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Lightweight Experimental Lanchester SMGs

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George Lanchester was the engineer responsible for originally reverse engineering the German MP28 submachine gun for production by the British, under the designation Lanchester. Once he finished that design work, the gun was put into production by the Sterling Engineering Company, and Lanchester went to work for them as part of the manufacturing process. Once there, he began tinkering with improved designs to reduce the weight of the gun – one of its main drawbacks. He created these three prototypes, but went no father, as government officials ordered him to stop when they discovered this work in 1942. By that time the Sten was in production, and continued development of the Lanchester was seen as a waste of time and resources.

The guns remained in the Sterling company’s reference collection, and elements of the final stock design would resurface in a later prototype design in the 60s. Beyond that, these guns were a simple dead end of design.

Many thanks to the Royal Armouries for allowing me to film and disassemble these unique submachine guns! The NFC collection there – perhaps the best military small arms collection in Western Europe – is available by appointment to researchers:

You can browse the various Armouries collections online here:

Forgotten Weapons
PO Box 87647
Tucson, AZ 85754

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