[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department Technical Manual, TM-E 30-451: Handbook on German Military Forces published in March 1945. — Figures and illustrations are not reproduced, see source details. — As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. — Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]
CHAPTER VII. WEAPONS
Section II. SMALL ARMS
6. Machine Guns
a. MODEL 34 MACHINE GUN (M.G. 34). (1) General description. This
weapon (Figs. 12 and 13) was the original standard German
dual-purpose machine gun and is still used, although it has been replaced
largely by the M.G. 42. (M.G. is the German abbreviation
for Maschinengewehr, which means "machine gun".) It may be used on a
bipod, on single or dual AA mounts, or mounted on a tripod as a heavy machine
gun. It still is used as the subsidiary armament of all German tanks. It is
operated by short recoil, assisted by muzzle blast, and has a standard
Solothurn-type breech mechanism. The gun has a leaf rear sight graduated
from 200 to 2,000 meters (219 to 2,190 yards), an AA ring sight, and an
optical sight for use with the tripod mount. It is fed either
(3) Ammunition. The M.G. 34 fires
b. MODEL 42 MACHINE GUN (M.G. 42). (1) General description. This is the latest type of German machine gun known and in most cases has replaced the M.G. 34 as a standard dual-purpose weapon (Fig. 14). Like the M.G. 34, it may be used on a fixed bipod, a tripod mount, or an antiaircraft mount. The square barrel casing makes this machine gun unsuitable as a tank weapon. The main features of the weapon are the extensive use of pressings in its construction, a greatly increased rate of fire, and a quick barrel change feature necessitated by the high rate of fire which causes the gun to heat rapidly. The weapon is fundamentally similar to the M.G. 34 and has the same short recoil action. It has no provision for single-shot fire, however.
(3) Ammunition. This machine gun fires the standard
c. MODEL 15 MACHINE GUN (M.G. 15). (1) General description. Although primarily intended as an aircraft machine gun, the M.G. 15 has been adopted as a ground weapon (Fig. 15), using an adapter, which clips around the barrel for attaching the standard bipod, and a butt extension. It is a light weapon and has short recoil action, firing automatic only.
(3) Ammunition. The standard
d. MODEL 151/20 MACHINE GUN (M.G. 151/20). (1) General
description. Although primarily an aircraft machine gun (Fig. 16), it
also has been found on an improvised ground mount as an antitank weapon and
triple-mounted on a half-tracked vehicle. When used on the ground, the gun is
hand cocked and mechanically fired, instead of utilizing the electrical cocking
and firing mechanism provided for its use in aircraft. The gun is entirely
(3) Ammunition. This gun fires HE, AP, and APHE ammunition.
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