Shooting the MG-34 and MG-42

These two machine guns, the MG-34 and MG-42, were the primary arms given to the German infantry and their vehicles throughout World War 2. In this video, you can see how to load, operate, fire and unload each gun. You’ll even see how to change a barrel on the MG-42 model.


This is a recoil-operated machine gun that is air-cooled and German. It was first introduced in 1934 and sent to many units in 1936. This gun utilizes the Mauser cartridge (7.92x57mm) and is considered to be the first machine gun for general-purpose in the world.

This was a versatile gun and possibly the most advanced one in its time. It had outstanding mobility, being light enough for one man to carry and its rate of fire was tremendous (up to 900 rounds per min).

This gun was issued in massive numbers after Hitler’s repudiation, in 1936, of the Versailles Treaty and was first tested in combat when German troops assisted Franco’s Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War.


The MG-42 is a Mauser machine gun and uses the Mauser cartridge (7.92x57mm) and is suited for general-purpose. It was created in Nazi Germany and was heavily used by the Waffen-SS and Wehrmacht at the end of World War 2. It was initially made to replace the Mg-34 as it was cheaper to manufacture as well as quicker to make too, but in the end, both machine guns remained in production throughout the War.

The MG-42 machine gun has been proven to be reliable, durable, simple and easy to use and is most handy in that it can produce a higher than usual volume of suppressive fire. It could average between 1,200 and 1,500 rounds per minute which was fantastic for this type of gun.

This gun was still being used beyond the War ending and was the basis for the later MG1, which was almost identical to the MG-42, which took 7.62x51mm NATO chambers. This then evolved to the MG1A3 and then eventually the Bundeswehr MG-3.

Joris Nieuwint

Joris Nieuwint is a battlefield guide for the Operation Market Garden area. His primary focus is on the Allied operations from September 17th, 1944 onwards. Having lived in the Market Garden area for 25 years, he has been studying the events for nearly as long. He has a deep understanding of the history and a passion for sharing the stories of the men who are no longer with us.