The Thompson is an American sub-machine gun, invented by John T. Thompson in 1918, that became infamous during the Prohibition era. It was a common sight in the media of the time, being used by both law enforcement officers and criminals. The Thompson was also known informally as: the “Tommy Gun”, “Trench Broom”, “Trench Sweeper”, “Chicago Typewriter”, “Chicago Piano”, “Chicago Style”, “Chicago Organ Grinder”, and “The Chopper”.
The Thompson was used in World War II in the hands of Allied troops as a weapon for scouts, non-commissioned officers (corporal, sergeant and higher ranking), and patrol leaders as well as commissioned officers, tank crewmen and soldiers performing raids on German positions. In the European theater, the gun was widely utilized in British and Canadian Commando units, as well as in the U.S. Armyparatrooper and Rangerbattalions, where it was issued more frequently than in line infantry units because of its high rate of fire and its stopping power, which made it very effective in the kinds of close combat these special operations troops were expected to undertake. Military Police were fond of the weapon as well as paratroopers. The gun was highly coveted by those lucky enough to get one and proved itself in the close street fighting that was encountered frequently during the invasion of France.