The German MG42 was an unwavering weapon of death during WWII

There is a reason why the enemies of Germany called the MG42 “Hitler’s Buzzsaw”. It could fire 1,200 rounds per minute, twice the rate of the Browning M1919 machine gun, and it did so with a unique sound that let the enemies of Nazi Germany know exactly what they were facing – and that was enough. to make you think twice about an assault.

When Germany began to rearm after World War I, it began to apply many lessons learned from the Great War to future battles that it knew were likely to occur. One of the upgrades he needed to make wasn’t fixing a problem, he was perfecting an already excellent weapon of war.

The German MG13 was an air-cooled version of the German Army’s Dreyse machine gun that had been so successful in the trenches between 1914 and 1918. But the MG13 was a more versatile machine gun, as it could switch between semi-automatic and automatic just buy by pulling another part of the double crescent trigger.

Machine gun team in Yugoslavia. (Wikimedia Commons)

Germany wanted an MG13-based machine gun that could easily be turned into a heavy weapon for any purpose. The MG34 was based on the MG13, but was designed to be adaptable for use in the battlefield, against troops, vehicles, airplanes, or anything else that could require a lot of lead.

As a result, the MG34 became the first machine gun designed for general combat use. It could be used against masses of infantry or to retaliate against planes, but also had the ability to be used as a high powered sniper rifle. The version deployed by the Germans during WWII was even more versatile than its descendants.

The MG34s that the American and British GIs encountered in combat feature a quick-change barrel and either metal-link ammunition belts or 50-round barrels. This gave the MG34 the ability to fire sustained streams of bullets longer than its allied counterparts while being lighter and easier to transport.

The German MG42 was an unwavering weapon of death during WWII
A German Waffen SS soldier involved in heavy fighting in and around the French city of Caen in mid-1944. He carries an MG 42 configured as a light support weapon with a collapsible bipod and 50 detachable cartridges Gurttrommel belt drum container. (Wikimedia Commons)

It could also be mounted almost anywhere, from bipods and tripods carried by machine gun crews to mounts on panzer tanks and other vehicles in the German Nazi arsenal. There is a reason the MG34 was also an icon of the German Army and Axis forces during WWII in Europe.

However, even such a cleverly designed machine gun had its drawbacks. The versatility it enjoyed also made it a very complex weapon and its action was difficult to clean. This was particularly difficult for the German soldiers as the weapon became sensitive to common ground conditions, especially those on the Eastern Front, where the fighting was cold, dirty and particularly brutal.

The MG34s were extremely sensitive to extreme weather conditions and were rendered almost useless by dirt and mud, both of which played a significant role in the fighting of WWII. The German military was able to resolve the interference issues caused by some of the original designs. As the fighting began in earnest in 1941, the German Army was putting into service versions of the MG34 that used simplified action, simplified replaceable parts, and used the weapon’s recoil as part of the roller locking system. This simplified version was cheaper and more efficient and was the weapon that American troops fought against as they arrived in Europe and North Africa.


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