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Johnson Model 1941 LMG Light Machine Gun (1941)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 7/6/2010

The Johnson M1941 and M1944 were used in limited quantities by the United States military during World War Two.

The Johnson Model 1941 Light Machine Gun was a product of the Cranston Arms Company from Providence, Rhode Island, and classified as a support light machine gun. In functionality, the system could be thought about in the same operational terms as the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) for the portable firepower it was to offer up a rifle platoon. The Johnson M1941 shared the distinction of being the only production machine gun to be designed and put to operational use during the whole length of the war for the United States. In the end, the system saw limited use with the Special Services and the United States Army Ranger in World War Two.

At its core, the Johnson Model 1941 was a functional, if complicated and expensive, machine gun to produce. Development took place between 1936 and 1938 and operated from a basic recoil principle. The weapon featured an adjustable cyclic rate of fire, to which the user had to adjust the buffer spring to achieve, and came with a front blade sight and a rear folding aperture sight. Ammunition for the M1941 was a box feed system containing 20 rounds of 30-06 Springfield cartridges and could technically be reloaded from either side of the weapon.

Two versions of the Johnson existed in the form of the aforementioned M1941 and the newer M1944. Each differed from one another in that the M1941 was fielded with a wooden butt and folding bipod assembly. The M1944 featured a monopod in place of the bipod along with a more tubular butt with a buttplate. Both were mechanically the same but offered up differences in handling.

Though production models were limited to usage by US forces, and even then in limited quantities, Dutch forces in the East Indies nearly received the weapon - but Japanese advancement in the area negated the delivery. Nevertheless, the Johnson series of light machine gun has become more of a footnote in the history of World War Two. The system was of quality construction but was found to be too prone to jamming when exposed to extended use and under the rigors of battlefield conditions.

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Specifications for the
Johnson Model 1941 LMG
Light Machine Gun


Country of Origin: United States
Manufacturer: Cranston Arms Company - USA
Initial Year of Service: 1941


Overall Length: 1066mm (41.97in)
Barrel Length: 0.00mm (0.00in)
Weight (Empty): 14.29lbs (6.48kg)


Caliber: 30-06 Springfield
Action: Recoil-Operated; Full Automatic
Feed: 20-round detachable box
Muzzle Velocity: 2,900ft/sec (884m/sec)
Rate-of-Fire: 300 rounds per minute


Variants:
M1941 LMG


Operators:
the United States of America