Medium Machine Gun
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Basic Information

The medium machine gun - the MMG - is something of a retronym for a rifle calibre machine gun which can only be fired in a sustained fire mode: generally from a tripod or other raised mount and served by multiple crewmen. These weapons were arguably the first true machine guns and were later renamed heavy machine guns when the light machine gun was introduced before that classification was restricted to weapons of above rifle calibre.

They are designed explicitly for the core machinegun duties of area suppression and volume fire and by virtue of their mass and size they tend to be primarily defensive weapons with limited roles in supporting planned attacks and local air defence. In this role, their duties could stretch as far as long duty, indirect barrage fire, blanketing the target area with an oval pattern of bullets.

The MMG is either belt or hopper fed and fitted with either a cooling jacket or quick-change barrels to sustain the required volume of fire.

Like the light machine gun dedicated MMG tend to be older designs that have been supplanted in modern arsenals by the more versatile general purpose machine gun which can fulfil both LMG and MMG roles - their heyday was arguably the Great War, although most examples served through WW2 and some into the 1960s.

Representative examples of the class would include the Vickers Gun, the Maxim 08 (both water cooled) and the M1919 (heavy barrel air-cooled).


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • When these first appear (Maxim demonstrated the prototype of his eponymous gun in 18841), they are liable to be game changers when properly used. A single gun may allow a handful of PCs to face down entire tribes of spear wielding tribals and at least dozens of opponents with primitive firearms.
  • Conversely, faced with an enemy machine gun, particularly one mounted on the field artillery carriages that were popular in the early days, PCs can demonstrate that one or two skilled marksmen can effectively neutralise a poorly emplaced gun.
  • In later eras, the relative immobility of an MMG can allow a GM to deploy it for a set piece action in the reasonable hope that the PCs will not then take it with them afterwards (or can be ruled to leave some important part behind if they do…).
  • When you absolutely must bullet spam someone for the whole day - for example, when faced by a horde of zombies (especially rage zombies that are still alive enough to appreciate a randomly placed bullet) - these things will tend to last a lot longer than a modern GPMG, as long as you have plenty of people to bring up the ammo.
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