"M42" UD (United Defense) Submachine Gun

by
posted on April 24, 2014
qathompson1.jpg

Q. In a history of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) I was reading, the author made reference to procurement of the M42 submachine guns, but did not explain any further. Can you tell me what an M42 submachine gun is? Was this gun ever issued to conventional American or Allied troops?

A. No M42 submachine guns were issued to the American Armed Forces during the war, but it was supplied to several allied countries during the war, and it was an item of issue to the OSS for use in various clandestine-related operations. The M42 was invented by Carl Swebilius, who was affiliated with the firm of High Standard. High Standard developed the prototype and produced a few early versions of the gun, but the Marlin Firearms Co. manufactured approximately 15,000 of these guns.

Most were chambered in 9 mm, but a few .45 ACP versions were made as well. The M42 could accept a conventional box magazine and also had the ability to be used with staggered side-by-side magazines. Government records indicate that 2,405 9 mm Marlin MD 42 submachine guns were airdropped in France from January to October of 1944 for use by OSS-related resistance operations.

The MD 42 was an unremarkable submachine gun with no outstanding virtues or glaring vices. Since it was not an issue item to U.S. armed forces, it is a little- known arm today and extremely few examples survive.

-Bruce N. Canfield

Originally published September, 2006

Latest

Foster 223Homedefense 6
Foster 223Homedefense 6

The AR-15 For Home Defense: 3 Loads To Consider

While many .223 Rem. and 5.56 NATO loads exist on the market, not all are best suited for home-defense use. Here are a few loads that are worth looking at.

Number Of New CCW Permits Still Growing

The number of people submitting to additional background checks, investing the time to meet requirements—which vary by state—and pay for a CCW permit has grown again in 2022.

NRA Gun Of The Week: Springfield Armory XD-M Elite 4.5” OSP In 10 mm Auto

Watch American Rifleman staff on the range to learn about the 10 mm Auto-chambered XD-M Elite 4.5” OSP, one of the latest offerings in Springfield Armory's feature-rich lineup of Croatian-made pistols.

The Armed Citizen® Dec. 2, 2022

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

Rifleman Q&A: M1903 vs. M1903A1 Rifles

I’ve seen references to an M1903A1 rifle. I’ve looked around at a bunch of gun shows, and I have not found a rifle marked “M1903A1.” How does that variant differ from a standard M1903 rifle?

PrairieFire Emerges Following Front Sight Chapter 11 Filing

PrairieFire announced this week that the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nevada confirmed the Chapter 11 plan of reorganization under which it will acquire 100 percent of Front Sight Management’s equity.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.