This weapon is a tank-pattern machine gun, and is fitted as standard in the following
Italian tanks: the 6 1/2-ton Light (1940), the 11-ton Medium (1939), and
the 13-ton Medium (1940).
The Italians have also adapted it for use as an infantry machine gun. For this purpose the gun is
mounted on a machine-gun tripod (as shown in an accompanying sketch) by means of an adapter, and
is fitted with a temporary rear sight on the right of the body and a temporary front sight on
the right of the barrel at the muzzle. These temporary open sights take the place of the optical
sight used when the gun is tank-mounted.
The gun is also sometimes fitted with a "cartwheel"-type AA sight and arranged either alone or with
another "twin" gun on an AA mounting.
The gun is air-cooled, gas-operated, and magazine-fed, and has a quick-change barrel. Its
operational features are simple, and it is extremely easy to field-strip or disassemble
completely. The barrel is sufficiently heavy (9 7/8 pounds) to enable it to fire a large
number of rounds in quick succession without overheating.
The following are some of the characteristics of this weapon:
|Weight of gun|| ||33 7/8 lbs|
|Weight of barrel|| 9 7/8 lbs|
|Length of gun (over all)||35 1/2 in|
|Length of barrel||23 in|
|Feeding device||24-round vertical box magazine|
|Maximum (cyclic) rate of fire**||600 rpm|
|System of operation||Gas piston|
|Rifling - uniform, RH twist||Concentric|
|No. of grooves||4|
With ball ammunition, the maximum accuracy range is 800 to 1,000 yards, and the muzzle
velocity is estimated to be about 2,600 feet per second. In addition to ball, the following
types of ammunition are known to exist:
|Armor-piercing|| ||Green tipped|
|Armor-piercing tracer||Red tipped|
|Tracer||Red or green tipped|
It is believed that this ammunition can be used only in automatic weapons. Of the various
standard Italian automatic weapons, in addition to this Breda 38, two
other 8-mm medium machine guns, the model 35 Fiat (Revelli) and
the model 37 Breda***, are known to use this 8-mm ammunition. The
ammunition cannot be used in the standard Italian infantry rifle, carbine, and light
machine guns, the caliber of which is 6.5 mm, nor can it be used in the
Italian 7.35-mm Breda 38 light machine gun**** or the
German 7.92-mm weapons. For a comparison of the external appearance of
the 8-mm and 6.5-mm ammunition, see accompanying sketch.
* Extracted from a recent Aberdeen Proving Ground report.
** This information has not been checked by U.S. test.
*** See Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 23, p. 25 for a description of this gun.
**** This weapon has not been encountered in combat.