Type 11 light machine gun

Type 11 Light Machine Gun

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Type 11 light machine gun

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The was a light machine gun used by the Imperial Japanese Army in the interwar period and during World War II.


Combat experience in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905 had convinced the Japanese army of the utility of machine guns to provide covering fire for advancing infantry. This was reinforced by the first-hand observations of European combat tactics by Japanese military attachés during the First World War, and the Army Technical Bureau was tasked with the development of a lightweight machine gun, which could be easily transportable by the infantry squad. The resultant “Type 11 light machine gun” (named after the 11th year of the reign of Emperor Taishō, or 1922) was the first light machine gun that mass produced in Japan and the oldest Japanese light machine gun design to see service in the Pacific War. It was superseded by the Type 96 Light Machine Gun in 1936.

Design details

The Type 11 Light Machine Gun was a design by famed arms designer Kijiro Nambu, based on a modification of the French Hotchkiss machine gun. It was an air-cooled, gas-operated design, using the same 6.5x50mm Arisaka cartridge as the Type 38 infantry rifle.

A remarkable feature of the Type 11 machine...
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