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Old 01-06-2014, 01:51 PM   #18
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Chickamauga, GA
Posts: 391

Re: PFC Jorge I. Rodriguez, 3/2 Marine Regt., Betio, Tarawa, 11/20/1943

Originally Posted by amaral View Post
Just a question. I was told recently that the machine-gunner would actually carry the tripod, and the assistant would carry the machine-gun. The reasoning behind this was that the gunner could thus choose the best placement for the tripod (and consequently the machine-gun). I heard this while I was discussing a WWII US Army machine-gun team.

What are your thoughts about this?

I have seen that mentioned in one source. It was not, however, the servicewide SOP for machine gunners, as taught in infantry school. The method you mention may or may not have been adopted on a limited basis for some units, but both US Army and Marine Corps TOE's specified a machinegun squad leader, normally, a corporal, and he was responsible selecting the location of the gun.

Second, the method you mention would have required the gunner and a-gunner to swap positions during employment, not a good idea. It's much smoother for the squad leader to point out the spot, the a-gunner places the tripod facing the azmith of fire, the gunner slides the pintle into the tripod and gets down behind the gun opening the feed tray cover, in the mean time the a-gunner has opened an ammo can and has the initial belt ready to load, he feeds the tab through, the gunner holds the tab in place, when the ammo belt is properly aligned the a-gunner strikes the feed tray cover fully closing and locking it, the gunner then pulls the charging handle to the rear, returns it fully forward and repeats a second time. Commence firing.
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