Machine gun

US Marines mit M240G bei einem Manöver
US marine with M240G with a maneuver
feuerndes 12,7 mm MG an Bord eines Schiffes
firing 12.7 mm mg on board a ship
Maxim machine gun approx. 1910

a machine gun, briefly mg, are a fully automatic einläufige fast feuerwaffe, the projectiles in series fired and itself after the firing delivery either throughthe own gas pressure, by recoil or with the help of an engine (z. B. Electric motor) even again loads. MGs fire rifle ammunition contrary to submachine guns. Starting from which caliber an automatic weapon is called automatic cannon (or machine cannon), is different from country to country. InGermany is the border about 20 mm. Automatic weapons below 20 mm are machine guns.

Special meaning has thereby the supply of the suitable ammunition, in order to make a high rate of fire possible. The use of machine guns has the advantage of the increased hit ability in relation to a skirmish line, independently ofpersonal errors that contactors is.

Table of contents

model types

machine guns are divided into light, middle and heavy models. The easy mg is often a variant of usual storm rifles resembles caliber, alsoheavier - often easily exchangeable - run and bipod are equipped. The middle mg - also general-purpose mg - be based on a storm rifle, but usually does not represent its own development. In these weapons become if necessary. longer cartridges with larger caliber than in storm riflesused. A further outstanding feature for middle MGs is the ammunition supply by belts, in order to be able to lead an effective sustained fire. General-purpose MGs can be used both on a bipod and on a carriage. Heavy MGs is used predominantly on carriages and can shoot sustained fires. To the armamentof z. B.Airplanes, helicopters or tanks middle and heavy MGs is used.


in fighting machine guns are used mainly to give supporting fires and to suppress the actions of the opponent. (Fire protection - defensive fires).


smelling pool of broadcasting corporations Gatlingbecame with its Gatling Gun admits, the first really functioning machine gun. In the year 1861 it patented the draft for a sechsläufige weapon, which was able to fire for conditions at that time unbelievable 200 shot per minute and in improved form in the American civil war toolimited employment came.

1885 presented Hiram Maxim the first machine gun (the automatic in such a way specified Mitrailleuse), with which the recoil of a shot were used to stretch in order to eject the empty Patronenhülse, the feather/spring and to load a new cartridge into the chamber (recoil operated weapons). Into thatBritish colonial wars in Africa the Maxim mg worked satisfactorily, so that all military powers introduced the mg around the turn of the century. Other technical designers, John Moses Browning with its Colt model 1895, Benjamin Hotchkiss on the basis of the invention of the Austrian baron A. Odkolek, Col. Isaac Lewis and other onedeveloped machine guns as gas pressure loaders. Here over a drilling in the run a part of the gas pressure is branched off with the shot, around the o. g. To operate functions. A third variant were the weapons with retarded mass catch of black lot, which however at the beginning did not work, there thoseBolting device was not rigid and the runs to the reduction of the residual stress to be short had, since otherwise function problems arose.

In the First World War Germany set up machine gun departments with the originally water-cooled mg 08 , which was shot starting from carriage. Already after short time it became however by that Mg 08/15 supplements, which had a wooden Gewehrkolben and a bipod support. The function was directly as with the mg 08, it was however more easily built and for the mobile employment meant. It fired like the mg 08 the gegurtete rifle cartridge caliber of 7,92 mm.

The machine gun thatFrench army was an air-cooled gas pressure loader system 1914 Hotchkiss in the caliber of 8 mm of Lebel. The cartridge supply took place via cartridge clips. The light machine gun Chauchat Mod. 1915 fired the same cartridge from a bananenförmigen magazine. It was a recoil operated weapon and had a cadence of somewhat less than400 Schuss / min.

The English heavy machine gun Vickers corresponded to the Maxim in the function, contrary to this breaks the knee joint catch however upward, which permits a slimmer building method. As light machine gun the British used the air-cooled gas pressure loader Lewis. This had aboveput on magazine with 47 in a circle arranged cartridges.

The American machine guns of Browning were used in the First World War only sporadically, US troops were by the majority equipped with French and British MG's in US the caliber of,30 M1.

The Americans copied the cartridge captured with end of wara tank can of the company Mauser, they designed,50 or 12.7 mm, which is today more or less further developed further world-wide until used on inch rule over and created for it the overheavy mg M2 (see articles M2HB), in the caliber.

This Browning mg corresponds in the function modethe smaller water-cooled mg Mod. 1917 in the caliber of,30 and its air-cooled variant 1919. All these weapons are recoil operated weapons with belt supply. The American light machine gun Browning AUTOMATIC splines BAR Mod 1918 is a gas pressure loader with 20 a shot box magazine.

All American Browningwaffen still was inKorea war in the employment.

The brought partitioning into light and heavy machine guns became void at the German armed forces with the introduction of the mg 34. This serves as universal mg, which was used alternatively with bipod or on the tripod carriage. Although very efficient, the mg was 34because of its many trick and milled pieces very manufacturing-complex and contamination as well as coolingsensitively. These disadvantages were repaired by a radical reconstruction: The mg 42, until today unequalled in simplicity, robustness, insurance of operation under all conditions and small manufacturing expenditure. The technology of coining/shaping and punching became firstof weapon parts used in large extent. In addition the roll-supported catch, which made a rate of fire of 1.500 round(s)/min possible, came in practice on 1.200 lowered, in order to hold the barrel wear within limits. This weapon was designed in a factory, which manufactured office lamps.

The standard machine gun of the Germans German Federal Armed Forces are nowadays the MG3, a direct advancement of the MG42 of the armed forces (with approx. 1,200 round(s)/min one the highest performance MGs). This is air-cooled and like the MG42 mainly in sheet metal embossing technology is manufactured.

Ebenfalls zu den Maschinengewehren zählen die Miniguns.

The introduction of the machine gunled to the industrialization of death in the war; the idealizing representation of the fight “man against man” was survived. The bloody “position engagements” in the First World War was to be due to the reciprocal mg employment. In the First World War a whole generation in the machine gun fire bled, because generals instructed still assaults (Langemarck), which broke down in the ball hail. Strategy and tactics of the war guidance changed fundamentally.

See also: M60 machine gun

airplane on-board weapons

in the First World War were used for the first time machine guns as airplane on-board weapons. On German side thereby modified mg 08 came and/or. late mg 08/15 to the employment.The modifications existed in the fact that one perforated the water jacket, since the cooling was sufficient by the wind. The allied ones designated these mg as Spandau mg, this designation is however wrong often. Spandau stood on most for this mg, however only, there one the largestManufacturer, that produced Prussian Gewehrmanufaktur, it in Spandau. With fighters two of this mg were usually arranged rigidly above the engine. Particularly in mobile installation also the Parabellum mg was used.

At the beginning of the Second World War all powers used small-caliber MGs (7.5 - 7,92mm) in their airplanes. Because of to small striking power and range these were replaced soon by overheavy MGs (12.7 - 13.2 mm) or automatic cannons of larger caliber.


  • F. W. A. Kind of main header: The machine gun - the history of a fully automatic weapon, engine book publishing house, ISBN 3-87943-277-5
  • Daniel B. Musgrave: German machine guns, engine book publishing house, ISBN 3-61301-653-2
  • Eugen A. Lisewski: German machine guns in the employment mg 01 to mg 42, Podzun Pallas publishing house, ISBN 3-79090-681-6

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