Springfield Armory Museum - Collection Record

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Maker/Manufacturer:CHAUCHAT, COLONEL, ET AL.
Date of Manufacture:
Eminent Figure:ANEY, CAPTAIN J.L.
Catalog Number:SPAR 2931
Measurements:OL:116.8CM 46" BL: 46.9CM 18 1/2"

Object Description:

Made in France - Sectionalized French Model 1915 "Chauchat" used to demonstrate action, or as often was the case with this weapon, inaction. Complete with bipod. Divots in butt otherwise complete and as sectionalized piece and in good condition.

Receiver: C.S.R.G. NO. 97897.
Receiver cover: C.S.R.G./32075.

This is one of a number of items the Springfield Armory Museum received in 1920 from Captain J.L. Aney. Captain Aney was stationed in Europe with the Ordnance Department and assigned to the "Captured Material Section" in WWI. Aney was ordered to secure items for the Springfield Armory Museum. This weapon is listed on the Receiving Report as Item No. 212 and is described as: "American French type Chauchat Machine gun sectionalized so as to show the workings of all parts. Was used by first troops going to France in training areas." Weapon transferred to the Museum on 24 March 1920.

Army #1495 - "Used by first troops going to France in training areas."

Notes: British referred to this as the "Chauchard."

"One of the least successful weapons of the war, the CSRG or Chauchat light machine-gun was named after the chairman of the French commission that had accepted it in 1914. Formally designated the Fusil Mitrailleur Modele 1915, it used a long recoil-operated system, a fairly complicated mechanism whose pronounced internal movement made accurate aiming difficult. The detachable magazine was of an unusual semi-circular shape because the French 8mm cartridge was tapered with a large base; it could hold 20 rounds. The Chauchat weighed 20 lb and had a relatively slow cyclic rate of fire of 250 rounds per minute. It was cheaply produced by a variety of French manufacturers to low standards using subgrade materials.
In the field it quickly gained a universal reputation for unreliability amongst French troops, although it continued in use until the end of the war. In spite of its weaknesses, when the United States entered the war the American army was persuaded to accept 16,000 Chauchats. There was a further delivery of 19,000 examples of a modified version - the M1918 - which would accept the American .30 round. The main visible difference between the two versions was in the shape of the magazine. The American cartridge was more powerful than the French and put the gun's inferior components under even more stress. It has in fact been estimated that as many as 50 per cent of all Chauchats delivered to the Americans were discarded as unserviceable." - Bruce

"In 1903 the French Government, having what it felt was an adequate heavy machine gun, started looking about for a machine rifle as a companion arm. Of the numerous types taken under the study, the French Army board became interested in an extremely lightweight automatic arm that could be fired either single shot or full automatic and be carried by the solider with as little difficulty as the standard infantry rifle. It became known as the Chauchat.
This weapon, while originally made at the French Government arsenals, was most certainly not native in design. It was undoubtedly inspired by the experimental weapon invented by the Hungarian arms designer, Rudolf Frommer, who had already become well known for his weapons built on the long-recoil system and had demonstrated a similar design at an earlier date. The fact that the machine rifle employed the long recoil system for its operation is in itself of great interest, as it represents the only automatic machine gun ever produced by France that did not use gas as an actuating force. Although it has been experimented with by inventors of every country in the world, the French for some reason always looked upon the operation of machine guns by gas as a specialty of their own. That they should deviate at this time indicates an outside influence in the matter of design." - Chinn

Bruce, Anthony. AN ILLUSTRATED COMPANION TO THE FIRST WORLD WAR. Michael Joseph. London, England. 1989.
Chinn, George M. THE MACHINE GUN.

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