In Episode 1071 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast one of the most iconic weapons of the last 100 years and its role in the Vietnam War will be featured. The Thompson submachine gun is an American submachine gun, invented by John T. Thompson in 1918. It has been in use ever since by various civilian and uniformed users including service in the Vietnam War.
A story appeared in The NRA American Rifleman website titled: The Tommy Gun “In Country”: The Thompson SMG in Vietnam that described the venerable firearm’s service in that War. The story was submitted by Tom Laemlein, an experienced copywriter, content generator and marketing manager. He did a good job of describing how the Thompson SMG made its way onto the battlefields of Vietnam.
After the Korean War where they had been a mainstay weapon for UN troops they were pronounced obsolete by the US military in 1957. Large numbers of the “tommy guns” were stored away in U.S. arsenals after they were supplanted as the standard U.S. submachine gun by the M3A1 “Grease Gun.” Most assumed the older tommy guns would soon become recycled into now Chevrolet engines.
But hold the phone, trouble began to brew in the early 1960s over in Southeast Asia and this provided an opportunity for the Thompsons to regain a new lease on life. President Kennedy made the momentous decision to help the new South Vietnamese government in its attempt to resist the communist and highly aggressive North Vietnam.
With this, the potent Thompsons were called out of retirement and sent off to war in Vietnam to help stave the rising tide of communism in the area. Laemlein went on to describe how the SMGs were used in the war and who used them. His article contains several personal accounts of experiences with the weapon.
Listen to episode 1071 and discover the full story of the Thompson submachine guns in the Vietnam War.