M73 (7.62 mm)

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The M73 (7.62 mm) on the M60A2.

The M73 is an American 7.62mm medium machine gun. In-game the weapon can be found predominantly as a co-axial machine gun on the M48 and M60 family of tanks (historically it replaced the earlier M37 (7.62 mm) machine gun on these tanks), as well as being mounted co-axially on some other rank 5 / 6 American 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
M48  M48A1 · ␗M48A1 · M48A2 C
M60  M60 · M60A1 (AOS) · M60A1 "D.C.Ariete" · M60A2
Other  M551 · MBT-70 · Magach 3 · T95E1 · XM-803

General info

Despite being a completely separate gun the M73 performs identically to the M1919A4 (7.62 mm) and its derivatives.

Available ammunition

The M73 can only be equipped with one ammo belt consisting of one Armour Piercing (AP) bullet, followed by one Tracer (T) bullet. Neither bullet has much penetration (maximum of 10 mm), however the AP bullet performs much better than the tracer bullet.

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 10 9 7 4 0 0
T 5 4 2 1 0 0
Shell details
Ammunition Velocity
Mass (kg)
Fuse delay
Fuse sensitivity
Explosive Mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
Normalisation at 30°
from horizontal
0% 50% 100%
AP 853 0.0108 N/A N/A N/A +2.0° 47° 60° 65°
T 835 0.0095 N/A N/A N/A +2.0° 47° 60° 65°

Comparison with analogues

The M73 performs identically to the M1919A4 and its derivatives (L3A1 & M37). Like the M1919A4 it suffers from a somewhat low rate of fire compared to other , similar, machine guns such as the BESA and L8A1, firing 100 rounds per minute less (500 compared to 600). The weapon also has slightly worse penetration than the BESA (7.92 mm), which is the main co-axial weapon of British tanks, although does get a larger ammo belt than other comparable guns.

Usage in battles

Due to the very low penetration this weapon it is largely ineffective against enemy armour (although you may be able to penetrate some vehicles with extremely thin armour). The gun is primarily useful for incapacitating exposed crew members in open topped vehicles (although there are few such vehicles at the battle ratings this gun is found at). The gun can also be used for ranging on some vehicles, as well as marking enemy vehicles and obscuring the view of enemy players (shooting at their gun sight). You can use the gun against aircraft however it does minimal damage, and being co-axially mounted on most tanks can often not be brought / kept on target against aircraft.

Pros and cons


  • Larger belt capacity than some comparable guns


  • Worse rate of fire compared to comparable guns
  • Low penetration makes it ineffective against armour
  • Generally low damage


The M73 is an American 7.62mm medium machine gun, unlike previous American tank mounted machine guns the M73 was designed from the start to use the the 7.62×51mm NATO round (instead of the 7.62×63mm ".30-06 Springfield" round). During WW2 the M1919A4 (7.62 mm) machine gun was the US army's standard co-axial mounted machine gun, and although being a proven weapon it had some limitations in the co-axial mounted role. After WW2 the army commissioned and improved version (the M37), but also looked to outright replace the M1919 with a newer design. The program to replace the M1919 was started in 1951 and faced a series of delays, eventually ending in early 1959 with the Springfield Armory's T197E2 prototype being selected for as the M73, and production starting the same year.

The M73 was predominantly fitted to the M48 and M60 Patton series of tanks, as well as the M551 Sheridan; it featured the ability to be fed from either side and other features which would in theory make it a good co-axial machine gun. In reality the weapon soon proved to be over complicated, and rapidly became highly disliked by tank crews due to frequent malfunctions and a very high rate jamming, compared to the extremely reliable M1919 and M37 they were used to. In 1970 an improved version, the M73E1, was produced in order to address the poor reliability of the original, and in 1972 the weapon was re-designated M219 (rumoured to have been done to try and try and remove the stigma associated with the M73 name).

The M73E1 / M219 again proved to suffer from extreme reliability issues and by 1971 the US army, and the weapons manufacturer, had decided the weapon was a lost cause and begun a replacement program, with with 8 different prototypes being produced (with 5 later being selected for further development). While the American replacement program was underway, on 6th October 1973 the Yom Kippur War started with Egypt and Syria invading Israel. During the 20 day long war Israel used their American M60 (designated Magach) tanks, armed with the M73. After their experiences using the M73 in battle the Israelis declared it unfit for purpose and demanded that the US replace the guns with something more reliable.

The US Army's replacement program was scrapped and they instead evaluated eight different, already existing, machine guns as a more rapid replacement. In the end they selected the Belgian FN MAG 60-40 (7.62 mm) machine gun to enter service as the M240, replacing the M73 on American and Israeli tanks.


An excellent addition to the article would be a video guide, as well as screenshots from the game and photos.

See also

Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:

  • reference to the article about the variant of the cannon/machine gun;
  • references to approximate analogues by other nations and research trees.

External links

Tank machine guns
7.62 mm  M37 · M60D · M73 · M240 · M1919A4
12.7 mm  M2HB · M80 · M85
7.62 mm  C6 · MG3A1
7.92 mm  MG13 Dreyse · MG34 · MG37(t) · MG42
7.62 mm  DT · PKT · RP-46 · SGMT
12.7 mm  DK · DShK · 6P50 · 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)
7.62 mm  Type 86
12.7 mm  QJC88A
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
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