Maschinengewehr 42

The MG 42 - shortened from German: Maschinengewehr 42 - is a 7.92×57mm Mauser general purpose machine gun used extensively by the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS during the second half of World War II. It was intended to replace the earlier MG 34, which was more expensive and took much longer to produce. However, both weapons were produced until the end of the war.
The MG 42 has a proven record of reliability, durability, simplicity, and ease of operation, but is most notable for its ability to produce a high volume of suppressive fire. The MG 42 had one of the highest average cyclic rates of any single-barreled man-portable machine gun: between 1,200 and 1,500 rpm, resulting in a distinctive muzzle report. The only Allied automatic ordnance of any type with a similar calibre that was designed to exceed this rate of fire was the Soviet Union's .30-calibre ShKAS machine gun for aircraft armament, due to its "squirrel-cage" layout, ten-round "pre-feed" mechanism giving it a firing rate of 1,800 rounds per minute.
The MG 42's lineage continued past Germany's defeat, forming the basis for the nearly identical MG1 (MG 42/59), chambered in 7.62×51mm NATO, which subsequently evolved into the MG1A3, and later the Bundeswehr's MG 3. It also spawned the Swiss MG 51, Zastava M53, SIG MG 710-3, Austrian MG 74, and the Spanish 5.56×45mm NATO Ameli light machine gun, and lent many design elements to the American M60 and Belgian MAG.


Service history

In service: 1942–present as MG3

Production history

Designer: Werner Gruner
Designed: 1942
Manufacturer: Mauser Werke AG, Wilhelm-Gustloff-Stiftung, Steyr-Daimler-Puch, Großfuß AG, MAGET (Maschinenbau und Gerätebau GmbH, Berlin-Tegel)
Produced: 1942–1945
Number built: 423,600
Variants: MG 45/MG 42V, MG 1, MG 2, Rheinmetall MG 3, M53, MG 74


Weight: 11.57 kg (25.51 lb)
Length: 1,220 mm (48 in)
Barrel length: 533 mm (21.0 in)
Cartridge: 7.92×57mm Mauser
Action: Recoil-operated, roller-locked
Rate of fire: 1,200 rounds/min (varied between 900–1,500 rounds/min with different bolts)
Muzzle velocity: 740 m/s (2,428 ft/s) (s.S. Patrone)
Effective firing range: 200–2,000 m (219–2,187 yd) sight adjustments
Maximum firing range: 4,700 m (5,140 yd)
Feed system: 50 or 250-round belt
Sights: iron sight,or telescope