Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The prototype Vesely V-42 submachine gun.

Joseph Vesely fled his home country of Czechoslovakia, to England, in early 1939 because of the German occupation. It is thought that Vesely had been an arms designer for Zbrojovka Brno Arms.
In the early 1940s he approached the British Ordnance Board with blueprints of a new submachine gun he had designed and patented.

In most respects, the design was a typical submachine gun, firing 9mm Parabellum cartridges and using a simple blowback mechanism. It offered a selector for semi and full automatic modes, a manual safety, and 900 or 1000 rpm rate of fire (depending on how the bolt was configured). The sights had three settings, for 100, 200, and 300 yards.

The standout feature of Vesely’s gun is its double-column magazine.
It uses two rows of ammunition in staggered, double-stacked configuration. When the front stack of the magazine is full, a spring-loaded lever in the side of the receiver depresses the rear stack, allowing the bolt to bypass the rear stack and feed from the front. When the bolt retracts and ejects the last case fired from the front stack, the front follower rises into position and cams the lever out of the way, allowing the rear stack to rise, and the bolt to feed from it. This gave the weapon a great capacity for uninterrupted fire, while still maintaining a magazine of reasonable design and profile that could be loaded by hand.

Four basic models of Vesely appear to have been made. All in all, the gun seems to have been well thought out and well built, however, it was not adopted into British (or anyone else’s) service, likely because it didn’t ultimately offer very much more than the Sten, which was already in use and significantly less costly to manufacture.