Hotchkiss M1914 machine gun
Overview
 
The Mle 1914 Hotchkiss machine gun
Machine gun
A machine gun is a fully automatic mounted or portable firearm, usually designed to fire rounds in quick succession from an ammunition belt or large-capacity magazine, typically at a rate of several hundred rounds per minute....

became the standard machine gun of the French Army
French Army
The French Army, officially the Armée de Terre , is the land-based and largest component of the French Armed Forces.As of 2010, the army employs 123,100 regulars, 18,350 part-time reservists and 7,700 Legionnaires. All soldiers are professionals, following the suspension of conscription, voted in...

 during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. It was manufactured by the French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 arms company Hotchkiss et Cie
Hotchkiss et Cie
Société Anonyme des Anciens Etablissements Hotchkiss et Cie was a French arms and car company established by United States engineer Benjamin B. Hotchkiss, who was born in Watertown, Connecticut. He moved to France and set up a factory, first at Viviez near Rodez in 1867, then at Saint-Denis near...

, which had been established in the 1860s by American industrialist Benjamin B. Hotchkiss
Benjamin B. Hotchkiss
Benjamin Berkeley Hotchkiss was one of the leading American ordnance engineers of his day.-American career:...

. The Hotchkiss system, essentially formulated in 1895, clearly is the conceptual precursor to most gas actuated machine gun designs to this day.

The Mle 1914 was the last version of a series of nearly identical Hotchkiss designs : the Mle 1897, Mle 1900 and the Mle 1908.
Encyclopedia
The Mle 1914 Hotchkiss machine gun
Machine gun
A machine gun is a fully automatic mounted or portable firearm, usually designed to fire rounds in quick succession from an ammunition belt or large-capacity magazine, typically at a rate of several hundred rounds per minute....

became the standard machine gun of the French Army
French Army
The French Army, officially the Armée de Terre , is the land-based and largest component of the French Armed Forces.As of 2010, the army employs 123,100 regulars, 18,350 part-time reservists and 7,700 Legionnaires. All soldiers are professionals, following the suspension of conscription, voted in...

 during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. It was manufactured by the French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 arms company Hotchkiss et Cie
Hotchkiss et Cie
Société Anonyme des Anciens Etablissements Hotchkiss et Cie was a French arms and car company established by United States engineer Benjamin B. Hotchkiss, who was born in Watertown, Connecticut. He moved to France and set up a factory, first at Viviez near Rodez in 1867, then at Saint-Denis near...

, which had been established in the 1860s by American industrialist Benjamin B. Hotchkiss
Benjamin B. Hotchkiss
Benjamin Berkeley Hotchkiss was one of the leading American ordnance engineers of his day.-American career:...

. The Hotchkiss system, essentially formulated in 1895, clearly is the conceptual precursor to most gas actuated machine gun designs to this day.

The Mle 1914 was the last version of a series of nearly identical Hotchkiss designs : the Mle 1897, Mle 1900 and the Mle 1908. The heavy Mle 1914 Hotchkiss is not to be confused with the lighter Hotchkiss M1909
Hotchkiss M1909 Benet-Mercie machine gun
The Hotchkiss M1909 machine gun was a French designed light machine gun of the early 20th century, developed and built by Hotchkiss et Cie. It was also known as the Hotchkiss Mark I and M1909 Benet-Mercie....

 (the U.S. "Benet-Mercie" or the British Hotchkiss Mark I). At the beginning of World War I, the St. Étienne Mle 1907
St. Étienne Mle 1907
The St. Étienne Mle 1907 was a French air-cooled machine gun which was widely used in the early years of the First World War. It was not derived from the Hotchkiss machine gun, as often stated erroneously, but was instead a distinctly different mechanical design...

 was the standard machine gun of French infantry. However, due to inferior field performance by the St. Etienne, the Hotchkiss Mle 1914 became the French infantry standard in late 1917. The American Expeditionary Force
American Expeditionary Force
The American Expeditionary Forces or AEF were the United States Armed Forces sent to Europe in World War I. During the United States campaigns in World War I the AEF fought in France alongside British and French allied forces in the last year of the war, against Imperial German forces...

s (A.E.F.) in France also used the Mle 1914 Hotchkiss extensively in 1917 and 1918. Hotchkiss heavy machine guns, some being of earlier types, were also used in combat by Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 and Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

.

The Hotchkiss machine gun, a sturdy and reliable weapon, remained in active service with the French army until the early 1940s. By the end of 1918, 47,000 Hotchkiss machine guns had been delivered to the French army alone.

History and design

The Hotchkiss was based on a design by Captain Baron A. Odkolek von Augeza of Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

. The patents had been purchased by the firm of Benjamin Hotchkiss, based in Saint-Denis, near Paris. Benjamin Hotchkiss was no longer alive at the time of the purchase, but the Odkolek design was further developed and greatly improved under the direction of American-born Laurence V. Benet (1863–1948) with the assistance of Henri Mercie. After trials that began in 1895, development issues were resolved leading to the initial purchase of the Hotchkiss gun by the French Military in 1897. In 1898 an export model was also offered for international sales by Hotchkiss. With some useful changes, such as the addition of five cooling radiator rings on the barrel, the same basic design led to the M1900, and later to the M1914 (with minor improvements that were added since 1908). In the meantime adoption of the St. Étienne Mle 1907
St. Étienne Mle 1907
The St. Étienne Mle 1907 was a French air-cooled machine gun which was widely used in the early years of the First World War. It was not derived from the Hotchkiss machine gun, as often stated erroneously, but was instead a distinctly different mechanical design...

 (a French government arsenal product derived from the Puteaux M1905 machine gun) to equip the infantry went through in 1908, because of internal political pressures. Nevertheless the Hotchkiss machine gun was also purchased by the French military for use in the overseas colonies and by mountain troops in the Alps. By the crucial year of 1916, during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, French line infantry, still equipped with the unsatisfactory Saint-Etienne, convinced General Petain that it urgently needed the more reliable Hotchkiss. It got its wish and French infantry divisions became progressively outfitted with the Hotchkiss gun in late 1917 and 1918

The Hotchkiss was gas actuated and air-cooled, in contrast to the Maxim gun
Maxim gun
The Maxim gun was the first self-powered machine gun, invented by the American-born British inventor Sir Hiram Maxim in 1884. It has been called "the weapon most associated with [British] imperial conquest".-Functionality:...

 and its derivatives (which were recoil operated and water-cooled). The barrel featured five large annular ribs which materially assisted its natural cooling and retarded overheating. The gas cylinder under the barrel featured a regulator piston which could be adjusted to the normal rate of fire of 450 rounds per minute. The Hotchkiss had only 32 parts, including four springs (of the coil type only) and no screws or pins, making it simple and easy to take apart and maintain. All parts of the gun were constructed in such a manner that it is impossible to assemble them improperly. The Hotchkiss fired from an open bolt
Open bolt
A semi or full automatic firearm is said to fire from an open bolt if, when ready to fire, the bolt and working parts are held to the rear. When the trigger is pulled the bolt goes forward, feeding a round from the magazine into the chamber and firing it...

, a common disposition existing today in all machine guns (in order to avoid "cook-offs" ), but a first in 1897. Although reliable and easy to feed continuously with a three man team, each individual strip held only 24 rounds of ammunition. Each empty feed strip was ejected automatically after its last round had been fired, leaving the bolt open in the rearward position. Then introducing a new loaded strip into the gun triggered the release forward of the bolt and firing resumed. The Hotchkiss strips performed well with a three-man crew, but their capacity was too small for a single gunner firing from the inside of a tank or within a confined position. This led to the adoption of a 250-round articulated metal belt in 1917. It was widely used in French tanks of the period, as well as in infantry Hotchkiss teams for special situations. It was also used by French airmen, an entire subject in itself.

Beginning in 1900, two basic tripod types were used prior to World War I, when the final and most effective third Hotchkiss tripod model (the Mle 1916) became adopted and widely distributed. A tripod that could be used for both the Hotchkiss and the St. Etienne machine guns was issued in 1915: the so-called "Omnibus Tripod". The French Hotchkiss had a rate of fire of approximately 450 rounds per minute of 8 mm Lebel ammunition, and a maximum effective range of 3,800 m (4,150 yd) with the "Balle D" bullet. Fire for effect was usually in successive bursts of 10 to 15 rounds. The gun could sustain continuous firing of about 120 aimed shots per minute almost indefinitely ( US War Department Handbook,1917 ) except for occasional barrel changes (during continuous fire, approximately every 1,000 rounds) which were quick and easy to perform with a special wrench. The barrel could attain a temperature of about 400 °C, at which temperature it would be dark red
Red
Red is any of a number of similar colors evoked by light consisting predominantly of the longest wavelengths of light discernible by the human eye, in the wavelength range of roughly 630–740 nm. Longer wavelengths than this are called infrared , and cannot be seen by the naked eye...

 in color. At this point the barrel dissipated heat as fast as it was generated. This only occurred after long continuous firing in a combat emergency situation. The most common complaint about the Hotchkiss was its weight: the gun and tripod weighed a total of 110 pounds. There were also complaints concerning the tripods, particularly the "Omnibus" tripods, which were perceived as too high above ground and too heavy.

World War I. France and USA

The principal user of the Mle 1914 Hotchkiss machine gun was French infantry during World War I and in 1939-40. The Hotchkiss company delivered 47,000 Mle 1914 machine guns to the French Army between 1914 and the end of 1918. Several hundred were in the 11 mm Gras caliber for anti balloons use since it was the smallest caliber to be able to receive an incendiary bullet but all the others were in 8 mmLebel. The second largest user of the Hotchkiss gun was the American Expeditionary Forces in France between 1917 and 1918. The U.S. purchased and used in combat 7,000 Mle 1914 Hotchkis machine guns, also in 8 mm Lebel.

Japanese version

Hotchkiss machine guns in 6.5 mm caliber were successfully deployed by Japan. The production of the gun was licensed to Japan to become the Type 3 Heavy Machine Gun
Type 3 Heavy Machine Gun
, also known as the Taishō 14 Machine Gun, was a Japanese air-cooled heavy machine gun, based on the design of the Hotchkiss M1914. Although the Hotchkiss used 8mm cartridges, from 1914 Japan produced the Type 3 under license from Hotchkiss using the 6.5x50mm Arisaka ammunition.It used an ammo...

, but the cartridge was the standard Japanese 6.5x50mm Arisaka rather than the original 8 mm ammunition. The Type 92 Heavy Machine Gun
Type 92 Heavy Machine Gun
entered service in 1932 and was the standard Japanese heavy machine gun used during World War II. It was used extensively by the Imperial Japanese Army and Collaborationist forces. Captured weapons were also used extensively by Chinese National Revolutionary Army troops and the North Korean army...

, a scaled up Type 3 chambered for 7.7mm, was also based on the Hotchkiss design.

Other countries

Hotchkiss machine guns firing 7 mm Mauser ammunition equipped both sides (Governmental forces and Pancho Villa
Pancho Villa
José Doroteo Arango Arámbula – better known by his pseudonym Francisco Villa or its hypocorism Pancho Villa – was one of the most prominent Mexican Revolutionary generals....

's) during the Mexican Revolution (1910–1920). The same type of 7 mm Hotchkiss machine gun, built under license in Spain where it was the standard medium machine gun, was widely used by the conflicting parties involved in the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

 (1930's). Furthermore, the Mle 1914 Hotchkiss in 8 mm Lebel was mounted in all French tanks and armored cars of World War I. Some examples of tanks that used the Mle 1914 Hotchkiss include the Schneider CA1
Schneider CA1
The Schneider CA1 was the first French tank. It was inspired by the need to overcome the stalemate of the trench warfare of the Great War.-Caterpillar development:...

, St Chamond
St Chamond (tank)
The Saint-Chamond was the second French heavy tank of the First World War.Overall an inadequate design born of commercial rivalry, the war ended before it was replaced by British heavy tanks.-Development:...

, Renault FT-17
Renault FT-17
The Renault FT, frequently referred to in post-WWI literature as the "FT-17" or "FT17" , was a French light tank; it is among the most revolutionary and influential tank designs in history...

 and Char 2C
Char 2C
The Char 2C was a French super-heavy tank developed, although never deployed, during World War I. It was the largest operational tank ever.-Development:...

. Conversely, British tanks and armored cars were outfitted with the British version of the distinctly different Mle 1909 light Hotchkiss (a.k.a. the "Benet-Mercie"). A recently published series of modern firing tests with vintage machine guns summarizes the Mle 1914 Hotchkiss as being: "A heavy and rock-steady combination of gun and tripod, the world's first efficient air cooled machine gun is admirably reliable and accurate" (Robert Bruce, 1997). These qualities provided the French military with an excuse to keep the Hotchkiss in active service far beyond its point of obsolescence and into World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. The last recorded uses of the Hotchkiss were in Indochina and Algeria, after World War II, to defend outposts in static positions.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK