On the 6th of May 1943, the Australian Army sent out a questionnaire to a large sample of soldiers with combat experience. The questionnaire was focused around small arms design, asking soldiers questions like where they prefer the cocking handles and whether they feel a bayonet is necessary. The results were studied by Major Eric Hall, and using the information extracted from the questionnaire, he and his design team created the "Kokoda" submachine gun. It was based on the Owen gun, but the magazine housing was placed underneath rather than on top of the weapon, as per soldier's requests. Improvements were made to the balancing of the weapon. The weapon was then submitted to British Army trials, and was tested at Pendine from the 8th - 16 September 1947, against the Patchett Machine Carbine, the BSA Machine Carbine, the British MCEM3 and the Sten Mk.V. During the trials, the Kokoda was designated the MCEM-1 (standing for Military Carbine, Experimental Model). It got excessively hot very quickly and the welds holding together the body and trigger housing fractured. The Kokoda stood little chance against the BSA Machine Carbine and the Patchett gun.
Following this disastrous result, the weapon was sent back to Australia for further improvements. The final product was called the MCEM-2, and looked very similar externally but differed in that it had bayonet fittings, a repositioned cocking handle and a flash suppressor on the barrel. It was resubmitted to British trials in May 1951, but performed very poorly in the mud and sand tests and completely failed to eject at one point. The MCEM-2 was rejected and development of the Kokoda ceased.
- The Kokoda was named after the Kokoda Track.