The machine gun is an automatic weapon that is capable of rapid and sustained fire. Most machine guns are belt-fed weapons that fire from 500 to 1,000 rounds per minute and can continue to fire as long as the supply of ammunition is exhausted. In 1914, the machine guns of all infantry troops were largely of heavier material. Each machine gun weighed somewhere in the 30kg-60kg range, often without their mountings, carriages and supplies.
Classification of modern machine guns:
Light Machine Guns
The light machine gun, also called the squad automatic weapon, is generally operated by one soldier; it has a box-type magazine and is chambered for the small-caliber, intermediate-power ammunition fired from the assault rifles of its military unit. The USA M249 squad automatic weapon is a portable and lightweight machine gun that fires 5.56 mm ammunition from continuous linked belts.
Medium Machine Guns
Medium machine guns or general purpose machine guns use 7.62-mm ammunition and are used for firing at more distant targets that are not possible through light machine guns. Medium machine guns require a team of two soldiers, a tripod for support, or a mounting bracket if used on a tank or any other vehicle. In the U.S army, the M60 has been serving as a general-purpose machine gun for many years.
Heavy Machine Guns
The heavy machine gun requires a crew and large ammunition. They can deliver concentrated and devastating firepower and often serve as the main armament on land combat vehicles and on some aircrafts.
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