Thursday 26 October 2017

MG-42 Manual

"Translation of a German document captured 3 km east of Rosino on December 1st, 1942, among documents of the 10th infantry company, 174th infantry regiment, 81st infantry division.

Directions on shooting from the MG-42 machinegun

The high rate of fire of the MG-42 results in a large consumption of ammunition. Use it with great discipline, and remember the following:

MG-42 as a hand-held machinegun

The high rate of fire of the MG-42 results in difficulty while aiming, due to the shaking after firing. Fire in short bursts. The best amount appears to be 5-7 rounds, as the machinegunner is capable of holding the gun in the direction of the target for that long. After 7 rounds, the dispersion cone deviates from the target, resulting in a larger amount of wasted ammunition.

Conclusion: short bursts with re-acquisition of the target.

In order to prevent the stock from slipping off your shoulder, do the following:
  • Place the bipod well
  • Press the stock firmly to your shoulder
  • Place your feet well
When firing on the move, the machinegunner needs to lean forward. The machine gun must be held by the belt, and must be firmly pressed towards the body with the right hand.

MG-42 as a mounted machinegun

Sustained aimed fire is not possible due to the high rate of fire and shaking of the gun. The dispersion cone moves away after 70 shots. Bursts longer than 70 rounds in length result in a waste of ammunition. Because of this, bursts should be limited to 70 shots, with rapid re-acquisition of the target afterwards. 

The resulting rapid heating of the barrel requires replacing the barrel after 200 rounds. 

In order to impede the shifting of the dispersion cone while kneeling or sitting, it is recommended to place two ammunition boxes on the middle leg of the gun mount.

Signature illegible

Send to:
  1. Army headquarters: 1
  2. All regiments that received MG-42s: 10
  3. All regiments that have not yet received MG-42s: 1
Note: The tactical-technical data on the MG-42 is missing. According to an interrogation from December 4th, 1942 (Bryansk Front), the MG-42 is allegedly a modernization of the MG-34. 

The MG-42 is heavier by one kilogram than the MG-34. Externally, the MG-42 differs little from the MG-34. Allegedly, the rate of fire of the MG-42 reaches 1600 RPM. Verification is required.

Confirmed: Senior assistant of the Chief of the 1st Department of the 3rd Directorate of the Red Army GRU, Colonel Dubenko."


  1. Actual RPM is 1200 rpm but what a great MG that was (is).

    1. Basically the Trope Codifier for the GPMG principle and modernised descendants are still in frontline service, so the design was certainly rock solid. (As "old warhorse" guns go the M2 BMG has it beat by a couple of decades, but then again HMGs are far more niche in application...) But the cyclic fire rate was definitely pointlessly high for normal infantry use.

    2. The rate of fire was officially 1300 to 1500 rounds / minute, but it does vary a bit depending on how much pulling is needed on the belt etc., as on all machine guns. Interestingly the 7,62 mm NATO version, the MG 3 has retained the high rate of fire, which can be varied by replacing lighter and heavier bolt mechanism. For peacetime, the bolt installed permits 900 / min (and less wear), for wartime, the bolt is replaced that still allows for up to 1500 round per min.

      Interestingly enough, the Red Army even produced its own printed manual for the machinegun, which apepars to be a Russian translated version of the original German manual.

  2. Yeah I'm glad I never had to carry ammo for it. Most infantry MGs have cyclic rates around 600 rpm and it's work keeping THEM fed.