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M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle
The Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) was a family of United States automatic rifles (or machine rifles) and light machine guns used by the United States and numerous other countries during the 20th century. The primary variant of the BAR series was the M1918, chambered for the .30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge and designed by John Browning in 1917 for the U.S. Expeditionary Corps in Europe as a replacement for the French-made Chauchat and M1909 Benet-Mercie machine guns.
The BAR was designed to be carried by advancing infantrymen, slung over the shoulder and fired from the hip, a concept called "walking fire", thought to be necessary for the individual soldier during trench warfare. However in practice, it was most often used as a light machine gun and fired from a bipod (introduced in later models). A variant of the original M1918 BAR, the Colt Monitor Machine Rifle, remains the lightest production automatic gun to fire the .30-06 Springfield cartridge, though the limited capacity of its standard 20-round magazine tended to hamper its utility in that role.
The U.S. entered World War I with an inadequately small and obsolete assortment of various domestic and foreign machine gun designs, due primarily to bureaucratic indecision and the lack of an established military doctrine for their employment. When the declaration of war on Imperial Germany was announced on 6 April 1917, the military high command was made aware that to fight this machine gun-dominated trench war, they had on hand a mere 670 M1909 Benet-Mercies, 282 M1904 Maxims and 158 Colts, M1895. After much debate, it was finally agreed that a rapid rearmament with domestic weapons would be required, but until that time, U.S. troops would be issued whatever the French and British had to offer. The arms donated by the French were often second-rate or surplus and chambered in 8mm Lebel, further complicating logistics as machine gunners and infantrymen were issued different types of ammunition.
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