Tommy Gun – No Relation To Peter Gunn


John was just musing …

… we Chaps seem to do a lot of that … how funny it is that things come along together in funny little coincidental packages. You know – – you have this idea that you are going to buy a Mini GT with racing trim – thinking that sporting such a natty little ride would so set you apart from others on the road – well – why wouldn’t you want to stand out? So you slap down several hundred ‘hunskis’ on the counter of your local dealership – drive off the lot – and blow me down – doesn’t just everyone suddenly seem to be driving Mini GTs with black racing trim!

Well, this is the same thing.

Having just finished publishing the last offering to the gods of WordPress, where, if you recall, one of the threads that this particular chap was following was the (unwritten/spoken) idea that one’s take on life was often shaped by unseen forces – unknowingly dropping you into having certain perspectives depending on your history, knowledge … and all that.

And then blow me down – the chaps over at Futility Closet came out with a comment on this corker of a story about the Tommy Gun, courtesy of Popular Mechanics.

Now, it has to be said that this chap knows little about firearms – but had heard of and thought he knew about the Tommy gun. What our fair readers might not know is that a British soldier has long been known as ‘A Tommy’. It’s an expression that goes back several hundred years actually.

And of course being ‘of a certain age’, that is … born close enough to WWII to know a bit about it – but far enough way to neither have experienced it – nor been formerly taught it … he had heard of a tommy gun. And just assumed that the tommy gun was named after all those ‘Tommy’s’ that used them in the battle fields of WWII>

This chap was wrong. Very wrong.

After the Fall of France in June 1940, Britain needed every weapon the could get and placed an open order for Thompson submachine guns. By April 1942, 100,000 Thompsons had arrived in Britain. They became a favorite of the newly formed elite Commando units who used them in raids on occupied Europe. The US military formally adopted the Thompson in September 1938, but did not order any guns until the summer of 1939. But by February 1942, half a million Thompsons had been made.

Turns out some Yank called Brigadier General John Taliaferro Thompson was the inventor – and hence the name and before the gun made it is appearance in WWII had been floating around for years !

It’s just that WWII gave it the advertising it needed for a wider and more general acceptance than it hitherto had. Who knew? And do read the article – a fascinating read, connecting Hollywood, WWI, gun control, Korea, Vietnam, Al Capone and even the US Postal Service who at one time bought 200 of them to ‘protect the mail from violent thieves’.

The other chap notes…

… that much as he dislikes guns, he’s still enough of a geek to appreciate innovative design and good engineering. And iconic this certainly is, for good reason. According to the author of this piece, from a design and operation standpoint it’s a wonderful piece of equipment. And this Chap had heard it was like trying to aim a hosepipe. Well, I never.

The Other Chap just wants our readers to know that …

… we are done with guns for now.