Unknown MG on a german sub tower


Iam puzzling with this guns. Any idea what it is? A lot of captured guns where used by the navy. An idea was the czech MG 30 (t) but that is 8mm - this guns had bigger calibers. See the ammo in comparison to the gunners head.

Any idea?



I think the sub and crew are Italian and suspect the guns are 12.7 m/m Breda SAFAT. Jack


Jack, the only 12.7mm Breda SAFAT pics I’ve seen show the barrel casing with lots of small holes rather than a few slots, and the muzzle looks different too, but there could have been variations I suppose.


These things look almost fake, the barrels are so funny. However, the boxy receiver, belt feed location, and absence of any mechanism projecting under the barrels all look like some kind of Browning to me. They ain’t Scotti and they ain’t Breda-SAFAT. What DO we got here – Swedes?? I’ll show this to someone who is unlikely to see it on line…


Does anybody know how Dutch pre war cal. .50 did look like?


Looks like an FN Browning aircraft gun.


Guns look definitely like FN Built Brownings, but the ammo looks more like 13,2x99 (Hotchkiss), which was a more common FN Browning calibre in Europe. FN supplied them with alternate feed capability, to be used in “Double” Mounts, as shown here.

Persons in Crew. Whilst the officer behind the gunner looks like an Italian Infantry Officer ( Kepi with decorative Light coloured band,) the Sailors are Not Italian— Italian Sailors wore a Uniform much like that of the British Royal Navy ( Flattened Tally Hat, square necked Shirt, etc); The “Bustina”( Flattenable cap) as worn by the gunner ( and others) was typical of the
German ( and other ) Navies, especially submarine Crews, in late 30s and WW II; early WW I crews wore a soft beret with Tally band, and German surface crews did also in WW II. There is an Officer with the typical German Blue Peaked cap behind, and another sailor with a “Cap” similar to the Gunner.

The officer in the Kepi could also be Swedish, but I am not sure.

ONLY a good research in 1930s photos of various Uinforms of all European Navies will give an idea of the Correct attribution of the various “Actors” in this Photo…BTW, there is a shadow of a German “Floppy” cap in the Background, I think?

Nice photo, Regards,
Doc AV


I recall reading that the Italian Navy did use twin-13.2mm gun mountings on submarines, but I can’t recall if they were Hotchkiss or FN Browning guns. This photo would seem to indicate Brownings!


Thats the 13,2 Breda in italian navy sub double mount. These are in a watertight tube. Some where given to german navy, but look different.
Here are two on a Typ IX boat

It is without any doubt an german VII C tower. German crew with an uncommon gun mount at the front of the tower with uncommon guns.

The belgian FN Browning in 13,2 Hotchkiss was used by the german navy, but I cant remember the barrel jacket design. Somebody has a pic of belgium or dutch Brownings?


While interesting, this is becoming a gun thread. If possible it would be good to steer it towards munitions somehow. Some pics of the rds used in the different guns mentioned, or why one might be better than the other from a ballistics point of view?


Well, if you want an ammo pic try this one (from the Ammo Photo Gallery on my website:

In approximate order of appearance: 12.7x99 (.50" Browning), 12.7x81 (.5" Vickers V/580), 12.7x81SR (.5" Vickers V/565, 12.7mm Scotti, Breda-SAFAT, IJA Ho-103), 13.2x99 (Hotchkiss M30, Breda M1931, FN Browning, IJN Type 93/Type 3), 13.2x96 (Hotchkiss M35), 12.7x108 (Russian; also Chinese HMGs), 15x104 (Czech vz/60, aka British Besa), 15x96 (German Mauser MG 151), 13x64B (German MG 131, IJN Type 2), 14.5x114 (Russian KPV).

Ballistically, there wasn’t really much in it between the .50 BMG and the 13.2mm Hotchkiss. After all, the cases were identical apart from a fractional difference in calibre.



We hardly could ID the guns - I would love to see some infos about the belgian/dutch ammo and of course the belt, the ammo box, box labels ect…


Speaking about ammo - is there a difference between 13,2mm
Hotchkiss and 13,2mm Breda?
We’ve made a special 13,2mm ammo with shortened case neck to use
a projo with driving band. Steel cases laquered in a red brown color.

Any idea?


The German designation for these cartridges said “Hotchkiss”.


Looks like an Italian sub hosting some German allies and showing off their SAFAT 12.7 AA mounts with alternate barrel jacket for sub use.



it is the german U 338. With the harassing rise of aircraft attacks the tower was rebuild. Main armament was a 2cm quad gun in the Wintergarten and two aditional 2cm double mountings. In front of the tower an additional trial gun position. No notes about the gun types - MOST definitly NOT 12,7 SAFAT.


Certainly unusual headgear for Germany. Those do not appear to be 20mm guns but photos can tell lies.


Very usual headgear for geman U boat crews. One of the 2cm double guns couldt be seen in the background. The front guns are not 2cm - we know - thats what we are puzzling about.


I finally get some news about the subject. Ive got an manual about the belgium 13,2mm gun. The dutch are in 12,7mm.
Both are water cooled with big barrel jackets. Well the dutch and belgians has had an airforce I think and made the guns with thin aircooled jackets ,too. The major point is the system. It is an Browning M 1 system matching the cocking system. The M 2 is different.

A fact that I didnt know, is the existence of two 13,2mm calibers. The normal 13,2 x 99 Mle 1930 used in Japan, Belgium, France and as 13,2mm Breda in Italy. And a shortened version the 13,2 x 96 introduced in France (afaik) as
Mle 1935.


Both are shown in my photo on post #10.