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Maker/Manufacturer:HYDE & SAMPSON
Date of Manufacture:1943-1945
Eminent Figure:
Catalog Number:SPAR 1549
Measurements:OL: 29.8" w/stock extended, 22 3/4" w/stock closed BL: 8" 8 lbs. 1 oz.

Object Description:

Manufactured by Guide Lamp Division of GM, Dayton, Oh. - Standard M3 "Grease Gun." Blowback design. Full-auto fire only. Double legged, one piece, L-shaped wire stock which can be retracted. Muzzle velocity 920 fps. Maximum range of 1,760 yards. Cyclic rate of fire 400 rpm. Weapon weighs approximately 8 lbs. 1 oz.

Magazine housing (left): SUB MACH GUN/CAL.45 M3/GUIDE/U.S. NO./174225.

Weapon transferred to the Museum on 27 February 1967. At that time weapon was valued at $60. and appraised by Museum staff at $98.

Notes: "Unfortunately for the United States, the Thompson was hard to make since it required a machined receiver and wood stocks; the heavy (eleven pounds empty) weapon required a lot of materials in its manufacture which could become scarce during wartime. So, shortly after the outbreak of World War II, the United States designed the M3 grease gun, which could be stamped out at less that $20 per unit (keeping in mind that a dollar bought a lot more back then). The M3 went into production and, along with the M1 .30 Carbine, gradually replaced the heavy Thompson." - Duncan Long

"George Hyde - who had already produced the Hyde M2 - and Frederick Sampson of General Motors, whose speciality was in mass-production methods, were given the task of designing an American equivalent to the Sten, and looked no further than Enfield for inspiration. Like its role model, the M3, as the resulting gun came to be designated when it was passed for service use in December, 1942, was expressly designed to be produced by non-specialist engineering companies (in this case, predominantly Guide Lamp Division of General Motors, better known, until then, for manufacturing car headlights). Also, like the Sten, it was universally reviled by the soldiers to whom it was issued, immediately attracting the stigmatizing sourbriquet 'grease gun' which was to remain with it all the days of its remarkably long life. It was certainly a 'quick and dirty' solution to the problem of producing cheap weapons, but in that context - and, once again, like the Sten it so resembled - it was actually a rather better gun than its reputation indicated.
It was notionally superseded by the even simpler M3A1 in December 1944. This was a cunningly designed piece, some of its components acting as tools to strip other parts. Like the Welgun, it did away with the bolt handle, being cocked by a finger acting on the bolt itself through a conveniently enlarged ejector port, the cover of which doubled as a safety catch when closed....
By the end of the war, some 500,000 M3s and a little over 15,000 M3A1s had been produced, and a further 33,000 of the latter were made by Ithaca during the Korean War. Surplus stocks were later sold of given (they cost only $15 to produce, after all the same price as the Sten) to a variety of second-line US client states." - Roger Ford

"REMARKS: The M3 is forerunner to the M3A1 and is the same except as follows: - Has bolt retracting lever assembly with lever located on right side of housing assembly. - Bolt differs in that it has a retracting lever pawl notch, no cutout for retracting with finger and no clearance groove in lower side for easy removal. - Stock has no bracket for use as hand loader. - Oiler located on left side of housing and held by a spring catch. No oiler in pistol grip. - No flat cuts on barrel collar for easy barrel removal." - U.S. Army Ordnance

"GUN, SUBMACHINE, CALIBER .45, M3 - Standard in the Army of the United States in 1944 was the Submachine Gun, Caliber .45, M3. No better exemplification could be found of the statement that the American soldier is the best equipped fighting men in the world. The gun itself is remarkable but even more noteworthy is the circumstance that it was in production within less than one year from July 1942 when the Technical Division of the Ordnance Department authorized the development of a weapon of its particular type.
The Submachine Gun, M3, is a caliber .45 weapon weighing 8 pounds, 15 ounces, complete with maThe gun operates upon the straight blowback principle, the fixed firing pin in the heavy bolt firing the cartridge at the completion of the forward stroke. The major portion of the energy of the explosion is thus absorbed by the inertia of the bolt. When this is overcome, the remaining energy of the explosion is sufficient to drive the bolt to the rear against the compression of the operating springs. The fired case is ejected on the retracting stroke and the compressed dual springs furnish power to return the bolt to the firing position, picking up and chambering another round on its forward movement.
The use of a heavy bolt holds the cyclic rate of fire of the M3 to approximately 400 rounds per minute. This low rate of fire and the design which places the heel of the stock in almost a straight line with the axis of the bore combine to reduce recoil, virtually to eliminate muzzle-climb, and to produce unusual accuracy whether the weapon be used with stock extended or as a 'two-handed' pistol....
Stampings are used wherever possible in the manufacture of the M3, only the barrel, bolt and a few additional components require machining operations, no critical metals are employed. and the gun may be turned out by production-line methods at a minimum cost for a weapon of this type. The barrel, for example, is produced by a simple, speedy, and inexpensive swaging operation...The Submachine Gun M3 can be stripped for convenient stowing in a soldier's pack, for shipment, or for packing in standard containers to be dropped by parachute. The barrel and magazine are removed and the extension stock is folded. The gun stripped occupies a space 12-5/8 inches long, 7-3/8 inches high, and 3-1/8 inches deep - or 291 cubic inches.
The following significant reference to the M3 Gun is quoted from the Second Summary Report of the Aberdeen Proving Ground on all submachine guns tested up to 10 April 1943. 'Although it would be dangerous to state that further improvements and developments are unlikely, the ultimate has been reached in this type of weapon for the time being and production may begin without fear of immediate change.
The conclusion was reached at the end of the long series of tests which led to the adoption of the Submachine Gun, M3. Not until such an assertion could be made was production ordered." - HISTORY OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF SMALL ARMS CONDUCTED BY THE RIFLE BRANCH DURING WORLD WAR II by E.G. Cooper.

"Issued to tank and vehicle crews; also, as a special purpose weapon, to military police, paratroopers, Rangers, and commando-type units; and the front-line units for patrolling and scouting missions.
The M3 is very dependable because of its simple mechanism. It have very little recoil or tendency to 'climb' during long bursts of fire. Stampings were used whenever possible in the manufacture of the M3. Only the barrel, the bolt, and a few additional components require machining operations. A cheaply produced, quickly manufactured arms, it was designed as an equivalent of the German MP40, British Sten, and Soviet PPSh 41 submachine guns. Upon modification of the M3 to the M3A1, the M3 was designated limited standard....The M3 was first used in relatively large numbers in the D-Day invasion of German-occupied France, June 6, 1944. M3 submachine guns were part of the equipment of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions, the first American troops to land in France. The M3 was used throughout the rest of the war by airborne, Ranger, and commando-type units; by tank and vehicle crews; and as a special-purpose weapon for scouting and partrolling missions. The M3A1 did not go into production u
"The M3 was the outgrowth of an idea for a modern submachine gun, which was first conceived when the Small Arms Development Branch. Technical Division of the Ordnance Corps undertook the development of such a gun to embody characteristics expressed as desirable by the Cavalry and Infantry Branches. This requirement was set forth on February 6, 1941, and it is noteworthy that the weapon was in full-scale production within less than two years.
Part of the credit for the M3 can be traced to Colonel Rene R. Studler, who managed to get both George J. Hyde and Frederick W. Sampson together. George Hyde was the basic designer of the weapon and was well-acquainted with submachine gun development and design, since he had designed several fairly successful weapons of this kind before the requirement for a weapon of the M3 type was set forth. Frederick Sampson was the Chief Engineer for Inland Division of General Motors Corporation and was responsible for many of the production 'short cuts' which were incorporated into the design for the M3. No one man can claim complete credit for the development of the M3; it was more the result of a combined effort on the part of several individuals." - Thomas B. Nelson.

OCM 19401 - 12/24/43 - M3 Recommended for Standardization.
OCM 19507 - 01/14/43 - Read for record.

Hogg, Ian V. & John S. Weeks. MILITARY SMALL ARMS OF THE 20TH CENTURY. 7th Ed. Krause Publications. Iola, Wi. 2000.
Iannamico, Frank. UNITED STATES MACHINE GUNS: FROM THE AMERICAN 180 TO THE ZX-7. Moose Lake Publishing LLC. Henderson, NV. 2004.
Johnson, George B. & Hans Bert Lockhoven. INTERNATIONAL ARMAMENT. Vol. II. International Small Arms Publishers. Cologne, Germany. 1965.
Long, Duncan. ASSAULT PISTOLS, RIFLES AND SUBMACHINE GUNS. Carol Publishing Group. N.Y., N.Y. 1991.
Mullin, Timothy J. THE FIGHTING SUBMACHINE GUN, MACHINE PISTOL, AND SHOTGUN. Paladin Press. Boulder, Co. 1999.
Nelson, Thomas P. THE WORLD'S SUBMACHINE GUNS. T.B.N. Enterprises. Alexandria, Va. 1977.

See, TSB-680. TM9-1217.

TM9-2171-1 - FIELD MAINTENANCE CAL..45 SUBMACHINE GUNS M3 AND M3A1. Departments of the Army and the Air Force, January, 1957.

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