blank cell Schmeisser MP28/II Submachine Gun
CALIBER 9mm Para
RATE OF FIRE 2-20 per round
MAGAZINE CAPACITY 20, 32, 50 rounds
ACTION selective-fire
LOADING magazine
BASE RANGE 20 yards
YEAR 1929
COMBAT USE: Belgium, Bolivia, Germany

During the First World War, Hugo Schmeisser designed the MP18/I, the first practical submachine gun to see widespread issue. German stormtroopers put the MP18/I to good use during the spring offensive of 1918, but the MP18/I showed up too late on the battlefield to make much difference. By 1928 Hugo Schmeisser, who now worked at CG Haenel, had redesigned his MP18/I. The main difference was the provision of a selector, to allow the gunner to fire single shots in addition to bursts. Only box magazines were used, taking 20, 32 or 50 rounds. It was offered commercially in a number of calibers, including 7.63mm Mauser, 7.65mm Luger and 9mm Mauser. Since Germany was not allowed to make submachine guns until 1929, Haenel made only about 400 in some secrecy, main production taking place in neighbouring Belgium, were it was licensed to Pieper-Bayard. In 1929 it was adopted in 7.65mm Luger by the Portuguese police as the M/929 and in 1934 in 9mm Parabellum by the Belgian Army as the Mle 34 (captured weapons were later used as MP740(b) by German occupation troops). It was exported to a number of South American countries, notably Bolivia. In the late 1930s it was adopted by the military police of the Waffen-SS, and during WWII it was also used by other German police forces, but only a few thousand remained in service. During the 1930s it was extensively used during the Spanish Civil War and copied in Spain in 9mm Bergmann-Bayard, but made only in small numbers.

The British copied the MP28/II as the Lancaster Mk I (pictured above). Desperate for guns, the British had neglected the submachine gun as a "gangster weapon", and, with no indigenous design available, its Army had to order more than 150,000 Tommy guns from the USA. The Royal Air Force also had a requirement for such a gun. A man named Lanchester made some cosmetical changes to the Schmeisser MP28/II. The stock was patterned after the Enfield rifle, a mount for the Pattern 07 bayonet was fitted and some parts were made of brass. When it was ready for production in late 1940, the RAF no longer wanted it, all guns going to the Royal Navy as the Lanchester No 1 Mk I, about 50,000 being ordered from Sterling Armaments. The No 1 Mk I* from 1941 was capable of burst fire only. The Lancaster was a fine weapon, but was far too expensive to mass-produce, which by 1940 had become the primary requirement of submachine gun design. The Lancaster saw little if any combat, mainly during boarding actions, yet remained in service with the Royal Navy for several decades after the war.