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MG 42
An MG 42



Entry into Service



7.92x57mm Mauser

Magazine Capacity

50 rounds, 250 round belt

Effective Range

1,000 m

The MG 42 (German for Maschine Gewehr) is a recoil-operated, air-cooled, 7.92mm cartridge machine gun that was utilized by the German Wehrmacht during WWII.[1]


The MG 42 had an extremely high rate of fire compared to other weapons at the time. It could fire 1,200 - 1500 rounds per minute. Since the bullets are traveling at such a great speed, you can not easily distinguish individual bullets. This gave it the name "Hitler's buzzsaw" or "Hitler's zipper".

It sometimes replaced the older MG 34 but both weapons were manufactured and used throughout WWII. The weight of the MG 42 was about 11.5 kg and the length was 121.9 cm.[2] It also had a 50 round drum or 250 round belt that was fed into the gun and it could not only be mounted on a bipod, but a tripod as well.

The MG 42 had to have its barrel removed and replaced after about 150 bullets. This was caused by extreme over-heating which itself is caused by the high rate of fire[3]. One drawback of the MG 42 besides overheating was that it was susceptible to failure caused by dirt clogging, but only in the most extreme of conditions.


The MG 42 was used on all fronts that German forces were present and it was also captured and used by Allied forces. The MG 42 was so tough an adversary for Allied troops that during training, troops were taught to know the distinctive sound of the MG 42. Other distinctive features of the MG 42 were the side handle and the fact that the MG 42 only had a single trigger.[4]

It was also used in famous battles such as the Invasion of Normandy and the Battle of Cherbourg. The MG 42 eventually became the inspiration for the MG 3 machine gun that would be developed for modern use. Another version of the MG 42 that was developed for modern use is the Austrian MG 74.



Vorlage:German Infantry Weapons