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STEN (sten)

1. A light rapid-fire British submachine gun
2. Anna Sten: Ukrainian-born Russian silent film actress and later a Hollywood film star
Common clues: British gun; Tommy's gun; WWII gun; Submachine gun; British weapon; Gun introduced in 1941; Anna of “Nana”; Actress Anna; Old-time actress Anna
Crossword puzzle frequency: 4 times a year
Frequency in English language: 77441 / 86800
Fun with Old Guns

It's men who make women whatever they are. – Anna Sten

The Carbine, Machine, Sten or Sten gun was a British submachine gun from World War II, notable for its simple design and low cost of production, being made from only 47 different parts. It was even cheaper and more spartan than the German MP38/MP40, the previous benchmark in the field of mass-produced infantry weapons. The simplest version of the Sten gun, the Mark III, required only five man-hours to produce. It was distinctive for its bare appearance (just a pipe with a metal loop for a stock), and its horizontally-orientated magazine. The name Sten is an acronym, deriving from the names of the weapon's chief designers, Major Reginald Sheperd and Harold Turpin, with the EN derived from "ENfield", the location of the Royal Small Arms Factory (ROF) at Enfield Lock in London.

The Sten gun was chambered for the 9 x 19 mm Parabellum pistol cartridge, in part so as to make use of captured German ammunition supplies. The Sten was small and could be stripped down into a set of innocuous components, and was therefore particularly suited to partisan operations on the continent. Guerilla fighters in western and Eastern Europe became adept at repairing, modifying and eventually scratch-building clones of the Sten (over 2000 Stens and about 500 of similar Blyskawica SMGs were manufactured in occupied Poland). It was often disparaged by soldiers for its inaccuracy, due to very basic sights, and stoppages due to the design of its magazine. Furthermore, it was prone to accidental discharge if dropped or knocked. The design was continually improved throughout the war, and the Mark V version, introduced in 1944, remained an issue weapon in the UK until well into the 1960s. It was replaced with the more conventional Sterling SMG which had also been introduced in small numbers in 1944 (under the name of its inventor, Patchett) and which started to be phased into service in quantity in 1953.

The Sten was a panic measure, designed at a time when Britain was facing imminent danger of being invaded by the Nazis. Prior to 1941 the British army had purchased Thompson submachine guns from America, but these were expensive and supplies were vulnerable to U-Boat attack. In order to rapidly equip a sufficient fighting force to counter the German threat, the Royal Ordnance Factory Enfield was commissioned to produce a radically cheaper alternative.


Anna Sten (December 3, 1908 – November 12, 1993) was a Ukrainian-born Russian silent film actress and later a Hollywood film star.

She began her career in stage plays and films in Russia, before traveling to Germany, where she starred in several films. Her success in German films was noticed by the producer Samuel Goldwyn, who brought her to the United States with the aim of creating a new screen personality to rival the popularity of Greta Garbo. After a few unsuccessful films, Goldwyn released her from her contract.

She continued to act occasionally until her final film appearance in 1962.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Sten" and “Anna Sten”.