Wehrmacht Machine Gun Crew take up Positions in the Rocky Terrain
Wehrmacht Machine gun crew take up positions in the rocky terrain. They're wearing tropenhemd (tropical shirt) with 1st patttern (right) and 2nd pattern tropenhelm (pith helmet). The Maschinengewehr 34 (MG 34) mounted on its tripod with long range sights for sustained fire role, as used by the Wehrmacht, still dressed in colonial garb from the campaign in the Western Desert, in their defense of southern Italy, summer 1943. The MG 34 in this picture were used as heavy machine-gun role on a Lafette 34. By removing the indirect fire sights and trigger, the MG 34 quickly converts to a light machine-gun. The most far-reaching feature of the MG 34 was tactical rather than mechanical; it was the first example of what is known today as the ‘General Purpose’ machine gun. Fitted with a bipod it functioned as the squad light automatic; on its tripod, which incorporated a sprung cradle to reduce the recoil and vibration and thus make continuous fire less fatiguing for the gunner, it functioned as a medium machine gun; and on a different pattern of light tripod and fitted with the saddle-drum magazine, it made a good anti-aircraft weapon.