The US War Department requested that the Saginaw Steering Gear division of General Motors build two prototype copies of the German MG42 in .30-06 for military testing. Note the American-style rear sight and bipod. We have the Aberdeen photos of one of these machine guns and the original report from its first test.
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I remember H&R made two MG34’s in 30-06. It took them a whole year to figure out that the bolt didn’t have enough travel for the cartridge. By that time, it was determined that the MG34 required too much machine work to put into production. I have been looking for more information on them.
Norway rebid all the MG34 the Germans left here in 45 first to 3006 (MG34f1)and then to 7,62 x 51 nato (MG34f2)so this is not right.
The US-made MG-34’s were not conversions but strict copies of the 8 mm model with a 30-06 barrel. They never worked right but even if they had, it was determined the amount of machining and work required was too much to bother making them. It may well be possible to modify the original design to work with 30-06 but the two initial US-made models did not work properly and no effort was made to modify them to work.
Saginaw mainly made 30 caliber machineguns and M1 carbines. First job after college was at one of the other (post-war) Sagainaw Steering plants, but did visit the plant that had done the war production (plant #2) once. A massive plant with machinery jammed in every which place, that facility made the actual steering gears, while other plants made pumps, CV joints, half-shafts, and steering columns. Once during some construction a wall was opened up and some M1 carbines were found–some worker had stashed the there during the war hoping to retrieve them later, but never did. Of course the police were called, and who knows where they ended up.
While in the service, we were not allowed to use standard U.S. weaponry where we were assigned. We were shown the Ingram SAM-1 in 5.56mm. Since it was a derivative of the M-1 carbine and it was to be found almost everywhere – we liked the choice. The SAM-1 was lighter, full auto and the ammo weighed half the 7.62mm for the M-14. We asked if it could be chambered for the AK-47 7.62mm. No was the answer.The two MG’s available to us were the BAR and the M1919. Both were over weight and cumbersome. The T-24 chambered for the 5.56mm or better yet the AK-47 7.62mm would have provided excellent support and the Southeast Asian warriors would have had no problem carrying and using the T-24. We also took the Smith & Wesson 40mm gas guns to fire the M79 grenades. We replaced the stock with a swing stock like the one found on the M1A3. Excellent fire support and quicker to use that a 60mm mortar. The only weapon we balked at was the Boys 55 for long range sniping. It was heavy and kicked like a mule and the ammo was hard to get. The first alternative was by Iver Johnson – the M500. A joke. The firer had to remove the bolt to remove the spent casing and replace it with a new cartridge. The firer would lose the sight picture. Out of pure chance, a Marine armorer in Da Nang offered a rebuilt 50 cal. M8 semi-auto spotting rifle with a 20 round magazine. The forerunner to the Barret 50 cal. Much lighter and with a 17 power German scope – the firer could keep enemy targets in sight at allo times. Not quite a full M2 cartridge, but still hard hitting. We had the frangible slugs changed to standard M2 ball slugs. The Marine armorer also showed how to drill the nose and insert rim fire cartridges to result in explosive slugs we could use on trucks and other vehicles on the Ho Chi Minh Freeway.
What does the Army in Afghanistan carry today?
There actually was a version of the Ingram SAM-1 in 7.62 x 39mm, the SAM-2;
There was also the SAM-3 in 7.62 x 51mm NATO. Unless it was used with a reduced-charge round like the JGSDF’s Type 64 or the Spanish Army’s CETME, I’d expect it to be a bit of a handful just on the basis of recoil.
For the most part, Ordnance is opposed to anything they didn’t create. The AR-15/M-16 family came in through the back door via CONARC and the Infantry School. After that, Ordnance was determined that no “outsiders” would ever again be allowed to interfere in their choice of weapons for the U.S. soldier.
The result of that in succeeding years was the terminally screwed-up SPIW program, the completely screwed-up JSSAP program, and last but not least the XM-8 program, in which they took a fundamentally unreliable weapon (the H&K G36) and made it worse.
Going clear back to the Trapdoor Springfield, Ordnance has had repeated failures in small arms development. The only exceptions were when they shut up and let someone like John Moses Browning, John William Roemer, or John C. Garand design the weapons, and then took credit for the results.
The T24 failed because Ordnance really didn’t want it to work. They had their own design already (that eventually emerged as the M60) and they weren’t in the mood for anything “Not Invented Here”.
imagine the T24 in the hand of an American soldier in the mountains of the Korean peninsular and the jungles of vietnam…definately, there would have been no stalement…the hell would have been beaten out of the Chinese, North Korean and NVA troops to the extent that they would have flung their automatic assault rifles at their soviet advisers complaining that they need a more sustain power weapon to face the yankees. Pride cannot be a good thing when a lot of good buddies died for the simple fact they did not have a good weapon. The T24 WOULD HAVE GIVEN THE YANKEES THE CAPABILITY TO EVEN WIN THE COLD WAR MUCH EARLIER BY CONVENTIONAL MEANS. THESE CONFLICTS HAD NO PLACE FOR MAGAZINE FED WEAPONS…SUSTAINED FIREPOWER WAS THE ULTIMATE PANACEA FOR ANY HARD FOUGHT POSITIONAL AND ESPECIALLY HIGH MOBILITY WARFARE. A LOT OF GIs got into trouble for using the wrong weapon.. the powerful springfield or colt full rifle round would have torn up the jungle.
If the Americans would have put the effort into it they would have had the best machine gun ever built and they could thank the Germans for it
It ate up so much ammo it needed a supply chain that wasn’t possible in the hills of Korea or the jungles of Vietnam. It’s fire rate was extremely high. They made the M60, which used the same feed mechanism (for the most part) and the slower rate of fire was no accident.
THEY DID MAKE A U.S. MG-42 THE PIG M-60
No that was based on the FG-42 operating system. And your Caps lock seems to be stuck.
Good read! I must talk about the way you’ve organized your ideas and thoughts on the MG42. I think you can help us even more by adding some more relevant insights into the topic. However, the post still gives us a head start to the next update to our website Nmweb. Thank you!
Don’t you all know that the Germans took the MG-42 in production again after WWII? It was called the MG-3, and it was chambered for the standard 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge.
Other MG-42 versions were produced in Austria, Switzerland, Pakistan, and so on.