| Features: The Browning M2
Machine Gun, Heavy barrel is an automatic, belt-fed, recoil operated,
air-cooled machine gun with adjustable headspace and is crew
transportable with limited amounts of ammunition over short distances.
By repositioning some of the component parts, ammunition may be fed
from either the left or right side. A disintegrating metallic link-belt
is used to feed the ammunition into the weapon. This gun is has a back
plate with spade grips, trigger, and bolt latch release. This gun may
be mounted on ground mounts and most vehicles as an anti-personnel and
anti-aircraft weapon. The gun is equipped with leaf-type rear sight,
flash suppressor and a spare barrel assembly. Associated components are
the M63 antiaircraft mount and the M3 tripod mount.
The M2 .50 cal. flexible version is used as a ground gun on the M3
tripod mount or various Naval mounts. The M2 .50 cal., M48 turret type,
fixed type, and soft mount are installed on mounts of several different
types of combat vehicles and ships. The weapon provides automatic
weapon suppressive fire for offensive and defensive purposes. This
weapon can be used effectively against personnel, light armored
vehicles; low, slow flying aircraft; and small boats.
The .50 cal. (12.7mm) M2 (originally model No. M1923) was developed by
John M. Browning at the end of World War I. After a series of early
water-cooled, aircraft, and tank models were tested in the 1920s, an
improved version was adopted in 1933 as the Browning M2 water-cooled
machine gun. Subsequent models (.50 cal. M2 aircraft gun and M2 heavy
barrel gun) using the same receiver, were adopted by the Army. During
World War II, nearly two million M2 machine guns of all variations were
produced. The M2 was manufactured until 1946, but toward the end of
1976, the U.S. Army took steps to begin new production and rebuild of
the M2 to replace seriously depleted stocks. Many M2s had been
demilitarized following World War II. Emergency supply of M2s to the
Isreali Defense Forces during the 1973 Yom Kippur war was also a
serious drain on supplies. The M2 machine gun was selected as the
commander's weapon for use on the M1 series main battle tank. The
continuing success of the M2 is a tribute to Browning's design genius.
Browning Machine Guns are standard Army weapons also used by the Navy.
The .50-cal machine gun now used by the Army and Navy is the M2HB
(Heavy Barrel). The M2 is only equipped with an air-cooled heavy
barrel, since the light air-cooled barrel is no longer in use.
For a time, the M2HB was not used aboard surface ships, but has since
been installed on most types of ships and landing craft.