MG 42

general-purpose machine gun

The MG 42 (shortened from German: Maschinengewehr 42, or "machine gun 42") is a 7.92×57mm Mauser general-purpose machine gun designed in Nazi Germany and used extensively by the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS during the second half of World War II. Entering production in 1942, it was intended to supplement and replace the earlier MG 34, which was more expensive and took much longer to produce, but both weapons were produced until the end of World War II.

MG42-1
The Germans opened up on us with an MG-42 straight up the road. Everybody froze in the ditch. We were pinned down by machine-gun fire. If you lifted your head it would get blown off. Winters didn't care, he wanted everyone to move out, he wanted us right behind Welsh. He was yelling "Go! Go! Go!" but no one budged. He ran into the middle of the road, bullets flying by his head, running from one side of the road to the other and back, screaming and yelling like a lunatic, trying to get us to move out. Everybody was looking at each other saying "Is he friggin' nuts? He thinks we're going to get up?!" ~ William "Wild Bill" Guarnere
MG42 Sideview 2
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-259-1389-30A, Südfrankreich, Soldat an MG 42 in Schützenpanzer
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-582-2106-23, Frankreich, Fallschirmjäger mit MG 42
MG3; some MG3s are MG 42s rechambered to 7.62x51 NATO

Quotes

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  • Winters gave the order to go. Lieutenant Welsh ran out with a few men from 1st Platoon behind him, and all hell broke loose. The Germans opened up on us with an MG-42 straight up the road. Everybody froze in the ditch. We were pinned down by machine-gun fire. If you lifted your head it would get blown off. Winters didn't care, he wanted everyone to move out, he wanted us right behind Welsh. He was yelling "Go! Go! Go!" but no one budged. He ran into the middle of the road, bullets flying by his head, running from one side of the road to the other and back, screaming and yelling like a lunatic, trying to get us to move out. Everybody was looking at each other saying "Is he friggin' nuts? He thinks we're going to get up?!" I never saw Winters that mad in my life. I think we figured Winters was going to get himself killed, so we better get the hell up. We ran right through the machine-gun fire, and I think Welsh took out the main gun with a grenade.
    • William "Wild Bill" Guarnere, Brothers in Battle: Best of Friends: Two WWII Paratroopers from the Original Band of Brothers Tell Their Story (2007) by William Guarnere and Edward Heffron with Robyn Post. New York: Berkley Caliber, p. 74