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Breda 37: Italy’s Forgotten Heavy Machine Gun

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The Breda Model 37 was Italy’s standard heavy machine gun (which meant a rifle-caliber gun fired only from a tripod) during World War Two. It was chambered for the 8x59mm cartridge, as Italy used a two-cartridge system at the time, with 6.5mm for rifles and the heavier 8mm for machine guns to exploit their longer effective range. Production began in 1937 and continued until the end of the war, with a batch being made for German use after the Italian armistice in 1943. Pre-war it was also sold to Portugal as the m/938. It remained in Italian use after the war as well, eventually replaced by the MG42/59.

The Breda 37 is a durable, reliable, and overall very good design. It uses 20-round feed strips, with the quite unusual feature of placing fired cases back into the strips rather than ejecting them out of the gun. It is a relatively unknown gun today, but this is not because of any inferiority on its part.

Breda PG rifle:–W8

Fiat-Revelli Modelo 1914 HMG:

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