The St Etienne Mle 1907: France’s Domestic Heavy Machine Gun

The St Etienne Mle 1907: France’s Domestic Heavy Machine Gun


Hi guys, thanks for tuning in to another
video on ForgottenWeapons.com. I’m Ian McCollum, I’m here today
at the James D Julia Auction House up in Maine, taking a look at
a bunch of the machine guns that they are going to be selling in their
upcoming fall of 2017 firearms auction. Specifically today we’re gonna take a look
at this behemoth of a Gilded Age machine gun. This is a Saint-Etienne Model
of 1907 T heavy machine gun. Now the story of this really goes back to the late 1890s. The French military was investigating the
machine guns that were now becoming available with the advent of smokeless powder, and
like everybody else they tested the Maxim gun. But one of the problems was the French had a
lot of colonial possessions in Africa, especially in northern Africa and the idea of having to carry water
for the Maxim guns wasn’t necessarily well-received. At any rate, the Hotchkiss heavy machine gun
was air-cooled, so it avoided this water issue. And the French government ended up adopting it, not for
the standard French infantry but specifically for colonial troops. For the French infantry they really
wanted to have a domestically produced gun, designed and manufactured by their own arsenals. There
were a couple of reasons for this. One is simply national pride. One was the idea that you didn’t want to be dependent
on some commercial company for military arms, and I think they also in a very practical way simply
didn’t want to be paying royalties, or profit margins, to an outside company. They wanted to control all of
the production and development themselves in-house. So, having done all of this
testing of other machine guns, they set up to have the Puteaux Arsenal
develop its own perfect machine gun. What they came up with was really quite
far from perfect, the Model of 1905 Puteaux was an air-cooled gun, like the
Hotchkiss. It used feed strips, not the same feed strips as the Hotchkiss, but
the same idea. We’ll touch on these in just a minute. However, in order to avoid things like patent rights, the
Puteaux machine gun was actually a gas trap design. It captured muzzle blast from outside
the end of the barrel, and actually used that to … cycle an operating rod forward
and operate the whole machine gun. Gas traps are a pretty unique system. They were
used early on, not used by very many successful guns. The M1 Garand was originally a gas trap system, but it
was redesigned before it really went into serious production. The Germans experimented with them with the G41 M and
W rifles, but not a whole lot of other gas trap guns out there. So the French actually
tried this with a heavy machine gun. Now, not surprisingly, that
system didn’t work all that well, and they spent a couple of years
redesigning and redeveloping the gun. And what they came up with was this, the Saint-Etienne
Model of 1907. Now the big change here was they replaced the gas trap system
with a gas piston system down here. However, it’s a little bit of an unusual gas piston. Now
the mechanism of the Puteaux gun had been designed for an operating rod that was going forward,
so it actually had this big rack and pinion system, (it’s extremely cool and we’ll
take a look at it in a moment), but the whole mechanism is based on an
operating rod going forward, so when they … redesigned the guns to use a gas piston,
they had the gas piston go forward as well. Most of the time gas is tapped on the barrel of
a machine gun, and it pushes a piston backwards. On these it’s tapped and pushes the
piston forward. That seems unconventional, but really it’s no more complicated to
do then having the piston go back. It’s just which way do you want to direct the
gas when it comes out of the barrel? And by having the piston go forward,
they were able to retain pretty much the whole mechanism at the back end
of the gun without too much change. This model of 1907 machine gun now
worked a lot better than the Puteaux, it was a French arsenal designed and produced
gun, didn’t have to pay royalties to anybody on it, and so this is what the French government adopted, or the
French military adopted, as its standard infantry machine gun. And this is what they had going into World War One. Now the demands of World War One
would require them to find additional guns. And so they ended up buying a lot of Model
of 1914 Hotchkiss heavy machine guns, which is what they’d … been trying
to avoid doing in the first place. But really production of this in fact ended in 1917, and it
would eventually be replaced by the Hotchkiss after the war. Alright, I know we’re gonna get a lot of
questions about the metallic feed strips. There are some rational reasons to use
them. They are relatively easy to carry, they’re compact, they don’t rattle
around so much like a belt does, … you don’t have to worry about water. On
a cloth belt if the belt gets wet it can shrink, And … then cartridges can be very sticky
in the belt and hard to extract for the gun. Metallic strips avoid a lot of those problems. Obviously the big
issue with the metallic feed strips is that they are limited in capacity. You could have a several hundred round belt,
but with this you’re limited to 25 at a time. Well these guns were run by crews, and you had
an assistant gunner who was reloading for you, and it’s pretty obvious where this feed strip is…
you know, how much ammunition is left in it. And you could run these things pretty darn
fast, almost continuously, with a two-man crew. So … the limitation on rate of fire I don’t think is as much
of a problem as some people might suspect it to be. But it was enough of a hindrance overall that in 1916
(I think it was 1916, maybe a little later in the war), they did actually develop a 300 round
cloth belt to use in these guns, so. One of the other things that they did was in 1916
they instituted a number of changes to the gun. I mentioned at the beginning this is a Model
1907 T, that ‘T’ stands for Transformé, or transform, the updated, adapted, transformed,
version of the gun. And this is a 1907 T. They went back and retrofitted … all
of the existing guns to the new pattern. We’ll talk about the changes that were
made as part of that a little later on in this video. Well, let’s get started at the beginning. We have a gas piston out here this taps gas off the
barrel, remember we have a very heavy barrel here and then this is a cast barrel jacket
assembly to hold all the other parts to the gun. So inside this jacket there is a gas port on the barrel,
which taps gas down to here and vents it forward. Again, this was to avoid paying royalties to Hotchkiss for using
his concept of the gas coming down and going backwards. So when the gun cycles, this piston is going to
cycle forward in that housing, as you can see here, The gun is now cocked, the piston’s
all the way forward. When I dry fire it, that piston’s going to snap backwards
while the bolt snaps forward. We can see that actually working by opening up
the side of the gun. So we have a locking cover here, and then a door, it just gives us
very nice access to all the internals. Now the gas piston is this piece
right all the way down here. You can see it’s connected there to a separate part, so you
don’t have to machine all of this weirdness as one thing. But this is what’s going to cycle
back and forth when the gun runs. Re-cock it there, there we go. Now you can see the rack and
pinion working. By the way I’m holding the bolt here because it has a tendency to fall out if you cycle it
without being careful when the door’s open. Obviously the door is there to
allow the gun to be disassembled, so you can’t really fault them for having it
easily disassembled once the door is open. Now when the gun’s ready to fire, it’s in the rearward position here, and you
can see that this – this catch is the trigger. Let me hold the bolt back, Hmm, there we go. It wants to… It wants to fall out when I let go
of it, so we’re not going to do that. This catch right here is connected to the
trigger. We have this, this is an oil pot here, this is a hydraulic rate reducing assembly. It can
be turned on or off, and it can reduce the rate of fire from a maximum of 600 rounds a minute all
the way down to, allegedly, 8 rounds per minute. Yeah, incredibly slow, like
bolt action rifle fire sort of rate. And I did a little bit of testing and that
seems to be true, I’ll show you that in a minute. However, we have a couple other things
here going on that I want to point out. So obviously the star of the show is this rack and pinion
system which is just totally cool and weird, you know. (Let me go ahead and close this. There we go.) Alright, now I’ve got this
disconnected from the trigger again. What we have going on here is we
have a lifter, kind of like in the Lebel rifle. And we have an extractor right here,
and we have our main bolt face here. The way this works is when this goes all the way forward,
this extractor is on a piece of spring steel right here. It is going to snap over the rim of a cartridge. This is
where the the empty end of the feed strip is coming out, so right at this level we have live cartridges. This
is going to grab one, it’s going to pull it backwards. (Actually I need to cycle this forward, there we go.) So it’s going to grab one, pull it
backwards, and deposit it onto this elevator mechanism right here.
When the bolt’s all the way back right there, that elevator (which by the way is being pushed up
by this little nub on the operating rod, I believe everything in this gun is basically run by
protrusions and cams and things on this operating rod), anyway, this elevator gets pushed up, and now
when the bolt goes forward the bolt head here, the bolt face, is going to right about there pick up
the base of that cartridge, and start to push it up into the chamber here. Now right about there, the cartridge is securely held by the bolt face and the
chamber, and so now the feed ramp drops back down ready to accept another cartridge from the feed strip. Up here we have the trigger mechanism
cocking and uncocking. You can see… this lever right here is being held right there.
When I let this all the way forward it will drop (maybe …) There we go. Now it has fired. So this is the system set up to only release
the firing pin when the bolt is fully in battery. This fires from an open bolt, so
… normally you would charge it and leave it at the rearward
position until you’re ready to fire. And of course, as with all guns, you want it fully
in battery before the firing pin trips the cartridge. Now the next question is:
what actually locks this? The answer to that is this stud right here. So this whole piece right here, that you can
see me wobbling, this is all the bolt assembly. And this cam on this round cog acting in
this track is what pulls the bolt back and forth. This turns, that’s funny, it turns linear
energy in the op rod into rotational movement in the cam wheel, and then back
into linear movement with the bolt. But when it’s all in battery, right there, the bolt is … going to be pushed backwards by
the force of firing, it is going to hit this stud here. And because of the geometry of this slot, and where this is
positioned, and this is just below the axis of this centre line, this actually prevents the bolt from moving
back until the operating rod itself moves back, which then runs this cam and pulls the
bolt back manually. So, that’s how it locks. Hopefully this has made a bit more
sense of the internals of this gun, because I tell you what, they look super
awesome when you … open this door up. But then when you actually try and figure out
… how this gun works, it can be a little bit challenging. As you can see from the tag here, this particular
Model of 1907 Mitrailleuse, or machine gun, was made by Saint-Etienne in 1910.
It’s number 932, and this is a pretty early gun. During the war they would actually
retrofit a number of features on these guns, and they went back and made these
updates to older guns like this particular one. One of those retrofits was to replace the rear sight
elevation assembly with this cool easy-to-use wheel. This thing tells you your range in
hundreds of metres, so 600, 500, 400. And let’s see up here We got 700, 750, 850, 900 etc. all the way up to, I believe we can go out to 24, 2,300, 2,200 is where it maxes out. If you look at the face of the rear sight here,
you’ll notice it has two little drilled holes. Those are for luminous night sights.
There’s one on the front sight as well, which is pretty cool. The French did that
on rifles and also on these machine guns. I think the craziest, coolest… this is almost the coolest feature
I have ever seen on any firearm, ever, is this steel rod. And this is another one of the retrofits during
the war to the Saint-Etienne 1907 machine gun. Now the problem they’d seen earlier was that if you
shot the gun a lot, of course the barrel would heat up, and this barrel jacket, or body
casing, would also heat up. The problem is the two didn’t heat at the same rate, and the
front sight was attached to the barrel jacket, or the body casing. So the problem they had is when the gun got hot
the barrel would get hot and move in one direction, and the sight would get hot and move in a not quite
maybe the same direction, or not the same amount. And the way that they solved this
was to put a steel rod, it connects here and it connects to the set of springs and levers up here. This rod also gets hot as the gun and the
body casing get hot, it expands at its own rate and as it does it actually moves
the front sight against this spring. You can see that I can push the spring down
and we have these levers that are moving in here. That’s literally a calculated compensation
mechanism to keep the front sight moving at the same pace as the barrel
when everything starts to expand from heat. The amount of math, and trial and error, or calculation, or
material science that went into actually making that thing work, (and apparently it did work), is really quite
mind-boggling I think. That is just such a crazy device that I don’t even know what to say about it. So, instead of saying more about it, I will
point out that on the face of the front sight here, we have another little recess for radium
paint to give you a glow in the dark night sight. One of the other upgrades was a
new style of adjustable gas port. You might say this is the gross
motor skills version of World War One, they gave it this big rotating
dial to adjust the gas system. And, unfortunately, I think this one’s missing a
spring-loaded detent because it doesn’t snap into place. But you have positions that are marked here from 1
up to 10, and you have varying sizes of aperture there, and they swing through this gas port system in
the bottom, and so that is quick and easy to adjust. Presumably, it doesn’t get quite as hot as the barrel itself,
or at least you have these pegs where you can use an empty cartridge case stuck on there, or some
other tool to adjust them if the gun’s really super hot. Operation of the gun is actually pretty straightforward. It’s going to feed from this 25 round strip. You
would have cartridges in each one of these sockets. This is not interchangeable with
the Hotchkiss 1914 machine guns. Keep in mind that when the French
… military was developing this gun they anticipated it fulfilling all of their needs, and so there
wasn’t any real reason for them to make the feed strips interchangeable with Hotchkiss’ commercially
sold guns that other countries were buying. Anyway, you load this up, the flat side goes on
top, and it feeds in with this solid edge at the front. So it goes in just like that, and it’s going to
slide nicely all the way through the action. I’ve pulled the clip out because I don’t want
to accidentally damage it with the feed spool rotating while we’re demonstrating this.
But you would put the feed strip in, and then this is your charging handle. We’re going
to pull out on this handle bit to release it, and then, comes all the way back. That has locked the bolt
in the rearward position. It is now ready to fire. And just like a modern non-reciprocating charging
handle you’ve got this thing floating out here loose. And so you want to make sure to
snap it down before you pull the trigger. When you do pull the trigger, the bolt
will release, snaps forward, and fires. This is our rate reducing mechanism.
When it’s pushed in like this, it is off. When I pull it out, that engages the rate reducer, and
then this dial allows me to determine the rate of fire. All the way forward is fast, all the way
back is slow. Think of it like an accelerator. And this rate of fire is actually slow
enough that I can demonstrate it to you. Alright, the gun is now charged,
and I am going to perform what is basically the standard test
for determining if a gun is full-auto. Namely, charge the gun, pull the trigger, hold the
trigger down, and then manually cycle the action. If the bolt goes all the way forward and the gun dry fires,
that means that it would have fired fully automatic. If the bolt gets locked to the rear it means you’re
in semi-auto. In this case what I will be able to do because I have this delay mechanism
set to the slowest possible setting is I will actually be able to cycle the handle and put it
back almost … fast enough to beat the bolt forward. That’s because that little hydraulic buffer
system here is holding the trigger engaged for really quite a long time. So here
we go. That’s the first firing, and then… You can see how much delay there is in that. I don’t know
if that’s quite 8 rounds or 6 rounds per minute, but… Well, it’s definitely not, it’s not an 8 or 10 second
delay, but that is an extremely slow rate of fire. That’s probably 50 rounds a minute or less. This is, without a doubt in my mind, the coolest
muzzle device ever developed for a firearm ever. And these things get a lot of questions when
they come up, because, man, that is a weird device. What exactly is this shield for? Well, we
can get an idea by taking this thing off. This is actually both clamped and threaded
on, so I’ve undone the clamp and now I need to unscrew this. By the way, later on they would develop just a simple
conical flash hider that did just as good a job apparently, but this cool thing was out during World War One. So what this is actually doing is the muzzle ends here, and this gives the flash a nice long channel in which
to mix with air, burn off, and not show up on the outside. There are actually a couple of open
slots on this tube inside this shield, we can, yeah, you can see them right there. So … what they’re intending to happen
here, and I think it did work, although I haven’t actually tried one of these out, is the
flash is going to come out the muzzle, down here, into this tube, and it’s going to
come down and you’ll see the flash come here. And then that’s what this
shield is for, is blocking view of the flash. It’s kind of a flash redirector
down into this bottom area, where it can then be burned off and dispersed
and doesn’t create any visible light from the front. I have taken the gun off of its mount now so I can
show you some of the other elements from the bottom. Notice, interestingly, that the whole bottom of the receiver
… has openings in there to, I guess, cool it or reduce weight. I guess the idea was they didn’t figure there was that
much danger of dirt getting in vertically from the bottom. Don’t know if that actually
caused a problem in combat or not. Alright, and then here’s something really cool.
We have two latches right here. I can open those up, and then I can take this cover plate off (there it is), off the gun. And now
you can see the feed assembly. So, the operating rod actually runs linearly
through the centre axis of the feed spool. … These hooks are going to catch on the cartridges,
and that is what pulls the strip through the gun. Because of the ratcheting
system here, when you cock the gun, when the bolt goes backward nothing happens here. When the bolt goes forward this
indexes one position each time. Now what you have to remember
though, is when the bolt’s going forward the … operating rod is going backwards, because this
works in the reverse of most modern machine guns. So there is also this lever right here which disconnects
our ratchet system and allows this to spin freely. So when you have this thing installed
you can still get to that little lever, right here, and you would push that forward and then you can grab the feed strip and pull
it out of the gun, even if it’s partially loaded. So that is your manual unloading button. But man, just the amount of steampunk in this gun
is kind of mind-boggling and just really impressive. Alright, when it comes to heavy machine guns, we can’t really
talk about the gun without also talking about the tripod. A lot of people may look at this as just some sort
of accessory for standing it up in your living room, but in actual combat use the tripod
is nearly as important as the gun itself. If the tripod is no good you won’t hit anything with
that gun. This determines how stable the gun is, how smoothly the gun can actually be fired, and really
determines your ability to make hits at long range. So this is the standard 1915 “Omnibus” tripod
that France used, this tripod was set up to work with basically all of the machine guns
France used. Primarily the 1914 Hotchkiss and the 1907 Saint-Etienne,
as well as the 1905 Puteaux. And it’s got a couple of controls on it, the obvious
one here and the most recognisable is this giant wheel. This is your elevation wheel, which allows
me to crank the gun up and, well, down and up. This has this really nice compound
nested, coarse-threaded screw there, it’s really smooth. And this works really nicely and well. On the other side here, we have
this handle. This is the traverse lock. When it’s forward the gun is pretty much
locked in position. When I pull this back, it unlocks the gun and allows me to pivot it side-to-side. This tripod also allows me to very
quickly and easily attach or remove the gun. So there’s a button right here, I can push that
and quickly detach the rear elevation control. I can then also very quickly open
up the front trunnion attachments. I pull down on this button, and then just
rotate that screw, and what that does is unlock the trunnion from the tripod.
So if I do that to both sides, there we go, this can be easily
done by one person as you see. Now the front trunnion is just sitting in the tripod, so it’s
loose there. I can pick it up and take it out of the tripod. Why would I want to do that you ask? Well
perhaps we want to use the gun in anti-aircraft mode. I detach these three connections, I can then grab the gun, reverse it on the tripod, snap those two connections back in place.
The gun is now locked back on its mount, open that, and now I have a free elevation
and traverse machine gun for anti-aircraft fire. If this tripod setting is too high and exposing
you to too much fire, you can pivot these two levers and then we can actually fold the legs
… (this is not so much of a one-man operation, but there we go), we can fold the legs down like that.
And now we have a much lower profile setup for the tripod, and we still have
two little feet here to dig into the ground. If said ground isn’t quite level, we have
a threaded adjustment on the right leg, which can be used to lengthen or shorten
this leg thus allowing you to level out the tripod. Standing this up to look at it, you can see we also have
these two clamps, which allow you to lengthen the rear leg. Again to get better grip in the terrain,
or to have a better angle on your setup. Now those two are pretty tight and looks like
they haven’t been moved in a very long time, so I’m gonna leave those two alone. And naturally, the whole thing folds up for transport when
you’re moving the gun from one position to another. After looking at the mechanics and
seeing how this whole thing works in theory, I guess the big question that remains is
how did these actually perform in combat? How did the French like them in World
War One? Well, the answer is not super great. This is a fantastic, Gilded Age type of
mechanism here, and when it’s clean this is the sort of gun that I think will just pretty
much run forever. It’s exquisitely well manufactured. The problem is it’s not really designed
for the stresses of modern combat. Something like a Napoleonic battlefield this
would be fantastic. Because you’d fight for a day, and then you’d go back to camp and you’d
be able to clean the gun and replace anything that might have broken somehow,
and keep everything in tip-top shape. Well the problem is World War One was not
Napoleonic combat, much to many people’s surprise. The mud and the hell of World War One
didn’t play well with guns like this one. And so these did have reliability problems
when they … started to really get dirty. And that was an inevitability in World War
One, so by 1917 production of these ceased. They did in total make about 41,000 of them.
About 11,000 were made by the Châtellerault Arsenal, and another 30,000, roughly, give
or take, were made by Saint-Etienne. They were used by a couple other countries in
small numbers, Romania apparently bought some, and then the Italians and the Greeks
both used them during World War One. But the French army replaced these
with the Hotchkiss 1914 heavy guns, which were a lot simpler and as
a result more reliable in the field. That being said, you really can’t help but admire the
craftsmanship and the workmanship that went into manufacturing a gun as … I don’t know that there are words
beyond exquisite for how this thing was put together. Does that mean it’s a good combat gun?
No, clearly not. But man, it is a cool gun. There are not very many of these
in the United States, not surprisingly. This one is registered, fully transferable, and
it’s coming up for sale here at James Julia. So if you would like to be the first one on
your block with the world’s most awesome steampunk machine gun ever, take a
look at the description text below the video. You’ll find a link there to the Julia catalogue
page on this gun. You can see their pictures, and description, and paperwork and all that sort of
stuff. And if you’d like to have it, you can place a bid live here at the auction in Maine, or
over the phone, or through the website. Thanks for watching.

100 Replies to “The St Etienne Mle 1907: France’s Domestic Heavy Machine Gun”

  1. It still looks like it's got a big ol' cow catcher stuck on the front. I wonder if when you were out of ammo, 3 of your crew could just ram the enemy en masse and knock an opening in their lines?

  2. I know I'm late to the party here, but to me it looks like the cutouts on the bottom of the gun might have also been for drainage. Possibly? I don't know how well the gun itself is sealed against rain, but that might've been a possible reason for them. I dunno.

  3. The say boys are in to guns because they're violent but I think that's a silly generalization, there's many attractions, the whole hunting, playing being the soldier hero, cops n robbers etc thing when kids and then latter all the cool metal mechanical parts that do this amazing dance to complete their tasks, feeding, firing, ejecting, dealing with gasses, pressures, movement and timing which are so precise it's like clockwork. I love seeing how they work, it's just so clever.

  4. I can confirm that Romanian military had them in WWI. I grandfather told me stories about it.
    He was a watchmaker. He really liked it from mechanical POV, but was a nightmare to maintain it. Was working great in fortified positions but not in the tranches.

  5. I have one double barrel shotgun of this manufacturer. My father’s great grandfather father used to own. Are they valuable?

  6. "These guns were run by crews." Damn, and I was thinking just one dude was running around the battlefield lugging this thing around.

  7. calculated, trial and error, mereal science. Th french excel at the unusual/strange way of doing things 😀 and it dose throw some through a loop,.. mentaly

  8. this machinegun St. Etienne 1907T was used by the Greek Army from 1918-1941, in fact in 1940-41 it was the most numerous heavy machinegun 2.300 of them were in service!

  9. Got it, so: cow catcher + machine gun + liter of vodka + king sized bed + walk of shame x 10 months = this goofy monstrosity.

  10. More a work of art than a Actual Working Machinegun. Way too many parts to be reliable in the dirt and mud of modern war. Too over engineered for the Germans, too artistian for the Italians, obviously loved by the French, until they had to fight with it.

  11. I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned this (sorry that I don't have time to read through 700+ comments)- but the thermal compensation rod for the front sight blade is actually very logical.

    The thermal expansion coefficient differences between different alloys of steel was illustrated by the inaccuracy of aimed fire it created.

    I'd wager the compensation rod is the same alloy of steel as the barrel so it expands at the same rate as the barrel.

  12. This gun needs to be in video games. It would fit in Fallout, Metro, or Rage oh so well. If it was painted neon colours it would look natural in Borderlands as well.

  13. The C&Rsenal video on the maxim stated that the French requested this feature on the Maxim so that they could set it up in a position where the enemy was known to be and harass that position. That request could have held through to the development of this, and explains the 8RPM setting.

  14. It looks like a giant fuel pump, or some hydraulic valve body. I'm kinda thinking that the designer came more from industrial prototyping than the armaments industry. Steam Freakin' Punk when Steampunk wasn't cool. There's no better definition of the style – look in the dictionary, and there should be a picture of the '07.

  15. The fire group is a symphony!

    And that weird steel compensating bar.

    Oh France go home. Your drunk. 👍🏼

  16. Patient: "Doctor, how bad is it?"
    Doctor: "About as bad as a French machine gun."
    Patient: "Oh, God… I'll… I'll start calling my family."

  17. This mechanism is… 'fiendish complicated' might be an understatement!

    It reminds me of nothing so much as the gubbings in an electric sewing machine. 'Get Stitchin'' indeed!

  18. I know this is a couple years old but how come it failed to sell? What was the price they were asking? If maybe that was reason it didn't sell

  19. Little known fact the designer loved trains! it's very subtle but if you look closely you can see it in this weapon

  20. me-try-uhse, mitrailleuse, man Ian loves french guns so much he should actually learn french. And marry them too

  21. If only it came with a matching, extremely long, steampunk themed war-time cigarette holder for them.

  22. The French dumped a lot of these on the Greeks, who used them to defend their Metaxas Line forts during WW2. As fixed place machine guns in a relatively clean environment they performed reasonably well, but the design was obviously obsolete by WW2. One key shortcoming of this gun was the main piston spring, which got too hot and often lost temper-requiring replacement. The French solved this problem-partly-by opening up the spring (which was earlier enclosed in a housing) to the air, but this of course exposed the spring to mud and dirt and was more prone to jams.

  23. I already know the french like to make a ridiculous overcizing ebrithing, but this infanteri machin gun looks like an anty aircraft weapon for mounted in a battleship, it looks like the parody of the parody of french mentality

  24. Ian: the metallic clips are only limited to a certain  number of round
    me: Ian did you did pay attention to the clips and you could see it had a special hatch so you could add more clips

  25. The MLE 1907, proves I just love weapons, preferably belt-fed arms, simply for aestectic reasons. Quite the contrary of my counterparts on the right. Hahaha

  26. Or they could have just mounted the sight on the barrel. Holy smoke this thing has to be the craziest built MG I've ever seen so far. As a former soldier who carried the SAW. I couldn't imagine having to maintain this thing in the field. The whole reverse piston and the bullet ramp doodad…wow this is nuts. But what a great video. You did an excellent job of explaining this thing. My mind is blown thinking about what it took them to come up with all this craziness. I would have loved to see the guys faces when they were being taught how to maintain this thing. Lol

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