MG3A1 (7.62 mm)

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The MG3A1 (7.62 mm) on top of the Leopard 2A4


The MG3A1 is a German 7.62 mm General-Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG). The MG3A1 is a post-war derivative of the MG42 machine gun, rechambered for the 7.62 × 51 mm NATO round and featuring other improvements. The weapon is primarily found as a co-axial or pintle-mounted machine gun on post-war German tanks. Being only a 7.62 mm machine gun it is largely ineffective against all but the most weakly armoured or open cabin vehicles.

Vehicles equipped with this weapon

Vehicles equipped with this weapon
Light tanks 
Marder  Begleitpanzer 57 · Marder A1- · Marder 1A3
SK-105  JaPz.K A2 · SK-105A2
Other  Radkampfwagen 90 · Ru 251 · Vilkas
Medium tanks 
Leopard 1  Leopard I · Leopard A1A1 · Leopard A1A1 (L/44) · Leopard 1A5 · Leopard 1A5NO2 · Turm III
Leopard 2  Leopard 2K · PT-16/T14 mod. · Leopard 2AV · Leopard 2A4 · Leopard 2 (PzBtl 123) · Leopard 2A4 (Italy) · Leopard 2A4 (Sweden) · Christian II · Leopard 2 PL · Leopard 2A5 · Leopard 2 PSO · Leopard 2A6 · Leopard 2A6 (Sweden) · Leopard 2A7V
M48  M48A2 G A2 · M48 Super
Other  AMX-30 Super · KPz-70
Tank destroyers  JPz 4-5 · M109G · RakJPz 2 · RakJPz 2 (HOT) · Wiesel 1A2

General info

Being a derivative of the MG42, the MG3A1 performs almost identically to it.

Available ammunition

The MG3A1 only has access to one default ammo belt consisting of Armour-piercing (AP) and Tracer (T) bullets, which has at most 13 mm of penetration.

  • Default: AP · T

Penetration statistics
Ammunition Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
10 m 100 m 500 m 1,000 m 1,500 m 2,000 m
AP 13 12 7 3 2 0
T 5 4 2 1 0 0
Shell details
Ammunition Velocity
mass (kg)
Fuse delay Fuse sensitivity
Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
0% 50% 100%
AP 853 0.01 - - - 47° 56° 65°
T 835 0.01 - - - 47° 56° 65°

Comparison with analogues

The MG3A1 performs almost identically to the MG42 but has a significantly higher belt capacity at 1,000 rounds instead of 150. Like the MG42, the MG3A1 has an extremely fast rate of fire compared to other machine guns at 1,200 rounds per minute.

Usage in battles

Due to the very low penetration of this weapon, it is largely ineffective against enemy armour (although you may be able to penetrate some vehicles with extremely thin armour). Instead, it can be used to incapacitate exposed crew members in open-topped vehicles, though they are rather rare to meet in the vehicles it is equipped on. The gun can also be used for ranging HESH and HE rounds as they have similar velocities marking enemy vehicles and obscuring the view of enemy players (shooting at their gun sight), and knocking down terrains like bushes and fences. As most tanks equipped with the weapon also have it in a pintle mount, it can also be used to defend against aircraft and helicopters.

Pros and cons


  • Extremely high rate of fire
  • Very good belt capacity, especially compared to the earlier MG42


  • Low penetration makes it ineffective against armour
  • Low damage


The MG3A1 is a German General-Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) chambered for the 7.62×51 mm NATO round, the weapon is derived from the war-time MG42 and bears a close resemblance to its predecessor. After WW2, newly founded West Germany was looking for a machine gun to equip the Bundeswehr (West German armed forces) and Rheinmetall was contracted to produce a new version of the highly successful MG42 from the Second World War. Since the original design plans for the MG42 were captured by the Soviets in the aftermath of WW2, Rheinmetall had to recreate the design by reverse engineering existing MG42s.

The new weapon entered service in 1958 as the MG1, rechambered for the NATO standard 7.62×51 mm and with other minor differences. While MG1s were being produced, existing stocks of MG42s were rechambered from the 7.92 × 57 mm Mauser round to NATO ammunition and designated the MG2. Throughout its service, the MG1 was upgraded with the MG1A1, 1A2, and 1A3 variants being produced. In 1968 the MG3 entered service as an improved version of the MG1A3. The MG3A1 is a variant of the MG3 modified for use on armoured vehicles. The MG3 family of weapons is still in service with the Bundeswehr and several other armed forces to this day.



See also

MG3 variants:

External links

Tank machine guns
7.62 mm  M37 · M60D · M73 · M240 · M1919A4
12.7 mm  FN M3P · M2HB · M80 · M85
5.56 mm  MG4
7.62 mm  C6 · MG3A1
7.92 mm  MG13 Dreyse · MG34 · MG37(t) · MG42
12.7 mm  S.MG.50
7.62 mm  DT · PKMB · PKT · PKTM · RP-46 · SGMT
12.7 mm  DK · DShK · 6P49 · NSVT
14.5 mm  KPVT
7.62 mm  Browning MG4 · L3A1 · L8A1 · L8A2 · L37A1 · L37A2 · L94A1
7.7 mm  Vickers
7.92 mm  BESA
12.7 mm  L21A1
6.5 mm  Type 91
7.62 mm  Type 74
7.7 mm  Type 97
12.7 mm  Type 60 (B)
5.8 mm  QJT
7.62 mm  Type 55 · Type 59 · Type 86
12.7 mm  QJC88A · Type 54
14.5 mm  QJG02
7.62 mm  Beretta MG42/59 · FN MAG 60-40
8 mm  34/40M · Breda Mod. 38
13.2 mm  Breda Model 31
7.5 mm  AAT-52 · MAC 31
7.62 mm  A-A-F1N
8 mm  Hotchkiss Mle 1914
6.5 mm  ksp m/14-29
7.62 mm  ksp 39 C · ksp 58 · ksp 94
8 mm  ksp m/36 · ksp m/39B
12.7 mm  ksp 88