The MG42, short for Maschinengewehr 42 or Machine Gun 42, was Nazi Germany’s most illustrious example of a general-purpose machine gun, developed by Mauser-Werke and used widely by Wehrmacht throughout the course of World War II.
It was designed and developed to replace the earlier MG34, both models named after the years in which they were produced, the 42 in 1942 and the MG34 in 1934. The 1942 model was cheaper to produce and simpler. Chambered in 7.92x57mm Mauser, the MG42 was capable of attaining and sustaining high cyclic rates of fire, much high than its predecessor, nearing 1,200 rounds per minute. Some variants were capable of producing sustained rates of fire of nearly 1,800 rounds per minute; so fast, in fact, that the sound of the machine gun operated was likened to “ripping cloth.”
Fittingly nicknamed Hitler’s Buzz Saw (and Hitler’s Zipper, among others), this machine gun infamous both for its ability to sustain fire effectively for long periods of time, made even more remarkable by the fact that it was paired with such a powerful cartridge.
This machine gun is a belt-fed, recoil-operated automatic weapon with an open bolt, which was used to great effect by German machine gunner crews throughout the second half of the Second World War. It was used by German gun crews to provide both direct and indirect fire support.
Due to its high rate of fire, machine gun crews were outfitted with special mitts to enable them to exchange an overheated barrel with a spare barrel to continue providing suppressive fire. In fact, its impressively high rate of fire, fearsome though it was, often led to the weapon exhausting its supply too quickly. Machine gun crews were instructed to deliver short bursts of fire and to adjust their aim between them, in order to avoid wasting ammunition.
The weapon’s design and operation have made it the most infamous German machine gun of the Second World War. If you’re interested in parts or accessories compatible with an MG42 or variant, please check our availability below or contact us at 610-250-3960.