The most machine-gun tanks of the world

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The tank was born as a “machine gun fighter,” therefore the first vehicles already received cannon armament from two 57-mm cannons at once (first long and then shortened). This was enough to destroy any machine gun, or even an enemy tank, with a direct hit. However, it was obvious that in addition to destroying enemy machine guns, “target number 2” was the enemy infantry. And now the first English Tanks Mk. I, II, III and IV (“males”) receive, in addition to the guns, first two, and then three machine guns: shoot forward and in both directions. Accordingly, the “female” tanks are armed with four machine guns - five machine guns, which provides them with the opportunity to conduct intense machine gun fire in all directions. Mk.S. tanks that later appeared had four machine guns (there were no guns on them) and Mk.V. possessed the same weapons. The Anglo-American tanks MK.VIII armed with five machine guns, that is, machine gun weapons on the tank by the end of the First World War became dominant. But what was it connected with? With the lack of a tower!


American medium tank M2. Museum of the Aberdeen Proving Ground.

That is why the German tank A7V had, in addition to the cannon, six machine guns, moreover, with tape power and water cooling. Two on each side and two more (that's how!) Were at his back, at small angles to each other. Italians on their tank of the same "carriage layout" "Fiat-2000" at first wanted to put 10 machine guns at all, which would make it the strongest machine-gun tank in the world, but what kind of crew would it need? Therefore, they placed machine guns on it as follows: three at the back, and two at the front and sides. As it is known, he didn’t have a chance to fight, but he rather adequately showed his formidable during parades.

The most machine-gun tanks of the world

A7V - top view

However, even when a turret appeared on British tanks, medium tanks were still equipped with a whole battery of machine guns. For example, the Vickers Mk.II Medium had four Hotchx machine guns at once, or two Vickers and two Hotchkiss. Of these, two were located in the hull along the sides, one was paired with a gun, another one was used as an anti-aircraft gun in the rear section of the tower. That is, in theory, all these tanks were supposed to create around themselves a zone of continuous machine-gun fire!


Mk.VIII - top view.

In the future, the rhombic form of the first English cars and sunk into oblivion, without leaving a continuation. The French concept of a single-turreted tank, armed with either a single gun or a single machine gun, proved to be more viable. However, already on the Italian tank "Fiat-3000" two machine guns were installed in the turret at once, which, however, is connected not so much with the engineers' plan, as with the sad need to compensate for the low combat qualities of the Fiat machine guns.


Mk.IV - the covers of Lewis machine guns are clearly visible, which turned out to be, however, not quite suitable for tanks.

However, as time went on and ... surprisingly, the old approaches even in new designs (here it is the human conservatism of thinking!) Continued to dominate. For example, the Vickers-Medium tanks were supposed to be replaced by Vickers-16 T tanks, and what? He received three towers, two of which, located in front of the main one, received two machine guns at the very beginning, and only then they were left one by one, so their total number was three, so there would be five. In 1928, the Vickers-6 T tank was launched and ... its first version (Type A) was equipped with two turrets, each with a machine gun. But Type B - single-turrets with a 47-mm short-barreled gun OQF 3-pdr machine gun did not have, because it was believed that the cannon and machine-gun tanks on the battlefield "should support each other." “Six-tones” were adopted in many countries, including the USSR and Poland, and also from the very beginning in a two-tower and two-machine-gun variant. It was supposed to develop in such a way the strongest machine-gun fire on both sides, when the tank moves the trench, will rise over it and be able to fire at it “in two fires”!


Vickers Medium.

Thus, one machine gun in the interval between the world wars was left only on wedges such as the English carden-Lloyd tankettes and light machine-gun reconnaissance tanks like the Soviet T-37. Well, during the Second World War, one machine gun stood on the British infantry tanks "Matilda-I", "Matilda-II" and their development - the tank "Valiant", as well as the tank "Valentine" and this was considered sufficient. The famous "Kruseyder" first also received two machine guns, one in the machine gun turret next to the driver's seat. But then they decided that this was an obvious exaggeration and was abandoned in favor of thickening the armor. One machine gun in the tower had Soviet T-26 and BT of all modifications, and this was also considered quite sufficient, because the T-28 had four machine guns (with five anti-aircraft guns), and the T-35 had six (seven with anti-aircraft guns). However, both the T-26 and the Bteshki also received an anti-aircraft machine gun, and some even the famous “Voroshilovsky” machine gun in the back of the tower, but in general they did not add firepower to them. In battle, there was enough of a single machine gun coupled to a cannon.


Machine gun "Maxim" in the battlements of the tank A7V. The rate of firing, artificially reduced to 400 rpm, reduced the capabilities of these machine guns compared to the base model. Museum in Münster.

As for the Americans, their “Christie tank” initially had one cannon and one machine gun, although there were variants of tanks, literally stuck with machine guns, the number of which reached five: one in the hull and four in the fixed wheelhouse.


Tank Christie arr. 1919 with multi-tiered armament: 57-mm cannon in the lower turret and the Browning 1919 machine gun at the top.

Then they had a medium tank M2 and that’s why the Americans armed them with machine guns in full. Two fixed machine guns in the body, four in the wheelhouse at its corners, and two anti-aircraft guns, which were installed, if necessary, on special brackets. True, the machine gun paired with the 37-mm gun in the turret was missing. But there was also a modification with a twin machine gun and an anti-aircraft 12,7-mm machine gun on the turret. With so many (eight machine guns and one spare in addition!) This tank can be considered the absolute leader in terms of machine gun weapons. By the way, these completely “not average” cars (due to very thin armor and weak weapons) in the М2А1 variant were even supplied to the USSR under lend-lease and took part in the battles in May 1942 of the year, but it is clear that all were soon destroyed .


Tank "Cromwell"

The two-machine gun system became the global trend during the war: one machine gun in the body, the other in the turret. According to this scheme, the most massive tanks of the Second World War were equipped with machinegun armament: the Soviet T-34 and such vehicles as the KV, the Sherman, the Cromwell, the Comet, the German T-III, the T-IV and the Tiger "And" Panther ". Although the "treshki", and "fours", and all the other machines of the Nazis somewhere from 1943, they also received an anti-aircraft machine gun. However, the rifle caliber that everyone else had on them. The Cromwell did not receive the anti-aircraft machine gun; neither did the Li / Grant tanks, which had three or four machine guns, including the machine gun in the top commander's turret of the MNNUMX Lee. But the "Sherman" as the anti-aircraft guns and were "Browning" rifle caliber, and the same "Browning" machine gun M3 caliber 2-mm. That is, if we consider the main machine guns standing in the hull and the turret, then two machine guns became the norm for all "medium" and "heavy" machines, but the anti-aircraft machine guns were used very different. Rifle caliber from the Italians, Germans and Japanese, and large-caliber - from the Americans.


The Hungarian tank Toldi-II also had two machine guns, but both were in the turret. Bovington Museum.

Thanks to the use of twin machine guns, the Italians got tanks with three machine guns in the hull and a turret: the Sparks in the hull and one in the turret in the same mask as the gun. On one of the modifications of the T-IIIE tank, the Germans also placed a machine gun sparck next to the 37-mm turret gun and got a three-gun tank, but this innovation did not increase its combat power, but it became more difficult to service it and later they refused this option. Interestingly, experienced Japanese tanks were equipped with machine guns on a rhombic system: one forward in the hull, one backward in the turret and two along the sides. Then this was also abandoned in favor of one machine gun in the body and one in the turret ... for some reason deployed back. The third was the anti-aircraft machine gun, but they were not placed on all machines.


Italian tank M13-40 from the museum in Bovington.

Here we should again return to the American tanks, because having overcome the crisis of the beginning of the war, they began to produce more or less satisfactory tanks, and here for some reason the light tank М3 again received clearly excessive machine gun weapons. One standard American tank gun "Browning" М1919А1 in the body, two in the sponsors on the left and right for firing forward, then a machine gun paired with a gun and, finally, an anti-aircraft machine gun on the turret. Only five machine guns, is it a lot for a light tank? And it is hardly surprising that soon the machine guns were removed from the sponsors, and their holes were welded with armor plates, turning it into a standard "two-gun" tank with additional anti-aircraft weapons.


M3 "Stewart" from the museum in Bovington.

It would seem that the idea died, well, the tank does not require so many machine guns, but the last multi-gun tank did appear, and it was here in the USSR. We are talking about an experienced tank Zh.Ya. Kotin EC-7, created immediately after the war, and so on it, in addition to the gun, eight machine guns were installed, two of them with the caliber 14,5-mm KPVT and six 7,62-mm SGMT. One KPVT and two SGMT were in the cannon mask, the second KPVT was on the turret on the roof of the tower, of the remaining four SGMT, two were in the stern of the tower to shoot backwards and two in the fenders for firing ahead. All this arsenal, except for machine guns, coupled with a gun, was equipped with a remote electric drive and could be induced from inside the tank. The ammunition consisted of 400 14,5-mm cartridges and 2500 7,62-mm. It is clear that he weighed quite a bit, adding the weight of this already very heavy machine, but in the end it never went into a series, and no other army in the world allowed itself to such multi-bullet monsters.


EC-7 in our Kubinka.

At present, one rifle caliber machine gun, paired with a cannon and a large-caliber anti-aircraft machine gun on the roof of the tower, has become the traditional scheme. However, on many tanks and anti-aircraft machine guns again have a rifle caliber, so what is the best caliber for the "anti-aircraft guns" has not yet been decided. As for the absolute leader in terms of the number of machine guns mounted on it, those are today Israeli Merkava tanks. On some of them, besides a machine gun coupled with a cannon, two more are installed above the upper hatches of the tower, and one 12,7-mm with a remote control is fixed above the barrel.

Time will tell how many machine guns the designers will consider optimal for the tank, and whether six-barreled high-speed machine gun installations will appear on it.

Fig. A.Shepsa
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26 comments
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  1. +5
    31 August 2015 07: 33
    The tank does not have much sense in increasing the number of machine guns. If you need to increase the density of fire, then install multi-barreled systems, like the "Minigun", or "YakB" (like on the Mi-24), or GSh - as a last resort. But here again the question of the weight of this installation comes into force. Numerous machine guns will have only remote control, you cannot put an operator on each of them, so they will be either a dead weight or a firing point with indirect shooting across areas. Practice shows that coaxial and anti-aircraft (ideally, remotely controlled) machine guns are sufficient for heavy armored vehicles. An exception may be BMP / BMD, where the density of fire can be crucial for suppressing resistance to its own advancing or defending forces, here the number of machine guns can partially compensate for the weakness of the weapons of such equipment.
    1. 0
      31 August 2015 21: 05
      Regarding multi-barreled machine guns on tanks, it was planned to install a six-barreled gun on the Shilka, but sea trials revealed a lot of problems, so as a result, a “spark” of ZU-shek appeared.
  2. +1
    31 August 2015 07: 42
    This is a tank and not a machine-gun nest in the end, in vain stuffed with guns !!!
  3. +3
    31 August 2015 07: 59
    And why not a word about the purely machine-gun BT-2?
    1. +2
      31 August 2015 08: 17
      Because there were a lot of pure machine guns, but the article is not rubber!
      1. 0
        31 August 2015 10: 57
        Quote: kalibr
        Because there were so many pure machine guns

        not so much, I must say.
    2. +2
      31 August 2015 10: 28
      Quote: van zai
      And why not a word about the purely machine-gun BT-2?

      Fairly), but initially it was still implied by a machine gun and cannon. B-3 (5K) was not enough) Therefore, they temporarily stuck the DA-2 spark. And on the first 60 cars, it seems, there was not even a ball mount. Assault usual, probably)
      And about the "penny" Pz.Kpfw.I in the article)
    3. The comment was deleted.
    4. +2
      31 August 2015 10: 46
      Quote: van zai
      machine gun BT

      by the way, about BT ... a machine-gun upgrade: a German tankman with earflaps in a captured BT-7. Without commander’s periscope, but with MG-13))
      1. +1
        31 August 2015 12: 30
        Many machine guns do not happen. smile Fire on both sides for the four-machine gun "Tiger". soldier


        https://img-fotki.yandex.ru/get/6513/13354011.140a/0_104638_a0692ed3_orig.jpg
        1. +2
          31 August 2015 12: 42
          In the picture, the SG-43 is either DS-39 (looks similar).
          1. 0
            31 August 2015 12: 53
            Quote: bionik
            In the picture, the SG-43 is either DS-39 (looks similar).

            Trophy DS-39.
        2. +1
          31 August 2015 13: 46
          Quote: igordok
          Many machine guns do not happen.

          stopudovo) photo zcht) But "Ferdinand" along with a new name only in the 44th course MG-34 received)
          They say that on Kursk, Ferdy’s crews fired a machine gun through the gun’s barrel)
    5. -3
      31 August 2015 13: 40
      Quote: van zai
      And why not a word about the purely machine-gun BT-2?


      What is BT-7? Why not a word about the imba 3 level Pz1С ?? With enlightenment and ventel you can level the statue.
      1. +3
        31 August 2015 14: 25
        Quote: flSergius
        Why not a word about the imba 3 level Pz1С ?? With enlightenment and ventel you can level the statue.

        WoT so?
  4. +2
    31 August 2015 08: 38
    Mk I "female". Five 7,7mm Vickers machine guns and one 8mm Hotchkiss machine gun.
  5. +1
    31 August 2015 09: 17
    "How many machine guns the designers will consider optimal for the tank, and whether six-barreled rapid-fire machine gun installations will appear on it, time will tell."

    As the military decides they order the designers, so be it. It all depends on how they (the military) will see the battlefield of the future.
    This, incidentally, applies to the constructions described in the article. What the military wanted, they got it.
  6. 0
    31 August 2015 11: 53
    I saw IS-7 in Kubinka, it’s impressive.
  7. +1
    31 August 2015 14: 01
    machine gun version of the FT-17 legend ("female" with Hotchkiss)
    The photo was taken in Volyn in 1943. Of course, you won’t see this stool on the propaganda posters of the Panzervaffe))))
  8. +2
    31 August 2015 14: 58
    Americans loved to mount heavy
    machine gun Colt 0,5 at the back of the tower (Stuart and Sherman), for the landing.
    Task: mow the bushes along the edges of the road, opening
    possible ambushes.
    Normandy has narrow roads and dense hedges on both sides
    3-4 m high. An ambush is not visible even at point blank range. Only a blind barrage
    fire could help.
    1. +2
      31 August 2015 15: 24
      Well, on Stewart just 12,7-mm machine gun did not seem to be mounted. In any case, I have not seen such photos. The pictures are standard М1919А1. And on Sherman, yes, it was a standard machine gun. In contrast, the M1919 is an improvisation.
      1. 0
        31 August 2015 16: 01
        Quote: kalibr
        Well, it’s like the 12,7 mm machine gun didn’t seem to be mounted on Stuart.

        yes, browning .30, no more. Unless, of course, the experimental ZSU based on the M5A1 with twin browning .50)
        But on Chaffee M24 - yes, .50
    2. 0
      31 August 2015 15: 35
      Only they have more got accustomed from the jungle of Oceania and Indochina. After all, sometimes there, even without mowing the bushes, even the 37-mm cannon was not dragged.
  9. 0
    31 August 2015 15: 28
    Where is it written that the medium M-2s were delivered to the USSR? Is there documentary evidence?
    1. 0
      31 August 2015 19: 46
      There is even a message from the part where they fought ...
  10. +2
    31 August 2015 15: 32
    "tanks" Merkava ". On some of them, except for a coaxial machine gun,
    two more are installed above the upper hatches of the tower "///

    These two machine guns seem superfluous, but not always.
    When fighting in the city, they are useful. On narrow streets, the gun is not very effective - there are no targets,
    it is impossible to turn the tower at a wide angle.
    Then the loader turns into a "side machine gunner": shoots at
    doors and windows on the sides of the tank. And the shooter fires forward from the machine gun.
    1. 0
      31 August 2015 20: 05
      Quote: voyaka uh
      tanks "Merkava". On some of them, except for a machine gun coaxial with a gun,
      two more are installed above the upper hatches of the tower "///

      Yes, you don’t have a tank there at all, but an arms store, even a mortar, they pushed it into the tower what
  11. +1
    31 August 2015 19: 51
    "How many times have they told the world ..."

    "It was supposed in this way to develop the most powerful machine-gun fire on both sides, when the tank will cross the trench, stand over it and be able to fire at it" in two fires "!"

    Trenches in the 20 century were never built straightforward. So conducting simultaneous side fire with machine-gun tanks was pointless ...

    "106. The outline of the trenches in the plan is curvilinear or broken. The trench of the curved outline in the plan should be torn off with a trench machine without lifting the working body (rotor). The straight section of the trench is called the face of the trench. The length of the face should not exceed 10-15m. One face should be located no more than 1-2 rifle cells so that when a shell or grenade hits a trench, no more than one soldier is hit by shrapnel. "
    1. 0
      29 June 2016 22: 01
      Quote: moskowit
      Trenches in the 20th century were never built straightforward. So conducting simultaneous side fire with machine-gun tanks was pointless.
      Well, except if the side machine guns in the tank were fastened rigidly, and it was impossible to point one machine gun, for example, at an angle in the direction of the head, and the other at an angle against the course (for example, when moving the trench at an angle). Only after all, it was all different, besides the machine guns were located on an elevation compared to ground level, so that even a curved trench can be fired from a machine gun (subject to the possibility of guidance) quite effectively (compared to shelling due to a parapet), so how the soldiers (at least in battle order) still do not lie at the bottom of the trench, but stand in it. Some kind of very cuddly position you have, she lacks logic, imagination, spatial thinking.
      http://kumar.dn.ua/_ph/12/495336456.jpg
      For example, a photograph, consider that the view from the side of the tank machine gun on a broken trench. What's so pointless? The machine gun will not take these three soldiers, in your opinion?
      1. 0
        30 June 2016 00: 43
        Now I inserted the picture.
  12. 0
    31 August 2015 20: 23
    Quote: moskowit
    Trenches in the 20 century were never built straightforward. So conducting simultaneous side fire with machine-gun tanks was pointless ...

    Don't tell what , trenches like in the 20th century and appeared, providing a "positional dead end", and breaking them, just after this "dead end" was broken, for more effective defense in the short. request
  13. 0
    31 August 2015 21: 14
    Of all the presented in the article, I consider only IS-7 to be a real TANK. It is a pity the car did not go into series, even if not a big one.
  14. +2
    31 August 2015 21: 24
    it was the machine guns on the tank that became dominant by the end of the First World War. But what was it connected with? With the lack of a tower!
    Oh! What a dubious statement! All German (A7V), reckless French (Saint-Chamonix and Schneider) and part of the heavy English tanks were cannon-machine guns. But the tower Renault FT-17 is either cannon or machine gun.
    It is very strange to take a machine gun out of the context of the whole tank, anyway, what to consider is not the evolution of animals, as whole organisms, but, for example, only the evolution of the hind limbs.
    A tank is not a glass of seeds, it is created for those. task that is relevant to the state. the institution is developing, believing at the same time some specific tactics of use. In the task, the number of machine guns and their location can be set, or maybe not. But the correctness of the decisions made can only be determined by the practice of use, and preferably in a real war. Practice quickly showers excess husk, and somewhere and build up the meat.
    When, just created Renault FT-17, no one had any idea that it was created according to the classical scheme, for 20 ... 25 years they were looking for the best, and the Americans, starting later than everyone else, did not seem to "cheat" anyone at all, stepped on other people's old rake...
    1. 0
      1 September 2015 10: 09
      The desire of designers to take into account the totality (heterogeneity and inconsistency) of requirements led to this look "tanks".
      And the rhombicity is gone, and the multi-tower, and the inescapable desire to make the tank the greatest super-invincible argument in the war (the desire for this remained for sure, where would it be without it).
  15. +1
    2 September 2015 23: 00
    It is a pity, of course, that the article did not indicate about the T-1 and T-2 "nemchur" ... are worthy of mention, the Blitzkrieg was built on them before the 41st ... wassat
    Well, the Tiger photo with our machine guns is just a masterpiece !!! hi

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