Type ETVS submachine gun

Type E.T.V.S.

After the debacle of the Modele S.T.A. submachine gun in the 1920s, which was adopted briefly and then quickly cancelled, the French Army restarted their SMG programme from scratch, desiring a weapon chambered in the 7.65mm Longue cartridge. Military departments and government armouries were commissioned to submit designs to comparative trials, including the C.E.I. (Commission d'expérience de l'Infanterie), M.A.S. (Manufacture d'armes de St. Étienne), M.A.C. (Manufacture d'armes de Châtellerault), and the E.T.V.S. (Etablissment Technique de Versailles). Several third-party entrants were also evaluated, including the M.P.28,II and the Thompson, but also a new design from the SACM company (Societe Alsacienne de Constructions Mecaniques), which was developed by the Swiss engineer Charles G. Petter, who designed the French service Modele 1935A pistol.

The design submitted by the E.T.V.S. was designed by one Captain Martin in 1933. It was an odd-looking submachine gun incorporating several features that were common in French SMG designs, including a folding magazine housing and stock. The magazine housing was built with a hinged cover which would ideally prevent dirt from entering through the magwell when the gun was unloaded. The folding magazine also acted as a manual safety feature, as the gun could not fire when the magazine was compacted. Despite the external design eccentricities, the E.T.V.S. submachine gun was reportedly a basic straight-blowback design internally.

The Type ETVS submachine gun in compacted position.

After several stages of comparative tests, the French Army ultimately made an unusual decision. The MAS submachine gun would be taken into service as standard, but auxiliary quantities of Petter SMGs would also be bought from SACM. The two guns were adopted as the Pistolet Mitrailleurs Mle. 38 and Mle. 39 respectively. With both of these guns due to enter service, there was no requirement for the E.T.V.S. gun and it was rejected. However, very few of these SMGs would actually be issued before the Germans invaded France in 1940, and the French out of desperation resorted to buying .45 Thompson guns from the United States.

It is reported that a small quantity of prototype E.T.V.S. submachine guns were actually pressed into emergency service during the early stages of the war, and that they were later captured by the Germans and used by them as the MP 721(f). However, this is difficult to actually verify. Certainly no more than about 100 E.T.V.S. submachine guns were ever made. After the war, the E.T.V.S design was revived in the form of the experimental MAC Mle 47 submachine gun, which was similarly unsuccessful.

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