American Rifleman | Thompson Submachine Gun: The Tommy Gun Goes to War

The U.S. Army wasn’t particularly impressed with the concept of a submachine gun, and little ordnance research and development was done following World War I. However, a distinguished Ordnance Dept. officer who retired a couple of years before America’s entry into that war felt that the submachine gun had the potential to be an extremely valuable arm.

John Taliaferro Thompson entered the U.S. Army in 1882 and made a name for himself during the Spanish-American War directing the supply of munitions during a time of near chaos. Thompson was later a key player in the development of two legendary American military arms—the M1903 Springfield rifle and the M1911 .45 pistol.


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