The Suomi KP/-31 Submachine gun,
One of the lesser known weapons of World War II, the Suomi KP/-31 submachine gun was the famed weapon of the Finnish Army during the Winter War, the disastrous invasion of Finland by the Soviet Union shortly after the fall of Poland. The Suomi was an SMG that utilized a straight blowback system while firing from an open bolt. Chambered for 9mm Para, it could fire at a devastating rate of 700-900 rounds per minute. The Suomi came with a 20 round, 36 round, and 40 round detachable magazine, but it was the 70 round detachable drum magazine that made history. When the Soviet Union invaded Finland in 1939 Soviet doctrine relied little submachine guns. However the buttkicking issued by Finnish soldiers with the Suomi convinced the Red Army to reconsider. During the Winter War Finnish troops learned quickly how to wrought terrible death and destruction with the Suomi.
One of the deadliest tactics used by the Finns involved the ambush of Soviet armored columns in dense forests. The ambush would begin with snipers picking off officers and lead infantry elements of the column. Before the Soviet troops could react, Finnish troops would attack the flanks. Those armed with Suomi’s and light machine guns would mow down the Soviet infantry while others soldiers would disable or destroy the tanks and vehicles using bombs and grenades.
While the Suomi was one of the best submachine gun designs of WWII, it had the downside of being very expensive to manufacture. After the Winter War the Soviets would take the Suomi design and simplify it, making it easier, faster, and cheaper to produce while using less labor and resources. They also included the large drum magazine as well. The new Soviet submachine gun was called the PPSH 41, which would become one of the most effective and famous submachine guns of the war.
The Finns continued to use the Suomi well into the 1980’s. It was officially retired in 1998. The Suomi was also manufactured in Denmark and Sweden. Altogether around 80,000 were produced.
I can’t wait to get my parts kit put together.
I would like to add that Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Israel, The Third Reich, both Koreas, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, USSR, and West Germany all also made use of the KP 31 SMG.