Monday, July 25, 2011

Back when Boston made Machine Guns

The Johnson Machine Gun Company, on State Street.  Different world.

It never replaced the BAR, even though the side-mounted magazine lets you load more rounds.  Melvin Johnson designed a rifle that he thought would replace the M1 Garand.  It didn't, but had some innovations that he carried forward into this light machine gun, particularly the in-line stock that minimized muzzle rise.

Capt. Johnson wasn't successful with his design, and only a small number of his machine gun were built.  In Boston.  It's likely the last time a Boston lawyer designed a gun that was built there.


MAgunowner said...

Machine gun manufacturing on State St. Very cool.

My father in law bought a surplus Garand at Woolworth's at Downtown Crossing back in the day. Different era.

NotClauswitz said...

I like the pot-bellied rifle. The Marines liked 'em, and they saw use in the South Pacific. They made their first debut on Guadalcanal and the environs of that Island; Choseul, Guvutu and Tonobago. Both the Johnson rifles and the Johnson M-1941 light machine gun gave excellent service in these early engagements and were given very high marks when they repelled the attacking Japanese trying to retake Henderson Field. Both of these weapons proved superior to the M-1903 Springfield and the BAR in delivering a high rate of firepower under difficult conditions.
In some tests they proved superior to the M1 Garand (heresy I know!).
Also in Thaeter, "In September, 1942 the Japanese attacked Henderson airfield and Johnson rifles and machine guns aided in providing firepower to repel the enemy.

In 1943, a Special Marine Corps Parachute Raider Battalion operated with three teams of three men per squad plus the squad leader. Each team was armed with one M-1941 Johnson LMG and two M-1941 Johnson semi-automatic rifles. It is presumed that the squad leader was armed with a weapon of his choice."