George Hyde (Gun Designer)

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George J. Hyde Sr. (born Heide; January 4, 1888 – December 1963) was a German-born American machinist, gunsmith and gun designer best known for his submachine guns. He was born in Apfingen, Germany. Already a skilled machinist, he immigrated to the United States in 1927. His family followed the next year. Hyde was married in Germany about 1917, to German-born Margaretta ("Greta") Levy (1895–1985). Their first child was George J. Hyde Jr., born 9 March 1918 in Germany. He died in 1999 in Florida. They also had a daughter, Giselle, born about 1924 in Germany.

Before 1935 George J. Hyde was a machinist and shop foreman at Griffin & Howe. He quit Griffin & Howe and went on to become the co-owner of Leonard & Hyde in New York. He partnered with Samuel A. "Harry" Leonard, an expert shotgun and rifle stock maker, who had trained at James Purdey & Sons of London. Hyde also did contract gunsmithing work for Roberts and Kimball in Woburn, Massachusetts. The latter was an early semi-custom maker of rifles chambered in .257 Roberts.

Although his name is not as well-known as other gun designers of the era, he designed several high-profile fiarearms. He is perhaps most known for designing the M3 Submachine Gun for the U.S. military, which would (mostly) replace the Thompson Submachine Gun. He also designed the FP-45 Liberator, a small, cheaply made single shot .45 ACP pistol meant to be dropped into Axis-occupied territory during WWII. They were "a gun to get a gun", as many have put it.

Hyde's gun designs

Hyde was the chief gun designer for the Inland Division of General Motors during World War II. He also did gun design work for Bendix Aviation Corporation. Among others, he was the designer or co-designer of these guns:

  • Hyde Model 33 - a prototype submachine gun.
  • Hyde Model 35 - a prototype submachine gun. A patent was issued to Hyde for this model on August 4, 1936.
  • M2 Hyde submachine gun. Never actually issued or adopted, and was replaced by Hyde's own M3 SMG.
  • M3 Grease Gun - .45 ACP submachine gun. About 700,000 were produced at a unit cost of around $20 each.
  • FP-45 Liberator pistol - About 1,000,000 were produced at a unit cost of $2.10 each. Was meant as a "gun to get a gun" of sorts, for those under Axis occupation.
  • Bendix Hyde carbine - a prototype he designed for Bendix Aviation Corporation that never went into production.
  • Hyde M1944 - A prototype gun based on the M1/M1A1 Thompson. Full auto, chambered in .30 Carbine, and features a quick-change barrel copied from the German MG 42. As of the creation of this article, it was only recently identified after pictures had been circulating for many years.