D-Day and Battle of Normandy Encyclopedia

MG 42 machine gun – Maschinengewehr 42

MG 42 machine gun (Maschinengewehr 42)

History, technical sheet and photo

Image : MG (Maschinengewehr) 42

MG 42 machine gun history

Created in 1942 (hence its name) by the German firm Johannes Grossfuss AG, this heavy machine-gun must succeed the MG 34. The MG 42 has the fastest firing rate of all the machine guns of the Second World War with 1,800 rounds/min for some versions).

It is requested by the German military authorities to reduce the time and cost of production of the MG 34 machine guns. Thus, the manufacture time of this weapon is divided by two in relation to the manufacturing time of the MG 34, Ie 45 hours.

An improved version of the MG 42, the MG 42V, baptized fire during the Battle of Normandy, from 6 June 1944. Its weight was reduced to 9 kg only.

The MG 42 is considered by the specialists as the best heavy machine gun of the Second World War, and even of all time: German military forces of the Bundeswehr now use the MG 3, a heavy machine-gun inspired by the MG 42, And many armies in the world have adopted it. The American M-60 machine gun was also largely inspired by the mode of operation of the MG 42.

MG 42 machine gun specification

Creator/User: Germany
Denomination: MG 42
Number built: 423,600 (during World War 2)

Fire mode: automatic
Caliber: 7.92×57mm Mauser
Feed system: 50 or 250-round belt
Maximum firing range: 4,700 m
Rate of fire : 1,200 rounds/min (up to 1,800 rounds/min for some versions)

Weigth: 11,57 kg
Total length: 1225 mm
Barrel length: 533 mm

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