Johnson M1941 LMG

Johnson M1941 LMG

Johnson M1941 Light Machine Gun

Johnson M1941 Light Machine Gun* (click to enlarge)

Type Light Machine Gun
Weight 6.48kg
Length 1066mm
Barrel Length 558.8mm
Rifling 4 grooves, RH
Magazine Capacity 20 rounds
Caliber .30-06 Springfield
Muzzle Velocity 853 meters/second
Cyclic Rate 300-900 rounds/minute
In Production 1941-1945
Country of Origin United States

 

Made by the Cranston Arms Company in Providence, Rhode Island, the Johnson Light Machine Gun was developed between 1938 and 1938 by Melvin M. Johnson, who also designed the Johnson Automatic Rifle.

The Johnson Light Machine Gun has invented my Melvin M. Johnson, a law school graduate who was more interested in firearms design than in legal practice. In the 1930s, shortly before World War II, Johnson invented a semi-automatic rifle that might have become the United States Military standard issue if not for the M1 Garand. The M1 was further along in development and was created in the Springfield Armory by an Ordnance department employee.

Shortly afterward, Johnson developed his light machine gun. It was one of the few light machine guns which operated on the recoil principle and was unusual that it fired from an open bolt in full-automatic mode and a closed bolt in semi-automatic mode. Like the Browning automatic rifle, the Johnson Light machine gun used a 20-round magazine, which could be refilled with standard 5-round chargers or even single cartridges. Unlike the bottom-fed Browning, Johnson’s magazine was inserted from the left-hand side of the receiver. The cyclic rate could be varied from 300-900 rounds/minute by adjusting the tension on the buffer spring.

Although an elegant design manufactured to high standards, the Johnson was too flimsy and prone to damage to stand up to the rigors of the battlefield. Another major factor in deciding Johnson’s fate was that the United States military was quite happy with the performance of the Browning Automatic Rifle and the Model 1919A4.30 caliber Browning Machine Gun. The Johnson did nothing that couldn’t be done by these two proven weapons.

The Model 1941 Johnson Light Machine gun can be distinguished from the later Model 1944 by two features: The M1941 featured a wooden buttstock and was mounted on a bipod; the Model 1944 had a tubular metal butt made out of two parallel pieces of tubing finished off with a butt plate. And was mounted on a rather odd-looking monopod. The design was later taken over by Israel and became their ‘Dror’ light machine gun in the early 1950s.

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