MG 42 spare barrel carrier – Laufschützer 43 – bre 1943
The Germans were the first to fully implement a general-purpose machine gun or Einheitsmaschinengewehr. This machine gun was meant to be in the centre of every infantry group or Gruppe bringing more firepower to the front.
Whilst other armies still struggled with multiple machine guns for multiple roles the German army was (as so much of the times) way ahead. With the implementation of Blitzkrieg tactics the Germans needed a machine gun that was light, accurate, reliable and had a high rate of fire. The MG 34 was a excellent air-cooled, recoil operated light machine gun that could fire semi- and automatic at 850 rounds per minute. It could be easily adapted to fulfill different roles on the battlefield. As a light machine gun it was light enough to carry around and fast enough to lay down suppressive fire. On a tripod with the addition of a sight it was a anti-aircraft weapon and on the MG 34 Lafette a excellent sustained-fire machine gun. The Germans where the first to fully implement the tactic that every infantry squad or Gruppe worked around a light machine gun. During the war when materials became more scarce and production had to be sped up the Germans developed the MG 42. This new machine gun had a even more devastating rate of fire of 1200 rounds per minute. It was efficiently made of stamped steel and had a different bolt.
With this new machine gun a whole series of accessories was introduced.
The Patronenkasten 34 was developed to be a lightweight ammunition box to carry ammunition for the MG 34. It was capable to carry 300 belted 7,92 mm rounds. The first models where manufactured in Aluminium and as the war started the first steel variants where made. The Patronenkasten 34 was well designed but had a complex design with a slanted lid and a clasp closure which often broke. In 1941 the Patronenkasten 41 in steel was introduced. This steel ammunition box had a straight lid and a clasp closure on the side. Also it featured a rubber seal in the lid making it waterproof. On the short sides they where marked Patr. Kast. 41 f. M.G. which is short for Patronenkasten 41 für Maschinengewehr.
Model box : Laufschützer 43 – MG42 spare barrel carrier
Markings : bre 1943
Maker : “Rhenania”, Stanz- u. Emaillierwerke A.-G., Schwelm/Westf., Nordstr. 21
Year : 1943
Material : Steel
Paint: Blue gray paint
Notes : When firing the MG34 and MG42 continuously the German soldiers where presented with a harsh and difficult task: changing the barrel. The MG34 and MG42 where both made with a quick-change barrel and to help in the changing of the barrel these gloves where invented and issued. These gloves where issued with the accessories of the MG34 and MG42. It is simply used by placing the hand under the strap and using the pad to cover your hand when you grab the hot, sometimes even glowing barrel. The barrel is then placed in the Laufschützer or barrel carrier to cool down and a cool new barrel is inserted. According to regulations, the barrel had to be changed after 150 rounds fired continuously. Every MG team had one or two spare barrels in spare barrel carriers with their field equipment.