13.2 mm Hotchkiss machine gun

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13.2 mm Hotchkiss machine gun
A mitrailleuse de 13.2 mm CA mle 1930, in Batey ha-Osef Museum, Tel Aviv, Israel.
Type Gas operated heavy machine gun
Place of origin  France
Service history
Used by  France,
 Japan and others
Wars Second World War
Production history
Manufacturer Hotchkiss
Weight 37.5 kg (83 lbs)
single gun, stripped
Length 1.67 m (5.47 ft)
Barrel length 1.0 m (3.28 ft)

Shell ball, AP
Caliber 13.2 x 96 mm
Action gas
Rate of fire 450 rounds/min (cyclic)
Muzzle velocity 800 m/s (2,625 ft/s)
Feed system 30-round box magazine

The 13.2 mm Hotchkiss machine gun was a heavy machine gun designed and manufactured by Hotchkiss et Cie from the late 1920s until World War II where it saw service with various nation's forces, including Japan where the gun was built under license.


In the late 1920s, Hotchkiss proposed a range of anti-aircraft automatic weapons in the 13.2, 25 and 37 mm calibres. They were all based on the same type of gas-operated action than the 8 mm mle 1914 machine gun, that had proven extremely reliable during World War I and was still in service. Hotchkiss also advertised the 13.2 mm machine gun as an infantry weapon, that could be fitted on conventional tripods and be used against light armour. French infantry commanders, that had expressed interest in acquiring light anti-aircraft guns, refused the 13.2 mm. They argued that those heavy bullets falling down could be dangerous to friendly troops, and went to larger calibres where self-destructing shells were available. But the 13.2 mm Hotchkiss saw extensive use as a naval gun, and was also chosen by the French cavalry for some of its armoured vehicles.


As a ground-based anti-aircraft weapon

The French Air Force used a twin mounting on a tripod carriage, designated as mitrailleuse de 13,2 mm CA mle 1930, for close-range defense of its airfields and other strategic places.

As a naval weapon

File:Machinegun carriage Le Prieur patent.jpg
The quadruple naval mounting, as illustrated in US Patent 1700902 filed by Yves Le Prieur

Early in World War II, the French and Japanese navies were using twin and quadruple mountings on many of their warships. French warships that were refitted in the USA in 1943, such as battleship Richelieu or destroyer Le Terrible, had their 13.2 mm machine guns replaced by more efficient Oerlikon 20 mm cannons.

As a ground weapon

The 13.2 was also used one light tank, the AMR 35, one armoured car, the Laffly 80AM, and on fortifications.

Self-propelled mountings

Several self-propelled anti-aircraft combinations were tested in the 1930s, with Citroën-Kegresse or Berliet chassis, but none was mass-manufactured. The Free French used field-modified self-propelled mountings, with guns recovered from French ships, in North-East Africa in 1942.


See also