Having gotten Forgotten Wars : Korea 1950-1953, I asked about the machine guns I see in the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army’s (“CPVA”) OB. The following is Mr Paul M. Weir’s response, reprinted with his permission. I researched and inserted the illustrations – so any errors are also mine.
(By Mr Paul M. Weir)
There are 2 sets each of LMG/MMG/HMG as well as 1 0.50″.
One set is Soviet LMG, MMG and HMG in CPVA colours, the other set are the MGs from the GMD/NRA in CPVA colours, the .50″ being common to both Soviet and GMD in values.
The 2-7 LMG represents Czech ZB vz 26/30 (the Bren’s predecessor), a widely exported weapon, also locally manufactured versions, as well as odds and sods like Madsens.
The 2-6 LMG(r) represents the DP aka DP-28 or DPM Soviet LMG.
From both text and photos the Chinese, all sides, had very few air cooled MMG/HMG until either supplied in WW2 by the US with M1919 or captured Japanese MMG/HMG. Most seem to have been versions of the classic Maxim design, the German MG08 being the commonest but you would also see Schwarzlose, Browning M1919, Vickers and even some Italian (possibly part of the shipment that brought the L3/35 tankettes) MG. If a MG ever saw production, it is likely at least a few saw service in Chinese hands.
Now that I think of it, the PLA had large number of Japanese MG, the 2-6(r) being closest match to the Japanese LMG., the non-(r) MMG/HMG to the Japanese MMG/HMG. Note that the Japanese 50mm mortar comes in CPVA and ROK/KMC colours.
The multitude of Chinese factions prior to 1949 got whatever they could whenever they could and the PLA inherited that mix. The eventually standardised on Soviet pattern stuff but that took time. So apart from the non-dm Soviet MMG/HMG ‘feature’, you could use whatever mix you want and you would not go too far wrong. The potential mix of weapons was really that bad.
As for 0.50 cal type MG, there were really only 3 moderately common designs; the US 0.50 cal Browning, the Soviet 12.7mm DShK and the French 13.2 Hotchkiss. The British had their own lower powered Vickers .50″ round that was also used by the Italians but their guns were mainly used in aircraft (Italians), multi-gun AA mounts and in tanks (mainly British). The Brownings and DShK have seen use everywhere since WW2, but in WW2 were really only issued to US+US Lend Leased forces and Soviet forces respectively only. The Hotchkiss was used by French, Belgian and Greek forces and license built by the Japanese. Unlike the Browning and DShK and while the bare gun was about the same weight as those two, the Hotchkiss mainly saw use in weighty AA mounts and AFV, plain infantry style ground mounts seem to be rare.
The CPVA had anything and everything that was left over from the Chinese Civil War period. German, Italian, Czech, US, Soviet and Japanese as well as locally manufactured rifles, MG and mortars. A very common rifle was the German Gewehr 1888, locally manufactured as the Hanyang 88. Ditto the German MG 08 was locally manufactured in Hanyang as the Type 24 and the Czech ZB-26 done in Gongxian Arsenal. Of course as the 2nd Sino-Japanese War (’37-’45) dragged on, increasing number of Japanese weapons of all types were in use and likely copied. The Japanese 50mm MTR seems to be one weapon copied, though I could not swear on that. The Chinese seemed to really like the US 60mm MTR and various RR and eventually produced their own clones as well as using captured stocks.
Counter Art : Hong Kong Wargamer
Photos : 抗战机密档（中日军队轻武器史料）
Kenneth Katz, chief designer of Forgotten War: Korean 1950-1953, gave us more details here … CPVA Machine Guns in Forgotten War – the Designer’s Supplement