German MG-34 and MG-42 Machine Guns

Video: Side-by-Side Shooting of the German MG-34 and MG-42 Machine Guns

In World War II, Germany had two machine guns everyone else feared.

The German MG-34 and MG-42 machine guns had extremely high firing rates.

Ian of Forgotten Weapons fires both in a side-by-side comparison.

At the beginning of World War II, the German Army used the deadly MG-42 machine gun. That chain-fed light machine gun could lay down an impressive rate of 900-1500 7.92x57mm Mauser rounds per minute. Nicknamed "Hitler's buzzsaw" the sound was unlike anything else on the battlefield at that time. The allied nations facing this weapon were seriously outgunned. The problem for Germany was the manufacture of such a superb weapon was expensive and time-consuming.

Then, insert the German MG-34 machine gun. This weapon was cheaper and quicker to manufacture due to stamped parts. The firing rate was also reduced down to around 800-900 rounds per minute but variations of faster rates existed. This became the general-purpose machine gun of choice for Germany, surpassing the now-obsolete Maxim Machine Gun. Germany continued to field the MG-42s right alongside the MG-34s.

With quick barrel changes, spare barrels could be on hand when the overheated barrels became red-hot in combat. Soldiers used the machine gun as support weapons to keep the Allies at bay. The regular troops mainly carried Mauser Rifles and MP40-style submachine guns. The German armed forces were well-armed to take over Europe.

We'd like to give a special thanks to YouTuber Ian from Forgotten Weapons for keeping historical firearms knowledge alive.

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