The Vault

ABC’s of Machine Guns

Here’s another neat manual – A.B.C du Mitrailleu – the ABCs of Machine Guns. This was published in 1917 (the fifth edition, anyway) in French, and does a nice job showing all the most useful information on each of the major mounted machine guns being used at the time. It includes the MG08 Maxim, 1909 [...]

Vintage Saturday: A 1914 Hotchkiss

French troops with a 1914 Hotchkiss MG

Not sure where these poilu are fighting, but the fellow in the back appears to have swapped his regulation Kepi for a bowler and shaved off his moustache.

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A Few Updates –

Thanks to reader Erik, we have a little more information on Fridtjof Brondby, which we’ve added to the Brondby page in the Vault. Apparently Brondby also designed a 20mm antitank rifle, although we do not have any photographs of it. We have also added two more of Brondby’s patents to the Vault page.

Brondby [...]

French 1923 LMG Trials Report

In 1923, the French military held a light machine gun trial to choose a weapon to replace the CSRG Chauchat. The trials involved weapons evaluations both by an expert committee and by 9 regiments testing the guns in field conditions. The guns submitted for testing were:

Browning BAR St Etienne (we are not sure which [...]

Hotchkiss Revolving Cannon

The Hotchkiss Revolving Cannon was designed by an American, Benjamin Hotchkiss, in response to the Franco-Prussian War. Hotchkiss chose to use large caliber shells in the gun instead of rifle cartridges (like the American Gatling or French Mitrailleuse) for greater anti-personnel effectiveness. The Congress of St Petersburg prohibited exploding ordnance with projectile weights under 14oz [...]

Vintage Hotchkiss photo

Just a neat old photo to spice up your Saturday…

Think he’s going to hit that airplane?

Hotchkiss Portative video

The Hotchkiss Portative was the British variation of a light machine gun used widely in World War I. It was also used by the French, Belgian, and American armies (In the US, it was adopted as the M1909 Benet-Mercier). This British example is chambered in .303 and in very good shape for its age. Shall [...]

Benet-Mercie 1909 manual

The Benet-Mercie 1909 was the first light machine gun adopted by the American military. Although named for two designers, the Benet-Mercie was basically a Hotchkiss Portative machine gun chambered for the .30-06 cartridge. The guns were manufactured by Colt and Springfield Arsenal (a government-run entity at the time, not the business interest that exists today), [...]

Polish Hotchkiss M1914

After regaining its independence in 1918, Poland had a variety of weapons available to its armed forces, including the Hotchkiss M1914 machine gun. The Hotchkiss fed from 30-round feed strips, and was gas operated and air cooled. It was fairly popular in its day, and was used by a wide variety of countries, including the [...]