POTD: A Thompson Submachine Gun but Different – Auto Ordnance T2
Welcome to today’s Photo of the Day! Tommy guns are cool, but here we have a Tommy gun of necessity. This is the Auto-Ordnance Corp T2 Submachine gun. As early as the late 1930s, the United States military was already looking into adopting a new submachine gun since the Thompson Submachine Gun was so expensive. At the time Thompson guns were around $170 a pop which is roughly $3400 today. This choice to enter into new trials bled into the 1940s with the United States getting involved in World War One after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Many submachine guns were tested but not all at once like normal trials. The T2 fought valiantly and was accurate at range due to its closed bolt nature but it had some downfalls. The unique trigger mechanism was prone to breakage which led to around 60 stoppages throughout its testing. The eventual pick would go to the extremely short-lived M2 Hyde machinegun which would be replaced by the M3 Grease gun basically as soon as the Hyde was ready to be manufactured in volume. Only around five T2 machine guns exist today.
” This gun is very unique in that it was developed along the same lines as the British STEN submachine gun in that it uses a straight tube receiver with a round machined bolt. It still used some of the M1 Thompson type parts such as the non-finned barrel, and front sight. It does have a completely unique full length one piece walnut stock with a fixed vertical pistol grip and top handguard. The actual receiver and barrel groups are held in the stock by two wing-bolts that served as simple take down mechanism. It has a fixed front sight mounted on the end of the barrel and a simple fixed rear sight that was mounted on the rear end of the receiver tube. The internal trigger pack is comprised of a machined frame with the hammer and trigger mechanism inserted/installed in the frame and covered by a stamped sheet metal plate on the side. The top of the receiver tube is marked: “THOMPSON SUBMACHINE GUN/CALIBER 45 T2/AUTO-ORDNANCE CORPORATION/BRIDGEPORT, CONNECTICUT, USA”. This specific weapon was actually tested by Aberdeen Proving Grounds and the results are documented in Ordnance Test Program number “5082”. A Copy of the cover sheet is included with this rare SMG, and a full copy could be obtained from the Government. The consignor also included some informational research with this weapon that discusses the performance of this gun during testing. As we all know this design did not win out against the General Motors/Inland Div. designed M3 Grease gun. It was noted in the report that this example had several stoppages and malfunctions as well as a small stress crack at the tail end of the trigger housing, all of which helped contribute to it being eliminated. Notwithstanding this is a very rare experimental SMG. Additional Information: This rare submachine gun lot now includes a photocopy of the original Aberdeen Proving Grounds Test report (Ordnance Program Number 5082) on the functioning and performance of this weapon.”
Lot 1668: Auto Ordnance Corp Exp Machine gun 45 Acp. (n.d.). Rock Island Auction Company. photograph. Retrieved March 3, 2022, from https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/67/1668/auto-ordnance-corp-exp-machine-gun-45-acp.