Today we will look at the various different categories of machine guns – what makes them, why they exist, and what their place in military history is. Specifically…
Automatic Rifle: Shoulder or hip fired, limited magazine capacity, minimal sustained fire capacity. Examples: M1918 BAR, Chauchat.
LMG: Magazine fed, rifle caliber, bipod fired. Examples: Bren, Madsen, Lewis.
HMG: Belt fed, usually water cooled, minimal portability, fired from tripod only. Examples: Maxim, Vickers, Hotchkiss 1914. Evolved into guns of caliber 12.7mm – 20mm, like the M2 and DShK.
MMG: Air cooled, tripod fired only, belt fed. Examples: Browning 1919A4, SG-43.
GPMG: Bipod or tripod fired, belt fed, rifle caliber, quick-change barrel. Examples: MG42, PKM, M240.
SAW/LSW: Intermediate caliber, magazine fed, bipod fired. Examples: L86A1, FN Minimi, RPK.