The M1918 B.A.R. (Browning Automatic Rifle) is a gas operated, magazine fed, air-cooled automatic rifle, which was utilized by the United States during World War II,[1] the Korean War, and Vietnam War.


The BAR was an attempt to give all the power of a machine gun to one soldier. The BAR did have its share of drawbacks such as the twenty-round magazine which required frequent reloading, however, the addition of a second BAR gunner in a squad would cover the one that was out, maintaining constant suppressing fire.

Another problem was that the BAR's internal mechanisms were very complicated to produce.[2] The M1918 BAR weighed about nineteen pounds and was 1214 mm long.[3] It also fired the .30-06 Springfield round and was a selective fire weapon, but it could also be switched to fully automatic. The M1918 BAR was designed by the famous weapon designer John Browning and it had a rate of fire of about 350 rounds per minute. It also had an effective range of about 1,000 feet. The BAR was extremely reliable and accurate out to 600 yards, it performed admirably in the worst conditions, and was a prized weapon in any American squad or platoon. The enemy who went up against it, feared this weapon, and were trained to take out the B.A.R. gunner as quickly as possible. The .30-06 cartridge fired from this weapon at 350-500 RPM was lethal in a combat situation.


The M1922 BAR was a version of the M1918 BAR that was adopted by the US Cavalry in 1922. It was designated the M1922 Light Machine Gun and it included a collapsible bi-pod. The M1918A1 BAR was adopted in 1937 and it was selective fire weapon but it could be switched to fully automatic. It also had a leaf-type of iron sight and it had a hinged butt-stock. The M1918A1 also had spiked-type of bi-pod. The M1918A2 was adopted in 1940 and it had a rate of fire of about 500 rounds per minute. It was also fully automatic and it was fitted with a carrying handle. Although it was fully automatic, the M1918A2 BAR still had semi-automatic setting as well, which was how it was fired most of the time to avoid overheating.


Marine Suppressive Fire, Okinawa 1945

Two Marines laying down suppressive fire on Okinawa, one with a BAR

The M1918 BAR was designed during World War I and was adopted by the United States military in 1917. The BAR M1918A2 was a success among infantry for its firepower and it was this version of the BAR that was more widely used.[4] Since the BAR M1918A2 was fairly cumbersome and difficult to manage at times, it was usually used by the largest member in the squad. Despite the few drawbacks and malfunctions such as the lack of a quick-change barrel, and fairly small twenty-round box magazine, the BAR became a very successful weapon during World War II.[5] It was used in many different fronts including both the Pacific Theater and the European Theater. The weapon was even used by Polish partisans fighting against German forces and was likewise captured and used by German forces. The BAR was used by the USA after World War II, Korea, and up to the Vietnam war as well. Many also found their way into developing countries, and were used in conflicts such as the Cuban Revolution.



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