Type 100 / 44 (Late Pattern) Japanese SMG

The Japanese never really embraced submachine guns during and before World War Two. A series of development programs in the 1920s and 30s led nowhere, and there never really seems to have been much motivation behind them. Some small batches of guns were purchased from abroad for units like the Special Naval Landing Force, comprising things like SIG Model 1920 Bergmann guns and Steyr MP34s. Finally in the late 30s, apparently spurred by Japanese experience in the taking of Shanghai, Kijiro Nambu replaced his complex early designs with a simple blowback open-bolt gun chambered for the standard 8mm Nambu pistol cartridge. This was tested and accepted in 1940 as the Type 100.

The early 1940 model of the Type 100 had a distinctive underdog on the barrel shroud for attaching a bayonet, and some examples had bipods or simplistic folding stocks. It wasn’t until 1944 that the design was simplified and production increased – although still not to a level that would be considered significant in any other army. Only about 8,000 of the 1944 pattern guns were made. They had a higher rate of fire (about 800 rpm, compared to 450 rpm on the 1940 pattern), and used a different 30-round curved magazine as well.


  1. Imagine, if you will, that you are reading a work of fiction that outlines all the different military forces of the world, from about 1800 onwards.

    Because you like underdogs, you find yourself absolutely fascinated by the Japanese, because they go from nearly medieval in armament and military philosophy at about the mid-19th Century to being able to deliver a thorough whup-ass on a major Western nation during the Russo-Japanese War. You like these guys; they fight really well, they’re super-civilized about it all (everyone in WWI commented on how well the Japanese treated their prisoners and followed the law of war, so long as you ignored that whole “sneak attack at Port Arthur thing…), and you find yourself really rooting for these guys. They’re cool, they’re the iconoclastic choice for anyone who is into this genre of fiction…

    So, knowing what’s coming in the “way of war” and its weapons, you’re sitting there thinking “Oh, man… This gonna be good when these guys get to submachineguns… They’re just gonna love the snot out of those things, and coupled with their enthusiasm for the “up-close-and-personal” kinda warfare with their “Banzai Charge” mentality… I can’t hardly wait…”

    Then you read what the author came up with, which is the gradual morphing of your underdog heroes into these genocidal little sicko bastards that do things like the Rape of Nanking, POW treatment, and they don’t ever pay much attention to the submachinegun… You finish the book just about as pissed-off at the author as you are at the arseholes that did “Game of Thrones” on the television, and never buy another one of their books again. The whole thing is a genre-killer, and you’re just pissed off that they turned your in-book favorites into these monstrous idiots you can’t stand…

    That’s pretty much Japan with regards to the submachinegun. For some damn reason, they just didn’t do what you think they’d do, when the submachinegun became a possibility. You’d think they’d have been like “Man, this is our thing, it is! Love it!! Get me more of these!!!”, but… Not so much.

    Cultural blind spot? Flaw in their military culture, akin to the US fascination with the individual rifleman? Who knows, but it’s really bizarre to see a weapon that you would think should be embraced and beloved by the Japanese martial spirit, and they just sit there with it and never make all that much use of it…

    It’s bizarre. It’s weird. And, for a little nightmare fuel? Imagine being a US or Commonwealth soldier, sitting there in the twilight darkness, waiting for what you know will be the inevitable nighttime Banzai charge, made even more nightmarish by the fact that the people coming for you have really effective submachineguns with lots of ammo, spread all through their forces… And, they are prone to doing their charges using them to blast their way through your defenses in company with their light machine gun teams…

    Kinda Korean War-era Chinese coupled with WWII Japanese enthusiasm and professionalism…

    Yeah. That’s an alternate history I could do without, thankyouverymuch…

    • Apparently, it was the Russo-Japanese War and the war in China, plus the confrontation with Russia in Manchuria, which sealed the fate of the submachine gun in the Imperial Japanese forces.

      From the start, IJA soldiers fell into the category of “superbly trained but not superbly educated”. The Japanese educational system in what we’d call K-12 never really “caught up” with the technical advances of their society until after VJ-Day, the U.S. Occupation, and etc.

      All through those previous wars their soldiers were trained to rigid discipline. They were also trained as simply as possible. That meant infantry trained on one weapon; the Arisaka bolt-action rifle in its various iterations.

      While we “cross-trained” infantrymen as mortarmen, bazookamen, machine gunners, and radiomen, in the IJA each of these was a separate specialty which only certain troops were instructed in. In fact, for the most part these MOS were filled not by enlisted men and/or non-coms as with us, but by the equivalent of warrant officers.

      The typical Imperial Japanese army infantryman knew exactly how to use his rifle, and no other weapon except maybe one of their (dubiously reliable or “safe”) hand grenades.

      The Imperial crest over the chamber of each rifle told the soldier that it- and he– was the property of the Emperor. He existed to serve the rifle as an instrument of the Emperor’s will.

      Try to tell an American dogface that sort of thing about the President, he’d look at you like your head had come undone. Or maybe just smack you one upside your head.

      With that sort of narrow indoctrination and rigid, simplified training, the IJA did indeed do well. Mostly with long-range rifle fire, supported by artillery, followed up by the stereotypical “Banzai” bayonet charge.

      In that sort of tactical doctrine and environment, “special weapons”, like the submachine gun, simply “did not compute”.

      The only case of submachine gun use in combat by Japanese forces was by paratroops taking the Royal Dutch Shell facility at Soerabaja (Surabaja), in 1942. The paratroops used mostly Bergmann Mp.18 SMGs in 7.63 x 25mm Mauser. After-action reports showed very little as the facility was taken with little actual “shooting”.

      The SMGs were issued on the basis of two men per “stick” due to the difficulty of airdropping with the Type 96 or Type 99 LMGs. In effect, the SMGS were used as “substitute” SAWs. Everybody else had the modified Type 38 carbines with the “door-hinged” folding stocks. That same hinge setup later appeared on the early Type 100 (1940) model domestically-developed SMG in 8 x 22mm Nambu.

      The reason even the latter was seldom seen in service (say that three times fast) was that the SMG was regarded as a specialist weapon for paratroops- and no more paratroop drops were performed by IJA after Soerabaja. Like the German Fallschirmjager after Crete, the even fewer IJA paratroop units were retasked as ordinary infantry. Armed with the standard rifle and LMG.

      In short, the Imperial Japanese forces had no particular interest in submachine guns because they considered them irrelevant to the way they fought.

      The soldier with his bolt-action rifle did the fighting, with the light machine gun backing him up. His weapon in the “banzai” charge was the bayonet on the business end of his rifle. The objective was to terrorize and disrupt the enemy, panicking him into being unable to effectively defend his position, followed by capturing or killing him up close and personal, in the best samurai tradition.

      It worked perfectly well against troops that were, like the Imperial Japanese soldier, not superbly educated, but unlike him, were also not superbly trained. (Chinese, Russian, etc.)

      Against U.S. troops, it mainly got the “Banzai” charge relabeled the “suicide charge”. “Banzai” became a term of derision among American troops, rather like the “Ohka” (Cherry Blossom) suicide flying bomb being called the “Baka bomb”. (“Baka” being a bowdlerization of “bakayaro”- “stupid” or “foolish” in Japanese.)

      The IJA and IJN Special Landing Troops (not exactly the same as U.S. Marines, BTW, more like Russian naval infantry) finally did learn the proper tactical use of the submachine gun- at the wrong end of Thompson SMGS in the hands of American soldiers and Marines.

      Not exactly the way any sensible soldier or etc. would want to, actually.

      clear ether


      • http://www3.plala.or.jp/takihome/smg.htm#T100 claims that
        An improved model of Type 100 was developed in 1944. The improved model was simplified and its rate of fire was increased to 800 rounds. The left photo shows an improved model. It is said that 7,000 to 8,000 of the improved model Type 100 were produced, but they were reserved for the battle of Japan proper.
        Why it could be that way. Were these weapons deemed particularly fit for usage at Japan’s main islands? Were these supposed to be used by well-trained IJA or Volunteer Fighting Corps with hope that spraying lot of bullets would give better chance of hit as opposed to single-shot https://guns.fandom.com/wiki/National_Defence_Pistol ?

        • By that point, the Tojo clique’ recognized that an Allied invasion of Japan was inevitable.

          This confronted them with two problems. One was hiding their defensive military assets, principally air power, from Allied air attacks. See here;

          History Channel; Secret Japanese Aircraft of World War Two


          The solution there was literally hiding an entire advanced air force in caves.

          The other was defending Japanese cities against capture by Allied ground forces. This required arming civilians, including women and children.

          The “National Defense Rifle” was the first intended solution to the problem of arming an entire population unfamiliar with modern weapons (deliberately kept so by the government up to that point, to be exact). It failed because first, the weapon was too weakly built to cope with the operating pressures of the 7.7 x 58mm Arisaka cartridge, and second, there wasn’t enough 7.7 x 58mm ammunition available for anybody but the military anyway.

          The result was the second prototype “National Defense Rifle”, chambered for 8 x 22mm Nambu.

          As for the military, they were anticipating turning Tokyo, Kobe, and really every major Japanese city into “another Stalingrad”. They were counting on a house-by-house fight, a “war of the rats” in the ruins of their cities. In such a fight, submachine guns would be considerably more practical than rifles, Vasili Zaitsev to the contrary. and 8 x 22mm ammunition was easier and quicker to produce than 7.7 x 58mm or even 6.5 x 50SRmm. (Which would have been what the LMGs and HMGs in support would have needed.)

          The important thing to understand is this. The Japanese military clique’ knew they could not “repel” an Allied invasion, and had no intention of even trying. Their intent was twofold;

          1. Inflict so many casualties on the Allies that the American people and etc. would pressure their own governments to negotiate an Armistice;


          2. Have their own civilians- especially women and children– killed in such numbers that the “soft-hearted” Americans, horrified by the slaughter, would again pressure their government to negotiate an Armistice to end the carnage.

          No, this is not me attributing savagery to an alien culture. It is based on official documents used as evidence at the war crimes trials of Tojo Hideki and others. It was their official policy. The objective being to keep the Emperor- and themselves- in power after the Allied victory.

          If you disregard the execution of Tojo, Yamashita, and a few others in the upper echelons, it worked fairly well even without the “sacrifice of a hecatomb”. See The Yamato Dynasty; The Secret History of Japan’s Imperial Family by Sterling and Peggy Seagrave.


          And yes, President Truman was well aware of the Japanese “defense plan” when he ordered the atomic bombs to be used.

          Several uncles of mine were grateful for his decision. Including the one who stood on the aft weather deck of the USS Missouri on 2 Sept 1945 watching the surrender being signed.

          (In the famous photo, he’s the tall one wearing the battered-looking campaign hat. A lot of people think that was Dr. Oppenheimer; my uncle was often mistaken for him.)

          clear ether


          • It does not sounds plaisible, this civilian deaths pressure plan, as US public is too far away from Japan to witness it; you already had millions dead from carpet bombing and they did not care nor protest (if they even knew the extent of it). This makes me think such “plan” was anti Japanese propaganda fabrication, probably in connection to atom.bombings.

            Now to think of it, if atomics never existed, and US got bogged down in Japan mainland, its possible Soviets would stab westward in Europe, possibly US would need to unite with remaining axis forces (this is the thing some of them anticipated, but never happened), and thus enter an interesting scenario of ww2 lasting few more years, up to 46.,47.,48. even ?
            So, atom bomb was an ultimate peace weapon for post ww2 relations.

          • @Storm,

            1. These are the same people running Japan in 1945 that were running it in 1941, more or less. They also thought that by bombing Pearl Harbor, they’d magically dissuade the US from interfering with their plans. How’d that work out, again? And, do remember, you’re arguing for them being “rational”.

            2. The Japanese intent is well-documented. The sources eon cites exist, and say what he says they do. He’s not making this up; they really planned on national suicide, using women and children as shields/distraction for the IJA to do their thing.

            Also, do remember: Okinawa shows how thoroughly they’d indoctrinated the civilian population. There were mass suicides, rather than be taken prisoner… Not by Japanese soldiers, who did the same, but by Japanese civilians.

            Your ideas about what Japan was capable of during WWII are mistaken at best, and outright distortional at worst. You really think that the regime that did the Nanking Massacre and employed Unit 731 would have even twitched at the idea of using their own civilians as cover for military actions…?

            The atomic bombing of Japan was the greatest humanitarian achievement of the mid-20th Century. Given the other options, like starving Japan to death by sinking all their shipping and then going after their rail network, to prevent food distribution? The likely casualties of the invasion…? Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved the lives of millions; without them, the Japanese would have likely died as a nation. I can’t see the generous post-war settlements that were made happening if the US had suffered the million-plus casualties in their invasion forces; that, coupled with the first-hand observation of Japanese civilians killing American troops with bamboo spears would have cemented their image as primitive barbarians that deserved zero mercy. Which is about what they would have gotten.

            The nukes were a mercy, hard though that may be to accept.

          • “(…)grateful(…)”
            According to https://genius.com/Karl-and-harty-when-the-atom-bomb-fell-lyrics
            Oh it went up so loud it divided up the clouds
            And the houses did vanish away
            And a great a ball of light filled the Japanese with fright
            They must have thought it was their judgment day

            Smoke and fire it did flow through the land of Tokyo
            There was brimstone and dust everywhere
            When it all cleared away there the cruel Japs did lay
            The answer to our fighting boys’ prayers
            Yes, Lord, the answer to our fighting boys’ prayers

            There was no atheist in a foxhole
            And men who never prayed before
            Lifted tired and bloodshot eyes to heaven
            And begged the Lord to end that awful war

            They told Him of their homes and loved ones
            They told Him that they’d like to be there
            I believe the bomb that struck Hiroshima
            Was the answer to our fighting boys’ prayers

            Oh it went up so loud it divided up the clouds
            And the houses did vanish away
            And a great a ball of light filled the Japanese with fright
            They must have thought it was their judgment day

            Smoke and fire it did flow through the land of Tokyo
            There was brimstone and dust everywhere
            When it all cleared away there the cruel Japs did lay
            The answer to our fighting boys’ prayers
            Yes, Lord, the answer to our fighting boys’ prayers

          • Much of what North Americans believe about the atomic bombings is nonsense. In my experience, the extent and scale of the aerial destruction and fire-bombing of Japanese cities is unknown. Don’t even mention the, erm, uh, unrestricted submarine warfare and interdiction of imports/exports from the home islands. No Hollywood film? Didn’t happen.

            People in the United States enthusiastically supported any decision to harrow the Japanese. Historian John Dower didn’t entitle his Pacific War book _War Without Mercy_ for nothing. Had there been a third atomic bomb ready, then we’d be discussion a third city in addition to Nagasaki. factions of the Japanese ruling class wanted to resist even after the atomic bombings. Other factions had been signaling their willingness to surrender provided the Emperor could be spared any indignities after “unconditional surrender.” The actual real historical “unconditional surrender” was conditional: Hirohito–Showa was preserved as Emperor of Japan!

            Contra @Kirk here, the Japanese decision to attack Pearl Harbor was right out of the IJN’s Russo-Japanese War playbook: These guys all had Alfred Thayer Mahan’s books in their quarters and were utterly convinced navalists just like Teddy Roosevelt. They understood that a bold victory like Nelson at Trafalgar could strike a considerable blow to the enemy. And the revered their own example at Tsushima. The idea of Pearl Harbor was to cripple the US Pacific Fleet and buy time for the IJA to conquer East Asia, particularly Indonesian oil, and then reach some kind of negotiated settlement with the US. The path not taken was to assail the USSR. The IJN kept trying to find the right conditions for a Nelsonian big victory: Midway went to the USN. Luzon went to the USN. You understand the rest.

            Germany’s example of national suicide, dragooning old folks, the infirm, youth into a last ditch racial militia–a “Volkssturm”–and the tenacious hold of Hitler to power convinced the Western Allies that Japan would be the same. The rising casualties of Pacific War battles: Iwo Jima, Okinawa, suggested that the home islands would be an unholy mess. The fact that there was a “live and let live” truce between the IJA and USSR throughout WWII [they’d fought in 1939], aided Soviet prospects immensely in its war with Germany, and with the prospects of the Japanese in China. As soon as Hitler’s dental records had been found, the Soviets turned–according to their Allied conference agreements–and assailed the Kwantung army in Manchuria. And they won. The atomic bombings really did have much to do with shaping the postwar settlement: Stalin wanted to take over Hokkaido for starters… Imagine fighting the whole Pacific War and then the Soviets come in and start moving into Northeast Asia…

            Spare us the nonsense about “humanitarian” atomic bombings! The US dropped leaflets beforehand, ’tis true… But look at Curtis LeMay’s cmpaign as a whole. And let’s, maybe, get back to discussing the whys and wherefores of a rather more delimited thread topic: Japanese use and non-use of SMGs.

          • Don’t forget the matchlock muskets the regime was working on.

            Whenever I’ve made another enthusiastic deep dive into Volkssturm weaponry (“Hey, cool post-apocalypse material!”), I should take another look at that matchlock and realize how quickly fighting to the last ditch becomes ridiculous.

          • rslay, Supposed ww2 japanese matchlock pistols or rifles are in my opinion, not very well researched, beside that one or two old black and white pictures cut out from some article or book god knows when.
            They could gave also been an example of propaganda, like often on wikipedia repeated BS of suggestions for japanese girls to stick GI pigs with bamboo sticks and whatnot, as an example of their last ditch effort.
            Lot of such obscure internet info was copy pasted ad nauseam through the years and is often not correct.

          • @rslay

            I don’t know about matchlocks, but single-shot, smoothbore percussion weapons were very much part of the Japanese “civilian defense” plan.


            To quote the caption;

            This rifle was developed for the purpose of equipping volunteer defense troops and was a type that could be made by any small factory or smithy shop.

            The construction was simple as an ordinary piece of pipe (13mm diameter [i.e. about 1/2″]) formed the barrel.

            It was loaded with 3 to 5 grams [~45 to 80 grains] of black powder and the projectile was made from ordinary bar stock [steel rebar?] cut in sections about 15mm (~ 3/5″)in length.

            It was fired by the hammer striking a primer-igniter cap which was placed over a small flash hole on top of the barrel.

            A pistol version of this type weapon was also produced, as shown below.

            There was also the ceramic hand grenade.


            These are not “confabulations from repeated postings”, but actual weapons collected and evaluated by the U.S. occupation forces in 1945.

            As to why the shoguns were ordering such primitive devices be manufactured for their “volunteers”, it must be remembered that while Japan’s “military-industrial complex” was developed with all possible available resources from the 1860s to the 1930s, Japan’s purely civilian industries had largely been ignored by the rulers. They wanted Japan to remain “traditional” and “idyllic”- and the peasants to stay in the fields and rice paddies and not be a “problem”.

            Tokyo, Kobe, and the other major cities (with factories and more importantly naval shipyards) may have had electric streetcars. But the interior of the country still moved everything by animal draft in wooden carts. And that was intentional on the part of the rulers.

            As such, when faced with an imminent invasion which demanded a “volunteer militia” be raised right now, to arm same they were forced to fall back on makeshift, improvised weaponry akin to Western developments of two centuries before. Other than the percussion caps, these weapons were little more advanced than the sort typical of the Hundred Years’ War in Europe (1337-1453). Because that was all their remaining “industrial base” was capable of delivering.

            Japan was caught on the wrong side of a paradigm shift purely due to its own internal politics over three-quarters of a century.

            If not for Allied forbearance, the price could have been very high.

            clear ether


          • Eon, this from link, obviously from some 40 or 50 year old book is precisely what I was talking about.
            “Projectiles made from cut rebar” BS immediately raises red flags. For what is worth, this kludgey rifle and pistol could have been found in a garage or shop of a local blacksmith as a showcase of their individual lone idea of last ditch defense, hell it could have been made prior to ww2, but was confiscated (or turned in) afterwards and misrepresented for what it really is.
            Grenades were known to exist, sure, but we are not discussing grenades here.

      • Don’t forget the large Japanese 2nd Raiding Battalion airborne drop on American air bases on Luzon and Leyte on the night of 6 December 1944. They were flown in Ki-57 transports, but most of the aircraft were shot down. Some 300 commandos managed to land in the Burauen area on Leyte. The force destroyed some planes and inflicted numerous casualties before they were annihilated. There is at least one Type 99 LMG paratroop model in the US that was captured during that battle.

    • The fact is that no major power in the world took the submachine gun concept very seriously in the interwar period. Ideas were thrown around but generally never capitalized upon. Japan paid about as much attention to SMGs as everybody else, and they did trial many foreign SMG designs, but the demand for adoption simply wasn’t there.

      One of the only countries that fully realized the potential of the SMG before World War II was ironically China, who mass-produced many thousands of clones of the Thompson M1921A and SIG Bergmann submachine guns throughout the 20s and 30s. But considering Japan steamrolled the NRA pretty quickly, they weren’t really interested in taking lessons from Chinese small arms doctrine.

      It must be remembered that nobody was prepared when the war broke out. In September 1939, the Imperial Japanese Navy probably had more SMGs in service than the German Army, and certainly more than the French and British. The issue was that the Japanese Army had pretty much fine up to that point without SMGs, and by the time they actually realized the need (i.e. in 1942, when they were engaged in jungle fighting against the US and Commonwealth) their industry was already lagging behind and they simply didn’t have the resources to churn out cheapo SMGs at the staggering rate that the Allies had achieved.

      • Dear Sir Puppy: I would agree in part — many European nations plus USA had insufficient interest in the SMG post WWI. But why were the Germans making and selling so many of them? Let’s see: MP 18, 28, 34, 35 Erma EMP … MP38 until the war started. I would posit that the German example (as tested out in Spain) is what drove SMG development in the rest of the world. Len Deighton quotes a Tommy evacuated from Dunkirk: “What chance does a man with a bolt-action rifle have against a man with a Tommy-gun?” I would like to see some source for your assertion that the IJN out-equipped the Wehrmacht in SMGs by 1939. If indeed you are right, then I would argue that it was the perception of German MP use is what drove development by the Allies.

        • Of course it is true that German manufacturers did produce a higher number of submachine guns in the interwar period than most other countries. They had the groundwork for a good SMG in the form of the MP 18 and they knew that the concept had a practical application. In Germany itself, this application was almost entirely confined to police use. People like to chalk this up to Versailles “banning” SMGs (there is no such clause in the Treaty), but the reality is that the German Army had held SMG trials at several points in the 20s – 30s and was not enthusiastic enough about the concept to adopt the MP 28, EMP, MP 35/I, or S1-100. They were perhaps more invested than other major powers but this did not translate to real adoption until the MP 38.

          Also, I don’t think German SMGs were selling as much as people tend to think – the Germans were not really cranking out huge numbers of SMGs until the late 30s – early 40s. Proportionally more than other countries, for sure, but not enough to arm an entire military force. Though German SMGs were widely exported around the world, the sales tended to be small in number (usually only about a few hundred) and the clients were overwhelmingly police and paramilitary forces. Larger military orders did emerge, but were usually contingent on an ongoing conflict (i.e. Bolivia in 1932, Ethiopia in 1935) and major military powers were mostly uninterested.

          It is largely a myth that the Germans used the Spanish Civil War as a testing ground for SMGs. They barely supplied any submachine guns to Franco’s troops and the Francoists actually complained about this at one point. The vast majority of SMGs that appeared in the Spanish Civil War employed by the Republican side, who produced reverse-engineered copies of the MP 28 and EMP based on trial samples that had been acquired by the army and police before the war. The Francoists had basically no SMGs except for those captured in battle, though to their credit they did recognize the efficacy of such weapons and kept production of the aforementioned SMGs going after their victory.

          The MP 38 was not the widespread weapon that the MP 40 would become later in the war. It was initially intended as a tanker and paratrooper’s arm (hence the folding stock) and when the war broke out it was still undergoing field trials, with only around 8,772 made (a high number by interwar standards but lower than most people tend to believe). Production ramped up significantly during the invasion of France and other patterns (mainly the MP 28) were rushed into service to fill the gaps where MP 38s were not available.

          The German employment of the MP 38 certainly did have an impact on the Allied psyche, but I think again this has been overstated. When you look at the chronology of events, the BEF request an emergency supply of SMGs almost as soon as they land in France (well before they will have ever encountered an MP 38 in battle) which leads to the panic-buying of Thompsons in 1940. A similar situation can be seen in France where adoption of the MAS Mle 38 was already planned but the Army starts purchasing thousands of Thompsons from the US only a few months into the war. All belligerents – Britain, France, Germany – had known since about the mid-30s that there would be a practical application for SMGs in the next major war, but it wasn’t until that war actually came along that the urgency set in. It wasn’t solely because the Germans came along and showed everybody this amazing new wunderwaffe – France was already planning to place an SMG into service anyway. What the Germans did demonstrate through the MP 38 and especially the MP 40 was that SMGs could be optimized for mass-production, which the British took to the next level with the Sten gun.

          I was probably exaggerating when I said the IJN had more SMGs than the German Army, but it’s not that far off – around 6,795 SIG Bergmanns and Steyr-Solothurns. Obviously continued imports in any significant numbers became almost impossible once the war broke out. The failure of the Japanese was that they did not establish production of a domestic SMG earlier.

          • @Get_Em_Puppy: Please tell me your book is in press…?! That’d be one helluva great book on SMGs, probably subsuming older works on the subject like T. Nelson and so on. Just a thought…

    • Japan based its modernization regime on Kaiserine Germany. That was its strength and its doom. What went wrong in Germany, in various ways, went wrong in Japan.

      To wit: Bismarck planned his modernization based on protecting and utilizing the feudal class of Prussia, which was by tradition embedded in the Army officer corps. That meant that the Army was not properly placed below the civilian parliamentary government, but its leaders were embedded in the imperial household, which possessed too much sovereign power. Bismarck’s version of that game was to control the royal family, which then kept him around as chancellor for decades. Everything, the Prussian aristocracy, the Army, and the civil government, went thru him. He oversaw the modernization and assigned aristocrats and generals as needed while maintaining the pretense of a parliament and peaceful economics. Until, suddenly, the new Kaiser ousted him and tried to take everything for himself. This left the generals as the only survivors with real experience with power and real status in the new national culture.

      The Japanese version of this was also vulnerable to the Army overshadowing the Emperor. It took longer. The Japanese Army, especially its for-profit army in Manchuria, became a rogue elephant. The civilian government simply surrendered to it more and more often in the ’30s just as the Reichstag surrendered to the German General Staff in 1914. The system was doomed to do this because whoever could say they were the voice of the imperial household were above the constitution.

      The more “sovereign” each Army became in its national structure, the more they abandoned world moral standards (like not invading neutrals or killing POWs). Like every army they saw themselves as the best in the world. When the army thinks it is the state, then it sees that as the best in the world too. Which obviates international treaties or diplomacy or morality. All it takes is a little success to lubricate the self-hypnosis.

      And in both cases, the modernization of the economy got too entangled with the modernization of the military. Leaving no civilian businessmen who might stand in the way. The way I see it, Bismarck used the military as a conservative cover story to mobilize economic revolution, thinking he could tame the resulting social tensions with relentless glorification of war. People will do things for national defense that they wouldn’t imagine doing for economic progress.

      Result: a national ideology that somehow conflates progress (in technology and trade) with regimented tradition (the practices that hold any army together). The citizen is reduced to a dot in a formation, whether to work to death in a factory or to massacre a foreign village. They’re moving backwards and forwards at the same time.

  2. and now all videos on here are lower quality i see. in an attempt to force us to pay for what has always been here for free.
    wow. just wow.

    • I’m not off the mark to say of archieving everything and downloading would be a good plan, as maybe in few years, it would simply dissapear from youtube !
      Now we see baby steps of that monster

    • You can thank youtube for cutting monetization of firearm videos and then Ian looked for other ways to pay his bills and buy bread.

  3. “(…)fitted with a bayonet because the Japanese put bayonet lugs on everything(…)”
    Whilst putting bayonet at LMG seems to be specific for Japanese, mating sub-machine gun with bayonet was not.
    Lanchester sub-machine gun (when used by Royal Navy) https://forum.enlisted.net/en/t/bayonets-for-lanchester-submachine-gun/120223
    MP 34 (Steyr-Solothurn) Models used by the Germans fire the 9-mm parabellum cartridge and were made with an attachment for mounting a bayonet on the right side of the barrel jacket. https://www.lonesentry.com/blog/mp34-submachine-gun-steyr-solothurn.html
    Owen sub-machine gun used bayonet adopted in August 1944 https://collegehillarsenal.com/australian-owen-mk-1-machine-gun-bayonet

  4. “(…)development programs in the 1920s(…)”
    One of its effect is currently known as Tokyo Arsenal Model 1927
    whilst at 1st glance it might looks like something based on rough sketches of Thompson sub-machine guns, it does not use drum magazine but rather Hotchkiss 1914-style semi-rigid belt, which resulted in capacity 50. This suggest that they desired weapon akin to LMG, where “full” pistol cartridge would be better fit than 8×22 Nambu.

  5. This is a great episode, and one I’d awaited for quite some time. There are innumerable images of the Type 100 8x22mm SMG in books and publications, but no idea of how to field strip and so on. That keyed retainer for the mainspring guide and mainspring at the rear of the receiver tube really reminds me of the receiver cover latch on Simonov’s carbine. I’d always thought that the receiver tube/ barrel jacket was _hinged_ at the front of the stock. Not so!

    As for use during the Pacific War, I think some of these did turn up during the gawd-awful battle of Okinawa? Had the United States invaded the Japanese home islands: first 1 Nov. 1945 “X-day” of Operation Olympic/ Majestic on Kyushu, and then the invasion of Honshu and the Kanto plain/ Tokyo on the “Y-Day” of 1 March 1946 in Operation Coronet [the two together code-named “Downfall”], I think that both the United States and the Japanese would very likely have resorted to the use of poison gas, which was hardly used at all during WWII, unlike the First World War… Although historian Richard B. Frank asserted that Truman was unwilling to employ them at large scale. As a reprisal for Japanese use, however, who knows? I’m not sure when the Soviets would have landed in Hokkaido, and who knows? perhaps heven the Tohoku district of northern Honshu?

    Given that so-called “second generation” SMGs could be built very cheaply: Finland went from 1st gen. Suomi kp/31 to 2nd gen. Sudayev copy Pelti-Heikki kp/44 but the war ended, Germany stopped producing MP40s by 1944 and conjured up SMGs even cheaper than the Sten Mk.III while systematically looting Italy of its SMGs, The USSR went from the PPD to the Shpagin PPSh41 and then the Sudayev PPS, the UK arguably went the other way, from crude and cheap Sten Mk.IIs and Mk.IIIs to the wood-stocked and nicely finished Mk.V, the USA from Thompson 1928 to M-1 to M-1A to the M-3 Grease Gun, and so on, it is a bit weird that the simplicity of manufacture never forced a re-evaluation of the SMGs role for the Japanese. They did lavishly employ automatic weapons during their suicidal dogged defense in depth during the later grueling island battles. By the hideous “Pacific Stalingrad” of Manila, they’d repurposed aircraft cannon and machine guns for aircraft that no longer could fly and used those in urban fighting.

    • If you closely at the Sten MK V, it’s basically a Sten MK II with a couple of wooden pistol grips and the wooden buttstock of the Rifle No. 4 bolted on.

      In fact, the attachment of the forward pistol grip was so weak it often broke off in short order. The Tommies accordingly went back to wrapping their off hand around the ventilated barrel cooling jacket exactly as they did on the Sten MK II.

      Sten MK V was really more-or-less a tacit admission that nobody really cared much for the “simplified” Sten MK III. And that the prototype-only Sten MK IV was an overcomplicated gawd-elp-us.



        • They tried to make it a folding weapon, so paratroops could jump with it.

          The result was nowhere nearly as practical as the MAT49, being more like a forerunner of the wonky Hotchkiss Universal.

          The moral is that sufficiently “motivated” re-designers can turn even a simple, straightforward, reliable piece of equipment into a Rube Goldberg disaster waiting to happen, in the name of “improving” it and getting their name(s) on the project.

          clear ether


      • The Lines Bros. Triang toy factory that churned out the Sten Mk.III produced a more “user friendly” Stench gun than, say, the Mk.II. Why, there was even a little piece of sheet metal to keep your finger straying into the ejection port with your “off-hand around the ventilated barrel cooling jacket” although it really was just a handle for the barrel-retaining nut for the most part. Pinning the barrel, so excess metal rolled around a mandrel and then welded can actually serve as a hand-guard/ barrel jacket.

        No, the problem with the Mk.III was that pinned barrel. If something happened to the receiver, you trashed the gun. If something happened to the barrel, you trashed the gun. With the Mk.II, you could salvage one or the other component. So the Mk.III was basically a disposable gun. And dispose of them Britain did postwar… Many going to Finland, which like most combatants of WWII wanted more SMGs per rifle squad, not fewer, for some reason.

        Mk.V has the No.4 rifle’s sights, which is a major improvement over the nub on Mk.II. Also wooden stock furniture and overall a nicer finish. You’d be forgiven for thinking the war was lost if you’d received a Mk.II or Mk.III. With the Mk.V, well, spit and polish and all that sort of thing.

          • Yeah, leave it to the Brits to put a bayonet on _everything_, not too far behind the Japanese, I suppose… Even on the L85 IW! crazy. Of course, if you’re going to stand guard in a crazy bearskin hat during various royal rituals outside Buckingham or Balmoral or wherever, I guess you’d best have bayonet.

            If I was in charge–thank god I’m not!–all snappy close order drill, regardless of nation, would be undertaken with the Sergei Simonov carbine with the bayonet fixed, irrespective of what rifle/ assault rifle/ carbine/ SMG the front line troops carried…

            Is it just me, or is the Rexim Favor one of the most singularly ugly firearms ever made?

          • @Dave

            Calling the Rexim Favor ugly insults the entire concept of ugly.

            That said, a bayonet on the business end of a short weapon makes good sense. Not as an offensive weapon, but for weapon retention in house-clearing.

            Going through a doorway, you can find yourself in a wrestling match with an enemy who wants your SMG or carbine so (1) you can’t use it on him and (2) he can use it on you.

            The dynamics of this sort of cage match are dramatically altered if, instead of the barrel of your weapon, he grabs seven to fourteen inches of razor-sharp steel. It amounts to nearly instantaneous attitude adjustment.

            Also, in an IA inside such a structure, the bayonet can come in very handy if someone tries to interrupt you while you’re reloading.

            Putting bayonet lugs on the M1 Carbine, the TSMG (USMC 1930s),combat shotguns (Winchester M1897 and m1912 “trench guns” WW1), and similar “short-barreled” weapons makes better sense than it appears at first.

            clear ether


        • You could theoretically repair some of these Sten mk.3 vital parts, “just” need to drill out the unsquished rivets and desolder the trunnion (maybe even simply pull out the rivets) but why bother if you have so many available.

          I wouldnt be surprised if more Stens ended being sold after ww2, or scrapped, then being used by UK troops during the war.

  6. This is the stuff for which I visit FW. Great post, great responses all (despite my mild boredom with tubeguns).

  7. An alternate theory concerning the lack of enthusiasm for submachine guns may be as simple as the ammunition type and supply. 8mm Nambu pistols for officers and NVO’s are more a convenient badge of authority than actual combat weapons, and probably had small, dedicated ammunition manufacturing facilities. Intoducing an 800rpm submachine gun to widespread use would require a vast and complicated logistical committment to support a mediocre round that could only be used for home island defense, since shippping routes to deployed units were already closed by 1944.

  8. Why not make a real blockbuster as good as Bond or Bourne or any other assassin but for real? Here are 50 plus reasons why Hollywood should make a film based on the life of the accountant/banker come spy Bill Fairclough’s. Fairclough (MI6 codename JJ) aka Edward Burlington is the protagonist in TheBurlingtonFiles series of fact based spy thrillers. If you enjoy noir and genuine espionage read the news article dated 7 August 2023 entitled Bill Fairclough’s Known Life-threatening Incidents in TheBurlingtonFiles website and thank your god you are still alive. After all, you probably weren’t protected by Pemberton’s People in MI6 (see another intriguing news article in the same website dated 31 October 2022 about them).

    The news articles were released several years after Beyond Enkription was published which makes them all the more beguiling. Little wonder it’s mandatory reading on some countries’ intelligence induction programs. All this is not only mind-boggling but backed up by some evidence so who needs fictitious spies like Bond and Bourne anymore? Just like the spy novel Beyond Enkription based on Bill Fairclough’s life in 1974, these articles make for sobering yet superb reads as long as you don’t expect John le Carré’s delicate diction, sophisticated syntax and placid plots.

    The links to these articles are https://theburlingtonfiles.org/news_2023_06.07.php and https://theburlingtonfiles.org/news_2022.10.31.php.

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