[Lone Sentry: The New German Machine Gun - M.G. 42, WWII Tactical and Technical Trends]
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"The New German Machine Gun—M.G. 42" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following U.S. military intelligence report on the German M.G. 42 machine gun was originally printed in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 20, March 11, 1943.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. 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.]


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.

[MG42 Machine Gun]

(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.


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