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WWII German Machine Guns
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Authentic German machine-guns used in the series Combat! are the MG-34 and MG-42.

MG34 Machine Gun

The German army's Machine Gun 34 (MG 34) was the first general-purpose machine-gun. It could be used by infantry as a light machine-gun in an mobile attack or as a medium machine-gun in defensive, sustained fire. It was a high-quality weapon, expensive to manufacture and required three-man crews when used by infantry in an assault.

When used by mobile units, the MG 34 was mounted on a bipod. For defensive position, the MG-34 could be mounted on the MG-Lafatte (a tripod with a periscope sight). This mount took the recoil of the gun, allowing the shooter to sweep a large area with sustained fire. Other moutings allowed the gun to be used for anti-aircraft use.

Specifications: The MG34 is air cooled and fitted with a quick-change barrel (crews switched out barrels when the gun overheated, they often carried several spare barrels).
Weight with bipod was 12 kg loaded or 31 kg on the tripod.
Length 1219 mm, with barrel length 627 mm
Muzzle velocity 755 meters a second
Maximum combat range 2000 meters
Fires 800 to 900 rounds per minute. 

MG42 Machine Gun

The MG-42 was designed to make the gun more economical and easier to mass produce than the MG34. It used plastic in the butt and pistol grip and stamped and die cast metal components instead of expensive machined steel. In place of riveted or screwed joints, it was spot welded. It was lighter, more compact, and more reliable.

The re-design allowed the MG-42 to be used in most climates. The previous German machine guns could not be operated by crews wearing mitts (which proved fatal in winter battles, especially in Russia). The MG42 was also more resistant to jams caused by dust and dirt (excellent for use in the African campaigns). Because of re-design, the barrel could be changed out much more quickly — an experienced machine gunner could change a barrel in the field in under 30 seconds.

When mounted on the bipod, the MG-42 was less accurate than the MG-34, but it's crushing power was a terrible force against Allied troops in Normandy. Because of its rapid fire rate, infantry troops provisioned with the machine guns were burdened with large quantities of heavy ammunition to feed the machine guns, which tended to make them less mobile, but more deadly.

Specifications: The MG42 is air cooled and fitted with a quick-change barrel.
Muzzle velocity 755 meters a second
Fires 1,550 per minute. 

Back Up Next logo Germany's Guns 1939-1945

According to historian Terry Gander in his book Germanys Guns 1939-45:

The propaganda view of the German Army as being the first modern army fully equipped for war in 1939 is far from historically accurate. The Treaty of Versailles left Germany weak and unable to produce more than token weapons. Germany entered WWII using a variety of obsolete and captured weapons.

Those obsolete guns and the more advanced guns that followed, are described in detail and fully illustrated in the book's over 200 illustrations. Includes all types of field and heavy artillery, coastal guns and anti-aircraft guns. Reviewer Frank Gould writes about this book:

It is often said it is the artillery that wins a campaign or battle. There is no doubt about the effectiveness of the Flak guns during the bombing campaign of Germany. There have been perhaps, many books reviewing the guns of the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe over the years but Terry guides the reader through the different types of guns interspersed with stories about a couple major strategies and tactical encounters during the Second World War. Terry takes the reader into specific stories such as the Battle of France and Barbarossa and the siege of Sevastapol for a different way to present the story of 'Germany's Guns'.

I can only repeat what Crowood have written on the inside front flap: "With almost two hundred photographs... this book will appeal to enthusiasts and historians alike".

Hardcover., 7-1/4 x 9-1/2 inches, 208 pgs.
List price $34.95 Check Amazon Price

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File last updated August 15, 2011

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