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Hotchkiss Portative: Clunky But Durable

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The Portative was an attempt by the Hotchkiss company to make a light machine gun companion to their heavy model (which had found significant commercial success). The Portative used the same feed strips, albeit loaded upside down, and the same gas piston operation, but a very different locking system. Instead of a tiling locking block the Portative had a “fermeture nut” that rotated to lock onto the bolt with three sets of interrupted thread locking lugs. In addition, many of the traditionally internal parts were mounted externally on the Portative, and it was quite the awkward gun to use.

The Portative was adopted by the American Army as the Model 1909 Benet-Mercié, and by the British early in World War One as a cavalry and tank-mounted gun. The remainder of Portative contracts were relatively small from second-tier military forces, including several South American countries.

C&Rsenal video on the Portative:

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