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M1919A6 Caliber .30 air-cooled Light Machine Gun

The M1919A6 was a fully automatic, recoil operated, air-cooled, .30 caliber (".30-06") light machine gun, firing a 174 gr bullet with a muzzle velocity of 2800 fps from a 250-round belt, at about 500 rounds per minute, with an 800 yard effective range. Bipod supported, the A6 was used in combat of maneuver where the gun needed to be quickly moved into unpredictable locations to support either attack or defense.

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M1919A6 .30-caliber Air-Cooled Machine Gun

An M1919A6 of 5th RCT fires on North Koreans as theyr push toward Taejon. September '50.

An M1919A6 machine gun crew gives supporting fire to withdrawing UN troops, April '51

M1919A6 .30-caliber Air-Cooled Machine Gun

M1919A6 .30 Caliber Air Cooled Machine Gun

M1919A6 .30-caliber Air-Cooled Machine Gun

Unusual, A6 with Tripod. The
M1919A4 would normally be deployed if the crew could be exposed.

Operation Fully automatic, recoil operated, air-cooled
Caliber .30 (".30-06") (7.62 mm)
Ammunition Ball M1; 174 gr bullet, 50 gr charge
Muzzle velocity 853.4 mps (2800 fps)
Capacity 250-round belt
Weight 32.5lbs with bipod
Overall length 53 in
Rate of fire 400 to 550 rounds per minute
Effective range 800 yds

An M1919A4 fires at fleeing North Koreans during heavy street fighting in Waegwan, September '50.

An M1919A4 in support of a rifle platoon attacking Chinese positions, March '51

At 41 lbs for gun and tripod, the M1919A4 was much lighter than the water-cooled M1917A1 (93 lbs for gun and tripod). On the other hand, the air-cooled weapon was unable to maintain the same level of sustained fire as the water-cooled M1917A1, and did not have the steadiness of accuracy as the heavier weapon. Also, some combat units criticized the A4 as being too slow to get into action, and that the crew was too vulnerable.

The result was M1919A6, which featured a detachable shoulder stock, folding bipod, carrying handle, and a lighter barrel than the A4. The M1919A6 was really an attempt to fill the firepower gap between the BAR and the M1919A4 with an LMG but many troops felt the result was less-than-satisfactory. Light support machine guns were certainly very good and useful weapons, but they could often put soldiers at a firepower disadvantage while in a firefight where the enemy was supported by the 7.92mm24 Chinese Heavy MG. Still, although only 43,500 A6's were produced in WWII, compared to 390,000 A4s, and although the A6 was even less steady in sustained fire than the A4, some experts argue that the A6 was the most unique weapon in the M1919 series.

The M1919A6 did see much service in Korea, and later in Vietnam.

The Chinese captured many of our machine guns during the first 6 months after their entry into the war. Here they use an A6 in one of their forward positions. Note the camouflage to conceal them from air attack.

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