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Patchett Machine Carbine Mk I: Sten Becomes Sterling

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The Patchett Machine Carbine Mk I is the predecessor to the Sterling SMG. It was developed by George William Patchett, who was an employee of the Sterling company. At the beginning of the wear, Sterling was making Lanchester SMGs, and Patchett began in 1942 working on a new design that was intended to be simpler, cheaper, and lighter than the Lanchester. He used the receiver tube dimensions from the Sten and the magazine well and barrel shroud form the Lanchester. His first prototypes were ready in 1943, but it wasn’t until early 1944 that the British government actually issued a requirement for a new submachine gun to replace the Stens in service.

The initial Patchett guns worked very well in early 1944 testing, which continued into 1945. It ultimately came out the winner of the trials, but they didn’t conclude until World War Two was over – and nothing was adopted because of the much-reduced need for small arms. Patchett continued to work on the gun, and by the 1953 he was able to win adoption of it in the later Sterling form – which is a story for a separate video.

The Patchett was not used in any significant quantity in World War Two. At most, a few of them may have been taken on the parachute drops on Armhem – there are specifically three trials guns which appear referenced in British documents before Anrhem, but are never mentioned afterwards (numbers 67, 70, and 72). Were they taken into the field? We really don’t know.

Many thanks to the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History in Brussels for access to this very rare piece! Check them out here:

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