The Suomi submachine gun was one of the most iconic weapons of the Second World War, playing a part in Finland's doomed but gallant attempts to resist Soviet aggression during the Winter War. This book looks at the development of the Suomi, its use in Finnish and other service, further developments of the weapon and its wider signifiacance.
The Suomi is compared to both its precursors in Finnish service and its rivals. The idea of comparing it feature-by-feature to the Thompson, MAS 38, Beretta Modello 1938A and Sovieth PPSh-41 is a good one, allowing us to get a good idea of how well the Suomi actually stands up against its contemporaries. It emerges well on accuracy, but not so well on weight or general ease of use.
I must admit I would have liked to see a diagram explaining the firing mechanism, as I couldn’t entirely follow the written description. There is a colour coded cutaway diagram which names the parts (although there is no explanation of what the colour coding stands for),
It soon becomes clear that the Suomi wasn't really of any great technical significance - it was a fairly standard submachine gun, with some distinctive features, and not especially groundbreaking. However the use the Finns made of it was far more important, using it to arm their ski-borne raiders, who carried out very effective hit and run raids and ambushes on Soviet columns, using their SMGs to greatly increase their firepower.
Development – Towards the Suomi
Use – The Suomi Goes to War
Impact – Redefining the submachine gun
Author: Leroy Thompson