Smith’s creation faced multiple rejections initially, but despite the challenges, the weapon made it to the top Army demonstrations. Interesestingly, it was none other than U.K. Prime Minister Winston Churchill who saw potential in the Smith Gun. An avid gun collector, Churchill saw that the Smith Gun was approved for production in 1941.
Owing to production snags and related challenges, it was only in 1942 that the first batch of roughly 4,000 Smith Guns made their way into the hands of the defense corps. Some accounts suggest that just over 10,500 units were assembled in the entire run. The entire Smith Gun assembly was flanked at the top and bottom by two thick disc-wheels of 48-inch in diameter. On the upside, it was capable of firing two kinds of shells.
It could be loaded with 8-pound HE anti-personnel shells as well as anti-tank rounds weighing six pounds. It relied on a percussion firing mechanism, which opened the doors for safety concerns. For example, faulty fuse caps gave it a bad reputation citing risks for the personnel tasked with deployment and artillery discharge. The Smith Gun carried a total of 10 shells at once, while a batch of 40 additional rounds could be carried with it in a trailer. It was designated for the Home Defense units.