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John T. Thompson
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Inventor
    (December 31, 1860-June 21, 1940)
    Born in Newport, Kentucky
    Served a Chief Ordinance Officer to General William Shafter in the Spanish-American War
    Director of Arsenals during World War I
    Retired at the rank of Brigadier General
    Invented the Thompson sub-machine gun (1920)
    The ‘T’ in his name originally stood for Taliaferro, but he Anglicized it to Tolliver.
    As chair of the ordinance board that selected the M1911 pistol as the Army’s standard sidearm, he tested ammo for the gun by firing bullets into human cadavers and live cattle (1904).
    The Thompson submachine gun became the preferred weapon of organized crime during the Prohibition era.
    While the US Army was generally plagued by logistical problems during the Spanish-American War, he managed the transfer of 18,000 tons of munitions from Tampa to the battlefields in Cuba efficiently and without accidents.
    He received the Distinguished Service Medal for his service in World War I, which included supervising all small-arms production for the Army.
    During World War II, over 1.5 million Thompson submachine guns were manufactured for the US military; it was most widely used by military police, tank crews, rangers, and paratroopers.

Credit: C. Fishel


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