WWII Training Video – German vs. American Machine Guns

    Right feared for its prodigious rate of fire, the MG-42 was nicknamed “Hitler’s Buzzsaw”. The US Army quickly learned that troops often hesitated when encountering the weapon, with its fearsome reputation and rate of fire overriding the common sense that it was indeed, just a machine gun and shooting that fast goes through a ton of ammo.

    After learning quickly, the US Army decided to do a bit about dispelling the myths around the MG-42 and various other weapons.  Titled rather boringly “War Department Film Bulletin Number 181,” the Army did a bit of truth-telling (and a bit of propaganda by itself) in comparing the two countries’ weapons including an SMG, LMG, and a HMG/tripod mounted machine gun.

    Weapons included:

    • SMG
      • Thompson .45
      • MP40
    • LMG
      • “Light .30” (on a bipod)
      • MG-34
    • HMG
      • “Heavy .30” (on a tripod)
      • MG-42

    Comparing “Accuracy” using US GI’s seems a bit biased, but the American machine guns put more lead on target across all three types of weapons – with the most pronounced victory going to the heavy .30 over the MG-42. Further, the video focuses on the efficiencies of American weapons in their consumption of ammunition.

    What do you think? Were the American weapons really that much more accurate or do you think a bit of propaganda is at work?


    TFB’s FNG. Completely irreverent of all things marketing but a passionate lover of new ideas and old ones well executed. Enjoys musing on all things firearms, shooting 3-gun, and attempting to be both tacticool AND tactical.