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Ask Ian: Going Broke Making Guns During War

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From Jubs on Patreon:
“They say that ‘no one’s gone bankrupt making guns during a war,’ but is that actually true?”

It’s usually true, but not always. Even during a war, you can make enough bad choices that you can go bankrupt as a gun manufacturer, and Hopkins & Allen is a perfect example of how. During World War One they were wrangled into a contract to make SMLEs for the British which they could not possibly meet. Having already started the tooling process when that deal fell through, they were desperate for a new client, and found the Belgian government looking for arms. H&A signed a deal with the Belgian s to make Model 1889 Mausers, but underbid it and ended up losing money on every rifle that went out the door. By March 1916 they were in receivership, with the principals filing lawsuits against each other over allegedly being tricked by German spies.

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