At the Range with the Marlin UD-42 SMG

This is Lot 1106 in the upcoming October 2019 Morphys Extraordinary auction.

The Marlin / United Defense US-42 submachine gun was not used by the American military, but it did see service in World War Two. Its 9mm chambering made it inconvenient for the US, but ideal for agencies like the OSS and SOE to drop to resistance organizations within occupied Europe. So, let’s take this one to the range and see what those resistance fighters were actually getting…


  1. All we need now is a method of hiding it on your person (or perhaps just use a violin case) so that you can pull a “Surprise, suckers” on occupation troops. Just kidding!

  2. I have a copy of the book “Ill Met by Moonlight”, which recounts how British forces, aided by Cretan patriots, captured a German general during the war.

    Many of the Cretans were armed with Marlin guns, which they liked very much. Some can be seen in the photos in the book.

    Cretans are very proud people, who love independence and guns almost equally. Although Greece has gun control, they do not seem to apply it very strongly in Crete, where many people still own wartime guns. I can guarantee that none of those Marlin guns will have been handed over to the authorities at the end of the war. The men who fought with them will have kept them, and passed them down.

    The Cretan point of view is that you never know when the Turks might return, and it is best to be prepared for them.

    On a side note, I must congratulate Ian for his natty choice of headgear. I wonder if he bought his tweed cap on his recent trip to Leeds?

  3. “(…)Marlin / United Defense US-42 submachine gun was not used by the American military, but it did see service in World War Two.(…)”
    And World part of War Two manifested in it, as it was designed by Gus Swebilius
    who was born in Sweden, was originally ordered by Dutch and even shipped to Dutch East Indies was produced by High Standard and Marlin (hinting that sole producer had not enough free power for given demand), was named United Defense (UNITED like in ), was delivered to resistance across Europe.

  4. One of my favorites!

    I once read a book by a U.S. OSS operative, a Greek American, who went to Greece to work with the partisans. I thought from the photographs that he must have delivered a lot of these UD42 9mm SMGs, given that they appear in the hands of many in the photos… On closer examination I realized it was the same pair of high-value U.S.-supplied SMGs that the chieftains and andartes would pose with the same pair! The Greek Communist Party group he was with had a number of Ukrainian HiWis from the German occupation army defect to them as it became clear that the Soviets would soon hive off Rumania from the Axis, and be joined by Bulgaria, followed by a precipitous German pullout of the Balkans. The andartes could not trust these men, so they used them as a labor battalion.

    Incidentally, Ian’s predecessor Timothy Mullin highly rated the “Marlin” 9mm United Defense 42 in his hands on experimental archaeology of submachine guns and other small arms.

  5. An interesting and distinctive-looking weapon. It appears to be a simple and solid design.
    I wonder if a semiautomatic clone would be a viable project?

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