The MG 42 (shortened from German: Maschinengewehr 42, or “machine gun 42”) was a 7.92×57mm Mauser general purpose machine gun that was developed in Nazi Germany and entered service with the Wehrmacht in 1942. It supplemented, and, in some instances, replaced the MG 34 general-purpose machine gun in all branches of the German Armed Forces, though both weapons were manufactured and used until the end of the war.
The MG 42 has a proven record of reliability, durability, simplicity, and ease of operation, but is most notable for its ability to produce a high volume of suppressive fire. The MG 42 had one of the highest average rates of fire of any single-barreled man-portable machine gun: between 1,200 and 1,500 rpm, which results in a distinctive muzzle report. There were other automatic weapon designs with similar firepower, such as the French Darne, the Hungarian-Gebauer single-barreled tank MGs, the Russian 7.62mm ShKAS aircraft gun and the British Vickers K machine gun. However, the MG 42’s belt-feed and quick-change barrel system allowed for more prolonged firing in comparison to these weapons.