Chauchat Light Machine Gun The First World War The ‘Chauchat’ or “Fusil Mitrailleur Modele 1915 CSRG” was the standard machine rifle or light machine gun of the French Army during World War I. Designed in 1907, this light machine gun weighed about 9KG or 20 pounds. It fires 8mm Lebel cartridge at a slow rate of 250 rounds per minute. With around 262,000 Chauchat machine rifles manufactured between 1915 and 1918, the weapon was the most widely manufactured automatic weapon odfWorld War 1. The American Expeditionary Force also used the Chauchat, while they waited for the delivery of the new Browning M1917 machine gun, modified to fire 30-06 ammunition. In the muddy trenches, the machine gun was unreliable. Dirt could enter to the gun’s open-sided half-moon magazine easily which block the mechanism. Even when not blocked, there could be failure in feeding rounds. To avoid this, gunners loaded their magazines with 18 or 19 rounds instead of the maximum 20. Also problematic was the gun’s long recoil system, making the recoil violent. A loose bipod, sights that made weapon shoot too low to the right and overheating from fully automatic fire all caused a great stress for the gunner. For the AEF version of the Chauchat, French manufacturers used incorrect chamber measurement resulting in even worse performance. Because of this, it was not uncommon for the US soldiers to ditch the weapon altogether. The Chauchat was therefore regarded as the worst machine gun of the First World War. And according to some experts, the worst machine gun ever fielded in the history of warfare. This subtitle is produced by David Baynes.