A nevereding Volley of American Justice - Why didn't all GIs get a thompson during WWII?

You’ve seen it before in the movies – WII infantry plinking away with their M1 Garands until the clip pops out, while some officer or other lucky bastard rapidly sends .45 rounds toward the enemy using his Thompson Submachine Gun. So the question is, Why weren’t more of these available? At face value, they seem like far a superior weapon to the M1.

I haven’t found an answer yet, but if I had to hazard a guess it could be because of the following:

  • They were too expensive
  • They were too ‘new’
  • The weren’t as accurate as the M1
  • Officers were just being dicks.

If you have a better answer, I’d love to hear it. If I find one in the meantime I’ll update.

UPDATE: Curiosity satisfied. From the comments:

There were a few things. First, the Thompson was a really heavy gun (over 10 pounds) that would jam if it got dirt in it. It also took a lot longer to manufacture, so it was tough to get them in the hands of everyone.

M1s actually packed more punch. M1 rounds would penetrate through the jungle in the Pacific (or through multiple Nazis), whereas the Thompson rounds wouldn’t make it through even small trees or walls.

So the Thompson was too heavy, too difficult to manufacture, too fragile, and not as powerful as you’d hope from a submachine gun. It was great for providing cover fire and out in the open. But tactically, not everyone needed one.

Sources: Wartime: understanding and behavior in the Second World War (Fussell 1990),
my high school history class,

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