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Finnish-built Brownings for the Buffalo

By Panu Kolju

My friend bought a interesting MG a while back, and asked if I could dig up some info of it. It's a copy of the famous US made Browning machine gun by John Browning, based to type M2 in cal. .50 BMG. My friend got only the "frames of this gun, and is lacking eg. barrel, slide etc. internal parts, though he has many small parts to it.

Well, now there is some light into this issue, and I thought you might find it interesting, since it has lots of "links" to US Brewsters used here in Finland during WW2 fightnigs :). There was an article in latest Ase-lehti (Gun-magazine) of the Finnish BMG model. Here's little bit of the history of Finnish BMG (shortened version, partly mith my own texts too).


The gun endeed is made as "copy" of US made M2 BMG, ment for Brewster fighter planes B-239 in the first place. You fellows in USA call these AN-M3?

The Finnish variant is called 12,70 LKk 42. Manufacturer was Tourula's Arms Factory, that's VKT = State Rifle Factory. On top of these guns were stamped the text: 12,70 LKk/42 , VKT and serial number. LKk = LentoKone Konekiva"a"ri = Flight Machine Gun.

The Finnish variant was designed and copied from the USA made Brewster fighter plane model because there were plans to build a Finnish variant of the famous Brewster B-239 plane and it needed effective weaponry, which .50 cal BMG was proved to be. The new plane type would have been called "Humu" (Distant Thunder. Anyway the design was a failure since shortage in engines etc. and partly also due the design materials to be used were not good enough, and better materials were not available. But the LKk/42's were made, all together around 500 pieces at Tourula, most of which saw service use in Finnish made Myrsky fighter planes.

Humu was designed to hold three Finnish Lkk/42 BMGs.

An other Finnish design with fighter planes, called Myrsky (Storm; a copycat of US Curtiss fighter plane) was build and used in Finland during WW2 and it used the Finnish Lkk/42 MGs. All together 51 Myrky-planes were made during WW2, starting from 1941. 46 of them were still in service use after WW2. First Myrsky planes used two LKk/42 MGs which shot through the probellow (sp?) but later ones were equipped with four LKk/42 BMGs. Pilots who flew the planes which had the LKk/42s in them, said the flying speed slowed little bit during continuous firing :).

Finnish model was designed to be mounted to frame or to wings of the plane, as was with US made models. Belts could be feeded from either side of the weapon. Belt was of disintegrating type. Loading during flying was made with "steel wire" which had a handel for pilot to make extra reloading moves during flights.

The LKk/42 was equipped with very thin barrel, and it heated up very rapidly if shot on the ground. Therefore the limit of shots allowed to be shot on ground was ruled to 30-40 rounds.

Only drawback with Finnish design were the Finnish made barrels to the weapon. For unknown reason they started to have "hair cracks" or even wider cracks, on them during heavy service use, which was strange considering the quality with eg. rifle and Maxim barrels made in Finland during WW2. The probable reason for this is most likely the steel type used in the barrels. The other reason is probably the thinnes of barrels used in airplane use. Barrels were either smooth on surface or had "crooves" on them to make cooling bit easier.

After WW2 most of the planes which used the LKk/42 BMGs were slowly drawn to Army deposits. Brewsters were the first planes to be retired, since they were used up (and shot at) very badly during continuous battle use during WW2 wars. Engines were also worn badly etc.

Since Finland was very poor after the war and new material was not ordered for many army branches, the LKk/42 saw a new coming, this time in Anti Aircraft (AA) role. The reason was simply that no money was available for AA defence systems after the wars. So, during 1947-48 at Tampere Air Force deposit different types of AA LKk/42s were "put together".

Biggest "monster" was a setup which hold 4 LKk/42 BMGs in a stand specially made for these. There were also models which used one, or two LKk/42 (or BMGs). The 4 set model was partly a failure thanks to enormous recoil it produced during firing. Since one LKk/42 / BMG firing speed was 1000-1100 rounds per minute they could shoot over 4000 rounds into air during one minute (in the magazine they say it's about 200 kg of bullets in the air!). When one or two LKk/42 or BMG had failure in it (primer failure etc.) the four set monster wasn't easy to handel thanks to ballance problems due to recoil the guns produced ("twisting" is probly the English word for this phenomena).

In 1956 Finnish Air Force (FAF) had 254 pieces of one, two and four set AA BMGs and in reserve also an other 183 "sets". Only FAF used these type of AA weapons. Their role was to defend air fields/roads.

These weapons have been in service use more or less till recent years actually, in AA role, but also in fighter planes. LKk/42s were used little bit in planes as "training MGs" eg. in Swedish made Draken and British Hawk fighters. The use started at 1980's. According to memo made in 16.2.1983 "test firings were done in late of 1982 to get the test guns into service use with Drakens". Tests were succesfull.

It was found out that extensive changes had to be made to get these LKk/42 type BMGs in Draken use, so only the DKS model was found out to be the most suitable to be mounted with these weapons. The usage was based to financial reasons, since 12,7 mm ammo was/is cheaper than the actual 30 mm rounds these planes use. Only very few DKS used these guns.

It seems that also Sweden was interested to use BMGs in their planes after WW2, probably partly because of same reasons we Finns used them here. Records indicating this were found from 1959 written FFV Aerotech's flight machinegun manual of American AN-M3 BMG. Swedish version is from year 1986 and it is said that it's exactly like the Finnish LKk/42 MG is (copy of Finnish model perhaps?).

Technical data

Weight of basic weapon: 24,25 kg
One barreled version with magazines: 56 kg
100 round belt weight: 13,2 kg
Firing speed: 1000-1100 rounds/minute
Bullet velocity: 700-835 m/s
Length of the rifling: 810 mm