The Sten emerged while Britain was engaged in the Battle of Britain, facing invasion by Germany. The army was forced to replace weapons lost during the evacuation from Dunkirk while expanding at the same time. Prior to 1941 (and even later) the British were purchasing all the Thompson submachine guns they could from the United States, but these did not begin to meet demand. The American entry into the war at the end of 1941 placed an even bigger demand on the facilities making Thompsons. In order to rapidly equip a sufficient fighting force to counter the Axis threat, the Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield, was commissioned to produce an alternative.
The Mark II was the most common variant, with two million units produced. It was a much rougher weapon than the Mk I. The flash eliminator and the folding handle (the grip) of the Mk I was eliminated. A removable barrel was now provided which projected 3 inches (76 mm) beyond the barrel sleeve. Also, from the operator's perspective, a special catch allowed the magazine to be slid partly out of the magazine housing and the housing rotated 90 degrees counter-clockwise, together covering the ejection opening and allowing the weapon and magazine both to lie flat on its side.
The barrel sleeve was shorter and rather than having small holes on the top, it had three sets of three holes equally spaced on the shroud. To allow a soldier to hold a Sten by the hot barrel sleeve with the supporting hand, an insulating lace-on leather sleeve guard was sometimes issued. Sten Mk II's in German possession were designated Maschinenpistole 749(e) or MP.749(e). Some MkIIs were fitted with a wooden stock as this part was desirable and interchangeable with the Mk V. Also, the Spz-kr assault rifle uses the receiver and components from the Sten Mk II.
|General Historical Information|
|Place of origin||Great Britain|
|Designer|| - Major Reginald V. Shepherd|
- Harold J. Turpin
|Manufacturer|| Royal Small Arms Factory
Lines Brothers Ltd
Long Branch Canada (plus numerous sub-contractors making individual parts).
- Royal Small Arms Factory
|Produced In||1941 - ???|
|Effective range||100 m|
|Rate of Fire||+/- 500 rpm|
|Magazine||32-round detachable box magazine|
|General Ingame Information|
|Used by|| Great Britain|
Mk.IIS and Mk.VI models incorporated an integral suppressor ("silencer") and had a lower muzzle velocity than the others due to a ported barrel intended to reduce velocity to below the speed of sound; 305 m/s. The suppressor would heat up rapidly when the weapon was fired and a canvas cover was laced around the suppressor for some protection for the firer's supporting hand.
The Mk IIS was, as the name suggests, a suppressed version of the Mk II. Captured examples of the Sten Mk IIS in German service were designated MP.751(e).
The suppressed models were produced at the request of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) for use on clandestine operations in occupied Europe, starting with the Mk IIS in 1943. Owing to their tendency to overheat, they were fired in short bursts or single shots.
In addition to its use in the European Theatre, the Mk IIS saw service with clandestine units in the Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA) such as the Services Reconnaissance Department and SOE's Force 136 on operations against Imperial Japanese forces. The Sten Mk IIS was used by the Operation Jaywick party during their raid into Japanese-occupied Singapore Harbour.
The Sten Mk IIS also saw service with the Australian Special Air Service (SAS) in Vietnam.
Introduced in 1944, the Mk V was essentially a better-quality, more elaborate version of the Mk 2. Changes included a wooden pistol grip, a vertical wooden fore grip, a wooden stock, and a bayonet mount. There was a No4 Lee Enfield foresight and the weapon was of better quality manufacture and finish than the Mk.II and Mk.III. The Sten bandolier issued to paratroopers held 7 full magazines. Another variant of the Mk.V had a swivel stock and rear sight mirror intended for firing around corners in urban warfare, similar to the Krummlauf developed by the Germans for the StG 44.
Template:British HandweaponsTemplate:Canadians Handweapons