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Old May 29, 2013, 10:18 PM   #15
James K
Member In Memoriam
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 24,383
The disintegrating link belt was designed to be used interchangeably with the cloth belt, but of course did not exist until the 1930's, so any pictures before that will obviously not show the steel link belt, only the cloth type. The link belt was originally intended for aircraft use since cloth belts were not very compatible with wing guns. They did design a spring loaded drum to wind up the cloth belts, but disintegrating links proved better; a special chute dropped the links out of the plane. (I once mentioned this on another site and was asked, so help me, if the pilot was worried about the links hitting someone on the ground!)

Note that M1919 converted to 7.62 NATO cannot use the push-through link belt made for the M60. It uses the same pull-back links as the .30 caliber gun.

The first push-through link belts, used by the Germans in the MG.34 and MG.42 are not disintegrating; the links are attached to each other by coiled wire. Like the cloth belts, they could, in theory, be reloaded and reused. I suspect theory didn't "cut much ice" during a Russian winter.

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