the cargoes too.

There was a great deal of dumping into the sea going on in the 1950's, young as I was then I can recall seeing articles in the newspapers about that ... if you can emphatically say there were no P17 included in that at all, again, where are your facts please .. again as with the Thompsons, nowhere has it been said that ALL of them were dumped.

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... " I got vision and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals " ...

... " I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them " ...


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 2:36 am 
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Real Name: Alan David
The best reference concerning the issue of the TSMG to British forces including the HG is a book by Tom Davis , "'Great Britain - The Tommy Gun Story"'. This was in fact researched from files at The National Archives in Kew by James West. The book can be purchased through Amazon for around $30. It is well worth it.

Before we look at the facts which Correspondent has asked for I will state that I have the utmost respect for Frank Hobart who based much of his research concerning British military firearms on the Ordnance Board Proceedings, or O B Proc's, for short. He had access to these at the then Royal Military College of Science at Shrivenham. His book on the history of the SMG, is still one of the best out there, especially the section dealing with British experimental and trials SMG's.

As to the losses of TSMG's at sea in the war, we need to look at the distinct areas. First orders place by the British Purchasing Commission direct with Auto Ordnance, under "Cash and Carry". These orders are documented in a file at Kew and come to a total of 108,000 which is fairly well known, also listed but not so well known is the figure for 'lost in transit', as the file puts it, 4,950 guns. This gives us a total loss of 4.6%.
Next we come to Thompson's supplied under Lend Lease, this figure is close to 406,000 guns. Shipping losses for the period of Lend Lease come from two separate sources.Admiralty Book of Reference B.R. 1337, British & Foreign Merchant Vessels Lost or Damaged by Enemy Action During the Second World War, which was published in November 1945. The second source of data is a file containing losses pertaining to, Ships Proceeding to UK Ports and Ships Proceeding to other than UK Ports. The totals from these sources come to 22,358 guns of the 406,000 giving a percentage loss of 5.5%.
So here we have the actual facts and not the urban myths that seem to always be perpetuated.
Next, the Model 1917 rifle. Attached is a page from the 1950 Parker Hale General Catalogue. The only center fire rifles that could be purchased are the No1 SMLE, No4 rifle and Pattern 1914 rifle. The only center fire sporting rifles listed are a sportarised conversion of the P14 and P17 rifle, the latter at 19 Pounds. In 1950 this was a serial amount of money, it would take the average worker several months to save this after allowing for tax and living expenses. Clearly these rifles were of value, Britain was desperately short of fund the mantra being Export or Die. Clearly the importation of many goods was undesirable hence the need to use goods which were at hand and the sale of which to the trade would bring in much need income for the Exchequer. We know that well over a million No4 rifles were sold off after the war, mainly to dealers in the U.S.A., clearly these were not dumped in the Channel, why would they be, when they could be sold.Same goes for the P17 rifle. Any that may have been considered as un-servicable such as those converted to grenade firing would have been scraped, meaning that the steel would have been recycled and used for another purpose. This was the case with the 25,000 odd .32S&W revolvers that the Metropolitan Police purchased during the war from Harrington & Richardson, during the war. These turned out to be of inferior quality but even so in 1947 they were smelted down and not dumped in the Channel, the relevant file at Kew is quite specific on the matter.
The films you see of crates being thrown overboard from ships at sea at the war's end are mainly munitions which were dangerous or unstable, would never realistically be used again due to the cessation of the war, the cost of dismantling for scrap would exceed the value of the scrap and where the cost of storage would outweigh the value of the item in the long term, etc.
Regards

AlanD
Sydney


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2018 18:48 pm 
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As most of the Auxilier Unit Members have by now passed away, how many bunkers remain, lost to records/memory, uncleared ? Each bunker contained a supply of plastic explosive, Thompsons, .22 rifles , stens and other weapons.

Where these bunkers do come to light, some have certainly yielded uncleared arms caches.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 20:14 pm 
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Only just come back on to this site after a few months but regarding sea dumping, the War Department spent about 20 years dumping ammunition into the Irish Sea after the war. Not surprisingly the Irish were not particularly happy and ammunition gets washed up from time to time.

The quanities stored are very hard comprehend from todays prospective. If you consider when Anti-Aircraft Command was stood down in the mid 1950's there were still about 1000 3.7" and larger guns still in service. If each one had a war reserve stock of 100 rounds you can immagine the huge quanities to be disposed of. At Monton Farliegh Ammunition Dump close to where live they spent the best part of a year burning the codite in a neigbouring valley which I understand is still piled deep with the containers.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:18 am 
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Correspondent,

Here a reference on the Thompson transfer to the army from page 139 of Arming the British Home Guard, 1940-1944 by DM Clarke:-

Home Guard returns show the first thousand Thompsons arriving in April 1941, and
numbers climbing to a peak of 43,017 one year later, after which they rapidly declined
as the weapons were transferred to the Army.

Full document:-

https://dspace.lib.cranfield.ac.uk/bitstream/1826/.../1/Clarke%20D%20M%20PhD.pdf

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