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7.7 mm Type 89 machine gun
7.7 mm Type 89.jpg
7.7 mm (modified single) Type 89 machine gun
Type Machine Gun
Place of origin  Empire of Japan
Service history
Used by  Empire of Japan
Wars World War II
Cartridge 7.7x58mm Arisaka
Action Gas
Feed system 69-round Drum
Sights Iron

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Type 89 refers to two families of unrelated Imperial Japanese Army aircraft machine guns. The first family is the recoil-operated Vickers gun. The Type 89 FIXED gun was a license-built version of the machine gun that armed the Vickers E-class tank, chambered for the Type 89 cartridge (see below). It was used in synchronized applications in fighter cowls and in wing gun applications. It was belt-fed, using a steel link disintegrating belt.

The Type 89 FLEXIBLE gun was a gas-operated twin gun. That is, it was made up of two mirror-image Year 11 Type LMG actions lying on their sides supported by a tubing cradle. The guns were fed from quadrant magazines loaded with cartridges on five-round clips.

The Type 89 (special) was the Type 89 flexible with the magazines modified to use a captive belt made up of five-round clips joined edge-to-edge. This is the version used in the Pacific War, having replaced the Type 89 flexible in 1937.

The Type 89 (modified single) is the flexible gun most often (erroneously) called «Type 89.» It is a single Year 11 Type action laid on its side and fed from a flat pan magazine. It also was used throughout the Pacific War in applications where the (special) was too bulky to fit.

The flexible guns were used as backseat guns and bomber defense and were pressed into ground and AA use, though their small caliber made them ineffective in all roles during much of the Pacific War.

When any reference is made to a 7.7 Type 89, it is impossible to tell which gun is indicated without more information.


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