The United States entered the Korean War with virtually no knowledge of the enemy's military capabilities. First we found ourselves facing a
North Korea armed with Soviet infantry weapons, tanks warplanes and artillery. Then we were precipitated into a desperate struggle with a
China armed with virtually every kind of weapon manufactured until that time.
Among the more favored British weapons used by the Chinese Communists was the Sten Submachine Gun, the first example of a new
breed of cheap and simple full-auto infantry weapons that came to be adopted by many of the world's armies. First produced in June, 1941. It was
designed by Vernon "S"heppherd and Harold John "T"urpin and developed at "En"field, the government arsenal. Total production of the Sten in various marks, from mid 1941
to late 1945, was 3,750,000.
The Sten Mark II was simplicity itself, being easily dismantled into its component parts. The mechanism was little more than a
bolt and spring with the most basic trigger and fire selector equipment. Sights were fixed for 100 yds and could not be adjusted for zero. The
magazine held 32 rounds, but was generally loaded with 30 to minimize strain on the magazine spring and hence reduce jams, and had to be filled
with a special filler. The horizontal magazine permitted controlled firing while completely prone. Georg Luger originally developed the 9mm
Parabellum cartridge in 1902. The cartridge case is rimmed with a slight taper from rim to mouth which enhances feed reliability, but the Sten
was notorious for jamming, as well as firing accidentally when bumped, especially when dropped. Jamming was reduced somewhat by loading the magazines
with the successive rims alternately "over and under."