Reising Model 55 Sub-machine Gun.

Accession Number REL23016
Collection type Technology
Object type Firearm
Place made United States of America
Date made c 1942
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Reising Model 55 Sub-machine Gun. Tubular blued steel action and part ribbed barrel. Marked on the top of the receiver MODEL 55 - H&R REISING - CAL .45 HARRINGTON AND RICHARDSON ARMS CO WORCESTER, MASS., U.S.A. PAT PENDING. It has a one piece wooden stock with a folding steel rod butt. The cocking lever is in a slot on the underside of the body and the has a reinforced muzzle. On the right side is a slide safety lever marked SA and FA. The weapon is complete with a 20 round magazine and sling swivels.

History / Summary

This weapon was acquired by a Private Rose, an Australian soldier while on leave in Australia. He was hitch hiking in the back of a US vehicle and he accidentally took a box with him from the truck believing that it contained Hershy chocolate bars. When he opened the box at home he discovered the new firearm. It remained with him until donated to the Memorial by a friend. The Reising Model 50 and 55 were designed just before the outbreak of the second world war. Approximately 100,000 were produced with the bulk of the production going to the US Marine Corps (USMC), where they were issued to parachute troops, mechanized troops and vehicle operators.

They were featured in the hands of USMS Para Marines in critical battle of 'Edson's Ridge' (aka Bloody Ridge) near to Henderson Field on the island of Guadalcanal on 12-14 September 1942.

The Reising was an ingenious design which fired from a closed bolt, however its complicated internal mechanism and close tolerances proved entirely unsuitable for combat use. The Reising Model 55 was an attempt to produce a slightly lighter version of the Reising Model 50 by removing the compensator and the butt and adopting a wire butt and pistol grip. The mechanism of the Model 50 was retained and thus all the mechanical disadvantages with it. The wire stock proved far too weak in combat conditions, and the Model 55 was retired from service.