Darne Machine

ation use, having the unusual capac ity of 500 rounds available for continuous fire. The double-barrel Cast machine gun, which was then held in such high esteem by both German and Allied ordnance officers, had a maximum cyclic rate of fire of 1,800 rounds a minute. By mounting two Darnc guns side by side to resemble the much heavier Gast, the arrangement gave a minimum of 2,400 shots per minute. The company was proud of this system of mounting and catalogs appeared in many languages showing its alleged superiority.

Several hundred guns were sold to Spain which were used in the Moroccan campaign. On these weapons was installed the load indicator, a device that showed the gunner not only if the gun was loaded but the amount of ammunition left in the feed box.

Following what it considered the success of the aircraft model, the Dame Co. then developed a light machine gun, a heavy one for infantry use, and an antitank automatic gun chambered for the 11-mrn military cartridge.

All Darnc machine guns were rough in appearance, being produced in this manner intentionally since refinement in appearance would only add to the cost. Cheapness and ease of manufacture were the main points considered in their design.

The barrel was made with exterior projections and the gas port had a conical exit into which the gas tube fits. The piston had only three bearing surfaces, one at the front where the force of the gas was taken in and two at the rear where it fitted loosely in the guides of the receiver. The

feed mechanism was one of the most positive known, being actuated by the recoil stroke of the gas piston. The two lingers holding the cartridge in position for chambering were indeed unique.

Initial extraction was employed to loosen the empty cartridge case before the extractor snatched it from the chamber. Fjection also was satisfactory. The heavy bolt was sec urely locked during firing by a shoulder on the gas piston, camming the rear of the bolt up into the locking recess milled into the receiver body. Had many of the ingenious methods employed in this cheaply constructed weapon been given refinement and placed in a well-designed receiver, it no doubt would have been among the best of the gas-operated type.

The Darne Co., in 1935. also tried designing a 25-mm aircraft motor cannon with rounds being fed to it from a belt with metal clips. This weapon was placed in secret status by the French

Government and, when France was overrun by

the Germans in World War II, it, with all data on its performance, fell into enemy hands. This weapon was reputed to have fired at a rate of 750 shots a minute. Experiments were also made with a triple 7-mm rifle caliber machine gun, but it. like the 25-mm automatic cannon, never got beyond the prototype stage.

Darne machine guns have been mentioned both favorably and otherwise, but on two things everyone is agreed. The most outstanding features about the factory were the outmoded machinery the company used and the poorly illuminated, cramped quarters in which 400 men had to work.

Darne Machine Gun

Dome Machine Gun, Model 1929, 7.5 mm.

Chapter 15

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