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Beltfed Madsen LMG: When the Weird Gets Weirder

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First produced in 1902, the Madsen was one of the first practical light machine guns, and it remained in production for nearly 5 decades. The Madsen system is a rather unusual recoil-operated mechanism with a tilting bolt and a remarkably short receiver. The most unusual variation on the system was the belt-fed, high rate-of-fire pattern developed for aircraft use. This program was initiated by the Danish Air Force in the mid 1920s, and several different patterns were built by the time World War Two erupted.

The model here was actually a pattern that was under production for Hungary when German forces occupied Denmark. Taking over the factory, they continued the production and the guns went to the Luftwaffe for airfield defensive use.

In order to use disintegrating links instead of box magazines, some very odd modifications had to be made to the Madsen. One set of feed packs are actually built into the belt bo itself, and the cannot function without the box attached. The only feasible path for empty link ejection is directly upwards, and so a horseshoe-shaped link chute was attached to the top cover, guiding link up over 7th gun and dropping them out the right side of the receiver. Very weird!

While several thousand of these were made under German occupation, very few survive today and they are extremely rare on the US registry.

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