Thompson Submachine Gun

"Tommy Gun"

Thompson Machine Carbine


Length: 2 ft. 9½ ins.
Weight: 10 lb. 12 ozs.
Barrel: 10½ ins.
Calibre: .45 in. ACP (Auto Colt Pistol)
Operation: Projection of spent case (blow back)
Type of fire: single shot
Feed: magazine, 20 round box
magazine, 30 round box
magazine, 50 round drum
Rate of fire: 600 - 700 r.p.m.
Range of sights: 0 to 600 yds.

The Thompson sub-machine gun was designed in 1921. It took the .45" ACP ammunition, the same as that used in the Colt 1911 pistol.

There were 2 versions which saw service during the war. The first was the M1928 which is more often associated with the American gangsters of the prohibition era. It had a front pistol grip and took either a stick or drum magazine.

This was modified during the war to produce the Thompson M1A1. The front pistol grip was replaced with a flat foregrip. The drum magazine was also found to be impactical and only the stick magazines were used with the M1A1. The M1A1 was not used by the Home Guard.

The Home Guard were trained in using the earlier M1928 version and they do appear in wartime propaganda photos using the M1928 but it was probably only issued in very limited numbers to the Home Guard. Any that were issued were quite often withdrawn and issued to the regular army whose need was more pressing than the Home Guard's.