Okay, so you may have realised that there hasn’t been any updates on this blog for a while and the weapons & the first world war series suddenly came to an end. This was due to a suddenly very busy period in my life and I felt unable to spend the time needed to continue with the blog, so I took a break, just until I felt I could resume writing. I am now at the point that I feel I can start again, but of course, I am now very behind on my schedule. For those of you that don’t know, I have all of my posts already scheduled in right up until Christmas so I have a lot of making up to do. Therefore I have decided to change the format of the current series slightly, whereby, on some posts there will be numerous weapons discussed, in order to try to catch up. There may also be the extra added post during the week so make sure you are following the blog to be notified when this happens. 

Enough from me, on to today’s post…

So today we are talking about machine guns and in particular two of them. The first is the Hotchkiss machine gun, which was invented by Benjamin Hotchkiss. It was gas operated as well as being naturally air cooled, which consisted of five circular rings inside the gun barrel, that design of which helped prevent overheating. It could fire 8mm Lebel ammunition, with a firing rate of 450 rounders per minute. The Hotchkiss machine gun had a maximum firing range of 3800m and weighed in at 100 pounds, meaning that it wasn’t a popular thing to have to move far. 

The Hotchkiss machine gun was first widely used by the French infantry in the later part of 1917, but was then also used by the American Expeditionary Force during the years of 1917 & 1918, when they arrived on the Western Front.

Moving on to the second machine gun and that is the Lewis gun. It was developed in America just before the outbreak of the first world war and was designed to be much lighter than any other guns in production at that time, weighing in at just 12KG. When war broke out in 1914, the Lewis gun was mainly used fitted onto armoured cars which could then be fired at German patrols. By 1915, it had been modified to be used both on land and in the air and was also bought in huge numbers by the British Army as their main infantry gun. The Mark IV tanks also carried the Lewis gun as their main weapon.

The Lewis gun was gas operated but the same as the Hotchkiss gun and also had a natural cooling process in the form of the aluminium barrel-shroud drawing in air and thus aiding the cooling process. It could fire at a rate of 500-600 rounds a minute and due to it being so lightweight, could be transported by just one soldier, freeing up men for other duties.

As you can see there were similarities between both guns. Make sure you check back next week to see what we are talking about next in our Weapons & The First World War series.