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NAT’L – GUN NEWS – This Forgotten French Submachine Gun Killed Mussolini

At the beginning of the Second World War, bolt action rifles were still the main weapon for most infantrymen, but the armies of Europe—as well as the United States—had seen the potential for a new class of weapon: the submachine gun. Many of those weapons have become iconic and tied to the respective nation that used them—the German MP-40, the Soviet PPSh-41, the British Sten Gun and the American Thompson. However, France’s PistoletMitrailleur MAS model 38, or MAS-38, was largely forgotten. Of course, one factor is that France was defeated in May of 1940 and the Free French forces that helped liberate North Africa and Europe from the Nazis used British and later American equipment and small arms. In addition, less than two thousand were produced—but another factor is that the weapon was really designed for a replay of World War I and was essentially out of date by the time World War II arrived only a year later. France went into the World War I with its Lebel and Berthier rifles, which were among the longest main battle rifles of the conflict. The length proved problematic in the trenches, as did the slow rate of fire—so France sought to develop newer automatic weapons such as the Chauchat, a weapon that was innovative but not without problems. With war on the horizon, the French military undertook a number of efforts that likely seemed the correct move at the time. This included building the Maginot Line and developing new small arms that would give an edge in the trenches. These included a short battle rifle, the MAS-36 and then a new submachine gun, the MAS-38.  [full article]


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