View Full Version : WW1 light machine guns

Bart Noir
August 23, 2004, 01:56 PM
We (USA) didn't have a good LMG when we entered the ongoing war. It seems that Lewis offered his gun to the Army and was turned down, so he took it to the British. Result, thousands of guns proving themselves in the trenches and on the airplanes, but not in our hands. So we had to use the French Chauchat when our troops finally got into battle. And as you know, that was a less than sturdy design.

OK my question is: Did US Army use any of the Chauchat in the French 8mm Lebel caliber? I am reasonably sure some of those LMGs were made / converted to .30-06 which was tough on the guns, due to higher pressure. So did we also use some in 8mm? The answer will determine whether one of the Lebel cartridges belongs in my US Military cartridge collection.

For that matter, didn't we also use some of the Lewis guns? If so, in which caliber? I might need to put a .303 round in my US collection!

Bart Noir

August 23, 2004, 03:36 PM
To my knowledge we did not officially use the Chauchat in 8mm Lebel. I am sure some may have found their way into units, but they were trying to stick with US ammo for logistics. Allegedly it handles quite well in 8mm lebel, it's when the chop-job to convert to 30-06 occurred that it became a nightmare. Of course the open magazine is absurd in mud conditions too.

Allegedly we did not officially receive the Lewis guns because of politics. England wanted to use US troops to replace English losses in ENGLISH units. We of course said 'no way' and as a result the Brits decided not to give us Lewis Guns. Again, knowing the ingenuity and cleverness of soldiers, I'm sure some found their way into US soldier hands.

4 Wheel Drive
August 23, 2004, 06:11 PM
We actually had the BAR developed and could have been issued for WWI, but there was political aspects which prevented its issue. The Chauchat was a loose collection of parts in close formation, but was never a suitable trench weapon-the large witness holes in the magazine, not to mention that parts were not interchangable gun to gun.

September 1, 2004, 05:23 PM
The Lewis Gun was a U.S. design, but its use by U.S. forces was stifled by a personal feud between someone involved in the design and/or manufacture of the gun, and someone in the Army who was in charge of testing and/or approving weapons. I've read the story before, but can't remember all the details. It was clearly a superior design, but "the Army", in the person of this one guy, was able to keep it from being adopted for general use, and thereby settle some grudge.