As of the mid-thirties, the requirements of the French army for a promising submachine gun looked as follows. The military wanted automatic weapons chambered for 7,65x20 mm Longue with a rate of fire of 500-600 shots per minute and an effective firing range of at least 100-150. From a certain time, similar requirements, formed in the middle of the previous decade, were supplemented with a folding design clause weapons. This, it was thought, would have made it easier to transport a submachine gun.
By that time, the company Société Alsacienne de Constructions Mécaniques (SACM) had managed to join the advanced weapons development program for the army. The gunsmith designer Charles Petter became the main participant of the program from SACM. It was he who proposed several designs of new weapons, but none of his projects, for one reason or another, did not reach mass production.
Submachine gun SACM Mle 1935A in a combat position
Perhaps the most interesting project of S. Petter appeared at the beginning of the second half of the thirties. By year of development, the new design of the submachine gun received the designation Modèle 1935A. After a series of inspections, improvements and refinement of the design, the military presented the finished product of a new model. Probably, the designer encountered some problems, which is why it happened only in 1937 year. Two years later - apparently, after the next process of refinement - the weapon went into mass production for military tests. At this stage, the submachine gun was called SACM Modèle 1939.
The process of creating a submachine gun as such in the mid-thirties was not particularly difficult, but the work was somewhat hampered by the specific requirements of the military, who wanted to get folding weapons with minimum dimensions in the transport position. Known solutions to the problem of reducing the size did not fully suit the customer, and therefore S. Petter, as well as his colleagues from other design organizations, was forced to use some unusual ideas.
The project Modèle 1935A / Mle 1939 proposed the assembly of light automatic weapons of traditional appearance with certain modifications. So, to facilitate transportation, it was decided to use an unusual folding store receiver. The large and heavy wooden butt, in turn, was proposed to be transported separated from the weapon.
Externally, the Sh. Petter submachine gun to a certain extent resembled existing samples, since it had a traditional layout. The barrel of medium length was installed under the elongated casing and secured in the receiver. In the latter there was an installation site of the store's receiving shaft. On the back of the weapon there was a pistol grip and a butt fastening assembly.
According to reports, the weapon was proposed to be equipped with a rifled barrel caliber 7,65 mm. The barrel length was 200 mm or 26 calibers. To avoid damage, the barrel was placed inside a protective casing. Only a small muzzle end protruded beyond its limits. The casing was an oblong device of oval section, which was actually a continuation of the receiver. An interesting feature of the casing was the absence of the usual holes for the supply of air. In front of the casing were placed the front sight (above) and a pair of small store stops (below).
The receiver box of the Modèle 1935A submachine gun had a not too complicated shape, formed by several simpler units. Its main part was made in the form of a rectangular casing with a rounded upper surface. In front of her departed trunk housing. Behind the casing there was a window for ejection of spent cartridges, below which there was a large receiving shaft of the store with unusual additional equipment. The back of the receiver, under which was the trigger, had a rectangular cross-section. Behind the device of a more complex shape, which included a pistol grip and fastening for the butt, was attached to the rectangular assembly.
According to known data, Sh. Petter used the simplest version of automation based on a free gate. In the upper part of the receiver was placed mobile shutter of sufficient size and weight. In front from above, on the right side of the bolt, there was a cocking handle. The shutter could be equipped with its own integrated drummer. The latter could also be made as a separate moving part. Behind the bolt in the receiver was a reciprocating spring.
The SACM Mle 1935A / Mle 1939 submachine gun could have the simplest firing mechanism that fired from an open bolt. A similar pattern was characteristic of all the early French machine pistols. All parts USM placed in the rear of the receiver, below the slide rails. The descent control was carried out by the trigger. It is curious that between the hook and the pistol grip remained a certain space, not in the best way influenced the convenience of the weapon.
Unlike many other submachine guns of France of that time, the product of S. Petter received a full-fledged fuse. Lock USM managed a small flag, displayed on the right side of the receiver. In one position, he blocked the mechanisms, not allowing the descent, in the other - allowed to fire in automatic mode. Shooting single, apparently did not provide.
A new type of submachine gun received funds for folding the store. The reception shaft of the traditional design was supplemented with some new details, with the help of which it was possible to reduce the dimensions of the weapon in the transport position. In a relatively wide mine receiver, which had a large slot in the front, a rectangular receiver with its own latch was placed on the hinge. The receiver axis was in front of the shaft and allowed it to turn forward and up. On the axis of the lock was provided. Behind, under the shaft of the box, a spring-loaded movable cover was placed on its own axis.
To fire an arrow, it was necessary to place the magazine in a rectangular receiver and press it to lock it in that position. After that it was possible to cock and shoot. To transfer the submachine gun to the transport position, it was proposed to open the latch of the axis of the receiver, after which the latter could turn forward together with the magazine. In the transport position, the store was under the barrel and was fixed in its place. Vertical movement of the receiver with the magazine was hampered by a movable lid under the shaft. The offset of the magazine in the direction of the barrel with falling out of the receiver prevented the projections on the lower part of the barrel casing.
A new magazine has been developed for use with the Modèle 1935A submachine gun. A detachable box-type device with a spring-feed and double-row arrangement of ammunition contained 36 7,65 Longue cartridges. From the shops of other submachine guns of its time, this device differed in placing the stop for the locking latch. Due to the special design of the receiver, it had to be moved to the middle part of the store. In addition, the store had a large length, allowing the right way to use the front projections of the barrel housing.
The weapon was equipped with simple sights. In front of the barrel cover was a small fly without any means of protection. An open sight with the possibility of firing at a range of 100 or 200 m was placed in the rear of the receiver. A relatively weak cartridge could not provide effective fire at larger distances.
The submachine gun from Société Alsacienne de Constructions Mécaniques received a wooden butt of the traditional “rifle” shape with a shortened neck. The front part of the butt was equipped with a metal unit that interacted with a lock on the rear wall of the receiver. In the combat position of the weapon, the butt was fixed in its place, facilitating shooting with an emphasis on the shoulder. When transferring weapons to the stowed position, it could be removed. The removed stock should be transported separately from the weapon on the shooter’s equipment. In addition to the stock, a pair of wooden overlays for the pistol grip was part of the wooden fittings.
In its full configuration, the Mle 1935A / Modèle 1939 submachine gun had a length of 645 mm. The weight of the weapon without ammunition - 2,9 kg. In the transport position - with the butt removed and the magazine folded down - the length of the weapon was reduced to 388 mm. Automation provided a rate of fire at the level of 600 shots per minute. The initial speed of the bullet reached 380 m / s. At the same time, a light bullet did not allow to get an effective range of fire over 100-150 m.
Submachine gun 1935 of the year is complicated, the shop is removed
The project of Charles Petter was developed in the mid-thirties. In 1935-37, SACM manufactured several prototypes and tested them. After factory inspections, these products should have been sent to the military for new tests. According to the results of the latter, the army had to decide on the prospects of the proposed weapon.
Exact information about the progress and results of the army tests are not available, although some of the customer’s findings are known. So, the military experts approved the weight and dimensional indicators of the new submachine gun, and were also pleased with the proposed method of transfer to the transport position. An important advantage of the Modèle 1935A product was the possibility of a partial layout with the production of combat-ready weapons: if necessary, the shooter could return the store to its working position and fire without installing a butt. Designed at the same time, the ETVS submachine gun did not have a pistol grip, and therefore it could only be used in a fully unfolded state.
According to the test results, the submachine gun from the designers of the SACM plant was interested in the French military. The result of this was soon the appearance of an order for the production of a sufficiently large batch of weapons intended for military trials. In the near future, the army should have transferred 3000 submachine guns, which received the official designation SACM Modèle 1939. However, it soon became clear that the manufacturer would not be able to cope with such an order.
Earlier, the Société Alsacienne de Constructions Mécaniques arms factory received a large order for the mass production of self-loading Mle 1935 pistols. All its production facilities were engaged in the implementation of this order. In the existing conditions, employees of the enterprise could not establish simultaneous assembly of a pistol and a submachine gun. As a result, within a few months, SACM handed over to the army just over fifty submachine guns Mle 1939. It can be assumed that the last of these products were transferred to the customer after the entry of France into the war.
Lack of opportunities for mass production, able to meet the requirements of the army, the most negative impact on the prospects of the new submachine gun. The development of S. Petter did not pass troop tests and for this reason could not receive a recommendation for adoption. However, the armed forces were not left without the desired weapon. In the late thirties, shortly before the launch of the production of Mle 1939, France adopted the MAS-38 submachine gun. This weapon could not be folded, but nevertheless it was compact enough and showed the desired combat characteristics.
The exact fate of fifty experienced Modèle 1939 is unknown. Apparently, these weapons were used by the military in various checks, but no longer had any prospects. At a certain point, all manufactured weapons of this type could go to the smelter. No such product, as far as is known, has survived. Moreover, any materials and photographs also turn out to be a real rarity.
In the prewar period, the French gunsmiths proposed several original designs of submachine guns with the possibility of reducing the size of transportation. This weapon, in general, was not bad, but still could not affect the rearmament of the army. The reason for rejecting it was certain technical and economic features, limited opportunities for industry and other specific factors. However, the army was not left without the necessary weapons. In 1940, the French soldiers met the enemy with heavy fire from the MAS-38 submachine guns.
Popenker MR, Milchev M.N. World War II: gunsmiths war. - M .: Yauza, Eksmo, 2008.