The M2 Machine Gun or Browning.50 Caliber Machine Gun is a heavy machine gun designed toward the end of World War I by John Browning. Its design is similar to Brownings earlier M1919 Browning machine gun, the M2 uses the much larger and much more powerful.50 BMG cartridge, which was developed alongside and takes its name from the gun itself. It has been referred to as Ma Deuce, in reference to its M2 nomenclature, the design has had many specific designations, the official designation for the current infantry type is Browning Machine Gun, Cal.50, M2, HB, Flexible. It is effective against infantry, unarmored or lightly armored vehicles and boats, light fortifications, the M2 has been produced longer than any other machine gun. The Browning.50 caliber machine gun has been used extensively as a vehicle weapon and it was heavily used during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Falklands War, the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan in the 2000s and 2010s. It is the heavy machine gun of NATO countries, and has been used by many other countries as well. The M2 has been in use longer than any firearm in U. S. inventory except the.45 ACP M1911 pistol. The current M2HB is manufactured in the U. S. by General Dynamics, Ordnance for use by the U. S. government, and for allies via Foreign Military Sales, as well as foreign manufacturers such as FN Herstal. Machine guns were used in World War I, and weapons of larger than rifle caliber were appearing. Both the British and French had large caliber machine guns, the larger rounds were needed to defeat the armor that was being introduced to the battlefield. Armor was also appearing in the skies, during World War I, the Germans introduced a heavily armored airplane, the Junkers J. I. The armor made aircraft machine guns using conventional rifle ammunition ineffective, consequently, the American Expeditionary Forces commander General John J. Pershing asked for a larger caliber machine gun. Pershing asked the Army Ordnance Department to develop a gun with a caliber of at least 0.50 inches. U. S. Col. John Henry Parker, commanding a machine gun school in France, the Army Ordnance Department ordered eight experimental Colt machine guns rechambered for the French 11 mm cartridge. The French had developed a machine gun for an even larger caliber. The French 11 mm round was found to be unsuitable because its velocity was too low, Pershing wanted a bullet of at least 670 gr and a muzzle velocity of 2,700 ft/s. Development with the French round was dropped, around July 1917, John M. Browning started redesigning his.30 caliber machine gun for a larger caliber. Winchester worked on the cartridge, which was a version of the. 30-06
Browning M2 "Ma Deuce"
A U.S. Marine crews a .50 caliber machine gun as part of a security force during a training exercise with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit in November 2002.
Twin M2HB machine gun during a Pre-aimed Calibration Fire (PACFIRE) exercise in May 2005