The Maschinengewehr 30, or MG30 was a German-designed machine gun that saw some service with various armed forces in the 1930s. It was also modified to become the standard German aircraft gun as the MG15 and MG17. It is most notable as the design pattern that led to the MG34 and MG42, and thus is one of the major ancestors of many of the weapons in service which would later find widespread use even into the present day.


Development of the MG30 took place under the direction of Louis Stange at Rheinmetall's Sömmerda office. However actual production of machine guns was prohibited in Germany under the Versailles Treaty, and the design was rejected by the Reichswehr. Rheinmetall then turned to other companies and licensed the design to Solothurn in Switzerland and Steyr-Daimler-Puch in Austria. Production soon followed, entering the armed forces of both countries as the Solothurn S2-100 and Maschinengewehr Solothurn 1930, or MG30, respectively. 2000-3000 were also purchased by Hungary, where it was known as the Solothurn 31.M Golyoszoro.


The gun fired standard 7.92x57mm Mauser ammunition, fed from a slightly curved 30-round magazine inserted in the left side of the weapon. The machine gun was fired both in semi-automatic and full automatic mode depending on how far the trigger is pulled, with a rate of fire between 600 and 800 rounds per minute in full-auto. It included a folding bipod attached two thirds down the barrel.


Rheinmetall's Borsig office modified the MG30 design for use as an aircraft gun, producing the Flugzeugmaschinengewehr 15, or MG15. The primary changes were the use of a double-drum magazine holding 75 rounds, and the addition of a removal of the stock for use inside the cramped quarters of a bomber.

Further modification in 1936 led to the MG17, which included provisions for belt-fed ammo in addition to the drums, increased the rate of fire to about 1,200 rpm, and was suitable for use with an interrupter gear for shooting through the aircraft's own propellor.

In 1942 aircraft guns had increased dramatically in size, and the 7.92 mm weapons were no longer considered useful by the Luftwaffe. Many were then sent to the army, who started a program to modify them into ground-based weapons by adding a bipod and simple metal stock.


  • Caliber: 7.92 mm
  • Load: 50 round beltless saddle drum
  • Action: select fire, air-cooled
  • Rate of Fire: 600 to 800 rpm
  • Weight: 27 lb (12 kg)


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