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Old July 14, 2013, 08:12 AM   #31
Mike Irwin
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Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 35,643
"Japanese machinegun design was ..interesting. Quite a fair example of how NOT to do things. I understand that several of the different machine guns required either lower pressure ammo than the standard rifle cartridge, and/or lubricated ammunition."

Oiled ammunition was a requirement on every Japanese machine gun up to the Type 99, which finally recognized the need for primary extraction to keep from ripping the head off the cartridge.

The Type 11 was the hopper-fed gun. It was intended to provide a weapon that could support an infantry unit. The hopper feed was supposed to allow the gunner to grab ammo from infantry if he ran out.

Unfortunately, full-power 6.5 ammunition caused the gun to cycle too quickly and also magnified the lack of primary extraction.

Seems that the logical response would be to redesign the gun to allow for its use with the more powerful rifle ammunition and get away from oiled cartridges, but that wasn't the case. The Japanese simply loaded a reduced power round on stripper clips and issued those to the machine gunners.

Ammunition interchangeability, you're not happening today.

The early Japanese heavy machine guns were based liberally on the French Hotchkiss design. Had the Japanese simply copied the Hotchkiss, they would have been much better off, but Col. Nambu and his merry band of idiots tinkered with the gun just enough to make it less reliable and remove the primary extraction. Hence the need for oilers.

Depending on the mode gun, the Japanese employed 4 methods of oiling cartridges.

1. A small pump on the gun that would actually shoot a squirt of oil into the chamber as a round was being chambered.

2. A small reservoir that would drip oil onto pads or brushes what would coat the cartridge as it was chambered.

3. Pads in the magazine (or magazine loading tool, not sure which it was) that would coat the cartridges as they were loaded into the magazine.

4. Hand oiling cartridges as they are loaded into the magazine.

The Italians also never really caught on to the need for primary extraction. All of their guns needed oiled cartridges.

Speaking of guns and magazines, the Fiat-Revelli had a most unique feeding mechanism. It was a box that was essentially 10 five-round magazines side by side. The box was loaded into the gun, fired, and upon the last round chambering, was indexed to the right.
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