Osprey's The Sumoi Submachine Gun


Leroy Thompson


Osprey Publishing


$20.00 MSRP


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 80 pages, 7 x 9 inches, softbound
ISBN: 978-1-4728-1964-2

During WWII, one infantry weapon that came into prominence was the submachine gun. This weapon was initially developed for use in trench warfare where a gun that was relatively short would be able to fire a lot of bullets at one time. Standard infantry rifles were simply too long to be able to easily move around in the confines of a trench and most were still bolt action, so not able to provide a high rate of fire, especially when it was important to be able to shoot a number of rounds quickly.

During the post war period, most of the nations of the world developed their own versions of the sub-machine gun with the British developing the Bren, the US the Thompson and so on. In Finland, it was important to have a gun that was not only effective, but also rugged. The ability to function properly in low temperatures and be able to handle the mud of the spring thaw were important.

Somewhat based on the Swiss Bergman, like all weapons, it went through a goodly amount of development and even after it was initially issued, operational use required some fine tuning of the various parts to increase the weapon's reliability and ease of maintenance.

There were several differences between the Sumoi and other similar guns that made it stand out. One is that it had an interchangeable barrel. This way, the gun could be kept in immediate service when a lot of rounds were fired through it. This feature made it usable as a light machine gun should the need arise. Another was it was considerably more accurate than the usual gun of its type. As such, it was used to great effect by Finnish snipers. So effective were Finnish troops in their exploitation of the gun's capabilities that it brought fear to many Soviet troops who had to face it in combat.

It was also a favorite weapon of those who managed to get hold of one on the battlefield. Though not produced in large numbers, the gun is often considered to be the best of its type to come out of WWII.

April 2017

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