The chamber was integral to the barrel, so that all the heat buildup was in that one part. Machine gunners were trained to fire in short bursts to prevent overheating, but even so they would overheat. Part of the gun kit was an asbestos glove for changing the hot barrel, and spares were carried by the section. The air-cooled "light" gun was more prone to overheat, but the heavier water-cooled gun would also overheat.
Came across this web site and blog of Able Company 24th Marines that have battle photos which include some of Tarawa that I have never seen before. If these are old and previously posted, pardon me.... more
The receiver groups pretty much never "burned out", but the barrels were prone to overheat and warp or cause rounds to cook off. That's why the barrels were interchangeable. Several tankers commented ... more
Jim, Valid thought, is there any way to differentiate between the MG type that the Landing Force used and the ones fixed on the LVT's ? I assume they are all Browning 30 cal air cooled. What happen... more
George, I was not a machinegunner but if I remember the barrels would get very hot if they kept firing without letting them cool off and jam. I remember this happened on Tarawa. Please correct me if... more
Aloha Ed. As a machine gun section leader in Korea where we used the same 1919 A-4 as you guys did durung WW II. All machine gunners were trained to fire 3-6 round bursts to keep the barrels from... more
You are quite right Jeff. Gunners had to be somewhat careful firing the air cooled .30 cal. There is a much printed photo of a gun crew on Tarawa that shows one man with his back against a sandbagged ... more