The Maschinengewehr 34 was designed by engineers at the Mauser factory at Obendorff, and major features of this superb machine gun included a quick-change barrel, connection of major components by bayonet catches, high-impact plastic stock, combined recoil booster and flash hider, straight-through design, and a system in which pressure on the upper and lower parts of the trigger produced semi-automatic and automatic fire respectively.
In overall terms, therefore, the MG 34 was not so much a light/medium machine gun as the world’s first general-purpose machine gun. In the light role the MG 34 was fired off a light bipod, with the Dreifuss 34 tripod mounting used for the anti-aircraft role. In the heavy machine gun role the MG 34 was installed on the Lafette 34 tripod mounting that could also be adapted for the anti-aircraft task.
Several other mountings were available to suit the weapon to service in armoured fighting vehicles, wheeled vehicles and fixed fortification, while there were also twin and triple mountings for extra capability in the anti-aircraft task. The MG 34 entered service in 1936 and remained in production and service until 1945. It was an excellent gun, and was especially notable for its accuracy and high rate of fire. The MG 34’s one major “failing” was its expense in terms of manufacturing cost and time.
- general-purpose air-cooled machine gun
- 7.92mm (0.312in)
- 1.219m (48in)
- Length of Barrel
- 0.627m (24.75in)
- 11.5kg (26.7lb) with bipod
- Muzzle Velocity
- 755m (2477ft) per second
- 50-round belt, 50- or 75-round magazine (900rpm)