The American G.I.s called it “Hitlers Buzz Saw”, The Red Army Called it the “Linoleum Ripper” and the Germans called the MG42 “Hitlersage” or “Hitlers Bone Saw”. All of the names derived from the sound it made discharging up to 1800 rounds per minute and mowing down opposing troops like a scythe.
At the outbreak of WW2 the German army had a perfectly reliable machine gun in the form of the MG34 but it was expensive and difficult to manufacture. Mauser-Werke developed the MG42 using stamped and pressed steel parts welded together, thus reducing production time by 35%. It used 7.92mm ammunition held in either a 50 round magazine or a 250 round belt. It weighed in at 25lbs. (11.3kg) and had an effective range of 2300 feet (0.7km).
The drawback to this savage fire power was the high rate of ammunition usage which caused logistical problems with supply and the gun would very rapidly overheat requiring frequent changes of barrel. It also had no single shot facility.
Following the defeat of Nazi Germany the M42’s lineage continued as it formed the basis of the almost identical NATO MG1 (MG 42/59) which evolved into the MG1A3 and the Bundeswehr MG3. Elements of its design were also used by the Swiss, the Spanish, the Austrians, the Belgians and the Americans.