Japanese 12.7mm Type 1 Machine Gun

Photograph of Type 1 machine gun

Both photographs: U.S. Navy. Via Francillon (1979)

Photograph of Type 1 machine gun in flexible mount


12.7 x 81 SR with AP and HE rounds
Projectile weight     
1.25 ounce (35.4 g) AP
1.16 ounce (33.0 g) HE
Velocity 2560 feet per second
780 meters per secod
Range 2460 feet
750 meters
Rate of fire     
900 rounds per minute unsynchronized
400 rounds per minute synchronized
Gun weight
51 lb
23 kg
Gun power
45 unsynchronized
20 synchronized

The Type 1 machine gun, which resembled the Browning, was used as both a fixed and a flexible weapon on Japanese aircraft. It was basically a simplified Model 1921 Browning adapted for a less powerful Italian 12.7 x 81 SR cartridge. This made the gun lighter and, together with an effective muzzle booster, gave it a higher rate of fire. However, like all Brownings, it did not synchronize well, losing much of its rate of fire. It was fed from a disintegrating metal link belt and used a short recoil rising block locked action.

The fixed version was sometimes used as a flexible weapon by mounting it in a cradle, and a true flexible version was developed later in the war. The fixed version was also known as the Ho-103 while the flexible version was known as the Ho-104.

Photo Gallery

Type 103 machine gun
U.S. Navy
Gun and barrel
U.S. Navy
Overhead view of Type 1 guns in a Tony


Side view of Type 1 guns in a Tony



Francillon (1979)

Mikesh (2004)

Williams and Gustin (2003)

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