Chatellerault Mle. 1924/29

     Notes: Following World War 1, everyone knew that the French would have to replace the horrible Chauchat light machinegun.  By 1924, Chatellerault had such a weapon: the Fusil Mitrailleur Mle. 1924.  The Mle 1924 was designed to fire a new cartridge, nominally of 7.5x58mm in measure.  The Mle 1924 was a rather good one for the time, but unfortunately, the mountains of captured German 8mm Mauser ammunition could be chambered, fired, and even fit into the magazines of the Mle 1924 generally resulting in a violent chamber explosion or an equally-violent burst barrel, causing sometimes fatal casualties.  The 7.5mm cartridge was redesigned, becoming approximately 4mm shorter, and 8mm Mauser could no longer fit into the gun.  This version was called the Mle 1924/29.  Though they saw limited use during World War 2 (primarily before and during the German invasion), they did most of their work during the colonial wars of the 1950s. Nazi forces made limited use of the Mle 1924/29 during World War 2. Perhaps the most unusual of users were the Viet cong during the Vietnam War; these were Mle 1924/29s captured in the 1950s from the French during their own war in Indochina.  Another unusual user was the Japanese during World War 2, who also captured some from the French in Indochina and Burma.

     The Mle 1924 and Mle 1924/29 are essentially highly-modified versions of the Browning Automatic Rifle.  The magazine feeds from the top of the receiver, and they were selective fire weapons by virtue of twin triggers (the front fires the weapon on semiautomatic, and the rear on automatic).  The cyclic rate was only 500 rpm, so short bursts and even single shots are easily squeezed off.  Barrel length is 19.7 inches, tipped by a conical flash suppressor. The front sight is a blade in a dovetail, allowing for drift adjustments; the rear sight is a tangent-type sight, graduated from 200-2000 meters.  The tangent sight folds, and has a peep sight above it to allow for quick, short-range shots. In addition to a bipod, a monopod can be screwed into the butt. Possibly due to being based upon the BAR, the Mle 1924/29 was an outstanding weapon, easily maintained, accurate with natural pointing qualities, and able to withstand the abuse heaped upon weapons by the average soldier.  In no time at all, they were rapidly being mass-produced and replacing the much-hated Chauchats.  They were used during World War 2, by the Free French, Resistance, Free Polish forces, and even the Nazis, who captured thousands of them.  After World War 2, they were given to former French colonies in Africa, where they are used to this day, and then were distributed by mercenaries and rebels all over the continent. 

     Note that while actual examples of the original Mle 1924 will be extremely rare, statistics are included below for it for comparison and completeness purposes.

Weapon

Ammunition

Weight

Magazines

Price

Mle 1924

7.5mm Mle 1924

9.38 kg

25

$2491

Mle 1924/29

7.5mm MAS

9.24 kg

25

$2352

 

Weapon

ROF

Damage

Pen

Bulk

SS

Burst

Range

Mle 1924

5

4

2-3-Nil

7

3

7

57

(With Bipod)

5

4

2-3-Nil

7

1

3

75

Mle 1924/29

5

4

2-3-Nil

7

3

7

61

(With Bipod)

5

4

2-3-Nil

7

1

3

79

 

Chauchat

     Notes:  Well, what good things can I say about the Chauchat?  None, really.  The Chauchat has been described as the worst firearm ever designed.  The Chauchat uses the long recoil method of operation.  This does not lend itself to an aimable weapon, especially when coupled with a high-power cartridge.  The Chauchat is built of inferior metal, and thus the moving parts wore out very fast.  The parts themselves were fitted together rather loosely, even when new; the rapid wear just made this worse.  The Chauchat thus literally shook itself to pieces as it was fired.  The magazine was required by the abrupt taper of the 8mm Lebel round, but it meant that the magazine was going to be only so big and no bigger.  (No one knows why belts or drums were not considered, or better yet, another round.)  In World War 1, the Chauchat was forced upon the French Army and the US Marines (in .30-06 Springfield).  The Marines used a straight 30-round magazine.  One more country, Serbia, had the misfortune of using small amounts of the Chauchat; theirs were chambered for 8mm Mauser, and used magazines with e slight curve in them.  They had no better luck with the Chauchat than anyone else.

     If you force the players or NPCs to use a Chauchat, for whatever cruel reason, the GM should assign the weapon a 1 in 20 chance per round of firing of jamming for seemingly no reason at all.  This is over and above the normal chances of jamming due to catastrophic failure. 

Weapon

Ammunition

Weight

Magazines

Price

Chauchat

8mm Lebel

9.07 kg

20

$2369

Chauchat

.30-06 Springfield

10.34 kg

30

$2622

Chauchat

8mm Mauser

9.51 kg

20

$2599

 

Weapon

ROF

Damage

Pen

Bulk

SS

Burst

Range

Chauchat (8mm Lebel)

3

4

2-3-Nil

7

3

4

55

With Bipod

3

4

2-3-Nil

7

1

2

72

Chauchat (.30-06)

3

4

2-3-Nil

7

3

4

47

With Bipod

3

4

2-3-Nil

7

1

2

61

Chauchat (8mm Mauser)

3

4

2-3-Nil

7

3

4

55

With Bipod

3

4

2-3-Nil

7

1

2

72

 

Hotchkiss M-1922/26

     Notes:  This is a light machinegun developed in the wake of World War 1.  It is a standard type of gas-operated weapon.  The housing in front of the trigger guard that appears to be a magazine well is actually the tilting flap of the breech-locking mechanism.  The weapon was actually fed by either a top-mounted magazine or a side-feeding metallic strip.  The M-1922/26 saw little actual use, whether in peacetime or wartime: The British tested a few in .303 British caliber (it was eventually rejected); 1000 were used by the Czechs in 8mm Mauser (they were eventually rejected in favor of the VZ-26); 5000 were used by the Greeks in 6.5mm Greek Service; and an unknown number were used by the Dominican Republic and Brazil, in 7mm Mauser.  The Spanish Army also used it in 7mm Mauser is fair numbers during the Spanish Civil War.

Weapon

Ammunition

Weight

Magazines

Price

M-1922/26

.303 British

13 kg

25 (Box)

$2562

M-1922/26

8mm Mauser

14.04 kg

25 (Strip)

$2730

M-1922/26

6.5mm Greek Service

9.52 kg

25 (Strip)

$1984

M-1922/26

7mm Mauser

11.31 kg

25 (Box)

$2283

 

Weapon

ROF

Damage

Pen

Bulk

SS

Burst

Range

M-1922/26 (.303)

5

4

2-3-Nil

8

3

6

74

M-1922/26 (.303, Bipod)

5

4

2-3-Nil

8

1

3

97

M-1922/26 (8mm)

5

4

2-3-Nil

8

3

6

75

M-1922/26 (8mm, Bipod)

5

4

2-3-Nil

8

1

3

98

M-1922/26 (6.5mm)

5

4

2-Nil

8

3

7

65

M-1922/26 (6.5mm, Bipod)

5

4

2-Nil

8

1

3

85

M-1922/26 (7mm)

5

4

2-3-Nil

8

3

6

67

M-1922/26 (7mm, Bipod)

5

4

2-3-Nil

8

1

3

87