Sten gun jam at Heydrich assassination

Discussions on all aspects of the The United Kingdom & its Empire and Commonwealth during the Inter-War era and Second World War. Hosted by Andy H
Von Schadewald
Member
Posts: 1977
Joined: 16 Nov 2004 23:17
Location: Israel

Sten gun jam at Heydrich assassination

Post by Von Schadewald » 08 Oct 2005 03:08

The Discovery Channel showed a depiction of the assassination of Heydrich in 1942. How the Sten gun jammed, almost allowing Heydrich to escape. What was the cause of all these jams, that are said to have killed more Sten gunners than enemies

Von Schadewald
Member
Posts: 1977
Joined: 16 Nov 2004 23:17
Location: Israel

Post by Von Schadewald » 08 Oct 2005 20:38

Apparently British 9mm ammunition was of poor quality, the lips of the tin magazine bent easily preventing proper feeding, and the magazine was often used as a jiggling hand grip, which was incorrect.
Image
http://www.gunsmokeenterprises.net/sten ... educed.jpg

User avatar
redcoat
Member
Posts: 1359
Joined: 03 Mar 2003 21:54
Location: Stockport, England

Re: Sten gun jam at Heydrich assassination

Post by redcoat » 08 Oct 2005 22:23

Von Schadewald wrote:The Discovery Channel showed a depiction of the assassination of Heydrich in 1942. How the Sten gun jammed, almost allowing Heydrich to escape. What was the cause of all these jams, that are said to have killed more Sten gunners than enemies

The major problem, as has already been mentioned, was in the ammo magazine.
In the hands of a soldier who knew to both treat the lips of the magazine with care, and only fill the mag with 28 rounds instead of the maximum 30, the Sten was quite reliable.

Von Schadewald
Member
Posts: 1977
Joined: 16 Nov 2004 23:17
Location: Israel

Post by Von Schadewald » 09 Oct 2005 03:32

According to this http://www.canuck.freehosting.net/sten.htm the Sten's magazine took 32 rounds. I had heard that reducing the Bren gun's 30 rounds to 29 made it more reliable.

Was the same true in reducing the Sten's from 32 to 31?

Why only with British guns, and still to this day?

alf
Member
Posts: 1343
Joined: 09 Oct 2003 10:45
Location: Australia

Post by alf » 09 Oct 2005 04:13

The picture above of the guy holding the sten shows why the sten gun jammed so often, the magazine was not to be held. The left hand had to hold the barrel in front of the magazine.

Having said that, they were cheap and nasty things but did work, and sten guns killed many thousandss more enemy soldiers than users.
It wasn't the best weapon but it could be mass produced, it could jam and it could misfire if dropped, a nasty habit. Then again the German MP 40 magazine jammed frequently to, ( the Stens magazine was a copy of it basically)

The worlds first silenced sub maching gun was the Sten Mark 11 and was very effective.

PF
Member
Posts: 2127
Joined: 27 Oct 2004 13:19
Location: USA

Query on Sten

Post by PF » 15 Oct 2005 15:02

MAGAZINE MADE OF TIN?????
ISnt Tin fragile????
WHAT IS difference between Sten and Short Stirling MG?

Von Schadewald
Member
Posts: 1977
Joined: 16 Nov 2004 23:17
Location: Israel

Post by Von Schadewald » 15 Oct 2005 15:48

The Short Stirling was a bomber!
Image

alf
Member
Posts: 1343
Joined: 09 Oct 2003 10:45
Location: Australia

Post by alf » 15 Oct 2005 23:21

The replacement post war for the sten was the STERLING sub machine gun

Image

the picture above is the silenced version

http://www.nisat.org/weapons%20pages%20 ... a3_sub.htm has more information

User avatar
Matt Gibbs
Member
Posts: 2975
Joined: 23 Mar 2002 00:46
Location: United Kingdom

Sten reliability

Post by Matt Gibbs » 28 Nov 2005 00:52

The Sten was a victim of poor user discipline - I have read books by respected armourers who said it was basically a good weapon. As the picture by a woefully uneducated user shows, the obvious place to grip for the untrained, is the magazine. This places wear on the magazine catch and the retainer and also the magazine port itself. The magazine catch wears and one day when firing the magazine will come out into the hand of the person using the weapon, nasty time to have a stoppage. This also causes wear to the magazine lips. The spring could also bunch up the ammo in the mag when fully filled and cause overlapping and a stoppage of a newly loaded full mag. This is why only about 28 rounds would be loaded. There was a jog tool for armourers to improve and reshape the lips of Bren mags, but not sure about the Sten, though it is possible.
Misfires and firing when dropping the gun would be possible if the gun was cocked and not put onto safety. For those who do not know look out for pics of the Sten online. There was a safety slot where the bolt was pulled back and rotated so the cocking handle was pushed into the slot and held by the recoil spring, much less likely to jolt free. When not cocked the weapon was modified and had a hole drilled in the side where the cocking lever could be pushed through the side and effectively hold the bolt rigid. They were quite stiff to release too if the deactivated example I owned is anything like typical.
Rumour being so quick to spead around and misquoted in a lot of books means it is more or less common thought that the Sten was rubbish, and that is a ridiculous statement, we would not have produced over 3 million if that was the case. Cheap, yes, pretty ugly, yes, but that was the point.
When we were buying Thompsons at £50 a pop sold by the [profit keen ??] US in 1940 it was shown by Harold Turpin that we could make our own sub machine gun for about £7. You do the maths. They were pretty quick to mka,e did not use up valuable machining time or massively skilled labour, they could be assembled from parts made by simple methods by small engineering suppliers. What was even worse was the number of weapons we paid for and never took delivery due to U boat action, I read that 200,000 of the 600,000 Thompsons we wanted were loaded on one ship and it was sunk! Not good! The Sten was a unique product of its time, totally different to the way things had been done before.
Kind regards
Matt Gibbs

User avatar
Matt Gibbs
Member
Posts: 2975
Joined: 23 Mar 2002 00:46
Location: United Kingdom

Addition

Post by Matt Gibbs » 28 Nov 2005 00:55

Incidentally it looks to me like the mag used in that modern photo is not a Sten mag at all. It is very long, more likely to be a Lanchester mag, which was the same fitting, but held more ammo, a common swap even done and sought after at the time. Commandos liked to try and get ex RAF or Navy personnel to give them the 50 [?] round Lanchester magazines. It could be a built up Sten design from a parts kit because the Barrel nut looks wrong and the barrel with that foresight is definately not like the Mk2 type sten probably used in the Heydrich assasination attempt, it is probably a Mk5.
Kind regards
M Gibbs

yabint
Member
Posts: 484
Joined: 17 Mar 2004 03:15
Location: New Zealand

Post by yabint » 28 Nov 2005 04:11

Von Schadewald wrote:

Why only with British guns, and still to this day?


This problem was not unique to British guns only. The MP38 & 40 were also affected as were I believe the PPSh-41 and MP44.

JonS
Member
Posts: 3935
Joined: 23 Jul 2004 01:39
Location: New Zealand

Post by JonS » 28 Nov 2005 04:33

yabint wrote:
Von Schadewald wrote:

Why only with British guns, and still to this day?


This problem was not unique to British guns only. The MP38 & 40 were also affected as were I believe the PPSh-41 and MP44.

I assume that VS is referring to the reccomendation to load Sten and Bren mags slightly less than 'full'. If so, this certainly isn't limited to British weapons. The Steyr Aug has magazine which can hold 30, but the default max load is 29, as 30 can cause misfeeds.

Gearhead1432
Member
Posts: 210
Joined: 20 Nov 2004 11:18
Location: USA

Post by Gearhead1432 » 28 Nov 2005 07:29

Wasn't the Sten a copy and simplifacation of the MP40? I was under the impression that the MP40 was the first massproduced mp to be of mostly stamped construction. And then of course the ppsh41.

Most of the time it is the magazine that causes misfeeds. It happens with almost all magazine feed weapons. In the case of the MP40, and I think the sten has the same mag, the spring tension is so high when loaded to 32rnds that it can cause premature spring failure. Of course this is why the Germans had a loading tool for the MP40. I don't think you can hand load one of the mags to 32rnds, at least not very easily.

-Rob

User avatar
Matt Gibbs
Member
Posts: 2975
Joined: 23 Mar 2002 00:46
Location: United Kingdom

Not a Copy

Post by Matt Gibbs » 28 Nov 2005 10:21

Its certainly wrong to say the Sten is a copy
.
The design happened when Harold Turpin was trying to come up with ideas for a VERY simple to make trigger mechanism and fire selector. He came up with the idea at his dining table one evening and the original sketch survives to this day.

The rest of the gun was designed to be made in the most simple way, parts to be made basically in small engineering workshops in order to minimise the amount of time required in complex machining processes. This is why it looks cheap, it is cheap! [Parts were collected from makers and then the guns were assembed at the Royal Small Arms factories, until the Mk3 where many were made by BSA Ltd themselves.]

For example, in machining operations, the reciever of the Bren required something in the order of 170 seperate machining processes in its Mk1 configuration.

As Gearhead points out the problem is with the mags, as I tried to explain in my previous post. The Sten also, like the MP40 and others, had a loading tool, in fact several versions as they were improved. I don't think the Sten has the same mag, and I am fairly sure the MP40 mag cannot be used in place of a Sten one. It was designed to use the same type of 9mm ammunition though. One of the problems in the early days was that here in the UK we had very very little 9mm ammunition, because we didn't use it much! The idea with the Sten was the user could take captured 9mm ammo on the continent and use that no problem.
Kind regards
M Gibbs

PS I recommend to anyone the book Sten Machine Carbine by Peter Laidler, a very good source on this subject as he is/was a senior Brit Armourer in the army.

Von Schadewald
Member
Posts: 1977
Joined: 16 Nov 2004 23:17
Location: Israel

Post by Von Schadewald » 28 Nov 2005 13:26

Apparently the Germans were so impressed by the ease of construction of the Sten that they made a copy, the MP3008.
Image

Return to “The United Kingdom & its Empire and Commonwealth 1919-45”