The ALFA Modelo 44 (or "ALFA 44") machine gun was an indigenously designed Spanish machine gun appearing during World War 2. The weapon was produced by the Fabrica de Armas de Oviedo and survived the war to see service well into the Cold War years. A few variants strengthened the legacy of the ALFA 44 and Egypt became the only notable foreign operator of the system.
The ALFA 44 was an air-cooled machine gun of a highly conventional design. She was a gas-operated weapon limited to full automatic fire and utilized a locking system consisting of a tipping breechblock set to engage the receiver. She maintained a running length of 1450mm with the barrel - of six grooves and a right-hand twist - measuring at 750mm. Overall weight with a tripod was 13 kilograms. The operator trained the weapon through use of basic spade grips at the rear of the receiver. The trigger and safety lever were held along the receiver backplate. Sights were fitted atop the receiver and atop the barrel, the former held forward of the trigger group and the latter held well aft of the muzzle. The gas cylinder was mounted under the barrel and connected to the receiver frontplate at the rear and banded to the barrel itself at its forend. The charging handled was set to the right side of the gun body while a horizontal carrying handle was fitted to the left side, this along the barrel.
The weapon operated from a 100-round metal-link belt and was originally chambered for the 7.92x57mm Mauser rimless cartridge, offering up a rate-of-fire nearing 780 rounds per minute with a muzzle velocity equal to 760 meters per second. After the war, however, and with NATO gaining prominence, the ALFA 44 was redesigned to accept the 7.62x51mm NATO standard cartridge. A new version of the weapon appeared in 1955 as the ALFA Modelo 55 (or "ALFA 55") and featured a shorter overall length of 1100mm with its 610mm barrel and an upgraded muzzle velocity of 860 meters per second.
Egypt took deliveries of a slightly revised ALFA 44, this being easily identified by a series of cooling fins running nearly the entire length of the barrel. Additionally, the weapon system featured graduated sights with Arabic numbers as well as a slightly revised gas cylinder with larger cooling slots. The machine gun was added into inventory during the early 1950s.
ALFA Modelo 44 - Base Production Version Designation; chambered for 7.92x57mm Mauser cartridge.
ALFA Modelo 44 (Export) - Based on Modello 44; delivered to Egypt in 1950s; aluminum jacket over cooling fins on barrel; larger gas cylinder slotting.
ALFA Modelo 55 - Chambered for the 7.62x51 NATO standard cartridge; beginning production in 1955; 1100mm overall length with 610mm barrel; 860m/sec muzzle velocity.
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