Wednesday, July 11, 2018
In late World War Two the US Army developed a recoilless rifle that mounted on the same tripod as the .30 caliber machine gun.
This weapon is the M20 75mm recoilless rifle. It fires an artillery shell rather than the anti-tank shell of a bazooka. It's armor penetration was poor, but it was excellent for firing at pillboxes and bunkers.
This is the .30 caliber machine gun, used by the US Army from World War Two until the 1960's.
It is air cooled and mounted on a tripod. It can't fire the sustained fire of the water cooled machine gun, but it's much lighter.
This is the .30 caliber water cooled machine gun and in this configuration weighed over 100 pounds.
The chief advantage of this weapon is that as long as you keep water in the cooling jacket and ammunition in the feeder, it will fire continuously.
These are the heavy weapons that would be found in an American late World War Two battalion and continued in use in the Regular Army at least until well after the Korean War and in Reserve and National Guard units at least a decade later.
All of these weapons saw service with the US Army in World War Two, Korea, and Vietnam. Allied forces used them even longer and the Communist Chinese even copied the recolless rifle!