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Gildwiller1918

US Made Chauchat Gunner Belt

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When the US Military got to France in 1917 and 1918, they did not have much in the way of artillery, aircraft, tanks and machine guns. Most of these were provided by the French and British forces. One of the weapons used by the US forces was the M1915 CSRG (Chauchat, Sutter, Ribeyrolles and Gladiator) Chauchat. These weapons were chambered in the standard French 8mm cartridge and used in a 20 round semi-circular magazine. The US ordered modified versions of the M1915, mainly to change the ammunition used. The Caliber .30 Chauchat Automatic Rifle, Model of 1918, would use the standard 30-06 cartridge with 16 round magazine. The design change did not work out well and few were issued. The French as well planned for the Chauchat to be a stopgap while developing a better weapon, but war time demands but an end to that. 

The Chauchat was for the US a stopgap until the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) could be fielded. Until that point many US troops used the Chauchat along with French made gear. The US started to make their own versions of support gear such as the gunner belt shown below. It is similar to the BAR belt above, however the cup to hold the butt of the weapon will not fit in the BAR belt. The idea of the gunner belt with the butt stock holders was to support walking fire, that is troops advancing while firing. This belt also differs from the BAR version in that it has no magazine pouches except for the M1911 semi-auto pistol. 

The Chauchat belt is dated March of 1918 made by R.H. Long and appears unissued. The Chauchat gained a reputation as unreliable, however there are many examples of the weapon performing quite well in combat. The US slang for this weapon was "Show-show".

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