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FM 24/29
LMG 24 29 2.JPG
LMG 24/29
Type Light machine gun
Place of origin  France
Service history
In service 1925-1950s
1930s to 2000-2006 (National Gendarmerie)
Used by See Users
Wars World War II
First Indochina War
Algerian War
Suez Crisis
Vietnam War
Cambodian Civil War
Production history
Designed 1924
Manufacturer Manufacture d'armes de Châtellerault
Variants M1924/29D
M1931
Specifications
Weight 19.7lb
Length 1080mm
Barrel length 600mm

Cartridge 7.5×54mm French
Caliber 7.5mm
Barrels 1
Action Gas
Rate of fire 450 rpm
Muzzle velocity 830 m/s (2,722.4 ft/s)
Feed system 25 round detachable box magazine
Sights Iron

The Fusil-mitrailleur Modèle 1924 M29 was the standard light machine gun of the French Army from 1925 until the 1950s and was in use until 2000-2006 with the National Gendarmerie. It fires the French 7.5mmx54 round which is equivalent in ballistics and striking power to the later 7.62×51mm NATO (.308 Winchester) round. A robust and reliable weapon partly derived from the BAR action, the FM 1924 M29 soldiered on, practically without interruptions, for more than 50 years.

Development

After the end of World War I, the French army sought to replace the problematic Fusil-mitrailleur mle 1915 CSRG light machine rifle (better known as the Chauchat). French commanders considered standardizing on the American M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR), but eventually required the development of a locally built weapon. MAS (an abbreviation of Manufacture d'Armes de St. Etienne - one of several government-owned arms factories in France) proposed a direct derivative of the BAR, but the Manufacture d'Armes de Châtellerault (MAC) won the bid with its weapon, which was partly derived from the BAR action. It had been formulated and designed by a Lt Col Reibel assisted by Controller Chosse.

The FM Mle 1924 entered production in late July 1925 and saw first operational use in Morocco in May 1926. It was immediately well received and even favorably compared in performance with the much heavier Hotchkiss machine gun. However problems created by the new 7.5mm ammunition did appear. In particular, 8mm Mauser ammunition which was used in captured Mauser rifles carried by auxiliaries in Morocco during the Rif War, could be chambered and fired with disastrous results. This situation led to the development of a slightly shorter 7.5x54mm round, which was retained in 1929 as the standard ammunition for all future rifles and light machine guns in French service. The modified fusil-mitrailleur modèle 1924 modifié 1929 (FM Mle 1924 M29) was mass-manufactured (187,412), beginning in 1930. In addition to these newly manufactured guns some 45,530 older FM Mle 1924's, already in service after phasing out the Chauchat, were rebarreled in order to accept the newer 7.5X54mm ammunition.

Both the original fusil-mitrailleur Mle 1924 (automatic rifle, model of 1924) as well as the modified Mle 1924 M29 have the same overall features: a folding bipod, an in-line stock, a pistol grip, a top-mounted 25-round detachable magazine and a bolt hold-open after the magazine's last round had been fired. There are two separate triggers: the trigger in front for using semi-automatic fire only and the rear trigger for firing on full automatic . Protection of all the openings against mud and dust was excellent. The cyclic rate was 450 rounds per minute. In general,this new weapon was accurate and highly reliable but the barrel was screwed well into the receiver, as in the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR), and thus it could not be separated quickly and easily in the field as for the British Bren gun. The French Army instruction manual ( July 1925 ) recommends not to go beyond 400 rounds of uninterrupted firing since at that point the gun needs to be given a pause of ten to fifteen minutes in order to cool off. But instead, the French instruction manual recommends the following routine for the FM 1924 : fire 4 to 5 detachable magazines ( 100 to 125 rounds ) then take a short pause, then keep repeating that same restrained fire plus short pause routine which permits steady performance and very extensive firing periods.

Operational use

French foreign legion airborne of the 1 REP firing a FM 24/29 during a Viet Minh ambush (1952).

The FM 24/29 was the standard squad-level automatic weapon of the French infantry and cavalry at the start of World War II. After the French surrender in World War II, the Germans captured large quantities of this weapon, which they used operationally until the end of the war.

From 1943 on, as the French army was re-equipped and re-organized in North Africa with Allied support, the FM 24/29 was kept in service, as French troops considered it superior to the Browning Automatic Rifle.

The FM 24/29 was the workhorse in the First Indochina War and served in the armed forces until after the end of the war in Algeria. It was replaced by the AA-52 general-purpose machine gun in the 1960s, but it was still in use with National Gendarmerie regional brigades until 2000-2006.

Variants

Model 1924/1929D machine gun

Model 1924/1929D mounted in a firing port of the Maginot Line.

The Model 1924/1929D machine gun was a variant of the MAC 24/29, adapted to firing from interior firing ports in the bunkers of the Maginot Line.[1]

M1931

A modified version of the gun, the M1931, with a heavier barrel and drum feed was produced for installation in tanks and fortified emplacements. The rate of fire of this version was raised to 600 rounds per minute. Production ran from 1931 to 1940.[2]

Users

  •  France: First adopted by French Army in 1924.[3] Also saw service with the National Gendarmerie.[4]
  •  Poland: Only the M1931 version on Hotchkiss H-39 and Renault R-35 tanks, acquired in 1939.[5]
  • Nazi Germany Germany: Captured weapons. The mle 1924/29 served as Leichte MG 116(f); the 1931 model served as Kpfw MG 331(f).[6] The few surviving Mle 1924 models were given the designation Leichte MG 115(f).[7] There was also a Fremden Gerät number for a Leichte MG 107(f), with the original name given as "Fusil-mitrailleur «Lewis» mle 1924" chambered in either 8mm x 50R Lebel or in 6.5mm x 55 Mauser,[8][9] but this was French variant of the Lewis gun.[10]

See also

References

  1. http://armesfrancaises.free.fr/FM%20Mle%2024-29%20(D).html
  2. http://world.guns.ru/machine/mg96-e.htm
  3. http://world.guns.ru/machine/fr/mac-m1924-e.html
  4. armesfrancaises.free.fr/FM Mle 24-29.html
  5. http://www.derela.republika.pl/weap.htm
  6. Chris Bishop (2002). The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc.. p. 241. ISBN 978-1-58663-762-0. 
  7. Peter Chamberlain; Terry Gander (1974). Machine guns. Arco Pub. Co.. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-668-03608-5. 
  8. img246.imageshack.us/img246/1087/lewis24.jpg
  9. forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?209355-Lewis-automatic-rifle
  10. Machine guns, World War II fact files by Peter Chamberlain, Terry Gander Arco Pub. Co., 1974, ISBN 0668036087, pp. 44-45

Bibliography

  • Ferrard, Stéphane. France 1940 l'armement terrestre, ETAI, 1998, ISBN 978-2-7268-8380-8
  • Philippe Truttman, La Muraille de France ou la Ligne Maginot, Gérard Klopp éditeur, 1985.
  • Claude Lombard, La Manufacture Nationale d'Armes de Chatellerault, 1987, Editor : Brissaud,162 Grande Rue,Chatellerault. A technical history of all the military firearms developed and manufactured at Chatellerault . This volume includes a very detailed technical chapter dealing with the FM Mle 1924 and Mle 1924-M29. ISBN 2-902170-55-6 ( in French ).
  • "Instruction Provisoire de Juillet 1925 sur le Fusil-Mitrailleur 1924",Charles-Lavauzelle & Cie, Paris, 1928.

External links


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