MG 131 machine gun

The MG 131 (131 Maschinegewehr acronym, “Machine gun 131″ in German) was a 13 mm machine gun developed in 1938 by Rheinmetall-Borsig and produced from 1940-1945. The MG 131 was designed to be used from fixed or flexible mountings in single or double mounts for combat aircraft of the Luftwaffe during the Second World War. It can be considered as the equivalent of the Luftwaffe to the M2 Browning machine gun of the Allies.


Its design derives directly from the MG 17 machine gun and is basically an enlarged version of this. When designing the MG 131 is placed special emphasis on reliability, lightness and rate of fire, while all other aspects were relatively neglected. This fell particularly that used in the cartridge, so it was not as potent as other similar heavy machine.

There were several types of MG 131. One drive available and manually cocked, so it was ideal for defensive gun carriages. Another type was equipped with a power-operated mechanism is used mainly by a jet, since it could be synchronized. Another version, but of less use, MG 131 were mounted on turrets driven either by using a remote control or gunner.

There was an experimental version, called MG 131EL, which had an electric release system in order to obtain a higher rate of fire when fired through the propeller hub of a single-engined fighter. Few prototypes were built, but the project was abandoned because it was not substantial improvement with respect to the mechanical model.

The MG 131 were installed on the Messerschmitt Bf 109, Messerschmitt Me 410 Hornisse, Focke-Wulf Fw 190, Junkers Ju 88, Heinkel He 177 Greif and many other combat aircraft. A pair of guns MG 131 were used in the latest model variants Bf 109G (originally required Beule a fairing or the fuselage on each side to accommodate the large chamber of the new gun) and Fw 190.

Heavy machine guns

Machine Guns of World War II Germany

Aircraft Weapons

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