Maschinengewehr 34 (Machine Gun 34) or MG34 is probably one of the worlds best machine guns ever made. Designed and built on contract by Rheinmetall-Borsig for the German Wehrmacht and subsequently used during World War II.

The Treaty of Versailles disallowed Germany to produce any rapid/sustained-fire weapons, but this was avoided by producing the gun in Switzerland, under the supervision of the company Solothurn. The goal was to produce an air-cooled machine gun, and one of the first prototypes were the Solothurn Modell 1930. Modell 1930 would serve as the basis for the later to come MG34.

Eventually, the production and development was moved to Obendorff where Rheinmetall designs later evolved to the Maschinengewehr 34.

The MG 34 could use both magazine-fed and belt-fed ammunition (the above-mentioned 7.92x57mm standard infantry ammuntion). Available were Doppeltrommel (double drum) saddle drum magazines of 75 rounds and gegurtete Munition (linked/belted ammunition) belts of 50 rounds and 250 rounds.
In the role as a light machine gun with bipod the weapon often was used with 50-round Gurttrommel, a small drum magazine containing the 50-round belt.To prepare the weapon to fire the drum magazines.

Life expectancy of the barrel was 5000 to 6000 rounds provided that it was changed according to manual. The MG 34 provided for a quick change of barrel: The barrel was connected to the main body by a hinge mechanism and to change the barrel, the body was simply swung to the side and the barrel could be pulled out without having disassemble the breech mechanism.

Although the MG34 was produced until the end of the war, it was later superseded by the more easily-produced MG42.

Calibre: 7.92x57mm GPtr.
Clip: 50 & 75 round drums. 50 & 250 round belts.
Rate of Fire: 1200 rounds/min.
Action: Fully Automatic, Blowback operated.

Back to German Infantry Weapons