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August Coenders’ 9x19mm Belt-Fed MG

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August Coenders was an independent arms designer in Germany. During the 1930s he spent several years working in England and at the French Puteaux Arsenal, which contributed to a general lack of trust and interest in his designs by the German high command (the man’s generally adversarial nature didn’t help either). He developed several different types of gun during World War Two, including a belt-fed 8mm machine gun, a last ditch Volkssturm bolt action rifle, and this 9x19mm Parabellum caliber belt fed machine gun.

This 9mm belt-fed was probably intended for use as a vehicle machine gun, where the range and power of the ammunition was not really a liability, and where the compact nature of the gun and its ammunition would be a real advantage. The German military was not interested in it, though, and this gun was captured by American troops at the end of the war, missing its barrel and feed cover. It was taken back to Aberdeen Proving Grounds for examination, where a new barrel and an MG42-type feed cover were fabricated for it.

Today it resides in a Maltese private collection, where I had the opportunity to film it thanks to the Association of Maltese Arms Collectors and Shooters.

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