The development of machine guns in 1914-1918

The introduction of machine-gun technology changed along with changes in the strategy and growth of the number of weapons and equipment to the troops. At the beginning of the First World War machine gun parts "realized … they are an integral and fundamental part of a very infantry, and not a type of artillery "(L. Eymansberger). Guns began to be distributed in combat formations of infantry units (one unit to the right). First War, the British began to bring the number up to 4 units of machine guns per battalion (earlier in the battalion had 2 machine guns), but Lloyd George, Minister of weapons of so many said, "we square it, multiply the result by two, and the product again multiply by two — for good luck. " He had in mind not only the saturation of the units, and the creation of supplies. By the end of 1915 in the French army, the number of guns had been brought up to 20 units on the shelf. In 1916 in Russia planned to increase the number of machine guns and 32 units in the regiment. Easel MG significantly increased the power of defense, and in combination with Stitching wire and trenches infantry attacks doomed to failure. With echelonment defense in the advanced trenches instead of trying to keep groups of shooters guns. In the defense field except dig around the "nests" there derevozemlyanye, armored and reinforced machine gun installations. Armored planes, tanks, mortars and infantry support weapons — all their origin in almost all gun should. Changed and the requirements for machine-gun armament. Underwent configurations and ammunition — fighting claimed the act of the whole palette of cartridges with special bullets (tracer, incendiary, armor-piercing).

With machine guns offset a sharp "vacuum" in the combat formations of infantry. In 1915, the echelon deep waves came to replace the small chains. Guns have tried to move beyond the first wave of frisky taking a position (better — allow them to lead flanking fire), but very massive machine guns not kept pace with the advanced units and could only assist in the preparation of an attack. Despite this equipment machine gun units graphometer-quadrants stereodalnomerami binoculars and helped develop methods of fire in the gaps between their units and over his head. In the course of the war was growing demand for light machine guns, becoming one of the main infantry weapon systems. Light machine guns, heavy machine yielding in the intensity of the fire, everywhere can follow the small units and rapidly take up the position. Cavalry also favored light machine guns, as they are easier and even faster navyuchivalis and starred with Vyukov.

The development of machine guns in 1914-1918
Machine gun Shosha

Light machine guns for the war were worked even less than the easel, but the need for them was such a critical that everything was used — conversion of heavy machine guns (for example, MG.08/15 and 08/18 in Germany), the creation of new systems is quite successful ("Lewis" in the U.S.) or hastily hired by improvisation (machine gun "Shosha" in France). In 1916 there was a sharp increase in the number of machine guns in the armies of France, Britain and Germany. For example, already in 1916 first in each infantry brigade of the Army of England there was a machine-gun company of "Vickers" in the battalion office had machine guns, "Lewis". By 1917, France significantly increment issue light machine guns, heavy machine stopped producing.

The development of machine guns in 1914-1918
Machine gun Vickers Mk.I at the First World War
The development of machine guns in 1914-1918
Machine gun Vickers Mk.I at the zenith machine

In 1917-1918, in defense and in attack formed the group strategy — small infantry group gathered around the machine guns, are the basis of order of battle. AA Neznamov wrote: "The circuit inside the position was entirely inapplicable, the main role was played by the" group "with some guns or guns … Light machine gun provided a huge group of self-reliance and military value. " In the German Reichswehr were made assault teams and groups who are in dire need of a light automatic weapons. In the areas of head impact reinforced infantry division light machine guns. In addition, machine-guns, which moved swiftly and simply hiding, intensified guarding, defense, advanced trenches, and counterattacking group. Important is the fact that the creation of machine guns was significantly cheaper easel that affected the growth rate of production. Light machine guns take the place of company and platoon firing means. In 1917, the German Reichswehr on the Western Front had about 16 thousand and 3 thousand machine-machine guns, but by 1918 the number was 28 thousand and 56 thousand respectively (ratio 1:2). In 1917, the French army had about 13 thousand and 91 thousand machine-machine guns (the ratio of 1:7, the French after the war attempted to reincarnate in the calculation of light and heavy machine guns in nearly all the infantry).

Exciting the sample to create a "universal" machine guns, in Germany — on the basis of machine guns and MG.08 MG.15nA, England — on the basis of a light machine gun, "Lewis". Britain, France and Germany had more production capacity of light automatic weapons — and, as it should, and for the development of group strategy — than our homeland. Despite this, the Russian command also resulted in a higher proportion of rifles, machine guns.

At the Inter-Allied Conference in January 1917 Our homeland said that the need for a company of 8 guns, machine guns, in other words, to 128 units in the Infantry Regiment and 36 Cavalry units, plus required for aircraft machine guns. But these plans were not realized.

The development of machine guns in 1914-1918
Manual gun MG.08/15

Calculations for a more active use of their machine guns supplied with portable shields (instead of shields on the machines) and the "shells." "Armo
r" and "breastplate" intensively used office machine guns assault groups of the German army.

But the machine guns used at the time, were too heavy. It was the prerequisite of a number of "intermediate" types of guns that were previously just would not have the right to exist. As machine guns appeared between the heavy machine gun and automatic rifle failed, so between the machine gun, a pistol and an automatic rifle and machine gun appeared submachine gun, who later defected to the category of personal weapons. Italian double-barreled "Villar Piroz" standard 1915 system with broneschitom A. Revelli and bipod was intended to defend the trenches with small ranges. Not a very successful system Revelli, due to the simplicity of production could vary in the Italian part of the trenches, "Vickers" and "Maxim". A more successful race machine gun MR.18 "Bergmann" (Germany), made by Schmeisser "Karabina" scheme for long years has led to the future development of the submachine guns.

In Russia, the problem of easy group automatic guns decided VG Fedorov. Colonel Fedorov in January 1916, the state of automatic weapons in the allied armies evaluated as follows: "They order a gun, machine guns and automatic rifles are not. At the current time guns guns are, of course, more important than the rifle. I think, for our army only question the need for broad tests of different systems of automatic rifles and shotguns, machine guns in combat criteria. With all of this in the shortest time necessary to order from 3 to 5 thousand rifles with ammunition store at 20-25 and able to conduct continuous fire. " Due to a significant alteration of its most experienced rifle standard 1913 Fedorov made a "hand gun gun" (which was later dubbed the "automatic"). The newest design, he has brought such innovation, as a translator fire mode, shortening the barrel, removable front handle and store hold. This first "assault" automatic gun was intended to be a means of supporting small units (up to half of the department). 6.5-mm "hand-gungun"Successfully tested in the squadron. The fall of 1916, eight 7.62-mmillimetrovyh guns with automatic rifles had been delivered to a specially formed a separate company of the 189th Infantry Regiment of Izmail. This company was to test the group policy (calculations "guns guns" were supplied, for example, portable broneschitami and optical sights), but when you get to the Romanian front, they did not have time to show themselves. Put on the creation of a 6.5-millimeter "hand-gungun"Before 1918 could not.

Zabugornyh of models developed at the time, close the decision was "automatic rifle Browning 'shop which was designed for 20 rounds, and adopted in the United States as a light machine gun. Manual light machine gun Farkauera Hill (United Kingdom) there was only a very experienced model. In Germany, the most experienced automatic rifle "Mauser" in the years 1910-1913 was complemented by a translator fire as a 25-munitions store. But this rifle was done only in aviation. Create a satisfactory system of light machine gun could only in the late 20's — early 30's. At the same time, rifles and sub-machine guns, which were created as a substitute for a light machine gun, fled into the category of personal weapons. The appearance of tanks and combat aircraft has become a prerequisite of a type-1 machine gun — mnogokaliberny gun. In 1917, the French company "Hotchkiss" has released a 11-millimeter gun MIe 1917 "Ballun." It was intended for firing at balloons. MIe 1917 "Ballun" was developed under an old cartridge "Play" has a newly designed incendiary bullet. In 1918, Germany made a 13.32-mm machine gun TuF. But these models were bad — at first because of his own awkwardness and characteristics of plants. In Russia the question of creation mnogokalibernogo gun is not rising. At the same time, the Russian army, as in the British and German armies to destroy air and ground targets used small-caliber automatic guns.

The development of machine guns in 1914-1918
Heavy machine gun Hotchkiss for mod. 1914 Visible box for hard-tape cassettes

The first global war has become a prerequisite for rapid growth shred machine guns in the arsenal of troops. On the French Army infantry battalion in 1914, had two machine guns (machine guns were out) in 1916 — 8 machine guns and 24 light machine guns, in 1918 — 12 machine guns and 36 light machine guns. In Germany, an infantry battalion in 1914, had two machine guns (machine guns were also missing), in 1916 — 8 and 12 heavy machine guns, light machine guns, in 1918 — 12 machine guns and 24 light machine guns do32. On an infantry battalion of the Russian Army in 1914, had two in 1916 — 8, in 1918 — from 8 to 12 heavy machine guns. Armed with machine guns were missing.

On average firepower battalion in the German and French armies grew by 2.5 times, and the number has decreased by 40-45%.

Changing the density of fire means a kilometer of the front and the relation between the cannons and machine guns can behold by averaging the numbers:
Russian troops to 01.10.1914, the guns — 2.6; guns — 5.2;
German and Austrian troops to 01.10.1914, the guns — 1.8; guns — 2.3;
Russian troops to 01.10.1917, the guns — 11.6; guns — 4.5.

In the Russian army in 1914 — 1917 years the number of machine guns was increased 6-fold (from 4152 to 23.8 million), the German army during the same period — 9 (from 12 thousand to 104 thousand) in the Austro- Hungarian — to 16 (2761 to 43.7 thousand), in French — 20 (from 5 to 100 thousand, the main increase was in the machine-guns).

Based on: S. Fedoseyev — Guns in the First World War

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