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What advantages did the MG34 have over the MG42?

Discussion in 'Small Arms and Edged Weapons' started by Kommando, Jul 11, 2008.

  1. Kommando

    Kommando Dishonorably Discharged

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    What advantages did the MG34 have over the MG42? Or did it not have any at all? I know that the MG34 was the machinegun of choice when it came to German AFVs, so surely it must have had some advantage over the MG42.

    This is something I have wondered for a while, so I would highly appreciate an answer.

    /Kommando
     
  2. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    "Comparison of German Machine Guns" from Tactical and Technical Trends

    A report on versions of the WWII German MG 34, MG 42 machine guns, from Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 32, August 26, 1943.

    [DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]



    COMPARISON OF GERMAN MACHINE GUNS


    The following comparison and photographs of the German machine-gun model 34, 34 (modified), 34S, 34/41 and 42 are based on data received from the Aberdeen Proving Grounds.
    The MG 34 is a familiar weapon, and model 42 has already been described in Tactical and Technical Trends no. 20, p. 28 and no. 31, p. 37. This report is of interest because of its comparison of the variations of model 34 and the excellence of the detail of the illustrations.
    * * *
    a. MG 34 Modified
    The MG 34 (modified) is used principally in armored vehicle hull mounts and differs from the MG 34 in the following:
    (1) Heavier barrel jacket adapted to fit in ball type hull mounts
    (2) Absence of antiaircraft sight bracket
    (3) Simplified and easily operated firing pin nut lock
    (4) Bipod clamps for attaching bipod for emergency use.

    This model can be mounted on the antiaircraft and heavy ground mounts.
    b. MG 34S and 34/41
    The MG 34S and MG 34/41, are identical in appearance except for the perforated operating handle of the MG 34/41 (see figure 2) but are named in this report separately only because a definite effort was made to make them as distinct models. The reason for this is unknown. One description will suffice for both weapons. They differ from the MG 34 in the following:
    (1) Provision for full automatic fire only instead of full or semiautomatic fire;
    (2) Simplified trigger group with extensive use of stampings;
    (3) Barrel 3 1/2 shorter with enlarged muzzle end to accelerate recoil;
    (4) Simplified bolt and bolt-locking sleeve eliminating many machining operations;
    (5) Elimination of firing pin lock nut and substitution of a simple, easily operated, plunger type, catch recessed in the bolt carrier;
    (6) Larger and stronger ejector assembly located in the left receiver wall;
    (7) Larger and stronger buffer group;
    (8) Heavier recoil spring constructed of two lengths of woven wire;
    (9) Addition of a cocking lever catch to secure cocking lever in the forward position;
    (10) Modified feed mechanism providing a more secure trip on the cartridge.

    Both models can be used on the antiaircraft mount and although they appear to have been designed for mounting on the heavy ground mount, the clamp, fitting over the rear end of the barrel jacket cannot be secured when the gun is in place. A different trigger actuator is also required. The MG 34 and the models described above may be mounted flexibly in tank hulls.
    c. MG 42
    The MG 42 is a new design but has the same tactical employment. A few of the outstanding characteristics will be listed here. The MG 42 differs from the MG 34 basically in the following:
    (1) Extensive use of stampings in receiver, barrel jacket, cover assembly, and trigger group;
    (2) Provision for full automatic fire only;
    (3) Simplified bolt assembly allowing rollers to lock bolt to locking sleeve and eliminating locking lugs. The bolt carrier is a forging;
    (4) Simplified buffer mechanism with a very heavy spring;
    (5) A new and simplified quick change barrel is provided;
    (6) A more flexible feed mechanism is provided making for smoother operation.

    Bipod, antiaircraft and heavy ground mount are provided but these mounts are not interchangeable with those used with the MG 34. [​IMG][​IMG]

    http://www.lonesentry.com/articles/ttt/comparison-german-machine-guns-mg34-mg42.html
     
  3. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    MG34 was designed & largely manufactured in a pre-war age, where quality and tolerances could be as high as traditionally possible. This was it's weak point when the problems of actual wartime manufacturing and use reared their heads, both excellent guns with broadly similar performance but the finely finished 34 was no match for the 42 in resisting dirt, ease of production, and sheer simplicity of operation.

    Fitting in vehicles makes enormous sense when you have a large stockpile of fine and perfectly 'modern' guns being superseded in the infantry by a new type. Less dirt inside a vehicle to hinder things & finely (over) machined being in keeping with the design/manufacturing ethos of German armour.
    If I recall isn't the barrel on the 34 also changed by withdrawing to the rear? Awkward in the field but perhaps handy in a vehicle, and the 42's method might prove cumbersome while working in a confined space?

    Cheers,
    Adam.
     
  4. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    The New German Machine Gun—M.G. 42" from Tactical and Technical Trends

    The following U.S. military intelligence report on the German M.G. 42 machine gun was originally printed in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 20, March 11, 1943.

    [DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]

    THE NEW GERMAN MACHINE GUN--M.G. 42


    Recently captured specimens reveal that the Germans are using a new machine gun that is superior to their standard M.G. 34 in several respects. The differences from the M.G. 34 are:
    (1) The M.G. 42 is designed for faster and cheaper production by an extensive use of stamping and welding in the receiver, barrel casing, feed mechanism, operating handle, and antiaircraft rear sight.
    (2) It has an excellent barrel-change arrangement which is much faster than that of the M.G. 34. A simple movement allows a hot barrel to be removed from the gun and a fresh, cool barrel inserted with a reverse movement.
    [​IMG]
    (3) It has an improved method of locking the barrel to the bolt as a round is fired.
    (4) There is no provision for semi-automatic fire as in the M.G. 34 with its double trigger (one for full automatic and one for semi-automatic fire).
    (5) Cyclic rate of fire has been stepped up to 1,050 rpm in the M.G. 42 as compared to the 900 rpm of the M.G. 34.
    The above changes eliminate many of the intricate machine-tool operations needed for the bolt and other parts of the M.G. 34. The M.G. 42 uses the same ammunition, ammunition belt, and drum or belt box as the M.G. 34. It is generally handled and stripped in the same manner. There is some difference in the method of attaching the bipod and the antiaircraft ring sight. Also, the slots for attaching the gun to a tripod incorporated into the receiver of the M.G. 34 are not present on the receiver of the M.G. 42; it is therefore probable that the M.G. 42 is designed to use a different tripod than does the M.G. 34.


    The New German Machine Gun—M.G. 42, WWII Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 20: March 11, 1943 (Lone Sentry)



    "More Details of the German MG 42" from Tactical and Technical Trends

    A U.S. report on the German MG 42 machine gun in WWII, from Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 31, August 12, 1943.

    [DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]



    MORE DETAILS OF THE GERMAN MG 42


    While an account of the new model 42 dual-purpose machine gun was published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 20, p. 28, further details of this light and fast-shooting weapon are now available. The locking mechanism is novel to those familiar with machine guns other than the Russian Degtyarev. The present standard dual purpose machine gun of the German Army is the MG 34; the latest known type of German machine gun to have been captured is the MG 42. It seems evident that this weapon is designed to replace the MG 34 although the actual extent of replacement is not known. (For additional details on these weapons see "German Infantry Weapons", Military Intelligence Service, Special Series No. 14 dated May 25, 1943.)
    [​IMG]
    Weight with bipod 23 3/4 lbsLength overall48 inLength of barrel21 3/4 inWeight of barrel3 lb 14 1/4 ozCyclic rate of fire1,100-1,350 rpmMountingbipod or tripodCaliber7.92 mm (.311 in)
    There is no provision for single shots.
    a. Comparison with MG 34
    By comparison with the MG 34, several interesting new features are noted:
    (1) Locking System
    In place of the Solothurn rotating bolt-head of the MG 34, the locking of the bolt to the breech of the barrel is achieved by a wedge, which forces outward, and into suitable recesses in an extension of the breech of the barrel, two rollers on the head of the bolt. As the principle is not familiar to many, at least in its application to ordnance, a simplified diagram illustrative of its action is shown [​IMG] in figures 1 and 2, and a detailed sketch of its application to the MG 42 machine gun is shown in figure 3.
    (a) Explanation of the Principle
    It is desired to lock interior tube B (figure 1) securely, but temporarily, to exterior tube A. This locking is accomplished by means of circular (or in some cases spherical) bodies C, which are forced outward through holes E in tube B, into recesses in tube A by means of wedge F, actuated by spring G. When the spherical bodies C are in the position shown in figure 1, inner tube B is free to move within exterior tube A, but when spherical bodies C are thrust outward through the apertures in tube B and engage in the recesses in tube A, the two tubes, A and B are firmly locked together (see figure 2).
    (b) Application in Model 42 MG
    This principle is applied in the Model 42 machine gun as follows (see figure 3). On firing barrel A and barrel extension B recoil to the rear until rollers C are cammed inward by fixed cams D unlocking bolt head E and retracting firing pin F. The bolt carrier G and bolt-head continue to the rear guided by fixed guides H while barrel and barrel extension return to battery. On the return of the bolt, the impact of the roller with the camming surfaces I, the "spherical bodies" of figure 1 and 2 on the barrel extension carry the rollers from their seats, and, together with surfaces J on the bolt head, force the rollers outward locking the bolt head to the barrel extension. The initial outward motion of the rollers also frees the firing pin holder K which is driven forward by spring pressure insuring complete locking (by wedging rollers outward) before the firing pin can strike the primer. To extract the bolt-head from the barrel extension, the rollers must be pressed back with the thumb and finger inserted into grooves in the receiver. The bolt-head can then be pulled out.
    By this system, the gun attains a rate of fire of 1,100 to 1,350 rpm which would appear to be unnecessarily high for a ground gun, though of obvious value for AA fire; the cyclic rate of fire of the MG 34 is from 800 to 900 rpm. Preliminary trials show, however, that this high rate of fire has not been obtained without a certain decrease in accuracy compared with the MG 34.
    [​IMG]
    b. Barrel Changing
    The frequent barrel changing necessitated by the high rate of fire is met by the introduction of a rapid and efficient barrel-changing device. A barrel-change lever is hinged in the right side of the barrel casing, and can be swung outward bringing with it the barrel, which lies in a metal loop attached to the inside of the change lever. The barrel can then be slid out to the rear.
    c. Unusual Feed Mechanism
    Feed is by continuous metal belt through a feed block. As in the MG 34, operation is by a feed arm housed in the feed cover. In the MG 42, however, two feed pawls are linked to the front end of the arm by an intermediate link, in such a way that when one is feeding, the other is riding over the next round in the belt. The effect of this is that feed is in two steps instead of one step as in the MG 34, and is therefore much smoother. d. Construction The extensive use of pressing, rivetting and spot-welding in the construction (there are very few machined parts) gives the gun a less-finished appearance than is usual in German weapons. Considerable effort has been made to lighten the gun without the loss of strength - for example by making holes in the operating handle. There is no reason for assuming, however, that its life and performance are not up to the usual German standard.



    Lone Sentry: More Details of the German MG 42 (WWII Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 31, Aug. 12, 1943)
     
  5. Kommando

    Kommando Dishonorably Discharged

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    Thanks alot for the replies, guys!

    /Kommando
     

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