AAT-52

Notes: The AAT-52 (Arme Automatique Transformable Mle. 52) was designed to replace the then-standard French light machinegun (the Mle 1924/29) with a GPMG. It was designed just after World War 2, and was a considerable improvement over previous designs. The AAT-52 (and its descendant, the AAT-F1) tend to operate on the edge of safety due to the design, yet it has served for over half a century, and is still Franceís standard GPMG and is also used on French vehicles of all types.

The AAT-52 is sort of a "Frankenweapon;" the operation is a modification of the Spanish CETME rifle, and the belt feed is a modified version of the German MG-42. Other ideas from various other weapons were also adopted to the AAT-52. The AAT-52 has two lengths of barrel available: a 23.5-inch heavy barrel, normally used when the AAT-52 is mounted on a tripod or a vehicle mount, and a 19.3-inch light barrel, normally used when the AAT-52 is being used as a man-portable bipod-fired GPMG. However, there is nothing that prevents the heavy barrel from being used when man-ported, or the light barrel being used from a pintle mount or tripod; it is more French military policy than anything else. The AAT-52 is fed by 50 and 200-round disintegrating link belts. Unfortunately, extraction and case ejection is quick and violent; this tends to cause the AAT-52 to rip a spent cartridge in half in the process of ejection, causing a stoppage which usually cannot be cleared until the gun cools and the ring of brass left in the chamber can be removed. In addition, the ejected brass is generally severely damaged and canít be reloaded. French AAT-52 gunners learned the best way to avoid this problem was to grease the rounds lightly before loading them into the links of the belt, but this causes a whole new problem of attracting dirt and pulling it into the gun (and stopping the weapon that way). The AAT-52 has another defect: the gun must be carried cocked and locked if a belt is in the weapon, making it inherently unsafe if dropped or bumped. The AAT-52 is built primarily of steel, and the stock is a folding strut with a rudimentary butt plate. (This is more for storage purposes than anything else, but the AAT-52 can be fired with the stock folded, and this makes it easier to be fired from the firing ports of an armored vehicle.) The tripod used with the AAT-52 (and AAT-F1) is the NATO Medium Tripod.

The AAT F-1 (or more accurately, the AAT N-F-1) was designed in 1964, during the period when France was a part of NATO. The biggest modification done to the AAT F-1 was itís conversion to 7.62mm NATO chambering, but the French also took the opportunity to do a number of other improvements, such as building the weapon out of lighter, stamped steel, and using a different, lighter bipod adjustable for height and cant. In addition, the sights were recalibrated for the new ammunition. However, the most important modification was to the extraction and ejection system, which no longer has the danger of ripping the spent brass in half. However, case ejection is still violent and often causes deformed brass.

The AAT-52 still equips some reserve French forces as well as being the primary GPMG of several former African colonies of the French, though many countries which were using the AAT-52 replaced of modified them into what were effectively AAT-F1 equivalents in the 1990s.

Twilight 2000 Notes: A considerable number of AAT-52s are still in use by French forces.

Merc 2000 Notes: Most AAT-52s were converted to the AAT F-1 configuration, since no one wanted the AAT-52s.

Weapon

Ammunition

Weight

Magazines

Price

AAT-52 (Light Barrel)

7.5mm MAS

9.87 kg

100 Belt

$2393

AAT-52 (Heavy Barrel)

7.5mm MAS

11.37 kg

100 Belt

$2515

AAT F-1 (Light Barrel)

7.62mm NATO

9.87 kg

100 Belt

$2313

AAT F-1 (Heavy Barrel)

7.62mm NATO

11.37 kg

100 Belt

$2437

Weapon

ROF

Damage

Pen

Bulk

SS

Burst

Range

AAT-52 (Light)

5

4

2-3-Nil

6/7

3

6

61

AAT-52 (Light, Bipod)

5

4

2-3-Nil

6/7

1

3

79

AAT-52 (Heavy)

5

4

2-3-Nil

7/8

3

6

80

AAT-52 (Heavy, Bipod)

5

4

2-3-Nil

7/8

1

3

104

AAT-52 (Heavy, Tripod)

5

4

2-3-Nil

7/8

1

2

159

AAT F-1 (Light)

5

4

2-3-Nil

6/7

3

6

61

AAT F-1 (Light, Bipod)

5

4

2-3-Nil

6/7

1

3

79

AAT F-1 (Heavy)

5

4

2-3-Nil

7/8

3

6

80

AAT F-1 (Heavy, Bipod)

5

4

2-3-Nil

7/8

1

3

103

AAT F-1 (Heavy, Tripod)

5

4

2-3-Nil

7/8

1

2

159

Darne

Notes: This is a machinegun design from a company that was normally known for breech-loading double-barreled sporting shotguns. In World War 1, they were contracted to produce Lewis Guns for the French Army, and then used that experience to produce their own design. They did not feel the need to apply the same fine standard of finish to their military weapons as their civilian weapons; the result is that while the Darne is a rather crude and cheap-looking weapon, it is nonetheless an efficient design. Having designed them, Darne found that they could get them built in Spain for less money than they could in France, and thus Spain is where most Darne machineguns were actually built. Strangely enough, French ground forces did not like the Darne; they did not like the looks, and did not like the high rate of fire. Most of them were therefore mounted in aircraft or kept in fixed positions. Originally chambered for 8mm Lebel, the caliber was later changed to the new 7.5mm MAS cartridge. Some of them were also produced in Czechoslovakia; these were chambered for 8mm Mauser. After World War 2, the Darne machineguns were sold off rapidly and they can now be found almost anywhere in the world, still functioning quite well despite their age.

Weapon

Ammunition

Weight

Magazines

Price

Darne

8mm Lebel

9.7 kg

100 Belt, 250 Belt

$2516

Darne

8mm Mauser

10.99 kg

100 Belt, 250 Belt

$2744

Darne

7.5mm MAS

9.3 kg

100 Belt, 250 Belt

$2462

Weapon

ROF

Damage

Pen

Bulk

SS

Burst

Range

Darne (8mm Lebel)

10

4

2-3-Nil

8

3

13

79

Darne (8mm Lebel, Bipod)

10

4

2-3-Nil

8

1

7

103

Darne (8mm Lebel, Tripod)

10

4

2-3-Nil

8

1

3

159

Darne (8mm Mauser)

10

4

2-3-Nil

8

3

13

80

Darne (8mm Mauser, Bipod)

10

4

2-3-Nil

8

1

6

104

Darne (8mm Mauser, Tripod)

10

4

2-3-Nil

8

1

3

160

Darne (7.5mm)

10

4

2-3-Nil

8

3

13

80

Darne (7.5mm, Bipod)

10

4

2-3-Nil

8

1

7

104

Darne (7.5mm, Tripod)

10

4

2-3-Nil

8

1

3

159

Hotchkiss M-1897

Notes: Not only was the Hotchkiss M-1897 one of the first self-operating machineguns, it was one of the first air-cooled machineguns. The M-1897 is gas-operated and fires from an open bolt. The gas block is rather complicated and large, with a full twenty positions at which it may be set; in addition, the M-1897 could be set for slow fire, with a cyclic rate of 100 rpm, or rapid fire, with a cyclic rate of 600 rpm. (For game purposes, the 100 rpm ROF is 2, even though it does not actually have a burst mechanism.) Perhaps the greatest weakness of the M-1897 is the feed method -- rather small-capacity rigid metal strips. The feed mechanism was quite reliable with rimmed cartridges such as the 8mm Lebel, but less so with rimless rounds. The long 32.5-inch barrel usually had a short length of brass cooling fins at the base, though a barrel with no cooling fins was also available. The M-1900 is almost identical except for a few minor modifications and steel fins on the barrel instead of brass fins.

The M-1907 Portative was a greatly lightened version of the M-1900, with numerous changes to the feed mechanism (it was literally turned upside down in relation to the M-1900) and a shorter 22.25-inch barrel without cooling fins. The M-1907 was designed for the "advancing fire" concept of the time, and is equipped with a wooden shoulder stock and a light, folding bipod, along with a folding monopod at the rear of the stock. The cyclic rate of fire was fixed at 500 rpm. The US used a version of this weapon, the M-1909 Benet-Mercie Machine Rifle, during World War 1; though at first it was manufactured by Hotchkiss in France, it was later license-produced in the US by both Springfield and Colt. The British also used a version, the Hotchkiss Mk 1.

The M-1914 is an updated version of earlier Hotchkiss machineguns of the same type, most notably the M-1900. It became the standard medium machinegun of the French Army and remained in service until 1945. It was fed from the metallic strip which was so much in vogue at the time, though it could also be fed by a series of 3-round metal strips joined together to form up to a 251-round faux belt of sorts. The capacity for "slow fire" was removed, with the gas regulator varying the rate of fire from 500-600 rpm (not important in game terms). It was used by France, Greece, and the Balkan States, as well as the US in 1917, in 8mm Lebel caliber. It was also exported to Mexico, Spain, and Brazil in 7mm Mauser caliber in the 1920s. Though rumors are heard every so often about one still being used somewhere, these may be just "war stories."

Weapon

Ammunition

Weight

Magazines

Price

M-1897

8mm Lebel

23 kg

30 Strip

$3546

M-1907 Portative

8mm Lebel

12.5 kg

30 Strip

$2454

M-1909

.30-06 Springfield

13.18 kg

30 Strip

$2698

Hotchkiss Mk 1

.303 British

12.68 kg

30 Strip

$2515

M-1914

8mm Lebel

23.58 kg

30 Strip, 249 "Belt"

$2730

M-1914

7mm Mauser

22.52 kg

30 Strip, 249 "Belt"

$2517

Weapon

ROF

Damage

Pen

Bulk

SS

Burst

Range

M-1897

2/5

5

2-3-Nil

8

1

1/1

226

M-1907 Portative

5

4

2-3-Nil

6

3

6

73

With Bipod

5

4

2-3-Nil

6

1

3

95

With Tripod

5

4

2-3-Nil

6

1

1

146

M-1909

5

4

2-3-Nil

6

3

6

63

With Bipod

5

4

2-3-Nil

6

1

3

82

With Tripod

5

4

2-3-Nil

6

1

1

127

Hotchkiss Mk 1

5

4

2-3-Nil

6

3

6

72

With Bipod

5

4

2-3-Nil

6

1

3

94

With Tripod

5

4

2-3-Nil

6

1

3

144

M-1914 (8mm)

5

5

2-3-Nil

8

1

1

211

M-1914 (7mm)

5

4

2-3-Nil

8

1

1

199

St. Etienne 07/16

Notes: This weapon has been described as the "second-worst machinegun ever made," and "an object lesson in how not to design weapons." The St. Etienne 07/16 was an attempt to improve an earlier St. Etienne design, which was itself an attempt to improve upon the Hotchkiss machineguns. It is one of the few weapons ever designed to use a "blow forward" operation; unfortunately, this meant that the gun required a rack and pinion system so that the bolt actually went back while the rest of the action went forward. The spring that moved the bolt backwards was coiled around the barrel, so that the heat from the barrel weakened it and the spring often broke. Just to add another unnecessary amount of complication, the gun had an adjustable rate of fire. It jammed with distressing regularity in the trenches of France, and it was decided to ship the entire lot off to Africa. The dry climate of the French colonies helped, but not much; the 07/16 was discarded so often that it became scattered far and wide across Africa.

Weapon

Ammunition

Weight

Magazines

Price

St. Etienne 07/16

8mm Lebel

25.73 kg

24 Strip, 30 Strip

$2652

Weapon

ROF

Damage

Pen

Bulk

SS

Burst

Range

St Etienne 07/16

5

4

2-3-Nil

7

1

1

193