By Lars Dalseide | December 7 2011 18:45

Colt Model 1921 Thompson sub-machinegun On the morning of December 7th, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy launched a surprise attack upon the American Naval Base known as Pearl Harbor. With more than 350 fighters, bombers and torpedo planes taking part in the offensive, the Japanese damaged, sank or destroyed eight U.S. battleships, three cruisers, three destroyers, a training ship, a minelayer and 188 aircrafts. 2,402 American lives were lost along with 1,282 wounded.

America was in a panic.

Fearing that Pearl Harbor was merely the first stage in a coordinated attack, forces on the mainland began to assemble up and down the West Coast. A major problem was a lack of arms. That's where the firearms that now reside in the NFM's Hollywood Guns collection came into play.

To the right is a Colt Model 1921 Thompson submachine gun. It was one of several firearms loaned to California military bases by the movie industry. Prop houses, film houses, private collections, where ever they could found. This specific Thompson was the property of Stembridge Gun Rentals. It ended up at Fort MacArthur in San Pedro soon after Pearl Harbor.

Not every gun loaned out by the movie industry was operational, but they served their purpose. Much like the practice of painting broomsticks black and hanging them out the side of a B-1 Bomber, sometimes the appearance of force is just as important as the ability to wield it.

Approximately three and three-quarter years later, on September 2, 1945, World War II officially came to an end. It is days like today, Pearl Harbor Day, that we should do our best to remember those who sacrificed so much to protect the life and liberty of the United State. To all who served, and those who serve ... we thank you.

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