During our tours we often refer to this very effective German weapon which played havoc with the Allied landings, particularly at OMAHA Beach and Hillman. This firing demonstration took place at Dellwood Park in Lockport, Illinois on 8 September 2013, by 5th Company GrossDeutschland.
The MG-42 (a shortened form Maschinengewehr 42, or “machine gun 42”) is a Mauser 7.92 x 57mm gemeral purpose machine gun, most noted for its high cyclic rate and its consequent ability to produce a very high volume of suppressive fire. It could fire between 1,200 and 1,500 rounds per minute (rpm). This was roughly twice the firing rate of the Allied Vickers and Browning machine guns. This high cyclic rate was both its greatest strength and its greatest weakness. The high rate of fire caused the barrell to overheat and meant that the barrel had to be changed out at regular intervals under sustained firing conditions. Allied soldiers were trained to listen for its distinctive muzzle report and to attack the gun placement when the barrel was being changed.