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Breda M30 Faults

#1 User is offline   Mait 

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Posted 16 October 2011 - 11:40 AM

Hi again after a long time :)

I wanted to ask some questions about the faults of Breda M30 LMG. Most sources agree that the somewhat weak bullet, closed bolt (causing cook-offs), hinged loading system which caused slow rate of fire and tended to break easily and integral oiling system which caused a lot of jams in desert environment were this designs main problems.

However I have read about other problems in this design in some sources and canīt quite confirm them. So I thought I post these here and hear out more informed researchers...

First claim:

Chief among the problems was the barrel change, which lacked a handle by which the gunner or assistant could remove the red hot item without touching it. The only solution was an improvised glove.

Now I have seen both in pictures and videos that the M30 barrel has a large knob or small handle which You turn by hand to remove the barrel. So is this claim false?

Second claim:

"The final drawback was that the quick- change barrel lay on a recoil slide, since it had to move about 4 mm to the rear before the breech opened. As a result the sights were on the gun body and not on the barrel; this, plus the fact that the barrel support bearings soon showed signs of wear, led to considerable inaccuracy."

In one source (sadly I canīt find that source at the moment) the exact opposite is claimed - that M30 was too accurate to be used as a good LMG and itīs bullets did not disperse enough to make it effective in itīs role. So is this claim accurate?

Thanks in advance!
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#2 User is offline   arturolorioli 

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Posted 16 October 2011 - 05:52 PM

View PostMait, on 16 October 2011 - 11:40 AM, said:

I wanted to ask some questions about the faults of Breda M30 LMG. Chief among the problems was the barrel change, which lacked a handle by which the gunner or assistant could remove the red hot item without touching it. The only solution was an improvised glove.

Now I have seen both in pictures and videos that the M30 barrel has a large knob or small handle which You turn by hand to remove the barrel. So is this claim false?


Yes, it looks so. IIRC there wasn't any need for "improvised gloves" either, as there were special gloves with metal chiain-mail palms specifically designed to handle hot MG barrels.

View PostMait, on 16 October 2011 - 11:40 AM, said:

"The final drawback was that .... led to considerable inaccuracy."

In one source (sadly I canīt find that source at the moment) the exact opposite is claimed - that M30 was too accurate to be used as a good LMG and itīs bullets did not disperse enough to make it effective in itīs role. So is this claim accurate?


AFAIK the Breda 30 (when working ...) was an accurate weapon. This is not necessarily a defect, and was something it shared with another LMG like the british Bren. It just required a well trained gunner to effectively spread the fire.

The Breda 30 is a much maligned weapon, and not without reasons. It had several glaring defects, the worst were the bullet-lubrification system and the strip-fed magazine box you quoted, and the need for extensive lubrification of all its moving parts too. It was also a very accurately machined weapons (that means very expensive to produce, another defect). But as it said "Give a dog a bad name ..." , and so it had become very fashionable to add minor, irrelevant or sometimes even false faults to the very real ones it suffered.

In practical terms it was a markedly sub-standard weapon, probably even a bit worse than the already very poor BAR. that needed much care, maintenance and a well-trained gunner to work - if not brillantly - at least effectively. But neither it was the hopeless piece of junk claimed by "popular wisdom", it's worth to note that the germans keept it in production in 1944 (over 150 built in April 1944 only).
Aighe-va

Arturo F.Lorioli
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#3 User is offline   Jeff Leser 

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Posted 16 October 2011 - 11:03 PM

Mait

Having some experience with the Breda 30, I can provide some insight.

I am wondering the date of the source of your quotes. I feel the first one (lack of a barrel handle) could reflect the individual’s limited experience with the weapon post war.

All the Breda 30 barrels have an integral handle. Many surviving examples lack the cord wrapping that protects the hand from the heat of the barrel. Without the wrapping, the handle would become too hot. Changing the barrel is quite easy and is one of the strong points of the machinegun. IIRC, the Breda was the first light MG to have this feature (quick change and a build-in handle).

Accuracy can be a problem. The receiver has a framework that extends forward of the breach that supports the barrel and the bipod legs. The barrel itself is supported in the rear by the breach and about 2/3 forward from the breach by the receiver framework. Here the framework has a circular opening that acts as a bushing. On top of the bushing is the front sight. The barrel has four flanges that extent from the barrel and centers the barrel in the middle of the bushing. As the barrel and breach recoil, the flanges slide back forward and rearward inside the bushing. As the bushing and barrel flanges become worn, the barrel can jump around inside the bushing. The front sight, fixed to the framework, doesn’t move with the barrel.

So a well worn gun could have accuracy problems, but this is no different than any other MGs with quick-change barrels. All of them have the sight separate from the barrel and will develop the same problem over time.

I believe the gloves Arturo mentioned are for the Breda 37. Its barrel required a wrench and gloves to replace.

I feel the main drawback to the weapon was the loading system and the fact the gun itself is quite awkward to handle.

As a light MG, the Breda 30 requires two men to operate because of the loading. The gunner just can’t fire and load the weapon by himself without moving around. The magazine is too far forward, forcing the gunner to move up over the gun to reload. It also requires two hands to load. A second man is needed to maintain any decent rate of fire.

The weapon is awkward to handle. There is no good place on the gun for the gunner’s left hand if he is trying to fire on the move. The natural place is right on top of the ejection port (not a working place). Move the hand to the rear of the port, the weapon is now front heavy. Move it forward, and the hand is now where the barrel is recoiling in the framework. The gun has many sharp points and odd angles, making it uncomfortable to carry slinged. In all the balance is wrong and is best fired from the prone position.

Just my thoughts. I have attached a few pictures of my Breda.

Pista!

Jeff

Attached File(s)


btg. sciatori Alpini Ŧ Monte Cervino ŧ (reenacted)
19° reggimento fanteria Ŧ Brescia ŧ (reenacted)

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