Portugal’s MG-13: the M938 Light Machine Gun

The MG-13 is a transferrable machine gun being sold as lot #746 in the upcoming May 2019 Rock Island auction.

The MG13 was an interim machine gun used by the German military in the 1930s until the MG34 was adopted and widely issued. The MG13 (so designated to allow a claim that it was a WW1 era design, not a new development by Rheinmetall in the 1920s) was a closed-bolt, magazine fed, short recoil, hammer fired design. It has a particularly interesting mechanism allowing the recoil spring tension to be adjusted, and also has a folding stock – an unusual feature on a light machine gun. Fed by both 25 round box magazines and 75 round double drums, this particular example is a Portuguese contract example designated the M938. Today’s video will focus on the mechanical operation of the gun, rather than its developmental history.


  1. According to Modern Firearms query: https://modernfirearms.net/en/machineguns/germany-machineguns/mg-13-eng/
    it was officially adopted by Wehrmacht as MG 13 in 1932.

    “75 round double drums”
    These could be recognized from other German Doppeltrommels by fact that they drums are place asymmetrically, so when viewed from behind gun it looks a bit like violin key.
    See photos: http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/field-equipment-accessories-third-reich/saddle-drum-mg-13-a-113354/
    note its unique geometry (relation drum-cartridges exit-drum).

    “used by the German military in the 1930s”
    It is worth noting that it was also used as tank machine gun in early German armoured vehicles, for example Panzerkampfwagen I.

    • Early Panzer units were made specific to infantry support, and the use of “traditional” tank doctrine caused several slow-downs, because the tanks had to wait for the foot soldiers to catch up, making everyone a sitting duck for artillery.

      The machine gun double drum magazine was a good idea for improvised flak use, assuming you had enough magazines (alternate approach is belt feed, which is a two-person job during a reload). I could be wrong.

        • Let’s look at the Panzer 1 and Panzer 2. Both are light tanks, meant to accompany infantry on the attack against other infantry units. I should have actually said “early Panzer vehicles.” So, yes, I did mess up that time.

          • “accompany infantry on the attack”
            Not. I would say it was just reverse. German planned that infantry would accompany panzers. Why this is not same thing? Because it mean accelerating infantry units to panzers pace, rather than decelerating panzers speed to infantry pace (this approach might be observed in 1930s France).
            As https://www.nationalww2museum.org/war/articles/rise-panzer-division put it:
            [After exercises in 1931-32] Guderian soon uncovered what we might call tank warfare’s “first principle”: in order to support the tank, the other arms had to be mobile enough to keep up.
            Note that, as of 1939, default German Panzer-Division had separate panzer component (Panzer-Brigade) and motorized infantry component (Infanterie-Brigade (mot.)), rather than smaller mixed panzer/infantry sub-units.
            Finally, one of original requirements for which finally resulted in Panzer I, was maximal speed no less than 45 km/h. This hint that German wanted vehicles much faster than foot-slogging troops.

            Also, it is worth noticing another aspect of Panzer I development – economy. As Panzer I was light, small and (originally) used commercially available truck engine, it might be produced in bigger numbers than more potent vehicles.
            And more tanks looks better in cavalcade (used as force projection by 1930s III Reich against other European countries).

      • It was also more practical in the tank installation. Remember, we’re talking about PzKw I and II, with very little free space in their(even by the standards of the day)extremely small turrets.

        The drum system allowed better volume of fire than the box, but without having to deal with a belt feed in a confined space.



  2. “focus on the mechanical operation of the gun”
    Technical data from Strelkovove orugie (1947)
    NAME: Hand-held machine gun MG-13 (Dreyse)
    MASS WITH BIPOD: 10,3 kg
    RATE-OF-FIRE: 500-600 rounds per minute
    OVERALL LENGTH: 1340 mm

  3. Yes Ian, you are right. According to a 1938 Spanish military manual the purpose of this lever is to prevent the closing of the pivoting part of receiver when changing the barrel.

    During the Spanish Civil War Germany sold about 2,000 MG-13 Dreyse to the Francoist Army. There were called “fusil ametrallador 13 (Dreyse)”

  4. Looks as if the Lewis gun and B.A.R. had a baby! The Germans clearly saw the MG13 as the gun that they had needed during the !918 Spring Offensive: “walking fire”; small magazine to limit barrel heating, etc.
    The MG13 does remind me of some of the designs that were used later by the Luftwaffe as aircraft flexible defensive guns.

    • Well, it is related to the later MG-15, but the MG-15 was intended to be drum-fed only. No box magazines were used in the MG-15’s unless we’re talking about the export infantry variants with water jackets.

      • Beyond M. G. 15. Luftwaffe also used M. G. 17. which was generally belt-fed derivative of said M. G. 15.
        Though yet before outbreak of war, Luftwaffe adopted more fast-firing rifle-caliber machine gun developed by Mauser Werke and derived from MG 34. It was called MG 81.

  5. It’s an interesting contrast to compare the “human engineering” differences between the M60 and this weapon–The Germans clearly understood what the machinegunner would need to do, serving the gun. Thus, the clever bits of design like that lever-operated piece Ian shows holding the gun open to allow barrel removal, etc. whilst keeping the gun out of the dirt.

    You’ll look long and hard at the M60 design for any such considerations, because there ain’t none. I still remember that first time behind my newly-issued weapon, changing the barrel on my own–Reach forward, undo the latch, pull back on the receiver in the prone, and then half-way through the process, realize that the barrel is about to fall into the dirt, and then… Where the hell do I put the receiver while I fit the fresh barrel…?!?!?!?

    It did not take me long at all, as a recruit Private E-1, to figure out things about running a machinegun that apparently were too complex for the designers to comprehend, back in the late 1950s. That’s also about the time I started to lose my innocent faith in my “betters” who supposedly had all this education, experience, and positional expert “Authority”. Didn’t help that a lot of my immediate superiors in the Army at that time didn’t acknowledge the fact that a lot of the crap I was running into was either ill-designed or actively idiotic–I can’t even begin to enumerate the number of times I heard things like “Oh, we do it that way because it’s the right way, and don’t you dare question that, at all… The people who designed that were much smarter than you ever will be, and they did it that way for a reason… Shut up and soldier, soldier!!”.

    Erm. Yeah. Sure.

    • I thought the MG34 barrel change was neat. Release latch, flip receiver over out of the way with gun still supported by the bipod attached to the perforated barrel jacket, yank hot barrel out (now that was a sensible use of an asbestos mitten), shove cool barrel in, flip receiver back in line, latch snaps over on its own, done. It takes longer to type it out than it does to do it.

      The MG42 even improved on that. Smack barrel release forward, yank hot barrel out, shove cool one in, slap it back, finished. In any version from original to postwar, the ’42 can do a heavy machine gun’s sustained fire mission just because it can change barrels so fast.

      If I had to choose a rifle-caliber GPMG to use in a hot war, I’d take an MG42, original or “clone”, 7.9 x 57 or 7.62 x 51, over any other one out there. Yes, even the 240; the ’42 is lighter.



      • I’d love to actually know, in the God-like sense of omniscience, what the hell was going on, in terms of the human factors/politics, between the two sets of designers/military bureaucrats–Pre-WWII German, and the 1950s American.

        I can’t do anything more than extrapolate from observations of their products, but the inescapable conclusion I have to reach vis-a-vis the American crew is that they were objectively incompetent, and simply did not care about the product they were foisting off on the American soldier. What they did care about? Apparently, their careers and empire-building at Springfield Arsenal. We know how that all worked out, after the Arsenal got shut down. Unfortunately, the virus of incompetence and careerism seems to have propagated itself across the majority of the military/industrial complex that succeeds in getting their decisions put into effect.

        Can’t wait to observe the outcome of this latest bit of “sooooper-genious” work, the NGSAR. Based on what I’ve experienced, we’ll probably still be issuing the M249 and a variant of the M16 when the grandchildren of the guys I led towards the end of my career start their military service… And, they might be better off, than if they get the product of another one of these oh-so-brilliant “transformational” development programs.

        • If combat veterans and pragmatic inventors had been running the show, and not people whose bureaucracy-related correspondence “service” was over two decades prior to relevant weapon design of the day, lots of things could have been done faster and better! Heck, even a photojournalist had better plans than the usual jingle-bell Ordnance guys for anti-materiel rifles (pardon the lack of accent mark).

      • “MG34”
        Well, it looks that it was used for long time after 1945 by Norwegian equivalent of U.S. National Guard: https://www.smallarmsreview.com/display.article.cfm?idarticles=1451
        and not in 7,9×57 but converted to… 7,62×63. This article says that they found their MG34 works more reliably if you add… flores sulphuris to lubricant. It is mind-boggling who (but I am not sure if I want to know how) discovered that adding that laxative to lubricant cause better reliability.

        • Isn’t it interesting that the Norwegian reserves could make an MG34 work in .30-06 but U.S. Army Ordnance screwed up the same recalibration on an MG42?

          I used to think it was just another example of the fundamental lack of actual expertise Ord has shown over and over again, screwing up not only that but the M14, the M16, the M73/M219, the M85, JSSAP, ACR, the XM8(which admittedly was based on the HK G36, a PoS to begin with),the OICW, etc.

          But now I wonder if it wasn’t deliberate. Because adopting a GPMG that wasn’t an original Ord creation would have threatened Ord’s supremacy over small-arms design.

          This attitude goes back to the American Civil War and before. Back then, as one writer put it, Ordnance officers considered that all expertise in arms resided with them, and outside inventors and such were designing and possibly nefarious individuals with nothing real to offer.

          This was one reason Ord fought tooth and nail against any and all breechloading rifles, even the already-proven Sharps that had been around for a decade before Fort Sumter and had all the bugs already worked out, and of course what became the premier repeating rifle of the war, the mule-stupid but brute-strong and utterly reliable Spencer.

          When they were finally forced by circumstances (cavalry needing a breechloader because a muzzleloading carbine was next to impossible to reload on horseback) to adopt even a single-shot breechloader, their choice over the Sharps or even the practical Maynard was the Burnside, a cranky piece of Rube Goldbergism which was adopted solely because it was designed by Gen. Ambrose Burnside, an Ord officer. It was ironic that Burnside’s company ended up as the Union Army’s primary supplier of Spencer repeaters, but they were nevertheless still inflicting Burnside’s own Heath Robinsonism on the Federal cavalry right up to Appomattox.

          It continued after the war, with the “trapdoor” Springfield conversion, Erskine Allin’s second-rate ripoff of Hiram Berdan’s first breechloader design, over Jacob Snider’s simpler and much stronger breechloader conversion. Allin, the head of Springfield, nearly got Snider court-martialed for insubordination after Snider submitted his breech design to the committee that Allin had already determined was going to adopt his own hockshop monstrosity. Snider, disgusted, took himself and his breech to Britain, where both were welcomed with open arms and a lot of BPS, and became the teeth behind the roar of the British lion for a good many decades alongside the later Martini-Henry.

          The Krag-Jorgenson rifle was Ord’s answer to the Mauser. In 1898 the Army learned the hard way that it wasn’t a very good answer to that problem.

          In WW1, Ord’s belief that rifle fire could beat machine gun fire on the cheap was why we ended up issuing the AEF the horrid French Chauchat. Meanwhile, the far superior Hotchkiss Portative-based Benet-Mercie’ M1909 stayed in storage Stateside, the Lewis was barely considered, and we didn’t get the BAR into the field because Ord was afraid the Germans would capture it and copy it. At least the doughboys had 8mm Hotchkiss and 0.303in Vickers HMGs to be getting on with.

          During WW2, the best designs we had, from the M1 rifle and carbine to the M3 SMG, all had one thing in common. They were all developed by designers who weren’t “brought up” in the Ordnance system. Even the Garand was the invention of an outsider; John Garand was a Canadian who worked for Ord as a civilian employee, not a product of the “Army system”, just like Samuel Colt and John Moses Browning before him or Eugene Stoner after him.

          And Ord couldn’t help “fiddling” with their designs. Ord screwed up Stoner’s AR-15 by changing all the tolerances and using cheap ball powder he’d specifically told them should not be used in it. They screwed up Garand’s M1 design by creating the M14 out of it, and then with the M15 trying to make a BAR out of same.

          In heavier weapons, Ord maintained that there was no way to put a good high-velocity gun in the Sherman to give it an effective weapon against the more heavily-armored German tanks. “Let the Tank Destroyer Corps handle that,” was their rejoinder. The British Firefly, with its powerful 17-pounder gun, finally made them come up with something similar, the 76.2mm M3 cannon in the M4A3E8(W)HVSS- just in time for the Bulge.

          The M26 through M48A3 series had 90mm guns that were inferior to most of their Russian opponents. The 105mm that debuted on the M60 and M48A5 was actually British. Today, the M256 gun on the Abrams is actually German in origin. Ord’s bright idea was the 152mm “gun/launcher” on the M60A2 “Starship” and the M551 Sheridan, which never worked right as either a tank gun or an ATGW launcher.

          At least Ord has never had much to do with guided-missile development. Mostly because the missileers told them up front, “Tell us what you need, then go away, we’ll call you when it’s ready”. It’s noteworthy that Army missile R&D development supervisors, like Gen. Medaris, were put in those slots because they were unpopular with the rest of Ord. Fortunately, they were also more knowledgeable about missile technology and what it could and couldn’t do than the average Ord senior officer.

          The history of U.S. Army Ordnance has been one of arrogance, backbiting, empire building, and generally lousy results except when they adopt something developed by someone outside of Ordnance.

          As someone once said of politics, we could probably get a better-run Ordnance establishment by replacing its “experienced experts” with the first 1,000 people in any decently-large city’s telephone book.

          clear ether


          • “ACR”
            Wait, now I am completely confused. So far I always though ACR was designed by Steyr, not “Ord” and worked (reasonably) correctly, though did not provide required improvement over older pattern rifles to grant adoption.

            “U.S. Army Ordnance screwed up the same recalibration on an MG42”
            I want to point that they at same time attempted to decrease Rate-of-Fire, which was too high for their taste. While others did slow-downs also, U.S. seems to be most severe (614 rpm for T24 machine gun, for comparison Austrian MG 74: 850 rpm).

          • Correction, the Chauchat issued to American troops was the horrible 1918 version, not the barely tolerable original French gun. But yet again we had a case of putting a bureaucrat into a general’s chair. I bet the average grunt would rather use up two clips of M1 rifle ammo just to kill a meth-hyped charging enemy storm trooper (with MP-44) than “save all ammo for the one perfect shot on each foe” and get reduced to Swiss cheese when said enemy denies the former his “perfect shots.” Believe Kirk, Ordnance has screwed up so badly that it’s a wonder the institution hasn’t been disbanded or outright outsourced to the private sector so that we could get a no-politicians-allowed clean competition on potential service weapons! I could be wrong.

          • “(…)we didn’t get the BAR into the field because Ord was afraid the Germans would capture it and copy it(…)”
            At least in this case I could understand that they saw it as legitimate reason.
            Secret weapon is secret only until first usage.
            So it is understandable that they want to keep it secret for final offensive.

            “(…)Chauchat issued to American(…)”
            Wait. This would mean… totally different view… on one decision made.
            According to https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/ref/MG/I/MG-3.html#14
            In 1916 Berthier, who had risen to the rank of general in the French Army, came to the United States to develop the weapon further, more by refinement of components for the purpose of being mass-produced than anything else, as the operating principles remained the same. On its first official trial by the United States Army in May 1917 the gun did not meet requirements. On 29 June of the same year, the Marine Corps after a very comprehensive test, reported it suitable for its use. The Ordnance Board tested the weapon again shortly after the Marine Corps made its report and this later Army board concurred with the Marines, who had again conducted trials that resulted in another favorable report. The Army then ordered, on 2 October 1917, the manufacture for issue of 5,000 of these guns chambered for our caliber .30/06 infantry cartridge, provided the order did not conflict with other machine rifle production that was being planned. It was found that the Hopkins & Allen Co. of Norwich, Connecticut, was under contract by foreign interests that controlled the Berthier manufacturing rights. It was estimated that the firm could start producing within 8 months, as it was 80 percent tooled up. Contracts were given for the Army’s 5,000 guns. An additional 2,000 were ordered by the Navy for the Marine Corps, and given the designation Mark IV. This division of Hopkins & Allen had been incorporated, after receiving the contract, under the name of the United States Machine Gun Co. But financial and other complications arose and the parent firm was forced to drop all plans for manufacturing the weapons. As no other source was available that could give any promise of delivery within a reasonable time, all contracts were canceled. Consequently the guns were never manufactured in the United States, except for a few handmade pilot models.
            Note that this text does not deliver any information about relation between “(…)Ordnance Board(…)” and this light machine gun, beyond stating it was tested. Question arise who was beyond financial and other complications? Also why these were not overcome, as production concerned instrumental instruments-of-war if I could say so?
            Anyway design of monsieur Berthier evolved further thus loading to Vickers-Berthier light machine gun: https://modernfirearms.net/en/machineguns/great-britain-machineguns/vickers-berthier-eng/ which although not adopted by British Army was bought by some foreign customers and also itself was developed into aerial (observer) machine gun, namely Vikcers G.O.: https://modernfirearms.net/en/machineguns/great-britain-machineguns/vickers-g-o-eng/ which entered RAF service, although as in late 1930s resigned from observers with free machine guns in aeroplanes in favor of turrets (sporting belt-fed machine guns) they became unnecessary and therefore ended as Land Service weapon used among others by famous LRDG.

          • Chern;

            There are a lot of pictures of 8mm Chauchats used by the AEF. Like this one;


            Note the lack of the .30 version’s protruding magazine housing.

            The .30 version only entered service with U.S. troops in June of 1918. even at the time of the Armistice, most “Sho-Sho’s’ in U.S. inventory were 8mms.

            My great-uncle who ran an AEF transportation company (trucks) in Flanders back then stated that every one they had was 8mm, not a .30 in the bunch.

            The gun’s long-recoil system might work just fine on a nice, clean range. In the field, it was another story altogether.



          • Daweo;

            There were four competitors in the ACR program, the Steyr, the HK G-11, the AAI, and the Colt ACR.

            The HK G-11 was and still is an overcomplicated toy with highly environmentally-vulnerable ammunition. Made still more complicated for ACR by the addition of first a dual, and then a triple, magazine system. (?)

            The AAI was essentially an AR-18 mechanism in a new casing, firing a saboted flechette load in a 5.56 x 45mm case, with a three-shot burst control and no full-auto option. Both parts of the AAI prototype dated to the SPIW (Special Purpose Individual Weapon)phase 2 program of 1969-72, just with a “fresh coat of paint”, so to speak.

            The Colt ACR in fact was simply an M16A2 with a flat-top receiver for an optical sight, a CAR-15 retracting stock, a new handguard with a superfluous ventilated rib running its full length (apparently to make it look like a skeet gun), and a “duplex bullet” 5.56mm load that (like AAI’s proposal) had been concocted by Winchester-Olin for the SPIW project and rejected by Ord then. IOW, a “tacticooled” M16.

            In actuality, Colt’s “competitor” was an Ord hockshop job that Colt built to Ord’s specifications.

            Predictably, the ACR project “concluded” that none of the competitors offered any significant improvement over the existing M16A2, and thus none were adopted.

            The Steyr ACR was a highly-advanced weapon that Ord was out to avoid approving at all costs. Because doing so would have required them to admit that the M16 still sucked.

            The main result of ACR was the 3-shot burst control on the M16A3 and M4. I’m sure there were cheaper ways to get there.



          • Eon, the three-round burst was in the system long before the ACR; that was a benighted creation of the idiots behind the A2.

            The other thing I’d object to is your characterization of the rib on the Colt product–That thing actually had some basis in actual research done by the Army Research Laboratories, and it should have gotten a bit more consideration than it got ridicule. Once you read the background documentation on it, it made sense–The rib served as a superior guide for rapid acquisition and point-shooting, and I think that in a world without red-dot sights, it probably should have gotten more respect. The research papers are out there on DTIC, but I’ll be damned if I can remember what the search parameters are for them–I got them through the library system, back when everything was still “microfiche and order hard copy”. I don’t know what happened to my copies, either–Might be buried out in my papers from the route clearance research I was doing around the same time frame.

            The main thing that came out of the ACR program was publicity for the Trijicon ACOG–Per an SF informant, that was where the SF community first saw that thing, and a large part of the reason it made its way into the SOPMOD package.

            I had acquaintances who were “test dummies” for the ACR thing, and the universal impression that they had from it was that the whole thing was profoundly unserious–Everyone involved in running the tests knew that nothing concrete was going to come from it, and the impression that one of my informants got was that they were looking for validation to move towards the OICW “solution”, because they were making sure that the ACR thing didn’t produce anything “superior” to the M16A2–Which they wanted to achieve 100% improvement on, for “lethality”, whatever the hell that means.

            The ACR program was pretty much just more of the same-old, same-old. They keep looking for paradigm-changers, when they should be looking for incremental improvements that can be applied along the way towards the real inflection points in small arms technology. Those only come along every so often, and they are difficult to predict. They sure as hell aren’t things that can be forced, either–Witness the signal failure of the caseless idea, over the years.

  6. From the Portuguese website Guerra Colonial –> Armas da Infantaria–> Armamento Ligeiro:


    Metralhadora ligeira 7,92 mm m/938 Dreyse

    Esta arma apresenta um cano móvel apresentando um curto recuo do cano no momento do disparo. Um comutador de tiro permite a realização de tiro simples ou contínuo. O travamento realiza-se por inclinação de um travador articulado ligado à armadura (peça que guia os movimentos da culatra). Neste tipo de travamento, o travador articulado oscila verticalmente e é comandado por um ressalto inclinado existente ao nível da caixa da culatra. O percutor encontra-se na culatra e a percussão dá-se por pancada do cão sobre a sua cauda. A alimentação é efectuada por um carregador trapezoidal curvo colocado no lado esquerdo da anua. Utiliza um extrac¬tor de garra de mola que prende o invólucro até este encontrar um ejector fixo na caixa da culatra. O arrefecimento do cano é efectuado pelo ar que circula através dos orifícios de ventilação da manga que o veste.


    Niklaus Dreyse foi o inventor da primeira espingarda de ferrolho fabricada em série e fundou uma fábrica com o seu nome em 1841, a qual deu origem à Rheinmetall, ainda hoje existente. Em 1907, a empresa desenvolve uma metralhadora ligeira a que chama Dreyse, mas o Exército alemão não a adopta. Durante a Primeira Guerra, a falta de metralhadoras leva a que a Alemanha compre a Dreyse em duas versões: a MG 10 e a MG 15, com bipé. Depois de 1918, as Dreyse sobreviventes são reconstruídas como anuas refrigeradas a ar e alimentadas por um original duplo tambor, sendo entregues ao Reichswehr (o pequeno exército de 100 000 homens que o Tratado de Versalhes permitia à Alemanha), bapti¬zadas com o novo nome de MG 13. Com a subida de Hitler ao poder, o Exército ale¬mão começa a receber a MG 34, uma metra¬lhadora muito supe¬rior à MG 13, o que permite a exportação desta para Portugal a partir de 1938, como complemento da espin¬garda Mauser.
    Segundo a Embai¬xada inglesa no rela¬tório de 1938, Portugal encomendou 2800 metralhadoras Dreyse completas, esperando a sua entrega a curto prazo, o que não devia ser difícil, pois o Exército alemão tinha uns milhares em stock. Era a maior encomenda de metralhadoras realizada até então, útil numa altura em que se preparava o crescimento do Exército na eventualidade de um conflito na Europa. A Dreyse vem equipada com carregadores de pente curvo de alimentação lateral e com um reparo que permite o tiro AA. Podia usar um cartucho normal, tracejante ou tracejante-perfurante. Apesar de antiquada, a arma era melhor do que muitas das metralhadoras então em serviço no país. A Dreyse não é distribuída à cavalaria, pois, segundo uma nota do CEME de Outubro de 1939, as experiências efectuadas mostraram que o seu transporte a cavalo só era possível desmontada, de tal modo que os pelotões se tomavam menos móveis, tinham de ser alterados na sua orgânica e demoravam mais tempo a apear e a entrar em posição, o que se considerou «Inadmissível». A cavalaria continua a usar a Madsen, adaptada ao calibre 7,92 mm. A Dreyse não podia ser transportada a cavalo pronta a disparar, como acontecia com a Madsen na sua sela especial.
    Nos anos 1950, a Dreyse é desviada para o serviço nas colónias (em 1958 existem: 22 em Angola, 22 em Moçambique, 138 na Índia, 32 em Macau). Em 1961, as companhias de caçadores especiais que reforçam Angola levam a Dreyse como prin¬cipal metralhadora (12 por companhia, como arma de apoio das secções de atiradores). A vulgarização das armas que usam o cartucho NATO a partir de 1962 conduz à rápida substituição da Dreyse na primeira linha. As armas sobreviventes são então atribuídas às forças de auto-defesa ou de recrutamento local.


    País de origem – Alemanha
    Calibre – 7,92 mm
    Número de estrias – 4
    Sentido das estrias – Sinextrorsum Comprimento da arma – 1,515 m Comprimento do cano – 0,718 m
    Velocidade inicial à boca – 770 m/s
    Aparelho de pontaria – Linha de mira lateral. Alça rectilínea de tambor com ranhura em V graduada de 1 a 20 hectómetros. Ponto de mira de secção trapezoidal
    AIcance máximo – 4500 m
    Alcance útil – 2000 m
    Alcance eficaz -3500 m
    Peso da arma (com bipé) – 11,60 kg
    Depósito – Carregador independente, trapezoidal curvo e lateral, com capacidade para 25 munições
    Cadência de tiro – 550 a 600 tpm
    Munição – 7,9 mm com invólucro metálico com base em rebordo e percussão central
    Mecanismo de segurança – Imobilização do armador
    Funcionamento – Arma automática, de tiro automático e semi-automático, com curto recuo do cano

  7. In essence, the portion on Portuguese usage states that
    “With the rise of Adolf Hitler to power in Germany, the German army began to recive the MG34, a machine gun much superior to the MG 13 Dreyse, which allowed/led to the exportation of the earlier weapon to Portugal, [allied to Britain, but neutral albeit pro-Franco and leaning toward the Axis too under the Estado Novo of Sálazar], which since 1937/1938 had been acquiring 7.9x57mm Mauser K98k rifles to augment the re=chambered Mauser-Vergueiro bolt-action rifle and allowed secondary units to receive ex-CEP WWI-era British SMLEs and Lewis Guns.
    According to a 1938 report from the English/British embassy, Portugal received some 2800 complete Dreyse/ MG13 LMGs, since these types could be relatively swiftly received without difficulty while the German army had surplussed some thousands from the pre-1933 Reichswehr. For Portugal, this was the largest order for machine guns to date, at a time when the armed forces of the Estado Novo were being built up (at least by Portuguese standards) with general war looming in Europe. The MG13/ Dreyse is fed from curved magazines that fit into the left side, and had modifications that allowed use for anti-aircraft fire. It could fire the 7,9x57mm service cartridge, tracer, and armor-piercing tracer ammunition. In spite of its somewhat antiquated features, the weapon was considered superior to many light machine guns then in service in the nation. [Madsen, Lewis, etc.] The Dreyse was not initially distributed to cavalry, but according to a document from the CEME dated October 1939 after experience demonstrated that it was transportable by horse in much the same way it was by less mobile infantry platoons, it was nonetheless ruled that it was “in-admisable” for the cavalry since it would not be immediately ready to fire without being deployed from horses. So the cavalry would continue to use the Madsen LMG, with its special scabbard mounted on the saddle, albeit adopted for the new/Estado Novo service cartridge of 8mm Mauser.
    In the 1950s, the Dreyse was dispatched for service in the “overseas Portugal” colonies such that in 1958 there were 22 available in Angola, 22 in Moçambique, 128 in Goa in India [lost to India in 1961] and 32 in Macau/China. [No indication about East Timor]
    In 1961, [after ethnic massacres, violence, and the start of armed struggle against Portuguese rule in African colonies], the Companies of light infantry/caçadores/jägers/Chausseurs that reinforced Angola carried the “Dreyse” as the principal LMG, with 12 per company as support weapons. After 1962, as weapons that used the NATO standard 7.62x51mm cartridge became more common, the Dreyse/ MG13s were rapidly replaced from the front lines. Surviving 8mm Mauser caliber weapons were distributed to counter-insurgency “self defense forces” and African militias or locally recruited forces aligned with those of the metropolis.

  8. This is one of very few guns I can think of which takes advantage of accelerator. This little part transfers momentum of barrel assembly (thus attenuating it) into bolt. Perhaps somehow this concept can be conveyed into a future rifle. Reason? To reduce felt recoil force.

    • You got that right. Having the bolt accelerate FASTER than the entire firearm causes a cushioning reaction force, but the system needs to work well or the bolt could smash your eye out (I hope not!).

    • “(…)accelerator(…)”
      If you are interested in something called lever accelerator then you might took closer look at Aimo Lahti short-recoil operated weapons. Tactically closest to MG 13 is Pikakivääri m/26 http://www.smallarmsreview.com/display.article.cfm?idarticles=3510 co-designed with Lieutenant Saloranta. Apparently their teamwork was far from smooth and while this light machine gun is sometimes known as “Lahti-Saloranta” later they did not cooperate.
      Lahti also designed aircraft machine gun, which was generally earlier mentioned light machine gun but with bigger (disc) magazine and increased Rate-of-Fire.
      It should be noted that later Aimo Lathi preferences switched to gas operation (c.f. Lathi L-39).

  9. UGH!!! This video totally sold me on the MG13. Alas, it is a sales sample Ian! not transferable to non dealers in the US. I had my checkbook out.

  10. Where have you been all my life?

    Pretty sure this is the coolest gun I’ve ever seen on this site, and that is saying a lot considering the depth and breadth of Ian’s work here. What amazing engineering. What well thought out details. What utility of purpose in the design. Not only is she well built, expertly machined, and remarkably simple, she is a gorgeous gun to look at. Probably the high water mark of all LMG designs, where wood, leather, and solid steel were still a thing. Before plastic, rubber, and stampings became the norm.

    The lockup, amazing. The closed bolt accuracy. The multiple purpose usage of mags and drums. The folding stock. All of these features just make a user friendly gun. Right down to that hold open lever, reminiscent of the safety bars used when working on a dump truck. Simple is good.

    But I do have one question? Why on earth did the Luftwaffe need a new rifle, when this was already being produced? Parachute troops, and specifically ones used as Heavy Infantry, as the Fallschirmjager’s were, would have benefitted much more by having this weapon available in quantity than trying to make a rifle act like an LMG. It’s much more effective the other way around…

    Just a beautiful design, representing the epitome of solid state engineering, and the beauty of craftsmanship, back when durability was inherent, and form followed function.

    Just simply outstanding…

    (Now if only we could convince Ian to use a white tablecloth… because, blued on black on black is tough on contrast, eh?)

    • The real puzzler for me has always been why they developed the FG42, when the perfectly satisfactory MG30 existed, which was nearly identical in format and performance… And, the MG30 is so much more elegant than either this weapon or the FG42.

      • Compare the length and weight of the MG 13, MG 30, and FG 42 and you have your answer. German parachute system was primitive at the time, forcing soldiers to have to airdrop with just a pistol until they could obtain their machine guns and rifles. Having a more compact and lightweight universal weapon all paratroopers would be equipped with was the original concept and is the primary reasoning behind the FG 42.

      • No, I agree, the weight is an issue for portability. And the MG-30 does have a more svelte profile. But there’s just something innately attractive about this well machined block of steel with that folding stock and perforated jacket.

        Yes the MG-34 might have supplanted it. But as good as the German belt feds were, and as simple as the MG-42 was, this variation on theme looks to be the more robust of the three. Maybe I’m wrong, but this gun was conceived right before war needs and logistics changed the paradigm for German weapons manufacturing mindset. Before quantity reigned supreme, and there was still an art to the form of the function.

        Those camming surfaces during lockup are beautiful in their simplicity, yet designed to withstand heavy use. Clever method of having the BCG interact with the disconnect during return to battery. Certainly the lighter LMG is more useful in the sense of fire / maneuver doctrine. But the robustness of this design, coupled with features that show examples of creative problem solving, is neat to see in an LMG.

        For instance, did the adjustable recoil spring, and accelerator work in concert to reduce felt recoil? In other words, was it a more fluid rhythm than the MG-42 during bursts, and thus partly due to that additional weight, more controllable? Would not that rear sight hood have helped as a sort of “ghost ring” during suppressive fire?

        I can simply see how, early in the war, the previously mentioned primitive German Paratrooper supply methods of dropping heavy weapons packs entailed using lighter weight during loadout. But didn’t everybody use heavy weapons packs including the U.S.? And by time the Fallschirjager’s had the FG-42 in quantity in the field, Student’s men were already relegated to just being used as elite infantry?

        So, it begs the question, why not utilize existing designs at least in parallel to the new rifle doctrine? Or was it too obsolete, and too resource intensive to continue production?

        After all, the Bren soldiered on for decades after the war, and I can’t think of a use for that gun, that the MG-13 wouldn’t also excell at.

        I suppose I just like this gun being designed around a standard, for the day, box magazine, that could transition easily to using drums for heavier volumes of fire.

    • The MG-13 and MG-30 are light machine guns (MG = machine gun), designed to be fired in prone position from the bipod, the FG-43 is an automatic rifle (FG = paratroopers rifle), intended to be fired in a normal rifle manner, though also can play the role of a LMG, so the bipod. In consequence their weights are totally different as has been said.

    • Somehow I wonder why it wasn’t simplified, as the thing was disliked for being user-unfriendly!

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