Browning Machine Gun

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The Browning is a family of machine guns developed by the firearms designer John M. Browning, whose designs helped establish the firing mechanism of each variant in one way or the other.

The Brownings in comparison with contemporary arms.

History and development

Ground-use

.30 cal (7.62 mm)

The Browning machine gun design details started with a patent filed by John Moses Browning in 1900, but work didn't begin until 1910, where he made a water-cooled version of the 1900 patent details. In another experiment, Browning built an air-cooled version of the machine gun instead to make a lighter machine gun. Though his inventions were made, interests in these machine guns by the United States military didn't appear until the declaration of war in World War I was issued in April 1917. Browning arranged for a test at the Springfield Armory with his machine guns along with the Browning Automatic Rifle. The machine guns impressed the spectators from its high reliability rate, firing more than 40,000 rounds during the testings without any parts failing. The Army then adopted the water-cooled variant as the Browning M1917, then after the war the air-cooled variant was also adopted as the Browning M1919. These machine guns were chambered in the .30-06 cartridge, but the production of a large quantities of the machine guns were problematic due to needing to set up the assembly lines, but once it was set-up, production soared in just a few months.

Browning M2HB, the most popular ground configuration of the .50 cal M2.

.50 cal (12.7 mm)

During the war, the limitations of the .30-06 cartridge came to light, especially in an anti-air and anti-tank role. In anti-air, the Germans introduced a heavily armoured plane named the Junkers J.I., which was impervious to the general rifle cartridges. In the anti-tank role, the tanks were immune to rifle fire as their intention were to advance the infantry deep into no-man lands and eliminate fixed positions. A larger caliber was requested by John J. Pershing in order to deal with these two new problems in the battlefield. Ordnance was then tasked to develop a machine gun using a cartridge at least 0.50 inches caliber (12.7 mm). This was due to experiences in the battlefield where the French deployed a 11 mm incendiary armour-piercing round. So in July 1916, John Browning redesigned his .30-06 machine guns for the new caliber size that Winchester was working on. The tests for the gun began on October 15, 1918 and fired at a rate of less than 500 rounds per minute. Testings found that the gun was too heavy, recoil made it uncontrollable, fired too slow for anti-personnel, and not powerful enough to engage armour. This was fixed with further improvements on the machine gun and cartridge and it then resulted in a water-cooled .50 caliber Browning machine gun, designated the M1921, which was used as a fixed anti-aircraft emplacement due to its heavy 121 pound weight.

After the war and Browning's death, the M1921 was examined for its various design flaws. The resulting improvement made the .50 cal machine gun into a very modular platform known today as the Browning M2. The M2 could be changed into various of configurations with different barrel jackets, barrels, and receivers, to a total of seven different types of the same gun. Production of the gun started in 1933, but the most popular of the variants was the Browning M2HB which featured a "heavy barrel" that resulted in a good balance in firing sustainability and a weight of 80 pounds for the ground forces. This gun is so good that it continues serving even today in multiple countries.

Aircraft-use

.30 cal (7.62 mm)

The usage of the Browning machine guns as the armament of aircraft started with the Browning M1917, which was adapted into the M1918, which was air-cooled. Though it never saw action during World War I, it was the main aircraft armaments for the Americans until the M1919. The M1919 in turn was adapted in to an aircraft armament as well, known as the .30 AN/M2, featuring a thinner barrel and receiver wall to reduce the weight. The anti-aircraft gun in turn weighed only 2/3 of the original M1919 and can achieve a firing rate of 1,200 rounds per minute. It saw service on most American aircraft before it was replaced by the bigger and more lethal .50 caliber.

.50 cal (12.7 mm)

Aircraft version of the Browning M2. Compared to ground variant, these have a moderately increased rate of fire, lighter receiver, and barrel.
AN/M2 Browning and M2HB Browning

The Browning M2 was also adapted into the aircraft mount, under the same designation AN/M2 (not to be confused with the M1919 variant, the M2's full name as aircraft mount was the Browning Machine Gun, Cal. .50, M2, Aircraft). The AN/M2 was much lighter than the original M2 at about 60 pounds and can achieve a firing rate of 750 rounds per minute. The M2 became main armament of nearly all American military aircraft in World War II and proved lethal to land and air targets.

During the war, there was an attempt to improve the aircraft mounted .50 caliber Browning with an increased rate of fire. Many parts were modified such as the bolt, barrel, and the buffer to withstand this change. This became the AN/M3 that had a rate of fire as high as 1,200 rpm. Though these arrived to late for mass usage in World War II, they served on later propeller aircraft and jets in the Korean War.

In War Thunder

Air forces

In the air forces, the Browning machine gun is the mainstay of the USA and is also featured in many planes of Great Britain. Early fighters are armed with the .30-06 or .303 however these are quickly replaced by the more powerful .50cal versions. These guns lack the hitting power of 20mms or larger cannons, but make up for it in sustained firepower and ammoload. Note that the AP rounds of the M2 and M3 have enough penetration to reliably destroy light pillboxes, a trait not found most other aircraft weapons outside of high velocity cannons.

Ground forces

In the ground forces, the Brownings are seen on nearly every American ground vehicle in the game, usually the .30 caliber variant as a coaxial and the .50 on a pintle-mount made for anti-aircraft. The British ground forces introduced recently also has some of their tanks with the Brownings, namely the America-derived ones. The Brownings, while ineffective against the standard tanks the ground forces go up against, are advantageous against light-skinned vehicles in the early tier battles as the M4 Sherman are the only tanks in the playing field with a high-caliber machine gun that can penetrate thin armour easily.

Belts

USA

Browning .30-06

30_Browning_belts

30_Browning_belts

30-06 Browning

Pros

  • Very large ammo loads
  • High rate of fire
  • Take a very long time to overheat

Cons

  • Very weak in terms of power.
  • Default belts contain ball ammunition with a tendency to glance off harmlessly.



Browning .30-06 Turrets

30_Browning_turrets_belts

30_Browning_turrets_belts

30-06 Browning turrets

Pros

Cons



M2 Browning

M2_Early

M2_Early

M2/early Browning USA

Pros

  • More powerful than the .30cals.
  • High rate of fire, though lower than the .30cals.
  • Accurate.

Cons

  • Weaker than cannons
  • Like the .30cals, default belts usually contain ball ammunition.



M2 /Late Browning

M2_Late

M2_Late

M2 Late Browning USA

Pros

  • Improved shells over "M2 Early", especially with full M20 "Tracer" belt
  • Very high shell velocity
    • Accurate.
    • Easy to lead shots with.
  • More powerful than the .30 cals.
  • High rate of fire, though lower than the .30 cals.
  • Tracer rounds have a high chance of causing fires.
  • Typically loaded with large belt sizes to allow for prolonged bursts.

Cons

  • Less burst damage than cannons.
  • Short bursts and grazes do not typically cripple enemy planes if critical areas aren't hit.
  • Like the .30 cals, default belts usually contain ball ammunition.
  • Lacking armour-penetration capabilities of cannons.


M3 Browning

M3

M3

M3 Late Browning USA

Pros

  • Electronically-assisted variant of the M2 offering a higher rate of fire.
  • Unusual great burst mass, exceeding most cannons.
  • High velocity shells decrease lead needed to score on target.
  • Ideal for snap-shots and jet ombat due high velocity.

Cons

  • Higher ROF leads to quicker overheat.
  • Ammo drain is very high.
  • Unusual high velocity throws of aim/experience from other arms
  • Difference in shells' velocity result in minor shotgun effect (M20 -> M23)



M2 Browning Turret

M2_Turret

M2_Turret

M2 Browning Turret

Pros

Cons


Great Britain

.303 Browning

303_Browning_belts

303_Browning_belts

303 Browning

Pros

Cons



.303 Browning Turret

303_Browning_turret_belts

303_Browning_turret_belts

30 06 Browning turret

Pros

Cons



M2 Browning

M2_Late

M2_Late

M2 Browning RAF

Pros

Cons



M2 Browning Turret

M2_raf_turret

M2_raf_turret

M2 Browning Turret

Pros

Cons



Additional information (links)

References