Tag Archive | Tommy gun

Chicago Typewriters off Morocco, 77 years ago today

Major General George Patton and Rear Admiral John Hall, US Navy (behind Patton – and, Yes, the Admiral has his helmet on backward) prepare to go ashore at Fedhala, Morocco during the North African operation, 9 November 1942.

The African-American Soldier with the Thompson gun in the center is MSG William George Meeks. Of note, Meeks, born in 1896, joined the U.S. Cavalry in 1916 and served in the Mexican Intervention chasing Villa, as well as both the Great War and, of course, WWII. He was a longtime orderly of Patton’s and later one of the General’s pallbearers on the military honors casket team that buried him.

It was Meeks that presented his widow Beatrice with Patton’s flag.

The Tommy gun bearing SCNO died in 1965 and is buried in Arlington, Sec: 43, Site: 369.

50 years ago today: A Chicago typewriter in Hue

His hand bandaged, Lance Corporal C.D. Bradford, a New Jersey native from Longbranch, hefts an M1A1 Thompson submachine gun with its stock removed during the building-to-building battle for Hue City. He was a radio operator for Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines during the fighting. The photo was taken on 5 February 1968.

Functions TF for WWII Tommy guns

Complete with the super-detailed cutaways, this 1942 U.S. Army training film covers the non-Blish lock operation of the M1928A1 and M1/M1A1 made by Savage Arms and Auto-Ordnance after April 1942.

The most common Tommy guns of all time, these were made in quantity (562,511 M1928A1s and a million “United States Submachine Gun, Cal. .45, M1” and M1A1), though they were all replaced by the cheaper M3 Grease Gun soon after the war.

Private Bruce Rutherford and doggoes cleaning his “Chicago Typewriter”

We’re trading up, says St. Louis Metro PD as they cash out Tommy gun cache


From the 1920s through the 1960s, many civilian police forces, such as these cops in Tacoma, Wash, had a few Tommy guns on the racks “just in case” phasing them out after Vietnam with 1033 Program M16A1s

The St. Louis Metro Police Department is parting with most of its huge and historic Thompson submachine gun collection in a move to get a good deal on new duty guns.

Twenty-seven of the city’s 30 Tommy guns will be sold to Midwest Distributors for $22,000 apiece. All told, the Kentucky-based firm will pay $618,500 for the transferrable .45 ACP s sub guns and some other surplus weapons. This is on top of $597,000 paid by Minneapolis-based Bill Hicks & Co. for 1,748 used Beretta handguns currently carried by the department.

The money will go to offset the cost of new Berettas at $450 a pop to equip every officer with as well as a quantity of AR-15s to be used as patrol rifles.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Looking for a deal on a Tommy gun?

That stock comes off, you know?

Plymouth Borough, outside of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, isn’t big, but they have had a vintage and transferrable Tommy gun in their city’s arsenal since Prohibition that they want to get rid of if the price is right.

Furthermore, it’s not your average burp gun– it’s a Navy overstamp 1921 Colt-made Thompson.

Often thought of by militaria collectors as the holy grail of U.S. sub guns, the overstamp came about when Auto Ordnance moved to offload their stock of Colt-made M1921 Thompsons and, modifying them slightly by reducing their cyclic rate of fire from 800 rounds per minute to a more pedestrian 600, over-stamped the “1” in 1921 with an “8.”

The Title II/Class 3 weapon is listed on Gunbroker, with a current price of $28,000 and two days to go before the bidding ends.

In recent years several agencies have liquidated their stocks of aging Tommy guns including St.Louis PD who put a cool $1 million worth of the .45 ACP SMGs up for sale in 2014 and another North Carolina department who moved to swap a pair of Thompsons for 88 newer semi-auto Bushmasters.

In 2015, the town of Kinston, North Carolina, who had picked up an overstamp to ward off possible tobacco payroll robbers in 1935, sold their gun for $36,750, which is about average for the model.

Tanks and pups

Private Bruce Rutherford and Puppies, Okinawa, 1 June 1945.

(Click to big up)

(Click to big up)

The caption on this photograph reads “Housing Problem-On hand to greet their master when he returned from the front lines on Okinawa were these puppies, Nansi, Shoto, Sake, Zero, Banzai, and Okinawa. They present a housing problem to Marine tankman Private Bruce Rutherford, of Bristol, Tenn.” From the Photograph Collection (COLL/3948), Marine Corps Archives & Special Collections

Rutherford was likely a member of the 1st Marine Tank Battalion, which saw horrible losses on the assault on Okinawa. Beginning on 1 April 1945, the battalion was actively engaged in wresting control of the island fortress from the Japanese. The ferocity of the fighting is witnessed by the fact that the unit suffered 28 tanks destroyed and 163 damaged. When you consider these were M4A2s and the Japanese had little effective armor, you can see the problem– and why Rutherford wanted to keep that beautiful Thompson M1 submachine gun as clean as possible.

The Bulldog’s Tommy gun found

Ever seen this image?

Winston Churchill with a Tommy Gun during an inspection near Harlepool, 1940 1

Winston Churchill with a M1923 Thompson Submachine gun with 50-round drum magazine (Tommy Gun) during an inspection of Commando units near Harlepool, 1940. Winston himself was an old soldier who saw frontline service in the Sudan, Boer Wars, and on the Western Front in WWI after he left the Admiralty over the Gallipoli Campaign.

Classic right?

The Germans even used it in propaganda photos and leaflets during the War.

Winston Churchill with a Tommy Gun during an inspection near Harlepool, 1940 1

Well, it seems like this very same iconic Tommy gun has been located. (Maybe)(We’re 80 percent sure)

M3 Scout tank loadout, 1942 with Tommy gun bonus

M3 light tank, crew, and supplies at Fort Benning, Georgia note the Tommy gun and ten drums up front

M3 light tank, crew, and supplies at Fort Benning, Georgia note the Tommy gun and ten drums up front


M3 Stuart Light tank. Note the boxes of 37mm M6 rounds for the landship’s M44 main gun– the typical Stuart could carry as many as 174 of these shells. Then there were the trio of Browning M1919A4 30.06-cal light machine guns and the 4 man crew’s (Commander, gunner, driver, co-driver) own personal weapons. That’s a whole lot of stuff to fit into a 14×8-foot box. Some 25,000 Stuarts were manufactured between 1941-45, and a few still survive in service with the armies of Brazil and Paraguay.  In pop-culture you may remember the haunted Stuart in the DC war comic “The Haunted Tank” and in the forgettable 1995 film adaptation of Tank Girl.

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