Modern Firearms - Darne light machine gun (France)
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Darne light machine gun (France)


Darne M1922 light machine gun, infantry model


Darne M1922 light machine gun, infantry model, on light folding tripod

 

Caliber

8x50R Lebel and others

Length

1057 mm

Barrel length

600 mm

Weight

9,7 kg

Rate of fire

~ 600 rounds per minute

Feed

belt

 

French gun-making company Darne, which became famous for its innovative shotguns, entered the world of military weapons in 1915, when it was contracted by French government to manufacture Lewis machine guns. In 1916 this same company announced development of its own machine gun of indigenous design. This belt-fed weapon was designed especially for rapid manufacturing techniques, and without any unnecessary refinements typical for most contemporary small arms. External finish and appearance of the Darne machine gun was short of crude, but it worked well and its price was much lower than of any contemporary weapon of compatible combat characteristics. French Army tested Darne machine guns during 1917 – 1918, but Great War ended before production contracts could have been signed. Despite that fact, during 1920s and 1930s Darne company managed to refine an aircraft version of its machine gun to the point of its adoption by French and some other air forces for the role of observers gun. However, there were many more versions of the Darne machine gun, although most others were certainly less successful. For example, in 1920s and 1930s Darne offered a number of lightweight belt-fed machine guns for infantry or vehicle use. All these machine guns were made to the same concept of least expensive finish, and unlike its air-borne brothers, found no buyers during inter-war period.

Darne machine gun is gas operated weapon, firing from open bolt in full automatic mode only. Breech is locked by tilting the rear part of the bolt up, into the mortise cut in the roof of receiver. Darne machine gun is belt fed, using two-stage cartridge feed system, where cartridge is first withdrawn from the closed-link belt to the rear, and then is pushed forward into the barrel. Weapon usually had provisions to attach a belt box directly below the receiver to improve handling characteristics of the gun. Infantry versions of the Darne machine gun were normally fitted with pistol grip and rifle-type trigger below receiver, and a wooden buttstock. Alternate version featured skeletonized pistol grip made of metal and a top-folding shoulder stock, also made of metal. Folding bipod or compact lightweight tripod was used to mount Darne machine guns in ground role.