Strange MG links

Instead of links (like for an MG34, M60 or M60) you have plates with articulations between them.
Each plate holds 3 ctges.
The ctges on the plates were fired 7.5 MAS.

Perhaps these ctges are not the original ones used by these links.
What is sure is the fact these plates can hold only rimmless ctges (and not rimmed ctges like 8 Lebel or 303).

Any idea?


from your description this sounds like an articulated Hotchkiss belt.

Without picture, it remains difficult to tell for which caliber or which country.

At least hereafter a segment of a 50-round articulated belt for Hotchkiss type 4 exported to Turkey in caliber 7.92 during the 1930’s.

Other belts like these, similar but nevertheless different according to some details are for the British Hotchkiss in caliber .303.



bjr jean-fran

Jean Pierre, if he has some for sale I am interested.

Hello JP,

height of the plate is 63.5mm.

If you happen to take a picture of the belt, please check especially the end piece or hopefully the starter tab if any.



Bonjour Jean-Francois

I took some pictures (without empty the links because is it not (still) mine.

Here is the beginning

Here is the end

Top view

Bottom view

they look like yours except no marking and the fact there is no groove (no room for it).
therefore I think it is for a ctge shorter than 7.92

height of the plate is 63.5mm also

if I buy it I will clean it, take out the cases and make more accurate measurements


Hello JP,

it is the standard French Army belt for the Hotchkiss mod. 1914 in caliber 8mm Lebel.

Standard total capacity is 252 rounds (84 x 3-round segments).

A shorter 96-round belt (32x 3-round segment) was also used in armored vehicles in the 1930’s.

Please check for the marking on the starter tab.



I don’t think Jean-Francois.
Two Lebel ctges cannot fit side by side (I checked that at once when I saw the thing the first time).
And it is for that I thougt it was for 7.5 ctges.

Between two peaks (each of them being at the bottom right of the ctge) there is 17 mm
The width of the plate is 48 mm.

Does it fit with the 8 Lebel plate you have ?


Hello JP,

No doubt that it is for 8mm Lebel.
For the 8mm belt (either 24-round rigid strip or the articulated belt), the pitch between two adjacent cartridges is 16.1mm according to the official drawing.
This means that the rims of the 8mm Lebel rounds are exactly touching each other.
Hereafter the illustration of that belt that will be used in my article on Feeding the French Hotchkiss mod. 1914 that is pending publication in “Small Arms Review” magazine.

By the way, all other export belts for any rimless caliber and the .303 rimmed, have a pitch of ~13.5mm, which in essence corresponds to the rim diameter of .303 which accordingly are also touching each other.



hi jf,
if they can touch, it is ok
i didn’t try because the guy had only one 8 lebel available.
thanks for the info.

One must remember (and JFL will back this up) that France also used Hotchkiss guns in the early part of WW I as Aircraft armament, and the flexible strip was developed partly in answer to this need; The Guns used in Aircraft were the Benet-Mercie version (or “Light Hotchkiss”) and calibres were both 8mm Lebel AND .303 British; The British had adopted the Flex. Feed system for their Light Cavalry Hotchkiss Guns (used in Palestine, Mostly), and of course Hotchkiss et Cie. exported its guns all over the world.

As to those particular links shown, it depends where they were found, as to the correct ammo to be placed in them…I think, having the “Hotchkiss” trade name indicates a “private” supply, or contract, rather than Gov’t manufacture…JFL may clarify on this.

Hotchkiss strips, whether fixed or flex, will have Pitch distances according to the cartridge size ( either 8mmLebel, or the “Mauser” size, which included the .303 case as well.)

Compare this flex belt section with a French Standard 24 round Fixed Hotchkiss M1914 strip. If the pitch of the index holes is the same, and the size of the tabs is the same, then it is for 8mm Lebel; if either the pitch (and of course the tabs) are different, then it is most probably a flex belt for .303 (7,7mm for French Airforce)…which used .303 from 1915 till almost the beginning of WWII in Lewis and Darne type aircraft guns.

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.