Military Weapons From The Past: The Thompson SMG T2


Introducing the “Cheap and Ugly as Hell” Version of one of the Baddest Ass SMG’s in History

The U.S. Army had initially been uninterested in submachine guns, and it was only in the late 1930s that the Ordnance Department placed Auto-Ordnance’s Thompson SMG on its “limited procurement list.”

In September 1938, officials green-lit procurement of the Thompson, but it was not until June 1939 that the government actually placed its first order for M1928A1s.

From the outset, the Army had sought a cheaper alternative to the expensive Thompson and, by 1941, had begun testing a number of alternative designs. In April 1942, Army adopted the M2 submachine gun, designed by George Hyde, as a substitute standard for the Thompson.

The Auto-Ordnance Corporation didn’t want to lose out on lucrative contracts, so it developed a more cost-effective, easier-to-manufacture SMG design — the T2.

Despite adopting the M2, the Ordnance Department continued testing other SMGs and, in November 1942, conducted trials of the T2 at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. Testers compared the results to the data from the earlier trials of Hyde’s M2.

Auto-Ordnance developed the T2 in both .45 ACP and in nine-by-19 millimeter, which the British and Commonwealth countries preferred. The U.S. Army, however, wasn’t interested in the nine-millimeter variant and declined to test it.

Read the Remainder at War is Boring