The Belgian Chauchat
Throughout the First World War the Belgian Army maintained a toe hold in its largely occupied country. The Belgian Army was equipped with a mixture of its pre-war weapons and donated small arms and equipment from her British and French allies. The Belgian Army used both the Lewis light machine gun and the French Chauchat automatic rifle.
Belgium received its first Fusil Mitrailleur CSRG Mle 1915s in the spring of 1916. By April 1917, the Belgian Army had recieved 1,413 Chauchats and requested more. These first Chauchats were chambered in the French Army’s 8mm Lebel round rather than the Belgian
French Fusil Mitrailleur Modele 1915 ‘CSRG’ (source)
The Spring of 1917 saw successful testing of a CSRG 1915 rechambered to fire the
round. Belgian technicians had worked with the engineers at the Gladiator factory that produced Chauchats on a curved box magazine to replace the crescent shaped french magazine. The Belgian magazine had the benefit of being fully enclosed with no cutouts to allow in dirt or mud.
Almost the entire Belgian Chauchat inventory was retrofitted and rechambered with 3,250 in service by the end of the war. The straight box magazine and rimless
cartridge aided in improving the Chauchat’s overall performance. In 1927 Belgian engineers further perfected the Chauchat with the addition of sliding dust covers, an improved bipod and an easier disassembly process. The Belgian Army retained its Chauchat CSRG Mle 1915s and Mle 1915/27s until the FN-made Browning Automatic Rifle was adopted in the mid-1930s.
Honour Bound – The Chauchat Machine Rifle, G. Demaison & Y. Buffetaut, (1995)