Hotchkiss 13.2mm Mle 1930

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The Edge
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Hotchkiss 13.2mm Mle 1930

Postby The Edge » 07 Oct 2009 14:12

Regarding the Hotchkiss Mle 1930 heavy machine gun in French service, there are a number of facts that interests me. First of all – the users: (Data bellow is what I found so far)

La DAT (Defense Aerienne du Territoire) adopte cette arme sur affüt bitube ave correcteur Le Prieur-Ricordel (système de visée). L'arme esta lors alimentée de deux boitiers-chargeurs de 30 cartouches et dispose d'une cadence de tir instantannée de 900 coups/ minute. Les 2 mitrailleuses peuvent tirer en alternance ou ensemble.
Au total, 540 mitrailleuse de 13, é sont livrées à la DAT pour former 170 sections à 2 pièces.
La Marine adopte aussi la mitrailleuse en CAD sur affût jumellé ou CAQ sur affût quadruple (48 pièces) pour la défense de ses batiments et de ses bases. Affût semi-fixe ou fixe à deux pointeurs de 13,2 mm. Masse de l'arme: 830 kg, cadence de tir de 1800 coups/minute. 4 chargeurs de 30 cartouches.Peut tirer ses 120 coups en 30 secondes.
98 exemplaires livrés à la Ligne Maginot pour armer les blockhaus des basses Vosges et casemates de la berge du Rhin.
L'armée de l'Air s'interresse aussi à l'arme pour armer certains de ses appareils.
L'infanterie elle refuse l'arme du fait du poid de sa cartouche (122g).
(Sources: FRANCE 1940 LARMEMENT TERRESTRE Stephane Ferrard ETAI. 1998.)

Mitrailleuse de 13.2 mm affut semi-fixe a deux mitrailleuses - 270

So, for the start, French Army rejected the gun on the basis of its heavy weight and the danger of its long-range ammo falling from the sky on friendly troops in AA use (no self-destruction ability).
However, there are 96 pcs of them in Maginot Line fortifications – probably belonging to French Army.
It is also used on AMR-35Z1 (30) and AMD-80AM (28) vehicles of French Cavalry.
DAT units had a number of them – so, did the DAT belonged to Army of Air Force?
It is also used by Air Force for AA airport defense – is it “DAT” or some other specific unit/service? :roll:


Second, numbers are also problematic: one data is 270, other 540 guns. Data for DAT is 170 sections of two twin-gun model – this is 340 mounts (not either 270 or 540) or 680 “tubes”.
Anybody who can clear this numbers issue? (how many guns & whom they belonged) :roll:
(Also, any - even rough - estimation of number of guns used by Navy? (both ships and naval bases))


Third, the models. You probably read:
Conception: 1920, en service dés 1929.
I have a list of eventual models:
1924 – test guns for Navy
1924/26 – test guns for Army
1929 – in service by Navy (so, is there a “Hotchkiss mitrailleuse Mle 1929 de 13.2 mm” ?)
1930 – most used Model year, like “mitrailleuse de 13,2 mm CA mle 1930”
1931 – I found also odd “Mle 31” designation (did any service marked them as such?)
1935 – new ammo introduced (13.2x96mm) so I also found “Hotchkiss 13.2mm mitrailleuse Mle 35”
What models were really used by French military? :roll: (which mounts?)
(Did earlier, strip-feed model, had some specific designation?)

Thanks in advance,
Edge / Antic

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Re: Hotchkiss 13.2mm Mle 1930

Postby Ardee » 07 Oct 2009 20:44

Hi Edge, and thank you for starting this thread. I didn't read your PM reply to me on this topic until just before I saw this thread.

One of the interesting things I read (source forgotten) about this gun is that by 1940, France had developed (at least, I believe the project was complete - they certainly had a working model) a belt-fed version of the gun, but kept the information classified, as they didn't other client nations to develop such a weapon -- IIRC, the source specifically mentioned the Japanese, I suppose out of concern for France's Asian colonies. The source had continued with some speculation about what the effects might have been if the French Air Force had adopted the weapon - and if the Germans had subsequently started using it in their air craft.

I also saw an image of this gun on a wheeled carriage -- IIRC, it was a pretty basic set-up, definitely French, low-slung, with long trails and wooden wheels. I may or may not have saved a copy of the photo, I'll try to remember to look tonight. What made the photo especially interesting to me was a reference in a book - I believe (but am not sure) it was from Chamberlain's "WWII" series, about Anti-Tank rifles -- mentioned the French had an anti-tank rifle (!), mounted on a wheeled carriage, used only by cavalry. I've never seen another reference to this, but I do wonder if this HMG and mount might be what he was referring to. The length of the trails in the photo certainly suggested it was possible to tow the gun behind a horse.

As mentioned in my PM, I have seen a photo of the gun on a conventional tripod, and you had a photo of the gun on a "general purpose" mount, suitable for ground or AA use. I also am interested in trying to track down the specifics of how the French Army used this weapon, and on what mount(s). I have the same desire for Polish use of the weapon (designated wz.30). You'd mentioned in your PM that the Romanians and Italians had also used this gun, and that was news to me on both accounts. My interest focuses on army usage, as a ground-support weapon, so if the navy or air forces used them, or if they used primarily for AA, I would easily have missed it. Can you provide any further info? Do you know if these are weapons they obtained before, or only after, the Fall of France?

I'm also interested in finding photos of the weapon in actual use, in a ground-support role, by any of the Axis or Allied nations that possessed it.

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Re: Hotchkiss 13.2mm Mle 1930

Postby The Edge » 08 Oct 2009 08:11

The photo you're talking is the first one bellow ("Mitrailleuse de 13 mm 2 sur affut d'accompagnement sur roues"). It's a mystery to me did the French military accepted this variant. (Data from German source - second photo - implied such possibility; note the strip-feed, ground-fire-only model). Third photo is the same gun in "transport mode".

Identified users (so far)
France (all services)
Italy (most of guns were Breda Modello 31 copy, used by Regia Marina)
Japan Army (Original guns bought from France & Type 92 tank gun copy)
Japan Navy (Type 93 license model)
Spain (Model 1928)
Poland (Wz. 30 - used by Navy)
Greece (M.30; unique dual-mount, strip-feed model)
Belgium (tank guns of T-15 model)
Romania (both Army & Navy)
China
Brazil
Mexico
Chile
Soviet Union (unconfirmed - could be weapons captured in Poland or some Baltic State)
Germany (sMG 271(f) or "1,32 cm Flak 271 (f)", or "1,32 cm Flakzweiling 271 (f)" or "1,32 cm Flakvierling 271 (f)" - various models captured from France)
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Re: Hotchkiss 13.2mm Mle 1930

Postby The Edge » 08 Oct 2009 15:35

This is my mysterious Hotchkiss Mle 1930 model:
- strip-feed
- ground fire tripod
- double spade-grips
- no shoulder rest
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Re: Hotchkiss 13.2mm Mle 1930

Postby Ardee » 08 Oct 2009 19:39

Hi Edge,
Poland (Wz. 30 - used by Navy)

I have seen references to the Poles using this as a "fortress gun," as for a bunker. I had assumed that meant army usage, but can imagine ways that might have been incorrect.... In addition, there is a Polish-language site that confirms what you posted about the Navy, and also speaks of the "Land Coastal Defense":

http://www.1939.pl/uzbrojenie/polskie/p ... index.html

I don't read Polish, but the machine-translation suggests the army bought 29 copies in 1932 for trials. They mounted it in some AFVs, but the result had poor accuracy - its unclear to me if that was inherent in the gun, or perhaps due to the way it was mounted, vehicle vibration, or something else. It also described the gun/ammo has having poor penetration; and states the army withdrew it from service - though with the way translators work, that might mean they just removed it from the AFVS, and the army still might have used the guns in another way, I suppose. It (the translator) also describes the Navy and Land Coastal Defense as using it for AA pruposes. Interestingly, the stats translate as saying the penetration was: carbon steel plate 11mm, angle of 30 °, a distance of 200m - which does seem surprisingly poor for a 13.2mm gun. I believe it also says the Poles didn't use the twin-mount version of the gun. A photo on the site shows a gun with a pistol grip, no stock, in what to me looks like a mount for an AFV or bunker.

The photo you're talking is the first one bellow

Yes, I believe that is the same or highly-similar photo -- my recollection was of the gun not being mounted so high up in the air.

Regarding the spade grips vs. shoulder rest/stock, this site:
http://world.guns.ru/machine/mg75-e.htm
suggests that the "pistol grip / shoulder stock setup" was rare -- the photo supplied indicates the specific image of a model being tested in the UK, so perhaps that was an export version? The bottom photo is, I believe, the one I mentioned as appearing in a US Army volume on WWII weapons, though again, I remembered the tripod as being somewhat different. If I am, in fact, recalling images that are different from what you posted, the only reason I can think of for how the photographs would be so similar would be if they were taken at the same time as part of a effort to get pictures for "sales literature." That would fit well with the idea of the "shoulder rest" version being designed for export. But I think it's more likely my memory is off.... :(

I've also seen reference to the Finns having acquired a few examples of this gun. This site indicates they may seen use by frontier guards -- it doesn't state the model, but talks of 13.2mm HMGs, so whether they are the same weapon or not is a different question....

http://www.geocities.com/finnmilpge/fmp ... 39_40.html

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Re: Hotchkiss 13.2mm Mle 1930

Postby The Edge » 09 Oct 2009 09:19

Lądowa Obrona Wybrzeża was part of Polish Coast Defense Forces http://www.1939.pl/organizacja/polska/a_gow.htm (something as “Ground forces of Coastal Defense” – there was also Hel Fortified Regin, depot troops of Westerplatte and, of course, sea-going component, i.e. ships). Translated version:
http://translate.google.com/translate?h ... n%26sa%3DG
So, amongst its many machine guns, there was also few 13.2 Hotchkiss HMGs alloted to ground units. (Number not high enough to be specifically mentioned / unit that used them named)
Most of Polish sources claims “29 egzemplarzy” of “najcięższy (wielkokalibrowy) karabin maszynowy 13,2 mm wz. 30 Hotchkiss”. However, this data is probably for complete gun/mount combination, since Polish sources use “nkm Hotchkiss wz. 30” expression for single gun also (mounted in either single-, twin- or tank mount).

This source claims http://www.dws-xip.pl/wojna/bron/polska/p363.html that Polish Navy guns were in R4 naval twin-mounts. I took the trouble of identifying all Polish ships with Hotchkiss HMGs, so this is the list:

Wicher 2xII (4 nkm)
Burza 2xII (4 nkm)
Grom 2xII (4 nkm)
Błyskawica 2xII (4 nkm)
Gryf 2xII (4 nkm)
Ryś 1xII (2 nkm)
Wilk 1xII (2 nkm)
Żbik 1xII (2 nkm)
Czapla 1xII (2 nkm)
Żuraw 1xII (2 nkm)
Generał Haller 1xII (2 nkm)
Komendant Piłsudski 1xII (2 nkm)
L2 1xII (2 nkm)
L3 1xII (2 nkm)
Hetman Chodkiewicz 2xII (4 nkm)
KU 30 1xII (2 nkm)
* So, 21 twin (R4) naval mounts with 42 nkm wz. 30 guns.
(examples: 4 nkm 13,2 mm Hotchkiss wz. 30 (2xII) at http://www.dws-xip.pl/wojna/bron/polska/p79.html
or 2 nkm 13,2 mm Hotchkiss wz. 30 (1xII) at http://www.dws-xip.pl/wojna/bron/polska/p295.html )

Kraków 1xI (1 nkm)
Wilno 1xI (1 nkm)
Generał Sikorski 2xI (2 nkm)
* So, 4 single (R2) naval mounts with 4 nkm wz. 30 guns.
(example: 2 nkm 13,2 mm Hotchkiss wz. 30 at http://www.dws-xip.pl/wojna/bron/polska/p78.html )

Data we have is that Coastal Ground forces also used some guns in fortifications (probably unsuccessful tank mounts), so if we assume this is one platoon of four HMGs, we got nice round figure of 50 machine guns bought!
guns: 21x2 + 4x1 + 4x1 = 50 pcs;
mounts: 21 twin naval, 4 single naval, 4 single tank/bunker – total 29 egzemplarzy :D (Q.E.D. 8-) )
(this is the theory that fits the numbers; we need more precise Polish source about Lądowa Obrona Wybrzeża guns to be sure)
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Re: Hotchkiss 13.2mm Mle 1930

Postby The Edge » 09 Oct 2009 09:47

Ardee wrote: I don't read Polish, but the machine-translation suggests the army bought 29 copies in 1932 for trials. They mounted it in some AFVs, but the result had poor accuracy - its unclear to me if that was inherent in the gun, or perhaps due to the way it was mounted, vehicle vibration, or something else. It also described the gun/ammo has having poor penetration; and states the army withdrew it from service - though with the way translators work, that might mean they just removed it from the AFVS, and the army still might have used the guns in another way, I suppose. It (the translator) also describes the Navy and Land Coastal Defense as using it for AA pruposes. Interestingly, the stats translate as saying the penetration was: carbon steel plate 11mm, angle of 30 °, a distance of 200m - which does seem surprisingly poor for a 13.2mm gun.


This is a qood translated link http://derela.republika.pl/weap.htm#in with about the same data. Other nations that used Hotchkiss 13.2mm HMG in AFVs (French, Belgians, Chinese, Japanese) seems quite happy with them, so I suppose something was wrong with Polish variant (in turrets of Vickers "E" Type A tanks) to obtain such poor accuracy. Note that "definitive" French AP round was "Mle 1935" (with much improved armor-piercing performances), so Polish tankers in 1933 probably used some earlier export AP ammo (or even ordinary ball ammo!) with predictable results.

My "mysterious" model is rather easy to explain - strip-feed Greek export HMG model on infantry tripod as sold to Japanese - so the mystery are the photos themselves, did they represent advertising attempt only, or this combination is actually sold somewhere?
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Re: Hotchkiss 13.2mm Mle 1930

Postby The Edge » 09 Oct 2009 10:45

Back to Polish Navy weapons – its single mounts could be “affut R2 SM” model (SM – “sous-marin”, i.e. naval), similar to claimed “R4 SM” twin model (photos above), but also simplified, hand-held-gun & iron-sights-only pedestal mounts - more appropriate (and cheaper) solution for guns previously intended for tanks . (R-serié mounts used elaborative, mechanical lead computing sights designed by Yves Le Prieur)
Photos bellows are these simplified mounts – first one is from Greek museum (probably an ex-German/Italian weapon), next (workshop photo) is Spanish “Ametralladora Hotchkiss L13mm-2 Modelo De 1928” (note the non-original lower part of mount) and third is advertising photo of twin-gun mount variant (note the early shoulder stock attachment & both pistol- & spade-grips combination).
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Re: Hotchkiss 13.2mm Mle 1930

Postby The Edge » 09 Oct 2009 12:21

Ardee wrote: I've also seen reference to the Finns having acquired a few examples of this gun. This site indicates they may seen use by frontier guards -- it doesn't state the model, but talks of 13.2mm HMGs, so whether they are the same weapon or not is a different question....


Probably the "special" weapon from this link http://www.winterwar.com/Weapons/FinAT/FINantitank2.htm

(Note that Finhish ammo was different - longer case, much more power)

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Re: Hotchkiss 13.2mm Mle 1930

Postby Ardee » 12 Oct 2009 16:52

Hi Edge,

I guess you've about exhausted my information on this topic, unless I can find the photos I think I remember. :) You clearly know more on the subject than I do. Now, I'm just hoping somebody else can add to the conversation....

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Re: Hotchkiss 13.2mm Mle 1930

Postby The Edge » 14 Oct 2009 13:04

Ardee wrote: ...the stats translate as saying the penetration was: carbon steel plate 11mm, angle of 30 °, a distance of 200m - which does seem surprisingly poor for a 13.2mm gun.

Some additional data about AP characteristics:

Ammunitions :
- Cartouche Mle1935 (heavy ball)
Penetration : 17mm /25° at 200 m
- Cartouche Mle1935 P (AP) - in German service: Pzgr 821(f)
Weight of projectile: 0.052 kg (includes tungsten in the core)
25 mm à 100 m sous 25°
20 mm à 200 m sous 25°
15 mm à 400 m sous 25°

German tests :
The test was carried out with 13.2mm Pzgr 821(f) on a 120 kg/mm2 armor plate.
(source : "Kennblätter fremden geräts heft 8a, Munition bis 3,6 cm" Released in Berlin 1941)

100 meters = 12mm /30°
300 meters = 10mm /30°
500 meters = 8mm /30°

100 meters = 22.5mm /0°
300 meters = 18mm /0°
500 meters = 14mm /0°

So, the Polish data coresponds well with German tests! :idea:
(French tests were probably done with lower-grade armour plates) :roll:
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Re: Hotchkiss 13.2mm Mle 1930

Postby The Edge » 14 Oct 2009 13:10

13.2mm Hotchkiss Mle 1930 in fortifications:

Mitrailleuse de 13.2mm Hotchkiss Mle1930 (in casemates):
The French fortification on the Rhine were only smaller bunker and due to the ground water they has no underground levels at all, these were surface fortifications with simplified armament. Due to the small size there for example no 37mm/47mm AT guns but only 13.2mm HMGs as AT weapons.
http://www.axishistory.com/index.php?id=6698
It has been mounted in bunkers/ blockhouses of the Maginot Line on the Rhine and in the Vosges fortifications which were too narrow to be equipped with 37mm or 47mm AT guns. The 13.2mm HMG used in these fortifications has some anti-tank capacities and it is used in alternate with the MAC31 twin mounts. They are fitted with 2.3x L.660 sight.

Mitrailleuse Hotchkiss de 13,2 mm modèle 1930:
Certaines casemates du Rhin et des Basses-Vosges étaient trop petites pour abriter un canon anti-char de 37 ou de 47 mm. Pour assurer quand même une défense anti-char, il est adopté la mitrailleuse de 13,2 mm modèle 1930 "Hotchkiss", initialement destinée à la défense anti-aérienne. Ce matériel peut être échangé contre un jumelage Reibel et sa mise en ouevre est presque identique à celle du canon AC de 37 mm. Les munitions utilisées sont des cartouches à balle ordinaires modèle 1935 ou à balle perforante modèle 1935 P (avec un noyau en acier au tungstène).
http://www.darkplaces.org/Frankreich/WW ... ze_FR.html

The 13.2mm Hotchkiss Mle 1930 was a heavy machine gun with limited AT capability. It had a range of about 2,500 meters (effective range 800 meters) and a rate of fire of 450 rpm. It served as an anti-boat gun in some Rhine casemates and as an AT weapon on some of the casamates in the Vosges, but was not used in ouvrages.
(Fortress France: The Maginot Line and French Defenses in World War II - by H. W. Kaufmann)
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Re: Hotchkiss 13.2mm Mle 1930

Postby The Edge » 16 Oct 2009 14:59

Another use of Hotchkiss 13.2mm HMG by French Military was as armament of armoured reconnaissance vehicles (French Cavylry units). Two of them existed: AMR-35 Renault ZT1 and AMD Laffly 80 AM.
First one was light tank used by 1st & 2nd DLM plus 1st DCL – 80 produced (Hotchkiss 13.2mm HMG was placed in one-man Avis n°2 turret, produced by Batignolles-Châtillon, with 1220 standard and armor piercing rounds).
Second one was armored car, with only 28 produced, soon being replaced by AMD-35 Panhard and sent to North Africa for less demanding service there. (Exact turret type not known to me – one of “Avis” line, I suppose)
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Re: Hotchkiss 13.2mm Mle 1930

Postby The Edge » 16 Oct 2009 15:01

AFIK there is one other use of Hotchkiss 13.2mm HMG mentioned - for prototype of Panhard 178 (two different turrets used, first of “Avis” type, later “Vincennes”). However, I doubt that gun was ever placed - neither prototype photo have the 13.2mm MG mounted, including the ones taken when the vehicle was captured by Germans.
P178 proto late - Vincennes turret.jpg
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Re: Hotchkiss 13.2mm Mle 1930

Postby The Edge » 16 Oct 2009 15:17

During the 1930s French cavalry experimented with Hotchkiss 13.2mm HMG mounted on various vehicles as possible solution for AA protection of its mobile units. Interest also came from the foreign countries - export customers (Chile is specifically mentioned)

Its seems that preferred option was the special, three-axled wheeled vehicle, developed by Berliet. First variant of this vehicle, VPM (1928) was true SPG platforms, with twin Hotchkiss 13.2mm on fixed R4b mount bolted on the floor. This vehicle was derivate of VPRM armoured car project. "Legs" could be deployed to help stabilize the chassis while firing. This prototype was not completed.


Bharacteristics were the following:
weight: 6200 kg
length: 4.5 m
width: 2.06 m
wheelbase (axle-to-axle): 1.65 m
engine make: Berliet
power: 62 hp (metric)
# of cylinders: 6
cubic capacity: 4085 cc
fuel capacity: 85 l
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