Encyclopedia - Browning M1917 Gun

Browning M1917 machine gun Although chiefly renowned for designing small arms John Moses Browning's M1917 machine gun was adopted by the U.S. government following America's entry into the war in April 1917.  Prior to the armistice tens of thousands of recoil operated, belt fed, water cooled M1917 machine guns were manufactured for use by the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) from 1917.

Immediately following US entry into the war however, the Browning machine gun - superficially similar to the Maxim and Vickers guns, although its pistol grip and internal mechanism differentiated it from both - was not initially available.  In the interim while production was ramped up the AEF meanwhile deployed the French Chauchat gun.

Weighing some 24kg the Browning 0.30-inch was actually developed in 1910 from late 19th century designs but was not bought by the U.S. Army until 1917; thereafter some 57,000 were manufactured by the end of the war in November 1918.

The M1917 was capable of firing 450-600 rounds per minute.

A 'Tracer' was a phosphorescent machine-gun bullet which glowed in flight, indicating course as an aid to artillery.

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