Early steel MG belts?


#1

Gentlemen,

what were earliest steel MG belts, disintegrating or non-disintegrating, besides those patented by Benet & Mercie in 1896 for the Hotchkiss MG of their invention?

I’ve read somewhere that disintegrating metallic belts were designed during WW1 for aircraft use, but I would like to know who and when designed and used them, and, if possible, would like to see some samples (photos or drawings).

Thanks


#2

There was the British M-1855 .54 Treeby “chain” Machine Gun.
it had 14 chambers on a continuous chain / loop & a paper cartridge was inserted in the mouth & then a cap to reload. Much like the Union MG but that used a hopper feed.


#3

The MG belt photos below are from the online Digitalt Museum of Sweden. Unfortunately the information provided with each MG belt is very limited. I assume each belt is for the 6.5x55mm cartridge.


Patronband till kulspruta m/1900 (roughly translated = cartridge belt for machinegun m/1900)
digitaltmuseum.se/things/pat … t=61&pos=5


Patronband till kulspruta m/Colt
digitaltmuseum.se/things/pat … t=61&pos=6


Patronband till kulspruta m/Colt
digitaltmuseum.se/things/pat … t=61&pos=7

The following belt is brass, but still an interesting early belt.


Patronband till kulspruta Bergman 1899
digitaltmuseum.se/things/pat … =61&pos=13


Patronbandilåda till kulspruta, Nordenfeldt-Bergmann, försök 1899 (rough translation: Cartridge Tape (Designation) Cartridge tape in a box of machine gun, Nordenfeldt-Bergmann, try 1899)
digitaltmuseum.se/things/pat … =61&pos=18

Brian


#4

Pete, Brian,

Great pictures! Thanks!

Taber


#5

The Early Swedish (“M1900”) belts are Hotchkiss Patent Flexible Belts, used in the M1897 (BP) and M1900 Smokeless Hotchkisses supplied to both Norway and Sweden ( under the Combined Crown up to 1905.) The Mention of “Colt” would indicate the Colt M1895 “{Potato Digger” which usually used a cloth Belt, but could be supplied to take a Metallic flexible belt.

Disintegrating Metal Links seem to only have been developed for Aircraft Use in 1915 or so ( to stop long metal or cloth belts getting entangled in the mechanisms of the Aircraft of the time) and the Prideaux Patent Disintegrating Links ( initially for .303, then in 1918, for US .30 cal) were the first Practical Disintegrating Links.

To note that the French used a 500 round Flexible Hotchkiss Belt on a large spool in their Portatives fitted to aircraft ( cal 8mm Lebel) but soon changed to Lewis Guns in .303 (Magazine fed) and also Darne (also .303).

The Germans used Cloth 250 round belts for their Maxims and Parabellums ( MG15nA) in aircraft, but had an enclosed feed and Belt collection system.

WW I showed that the Wet and Mud of the trenches played havoc with the Cloth-type belts, but for various considerations (weight, cost, etc, all Armies continued the use of Cloth Belts into WW II; By WWII, Germany had converted their Maxims to use Steel Link belts, and the Soviets were using Steel belts for Maxims and other uses. The Italians used Steel Belts in the Ill-fated M14/35 Fiat Revelli ( the only good thing about this gun) but stuck with trays of 20 rounds for the better designed Breda M37 Infantry MG. All the Italian Airforce guns except the Lewis (97 round Pan) used a copy of the British Prideaux Link ( 7,7 (.303) 12,7 and 20mm). The Japanese did much the same for their Aircraft guns ( Prideaux for 7,7, Browning-style Prideaux Link for 12,7 and 20mm;

For details on Links, Strips, belts,
Contact Jean-Francois Lefevre on GUN Boards. ( also a contributor in this field in “Small Arms Revue”). He is Based in France. His in-depth articles, especially on Hotchkiss Products, are a mine of information.

Doc AV


#6

[quote]There was the British M-1855 .54 Treeby “chain” Machine Gun.
it had 14 chambers on a continuous chain / loop & a paper cartridge was inserted in the mouth & then a cap to reload. Much like the Union MG but that used a hopper feed.[/quote]
Pete, this is a fantastic item, thanks a lot for sharing these pictures. Does it exhibit any proof marks?


#7

Each chamber’s markings, The nipple is down in both photos.
Yeah I think these are really neat, the NRA had the complete firearm in it’s booth at the Shot Show this year.


#8

Yes, Germany developed and fielded them first, early in WW1, but couldn’t get them to work properly and reverted to cloth belts. The British captured some of the German belts and developed them successfully, using them as standard in aircraft guns thereafter.

[quote]For details on Links, Strips, belts,
Contact Jean-Francois Lefevre on GUN Boards. ( also a contributor in this field in “Small Arms Revue”). He is Based in France. His in-depth articles, especially on Hotchkiss Products, are a mine of information.[/quote]

Do you mean Jean-Francois Legendre?


#9

Yes, My brain - f***> J-F Legendre is correct. I have not communicated with him for some years…much to my chagrin.

DocAV