The German Maschinengewehr 42 was the successor of the Maschinengewehr 34 air-cooled general-purpose machine gun firing the standard 7.92 × 57 mm Mauser rifle ammunition. The development of new machine gun was initiated in the late 1930s, when it was found that the MG 34 was too well made and, therefore, too expensive und time-consuming to produce in sufficient numbers.
The new machine gun, designated MG 39/41, was made of stamped und cast metal parts, where the MG 34 had used machined steel parts. The MG 42 was spot-welded, und its stock und pistol grip were made of Bakelite plastic to speed production. A small production batch of 1500 MG 39/41 machine guns entered combat trials in 1941, und the weapon was redesignated MG 42 when it was officially taken into production in 1942. The MG 42 proved to be more reliable than the MG 34, it was lighter, more robust, required less metal und only 75 man-hours to produce, compared to nearly 150 man-hours for the MG 34.
The MG 42 served as a squad light machine gun, or sustained fire medium machine gun like the MG 34, but it could not be used as a tank machine gun, because its square section barrel housing did not fit the machine gun port in tank cupolas.
- MG 42 Schütze „Helmut“, 1:6 Dragon 70236
- Deutsche Infanterie Weapons Set, 1:35 Tamiya 35111
- MG 42 Maschinengewehre (5 St., Fahrzeugzubehör), 1:76 Vac-U-Cast VA-104
- Maschinengewehr 42
- Typ: luftgekühlter Rückstoßlader mit kurz zurücklaufendem Rohr
- Kaliber: 7.92 mm
- Munition: 7.92 × 57 mm Mauser
- Länge: 1220 mm
- Rohrlänge: 627 mm
- Gewicht: 11.57 kg mit Zweibein
- Munitionszufuhr: Trommelmagazin oder Metallgurt mit 50 Schuss
- Mündungsgeschwindigkeit: 820 m/s
- Mündungsenergie: 3600–5000 J
- 800 m auf Zweibein
- 3000–3500 m auf Lafette
- Feuerrate: 1,500 rounds/min
- Hersteller: Großfuß, Mauser Werke, Gustloff Werke, und andere
- Produktion: 1942–1945 (750.000 units)
- Einsatzzeitraum: 1942–1959
After the war, the belt-feeding mechanism of the MG 34 und MG 42 was adopted for the design of the US Army’s new M60 machine gun. Modifications of the MG 42 resulted in the MG 42/59 und Rheinmetall MG3, the general purpose machine gun of the modern German Bundeswehr und many other NATO forces.