Did the Finnish Army use MG34 and MG42?

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Did the Finnish Army use MG34 and MG42?

Post by SFCLinken » 03 May 2018 21:15

Reading through the fantastic http://www.jaegerplatoon.net/ but I find nothing about German MG34/42. Did the Finnish army use any German machineguns at all? If they did, what types and what units used them?

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Re: Did the Finnish Army use MG34 and MG42?

Post by JTV » 04 May 2018 04:58

SFCLinken wrote:Reading through the fantastic http://www.jaegerplatoon.net/ but I find nothing about German MG34/42. Did the Finnish army use any German machineguns at all? If they did, what types and what units used them?
There is a reason why I did not include them to website among another machine guns - neither played role of any actual significance in Finnish use. Only MG 34 machine guns in Finnish inventory had arrived with German armored vehicles. They arrived with Stu 40 G assault guns (59 machine guns - one per assault gun) and PzKw IVJ tanks (30 machine guns - two per tank). Machine guns that arrived with Stu 40 G assault guns were replaced with captured DT machineguns before assault guns being put into use and never saw any use. PzKw IVJ tanks did not arrive until September of 1944 and saw some use in Lapland War, although those tanks saw no real combat in it.

Only MG 42 machine guns in Finnish inventory were five sample guns acquired for testing in year in July of 1943. Three of the guns got issued to frontline troops stationed in various parts of the frontline for field testing in September of 1943 and probably saw some combat. From the two other guns one went to Armed Forces GHQ and another one to State Rifle Factory for closer study. One of these two machine guns got converted to 7.62 x 53R caliber prototype in year 1943 - you can find the story here: http://www.jaegerplatoon.net/ALMOST1.htm#762KK42

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Re: Did the Finnish Army use MG34 and MG42?

Post by Mangrove » 04 May 2018 05:52

JTV wrote:Only MG 34 machine guns in Finnish inventory had arrived with German armored vehicles.
There were also several dozen MG 81 machine guns that were delivered with the Junkers Ju 88 that were bought in 1943. MG 81 is a derivative of the MG 34.

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Re: Did the Finnish Army use MG34 and MG42?

Post by Juha Tompuri » 04 May 2018 06:50

Mangrove wrote:There were also several dozen MG 81 machine guns that were delivered with the Junkers Ju 88 that were bought in 1943. MG 81 is a derivative of the MG 34.
Yep.
Also MG 15, MG 17 (MG 34 relatives) and MG 131 delivered with Do 17 and Me 109.
Infantry used also MG 08 and MG 08/18 machine guns.

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Re: Did the Finnish Army use MG34 and MG42?

Post by JTV » 04 May 2018 20:30

Juha Tompuri wrote:
Mangrove wrote:There were also several dozen MG 81 machine guns that were delivered with the Junkers Ju 88 that were bought in 1943. MG 81 is a derivative of the MG 34.
Yep.
Also MG 15, MG 17 (MG 34 relatives) and MG 131 delivered with Do 17 and Me 109.
Infantry used also MG 08 and MG 08/18 machine guns.
The total number of MG 08 in Finnish use was 998. They were acquired from Germany in June of 1941 and issued to coastal infantry and fortification units. There were no MG 08/18 in Finnish use during World War 2.

About 400 MG 08/15 and MG 08/18 had been previously acquired along small number MG 08 in 1918 - 1919 and they saw active use with Finnish Army in 1920's, but were then replaced with 7.62 x 53R caliber machineguns and last of them were exported in early 1930's.

Jarkko
Last edited by JTV on 04 May 2018 22:18, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Did the Finnish Army use MG34 and MG42?

Post by Juha Tompuri » 04 May 2018 21:06

JTV wrote: There were no MG 08/18 in Finnish use during World War 2.
Just memory based info from some 1944 film footage and local war memoirs about an air cooled (belt fed?) mg in 1944 ( in theory might be a Sampo mg too)
I'll check them... in some time.

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Re: Did the Finnish Army use MG34 and MG42?

Post by peeved » 04 May 2018 21:57

Juha Tompuri wrote:
JTV wrote: There were no MG 08/18 in Finnish use during World War 2.
Just memory based info from some 1944 film footage and local war memoirs about an air cooled (belt fed?) mg in 1944 ( in theory might be a Sampo mg too)
...or DS-39?

Markus

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Re: Did the Finnish Army use MG34 and MG42?

Post by Juha Tompuri » 05 May 2018 19:42

local war memoirs about an air cooled (belt fed?) mg in 1944 ( in theory might be a Sampo mg too)
This is the text I ment. Might be L-41 Sampo at the Eetu Ellonen memoirs?
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Re: Did the Finnish Army use MG34 and MG42?

Post by JTV » 06 May 2018 05:56

Juha Tompuri wrote:
local war memoirs about an air cooled (belt fed?) mg in 1944 ( in theory might be a Sampo mg too)
This is the text I ment. Might be L-41 Sampo at the Eetu Ellonen memoirs?
If that happened in 1944, the weapon probably was not Sampo L-41 - there were only 30 issued for field testing in late 1942 and what is known they remained with the military units to which were first issued. There were no manuals for them, so later just dumping them to some random MG-company would have been asking for trouble.

My educated guess is that the machine guns may have been 7.62 mm Maxim modified as air-cooled weapon and this is case of misidentification of sort. From my website:
"Early 1942 about 100 of the captured Maxim machineguns were modified from water-cooled to air-cooled by punching holes through their water jackets, after which these weapons had been equipped with light Finnish Maxim-mounts (like M/Salakari) and they were issued to Finnish infantry units to be used for mobile operations."

What I have seen it was quite common for State Rifle Factory (VKT) to mark the machine guns that they repaired with their own logo. Hence it could have been Soviet-made machine gun with VKT-logo. The weapons would have probably been reblued after repair process if their finish was worn out, so they might have also appeared new even if they were not. IMO it would have made more sense for them to receive some air-cooled Maxim along among standard type Maxim guns.

Although I suspect that we will never know for sure what those machineguns were.

Jarkko

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Re: Did the Finnish Army use MG34 and MG42?

Post by Juha Tompuri » 06 May 2018 20:12

NCO Eetu Ellonen describes the situation at Tali 1944, about 20th June.
JTV wrote:My educated guess is that the machine guns may have been 7.62 mm Maxim modified as air-cooled weapon and this is case of misidentification of sort.
Yep, that is a better guess than mine. Most probably so.
Might be that the film footage I ment, was too about an air-cooled Salakari mount or something similar.
JTV wrote:Although I suspect that we will never know for sure what those machineguns were.
Well,I think there is no veterans left, who could remember it. Photos or documents might be the only sources of help here.

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Re: Did the Finnish Army use MG34 and MG42?

Post by Juha Tompuri » 06 May 2018 21:59

JTV wrote:The total number of MG 08 in Finnish use was 998. They were acquired from Germany in June of 1941 and issued to coastal infantry and fortification units. There were no MG 08/18 in Finnish use during World War 2.

About 400 MG 08/15 and MG 08/18 had been previously acquired along small number MG 08 in 1918 - 1919 and they saw active use with Finnish Army in 1920's, but were then replaced with 7.62 x 53R caliber machineguns and last of them were exported in early 1930's
Not all MG 08's were sold away in the 30's?
Some of the MG 08, in addition to coastal infantry and fortification units, also issued to infantry?

Regards, Juha

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Re: Did the Finnish Army use MG34 and MG42?

Post by JTV » 07 May 2018 06:07

Juha Tompuri wrote:
JTV wrote:The total number of MG 08 in Finnish use was 998. They were acquired from Germany in June of 1941 and issued to coastal infantry and fortification units. There were no MG 08/18 in Finnish use during World War 2.

About 400 MG 08/15 and MG 08/18 had been previously acquired along small number MG 08 in 1918 - 1919 and they saw active use with Finnish Army in 1920's, but were then replaced with 7.62 x 53R caliber machineguns and last of them were exported in early 1930's
Not all MG 08's were sold away in the 30's?
Some of the MG 08, in addition to coastal infantry and fortification units, also issued to infantry?
Let me rephrase what I wrote there: All MG 08 acquired since 1918 were sold and exported in early 1930's, since 7.62 mm x 53R had been selected as standard infantry rifle & machinegun caliber with weapons of that caliber being acquired and manufactured through 1920's and 1930's.

But then came World War 2 and number of machine guns that Finnish Army had proved to be too small. Hence June 1941 Finnish Army acquired 998 MG 08 from Germany and those were the ones issued for coastal infantry and fortification infantry. 7.92 mm x 57 IS caliber weapons such as MG 08 were not normally issued to frontline infantry because rifles and light machineguns used by frontline infantry were 7.62 mm x 53R caliber - so this would have obviously complicated their ammunition supply. Coastal infantry on the other hand was mainly using 6.5 mm x 55 and 7.92 mm x 57 IS caliber weapons, while fortification infantry apparently used 7.62 mm x 53R and 7.92 mm x 57 IS weapons.

Jarkko

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Re: Did the Finnish Army use MG34 and MG42?

Post by Juha Tompuri » 08 May 2018 18:31

JTV wrote:Let me rephrase what I wrote there,
Thank you.

Earlier just thought that I had seen somewhere photos of MG 08 during Winter War.
Found them, SA-photos 2241 and 2242:
Image

Image
...but it seems that they are not MG 08, but quite rare(?) combos of Finnish Maxim (M 09-21?) guns and MG 08 mounts.

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Re: Did the Finnish Army use MG34 and MG42?

Post by Juha Tompuri » 11 May 2018 19:50

Discussion about Finnish Maxims moved to a thread of its own:
https://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic ... 9&t=235197

/Juha

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