Springfield Armory Museum - Collection Record

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Date of Manufacture:1942-1945
Eminent Figure:
Catalog Number:SPAR 1648
Measurements:OL: 90.8CM 35 3/4" BL: 11.4CM 4 1/2" 7.76 lbs.

Object Description:

Made in England - Standard British MkIIS Sten submachine gun. Differs from standard MkII in that silencer is integral with barrel part of the silencer unit. Barrel is also approximately 3 5/8" shorter than barrel on normal MkII. Although selective-fire, it was recommended that weapon be fired semi-automatically only as full-automatic fire wore out the baffles and was also inclined to build up pressure inside the silencer and blow off the end cap. Muzzle velocity of 1000 feet per second. Cyclic rate of fire approximately 450rpm. Weapon weighs approximately 7.76 lbs. empty. Complete with 32-round detachable box magazine and canvas barrel cover. Specimen has proper lightweight bolt and operating spring.

Magazine housing (Top): STEN MK. II. (Bottom): R24903/S&S.

Notes: The manual for the MkIIS Sten recommends firing semi-automatic only. Developed for resistance and Commando units.

"The submachine gun was, of course, the ideal weapon for Commandos and other raiding forces, and as early as 1940 they had expressed a desire to have a silent weapon for picking off sentries so as to be able to surprise their objectives. The first such weapon to be issued was a specially silenced Thompson, but the addition of a large muffler unit to the already heavy Thompson made an awkward handful and it was never made in any quantity. But the Sten was a more attractive proposition, and a silenced version, the Mk2S appeared in 1942." - Ian Hogg

"The loudest noise on firing was that of the bolt moving back and forth....The gun was designed to meet requirements of Commando and other special forces, and remained in use until the Korean War." - Hogg & Weeks.

"The importance of the silencer used in conjunction with submachine guns, and its many possibilities, were recognized by many experts, including some military leaders. One of the latter group was German Colonel Otto Skorzeny, notoriously credited with being 'the most dangerous man in Europe' during World War II. Skorzeny was the extremely capable and successful commander of the German equivalent to the British Commandos or the current U.S. Special Forces. Skorzeny obtained samples of the English Mark II S STEN submachine gun in a spectacular counterespionage coup in Holland. The Mark II S STEN submachine gun was fitted with a silencer, which delighted Skorzeny, in view of its possibilities for his type of operations. Skorzeny tried to persuade German Ordnance to adopt a gun of the STEN type with a silencer, for general use within the German Army. He staged a demonstration to show the merits of this gun, but the unorthodox approach in staging this demonstration, which was conducted at night did not impress the stiff-necked and narrow-minded German Ordnance officials.
The British, on the other hand, realized the full potential of their weapon, with its unique silencing feature, and made wide use of it within their Commando units. They also dropped quantities of these weapons to guerilla units operating behind enemy lines (which is how Skorzeny obtained his samples). The Mark II S STEN was used during World War II to a much greater degree than is popularly believed." - Thomas B. Nelson

"The Mark IIS and SOE Stens were extremely silent weapons. In fact, few modern guns approach them in this respect, and none surpass them. Their single-shot decibel readings are on the order of 127 decibels, with little ear-detectable sound. In fully automatic fire - which was officially discouraged - the guns sound somewhat like a lion purring. Full-automatic fire was frowned upon because of overheating the silencer, excessive chewing-up of the seal disc, and the possibility of explosions of collected unburnt propellant in the silencer baffles.
A single silenced model of the Sten Mark IVA was produced. The parent unsilenced Mark IVA did not do well in tests, however, and as a result the silenced versions was also dropped.
The Mark IIS Sten remained in service during World War II even when the basic Mark II was superseded by the greThe Mark IIS silencer was tried on the Mark V Sten, with a notable lack of success. The silencer that could interchange with the normal barrel, as on the Mark IIS, was not feasible on the Mark V. The least of the problem was the absence of the front sight on the silencer; more important was the need to lighten the bolt and to enlarge the vent holes from the barrel into the expansion chamber far beyond the dimensions established by the designers, in order to obtain reliable silenced functioning. In December 1946, development of an attachable silencer for the Mark V came to a halt.
In 1947, a reassessment was made of the need for a silenced weapon, and work was started on a new approach. Rather than a silencer applicable to any Mark V, a version of the gun with a fitted silencer (based on the Mark IIS silencer) was made. Each gun was balanced to its specific silencer to obtain optimum functioning. The combination was designated as the 9mm Sten Mark VI, and was issued to the Commando and Special Air Service units." - Thomas B. Nelson & Daniel D. Musgrave

"The Sten Mark II-S is identical to the standard Mark II receiver in having a silencer rather than the regular Sten barrel and barrel jacket. To make the silencer effective with the normally supersonic 9mm cartridge, the barrel was shortened to a length of 3-5/8 inches, thereby making the muzzle velocity subsonic. The weight of the bolt was reduced to compensate for the reduced barrel gas pressure. Because it heats rapidly in full-automatic fire, the silencer tube is usually fitted with a laced-on insulated cover to prevent burning the gunner's hand." - Johnson & Lockhoven.

"A silenced version, the STEN Mark 2-S, was also made in small quantities. The silencer had a very short life but worked well when new and fired in the semiauto mode. Some of these had wooden stock and pistol grips." - Duncan Long

"SOG's (Studies and Observations Group) other British firearm was the suppressed Sten Mark IIS submachine gun, with its distinctive side-mounted magazine. The Sten had practical appeal for snatching: It disassembled into three components you packed in your rucksack so your primary armament was a more powerful CAR-15 or AK-47, and you broke out the Sten only at the ambush site. But, reflecting its economical manufacture, the Sten lacked accuracy.
Sten often accompanied SOG teams into Laos and Cambodia, and it was an attempted snatch in Laos that saw perhaps the most tasteless employment of a suppressed Sten in SOG history. Those involved shall remain nameless.
The team was sent in to surveil a river, beside which they found a large trail, so the team leader decided to kill two birds: He laid out a snatch ambush at a spot from which they could surveil the river, too. After a few hours, six NVA crossed the river and walked right into his ambush - but by now it was clear many other NVA were nearby. The One-Zero dared not start a fight.
But the NVA squad stopped right there, dumped rucksacks and five of them stripped to their skivvies, then jumped in the water. One NVA remained behind to guard their equipment and AKs, hardly a dozen feet from the One-Zero; it began to drizzle and the NVA guard donned a plastic poncho. The recon men heard more NVA voices; sooner or later, they'd be spotted - they had to quietly eliminate this lone NVA guard and sneak off.
The One-Zero put
"Mark IIS and Mark VIS models (sometimes recorded as 6(s)) were produced which incorporated an integral supressor. This would heat up rapidly when fired and a canvas cover was laced round for some protection. The Mark 6 had a lower muzzle velocity than the others; 305 m/s (1000 ft/s) and was also the heaviest regular version due to the added weight of the specially designed silencer, as well as using a wooden pistol grip and wooden stock. Sten Mk IIS's in German possession were designated MP.751(e).
The weapons were usually used on semi-automatic fire, rather than full-automatic because of the suppressor's rapid heat build up in full-automatic firing. It was also claimed that vibration during full-auto fire would cause the bullets to clip the suppressor's internal baffles, damaging it.
The suppressed models were produced at the request of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) for use by their teams in occupied Europe." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sten#Variants

Hogg, Ian. THE COMPLETE MACHINE GUN: 1885 TO THE PRESENT. Exeter Books. N.Y., N.Y. 1979.
Hogg, Ian V. & John Weeks. MILITARY SMALL ARMS OF THE 20TH CENTURY. DBI Books, Inc. Northbrook, Il.
Hogg, Ian. GREENHILL MILITARY MANUALS: SUBMACHINE GUNS. Stackpole Books. Mechanicsburg, Pa. 2001.
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.
Nelson, Thomas B. THE WORLD'S SUBMACHINE GUNS. T.B.N. Enterprises. Alexandria, Va. 1977.
Nelson, Thomas B. & Daniel D. Musgrave. THE WORLD'S MACHINE PISTOLS AND SUBMACHINE GUNS. Vol. II. T.B.N. Enterprises. Alexandria, Va. 1980.
U.S. Army Ordnance School. SUBMACHINE GUNS, Vol. II. Aberdeen Proving Ground, Aberdeen, Md. 1958.

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