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Old December 18, 2011, 05:01 AM   #1
MissouriShooter
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Can you ID this weapon?

One of my LT's in Vietnam (circa 1969) thought he could bring this home but lost his desire to do so when he thought about spending time in Leavenworth. He says he thinks it was a VC one-off made up from various pieces. Looks too high-quality, especially with that shiny barrel. Looks like a cross between a good ol' US grease gun and an early Uzi. Any ideas? Obviously 9mm, but polymer in '69? I don't remember long ammo mags like that back then. Is my LT hosin' me?

Update: The background matches the decor as I remember it in officers' hootches at the 221st SigCo back in 1969 and the vertical post and the 45* angle support against which the weapon is laid are correct for the first level of a military bunk. 01's and 02's bunked two to a room. The messed up sheets are the mama-san's fault.


Last edited by MissouriShooter; December 18, 2011 at 06:11 AM.
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Old December 18, 2011, 06:46 AM   #2
Mike Irwin
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That's an German MP-40. Don't think it's a one-off, given that the Nazis made over a million of them before they got out of the business in 1945.

Google it for lots of images and history.

Don't know why the barrel is in the white, but the barrel profile, including the hook on the bottom of the muzzle, seem to be standard.
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Old December 18, 2011, 07:03 AM   #3
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polymer in '69?
Try bakelite in '40 .
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Old December 18, 2011, 07:58 AM   #4
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Nothing there from a Grease Gun, and even less from an Uzi, early or late.
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Old December 18, 2011, 11:14 AM   #5
carguychris
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That's an German MP-40. Don't think it's a one-off, given that the Nazis made over a million of them before they got out of the business in 1945.
+1, and it's worth mentioning that the Soviets captured many thousands of these on the Western Front, but IIRC didn't deploy many of them during WWII because they could only have been used with captured German ammo. However, the Soviets were famously loath to throw any weapon away, so the MP40s were probably warehoused just like all the other captured Nazi weapons.

I surmise that the gun was probably given to Mao Zedong's forces while the Chinese and the Soviets were still on speaking terms. During this period, the Chinese were so desperate for firearms that they would accept virtually anything from anybody, and their forces were armed with a bewildering variety of hand-me-downs from all over the world. However, once things started to stabilize in the 1950s, the Chinese started standardizing to solve the logistical problems caused by having so many different weapons and cartridges.

The Chinese may have given this MP40 to Ho Chi Minh's forces with the idea that they could utilize captured French ammunition.
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Old December 18, 2011, 11:29 AM   #6
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It is also possible that it came to Vietnam by way of France. The French had their own 9mm subgun for their forces, but they were also sitting on a small mountain of nazi junk after WWII. I know they sold a bunch of it to Israel, I guess it is possible they sold/gave some to friendly forces in indochina. That stuff would likely have been up for grabs after the French left. The communists certainly used some of the captured French subguns, I doubt they would have any complaints about using third-hand MP40s.
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Old December 18, 2011, 01:38 PM   #7
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"nazi junk"? interesting. everything i have made by the Germans is amazingly well made. but +1 that looks like a MP-40 to me
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Old December 23, 2011, 12:57 AM   #8
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There's no limit as to what weapons will end up where once either arms dealers or colonial powers get involved. The VC were probably the biggest weapon scroungers of all. A vet I know distinctly remembers seeing Kar98k carbines on the battlefield as well.
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Old December 23, 2011, 09:13 AM   #9
Mike Irwin
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One of the guys I worked with at American Rifleman spent time in Vietnam. He said the array of weapons carried by the VC was amazing...

Standard Soviet and Chinese stuff, to be sure.

Lots of French weaposn, like Lebels, Betheriers, MAS 36s, MAT 49s and MAT 38s.

The oddest one they ever came across, though, was a Lee Enfield rifle that was being used with left-over Japanese 7.7mm ammunition (basically a copy of the .303 British).
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Old December 23, 2011, 01:03 PM   #10
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+1, and it's worth mentioning that the Soviets captured many thousands of these on the Western Front, but IIRC didn't deploy many of them during WWII because they could only have been used with captured German ammo.
Since the Western front was France and English forces west of Germany, I think you meant the EASTERN front. Although after the surrender, the Soviets could have picked up Western front weapons surrendered by Nazis I suppose.

Its worth mentioning that perhaps, the gun is actually a MP 38 which was the forged steel high quality predecessor to the MP 40. The MP 40 was made from sheet metal stampings, but as a wartime expediency arm, it was one of the best SMGs IMO. Looking at the photo, I cannot tell if its a MP 38 or MP 40 myself.
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Old December 23, 2011, 07:38 PM   #11
carguychris
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I think you meant the EASTERN front.
Yes. <slaps forehead>
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Old December 23, 2011, 08:06 PM   #12
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Well, it was the RUSSIAN Western Front, though they didn't have an Eastern Front until almost the end of the war.

Jim
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