Korean War Field Innovation Quad .30 Caliber Anti-Personnel


Korean War Field Innovation Quad .30 Caliber Anti-Personnel

Years back, I received this photograph from a source who was looking to identify what type of “gun” it was.  I believe it is a field improvisation of four .30 caliber M1919A4 machine guns in a linear quad mount. It is designed for use on ground targets.

You can see that the quad .30 calibers command a significant amount of the terrain in front of them.  The .30 caliber has a maximum effective range of 1,500 yards, a bit short of a mile.  As a quad mount, that range would be increased a bit.

There is no way to elevate the muzzles far enough for effective anti-aircraft fire. The base of the Korean mount is from the M63 Anti-Aircraft mount for the M2 Browning .50 caliber machine gun. (H/T to archy on freerepublic).

The other quad mounts that I have seen were designed for anti-aircraft fire.

The Soviet quad mount of 1910 Maxim machine guns is set up for anti-aircraft fire. The image is from a display in a Russian (Soviet) Museum.

Soviet quad mount of 1910 Maxim machine guns

The Korean War was noted for its mass wave attacks by Chinese soldiers against American troops.  The anti-personnel quad .30 caliber was likely a response to those attacks.

Quad machine guns have often been used against ground targets. The quad .50 caliber M2 was often used in that way. But the mount was designed as an anti-aircraft mount. The From koreanwaronline.com:

Highly effective as an anti-aircraft weapon against strafing attacks in World War II, its primary deployment in Korea was as a devestating antipersonnel weapon.

The Quad-50 was still used during the Vietnam War, in semi-fixed locations to protect the perimeter of fire bases, and very effectively on motor convoy support.

The .50 caliber machine gun is primarily an anti-vehicular weapon. Its weight, and the weight of its ammunition, make it unsuitable for mobile infantry use. However, in semi-fixed positions such as the MLR in Korea, or mounted on vehicles in file, as in the withdrawal from Chosin, the weapon is magnificent. Its great range and striking power make it deadly in enfilade against troops staging for assault. Again, these capabilities make it ideal for quick reaction against machine gun and mortar positions on heights overlooking road communications.

Vickers had a 12mm quad mount for shipboard anti-aircraft defense between World War I and World War II. The round was a bit less powerful than the .50 caliber Browning M2.  It does not appear to have been used in an anti-personnel role.

American soldiers have been known for field innovations in a number of wars. Supposedly, a German general said of Americans in WWII: “You cannot depend on the Americans. They do not even follow their own rules.” I have not been able to verify that quote. It is likely that the quad .30 caliber was a “one of.” Sometimes, field innovations work so well that the military chain of command takes notice and incorporates them into standard equipment.

If alert readers have any information about the Korean War quad .30 caliber mount, its deployment, development, or use, We would like to hear from you.

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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