Hotchkiss model 1930
A mitrailleuse de 13.2 mm CA mle 1930, in Batey ha-Osef Museum, Tel Aviv, Israel.
TypeHeavy machine gun
Place of originFrance
Service history
Used bySee Users
WarsWorld War II
Production history
Mass37.5 kg (83 lbs)
single gun, stripped
Length1.67 metres (5 ft 6 in)
Barrel length1 metre (3 ft 3 in)

Cartridge13.2 x 96 mm
Caliber13.2 mm
Rate of fire450 rounds/min (cyclic)
Muzzle velocity800 m/s (2,625 ft/s)
Feed system30-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 when it saw service with various nations' forces, including Japan where the gun was built under licence.[1]


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. The 8 mm mle 1914 machine gun 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 to accept 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.

Three different 13,2 mm cartridges: 13,2x99 Hotchkiss; 13,2x96 Hotchkiss; 13,2x92SR Tankgewehr.


As a ground-based anti-aircraft weapon

The French Air Force used designated as mitrailleuse de 13,2 mm CA mle 1930, for close-range defence of its airfields and other strategic places. It came in two versions.

The first is a single machinegun with a stock and pistol grip that came in a dual-purpose anti-aircraft / anti-armor mounting. It had a two-wheeled split-trailed carriage that weighed 259 lbs [117.5 kg] empty and 342 lbs. [155 kg] with the machinegun mounted. When the swing-arm the gun was affixed to was locked upwards, it could be used in an anti-aircraft mode. When the arm was collapsed and a bipod extended it could fire straight ahead in an anti-tank role. When the gun was packed up and the trails closed, it was towed behind its caisson, which was pulled by a horse or by the gunner.

Second was a fixed tripod mount with a seat and anti-aircraft sight for the gunner. It came in a single mount (270 lbs [122.5 kg] empty, 352 lbs. [160 kg] mounted) or double mount (496 lbs. [225 kg] empty, 662 lbs. [300 kg] mounted).

The quadruple naval mounting, as illustrated in US Patent 1700902 filed by Yves Le Prieur

As a naval weapon

Early in World War II, the French and Japanese navies were using twin (CAD Mle 1929 - Contre Avions Double) and quadruple (CAQ mle 1929 - Contre Avions Quadruple) mountings on many of their warships. French warships that were refitted in the United States in 1943, such as the battleship Richelieu or the destroyer Le Terrible, had their 13.2 mm machine guns replaced by more powerful Oerlikon 20 mm cannons.

The Spanish Navy bought this weapon in December 1935 and used it during the Civil War (where it was mounted in several Republican Navy destroyers and cruisers).
The "Pirotecnia Militar" Army Ammunition plant (Sevilla) produced its cartridges after 1939.

In Italy, the Società Italiana Ernesto Breda bought a production license in 1929 and manufactured the gun as the Breda Mod.31 from 1931 onwards, to be used on board Royal Italian Navy armed trains, on CV33 light tanks sold to Brazil, and on the command tanks of the Royal Italian Army. After World War II it was used on the patrol boats of the Guardia di Finanza naval service.

As a ground weapon

The 13.2 mm Hotchkiss was used on the Belgian T15 (a combat vehicle) and the French AMR 35, light tanks as well as the AMD Laffly 80 AM [1]armoured car and on fortifications. The Japanese mounted license-produced version of the gun on a number of Type 92 Heavy Armoured Cars which had initially been armed with only a pair of 6.5mm machine guns.

Yiftach Brigade with their Hotchkiss machine guns during the battle for Safed, 1948

Self-propelled mountings

Japanese attack on Shanghai

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


  1. ^ "Modern Firearms".
  2. ^ Mark Axworthy, London: Arms and Armour, 1995, Third Axis, Fourth Ally: Romanian Armed Forces in the European War, 1941–1945, p. 29

Further reading

  • Ferrard, Stéphane. France 1940 l'armement terrestre, ETAI, 1998, ISBN 978-2-7268-8380-8
  • "Las armas de la guerra civil española", José MAría MANRIQUE, ISBN 84-9734-475-8, pages 394 -398