M73 machine gun

M73 machine gun

Infobox Weapon|is_ranged=yes

caption=M219 Machine Gun
name= Machine Gun, 7.62mm, M219
type= Machine gun
origin=flagcountry|United States
design_date= 1950s
production_date= 1950s-1970s
service= 1959 (M73)
1970 (M73A1)
1977 (M219)
used_by= U.S., South Vietnam, NATO
wars= Vietnam War, Present day
spec_type= Co-axial Machine gun
caliber=7.62x51 mm
part_length= 24 in (609 mm)
cartridge= 7.62 × 51 mm NATO (U.S.)
feed= Belt Feed, left or right hand
action= Recoil-operated/short-recoil operation with gas assist
rate= 500-625 round/min
velocity=2,800 fps
weight= 31 lb (14.1 kg) (M73)
29.8 lb (13.5 kg) (M73A1/M219)
length= 48 in (1219 mm)
variants= See Variants Section
range= 1,500 yd (1,370 m) (maximum)

The M73 and M219 were 7.62 mm NATO calibre machine guns designed for tank use. They were basically 'simplified' M1919 Browning machine guns to save space in the cramped interiors of armored vehicles but using more modern 'Push Through' links. It was used on the M48 Patton and M60 Patton MBT series (including the M728 Combat Engineer Vehicle), and on the M551 Sheridan light tank.

Design and Development

Designed primarily as a coaxial machine gun by the Rock Island Arsenal and produced by General Electric, the M73 was developed as a replacement for the M1919A4E1, M1919A5, and M37 machine guns that continued to serve in the immediate post-WWII environment.

The "Machine Gun, 7.62-MM, M73" was officially adopted in 1959. It is an air-cooled, recoil operated machine gun, but also using cartridge gasses to boost recoil. Though designed as a simplified alternative to the M1919 series, was of almost identical weight. The weapon was fitted with a quick-change barrel, pull-chain charging assembly, and could be made to feed from the left or the right hand side (though the left-hand feed was more common). [Cooke, Gary W. "Gary's Olive Drab Page". 11 September 2004. [http://www.inetres.com/gp/military/cv/weapon/M73.html M73, M73A1, M219 7.62mm Tank Machine Guns] . Access Date: 30 May 2007]

An attempt to make the M73 useful as a flexible infantry gun saw the weapon fitted with sights and a pistol grip trigger as the "Machine Gun, 7.62-MM, M73C". Equally unpopular, very few of these weapons were produced. Sources claim that it saw limited use in Vietnam. [Ezell, 1988. p. 418]

The M73 suffered from numerous malfunctions and was prone to jamming. An improved M73E1 was eventually developed in 1970 with a simplified ejection system, being type classified as the "Machine Gun, 7.62-MM, M73A1". In 1977, it was decided that this weapon was sufficiently different from its predecessor and was redesignated "Machine Gun, 7.62-MM, M219". These weapons were eventually replaced by the M60E2 and M240 machine gun, and vehicles still in service using the M73 series were refitted with these weapons. [Ezell, 1988. p. 418] [Cooke, Gary W. "Gary's Olive Drab Page". 11 September 2004. [http://www.inetres.com/gp/military/cv/weapon/M73.html M73, M73A1, M219 7.62mm Tank Machine Guns] . Access Date: 30 May 2007]



*Adopted in 1959


* Flexible infantry variant with sights and pistol grip
* Used a special tripod, the XM132 [Cooke, Gary W. "Gary's Olive Drab Page". 11 September 2004. [http://www.inetres.com/gp/military/cv/weapon/M73.html M73, M73A1, M219 7.62mm Tank Machine Guns] . Access Date: 30 May 2007]


* Developed in 1970 as an improved version with simplified ejection mechanism attempting to reduce chronic jamming
* Redesignated in 1977 as the M219




* Ezell, Ed. "Small Arms Today, 2nd Edition." Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1988. ISBN 0-8117-2280-5.
* Gervasi, Tom. "Arsenal of Democracy III: America's War Machine, the Pursuit of Global Dominance". New York, NY: Grove Press, Inc, 1984. ISBN 0-394-54102-2.

ee also

* M60 machine gun
* M240 machine gun

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