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Benet Mercie Ammo strip?

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#1 Alonzo

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 05:29 PM

Was at a gun show today and saw and interesting ammo strip.
It i my understanding the the US army used the Hotchkiss amchine gun in WW1. Was it true that these were also used in the FT-17 tanks as well???
The ammo strip pictured here is said to be a tank mounted Hotchkiss gun ammo strip. Phots were taken with an Iphone.
Note the three round hinged intervals. The ammo was 303 British, correct me if wrong...was the US hotchkiss chambered in 30-06. ..was it the Benet-Mercie M1909 machine gun???

#2 Patriot

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 05:34 PM

Laying flat it looked like the ammo strip for the Japanese Type 92 machine gun. I've never seen anything like what you have there... good luck on an official ID!

#3 Linedoggie

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 06:18 PM

The FT-17 indeed used either a 37mm Puteaux or the Hotchkiss Mle. 1914. in 8mm Lebel.

The Hotchkiss Portative, aka Benet Mercie 1909 was a Different gun and chambered for 8mm Lebel, .303 British or US.30, but was used in British Tanks as the Lewis apparently had a habit of the radiator casing pulling muzzle fumes into the firers face

#4 Big Al

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 08:34 PM

There were 2 main types of Hotchkiss in use by the major armies at that time; the Mle. 1914 (French, 8mm) and the Hotchkiss Portative Mle.1909 (French service-8mm, British service-.303, American service-.30'06).

The French used the Mle. 1914 as a support gun by the infantry and the Portative was used as a support gun by the cavalry. When the war started, it was also used in early airplanes as an observer's gun in spotters, and also as a fixed forward-firing gun in early fighters.

The British purchased the Hotchkiss Portative at the begining of WWI because of the machine gun shortage that afflicted many armies early in that conflict. Theirs was chambered in .303 and was used as a light machine gun by infantry and also in tanks.

The Hotchkiss Portative design was sold to the US Army chambered for 30'06 as others have mentioned and called the M1909 Benet-Mercie Machine Rifle. It was called a rifle to emphasize its lightness compared to other guns in service (i.e. the M1904 Maxims and the Gatlings, which were not phased out until 1912). When the US entered the war in 1917, they also had a machine gun shortage and obtained Hotchkiss Mle. 1914s in 8mm and used them until sufficient supplies of 30'06 Colt-Vickers guns and M1917 Brownings could be obtained.

Getting back to the section of articulated belt you have, it was originally designed for use with the Portative in the air role. The full length was 249 rounds and was wound around a large spool, on the side of the gun in the observer's role, and in under the gun for the fixed arragement. It was easier to use and provided more firepower than the 24 or 30 round ridgid strips. When tanks came along, they were carried over for use in them, again for convenience because of the volume of fire needed.

I believe any feed strip can be used in any gun regardless of caliber or type. Am I correct on this?

Edited by Annihilator I, 28 October 2012 - 08:51 PM.

#5 Big Al

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 06:15 PM

I just noticed. What are the 4 rounds in the disintigrating belt section at bottom center of the photo? They look like 11mm Gras rounds for the 11mm Vickers anti-balloon gun.

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