Cherilyn Neighbors

Written by Cherilyn Neighbors

Modified & Updated: 02 Mar 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


The MG42, also known as the Maschinengewehr 42, is a legendary weapon that has made its mark in history. This fearsome machine gun, developed by Germany during World War II, remains one of the most iconic weapons of its time. Its rapid rate of fire, solid construction, and reliability made it a formidable force on the battlefield.

In this article, we will delve into 19 fascinating facts about the MG42, exploring its design, capabilities, and impact. From its origins and production numbers to its use in various conflicts, the MG42 has left an indelible imprint on firearms technology and military strategy. So, let’s dive into the intriguing world of the MG42 and uncover some remarkable details about this legendary weapon.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Mg42 was a powerful German machine gun in World War II, known for its rapid fire, deadly accuracy, and lightweight design, making it a feared weapon on the battlefield.
  • Its influence extended beyond the war, shaping future machine gun designs and leaving a lasting legacy in popular culture through its appearances in films and video games.
Table of Contents

Facts 1: Introduction to the Mg42

The Mg42 is an iconic and highly influential German machine gun that was developed during World War II.

Facts 2: Dagger in Battle

The Mg42 earned the nickname “Hitler’s buzzsaw” due to its distinctive high rate of fire, which was capable of producing a unique and unmistakable sound on the battlefield.

Facts 3: Rapid Fire Capability

This weapon was known for its exceptional rate of fire, capable of shooting up to 1,200 rounds per minute. This made it one of the fastest machine guns of its time.

Facts 4: Deadly Range

With an effective range of over 2,000 meters, the Mg42 was a formidable force on the battlefield, providing suppressive fire and decimating enemy ranks.

Facts 5: Versatility in Caliber

The Mg42 was designed to be chambered in the 7.92×57mm Mauser cartridge, but it could also be converted to fire the 8mm Kurz cartridge, increasing its versatility.

Facts 6: Light and Portable

Despite its power, the Mg42 was surprisingly lightweight, weighing in at around 25 pounds (11.3 kilograms), which allowed for increased mobility and ease of use.

Facts 7: Remarkable Design

The Mg42 featured a unique open-bolt, roller-locked action system that contributed to its exceptional reliability and rapid rate of fire.

Facts 8: War Machine Production

During the war, the Germans produced an astonishing number of Mg42s, estimated to be around 400,000 units. This clearly demonstrates the weapon’s importance in their military strategy.

Facts 9: Preferred by Soldiers

The Mg42 was highly coveted by soldiers due to its reliability, durability, and superior firepower. It became the weapon of choice for many German infantrymen.

Facts 10: Influential Post-War Design

The design of the Mg42 had a significant impact on subsequent machine gun development, influencing designs such as the American M60 and the Belgian FN MAG.

Facts 11: Battlefield Dominance

The Mg42’s rapid rate of fire and deadly accuracy allowed German soldiers to maintain a strong defensive position and effectively suppress enemy forces.

Facts 12: Strategic Role

The Mg42 played a crucial role in German defensive strategies, particularly in the later stages of the war, where it became an integral part of their resistance against advancing Allied forces.

Facts 13: Feared by Allies

The Mg42’s firepower and effectiveness instilled fear in Allied soldiers, who often considered it one of the most dangerous and impactful weapons they encountered on the battlefield.

Facts 14: Heavy Sustained Fire

Due to its ability to sustain a high rate of fire, the Mg42 was a devastating weapon in defensive positions and during suppressive fire scenarios.

Facts 15: Disassembly and Maintenance

The Mg42 was designed for easy disassembly and maintenance, allowing for quick repairs and ensuring continuous operation even in harsh combat conditions.

Facts 16: Reload and Resupply

A well-trained crew could reload and resupply an Mg42 with fresh belts of ammunition in a matter of seconds, enabling sustained fire during intense battles.

Facts 17: Global Influence

Following World War II, the Mg42 found its way into the arsenals of various countries around the world, serving in conflicts and wars well into the 20th century.

Facts 18: Legacy and Popularity

The Mg42 continues to captivate historians, firearm enthusiasts, and collectors alike, with its significant impact on war history and its relentless firepower.

Facts 19: Cultural Depictions

The Mg42 has made appearances in numerous films, video games, and other forms of media, further solidifying its place in popular culture as an iconic and fearsome weapon.


In conclusion, the MG42 is a legendary weapon that has left an indelible mark in the world of firearms. Its rapid rate of fire, durability, and versatility have made it a favorite among soldiers and collectors alike. The weapon’s design innovations, such as the quick-change barrel system and the use of stamped metal components, were ahead of their time and have influenced subsequent firearms designs.

With its potent firepower and reliability, the MG42 played a significant role in various conflicts and continues to be revered as one of the most iconic machine guns in history. Its impact on warfare and its enduring reputation as a fearsome weapon make the MG42 a true legend in the realm of firearms.


Q: What is the origin of the MG42?

A: The MG42, also known as the “Maschinengewehr 42,” was developed in Germany during World War II as a replacement for the MG34 machine gun.

Q: What is the rate of fire of the MG42?

A: The MG42 has an exceptionally high rate of fire, ranging from 1,200 to 1,500 rounds per minute, making it one of the fastest machine guns ever produced.

Q: What ammunition does the MG42 use?

A: The MG42 primarily uses the 7.92×57mm Mauser cartridge, which provided excellent penetration power and range, making it effective against both infantry and armored targets.

Q: Was the MG42 used by any other countries besides Germany?

A: Yes, after World War II, the MG42 saw extensive use by several other nations, including Yugoslavia, Egypt, and Norway, among others.

Q: Is the MG42 still in use today?

A: While it is no longer in active service with most militaries, the MG42 and its variants are still sought after by collectors and enthusiasts who appreciate its historical significance and impressive capabilities.

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