Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

The Sten: Its Knock Offs and Inspirations

Last week we wrote about the Americans copied, part for part, a World War II German mine. And while the German's did lead in innovation, they too were not above wholesale copying of Allied weapons. Take for example, the ubiquitous Sten submachine gun.

British designed and constructed, this 9 mm submachine gun was lightweight and easy to use. It lacked the refinements of Axis or other Allied weapons, but its trust- worthiness was noted by the collapsing German Reich, as well as the guerrillas who fought them.

As the Allies advanced deeper into German occupied lands, Reich leaders ran low on many critical war materials. And so, as a last ditch effort a new weapon, the MP 3008, was rushed into production. Known as the Volksmachinenpistole, the MP3008 was a straight copy of the simply designed Sten SMG.

Fired from an open bolt (eg: the bolt is locked back until the trigger is pulled, releasing it forward, stripping a round and firing, before cycling back again,) and fed from a removable box magazine, the MP3008 (right) was different in one respect than the original. While the Sten had its distinctive side loading magazine arrangement, the collapsing Reich essentially turned the design on its side, making it a standard vertical fed SMG.

While the MP3008 was a drowning technical gasp for the notoriously precise German war machine, the ease of manufacture of the Sten style SMG proved invaluable when it was needed by partisans and resistance groups.

In Poland, Resistance fighters became efficient clandestine manufacturers of the Sten SMG, setting up secret fabrication facilities around their occupied homeland. Hundreds of bootleg Stens were produced in secret machine shops in Warsaw and other locations around Poland. Some were straight copies, others variations on the basic design.

One such version of the indiginous SMG was the Blyskawica, or Lightning. An example of the vertically fed Thunder SMG can be seen slung from the neck of the Polish partisan (top left.) The Thunder was a 9mm, open bolt SMG with technical attributes similar to the Sten. However, it was a truly secret workshop creation, produced by the hundreds and used during the Warsaw Uprising by valiant Polish Resistance fighters.

Ultimately, these copies and inspirations were a testament to the rugged simplicity of the Sten, which would continue to serve the British military for a decade after the end of World War II.

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Comment by Alex Bolado on June 1, 2011 at 1:38am
Classic, yet so simple!
Comment by Jake Holman Jr. on May 25, 2010 at 7:28pm
Lord K: Absolutely! Thanks for the correction. I should have caught that. The current Polish counter-terrorist unit is known as GROM, or Thunder.
Comment by lord_k on May 25, 2010 at 2:13am
Correction: Blyskawica means 'lightning' and not 'thunder'. Thunder=Grom (remeber a pair of Polish Navy destroyers?)
Comment by Larry on May 19, 2010 at 3:36pm
Very cool, Redfezwriter.
Comment by Jake Holman Jr. on May 19, 2010 at 3:29pm
The photo at the top is a group of Polish (Warsaw) anti-Nazi Resistance fighters. A scrappy and truly valiant lot.
Comment by Larry on May 19, 2010 at 2:45pm
Cool weapon. But cooler images. What do you know about the first with the woman. Were they anti-Nazi insurgents?

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