Category: machine guns

DWM MG 08 machine gun, World War I.

DWM MG 08 machine gun, World War I.

from Rock Island Auction Co.

German MG-34 machine gun, World War II.

German MG-34 machine gun, World War II.

from Rock Island Auction Co.

The Soviet 4M GAZ-AAA  In the late 1920’s the…

The Soviet 4M GAZ-AAA 

In the late 1920’s the Soviet Union adopted the GAZ-AAA truck, a six wheeled, 50 horsepower vehicle which was an improved copy of the Ford AAA. The truck served a variety of roles including supply transport, troop transport, gun carrier, and fuel tanker. One of it’s more unique roles was that of mobile anti-aircraft platform. In 1931 the 4M GAZ-AAA was created after being mounted with four Maxim Model 1910/30 machine guns on a 360 degree traversable mount. The M1910/30 was chambered in 7.62x54R and had a firing rate of 600 rounds per minute while being fed from a 250 round belt.

When the 4M GAZ AAA was introduced in 1931 it was certainly sufficient for it’s anti-aircraft role. It’s four machine guns produced more than enough firepower to flick any airplane out of the sky, this being at a time when most military aircraft were comparatively slow and unarmored biplanes. However with World War II came a wide variety of fast and heavily armored aircraft. The 7.62x54R cartridge lacked the range to hit enemy aircraft and the penetrating power to do much damage. It did see use in 1941, often being utilized against enemy infantry. However without any armor it was very vulnerable in combat. The GAZ would later be outfitted with 25mm and 37mm autocannon making it more effective in it’s anti-aircraft role

The Besa Machine Gun In the late 1930’s…

The Besa Machine Gun

In the late 1930’s the British Army found that it needed a new machine gun for it’s armored vehicles, especially it’s tanks. Before the Brits had made due with the trusty Vickers machine gun, however the large and heavy water cooled machine gun was difficult to use within the tight confines of a tank or armored vehicle, escpecially mounted as a coaxial machine gun.
In 1938 British Small Arms obtained a license to manufacture a copy of the Czech ZB-53 heavy machine gun. The new machine gun, called the Besa, was fed from a 225 round disintegrating belt and had a rate of fire around 750-850 rounds per minute. Because the Besa was a Czech design, it was chambered for the 7.92x57mm Mauser cartridge. BSA began production in early 1939 in it’s original chambering. While there was talk ofretiring the .303 British cartridge because it was a rimmed cartridge, there were intentions to convert the Besa to use .303 British. However on September 1st, 1939 the Germany invaded Poland and war were declared.
The British Ministry of Supply determined that it would be easier and more economical to continue production in 7.92 and just manufacture their own ammunition rather than attempt to convert the Besa to .303. Doing so would take time in both redesigning the Besa and retooling machinery used in manufacturing it. With increasing demand for tanks the British couldn’t simply halt tank production until the conversion was made, thus it was decided to continue production in 7.92. The Besa also had an advantage in that it could use captured enemy ammunition, as 7.92×57 was the standard caliber of most German small arms.
The Besa would become the most commonly used machine gun for British tanks such as the Matilda, Valentine, Crusader, Cromwell, and Churchill. Models with tripod mountings were also produced for mounting on light vehicles and infantry use. The Besa came in six models. The Mark I was the original model. The Mark II featured a selector switch were the rate of fire could be reduced to 450-550 rounds per minute. The Mark II* was a simplified version of the Mark II and shared parts compatibility. The Mark III did away with the fire rate selector and did not share parts compatibility with earlier models. The Mark III* was similar to the Mark III but had a slower fixed rate of fire of 450-550 rpm. Finally a model was produced chambered for a very powerful 15mm cartridge. Besa production was discontinued shortly after the Korean War, and was retired from service in The early 1960’s.

Japanese Type 96 light machine gun, World War …

Japanese Type 96 light machine gun, World War II.

from Rock Island Auction Co.

Japanese Type 92 heavy machine guns, World War…

Japanese Type 92 heavy machine guns, World War II.

from Rock Island Auction Co.

Norton motorcycle with Thompson submachine gun…

Norton motorcycle with Thompson submachine gun and Bren light machine gun, circa World War II.

An original British Lewis aircraft gun modifie…

An original British Lewis aircraft gun modified for infantry use by the Home Guard during World War II.

from International Military Antiques

Experimental prototype of a Maxim machine gun,…

Experimental prototype of a Maxim machine gun, 1884.

from The Royal Armouries Collection

American vs. German Automatic Weapons (1943)

American vs. German Automatic Weapons (1943)

A US Army training film from World War II