Recently captured specimens reveal that the Germans are using a new machine gun
that is superior to their standard M.G. 34 in several respects. The differences
from the M.G. 34 are:
(1) The M.G. 42 is designed for faster and cheaper production by an
extensive use of stamping and welding in the receiver, barrel casing, feed
mechanism, operating handle, and antiaircraft rear sight.
(2) It has an excellent barrel-change arrangement which is much
faster than that of the M.G. 34. A simple movement allows a hot barrel to be
removed from the gun and a fresh, cool barrel inserted with a reverse movement.
(3) It has an improved method of locking the barrel to the bolt as a round is fired.
(4) There is no provision for semi-automatic fire as in the M.G. 34 with its double
trigger (one for full automatic and one for semi-automatic fire).
(5) Cyclic rate of fire has been stepped up to 1,050 rpm in the M.G. 42 as
compared to the 900 rpm of the M.G. 34.
The above changes eliminate many of the intricate machine-tool operations
needed for the bolt and other parts of the M.G. 34.
The M.G. 42 uses the same ammunition, ammunition belt, and drum or
belt box as the M.G. 34. It is generally handled and stripped in the same
manner. There is some difference in the method of attaching the bipod and
the antiaircraft ring sight. Also, the slots for attaching the gun to a tripod
incorporated into the receiver of the M.G. 34 are not present on the receiver
of the M.G. 42; it is therefore probable that the M.G. 42 is designed to use a
different tripod than does the M.G. 34.