Robert G. Segel, long-time editor of Small Arms Review magazine, has just published a book on machine gun accessories and equipment, and it’s a very valuable new piece of reference material for the community. Mr. Segel has long been a machine gun collector, and has paid particular attention to accessories, tool kits, and that sort of ancillary gear. You know, the little pouches of completely indecipherable little widgets. Well, his book offers a guide to all those widgets!
The book includes some 77 different models of machine gun, ending its scope at 1945. The depth of information varies from one type to another, as might be expected. Guns like the MG34 and MG42 have quite robust chapters, while some of the more esoteric guns, like the Fiat-Revelli, have rather less. The basic organizational pattern for the book is to show a given kit properly packed, and then again fully unpacked with each item laid out and individually identified. This allows collectors to both learn the purpose of the various tools and parts, and also to identify items missing from their own kits.
In addition to parts and tools, Segel also includes accessory items like tripod adapters, belt loaders, optics, clinometers, anti-aircraft sights, and similar items. These are not presented in a comprehensive way, but rather sporadically as appropriate. The book does not attempt to present a detailed history of the design, production, or use of these items, but rather to catalog and identify them.
I was able to put the book to the acid test myself just a few days before filming this video. A multi-wrench sort of tool showed up on GunBroker, identified only as “HOTCHKISS” on the side. I was able to use the Hotchkiss chapter to identify which model of gun it went to, and thus determine if it was an item I needed myself (for the record, it was a Turkish M1922 combination wrench).
The book is on the expensive side, at $125 shipped direct from the author. For the machine gun collector or historian, however, this is money very well spent – and I don’t want to think about that the price will jump to when it sells out!