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Just reading the thread on MG34 etc.

In theory the belt fed mg is 'better' than a mag fed gun. However...

The belts can be a major problem. ever tried carrying belts through scrub, woods etc, they snag easily and if you lose a cartridge then you WILL get a jam. Much better to use a magazine and if your number 2 is good then he will be counting the rounds off and have a new mag in within 1-2 seconds of the last round of the old mag. In addition you have much less chance of a jam and if, when the mags are issued, you empty them and re-load with one less round than they came with then the chance of a jam is almost zero.

Of course belt fed MG's are 'better' in some circumstances, eg fixed position. But if you want mobile, reliable section fire support then give me a magazine fed gun.

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Guest R Cunningham

But it isn't always that simple. Take the M249 SAW. It is a LMG that can be both belt fed and magazine fed. Its primary feed is from a 200-round belt kept in a box attached to the bottom of the receiver. It would appear to offer the best of both feed systems. The magazine feed on it is abysmal. It greatly reduces ROF and is more cumbersome. I think the same can be said of guns like the MG34/42 that could operate both ways. The drums developed for them were not very effective.

I can't recall any US MG (.30 cal etc) that could handle magazines. In fact the only successful magazine fed LMG I can remember is the Bren.

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For the MG3 (direct successor of the MG42) we have a compromise. We (speaking as a former Panzermann here) clip a 200 rounds ammo box with a belt on the MG and this way have enough rounds without having the hazzle to handle the ammo belt itself.

The WW2 solution with the 50 round drum boxes wasn´t really ideal, because with both the MG34 and even more with the MG42 it is way too less ammo and if you have the choice between bearing 400 rounds belted in 2x200 or 8x50 ammo boxes you no question will choose the belts because they are much easier to handle.



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