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RIA: M1944E1/M1945 Johnson Light Machine Gun

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After getting his Model 1941 machine gun purchased in small numbers by the US military, Melvin Johnson continued to press for more sales and a general adoption. Following testing results and recommendations from soldiers in the field, he made a number of modifications to the gun and developed the M1944, which was quickly tweaked […]

M1915 Villar Perosa Video

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The Villar Perosa is one of the first small machine guns developed and used by a military force. It was designed in Italy and introduced in 1915 as an aircraft weapon, to be used in a flexible mount by an airplane’s observer. The gun consists of two independent firing actions mounted together. Each fires […]

W.A.R. – the Winchester Automatic Rifle

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With the failure of the G30M and G30R to lead to any military orders (American or otherwise), the Winchester company took the advice of the Ordnance Department to scale the design up to an automatic rifle. The BAR had a number of known shortcomings in WWII, and the military was interested in replacing it. […]

Semiauto RPD Light Machine Gun (Video)

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The RPD was the first belt-fed light machine gun (or squad automatic weapon) developed by the Soviet Union. It was designed in 1944 for the then-new M43 cartridge (7.62x39mm), although wartime exigencies followed by post-war rebuilding prevented it from being issued until the 1950s. It is a fairly light (16b) and quite compact weapon, firing […]

Vintage Saturday: Liberators

An old  French couple, M. and Mme. Baloux of Brieulles-sur-Bar, France, under German occupation for four years, greeting soldiers of the 308th and 166th Infantries upon their arrival during the American advance.  November 6, 1918.

An old French couple, M. and Mme. Baloux of Brieulles-sur-Bar, France, under German occupation for four years, greeting soldiers of the 308th and 166th Infantries upon their arrival during the American advance. November 6, 1918. (click to enlarge)

This is a pretty widely-published photo, but it sure is a good one. It also shows […]

Yugoslav 8mm Chauchat M1915/26 Photos

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Reader Mihajlo sent me a couple cool photos of Yugoslav troops with Chauchats converted to 8x57mm. Here’s his commentary:

Here’s a picture from WW2 Yugoslavia I’d like to share with you. The guy on the right is holding a Dutch M.20 6,5 mm Lewis gun and the other guy is holding a Yugoslav Chauchat CSRG […]

James D. Julia: Polish wz.28 BAR Shooting, History, Disassembly

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In the aftermath of WWI the newly-united Poland had a military equipped with a mishmash of leftover light machine guns, from Chauchats to MG 08/15s. They wanted to adopt a new standardized weapon, and trials in the 1920s found the FN BAR to be the best option. Unlike the American military BAR, the FN version […]

James D. Julia: Johnson LMG History & Disassembly

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The Johnson light machine gun is one of the lesser-known US military machine guns of WWII, although it seems to have been very popular with all those who used it in combat. Melvin Johnson made a commendable attempt to get his rifles adopted by the US military, but was unable to unseat the M1 Garand […]

A Soviet Look at Cold War Small Arms Development

Military Thought (USSR): Some Points on the Status and Development of Small Arms (1965, English translation)

I have covered various elements of small arms development during the Cold War more than a few times – usually involving the contentious process that led to the 7.62mm NATO cartridge being adopted, and the various rifles that failed to make the cut in the process. What I have not posted before, though, is a […]

Israeli Dror LMG: Shooting & Disassembly (Video)

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The Dror was an Israeli copy of the Johnson LMG, which was made domestically in Israel as part of Israel’s war of independence in the late 1940s. The design was developed through a combination of reverse engineering a Johnson LMG (clandestinely, in a New York hotel room) and technical data leaked to the Haganah by […]