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The Sten gun was a family of British 9mm submachine guns used extensively by British and Commonwealth forces throughout World War II and the Korean War. They were notable for having a simple design and very low production cost. STEN is an acronym, cited as derived from the names of the weapon's chief designers, Major Reginald Shepherd and Harold Turpin, and EN for Enfield. Over 4 million Stens in various versions were made in the 1940s. Stens could jam at inopportune moments. One of the more notable was the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich on 27 May 1942, when Slovak soldier - Warrant Officer Jozef Gabcik fired his Sten point blank at Heydrich, which misfired. Another partisan hastily tossed a grenade, which mortally wounded Heydrich. There are other accounts of the Sten's unreliability, some of them true, some exaggerated and some which are apocryphal. France manufactured (well-made) Sten copies postwar into the early 1950s, evidently believing in the basic reliability and durability of the design. A well-maintained Sten gun was a devastating close-range weapon for sections previously armed only with bolt-action rifles. In addition to regular British and Commonwealth military service, Stens were air-dropped in quantity to resistance fighters and partisans throughout occupied Europe. Due to their slim profile and ease of disassembly, they were good for concealment and guerrilla warfare. Guerrilla fighters in Europe became adept at repairing, modifying and eventually scratch-building clones of the Sten (over 2,000 Stens and about 500 of similar Blyskawica SMGs were manufactured in occupied Poland). Staged photograph: A partisan armed with Sten Mk II smg, France, 1944.Canadian infantry battalions in North-West Europe held spare Sten guns for special missions and the Canadian Army reported a surplus of the weapons in 1944. The Sten was not used in Italy due to constraints on the shipping of ammunition; .45 ACP was already being used in theatre by the US Army and a requirement for 9 mm would have been in competition with limited shipping space. A number of suppressed Stens were in limited use by the US Special Forces during the Vietnam war, including circa 1971, by the United States Army Rangers. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]
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