Weapons

Small Arms

Bayonets | Pistols  | Rifles
Submachine Guns

Thompson Submachine Gun
Sten Gun
C1 Submachine Gun

Light Weapons

Light Machine Guns

Lewis Gun
Bren Gun
C2 LMG
C9 LMG

Machine Guns

Colt Machine Gun
Vickers Gun
C5 General Purpose MG
C6 General Purpose MG
M2 .50 calibre

Light Anti-Tank Weapons

Boys Anti-Tank Rifle
Projector, Infantry, Anti-Tank
Bazooka
M72 SRAAW (L)
Carl Gustav
Eryx

Mortars

2-inch Mortar
3-inch Mortar
3-inch Stokes Gun
6-inch Newton Mortar
9.45-inch Newton Mortar
C3 81mm Mortar
M19 60mm Mortar

Ordnance

Anti-Tank Guns

106mm Recoilless Rifle
2-pounder Anti-Tank Gun
6-pounder Anti-Tank Gun
17-pounder Anti-Tank Gun
TOW Missile

Guns

18-pounder Gun
25-pounder Gun
60-pounder Howitzer
C1 105mm Howitzer
C3 105mm Howitzer
LG1 C1 105mm Howitzer

Anti-Aircraft Guns

3.7-inch Gun

Grenades

Hand Grenades
No. 69 Grenade
M61 & M67 Grenade
Rifle Grenades
Grenade Launchers
Anti-Tank Grenades
No. 68 Grenade

Ammunition
Small Arms & Light Weapons

.303 Mk VII
5.56mm
7.62mm NATO
Pistol Ammunition
PIAT Ammunition

Ordnance

106mm Ammunition
Armour Piercing
Armour Piercing Composite Rigid
AP Discarding Sabot
High Explosive Anti-Tank
High Explosive, Squash Head

Terminology

Fixed ammunition
Proximity Fuze

Machine Guns

The Machine Gun was used increasingly during the 20th Century.

History

Machine Guns had played a minor part in Canadian military history in the Northwest Rebellion of 1885, when Gatling Guns under the command of a regular US Army officer, lent their support to the battles at Cut Knife Creek and Batoche.

In 1914, machine gun sections were set up in newly mobilizing infantry battalions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force and on 20 Aug 1914, one of many private offers of assistance came from a group of prominent citizens to raise and equip at private expense a unit of 16 machine guns, eight armoured cars, six trucks and four automobiles. Minister of Militia and Defence Sir Sam Hughes accepted the offer, and "The Automobile-Machine Gun Brigade No. 1" was formed under the command of Major Raymond Brutinel.

Machine gun units would expand in scope during the war, eventually leading to the creation of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps; new uses and new weapons were developed, including Light Machine Guns, a separate category of weapon, and the use of machine guns for indirect machine gun fire (i.e. against targets not in a direct line of sight).

It was Brutinel himself who would pioneer indirect fire (and eventually command the CMGC)

With (General) Currie's approval in 1916 he began to explore and test his ideas about indirect fire power...Brutinel believed the machine gun could be used to fire over the heads of the assaulting troops, thickening barrages of larger shells; that it could be used to harass road crossings, preventing enemy carrying parties from using overland routes, and that by sweeping the forward lines of the enemy, it could prevent the Germans from repairing the wire destroyed by the 18 pounders.

...It is doubtful whether any other army would have given a junior officer his head in the way Raymond Brutinel was given his at Vimy. But in spite of critics within and outside of the Canadian Corps, who worried about the expenditure of so much ammunition, his tactics were adopted. In almost every raid directed at enemy lines, machine-gun fire was used to intensify the box barrages that held the Germans in a cage of steel.

...Brutinel had a questionnaire prepared for intelligence officers to use on captured Germans... The prisoners reported that indirect fire had made it difficult at night to repair trenches that had been destroyed by the big guns during the day. The machine guns hampered the delivery of supplies to the German lines. In the last days before the attack (on Vimy Ridge on 9 Apr 1917), they made it impossible. Moreover, when the machine guns were firing no German could man a parapet or evacuate the wounded men.

...By March no fewer than sixty four machine guns were firing across No man's Land at the German lines by day and another sixty four by night. This drum fire continued until the barrels wore out and the firing had to be curtailed. And after the Battle of Vimy Ridge, indirect fire, scorned for so long by the brass hats, was adopted by all Allied armies.1

The Canadian Machine Gun Corps was perpetuated until 1936, when the corps was disbanded and Machine Gun Battalions were created within the infantry. Machine Gun battalions (and independent MG companies in the armoured divisions} were employed throughout the war.

After the Second World War, machine guns were no longer considered a specialist weapon, and the battalions were redesignated and retasked. The machine gun would still occupy an important position in the Canadian Army, but would thereafter be incorporated directly into infantry battalions.

Main Types

The designations Medium Machine Gun, Heavy Machine Gun, and General Purpose Machine Gun are a source of confusion; while it is not in dispute that the designations refer to intended role rather than weight of the weapon, there are many fine distinctions between what constitutes a medium or heavy MG, such as ammunition supply, type of sights, or type of mount. Many of the weapons listed here could be classified either way, which in the end qualifies them perhaps for the designation GPMG, though the C6 has the ability to operate as an LMG (i.e. firing from a bipod and able to go forward with leading assault troops) whereas the Vickers or .50 calibre Browning most definitely could not.

Light Machine Guns are a separate category of automatic weapon. The Bren Gun, technically a Light Machine Gun, could be deployed on a tripod for both anti-aircraft work and in the ground role.

Dates of Service

Colt 1914-1916/7
Vickers 1916-19??
Bren 1939-1955
C5 19??-1985
C6 1985-2000+
M2 1942?-2000+

Notes

  1. Berton, Pierre. Vimy pp.172-174.


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