Military Review

Submachine gun ETVS (France)

France took up the theme of submachine guns in the early twenties, but for a long time could not get the desired results. Another attempt to begin rearmament of the army was a program to develop several samples of this kind, conducted in the mid-thirties. One of the results of the work carried out under such a program was an unusual folding submachine gun called ETVS.

The first projects of French submachine guns were, on the whole, quite good, but in the mid-twenties the army changed its requirements, which led to specific consequences. Now the armed forces did not want to buy weapon under the pistol cartridge 9x19 mm "Parabellum", because they preferred him the domestic 7,65x20 mm Longue. In addition, new demands were placed on the dimensions and ergonomics of weapons. In connection with the change in the wishes of the customer, the leading weapon developers were forced to start creating new projects. The real results of these works appeared only by the mid-thirties.

Submachine gun ETVS (France)
Submachine gun ETVS in a combat position

It was during this period that the Établissement Technique de Versailles (Versailles) research and development institution proposed its own project. The new project offered the manufacture of a relatively lightweight and compact automatic weapon that could also be folded for transportation. Despite the folding design, the new model should have the highest possible performance. The technical and combat qualities of the product were limited only by the parameters of a relatively weak cartridge.

The new project received a symbol in honor of the developer organization. He was named ETVS - abbreviated from Établissement Technique de Versailles. Also in some sources found alternative spelling ETVS. It is obvious that the presence of several points does not interfere with the correct definition of this project and not to confuse it with other experimental developments of that time.

By the mid-thirties, the French designers, in general, managed to form the optimal look of the automation of a promising submachine gun. Now the main task was to create a similar system with a folding structure and minimal dimensions in the transport position. She was engaged in the engineers of several organizations in the mid-thirties. An interesting solution to the problem was proposed in the ETVS project.

In general terms, a promising submachine gun from designers from Versailles was similar to other samples of its class and had a similar layout. In front of the product was placed the barrel with the required parameters, fixed on the receiver of sufficient length. Under the box were the details of the firing mechanism. The obvious way to reduce the size in the transport position was the folding mechanism of the butt, but they did not solve the problem of the shop. The new ETVS project provided for the possibility of transferring a ready-to-use store to the transport position.

According to known data, the ETVS submachine gun received a rifled barrel with a length of the order of 210-220 mm with a chamber for ammunition 7,62x20 mm Longue. The barrel had an octagonal outer surface. In the muzzle of his part there was an influx that served as the basis for the front sight. The breech of the trunk slightly expanded, forming a node for connection with the receiver. The barrel was not planned to equip a protective casing. The fins were also not used to improve cooling.

The receiver of the weapon was distinguished by its simplicity of design. In accordance with the "traditions" of that time, it was made in the form of a metal tube of sufficient length. The barrel was mounted in front of it, and all internal volumes were engaged in a movable gate and a returnable-fighting spring. Behind the box was closed with a round lid. On the right side of the tubular body there was a window for the ejection of the sleeves. Behind him was a longitudinal slit for the bolt handle. In the front of the box, the receiver was secured with several pins.

The ETVS project involved the use of automatic shutter-based automation. As far as is known, the shutter was made in the form of a relatively simple metal block of sufficient mass. It contained several cavities and cavities for interaction with various details. It can be assumed that the Versailles designers could borrow from the previous project STA 1924 an idea with a separate movable drummer moving inertia inside the cavity of the gate. There was a small handle on the right of the gate, which was pulled out. Behind it was placed a reciprocating combat spring.

The submachine gun of the new model, like other weapons of its class, had to shoot from the open bolt. Hold the shutter in the rearmost position was carried out using the sear from the trigger mechanism. Fire control was carried out by a traditional trigger. Exact information about the presence and design of the fuse is not available. The hook emerged through the lower window of the box and was covered with a protective bracket.

The task of reducing the size of the weapon in the transport position was solved in the most original way. At the same time, to perform a similar task, the designers had to abandon the wooden rifle box. Similar parts were actively used in the early French machine pistols, but they actually did not allow to perform one of the main tasks.

Cartridges 7,65x20 mm Longue

A single wooden box, characteristic of other weapons, was replaced by a divided unit consisting of metal and wooden parts. The receiver was placed in a metal bed with a U-shaped cross section. This unit consisted of a pair of side covers of the required shape and several curved strips of metal that covered the gap between them from below. In front of such a box was the reception shaft of the store, supplemented by an unusual device. Behind the bottom there was a small window to pull the trigger. On the back wall was placed the butt joint.

The weapon was supposed to use box magazines with a double row 32 arrangement of 7,65 Longue cartridges. They were asked to be placed in the receiving shaft in front of the box. Carrying out the wishes of the customer, the authors of the ETVS project provided for the possibility of folding the store for transportation. Translating the ammunition system into a combat position was not very complex and took minimal time.

The window for the store in the bottom of the box was supplemented with a low side. Behind him there was a hinge on which the swinging guide of the store was installed. The latter had a complex shape with polygonal walls, the space between which corresponded to the section of the store. In the combat position, this guide was placed vertically, clamping the walls of the store. When transferring the weapon to the stowed position, it was necessary to open the magazine latch, push it down a little, and then fold it forward and up. With the help of a swinging rail, the store held a horizontal position. The front cut of the guide at the same time worked like a lock, and did not allow the store to move.

The weapon received the simplest sights with the ability to adjust the range. Over the muzzle of the trunk was unregulated front sight. Near the rear edge of the receiver placed an open sight with flip entirely. The latter had apertures for shooting at 100 and 200 m.

The submachine gun was proposed to be completed with a wooden butt with a neck having a pistol projection. Such a butt was performed separately from the main box and connected to it with a metal hinge. When transferred to the transport position, the butt should be turned on the axis and laid along the left surface of the weapon. On the left on the butt there was a mortise swivel for the belt. The second ring for installing the belt was in the front of the box, under the breech of the breech.

In a combat configuration, with the store unfolded and the butt, the ETVS submachine gun had a length of 670 mm - approximately at the level of other samples of its class. Folded stock reduced the length of the product to 420 mm, giving certain advantages. Foldable store receiver led to a significant reduction in the height of the weapon. Versailles development differed from other folding submachine guns of its time in its minimal dimensions. The mass of unarmed weapons was 3,26 kg.

The free shutter allowed the rate of fire at 500 per minute per minute, as the military wanted. Range parameters were limited by the characteristics of a relatively weak cartridge. With an initial bullet speed of about 340-350 m / s, the new weapon could fire at ranges of no more than 150-200 m. At the same time, the effective fire range was half as long. A definite advantage of the 7,65 mm Longue cartridge was less recoil, which made it easier to hold the weapon and not degrade the accuracy of shooting.

No later than 1935-37, experienced ETVS submachine guns, created by the designers of the Établissement Technique de Versailles, entered the ground test. Apparently, the first checks allowed to determine the range of necessary improvements and continue the development of the project. According to the results of such a refinement, the weapon could well claim to get into the army and be put into mass production. In this case, the submachine gun had not only to show its advantages and disadvantages, but also to compete with other samples presented by other weapons enterprises.

According to reports, the military were able to familiarize themselves with the new domestic development and study it, identifying strengths and weaknesses. Details of such assessments are unknown, but there is every reason to believe that, in terms of the basic combat characteristics and qualities, the submachine gun ETVS could not seriously differ from other models of its class created at that time. The competitive advantage could be the possibility of a sharp decrease in size in the transport position, but such opportunities were spelled out in the technical specifications. As a result, several new submachine guns could be folded at once.

Folded arms

Indeed, unlike the overwhelming majority of foreign models of its time, the new French submachine gun was distinguished by its minimum size in the transport position. Putting the weapon into a firing position did not present any particular difficulties and took minimal time: the butt had to be spread out, the store was set in an upright position and then entered into the receiving shaft, after which the shutter could be moved and fired.

At the same time, the ETVS product was not without flaws. First of all, it could not show high combat performance: it was affected by the limitations imposed by a weak cartridge. In addition, the weapon could fire only in a combat position, while the transport completely excluded firing. Some kind of intermediate position with the closed magazine and folded butt was not provided. In some situations this could be a serious problem.

In the mid-thirties, the French arms industry presented a number of projects for promising submachine guns, one of which was ETVS. The military had the opportunity to review several new designs, compare them, and draw conclusions. In addition, in the course of comparisons and tests, designers had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with other people's ideas and, if desired, borrow them for their own projects.

For example, the idea of ​​a folding receiver shop, proposed by Versailles engineers, interested other gunsmiths. Similar devices were used on several submachine gun pistols of the late thirties. One of the later samples that had such equipment was even brought to mass production.

Such an impact on other projects actually became the most notable success of the ETVS submachine gun. After familiarizing themselves with this product, the French military noted and praised successful solutions, but did not pass by the shortcomings. In its current form, such weapons did not suit the military, and they continued their search. Soon they managed to choose the most successful, as it seemed, model of a promising weapon. They became the submachine gun MAS-38, later adopted into service and put into the series.

The further fate of the experienced submachine guns from the Établissement Technique de Versailles is unknown. Apparently, after the refusal of the military, these products went to storage or disposal. Anyway, unique prototypes did not survive to our time. Moreover, there are only a few photos of such weapons. Unfortunately, the most interesting project, which had a definite influence on the further development of small arms in France, was forgotten for many years.

Based on:
Popenker MR, Milchev M.N. World War II: gunsmiths war. - M .: Yauza, Eksmo, 2008
Photos used:, Wikimedia Commons
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  1. polpot
    polpot 24 January 2018 16: 20
    Thank you very much for the article, it’s very interesting, the French are always original in design, for a police weapon it’s a curious thing, for the army it’s terrible.
  2. Gray brother
    Gray brother 24 January 2018 19: 52
    For crews of equipment or pilots fit barrel.
    1. sd68
      sd68 24 January 2018 22: 12
      too weak cartridge for army weapons
      1. Gray brother
        Gray brother 25 January 2018 10: 27
        Quote: sd68
        too weak cartridge for army weapons

        But still better than a gun.
        1. sd68
          sd68 25 January 2018 21: 45
          the gun as an army weapon has long had a very narrow niche of application
  3. Catfish
    Catfish 25 January 2018 02: 44
    This is a very good thing: to look for long-forgotten designs and introduce them to those who are interested in weapons in general.
    Well, for some reason the French always always gravitated toward folding PPs more than anyone else. After the war, MAT 49, even later Hotchkiss, whose barrel was also sunk in the receiver. Originally, but why complicate a rather simple weapon by the principle of action?
    Thanks to the author and good luck in finding new information.
    1. sd68
      sd68 25 January 2018 21: 44
      It’s convenient for crews of armored vehicles, and such weapons were developed including for them