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The US M3/M3A1 Submachine Gun: The Complete History of America\'s Famed “Grease Gun”

The US M3/M3A1 Submachine Gun: The Complete History of America\’s Famed “Grease Gun”

Michael Heidler

Available October 2020


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In January 1943, when the “U.S. Submachine Gun, Caliber .45, M3″ was officially adopted, it was a step into the future of weapons-manufacturing technology. In absolute contrast to the milled, high-quality Thompson models, the M3 was almost completely made from sheet metal. Many soldiers mockingly called it “Grease Gun” owing to its visual similarity to the mechanic’s tool, but it soon gained a fighting reputation. The Grease Gun saw action not only in World War II, but also in Korea, Vietnam, and various other conflicts around the globe. China and Argentina made copies for their armies, and US surplus can still be found in foreign service today. This book tells the complete story of this remarkable weapon, from development and manufacturing, to combat. Included are descriptions of accessories, ammunition, and experimental models. The reader will find many hitherto unknown details, background information, and numerous photos.

Size: 8 1/2″ x 11″ x 7/8″ | 551 color and b/w photos | 224 pp
ISBN13: 9780764360589 | Binding: hard cover


Michael Heidler is researching military history and weapons technology for more than thirty years, especially the development of automatic weapons and their ammunition. Through intensive research in archives and museums, as well as through contacts to collectors around the world, he built up a comprehensive archive of military documents and regulations. He is also a longtime member of the German Association for Arms Technique and History. Over the years, he has written more than 100 specialist articles for arms magazines in various countries, including Small Arms Review, The Armourer, and Visier. His best-known book is German Secret Armament Codes until 1945, which has become the standard work on German manufacturer markings. He also wrote books on German rifle grenades and launchers, and on the Finnish Suomi M/31 submachine gun.