Firing Japan’s First Light Machine Gun – The Type 11 (Watch)

A Japanese Type 11 light machine gun and ammunition box.
A Japanese Type 11 light machine gun and ammunition box.

After the Russo-Japanese war ended in 1905, Japan and its military realized that machine guns would be a significant asset in any future conflicts. After watching the events of the First World War unfold and seeing the strategies and technologies deployed by European forces, the Japanese authorities began working to create a light machine gun. The result was the Type 11.

It became the first model of the light machine gun class to be mass-produced in Japan in 1922 – the same year that it began to see active service. By the time the production ceased, almost 30,000 had been built, and they went on to see considerable use on the battlefield. The Type 11 was involved in extensive action during the staged Manchurian Incident and later in the Second Sino-Japanese War, although many models were captured by the Chinese and then turned against their original owners.

Though it was used throughout the Second World War, it was superseded in the mid-1930’s by the Type 96, an improved iteration of the light machine gun design. The Type 11 was extremely susceptible to jamming, as dirt and dust could get into the inner workings of the gun fairly easily. The Type 96 didn’t have this problem, and so it was largely favored over its predecessor.

The Type 11 light machine gun remains a powerful and historically significant weapon, however, and in this video, you can see it being loaded and fired from a range of angles. The creators behind the YouTube channel – AZ Guns – also give viewers a historical and technical rundown of the weapon, providing context for it as well as a demonstration of its firepower. Complete with slow-motion footage of the gun in action, this video – and the channel in general – is definitely worth a closer look.


Malcolm Higgins

Malcolm Higgins is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE