Would this be more amusing had they been firing a water-cooled ground variant of the MG-15?

  1. Love the boots, but notice that no one is wearing simple EAR or EYE protection! The deaf and the blind don’t do well answering radios.

  2. I never thought I would see the day that Forgotten Weapons would stoop to showing photos of Teutonic Pole Dancing!

  3. I’m taking from the rather casual crowd in the background that this is probably a demonstration, rather than an act of wartime necessity, but this only raises more questions about the context of this picture.

    • Looks like a mix of Hitler Jugend and Volkssturm, aka “cannon fodder”.

      I wonder if they realized that they were never going to GET an MG-34, but more likely a Mannlicher-Carcano…

      • I think that this picture was taken before the Volkssturm was started. By then jackboots had been largely replaced by lace up boots.

        • Seems rather early, probably even pre-war or early war, like fall of 1939 during the Phony War – note early style pointed shoulder boards still adorned with regimental numbers, and no Y-straps worn, which were introduced the French campaign.

  4. Ach du leiber ! Das ist ein foto of der German Beetle Baily caught goofing off ! He,like his Americanishe namen-sake can sleep anywhere unless interrupted.

    Alternative Caption: Verdammen Pigeons! Poop on der Fuherer will you ?

  5. The gunner doesn’t look too happy either. Probably because even with Good Soldier Schwenk hanging off the A/A tripod, the MG34 is apparently doing its usual very best to wander off target due to its 800-900 R/M rate of fire.

    I’ve always wondered why Wehrmacht MG34 gunners always seemed to have their off hands under the stock, as if pushing it upward. You’d think with its straight-line layout there wouldn’t be that much muzzle climb. I’d expect the off hand to go “over the top” like a Bren gunner’s.

    BTW, what the fellow underneath is doing seems to have been SOP for the MG34 tripod. See Plate 9 in the photo section between pages 128 and 129 of Guns of the Third Reich by John Walter (London; Greenhill, 2004).



    • Placing the non firing hand under the stock supports it when firing and doesn’t get in the way of a good chin weld and sight picture.

    • They did it that way because that was the doctrine, and the stock was shaped to do it that way.

      Anyway, the German MG’s tend to rock on the bipod rather a lot (I know, I’ve fired them) because there’s no limit to the bipod’s movement, unlike a BREN, a MAG or similar. You can’t push into it, cos it just folds on you. IMHO, a major design flaw which causes the burst to track up, down, or up then down depending on what angle the bipod starts at and how long your burst is.

  6. One thing we do know for sure. We know which soldier was the senior man on that gun team.

  7. I have also seen several photos in which the standing assistant gunner supports the barrel of the MG34 on his shoulder, grasping the bipod, so I think that must have been an approved method of using the machine gun, and one which would surely have made the poor man’s ears ring badly.

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