Browning .50 Cal Machine Gun
The Browning M2 .50 caliber (12.7mm) Machine Gun, is a World War II era automatic, belt-fed, recoil operated, air-cooled, crew-operated machine gun. The M2 is crew transportable with limited amounts of ammunition over short distances. This gun is has a back plate with spade grips, trigger, and bolt latch release. The gun is equipped with leaf-type rear sight, flash suppressor and a spare barrel assembly. By repositioning some of the component parts, ammunition may be fed from either the left or right side. A disintegrating metallic link-belt is used to feed the ammunition into the weapon. The gun is capable of single-shot (ground M2), as well as automatic fire.
This gun may be mounted on ground mounts and most vehicles as an anti-personnel and anti-aircraft weapon. Associated components are the M63 antiaircraft mount and the M3 tripod mount. The M2 .50 Cal. flexible version is used as a ground gun on the M3 tripod mount or various Naval mounts. The M2 .50 Cal., M48 turret type, fixed type, and soft mount are installed on mounts of several different types of combat vehicles and ships. The weapon provides automatic weapon suppressive fire for offensive and defensive purposes. This weapon can be used effectively against personnel, light armored vehicles; low, slow flying aircraft; and small boats.
The M2 machine gun on the M3 tripod provided a very stable firing platform. Together with its slow rate of fire and its traversing and elevating mechanism, the M2 was used to a very limited extent as a sniper weapon during the Vietnam war at fixed installations such as firebases. Snipers prefired the weapons at identifiable targets and worked the data into range cards insuring increased first-round accuracy. The 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division constructed 20-30 foot high shooting platforms, adding steel base plates and posts to further stabilize the M2 on the M3 tripod. Together with the use of Starlight night vision scopes, the M2 severely limited enemy movement within 900 yards (1,000m) of the perimeter of a firebase.