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Browning M2 file photo [11900]

Browning M2 Machine Gun

Country of OriginUnited States
TypeMachine Gun
Caliber12.700 mm
Capacity110 rounds
Length1.650 m
Barrel Length1.143 m
Weight38.200 kg
Rate of Fire500 rounds/min
Muzzle Velocity930 m/s


ww2dbaseBrowning M2 heavy machine guns were designed near the end of WW1 by John Browning based on the design of the earlier M1917 Browning machine gun. They were originally water-cooled, belt-fed, and fired from a closed bolt. In 1932, the design was updated, and it adopted the new designation of M2HB; the major change was that the M2HB (heavy barrel) heavy machine guns were now air-cooled, providing great weight savings.

Although originally designed to be anti-armor weapons, they soon assumed alternative roles such as anti-aircraft and infantry support. During the inter-war and WW2 eras, they also found their weapon aboard ships (as anti-aircraft weapons), boats (as close-range guns), combat vehicles, fighters (as forward-firing guns), and bombers (as turret guns). During the war, American soldiers nick named them "Ma Deuce".

British and Commonwealth forces also employed them in service during WW2, though in a very limited basis.

M2HB heavy machine guns are still in common use today.

Source: Wikipedia. ww2dbase

Last Major Revision: Dec 2007

Browning M2 Machine Gun Interactive Map


WC-4 truck and 37 mm Gun M3 of US 30th Division in exercise, south of Peedee River, Cheraw, South Carolina, United States, 19 Nov 1941American airmen posing with the side machine gun of a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber, May 1942
See all 54 photographs of Browning M2 Machine Gun

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed BILL says:
22 Feb 2009 03:17:21 PM

The 0.5in M-2 Fifty Caliber known to G.I's as 'Ma Duce' Had my hands on this weapon, it fired a heavy slug and was a devastating weapon, used against air and ground targets. The weapon is still used today by the U.S. Armed Forces. The Fifty Cal is the weapon to use when you want to reach out and touch someone.
2. Commenter identity confirmed BILL says:
22 Feb 2009 04:03:32 PM

Another model of M-2 Fifty Caliber was the Quad Fifty, or known as the Multiple Caliber 0.5in. Machine-Gun Carriage Model M-51. Mounting four fifty caliber machine-guns on a maxson mount rthat was electrically powered with manual back-up, the electrical supply was used for elevation and traverse the gunner sat on the turret between the two pairs of machine-guns the electrical motors could move the guns horizontal to +60 degrees and elevation -5 to +85 degrees and traverse 360 degrees. Rate of fire all weapons 2,300rpm. During the Viet Nam War, the weapon was mounted on M52A-1 5 ton or M35A-1 2 1/2 ton trucks, they were also mounted on special trailers, that could be pulled by the jeep and the 3/4 ton truck.
3. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
16 Feb 2015 07:58:44 AM

The Americans relied almost exclusively on the 0.50in (12.7mm) calibre Browning machine-gun for their combat aircraft although, in fact, they did not intend to make such a commitment to the type. Both before and during the war considerable efforts were made to secure alternative aircraft guns, and trials of foreign equipment resulted in the selection and manufacture of both the 20mm Hispano-Suiza HS.404 and the Browning designed 37mm M4 cannon (used almost exclusively by the Bell P-39 and P-63 fighters). While the standard fighter armament of six 0.50in Browning M2 HMGs would lead to the commonly held view that the M2 was the best all-round fighter gun of the war this is not borne out by closer examination. After all, although the USAAF and US Navy fighters unquestionably came to dominate the skies in which they fought, it is a fact that if there had been a better gun readily available, the Americans would have used it. The Soviet Berezin UB fired ammunition of virtually identical power and was both lighter and more rapid firing than the M2. The Browning fared better against most other aircraft machine-gun with excellent ballistics providing acceptable levels of range and penetration but both German and Japanese guns (although firing less powerful ammunition)had the advantage of being lighter and more rapid firing. Overall, therefore, the M2 was not the best of the HMGs but was about average in general performance for its weight.
4. Anonymous says:
31 Jan 2018 12:12:54 PM

Do we know how many seconds an F4U Corsair could fire it's machine guns in World War II? On that particular plane which I believe each gun had a 400 round Per gun capacity?
5. Gunner Dave says:
19 Oct 2018 10:36:08 AM

F4U had a effective gun time of 30 seconds to fire the 2,300 rounds from its six .50's..A WWII kill ratio of 11-1 which are phenomenal results. There were many variants with armament.

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Browning M2 Machine Gun Photo Gallery
WC-4 truck and 37 mm Gun M3 of US 30th Division in exercise, south of Peedee River, Cheraw, South Carolina, United States, 19 Nov 1941American airmen posing with the side machine gun of a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber, May 1942
See all 54 photographs of Browning M2 Machine Gun

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