Weapons - MG 34

"MG 34"

MG 34 crew

A German MG34 machine gun nest with a team of 3 members (gunner, ammo-carrier and spotter) scanning the battlefield. The term “machine-gun nest” identifies a defensive position dug on the ground to maintain the lowest possible profile, minimizing detection by the enemy. Procedure called for higher ground on the back of the soldiers to minimize silhouetting. The team has set up the MG34 on a tripod to maintain the machine gun stable on the ground and to increase practical range. The rate of fire was so prodigious (900 rpm) that the gunner would lose aim if fired from the arm only. Belt-fed ammo (250 rounds) allowed long cadence of fire. However, this meant faster heat generation that could bend the barrel. So, after a long burst (250 rounds) the gunner changed the barrel, a task that took 15 seconds to complete. A bipod was available alternatively. In this case, the gunner would fire shorter burst of fire using 50-round magazines. The machine gun sits some 15-20 cm (6-8 in.) from the ground to prevent the enemy from avoiding fire by hugging the terrain. The MG42 started to replace the MG34 in 1942 (after Barbarossa).

Name MG 34
In Service 1934-1945
Total produced 577,120
Manufacturers Rheinmetall-Borsig AG
Mauserwerke AG
Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG
Waffenwerke Brünn
Caliber (ammo) 7.92mm (x 57mm Mauser)
Length (overall) 48 in (122 cm)
Weight with bipod 26 ½ pounds (12 kg)
Weight with tripod 42 pounds (19 kg)
Feed 250 round belts or 50 round drum-magazines
Rate of fire (cyclic) 900 rpm
Rate of fire as LMG (bipod) [practical] 100-120 rpm
Rate of fire as HvMG (tripod) [practical] 300 rpm
Change of barrel Every 250 rpm
Effective Range as LMG 600-800 meters
Effective Range as HvMG 2000 – 2500 meters
Muzzle velocity 765 m/s
Sights Iron sights, AA sights (ring), Telescopic sights
MG34 with bipod
MG34 with tripod