Olive-Drab.com Military HQ
What's New? | Olive-Drab Directory | Adv Search  
  Home >> Firearms >> Submachine Guns >> Sten

Vehicles Weapons History Uniforms/Gear Rations War Dogs Photos/Video Info/Intel FAQ Store Facebook/Blogs

Military Theme
T-Shirts & Stuff
Visit Olive-Drab.com's sister site for
over 9,000 free military vehicle photos!

Sten Submachine Gun

A Sten gun equipped member of the Maquis (the French Resistance or Forces Françaises de l'Intérieur, the FFI) guards an operation, Dreux, France, 1944. Allied airdrops provided weapons and explosives to the french patriots.
A Sten gun equipped member of the Maquis (the French Resistance or Forces Françaises de l'Intérieur, the FFI) guards an operation, Dreux, France, 1944. Allied airdrops provided weapons and explosives to the French patriots.

Today in WW II: 23 Nov 1940 Ford delivered the Pygmy prototype jeep to the US Army.  More 
23 Nov 1942 SS Ben Lomond sunk by German U-boat off the coast of Brazil.
23 Nov 1943 Deutsche Opernhaus, Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, and many other buildings destroyed by a 764 aircraft RAF bombing raid on Berlin [22-23 Nov].
23 Nov 1944 Strasbourg, in eastern France, liberated by French General LeClerc's 2nd Armored Division. Eisenhower orders controversial halt at the Rhine by US Sixth Army Group.
Visit the Olive-Drab.com World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

Sten Submachine Gun

Sten Submachine Gun

Prior to 1941, the British were using Thompson submachine guns supplied by the US under Lend-Lease. In early 1941, a prototype of a new weapon was put forth by the Royal Small Arms Factory in England, based on the design of captured German MP40s.

It was named Sten by using the initials of its its designers, Sheffield and Turpin, plus the first two letters of Enfield, the location of a British arsenal. The Sten Gun was first used at Dieppe by Canadian troops, and completely replaced the Thompson by D-Day in June 1944.

Sten Submachine Gun with silencer
Sten Submachine Gun with silencer.

The Sten was extremely simple to manufacture, with only the bolt and barrel as machined parts, the rest stamped. It did not have the range or accuracy of a rifle, but it was rapid-firing and effective in close encounters. In the photo to the left, an American officer and a Sten-equipped partisan were photographed during a 1944 street fight in a French city.

The 9mm British Sten Gun (submachine gun) was simple, tough and easily concealed, a perfect weapon for World War II resistance forces.

Furthermore, its 9mm Parabellum cartridge was the same used by many German weapons, eliminating the need for resupply. Airdropped into Norway during World War II, Norwegian resistance forces used this sub-machine gun extensively. In the photo to the right, a British Military Policeman leads prisoners in England, 8 June 1944.

The Sten featured a 32 round detachable box magazine that projected to the left, horizontal, a unique feature that instantly identifies it. It had an overall length of 30 inches and weighed between 6.5 and 8.5 pounds, depending on model. The cyclic rate of fire was 550-600 cpm.

Three models were produced after the short-lived Mark I: Mark II (2 million), Mark III and Mark IV.

Sten Submachine Gun

Silencer for the 9mm Sten

Sten Submachine Gun with silencer
Sten Mark IIS with Silencer.

The silencer for the Sten gun was issued in 1943 at the request of the Special Operations Executive, the British Special Forces. With the silencer the direction of fire could not be easily determined since both noise and flash were suppressed. This was a clear advantage for covert operations including assassinations. A Sten is belived to have been used to kill the Norwegian traitor, Ivar Grande, in 1944 and during Operation Ratweek, when the SOE targeted collaborators in 1943. See the Olive-Drab.com page on Sound Suppressors / Silencers for more information.

Find More Information on the Internet

There are many fine websites that have additional information on this topic, too many to list here and too many to keep up with as they come and go. Use this Google web search form to get an up to date report of what's out there.

For good results, try entering this: sten gun. Then click the Search button.

Find at Amazon:  Military Issue equipment, clothing, boots, MREs, MOLLE gear and much more.

  Home >> Firearms >> Submachine Guns >> Sten What's New? | Olive-Drab Directory | Adv Search