By Jean Huon
After World War II, the French Army wanted to adopt a new submachine gun to replace the various British, German and American guns that their troops were then equipped with. The request had a sense of emergency as a new war was brewing in Indochina. Both the state factories in Châtellerault, Saint-Etienne, Tulle and the private arms manufacturer of Hotchkiss began work on this project.
The Hotchkiss Company, established by Benjamin B. Hotchkiss in 1867, was initially devoted to the production of solid cased ammunition during the 1870-71 war. Later, he developed the Hotchkiss Revolving Cannon that was used by many countries at the end of 19th century. The most successful gun the company ever produced was the Hotchkiss machine gun developed by Laurence Benét and Henri Mercié at the turn of the 20th century and used to great effect during World War I.
During the 1920-30s, Hotchkiss developed light machine guns, infantry machine guns, aircraft machine guns, large-bore weapons and anti-tanks guns for armies throughout the world. After 1945, the Hotchkiss firm produced submachine guns for the French Army and others.
General Information on Hotchkiss Submachine Guns
The general appearance and operation of the Hotchkiss submachine guns is the same for all their models. They have a cylindrical frame with the cocking lever and ejection port both located on the right side. Depending on the model, they may have a fixed or folding stock made of wood or metal. Some models have a short telescoped barrel that can be pushed to the rear inside the frame, while others have a fixed barrel with a cylindrical cooling jacket. The magazine is derived from the MP 40 magazine and is located in a folding magazine holder. The guns works with a blowback bolt with a delayed firing pin. The guns are relatively complicated being made with many parts. Firing devices are complicated and are made of many parts with numerous parts being made of stamped sheet metal.
The Model 011 has a rigid wooden stock, is very simple in its manufacture and is as crude as the Sten submachine gun. The triangular stock has a vertical bar on the left side for attaching a sling. The stock is assembled with an end cap that closes the frame at the rear. The sear mechanism is located in a triangular shaped box under the receiver frame. The magazine well is also a front grip that can be folded permitting the gun to be carried with a loaded magazine under the barrel. The ejection port has a cover that can lock the bolt in the opened or closed position and is used as a secondary safety. The barrel is located in a socket that can move to the rear for carrying thus reducing the length of the gun. The rear sight is located on top of the stock end cap and the front sight can be folded.
This model was developed in 1948 and was used by local units in Indochina, such as Phat-Diem Bishop Suppletive Guard.
Model 010 or “Type Universal”
The Model 010 is probably one of the most curious submachine guns ever made. Most of the components can be moved to reduce the volume of the gun for carrying:
- The metallic tubular stock can be folded under the frame,
- The pistol grip can be folded forward enclosing the trigger guard,
- The magazine housing can be folded forward under the barrel,
- The barrel can also be moved rearward.
The receiver frame is of a tubular shape with a flap to cover the ejection port that is located on the right side. The cocking handle is spherical and is also located on the right side. It holds a sheet strip to cover the grove upon which it moves. The bolt has a separate firing pin and the recoil spring is helicoidal. Ignition of the primer is delayed until just after the bolt is closed and is actuated by a lever. The trigger housing is a triangular box located under the receiver and contains a push-through button selector. The magazine is located in a forward folding housing. The stock is made of an assembly of tubes with a wooden shoulder rest. The pistol grip is equipped with brown plastic grips. The folding rear sight has two apertures and the front sight is protected by a hood.
Disassembly the Hotchkiss Model 010 is straight forward:
- Remove the magazine and clear the gun,
- fold the stock,
- remove the rear plug,
- extract the recoil spring and bolt.
- Reassemble in reverse order.
The Model 010 is a very complicated gun and is not easy to use; particularly during handling as it is easy for fingers to get caught and/or pinched in any one of the many folding parts.
The gun was manufactured between 1949 and 1952. It was tested by the French Army in Indochina by paratroops and the Foreign Legion. Some countries did buy a few of these guns such as Venezuela and Morroco. The last Hotchkiss Model 010 at war were found in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
The Model 017 is designed like the Model 010 except it has a fixed wooden stock, a longer barrel, a perforated cooling jacket and the pistol grip cannot be folded. An additional safety device is installed near the trigger and when it is in place the use of the trigger is not possible. The Model 017 was designed for police use and was tested by the French police; but the MAT 49-54 was chosen instead. The Hotchkiss Model 017 was also tested by Morocco.
The Model 304 is an evolution of the former models. It has a fixed wooden stock and several variations exist:
- tubular receiver frame, short barrel that can be retracted in the frame and a rectangular trigger box mechanism;
- tubular receiver frame, long barrel with a perforated cooling jacket, rectangular box trigger mechanism and a reversible spike bayonet like the MAS 36 rifle;
- sheet metal frame with dust cover on the ejection port, long barrel with a perforated cooling jacket, triangular trigger box mechanism and a reversible spike bayonet like the MAS 36 rifle.
0.210 m(8.27 in.)
670 mm(26.38 in.) w/ barrel retracted
Overall length :
0.780 m (30.71 in.)
0.538 m (21.18 in.) stock folded
0.270 m (10.63 in.)
3.430kg (7.56 lbs.)
0.945 m (37.2 in.)
0.405 m (15.95 in.)
3.800 kg (8.38 lbs.)
|Model 304 Short Barrel
0.860 m (33.86 in.)
0.270 m (10.63 in.)
3.200 kg (7.05 lbs.)
|Model 304 Long Barrel
0.920 m (36.22 in.)
0.300 m (11.81 in.)
3.700 kg (8.16 lbs.)
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V12N9 (June 2009)