Couple this demand with wartime attrition and German factories simply failed to keep up with the need which led to a more streamlined solution. Beyond its effectiveness in the field, the MG42 is widely remembered for its distinct muzzle sound when fired, Allied troops quickly recognizing this quality and able to identify the gun because of it. Mauserwerke engineers began redeveloping the MG34 as early as By now, the Germans were at total war with neighbors and in far-off places like North Africa so all of her warring services land, sea, and air required the MG34 but even five full factories committed to its production could not eliminate the shortages of the excellent machine gun.
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The MG13 was one of the first developments toward a goal of producing a weapon that could perform multiple roles, rather than just one. The MG13 was the result of reengineering the Dreyse Water-cooled machine gun to fit the new requirement.
By changing its mount, sights and feed mechanism, the operator could radically transform an Einheitsmaschinengewehr for several purposes. The MG 34 is considered to be the first modern general-purpose machine gun or Einheitsmaschinengewehr. It was developed to use the standard German 7. Equipped with a quick-change barrel and fed either with non-disintegrating metallic-link belts , or from a round Gurttrommel belt drum or a round spring-loaded saddle-drum Patronentrommel 34 magazines with a simple change of the feed cover for a Trommelhalter magazine holder , the MG 34 could sustain fire for much longer periods of time than other portable squad-level weapons such as the American B.
The MG 34 was also quite versatile; not only was it able to be fed from belted ammunition or a saddle drum magazine, it could also be fired from a bipod, an innovative Lafette 34 tripod or various pintle mounts for armored vehicles. Switching between a bipod and a tripod required no special tools, as the mounting latch was spring-loaded.
As the MG 34 Panzerlauf, it was used throughout the war as secondary armament on panzers and other vehicles.
One attempt at improvement was the MG 34S, an incremental improvement on the basic 34 design. The improvements consisted of a shortened and lightened barrel, a stiffer recoil spring and a more potent recoil booster to increase the rate of fire.
The MG 34S could cope with a cyclic fire rate of 1, rounds per minute but its components became highly stressed. However, the MG 34 did have its drawbacks, such as sensitivity to dirt and mud, and comparatively complex and expensive production. He is carrying an MG 42 configured as a light support weapon with a folding bipod and detachable round belt drum container. In order to address these issues, a contest was held for a true MG 34 replacement.
He then recycled an existing Mauser -developed operating system and incorporated features from his experiences with army machine gunners and lessons learned during the early stages of the war. The resulting MG 39 remained similar to the earlier MG 34 overall, a deliberate decision made to maintain familiarity. Although made of relatively inexpensive and simple parts, the prototypes also proved to be considerably more rugged and resistant to jamming than the precisely machined and somewhat temperamental MG Production during the war amounted to over , units 17, units in , , in , , in , and 61, in The advantage of the general purpose machine gun concept was that it added greatly to the overall volume of fire that could be put out by a squad-sized unit.
It was possible for operating crews to lay down a non-stop barrage of fire, pausing only when the barrel had to be replaced. This allowed the MG 42 to tie up significantly larger numbers of enemy troops. The Americans and the British trained their troops to take cover from the fire of an MG 42, and assault the position during the small time window of barrel replacement, which took around 4 to 7 seconds estimated.
The German military kept issuing Karabiner 98k bolt-action rifles and did experiment with semi-automatic rifles throughout World War II. But the Karabiner 98k was made in far greater numbers - over 14,, - and due to the relatively limited production of the semi-automatic and assault rifles, the bolt-action Karabiner remained the primary service weapon until the last days of World War II, and was manufactured until the surrender in May The Allied nations squad tactical doctrines of World War II centered on the rifleman, with the machine gun serving a support role, and they utilised weapons with cyclic fire rates of typically — rounds per minute.
The American military had standardized a semi-automatic rifle in the M1 Garand that could be effectively fired more rapidly than the preceding bolt-action rifles. The Allied nations had machine guns with similar rates of fire, but mounted them almost exclusively in aircraft, where the fleeting opportunities for firing made such high rates necessary.
The only similar Allied weapon was the Vickers K aircraft gun , and that was used by ground forces only in specialized circumstances. As personal small arms the squad leader was issued a rifle or as of around a submachine gun , the machine gunner and his assistant were issued pistols and the deputy squad leader, ammunition carrier and the riflemen were issued rifles. The riflemen carried additional ammunition, hand grenades , explosive charges or a machine gun tripod as required and provided security and covering fire for the machine gun team.
Wehrmacht reenactors with a MG 42 mounted on a motorcycle sidecar One of the Einheitsmaschinengewehr Universal machine gun roles was to provide low-level anti-aircraft coverage. A high cyclic rate of fire is advantageous for use against targets that are exposed to a general-purpose machine gun for a limited time span, like aircraft or targets that minimize their exposure time by quickly moving from cover to cover.
For targets that can be fired on by a general-purpose machine gun for longer periods than just a few seconds, the cyclic firing rate becomes less important.
For this reason, it was not uncommon for all soldiers operating near an MG 42 to carry extra ammunition, thus providing the MG 42 with a backup source when its main supply was exhausted.
Another disadvantage of the MG 42 was that the high cyclic rate of fire led to the barrel overheating quickly during rapid fire. After around rounds of rapid fire, the gun operator would open a side hatch leading to the barrel and replace the hot barrel with a new cool er one. Non-observance of this technical limitation renders the barrel prematurely unusable. The German military instructed that sustained fire must be avoided at all costs. They ruled that the results of sustained fire were disappointing and that the expenditure of ammunition involved was "intolerable.
In the tripod-mounted medium machine gun role, MG 42 users were trained to fire short bursts and bursts of 20 to 50 rounds and strive to optimize their aim between bursts fired in succession.
It weighed The bipod, the same one used on the MG 34, could be mounted to the front or the center of the gun depending on how and where it was being used. The shoulder stock is designed to permit gripping with the left hand to hold it secure against the shoulder.
The MG 42 incorporated lessons hard-won on the Eastern Front. Both the cocking handle and the catch for the top cover to the working parts were designed so that the gunner could operate them wearing arctic mittens or with a stick or rod. This was vital for winter conditions where contact by bare flesh on cold metal could cause severe injury, such as instant frostbite. The MG 42 is capable only of fully automatic fire. The usual training objective is to be able to fire a burst of no more than three rounds.
The weapon features a recoil booster at the muzzle to increase rearwards force due to recoil, therefore improving functional reliability and rate of fire. The MG 42 belt-feed mechanism was copied and used in the design of the M60 machine gun.
Maschinengewehr Modell 42 (MG42)
The MG13 was one of the first developments toward a goal of producing a weapon that could perform multiple roles, rather than just one. The MG13 was the result of reengineering the Dreyse Water-cooled machine gun to fit the new requirement. By changing its mount, sights and feed mechanism, the operator could radically transform an Einheitsmaschinengewehr for several purposes. The MG 34 is considered to be the first modern general-purpose machine gun or Einheitsmaschinengewehr. It was developed to use the standard German 7.
Russian MG34 & MG42 manuals